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THE COLONELS saturday
R O S S E V E LT NOISE monday
2 FOR 1 DRAFTS tuesday
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KARAOKE w/ KJ STACHE thursday May 5
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CEDRIC BURNSIDE PROJECT April 27 - May 3, 2011
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April 27 - May 3, 2011
9 N O . 33
contents ADAM LYNCH
9 Guns, Guns, Guns The Jackson Police Department teams up with the feds to make gun crimes easier to solve. SHAWANDA JACOME
Cover design by Kristin Brenemen
THIS ISSUE: Wish List
If buying for a graduate is on your list, here are a few items worth considering for the big day.
.............. Slowpoke ...................... Talks ................ Editorial .................. Stiggers ...................... Zuga ................ Opinion ............. Diversions .................... Books ................... 8 Days
.................... Music ...... Music Listings .................... Sports ............... Astrology ...................... Food .. Shopping Guide
In the stark light of Jackson’s spokenword scene, Scarlette, aka Tori ThompsonDavis, reigns with a silver tongue, hip-hop flair, and sonnets of soul and strife. She speaks in adroit tones and rhymes about love, pain and redemption. She doesn’t sugarcoat or soften her words. This is the world as it is, seen through Scarlette’s sharp eyes and described through even sharper prose. “His spirit’s entangled in my being’s every fiber, though we both know we can’t walk this telephone wire. As I pine for him daily, I want you to know, the dangers that postlude a simple ‘Hello,’” Davis wrote in her book, “Scarlette’s Letters.” Davis is cheerful woman with a musical voice from Toledo, Ohio. At a young age, her interests were already geared toward the spoken word, writing and social activism. Davis first performed poetry at a peer-leadership conference at age 15. This also served as the first time the name Scarlette came into play. “There were three other Toris (going on stage). I thought, ‘I’m not about to get up there with the same name (as) these three other girls,” the 23-year-old says. “Now no one ever forgets my name.” Scarlette was the original name her mother picked for Davis before her birth. Davis’ grandmother, though, worried over what connotations of the color scarlet
could mean for a woman. Convinced, Davis’ mother went on to name her daughter after her midwife instead. “I don’t worry about connotations,” Davis says. “I consider my work to be a reflection of myself.” Davis has been published in Black Magnolias, a local quarterly literary journal that examines and celebrates accomplishments of African Americans, and Oxford American, a southern literary magazine. She moved to Jackson in 2005 to attend Jackson State University where she is the founder of the poetry club, OutSpoken, and is working toward her bachelor’s degree in music education. OutSpoken has raised money to help domestic-abuse centers, a storm-damaged orphanage in Haiti and the Lanier High School music department. Davis is also the host of Speak!, weekly open-mic nights at Cultural Expressions. “Scarlette’s Letters,” Davis’ first book, captures Scarlette’s world between its covers. The compilation of sonnets, prose and poems is self-published, and available through local booksellers and coffee shops, including Lemuria Books, Koinonia Coffee House, Afrika Book Café and Sneaky Beans, and online at Amazon.com. “My advice to all poets: Surround yourself with people who write better than you,” she says. —Rose Pendleton
24 Rappin’ for the Lord Sam-U-El, aka Samuel Roberson, combines hip-hop beats with the gospel to spread the word. ANDREW DUNAWAY
............ JFP Events
34 Crazy Cakes Jon Lansdale, owner of Crazy Cat Bakery, talks about 3,000 desserts and “possessed” cats.
........ Editor’s Note
4 4 6 12 12 12 13 24 26 27 28 29 30 32 33 34 38
Tim Roberson Tim Roberson is a Jackson native and graduate of the University of Mississippi. He is the editor of the digital music magazine, Play Music City and owner of Light Bulb Writing Studio in Jackson. He interviewed and wrote about amazing teens for this issue.
Megan Stewart Megan Stewart, the JFP’s new web developer, works best by being unpredictable and catching everyone off guard. She graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor’s degree in computer science last fall, and lives in Jackson.
Rose Pendleton Rose Pendleton is a bitter yet naive girl from Delaware trying to make it in the world who ends up falling over herself in the process. Rose loves video games, long walks on the beach and anything associated with food. She wrote the Jacksonian.
Dorian Randall Dorian Randall, a Jackson native, has degrees in journalism and media studies. She hopes someday to write a New York Times bestseller, win an Oscar and marry a Dolce and Gabbana male model. Maybe. She wrote a music feature.
Larry Morrisey Larry Morrisey is the director of grants programs for the Mississippi Arts Commission. He also serves as one of the hosts for “Mississippi Arts Hour,” the agency’s arts interview radio show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. He wrote a music feature.
Laney Lenox Editorial intern Laney Lenox is a freshman religious studies and anthropology major at Millsaps College. She hopes to use her declared major to serve her broad array of interests, of which writing is paramount. She wrote a book review.
ShaWanda Jacome Assistant to the editor ShaWanda Jacome is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a Christ-follower. She is learning to “be still and to let God be God” (Psalm 46:10). She coordinated the graduation features and interviewed teens.
April 27 - May 3, 2011
Advertising director Kimberly Griffin is a Jackson native who likes yoga, supporting locally owned businesses and traveling. In her spare time she plots how she can become Michelle Obama’s water holder.
by Donna Ladd, Editor-in-Chief
Letter to a Young Jacksonian
his time each year, I start hearing from young people who want to intern at the JFP over the summer (last year we had 19) and from former interns who need a reference or career advice. A recent intern, for instance, wrote this morning: “After writing for the Free Press, I decided that journalism might be the career path I would like to take.” The Murrah grad was accepted into an excellent J-school and wants to discuss “different routes” she can take as a journalist. “Your time and counsel would be very much appreciated,” this savvy young women’s email ends. These requests always get me thinking about what I really wish I’d known myself years ago. What advice might have made my life and choices easier? What would have helped lower my stress and frustration over the years? What “real” tips can I give? So I started jotting down those lessons in my pink moleskine. Here they are, in no particular order: • Learn to manage your time and to do one thing at a time. Block out time in your calendar to do what you need to each day so the undone tasks don’t drive you nuts when you’re supposed to be relaxing. • Fight monkey brain by writing down everything you need to do; never try to keep it all straight in your head. If a task takes less than two minutes, do it right now. • Pick up after yourself and put your stuff away (at least weekly). You’ll be loved and respected more if you’re not a constant slob. • Be proud of where you’re from. I left Mississippi in shame after college and, 18 years later, found my way back with pride. Defend the state as needed against dumb attacks—but never give us a free pass. Help fix us, instead. • If you leave, be sure to bring back what you learn at some point and share it with us. • Each one teach one. Don’t ask people to do for you; ask what you can do for them. Then they’ll help you. Works every time. • Be more than the sum of your upbringing—whether you went to a white “seg” academy or an all-black school. Embrace diversity. • Ask other people about themselves. They’ll adore you. It’s all you need to know to be successful at an event or party. Try it. • Learn to listen. Actively. Never text when someone is talking to you. Look them in the eye. Think of nothing else but them. • Seek out big ideas throughout your life. Learn to think. Question. Never stop educating yourself. Talk about ideas, not people. • Never be an age bigot. Enjoy the company of people from toddler to senior citizens. How? Ask, listen and invite all ages to events. • You don’t know everything. Really. No matter what your parents tell you. Seriously. • It’s not about you. Age teaches how dumb self-focus is. People are much more worried about themselves than about you. • All jobs suck in some ways. So be willing to stick with one long enough to get really good at something (as in years, not months). • Studies show it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be genius at something. Work it.
• Not everyone gets a trophy, or a promotion, or a raise. You must earn it, and that takes time and working with good mentors. • Pick your battles and never burn a bridge unless you have to. You likely will need to cross it again. Make sure it’s still there. • Learn to be mindful. People only work well when they’re fully present. Seek to be in the “flow” of everything you do, even dish washing. Take time to notice everything. • Never eat alone, at least not often. Cultivate wide networks by offering to help all sorts of people. Follow up. Rinse. Repeat. • Email or call every person who gives you a business card—within 24 hours. • Send a handwritten note and stand out because you take time to do things right. • Live and work with passion. Even argue with passion about what you believe in. • Have a strong voice. Leave the highpitched tone back in homeroom. (Ladies.) • Take time to breathe, and live green. • To borrow from the first lady, don’t eat every day like it’s Sunday dinner. Practice eating healthy food, and you’ll start to enjoy it. • Exercise every day. Walk. Bike. Stretch. • Smoking is gross. And it leads to the worst kind of death imaginable. I know. • Surprise the world—especially if you’re a member of a group they expect little from. (And as a Mississippian, you are.) The best way to rebrand our city and state is to be great. • Forgive people, especially your parents. Anger will hurt you the most. • No one else enjoys your hangover. • Say please and thank you. A lot. But don’t overdo “sir” and “ma’am” with people under 60. Makes you seem, well, like a kid. • Your procrastination is not anyone else’s crisis. Don’t turn in work late and then expect
everyone to stop and coo over it. • Push through your comfort zone. Little worth doing is easy the first dozen times. • Work hard to be better than you are. Hold yourself and others to high standards. • Don’t be a drama king or queen or hang out with drama addicts. Take action; don’t freak out or constantly make excuses. (Blech.) • Learn how to constantly know what your “next actions” are to get stuff done. Don’t be all talk, no follow-through. Just do it. • Break large tasks into tiny chunks (actions) and spread them out over time. • Learn to take criticism. The word “feedback” is not synonymous with “praise.” • Don’t be someone who has to be reminded. Track your own tasks and promises. • Follow procedures, or work with someone to improve them. Never ignore them. • Don’t be a “yes” person: If you haven’t done it (or don’t plan to), be honest about it. • Always offer more than you ask for on a job. If they think you’re there only for yourself or “a job,” you’re toast, or irrelevant at best. • A good reference depends on how you leave, no matter how great you were in the early months. Never think, “What are they going to do? Fire me?” Worse, they will not recommend you when you most need it. • Do work that matters, or make your current work matter more than it does now. • Change the world every single day. • Don’t take things too personally. People will sometimes be gruff. Thicken your skin. • Own your mistakes. The problem isn’t that you make them; it’s about how you deal with them. Never hide them. Never, ever. • Notice everything, live out loud, challenge jerks and take care of the critters. Add your own at www.jfp.ms.
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news, culture & irreverence
Thursday, April 21 The Jackson Police Department partners with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to cut down on illegal gun activity. … BP agrees to spend $1 billion on cleanup projects in the Gulf of Mexico over the next year. … Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith leaders gather at the Capitol to call for an end to the death penalty in Mississippi. Friday, April 22 The hearing for Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Lonnie Edwards continues as he makes the case for keeping his position. … President Barack Obama orders U.S. drones into Libya, increasing U.S. involvement. Saturday, April 23 Sony chairman Norio Ohga who developed compact discs, dies at age 81 from organ failure. … Toyota announces that shortages resulting from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami will delay auto production worldwide until November or December. Sunday, April 24 Residents of Yazoo and Holmes County attend services in remembrance of the 10 people killed in tornadoes a year ago.
April 27 - May 3, 2011
Monday, April 25 State offices close in observance of Confederate Memorial Day. … Gov. Haley Barbour announces that he will not run for president in 2012. … A law firm hired to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act withdraws from the suit under pressure from gay rights groups. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives hired the firm. Tuesday, April 26 Two Americans held prisoner in Iran for 19-months on espionage charges will appeal their case before the Iranian courts May 10, their lawyer announces.
Get your daily news at jfpdaily.com.
‘Gangs’ of Fondren?
by Lacey McLaughlin
Wednesday, April 20 The Mississippi Supreme Court sets execution dates for two inmates: Benny Joe Stevens for May 10, and Rodney Gray for May 17. … Gov. Haley Barbour requests federal funds from President Barack Obama to help with disaster recovery after tornadoes caused severe damages across Mississippi April 15.
Americans now owe more on their student loans ($833 billion) than on their credit cards ($826.5 billion). The amount owed on student loans increases at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second. SOURCE: GOOD MAGAZINE
Former Mississippi Supreme Court Judge Oliver Diaz is free to sue his prosecutor. p8
Robertson told the Jackson Free Press that about 20 to 30 preteens and young adults were involved in the fight. “Just about everyone who I saw was shouting and yelling and interacting,” she said. When a female police officer arrived on the scene minutes after her call, Robertson said she watched a girl, probably in her late teens or early 20s, take a 3foot 2-by-4 piece of wood out of her car and walk back into the crowd. “As soon as (the officer) An April 13 fight near the new Fondren Park has raised questions about how residents should address safety. got out of her car, it looked to me that she couldn’t hann April 13 fight involving a group of dle it by herself,” Robertson said. Moments preteens and young adults in Fondren later, three other police cars patrolling nearby Park has resulted in a flurry of respons- arrived as backups. es on the OurFondren Neighborhood Robertson posted her account online on Association’s online community message the OurFondren forum within an hour of the board, raising questions about how neighbors incident, provoking a response from residents should respond to safety concerns. concerned about the park’s safety and reputaResident Jodi Robertson posted that tion. As the comments heated up, the forum’s she had called 911 on April 13 after seeing administrator ended the thread. a “mob” of people shouting, wrestling and “Time to move on before crossing any fist fighting in the new park at the corner of lines for appropriate forum comments,” the Northview Drive and Dunbar Street, spilling administrator wrote. “… We do restrict acinto the street. cess to this forum to residents, owners and
businesses in Fondren. Of course, that doesn’t restrict anyone receiving these messages from forwarding them.” Jackson Police Department Precinct 4 Commander Wendell Watts describes the incident as “a bunch of kids fighting.” Watts said having more officers arrive to an in-progress crime is standard procedure. “Anytime we have a fight, we send back-up,” he said. Watts said a young male and female got into a fight, and several other females and males “jumped on” the young woman. The two young people who began the argument are the only ones listed on the police report, he said, and both are under age 16. Watts said that the only injuries were a few scratches and bruises, and the minors do not face any charges. One resident posting on the site wrote that residents should report any group violence as “gang violence” when calling the police so that more patrol cars will arrive on the scene. Brad “Kamikaze” Franklin, a Jackson Free Press columnist whose home is near the park, warned that improperly labeling a group of teenagers as a “gang” could cause more stigmas and problems. “I am concerned about the safety of the park, mainly for my 1-year-old daughter and family, but we have to get out of the mindset that a bunch of black kids together are a gang,” he said. “This incident was not a gang ‘GANGS,’ see page 7
belly “His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.”—Gov. Haley Barbour in a statement regarding his decision not to run for president in 2011.
n honor of Jackson’s upcoming graduation season, we asked readers to come up with the city’s very own superlative list. Funny, no one voted for nerdiest. Congrats, winners!
Most Congenial: Meredith Norwood Most Likely to Succeed: Craig Noone Cutest Couple: Rachel Jarman and Chris Myers Wittiest: Eddie Outlaw Best Dressed: Meredith Sullivan Class Clown: Jeff Good Prom King and Queen (tie): Megan West Allen and Matt Allen; Kamikaze and Queen Mr. and Ms. Jackson: Jay and Jackie Losset Most Athletic: Skipp Coon Most Academic: Katie McClendon Most Likely to be Elected Mayor: Harvey Johnson Jr. Best Smile: Karen Hearn
news, culture & irreverence
‘GANGS,’ from page 6
incident,” he said. Franklin added that he wants the park to be a place for youth and fears that police will run off groups who neighbors claim are involved in a gang. Watts confirmed that the incident was not gang-related, and did not know of any active gangs in Fondren. “A gang is described as an organization for criminal activity,” Watts said. “Together, they plot out different crimes such as an auto-theft ring and cut (cars) up to sell parts. Drug cartels are also gang related.” He added that when JPD prioritizes its calls, in-progress crimes such as shootings, fights and break-ins have first priority. Calling an incident “gang activity” doesn’t change the response time or amount of patrol cars, Watts said. Speeding to a crime scene, he said, adds the risk of causing an accident. On April 28, Fondren residents have the opportunity to discuss this situation and other concerns during JPD’s monthly
COPS meeting. Fondren resident Kathy Clem said she hopes a face-to-face meeting will clear up any confusion. “For all the residents who wanted that park—that is so beautiful and a gem in Fondren and the city—we can talk about these sort of things instead of them being put on a message board,” she said. Franklin, who supports having more security in the area, said the forum serves as a good place to notify residents of incidents, but the conversation must continue face-to-face. “There is a right and a wrong way to do it,” he said. “Luckily, I’m participating on forums, and there is no telling what would have been said if I hadn’t been able to help calm things down. … The forum is good. It alerts you to things that are going on, but it’s not the best place to continue discussions,” he said. The Precinct 4 COPS meeting is April 28, 6 p.m., at Redeemer Church (640 E. Northside Drive). Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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Cuffs at Capital City?
A juvenile justice advocacy group alleges that security guards at Jackson Public Schools’ alternative school are handcuffing students as a form of punishment.
ackson Public Schools is looking into allegations that security guards at the district’s alternative school have been punishing students by handcuffing them to chairs, bathroom railings and a gymnasium pole. The Mississippi Youth Justice Project, an advocacy project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, alerted JPS to the allegations in an April 15 cease-and-desist letter. In the letter, MYJP attorneys Sheila Bedi, Jody Owens and Poonam Juneja wrote that the use of unreasonable physical restraints as punishment violates students’ constitutional rights. “We hope to collaborate with JPS to end these abuses, but we are prepared to file a federal lawsuit to address these issues if JPS is not willing to reform these unconstitutional policies and practices immediately,” the letter states. Staff at Capital City Alternative School regularly use handcuffs to punish minor infractions such as talking back or not wearing a belt, the letter alleges. The letter also enumerates several specific incidents of un-
reasonable punishment. In one case, a bus driver handcuffed an emotionally disabled student for making a sarcastic remark. In another, a student in handcuffs asked to use the bathroom. In response, an administrator swore at him and grabbed his neck. Beyond being unconstitutional, restraining children can also be dangerous, the letter asserts, noting that staff allegedly handcuffed students to a pole in the school gym and then left them unattended for hours. In a letter Monday, JPS attorney JoAnne Nelson Shepherd said that the district “is currently investigating the allegations” and “has also reminded its administrative staff at the Capital City alternative School to comply” with district policy which forbids such punishment. Alternative schools “perform a punitive function, deterring misconduct and temporarily isolating students who misbehave,” the ACLU noted in a 2009 report, “Missing the Mark: Alternative Schools in Mississippi.” “But they also serve an important remedial purpose: helping struggling students to succeed, rather than drifting toward dropout and failure. Unfortunately, where alternative schools neglect their remedial role and overemphasize punishment, they may contribute to a nationwide trend, known as the school-to-prison pipeline, toward pushing out and criminalizing students who misbehave.” The ACLU report found that many alternative schools in the state overemphasized punishment and gave short shrift to the part of their mission that called for helping students get back on track. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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Court: Lampton Not Immune
Celebrate National Bike Month Attend the Museum to Market Trail-Clean Up Saturday, May 7 · 9:00am - 12:00pm
Meet at the Corner of Moody Street & Greymont Avenue When finished, this trail will allow you to ride your bicycle through Belhaven and Belhaven Heights to the downtown Farmer’s Market and fairgrounds. Let’s join together with the City of Jackson to show that our community is ready to get our hands dirty to be a part of its progress.
Ride Your Bike to Work Day, May 20 Save on gas and exercise by riding your bike to work on Friday, May 20. For more information, email: bikewalk@ bikewalkmississippi.org
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April 27 - May 3, 2011
prosecution is over is not part of the ‘judicial phase,’ and a state ethics proceeding is not part of ‘the criminal process,’” the court opined. The panel, which called his argument “novel,” further stated that Lampton “is a AMILE WILSON
1935 Lakeland Dr. 601.397.6398
ormer U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton does not have immunity for allegedly disclosing the confidential financial documents of former Mississippi Supreme Court Judge Oliver E. Diaz and his wife, Jennifer. The decision by a judicial panel of the conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans means Diaz is free to pursue his lawsuit against Lampton and his cousin Leslie Lampton for sharing Diaz’ tax information with the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. The issue began with Dunn Lampton’s failed prosecution of Diaz for bribery in 2005 and then for tax evasion in 2006. A federal jury acquitted Diaz of bribery, but after losing that case, Lampton then brought a federal charge of tax evasion against Diaz. The jury found Diaz not guilty. Jennifer Diaz, however, pleaded guilty prior to the jury’s 2006 acquittal after prosecutors warned her that she could lose custody of her children if she and her husband were both found guilty. Diaz said he and his wife discussed the issue prior to her plea and decided that one of them needed to be free to raise their children. Diaz’ acquittal would have been the end of it, had not copies of Diaz’s tax returns, which Lampton subpoenaed for the tax-evasion case, wound up in the hands of the MCJP weeks after Diaz’ acquittal. Lampton had filed a MCJP complaint over Diaz’ conduct, which the commission dismissed in 2008. The Diazes subsequently sued Lampton in federal court in 2009 for illegally releasing the sealed documents, but Lampton filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that he has “absolute prosecutorial immunity” to shield his decision to give the information to the commission. The district court denied Lampton’s motion, so Lampton appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—again, unsuccessfully. “Lampton … asserts that immunity should extend to post-trial conduct instituting a new proceeding before a different tribunal. On its face, that conduct appears to be well outside the bounds of the common-law protection: Conduct undertaken after a federal
Former Mississippi Supreme Court Judge Oliver Diaz is now free to sue former U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton.
federal prosecutor with no duty to bring complaints before a state ethics commission, and the actions for which he seeks immunity are unrelated to his prosecution of the Diazes.” “A prosecutor does not have carte blanche to do as he pleases with the information he can access. He can use it only to fulfill his duties as a prosecutor, and Lampton’s actions went well beyond those bounds,” the court wrote. Leslie Lampton, an oil tycoon “worth $2 billion” according to Forbes, served as a layperson on the commission at the time it received Diaz’ tax records, making him a suspect in the wrongful transfer of the federally subpoenaed information to the commission. Leslie Lampton resigned months after Diaz filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service about the unauthorized disclosure of his tax records, even though he could have held his slot with the commission until 2012. Kevin Watson, Leslie Lampton’s attorney, did not return calls, but told Raw Story
in 2008 that his client did not retire because of Diaz’ complaint: “He is 84 years old. He’s given enough of himself,” Watson said. Normally, federal prosecutors are immune from lawsuits due to their prosecutions. In most cases, the U.S. Department of Justice viciously defends its prosecutors in the event of a suit. Lampton, however, is receiving no such protection in this suit. His private attorney, Madison lawyer Dennis Horn, did not return calls. Diaz’ attorney, former Supreme Court Justice Chuck McRae, demanded answers to a list of legal questions relevant to the suit in 2009, including admissions that Leslie Lampton communicated with his cousin about a judicial performance complaint prior to, during and following Dunn Lampton’s federal complaint against Diaz. McRae also wants to know more about how Leslie Lampton helped Dunn Lampton file the Mississippi Judicial Performance Complaint against Diaz, despite warnings from Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance Director Luther Brantley that he should not participate in commission matters filed by his relative. McRae subpoenaed Brantley for information relative to the case in 2009. Brantley responded with a motion for a protective order. Madison County Circuit Court declared the case under seal, granting Brantley’s motion. However, Dunn Lampton, who retired from the U.S. attorney’s office in 2009, used his power as a third party to move the suit to federal court, where, perhaps, he thought the protective order would find more support. The judge there quickly removed the lower court’s rule to seal the suit, however, releasing the case to the public. Jackson attorney David McCarty, who also represents Diaz in the suit, said plaintiffs in the case have yet to get the details upon what happened behind the walls of the commission as they awaited a circuit court decision on Lampton’s motion to dismiss. “You’re not allowed to do any depositions or discovery during the appeals process, so we’ve basically been in limbo for months,” McCarty said. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Adam Lynch
Going for the Guns
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ackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. says Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms tinue to come in. You can’t legally own a handa new Jackson Police Department part- and Explosives Assistant Special Agent Con- gun in Chicago, but, oh yeah, they’re finding a nership with the Bureau of Alcohol, To- stance Hester-Davis said another improve- way to circumvent those laws with your help. bacco, Firearms and Explosives will help ment is that the ATF will upload new weap- Indiana comes in as a close second, but I think get dangerous weapons off the street. ons data to the NIBIN system more quickly. you’re still No. 1, Mississippi.” Johnson praised the ATF-JPD partnerCrimes involving prior felons owning The news hasn’t changed much over ship at a press conference last week. the past six years. A September 2010 He said it will help streamline federal report from crime-monitoring group gun violations into federal courts by Mayors Against Illegal Guns claims just sending an experienced ATF agent 10 states supplied 49 percent of guns directly to JPD gun-crime scenes. crossing state lines and recovered at The collaboration will also give city crime scenes. police faster access to ATF’s National The ATF can identify the state Integrated Ballistics Information where the crime gun was first sold at Network, a database containing bulretail. ATF numbers show that Missislet, casing and projectile information sippi ranked No. 1 among exporters gathered at other crime scenes that when controlling for population. In could provide a link between seemfact, Mississippi exported an average of ingly unrelated gun crimes. 50.3 guns per 100,000 inhabitants in Every individual gun puts a 2009. The national average in terms of marker on each projectile fired from gun exports is 14.1 crime guns exported its barrel, and another marker on per 100,000 inhabitants. the bullet or shell casing, potentially Jackson Police Chief Rebecca Coleman, front, and ATF Chicago is clearly feeling the results identifying the weapon and tracing it Assistant Special Agent in Charge Constance Hester-Davis of the nation’s Top 10 gun suppliers. back to its source or purchaser if the announced a partnership to solve gun crimes. The state of Illinois, according to the weapon is already entered into the report, exported 844 crime guns, but ATF’s system. a gun are of particular interest. Aside from imported 3,643 crime-scene firearms from The partnership between the city and giving prosecutors extra bargaining power in other states, including Mississippi. ATF is not a first. Jackson Police Chief Re- getting plea deals, Coleman said many felony The group claims lax state gun-control becca Coleman said the city already has people gun violations charges end up prosecuted in laws have plenty to do with Mississippi being working with agencies like the ATF and the federal court, further relieving the strain upon the “go-to guy” when looking to put a hole in FBI to discourage gun crimes, which are fed- the county court system. somebody. Many states have laws mandating eral violations. “This new effort, we hope, will increase local and state prosecution for falsely claiming “We have a Cease Fire Unit with assis- the number of arrests and prosecutions of cas- to be the actual gun owner on required guntance from ATF and the U.S. attorney’s office. es of violent firearm crimes through the federal purchasing paperwork, commonly called straw An officer is assigned to this unit from the court,” Coleman said. purchasing. Some states have laws against falJPD. (The unit) investigates all gun-related Local leaders are not the only ones who sifying information on gun-purchasing docucrimes and researches all weapons recovered want guns off the streets of Mississippi. In ments, and laws against a gun dealer failing to by the police department,” Coleman said last 2005, representatives of the Chicago Police conduct a background check on a gun buyer. week. In 2010, the unit handled more than 71 Department told the Jackson Free Press that The federal government has such laws, felony cases of firearm possession, she said, re- Mississippi was a popular source for illegal but some states do not have parallel laws, searched more than 480 felony and non-felony weapons making the rounds in Chicago alleys which the organization says “provide additioncases, and successfully traced more than 500 and blood-covered crime scenes. al opportunities for prosecution and enforcefirearms. Coleman said prosecutors managed “You guys in Mississippi are really killing ment, and create opportunities for federal and to put 44 cases before a grand jury in 2010. us with these guns—you and Indiana,” said state law enforcement to work together and The new agreement differs from earlier Patrick Camden, spokesman for the Chicago leverage their resources.” partnerships in that the ATF will now install Police Department in 2005 and now retired. Mississippi is one of the 21 states that agents directly inside the city’s police depart- “We confiscate about 10,000 guns a year on have none of these laws. ment. an average, and with that in mind they con-
“We just want hot wax!”
Thursday, April 28
Ladies Night Ladies drink free until midnight well drinks only Guys drink 2-4-1 well drinks and domestic beer until 10:00
Friday, April 29 & Saturday, April 30
Long Reef $5:00 Cover 6107 Ridgewood Rd Jackson, Ms www.electriccowboy18.com
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A Registered National Natural Landmark
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April 27 - May 3, 2011
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by Ward Schaefer
Arena in New Hands
ity officials have three proposals from private firms offering to study the feasibility of a sports and entertainment arena in downtown Jackson. That puts the city-led arena effort at nearly the same place as the stalled privately led effort last December. The way forward is uncertain, however. To narrow down the field, Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. plans to appoint a selection committee composed of city and local business representatives. Johnsonâ€™s spokesman, Chris Mims, said that once the selection committee has picked one of the three proposals, the city will present a contract to the Jackson City Council for approval. Jackson will depend on private funding sources to pay the studyâ€™s costs, Mims said. That means relying on donors who pledged a total of $65,915 to a study when the effort was under the auspices of a private steering committee. â€œWeâ€™re going to move forward, but we also expect those individuals who made (previous) commitments to fund the study to fulfill those commitments,â€? Mims said. â€œWe can choose somebody, but if the private funding is not there, itâ€™s not going to go forward.â€? Mims said that he could not offer a timetable for when the city would ask council to approve a contract for the study. â€œI can tell you that weâ€™re not sitting on our hands,â€? Mims said. â€œWeâ€™re about to move through this process, and the cityâ€™s going to do its part.â€? The private fundraising effort had a goal of $80,000 when it lost steam last year. That amount would have covered the cost of the first phase of a two-part feasibility study by Populous Sports, a leading design firm specializing in both studies and the actual design work for stadiums. After the Downtown Jackson Arena Steering Committee relinquished control of the project to the city, Johnson portrayed the move as an intervention to save the arena effort. â€œThe message that I got was that it would probably fall off the table because there was no longer any leadership there,â€? Johnson told the Jackson Free Press in January. Former Jackson Chamber of Commerce Chairman and steering committee member Jonathan Lee characterized it differently, saying that that steering committee members welcomed the cityâ€™s offer â€œto take a more active role in the processâ€? because the project would ultimately require government support anyway. The cityâ€™s request for proposals for an arena study, which it sent earlier this year, is a slightly revised version of the one sent by Downtown Jackson Partners, the Jackson Chamber and regional development agencies March 15, 2009.
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Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. is demanding details about projected costs and revenues from an arena feasibility study.
In both cases, documents refer to the project as a â€œsports arena.â€? In 2009, local backers of an arena may have believed that the facility should support a sports team, but by the launch of a fundraising effort in November 2010, the dominant vision of the project had shifted from a sports-oriented facility to a multi-purpose venue for concerts and other entertainment. â€œIt seems, in my opinion, sports teams like hockey and arena footballâ€”those types of events arenâ€™t necessarily moneymaking events for the venue,â€? Lee said in November. â€œIâ€™ve never gotten the impression that they worked.â€? Nevertheless, the cityâ€™s request also calls the facility a â€œsports arena.â€? The city made other significant changes, though, restricting the proposed arenaâ€™s location to the city, its central business district and â€œthe generally accepted Downtown Area as a whole.â€? The previous request for proposals left the location open to the city and â€œthe surrounding metropolitan area.â€? Most notably, perhaps, the cityâ€™s request for proposals stipulates a few additional parts of an arena study, including a list of â€œpotential funding sourcesâ€? and a â€œcomprehensive pro forma that adequately addresses future revenues and expenses of operation.â€? With these changes, the city hopes to get a more comprehensive look at an arenaâ€™s feasibility, Mims said. â€œI think that initially it was going to be a two-phase project, to study it from a marketability (standpoint) and then move toward these other issues,â€? Mims said. â€œThe cityâ€™s intention is to get all these questions answered (up front).â€? Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Ward Schaefer
State ‘Backward’ on Transparency? provision, the new law exposes well-intentioned public employees to lawsuits, he said. At the same time, giving judges discretion over the penalty also weakens the law, he argued. “I think the changes are completely backFILE PHOTO
A tweak to the penalties in Mississippi’s public-records law could have the unfortunate result of weakening it.
ward,” Cuillier said. “You want the ‘willfully’ or ‘knowingly’ in there, because it’s not fair to (fine) some poor clerk who maybe wasn’t trained in the law and denies a record they were supposed to give out.” Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, who serves on the Judiciary A Committee, said the bill in its final form could actually strengthen penalties. Where the law previously required citizens prove public officials acted “wrongfully” to deny records, now any official who denies a record can be subject to a complaint and a fine.
“I think the idea was to make it applicable to anybody,” Snowden said. “It seems counterintuitive, but it probably actually strengthens the law because it says you don’t have to be shown to be ‘willful’ or ‘wrongful.’ Any violation could make you liable.” Snowden acknowledged that the change from “shall” to “may” gives judges the discretion to decide whether to fine officials, but such gray area can accommodate individuals who may make honest mistakes or do not receive proper legal advice, he said. Cuillier disagreed, however. “Anytime they change a ‘shall’ to a ‘may,’ they’re basically gutting the law,” Cuillier said. Even the public-meetings portion of the law could have gone further. In fact, Sen. Merle Flowers, R-Southaven, the bill’s author, intended it to. As Flowers introduced it, SB 2289 allowed citizens to take complaints of openmeetings violations to chancery courts as well as the Mississippi Ethics Commission. Currently, citizens can only take their complaints to a judge on appeal from an Ethics Commission opinion. Mississippi is one of only five states that has no formal provision in state law for voiding or overturning actions that a public body takes in an improperly closed meeting. Flowers’ original version of his bill would
have given chancery court judges the authority to void such actions, but the House Judiciary A Committee’s stripped the provision from Flowers’ bill.. SB 2289 also tackled the issue of public officials denying access to public records. Flowers’ bill made several changes to the bill. First, it stipulated that the $100 fine should apply per violation of the public-records law. In its final form, This year’s bill also does not touch the pressing issue of costs for public records. Public bodies often avoid outright denials of public records by demanding exorbitant costs for retrieving and copying documents, often citing hours of work that high-paid attorneys must spend redacting confidential information from the records. During this year’s session, as he did last year, Rep. David Norquist, D-Cleveland, introduced a bill to limit the cost public bodies could charge for public records. Norquist’s bill would have limited potential charges to the actual cost of retrieving and copying documents. It also would have required public bodies to calculate the cost of any staff time involved by using the salary of the lowest-paid employee qualified to handle the request. Norquist’s bill died in committee, leaving that particular windmill for next year.
PA I D A DV E RT I S E M E N T
he story of Campbell’s Bakery begins in 1946 with Mr. Louis Campbell, a baker at the Jitney Jungle grocery store, who opened his own bakery in Fondren. The baking genius that was Mr. Campbell created all his famous recipes from scratch. After his retirement, the bakery with the Campbell name was passed around to various owners. It wasn’t until a former actor and Campbell’s Bakery trained pastry chef, Mitchell Moore, walked in to the historic building and thought, “I can do this.” There is a line in the Indigo Girls’ song, Watershed, that says, “but ending up where I started makes me want to stand still.” For Mitchell Moore, pastry chef and owner of Campbell’s Bakery in Fondren, that verse defines the epic journey that led him back home. Moore’s journey has taken him from Mississippi to New York City to pursue a career in acting, then to Los Angeles where he starred in commercials, and finally back home to Mississippi. Though he studied acting at the University of Southern Mississippi, Moore is also a trained pastry chef who apprenticed under Hays Vaughn at Nick’s restaurant, among other notable names in the local restaurant scene. Moore has taken what the original Campbell’s bakery was known for, quality, value, and great taste served up with a side of excellent customer service, and added a bit of his own vision to create a gathering place for friends and family. Today the bakery is spotless with beautiful, bright colors on the wall and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Not to mention the smell of the oven’s current creation wafting through the air. Moore himself is known for his cheesecakes. If you’ve feasted at one of many restaurants from Jackson to Vicksburg you may have tasted one of his cheesecakes that he sells. But Moore’s vision stretches well beyond the sale of cheesecake; it includes bringing back to life recipes over 60 years old from Mr. Campbell’s original hand-written recipe book. Classic tastes like petit fours and iced tea cookies straight from Mr. Campbell’s book are offered alongside newer creations, such as the cake pop, and seasonal favorites like pumpkin pie cheesecake and fresh fruit tarts. Having a birthday? Order a custom birthday cake, or better yet, host a party your child will never forget at Campbell’s. Having a party? The new standard in entertaining is set with one of their famous iced teacake cookies, cupcakes, or cookies, direct from the Campbell’s oven to you. What Mr. Louis Campbell started back in 1946 has been lovingly and thoughtfully restored to a new glory in historic Fondren. Both children and adult’s eyes will widen with excitement looking upon the many delicious treats to be had. Thus the story of Campbell’s bakery continues: traditional recipes, modern favorites, and a new gathering place to enjoy them. Mr. Campbell’s legacy lives on, and life in Jackson just got a little sweeter.
new state law could take Mississippi from the middle of the pack among states, in its government transparency and accountability to near the bottom. Senate Bill 2289, which Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law in February, makes individual members of a public body—such as a county board of supervisors—liable for fines imposed by the state Ethics Commission if they violate open-meetings requirements. Previously, the Ethics Commission could only fine public bodies as a whole, effectively placing the burden of any fines on taxpayers. But while the law was a moderate improvement to open-meetings requirements, it has the perverse effect of weakening public-records law. Current law says that anyone who “willfully and knowingly” denies access to public records “shall be liable civilly” for a $100 fine. SB 2289 changes the law’s scope, so that “any person” who denies records—regardless of whether they acted “willfully and knowingly”—“may be liable” for the fine. David Cuillier, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Freedom of Information Committee, believes that the new law is weaker than the old law, leaving it up to a judge to determine whether an alleged violator is actually liable. Without the “willfully and knowingly”
opining, grousing & pontificating
Breaking the Pipeline
t’s graduation season in Jackson, and it’s an excellent time to reflect on what it takes to do the best for the future of our state: our kids. Unless you’ve been cowering under a rock, you’ve heard the phrase “cradle-to-prison pipeline.” The unflattering moniker describes what can seem like a smooth superhighway, where kids born into less than ideal situations find themselves as little more than fodder for Mississippi prisons. Because the pipeline has been so much a part of our lives for so long, it can look like a large measure of inevitability comes along with it. But it’s not true. There’s simply no reason that children born of poverty and ignorance must end up as criminals. On the pages of this JFP, you’ll meet some local kids who are not part of that pipeline. These teenagers, many of whom did not grow up in the idealized American dream of families, are bright, involved and engaged. Their futures are quite possibly brighter than many children of privilege. What makes the difference? Parents, of course, but not every child has the great good luck of having two educated, nurturing adults in their corner. Alleviating poverty, of course. But society isn’t moving on that very fast. If we, as a society, want to break the pipeline, we have to begin making our commitment real instead of settling for what we’ve been handed. Oftentimes, the difference between a college-bound kid and one headed for Parchman is only one caring adult, someone who takes an interest and then follows through for a child, being a role model with integrity of actions and the courage to tell the truth. We could be doing so much more. In spite of a mountain of evidence that shows children begin real, life-long learning at age 2, Mississippi still does not have a statewide pre-K program. Despite years of “teaching to the test,” we stubbornly cling to our notion that testing more teaches more. Instead of teaching self-confidence and social skills, our overwhelmed teachers follow zero-tolerance policies, which, like “truth in sentencing” and other tough-on-crime measures, benefit no one and nothing but the pipeline. Jackson Public Schools, underfunded and over-burdened with children from less-than-optimal home situations, should look at solutions other urban schools have put into place. First, aim to lower children’s distress, the abnormal stress resulting from never-ending testing combined with a life lived in poverty and fear. Then, provide kids with the social skills they need to make their way through the world. The experts tells us what it takes to make criminals—poverty, highcrime environments and families under stress. Now, let’s get busy figuring out how to have great kids, instead.
Bird’s Eye View
April 27 - May 3, 2011
ev. Cletus: “It’s time for the ‘Rev. Cletus Car Sales Church’ morning show radio broadcast. Wake up, get up, and go out. Remember: This is the day the Lord has made. So rejoice and be glad you have a job and you’re able to pay your bills and get around in a Rev. Cletus hybrid-hoopty car. Before I go on with the show, Momma Church Hat has ‘The Bird’s Eye View Traffic Report,’ live from her Praise-The-Lord-O-Copter.” Momma Church Hat: “From my perspective, the highways, byways and side streets look pretty rough today. Folks are late for work trying to get to work. Mr. Habib’s convenience store gas station has become a parking lot with folk impatiently waiting and lined up to get $4-a-gallon gas. Anyone buying gas from that BP gas station below deserves a discount. It looks like that isn’t happening. On the main expressway, it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. “Oh my Lord. An owner of a Lexus is out of gas and has parked his luxury car on the side of the expressway. I hope the emergency-response vehicle has enough gas for that Lexus and the other five cars. You know times are rough when some people in gridlock traffic dare to clean windshields for gas money. I don’t think the Lord is happy about this mess, Rev. Cletus.” Rev. Cletus: “Momma Church Hat, your traffic report reminds me of a modern day version of the ‘Tower of Babel’ story. Lord, have mercy.”
ports fans, the NFL Draft is upon us. If you’re like me, you anxiously wait to see which college players will become millionaires on the next level. Of course, I’m particularly interested in how the Cowboys or the Saints are going to help themselves. However, this isn’t about football per se. This year, discussions have turned more to business vs. education—college athletes, or “amateurs” as they are called, and “professionals” who make millions on and off their field of play. A recent HBO “Real Sports” segment gave some startling statistics about the dollars that college athletics generate for NCAA schools. These schools make millions of dollars. The coaches of these programs sometimes make millions. In fact, everyone from the officials in the NCAA offices all the way down to the guys who run the concession stands at these stadiums make money. If you add in commercials, apparel or shoe endorsements, and entities such as EA Sports video games, it’s shocking to see the revenue student athletes generate. What’s more shocking is that the guys who actually make it possible for all this money to pour in don’t directly benefit from their talents. Now before you present me the “value of education” argument, stop. I understand and respect it. I was lucky enough to get a full academic scholarship to Jackson State. Fortunately, that free ride helped me get (1) a top-notch education, and (2) all the way to adulthood without Sallie Mae calling my house every two days asking me when I can send my next student-loan payment. In return for their talents, college athletes get a free shot at secondary education that they might not be able to afford otherwise. By the numbers, that’s upward of $150,000 to $200,000 that these universities are shelling out. Good. But when you compare that to the millions the schools make
and add the stringent rules placed on student athletes preventing them from receiving gifts off field, methinks these kids are getting used—big time. Don’t be fooled. University presidents are under extreme pressure to generate money for their schools. Money is the oil that greases the wheel. With schools like Alabama, Michigan, USC— hell, even my beloved JSU—athletics bring in much of that money. By the same token, the players, many of whom come from impoverished backgrounds, can’t work, take financial gifts from friends or alumni, and can’t do commercials. They can’t even sell their own memorabilia. Nothing. These kids, who often lead their schools to bowl wins, return home for the summer to a place where their folks may barely be able to make the rent or mortgage payment. It’s time the NCAA reviews its current model. Sure, these kids get free educations, but what about the money they make for the schools after their playing has repaid their tuition? Do you want kids to stop taking “illegal” booster money? Let them get summer jobs. Let them do commercials if only for hometown businesses. I’m not saying pay them salaries, but to eliminate violations, you must first eliminate vulnerability. These students are just as valuable as the guys in the pro games who play on Sundays and maybe more valuable: The college players who don’t turn pro may be our next doctors, lawyers or teachers. Stop prostituting college players to supplement top-heavy payrolls at these schools. The NCAA wants them to be men in life and on the field, yet is treating them like children. Or worse yet, indentured servants. And that’s the truth … sho-nuff.
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The Accidental Bully
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of the Guysâ€?â€”about how imagining an allmale audience subtly influences the way public figures communicate, which has obvious corollaries to race as well. (Has there been any major political gaffe on race that wouldnâ€™t have been avoided if the speaker had just imagined he or she wasnâ€™t speaking to an ethnically homogenous audience?) I should not have to think about what the nastiest people I know would do with it every time I post a photograph or a poem or a piece of writing that says something personal about meâ€”unless I really want to live by their priorities, sacrificing better parts of myself to become the sort of person they would respect. Sure, after years of effort, I might earn the pleasure of their companyâ€”but why on earth would I want it? The second thing Iâ€™ve done is try, when I have time, to ask myself a simple question before I say or do something: â€œWhat am I trying to prove?â€? And if my answer is any variation on â€œthat Iâ€™m good enough to belong here,â€? I donâ€™t bother. Because the corollary to that question is that if I have to prove that Iâ€™m good enough to belong, then on some level Iâ€™m holding everybody else to the same cruel and unfair standard and patronizing them if they donâ€™t take the same unnecessary steps to meet it. One of the reasons Iâ€™ve stopped posting so much on the Jackson Free Press site is because I want to hear more voices other than my own. This reflects what I hope has been a general shift toward less talking and more listening, less focus on proving that Iâ€™ve done my homework and more focus on speaking my values from the heart, even when it makes me sound vulnerable, even when it makes me sound foolish. Because in the grand scheme of things, the question of whether Iâ€™m â€œgood enoughâ€?â€”to whatever extent that can even be measuredâ€”is pretty insignificant. The more important question is whether Iâ€™m using my voice in a way that disrupts systems of shame, cruelty and oppression, or in a way that tacitly contributes to them. Iâ€™ve tried both ways of interacting with the world, and Iâ€™ve made my choice. Freelance writer Tom Head is a lifelong Jackson native. He has written or cowritten 24 nonfiction books, is a civil liberties writer for About.com and is a grassroots progressive activist.
The question of whether Iâ€™m â€œgood enoughâ€? â€”to whatever extent that can even be measuredâ€” is pretty insignificant.
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Editor in Chief Donna Ladd Publisher Todd Stauffer
taught my first class last week, and was pleased with how well things went. But I also came away from the class with an unexpected, and humbling, realization: Iâ€™m really, really glad I didnâ€™t have a student like me or at least like the kind of student I used to be. Not that Iâ€™ve ever been unkind to teachers and other students in the classes Iâ€™ve taken. (Not intentionally, anyway.) And the comments Iâ€™ve gotten from professors over the years suggest to me that after a little while, they learned how to deal with, and even enjoy, the presence of a student like me. But Iâ€™m sure it must have been a lot of work to deal with a student who was so tense and selfcritical, a student who was constantly trying to prove he deserved to be in the room. Iâ€™m still working on that insecurity, that tendency to prove that Iâ€™m smart enough to belong. It silences other peopleâ€™s voices, and it contributes to an environment that silences other peopleâ€™s voices. As is generally the case, what hurts me hurts the people around me, too. You canâ€™t hold yourself to a defensive posture without contributing to a social environment that silences others. So Iâ€™ve started doing two very important things, and theyâ€™ve changed my life. The first thing Iâ€™ve done is change my internal audience. Iâ€™ve avoided people who criticize me harshly and environments where I constantly feel the need to defend myself. Certain men in local communities, online and offline, have made an issue of my craniofacial condition, my neurological damage, my childhood immune deficiency, my nontraditional educational and career background, my life as a caregiver, and anything else that looks like it might be a sore spot. â€œTheyâ€? say Iâ€™m a feminist because Iâ€™ve been emotionally castrated, that I write books because I canâ€™t handle a â€œrealâ€? 9-to-5 job, that Iâ€™m a dilettante and donâ€™t know enough about anything to be of any real use to the world, and so forth. I canâ€™t assess the life I would have had if my life circumstances were differentâ€”but I do know that if I encountered somebody who had adapted to unusual life circumstances, Iâ€™d celebrate them. I wouldnâ€™t try to pick him or her apart for it. And if I tolerate that kind of environment, it has a ripple effect on everything else I do. The feminist blogger Echidne of the Snakes writes often about the â€œPlanet
In honor of graduation month and new beginnings, the Jackson Free Press is honoring a group of amazing high school teens from throughout the Jackson metropolitcan area this issue. We asked the community to suggest young people who have overcome challenges or who are working to make a difference and, thus, influencing other kids as well as adults. Readers nominated teenagers who volunteer, study and persevere. Not all these young people are seniors, but all them are influential leaders and optimistic about their future. Jackson should be proud. by Tim Roberson, ShaWanda Jacome and Lacey McLaughlin
Neha Sharma Neha Sharma, 16, is an 11th-grader at Mt. Salus Christian School in Clinton. As a member of the Mt. Salus yearbook staff, she served as an editorial assistant and helped to preserve the memories of the past year for the students and faculty. Sharma serves on the student council and is an avid tennis player. She is a graduate of Youth Leadership Jackson and regularly volunteers at Horses for Handicapped. Sharma plans to attend Mississippi State University or the University of Southern Mississippi where she will study anthropology or enter a program to become a crimescene investigator. Music inspires Sharma, and in her spare time she enjoys playing the guitar and piano. Sharma says she identifies with others who have overcome teenage depression.
April 27 - May 3, 2011
Katie Fulton Katie Fulton, 14, will be a freshman at Brandon High School in the fall. Her brother Pierce was born in 2010 with a heart defect and died three months later while waiting for a heart transplant. Her brother Jonathan was killed in 2003 at age 2 in a car accident. Through these tragedies, Fulton has grown as a young woman. She works through organizations such as Mended Little Hearts, founded to raise awareness of heart defects, to help others who have faced similar heartache. She is active in her church and says that her faith is an important factor helping her weather the events of her life. Fulton regularly donates her time to Mississippi Blood Services and acted in a commercial encouraging others to help save a life. Fulton is a soccer player and hopes to attend Louisiana State University on a soccer scholarship. Eventually, Fulton wants to become a cardiac nurse and continue her campaign to help others.
Justin Rollins Justin Rollins is a 17-year-old 11thgrader at the Mississippi School for the Blind where he treasurer of the student council. He works with the Salvation Army to provide the community with clothes and toys at Christmas time and year round. Rollins volunteers with Gateway Missions to provide canned goods and other food to the needy. His ambition is to study programming and become a video-game designer for a large company such as Microsoft or Sony. Though his vision is impaired, he still gives back to the community rather than taking, never seeing his disability as a handicap.
YoDitra Davis YoDitra Davis is an 18-year-old senior at Jim Hill High School. Growing up the youngest of four to a single mother, Davis has faced not only financial, but social adversity. Rather than taking from her community, Davis chooses to give back. Through the Young People’s Project, she volunteers as a math tutor, helping students after school at Operation Shoestring. “By investing in herself, Davis learns how to work with young people and engage them,” YPP Lead Organizer Albert Sykes says of Davis. Davis will attend Jackson State University in the fall where she will study education. Her ultimate goal is to move into administration and one day become superintendent of Jackson Public Schools. Through the YPP, she had the opportunity to attend the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s 50th anniversary in Raleigh, N.C., as well as the U.S. Department of Education’s Youth Listening Tour and National Youth Summit. Davishasapassionforteaching,findingitawonderfuljumping off-point for service. “You’ve got to start somewhere,” she says. Andrew Deleeuw Andrew Deleeuw is an 18-year-old senior at Northwest Rankin High School in Brandon. Deleeuw is the editor of his school newspaper and is involved with the Model United Nations, participating each summer in simulations at Mississippi State University. He presented his senior project on the effect of globalization on the developing world. Through this, he became heavily involved with the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance and helped lobby against recent anti-immigration bills in the Mississippi Legislature. Deleeuw is a member of the William F. Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, through which he helped organize and attended a summer youth program that gathered young people of every race and creed from all over the state to spend 10 days exploring race relations and civil rights in Mississippi. He is also a member of the Young Democrats at his school and worked on campaigns for Jim Kitchens, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. For his academic efforts, the Korean Foundation and the travel agency CIEE awarded Deleeuw a study-abroad scholarship, and he spent two weeks in Seoul, Korea. He plans to study international relations and public policy at the University of Mississippi where he has received a Croft Scholarship. His dream is to become a U.S. ambassador. “Every human being should be treated with respect and dignity,” Deleeuw says.
Cedric Hampton Cedric Hampton is a 15-year-old sophomore at Forest Hill High School. At school, Hampton plays varsity tennis, varsity soccer and junior-varsity baseball, as well as serving as an anchor for his Quiz Bowl team. He likes to traverse his neighborhood trying to find good things to do, such as mow a lawn or take out the trash for elderly residents. He is active with Stewpot and Operation Shoestring as well as Youth Leadership Jackson and Gateway Missions. He wants to attend an SEC school so that he can stay close to home and, eventually, become a doctor. His plans are to stay in Mississippi and give back to the community that has given so much to him. “I don’t believe we are a bad state. I want to get Mississippi (away) from being known that way,” Hampton says. Hampton is inspired by seeing good deeds that others do. He says when people look down on him, it only makes him stronger and more determined. Zarius Johnson Zarius Johnson is a 16-year-old sophomore at Lanier High School in Jackson. Through the Young People’s Project, Johnson attended the 50th anniversary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Raleigh, N.C. The second of six siblings, he resides in the Sunset Community and has seen financial and social adversity. He volunteers with the Young People’s Project and works with other students through Operation Shoestring. He is also a participant in Junior ROTC. While still unsure about his college of choice, Johnson knows he wants to open a soul-food restaurant one day. Inspired by God and his family, Johnson continues to set an example for other young black men to make the most of their education. Iasia Collins Iasia Collins is a 17-year-old 11thgrader at Clinton High School. She is involved with the basketball team by playing center and participates in track, throwing the shot put and discus. To serve her community, Collins helps the homeless by donating clothing, and she is helping clean up the Jackson Zoo through AmeriCorps. Collins says she feels God’s calling for her life is to become a researcher, and she plans to major in biology with a minor in microbiology. She is inspired by God and is striving to be someone who serves people by helping them to understand that they can get better, and God can help them.
Alexis Banger Alexis Banger is a 16-year-old sophomore at Callaway High School in Jackson. Her already impressive resume of honors and societies shows her to be an exceptional scholar. She works with the Student Government Association as the president of her class and reaches out to her community through seminars and meetings designed to lower the student dropout rate. She also participates in the Show Choir. Banger is a member of the National Honor Society, National Society of High Scholars and DECA, the international honor society of marketing students that prepares high-school and college students for the entrepreneurial world by encouraging to get a job. She is in the top 10 in her class of accelerated classes. She is donating her time and effort to the recovery from the recent storms in the Jackson area by donating clothing and non-perishable items. With plans to become an English teacher, Banger wants to attend a college close to home, such as Mississippi College or the University of Southern Mississippi, to study education. She is inspired by music and dance and has been dancing since the second grade. Banger is a skilled hip-hop dancer and is studying lyrical dance taking a class in majorette skills to try out for the Callaway dance team. Drodriguez Williams Drodriguez Williams is an 18-yearold senior at Wingfield High School in Jackson. Known as “Peanut” to his friends, Williams has faced adversity in the classroom and in the community. As an eighth-grader having “reading trouble,” he pursued a Mississippi Occupational Diploma, only to be informed later that this degree would not gain him entrance into the military. He went on to pursue his GED at Camp Shelby, but circumstances led him to come back to Wingfield to work for his diploma. His challenges have only made him stronger as he continues to work through his difficulties and persevere. He works with Mississippi Families As Allies for Children’s Mental Health, speaking at regional and national events. His attention is focused on joining the military, either the Navy or National Guard. Williams likes being active and feels that the armed forces would be a good fit for him, and he wants to serve his country.
Matthew Warren Matthew Warren is a 16-year-old 11th-grader at St. Andrew Episcopal School in Ridgeland. He participates in football as a guard on the offensive line and is vice president of his class. Warren went with his church, Northminster Baptist Church, on mission trips to North Carolina, Arkansas and New Orleans. A few years after Hurricane Katrina, he participated in a clean-up of the 9th Ward, primarily gutting houses. On his trip to North Carolina, Matthew spent time in low-income neighborhoods. He said that it may be cliché, but you really don’t realize what have until you see other areas where people have so little. Every other month on the first Saturday, Warren makes his way to Stewpot to help feed the homeless. Warren wants to attend the University of Southern Mississippi after high school. At Northminster, he was a member of his church choir and was on the selection committee to for a new youth minister. Warren also enjoys playing the guitar.
Anja Scheib Anja Scheib is a 16-year-old 10thgrader at Madison Central High School. An all-A student, Scheib has been a member of the Beta Club since 5th grade and has participated in many community service activities with Sunnybrook Children’s Home, Relay for Life and outings with local special-needs children. She was once a part of the Duke of Edinburgh Program that encouraged students to reach out with community service and, at the same time, learn a skill. Scheib is trying to get the program reinstated at her school. Scheib is an active member of the Highlands Chapel Church, and is instrumental in hosting a weekly meeting at Fusion Coffeehouse for discussions about Christianity. “Instead of teaching the Bible, we have a topic, and people can put their input in,” Scheib says. She says that people from many walks of life, including atheists and agnostics, are welcome to join the discussion. “I judge people by what they become. I want to plant a seed and watch them grow themselves,” she says. Scheib wants to pursue a degree in psychology or political science and work for a non-profit organization.
AMAZING TEENS, see page 17
by Lori Wilson
ollege is a blast, and then you graduate. labeled us as “the upper 1 percent.” Finally, At that point, what path should you I had arrived. I was in “the upper 1 percent.” take? Obtaining more edFinally, I would be fulfilled. ucation is the safe path and the Today, I am a lawyer. I one that I chose. In retrospect, am still not fulfilled. however, I find that following I enjoyed law school. your passion is the only route It offered me a much-needed to fulfillment. challenge and allowed me time After earning my bachto grow. Not until I completed elor of science degree, I desired law school was I ready to enter more. In my view, it was as minadulthood. Conversely, it also ute as my high school diploma. offered the gullible country girl It would take me nowhere. I that I used to be many rude needed more education. awakenings: All the myths I beI entered graduate school. Young graduates, lieved about lawyers regarding I had a great time. Life was consider your passions, their earnings and intellect were good. Two years later, I gradu- and do not be afraid to debunked by my third year. All travel down that road. ated. Dissatisfaction lingered. lawyers are not wealthy, and I was still unfilled. Now I thought a master’s not all are brilliant beautiful minds. degree would take me nowhere. So I entered On the other hand, in my experience, law school. During orientation, one speaker the myth regarding many of them lacking deFILE PHOTO
Henry Murphy Henry Murphy is a 17-year-old senior at Murrah High School in Jackson. As the editor of his school newspaper, the Murrah Hoofbeat, Murphy helped create the newspaper’s first website. Captain of the quiz-bowl team, Murphy led the team to second place at the state competition this year. He is also a member of the Base Pair Program at the University of Mississippi where students participate in medical research studies for one period out of their school day. Murphy participated in the program during the summer and worked full 40-hour weeks during one of his vacation months. He worked in neurology where his research was published in the medical journal, The Cerebellum. As a Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition student, Murphy has to hold a high grade-point average and score in the top rankings of the ACT to graduate the program. Murphy will attend Columbia University in the fall to study computer science and film. He hopes to go on to the graduate program in journalism at Columbia to study next-generation media. “I want to do well for the people around me who have supported me,” Murphy says.
cency is true. As one old, wise lawyer recently told me, “There are a lot of dirty lawyers.” Despite this new reality, I was still excited to pass the bar exam and enter the profession. I can be a successful lawyer and not be like them, I thought. I can still be fulfilled. Accordingly, I secretly prayed the same prayer every night: “Lord, help me pass the bar, and help me be a lawyer that works for you.” Admittedly, I am no angel. Knowing that I would not be fulfilled, I still applied for jobs that I thought would be the most financially profitable. I was still willing to be the Queen of Torts. However, God surely heard my prayer. I immediately passed the bar exam, and I have only been offered job opportunities that I think make Him smile. I have repeatedly been put in places where I can help people; yet, regrettably, I am still not fulfilled. I still need more. Perhaps, more education was not the right path after all, as I have
gone as far as I can go in that regard. Recently, I developed new hobbies and got reacquainted with old ones, particularly in the area of sports. I recently became a volunteer basketball coach and started participating in local 5Ks. Further, one of my most favorite things to do in this world is to attend sporting events. Obviously, I have a passion for sports and physical activity, but as a young college student, I never considered working in these areas. Perhaps I did not know myself, or maybe these areas were not special enough. My naiveté ran amuck. Instead of traveling the safe route, I should have taken a moment to consider my passions. Fortunately, the law is vast, and I am still young. I expect many opportunities in the future that will fulfill me. On the other hand, to all young graduates, consider your passions, and do not be afraid to travel down that road. In turn, fulfillment will be yours.
Bryston Tucker Bryston Tucker is an 18-year-old senior at St. Joseph Catholic School. Each summer, Tucker works at the YMCA, from May to August. He tries to keep his service to the community local by helping an elderly neighbor who Tucker says has no family and could use someone looking out for her. He also focuses his attention statewide by working with the Mississippi Lung Association, the Mississippi Diabetes Association and Stewpot. Tucker is a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council and a graduate of the Youth Leadership Jackson program. At St. Joe, he runs track and is a member of the Retreat Team. This student-led group organizes retreats for young people in grades 8 through 12 to discuss relevant topics over the course of a weekend. Tucker says this year they concentrated on abstinence and helping the participating students grow closer to God. He is a member of FLASH or Future Leaders Always Serving Him. Tucker plans to attend the Ole Miss where he will major in political science and then pursue a degree in law at Pepperdine University. His goals are to become a lobbyist and, ultimately, run for the Senate. His desire to be a lobbyist came from his time paging for former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant. At St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Tucker is president of the Future Christian Leaders Society and serves on the usher board and lends his voice to the mass and youth choirs.
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Quinton Bradley Quinton Bradley is an 18-yearold senior at Bailey Magnet High School who is taking classes in the allied-health program to prepare for a career in veterinary medicine. Bradley has come a long way since being diagnosed with ADD when he was 12. In middle school he struggled with his grades, but with tutoring and assistance from his family and teacher, he now makes As and Bs. He participates in the Upward Bound program at Tougaloo College. Through this government-funded college preparation program, he’s had an opportunity to travel to colleges and universities in other states. Bradley has been on the drill team, football team and Junior ROTC at his school. He works part-time and has volunteered at Community Animal Rescue and Adoption. When he’s not studying, you might find Bradley playing video games, watching anime, or practicing archery or martial arts. He also attends New Dimensions Ministry with his family. “God inspires me because I know he will always be with me to help me out in any situation,” he says. Bradley will attend Hinds Community College in Raymond to earn his associate’s degree and then plans to continue his studies at Mississippi State University. Scott Blackwell Scott Blackwell, 18, is a senior at Jackson Preparatory School. He is involved in youth groups at Christ United Methodist Church and Covenant Presbyterian Church. Blackwell’s most significant endeavor is Life Renewed Clothing. He started Life Renewed in 2009 with former classmate Jack Strahan. They came together to raise money for poor and homeless people of Jackson through the sale of T-shirts they design. They modeled their T-shirt venture on a company out of Los Angeles, “Can’t Ignore the Poor.” They approached Ron Chane, owner of Studio Chane, who prints all their shirts at wholesale cost. Blackwell and Strahan now have two designs available, and 100 percent of proceeds go to Country Oaks Recovery Center, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for men living with HIV/AIDS. Blackwell also volunteers his time at the center. According to his mother, Ann Blackwell, his drive stems from seeing the effect of alcohol and drugs in his own family. His mother, a recovering addict, ran a halfway house for women in Jackson for several years. Blackwell regularly speaks to other youth groups and the community about Country Oaks to raise awareness for this often-overlooked population. Blackwell is encouraged by Mother Teresa’s words: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” His other passion is film, and he is working on one he hopes to submit to the Crossroads Film Festival next year. He has also volunteered at Crossroads for the past three years. Blackwell is undecided about his college choice, but is considering the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi to major in film studies.
from page 15
Jerrod Antoine Robinson Jerrod Antoine Robinson, 18, is a senior at Provine High School. He is president of Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, student body president, and involved in the Exceeding and Beyond club, National Beta, the Jackson Mayor’s Youth Council, Mississippi Coalition, Sigma Beta Club and tuba section leader for the Pride of Provine marching band. Robinson is a member of the New Galilean M.B. Church, has served his community through various toy drives, community clean-ups, blood drives and canned food drives. His achievements include the honor roll, allcity band awards and, citizenship awards. As captain of the Provine Rambunctious Rams Robotics Team, Robinson recruits and trains team members, and serves as the builder and supervisor of the design and construction of a robot for FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST is a multinational non-profit organization that aspires to transform culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today. “I am the person to come to when anyone needs help,” he says. Joining in his sophomore year, Robinson says that the robotics team gives members a chance to experience situations outside of their normal comfort zone. It also challenges their minds through problem solving and exposes them to real world situations, such as job interviewing and networking. He plans to continue helping and mentoring the team, which is the only one of its kind in JPS, after graduation. In the fall, Robinson will attend Jackson State University majoring in computer engineering. His ultimate goal is to create better computer programs by enhancing their concept and design and to dismantle the limitations of computers. Robinson says his father’s work attitude and his mother’s unbridled, fierce determination inspire him. He lives by the motto, “Never think outside the box or inside of it, but keep it in your mind to refer back to it. For the most difficult questions have the simplest of answers and vice versa.” He also enjoys writing and composing music, reading and writing poetry, and studying ancient cultures. Brooke Reed At the age of 16, Brooke Reed has reached a level of maturity that can only come from experiencing the hardships life can bring. But instead of dwelling on setbacks, the boisterous teen wants to inspire others to overcome obstacles. Five years ago, doctors diagnosed Reed with cold urticaria, a rare disorder that causes Reed to have an allergic reaction to weather 30 degrees or colder. Winters are dangerous for Reed and she is normally confined to her house. “That means when I get cold, I start to swell, and I could die,” Reed says. “It’s like being under house arrest.” Then, in September 2009, Reed received another diagnosis: she has Crohn’s disease; an inflammatory bowl disease. Despite her illnesses, Reed, who is home schooled, is a chaplain for the Brandon Mayor’s Youth Council where she leads area youth in prayers and devotionals before leadership meetings. Reed is also a member of the GenerationFree Youth Advisory Board, a youth-led program based out of the Mississippi Department of Health, which conducts
anti-tobacco campaigns. Reed has found her passion in motivating others. Over the past year, she has spoken to seven churches through out the state about her life and how to overcome obstacles. Reed often uses humor to deal with her illnesses, and has no problem laughing at herself. “I love talking to people and making them laugh. It’s really one of my passions,” she says. “… I think being as a young as I am, people are amazed by the amount of faith I have. They don’t expect someone as young as I am to want to stand up in front of people and tell them about an embarrassing disease like Crohn’s. Most people don’t want to talk about Crohn’s Disease but I find humor in it. If you don’t find humor in it, you can’t laugh ” Reed is working on a book about her life experiences and wants to be a full-time motivational speaker. “Sometimes we go through obstacles in life, because it makes us who we are and in develops the purpose we are suppose to fulfill,” she says. Shelbretta Ball Shelbretta Ball, 18, is a senior at Jackson Academy. A native of McLain (south of Hattiesburg), Ball moved to Jackson with her mother and sisters in 2006. The only African American student in her class at the time, she says the transition to JA was challenging, but she is thankful for the experience. She didn’t know how to grasp it all at first and felt like she didn’t belong, but her classmates soon embraced her. Ball has played basketball at JA since the 7th grade. Last season, she made the All-Conference team for district and state tournaments and made the All Metro 4th team. This year her team made it to the state championships, only to lose by 10 points to Brookhaven Academy. “I felt like I was incomplete … that the job wasn’t done. Time had run out,” Ball says. After a lot of self-reflection, the experience made her look at what was beyond basketball to the people and friendships that will last long after the final buzzer. When not on the court, Ball is an honors student, a member of the Diamond Girls club, Senior High Student Council representative. She is an advanced-placement art student and received an honorable mention for her art in the Scholastic Art competition. Her senior art project, in the medium of acrylics, represented her views on race. “In God’s eyes we are all the same,” she says. She used black and white paints and colored tissue paper to illustrate the interconnectedness of people across racial lines. Ball has served the community through Habitat for Humanity, Serving and Learning Club, Youth in Action, tutoring at the Neighborhood Christian Center, and volunteering for the Walk for Diabetes and Jingle Bell Jog for the Mississippi Children’s Hospital. She organized the Black History student program at Jackson Academy to celebrate positive contributions and images in the black community. This year’s theme was “We All are One.” Inspired by the positive people in her life that include her family and her JA family, Ball hopes to attend either the University of South Carolina or the University of Southern Mississippi in the fall. She will continue playing basketball, and she wants to major in graphic design, criminal justice 17 or paralegal studies. jacksonfreepress.com
Grad Gifts 1 Handcrafted “i am ME!” necklace by Jennifer Taylor, $28, The Mississippi Craft Center 2 Crescent 148-piece professional tool set, $99.99, Ace Hardware 3 “Life’s a Trip” and “Be the Change” handmade cards, $1.50 and $2.50, She’s Crafty 4 Motorola Xoom, $599.99, Cellular South 5 Manicure set, $9.50, The Early Settler 6 Men’s silver bracelet, $399, Carter Jewelers
7 Matching silver money clip and key chain, $89 and $99, Carter Jewelers 8 Wallet by Hobo, $58, Treehouse Boutique 9 “Postal Letter” sewing basket, $15, Treehouse Boutique 10 “Soleil” perfume by Fragonard, $79, Tangle Hair Salon 11 Vintage fabric handbag by Cahoots, $90, Tangle Hair Salon
A Gift with Meaning
April 27 - May 3, 2011
rtisan Jennifer Taylor, 36, has been designing jewelry since 2008. The “i am ME!” necklace was inspired by a scripture found in Song of Solomon 4:7: “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Taylor says the necklace symbolizes self-love and self-acceptance. Each component has a special meaning. “The title ‘i am ME!’ represents the fact you are unique, and there will only ever be one you. The size of the circle is symbolic to your individuality and the differences that make you unique. The imperfect shape of the circle is to remind you not to compare your differences with others. … We all make mistakes, and the mistakes are all part of your personal journey,” Taylor says. The circle, made of pure silver, holds the most significance. “We’re all formed by a pure existence: God’s love. And he considers each of us a masterpiece,” Taylor says. Taylor is a 1992 graduate of Madison Central High School and will receive degrees in business from Holmes Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi in May. She lives in Madison with her two children. She teaches classes at the Mississippi Craft Center and also hosts jewelry-making parties. For information, visit her website at www.jewelrybyjennifertaylor.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
by ShaWanda Jacome
Ace Hardware (2801 Old Canton Road, 601-366-4441; 1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-9456; 2509 Highway 80 E., Pearl, 601-939-1529); Carter Jewelers (711 High St., 601-354-3549); Cellular South (www.cellularsouth.com); The Early Settler (Highland Village, 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 118, 601-366-2715); The Mississippi Craft Center (950 Rice Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-7546); She’s Crafty (www.etsy.com/shop/ShannaVineyard); Tangle Hair Salon (607 Duling Ave., 601-987-0123); Treehouse Boutique (3008 N. State St., 601-982-3433)
Now What? by Kelly Bryan Smith
“What Color is Your Parachute? For Teens” by Carol Christen and Richard N. Bolles (Ten Speed Press, 2nd edition, 2010, $15.99) If the graduate in your life is uncertain about what career path to pursue in college, help them be proactive about clarifying their dreams and goals early in the college experience. “What Color is Your Parachute?” can help teens focus their career goals and avoid costly changes to majors late in the game. Having specific career goals early in college can help students to maximize their experience with the best resume-building classes, internships and the like. “What now?” by Ann Patchett (Harper, 2008, $14.95) Ann Patchett’s “What now?” is an essay modified from a stirring commencement address she recently gave at Sarah Lawrence College. This book gives excellent advice to any student who finds himself at a crossroads in his life, but it is specifically tailored to address questions that college graduates may have after completing their degrees and beginning to make their way in the real world. “Colleges that Change Lives: 40 Schools that Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges” by Loren Pope (Penguin, 2006, $16) If the graduate in your life has not yet made a deci-
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sion about college or finds themselves feeling unhappy about their attendance at the same large college as all of their friends, this handbook can serve as an excellent guide to colleges that will help them to see the world in new ways. “Colleges that Change Lives” even has a local connection: it features liberal-arts college Millsaps College. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1990, $17.99) This Dr. Seuss classic is a favorite classic graduation gift for graduates of all ages. But don’t just give the graduate in your life an unsigned copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Be certain to write a long inscription in the book to give hope to your graduate and create a treasured personal heirloom for years to come. It might even make its way into the must-take-tocollege pile for inspiration during difficult freshman-year moments. “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College” by Harlan Cohen (Source Books, 4th edition 2011, $14.99) This practical guide offers excellent advice for many common college situations that graduates may be unprepared for. Roommate’s dirty dishes piled high above the sink? Loud hall mates partying the night before the big history exam? “The Naked Roommate” offers reassurance and commonsense advice to help new college students best navigate the halls of academia.
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ost parents and college professors can give endless advice about college, but many high-school graduates just won’t understand until they learn the lessons for themselves. Besides learning from experience, here are some books that might get the graduate in your life started on the right path.
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raduation is not closing a chapter. It is not turning one’s back on lessons learned. Instead, graduation is a stepping stone to responsibility. Numerous movies capture this transition. These options each offer a slightly different comingof-age epiphany. “Kick-Ass” (2010) Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a troubled teen in a large city. His two best friends are nerds. Making matters worse, his mother suddenly dies. Dave’s father goes through the motions, but lacks the skills to communicate with his son. Dave reinvents himself as a Batman-like “superhero” KickAss, with sidekick Hit Girl (Mindy) as an anime-like (think Kei from Akira) “superhero” mentored by her “superhero” father Big Daddy. Chris becomes arch-nemesis Red Mist. Action packed with over-the-top violence and a fantastic soundtrack, the real heart of the movie is in the coming-of-age for the three kids, each without a father figure to lead their emotional way.
by Jeffrey Yentz
“The Last Samurai” (2003) Emotionally scarred Civil War veteran Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) rode the coattails of his heroism ever since the war ended. He is enticed to become a mercenary in Japan teaching the Western ways of combat so the Emperor’s troops can oppose a Samurai rebellion. Amidst one battle, a severely wounded Algren is captured. During his recovery, he graduates from enemy to brother with a new understanding and appreciation for life. “The Social Network” (2010) Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) was a brilliant nerd attending Harvard, hovering on the precipice of being an insecure geek. Then, Zuckerberg founded Facebook. While the movie centers on his combating two lawsuits, the underlying emphasis is the irony of creating something to help people network, but ending up, for Mark, as an unsocial and often ugly way of com-
municating. In the end, Mark becomes a more insightful and caring person. “Almost Famous” (2000) A semi-autobiographical film of director Cameron Crowe’s coming-of-age, becoming a reporter for Rolling Stone Magazine as a teen. William Miller’s (Patrick Fugit) older sister secretly provides him with rock ‘n’ roll records their mother has banned. William’s reviews go from opinion pieces to first-hand features when he befriends the band Stillwater (based on the Allman Brothers). What begins as a simple interview turns into three weeks of heartbreak, excesses and the privileges of being young during a turbulent era. “The Breakfast Club” (1985) While not a graduation in the truest sense, this film represents a coming of age for a group of five Chicago high-school students serving a Saturday detention. The eclectic group begins
as strangers, but breaks through social barriers. In the end, a new sense of respect befalls each of the students. “To Sir With Love” (1967) An inexperienced teacher (Sidney Poitier) is thrown into a class of underprivileged teenagers in 1960s London. Each student hails from a world where there’s no hope for a better life. Realizing the futility of traditional schooling, the teacher forgoes books and prepares students with life lessons and skills. They graduate with the hope of a promising future, and a life of respect and self-confidence. “The Miracle Worker” (1962) Anne Sullivan (Anne Bancroft) is the teacher and confidant who guided blind and deaf Helen Keller (Patty Duke) from darkness to light. The journey was racked with emotional trials and tribulations, not to mention patience. Small breakthroughs were marred with regressions. After years of learning, Helen graduated being able to read (Braille), write and speak.
The Student-Loan Maze
Income-Based Repayment is a federal student loan repayment plan that caps your required monthly payment at an amount intended to be affordable, based on your income and family size.
April 27 - May 3, 2011
distinctly remember when the first wave of payments for my student loans arrived. I cringed at the amount, immediately wishing I hadn’t been so shortsighted as a student. Did I really need to borrow that much money? Over the years, most of the time, I could swing the payments, but sometimes I would struggle to make them all on time. Almost five years later, sometimes I still do. I became
by Jessica Mizell
a self-taught student-loan guru of sorts, taking on interest rates and re-negotiating payment options in various times of economic struggle. All it took was a little research and time, all things I wish I had done when I was in college. Here are three helpful pieces of information for taking out student loans and paying them back. • Know your loan types. Federal loans and private loans are two totally different monsters. Federal loans are much easier to work out payment options, including deferred payments. You’ll also get lower interest rates. Private loans are expensive. Interest rates can be jacked up to more than 20 percent, and repayment options are limited. “I think the main thing to do, whenever a student wants to take out a loan, (is) to take full advantage of federal loans available, and make sure that your alternative loans are the loans of last resort,” Patrick James, financial aid director at Millsaps College, says. “When you do have to go into the pro-
gram, the family and students have to (do their) research, because the workings of one loan company to another to the next could be night and day.” • Investigate the Income-Based Repayment program. Take a little trip to studentaid.ed.gov to learn all about it. I personally have done this program, and it really helps if you are struggling with your payments on your federal loans. Repayment is based on income, family size and state of residence, and it adjusts your payments each year based on those factors. It took me about 30 days for the entire application process, start to finish, and if you are behind in your payments, this brings your account current. If you are a public employee while on the program, they forgive your loans after 120 consecutive on-time payments, while working for any public office. They even offer a forgiveness of your remaining balance after 25 years of payments for regular applicants. One thing to be mindful of, though:
“There is a chance that your interest rate will increase, especially if one year you pay less than another,” James says. If your payments for one year are lower than usual, there is a chance that your interest rates will rise. Also, you have to submit your income information each year, so the payment is subject to change, especially if your income increases. • Behind in payments? Answer the phone! Don’t be afraid of your lender. James encourages students to communicate with their lenders, not avoid them. “A lot of times, I think the students are almost scared that a telephone call is from a lender. They kind of look at it like a creditcard call, and it’s not,” he says. It is important to communicate with your lenders if you are having issues. They really are there to help you. They are people, too. Most of my talks with lenders brought out their own stories of student-loan struggles. It only got better after I stopped being intimidated and answered the phone.
Commencement Ceremonies in Jackson APRIL 30
Belhaven College, 10:30 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church (6000 Old Canton Road) with guest speaker Makoto Fujimura, founder of the International Arts Movement. Call 601-968-5922. Tickets are required for attendance.
Mississippi College (law school), 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church Jackson (431 N. State St.). Guest speaker is U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Hayes. Call 601-925-3000. Open to the public.
Mississippi College (graduate), 7 p.m. at the A.E. Wood Coliseum (200 S. Capitol, Clinton). Call 601925-3000. Open to the public.
MAY 7 Millsaps College, 9:30 a.m. at the Millsaps Bowl located at the center of campus (1701 N. State St.) or at Christ United Methodist Church (6000 Old Canton Road) in the event of rain. The guest speaker is the student receiving the Founder’s Medal Award. Call 601-974-1000. Open to the public. Jackson State University, 8 a.m. at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium (2531 N. State St.). Call 601-979-2613. Open to the public. Mississippi College (undergraduate), 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the A.E. Wood Coliseum (200 S. Capitol, Clinton) with guest speaker Dr. Tom Burnham, State Superintendent of Education. Call 601-925-3000. Open to the public.
MAY 8 Tougaloo College, 10 a.m. on the Campus Green (500 W. County Line Road) or in the Kroger gymnasium in the event of rain. Speaker is Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Call 601-977-4459.
MAY 12 Hinds Community College (non-health related programs), 1 p.m. (last names A-L) and 4 p.m. (last names M-Z) at Cain-Cochran Hall (500 E. Main St., Raymond). Visit www.hindscc.edu. Open to the public.
MAY 13 Hinds Community College (nursing), 8:30 a.m. at Cain-Cochran Hall (500 E. Main St., Raymond). Visit www.hindscc.edu. Open to the public. Hinds Community College (allied health programs), 11:30 a.m. at Cain-Cochran Hall (500 E. Main St., Raymond). Visit www.hindscc.edu. Open to the public.
Jackson Academy, 7 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church (6000 Old Canton Road) Call 601-3662380. Open to family and friends of the graduates.
MAY 25 St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, 10 a.m. at Lake Sherwood Wise at St. Andrew’s upper school campus (370 Old Agency Road, Ridgeland), in the gym or auditorium in the event of rain. Call 601-853-6000. Open to the public.
MAY 26 Jackson Preparatory School, 7 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall (255 E. Pascagoula St.). Call 601-939-8611. Open to the public.
MAY 31 Bailey Magnet High School, 2 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601960-5343. Open to the public. Wingfield High School, 3:15 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601-3714350. Open to the public. Callaway High School, 4:45 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601-987-3535. Open to the public. Jim Hill High School, 6:15 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601-9605354. Open to the public.
JUNE 1 Forest Hill High School, 2 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601-3714313. Open to the public. Provine High School, 3:30 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601-9605393. Open to the public. Lanier High School, 5 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601-960-5369. Open to the public. Murrah High School, 6:30 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601-9605380. Open to the public.
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Mississippi College (nursing), 1:30 p.m. at the Swor Auditorium (200 S. Capitol, Clinton). Call 601925-3000. Open to the public.
Jesse Gallagher Sarah J Griff Howard Lori Carpenter Scroggins Ginger Rankin Brock Freeman
Holmes Community College, 7 p.m. at the Frank B. Branch Coliseum (No. 1 Hill St., Goodman). Call 662-472-2312.
by Dorian Randall
8 DAYS p 27| MUSIC p 29 | SPORTS p 32
Sam-U-El, aka Samuel Roberson, wants to reach people with his Christian rap.
April 27 - May 3, 2011
his mother, Diane, and older brother, Mickell. “When I started putting (scripture) with (the music) and relating it to other things, then it was like ‘Oh! OK!’ Then it sounded nice.” His mother, Diane Roberson, says she’s long since known her son was “different.” “I can’t remember when I first recognized it,” she says. “When he was younger—he was about 3 years old—he had a plastic microphone. I heard this sound come out, and I said, ‘Oh my God! He can sing!’” But it wasn’t until recently when her son started rapping at their church that she recognized rapping specifically, not just music, was his calling. Her greatest dream for him is to share is gift with the world. Roberson first performed at his church after a church friend suggested he pass his music on to the pastor of Church Triumphant, Tonya Ware. She then passed the CD on to the youth leader, Dierdra Carter. They all apparently like the music because after pulling some strings, they booked Sam-U-el as the opening act for Da T.R.U.T.H., a major figure in gospel rap, who was scheduled to do a concert at the church in July 2008. “This was my first concert. You’re talking to a 14-year-old who just started to get open with rap,” he says with a smile. And, he says, he loves every minute of performing. “People say that when they see me normally, they say ‘that’s just Sam.’ When I perform, they say I turn into Sam-U-el.” Roberson says his pastors, church sermons and gospel rappers like Lecrae and The Ambassador influence him. He’s also careful to note how important his mother’s encouragement is, even though she only sings in the shower. The rapper writes his own songs, and says his biggest goal in life is to spread the word of God by “nontraditional” means and reach people. After college, he hopes to make money rapping professionally. In the meantime, the rapper’s not ashamed to toot his horn a bit. COURTESY PHYLLIS LEWIS-HALE
Mozart to Motown
amuel Roberson, 18, is an average teenager in a blue, yellow and gray polo shirt with a khaki cap on his head and John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” in his hand. He wants to go to college and major in sports medicine. He’s a football fan, but he’s also a local gospel rapper, Sam-U-el (the way he spells his name for the stage), who wants to share the message of the Bible with the world. Roberson has known music was part of who he is since he was a toddler. But it wasn’t until he was about 14 years old that he started rapping after hearing his cousins, who rapped secular music, write and perform their work. “I was around my cousins a lot. They would just rap off the top of their heads,” Roberson says. “It looked fun. It felt like something I could do.” He decided to go a different route with his content, wanting to reach teenagers with messages about Christianity and faith. Roberson says music is his calling. “The reason I started gospel rapping is because, first of all, it’s teens and youth out there who don’t want to listen to the normal church beats,” Samuel says. “So I figured if I put some bass and some snares and put the word (scripture) with beats, then they would say ‘this is a tight beat. Let’s listen to what he’s saying.’” Roberson, the younger of two brothers, is passionate about his music and his spiritual beliefs, and that’s evident in his excitement and sincerity when he mentions his music, Christ or the two together. He talks with his hands and smiles something of a boyish smile. A junior at Ridgeland High School, Roberson volunteers in the sound booth at Church Triumphant (713 S. Pear Orchard Road, Suite 43, Ridgeland) and helps supervise The N-Credible Youth Ministry there. Roberson often shares his talents during the fifth Sunday evening services, dubbed “Sunday Night Live,” a program hosted by the youth ministry. “I really feel like this is my calling. When I try to write about something else, I’m not feeling it,” Roberson says, sitting at his Ridgeland home with
by Valerie Wells
ackson State University music students take a journey “From Mozart 2 Motown” April 28. Featuring the JSU Opera Workshop and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, the show begins with classical pieces and works up to musical theater numbers and jazz tunes from the 20th century. And, as the title implies, it will end with some Motown tunes. “Just because we are in 21st century doesn’t mean the classics can’t be appreciated,” says Phyllis Lewis-Hale, director of opera theater at JSU. She’s a vocal instructor for many of the singers in the “From Mozart 2 Motown” production. An opera singer who has performed internationally, LewisHale began her musical career as a JSU sophomore. She has a special academic interest in classical African American composers. Her passion is making their work known to a broader audience.
The performance—“showing that wonderful evolution of music”—is a fundraiser for the vocal music department outreach programs, Lewis-Hale says. She wants to take more shows to Mississippi’s public schools, summer camps and rural areas. “We want to reach out and share classical musical with all of our communities without stunting the popularity of contemporary music,” she says. “We’re making a difference in keeping the classical arts alive.” Younger students may idolize pop stars, like Lady Gaga, and assume classical music is not of any interest. Lady Gaga, however, had classical training, Lewis-Hale points out. “From Mozart 2 Motown” is at 7 p.m. April 28 in F.D. Hall Music Center at Jackson State University. Concert tickets are $5 for students and $10 for general admission; VIP reception following the performance, $5. For information, call 601-979-2984.
Jackson State University Director of Opera Theater Phyllis Lewis-Hale
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n Barry Gifford’s “Sad Stories of the Death of Kings” (Seven Stories Press, 2010, $16.95), a book named after a line from a Shakespeare play, first-generation Austrian American Roy walks us through his Chicago neighborhood in the ’60s. The short tales are from the perspective of a boy mostly from ages 11 to 15, punctuated by the author’s sketch-portraits. Roy spends a lot of time roaming around the city, mostly with nicknamed-boys his age or thereabouts, witnessing murders or maimings, and listening to stories of mafia men and hustlers alike. His relationship to females is that of a pubescent boy, admiring them only from a distance: on the big screen; through the halls of school or dancing on stage; or listening to friends boast about girls—cousins, in fact—bearing their breasts. Yet, he still holds his mother in the highest vein of beauty. Moving from character depictions to dreams or experiences, Gifford’s style is wry, and not too deeply involved with reflection other than undertones of irony. He seems to observe everything from an almost emotionless degree, but with humor. In “The Sultan,” he describes a chess player and prizefighter who strategically never changes his expression. “The Sultan played chess the way he fought, shyly, staying away until I made an improvident move, depending on impatience
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Failings and Desires
April 27 - May 3, 2011
ou Think That’s Bad: Stories” (Knopf, 2011, $24.95), a collection of short stories by Jim Shepard, speaks to harsh realities about human existence. Almost astonishingly varied settings and writing styles heighten the common ideas the stories share. The settings range from the mystical Middle East of the 1930s to modern-day Netherlands, making stops in places such as a World War II battleground and an earthquake research center in 1930s Switzerland. The writing styles vary drastically, from a stream-of-consciousness story meant to invoke a character’s thought process to structured realist telling of events that progress in chronological order. The reader has to search for a reason that all of these stories are included in one collection, as superficially they seem so different. Each story is told from a single character’s point-of-view. The character always fulfills some form of alienation, whether that manifests itself in feeling distant from a loved one or from the world around them. Generally, the character does not feel at home in society, either because of a traumatic experience or from feeling at home in a realm separate from conventional social constructs.
by Charlotte Blom
to provide him an opening so that he could sneak in a shot. Win or lose, The Sultan never stopped smiling.” Roy relies a lot on the gossip of his friends and family for information, as any good story teller does. And when many of the people in the book die one way or another, these occurrences never seem to leave Roy grief stricken, not even befuddled, no matter how brutal, bizarre or sad the means of death. If Roy is actually Barry Gifford, and the book an amalgamation of memoir and fiction, then we are getting a retrospective scarred over with adult understanding. “Sad Stories of the Death of Kings” deals with race, ethnicity, religion, gender, status and broken homes. Many of the stories are peppered with ’50s and ’60s Hollywood-gangster slang or street lingo like “wise guys” and “broads.” Gifford abruptly ends his stories mostly without a point; they just kind of walk off the page. In “Innamorato,” Roy and his mother go to see a European flick and talk about it afterward. His mother says she likes that “they don’t always tie the story up neatly and explain everything. They leave you with something to think about.” Much like the stories in this book. Signed copies of “Sad Stories of the Death of Kings” are available at Lemuria Books (4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-366-7619).
by Laney Lenox This is not a feel-good collection. These stories expose the deepest failings and desires of the individual in pursuit of meaning and happiness through protagonists who initially may have had good intentions, but these intentions were lost somewhere on their journey. After finishing one of the stories, the reader may feel disturbed, sad or maybe, like most of the protagonists in the story, just a little lost. The stories focus entirely on the protagonists’ emotional states that drive the plots. Often, after a reader may have already become attached to and sympathetic toward the character, the hero must make decisions that cause the reader to question their morality. The title, “You Think That’s Bad,” comes from a line in one story spoken by a character exasperated at her son. As she talks to his ex-wife, the mother constantly tries to one-up the ex-wife with a story about her son that is more disappointing than the last. Shepard creates characters with common, but less-than-flattering aspects of human nature reminding us of what we can become. Jim Shepard signs and reads from “You Think That’s Bad: Stories” May 2 beginning at 5 p.m. at Lemuria Books (4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-366-7619).
BEST BETS April 27 - May 4, 2011 by Latasha Willis firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 601-510-9019 Daily updates at jfpevents.com
COURTESY PAM CONFER
Former Mississippi secretary of state Dick Molpus speaks during History Is Lunch at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.) at noon. Bring a lunch; call 601-576-6998. … Send your assistant to Professional Assistants’ Day at Plantation Commons (105 Plantation Cove, Madison) for pampering, lunch and gifts. $50, $45 Madison Chamber members; call 601-605-2554. … Bill and Temperance perform at Underground 119. … Jason Turner is at Char. … Jo Jo Long performs at Hal & Mal’s. … Doug Frank’s Wednesday Nite Jam at Center Stage is at 7:30 p.m. Free. … Pop’s has karaoke. … Mississippi John Doude performs at Fenian’s. … Olga’s hosts Ladies Night with Scott Albert Johnson. … Dreamz JXN hosts Wasted Wednesday.
The Community Bike Crawl at 6 p.m. starts at Rainbow Whole Foods Co-operative Grocery (2807 Old Canton Road), goes through downtown and ends at Sal & Mookie’s. Call 601-454-1286. … Jazz Night Live at circa. Urban Artisan Living (2771 Old Canton Road) is at 7 p.m. $12; call 601-3628484. … See the films “Bruce Springsteen: The Promise” and “Super” at Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.) tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m. $7 per film; visit msfilm. org. … .38 Special and the Marshall Tucker Band perform at Golden Moon Hotel and Casino (Highway 16, Choctaw) at 8 p.m. $10-$75; call 800-745-3000. … “The Game Changer” at Dreamz JXN at 9 p.m. includes music by DJ Phingaprint and DJ Jonasty, and an appearance by actor Hosea Chanchez (“The Game”). Call 601-624-4088 or 601-824-1077 for VIP information. … Pat Brown and the Millenium Band play at F. Jones Corner at 10 p.m. $10 after midight.
Trade gently-used items at FreeCycle Jackson at St. Alexis Episcopal Church (650 E. South St.) at 8 a.m. Call 601-9440415. … The Zumba party in the parking lot of Curves, Richland (1201 Highway 49 S., Suite 32, Richland) is at 9 a.m. Free; call 601-420-6800. … “Experience Poetry in Vicksburg” at the Warren County Library (700 Veto St., Vicksburg) is at 3 p.m. Free, book prices vary; call 601-634-8624. … The Mississippi Chorus presents “Carmina Burana” at Ridgeland High School (586 Sunnybrook Road, Ridgeland) at 7 p.m. $20; call 601-278-3351. … “The Ingredients in the New Mississippi” at Afrika Book Café (404 Mitchell Ave) includes an 8 p.m. reception, and poetry and music at 9 p.m. Free reception, $10 show; call 601-291-8804 or 601-214-4482. … The Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at the Mississippi Coliseum at 8 p.m. $31.50-$51.50; call 800-745-3000. … The Colonels play at Reed Pierce’s. … Snazz performs at Club 43. … Rodney Moore is at Cherokee Inn at 9 p.m. $5. … Kerry Thomas performs at Suite 106 at 9 p.m. … Fearless Four plays at Underground 119. … Roosevelt Noise is at Ole Tavern. Jazz Beautiful featuring Pam Confer (pictured) performs at circa. Urban Artisan Living at 7 p.m. April 29.
The Ole Miss Alumni Scholarship Luncheon at Capital Club (125 S. Congress St., Suite 19) is at 11:30 a.m. $15; call 601-594-4185 or 601-506-3186 to RSVP. … Writer’s Spotlight at The Commons at 7 p.m. includes music by Bill Abel. Free, $5-$7 suggested for concert, $4 food; call 601-540-1267 or 601-352-3399. … The Sweets of the South Gala at South Pointe Business Park (500 Clinton Center Drive, Clinton) at 7 p.m. includes a silent auction and music by Dreamer. $40; call 601-924-0102. … The Mississippi Heritage Trust Gala at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.) is at 7 p.m. $50 in advance, $60 at the door; call 601-354-0200. … See “Memphis” at Malco Grandview Theatre (221 Grandview Blvd., Madison) at 7:30 p.m.; shows through May 3. $12.50, $10 children; call 601-898-7819. … Cold performs at Fire at 8 p.m. $16.
Cherokee Inn’s crawfish boil includes music by George McConnell & the Nonchalants and the Delta Mountain Boys. $10 cover; call 601-362-6388. … See the opera film “Salome” at Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.) at 2 p.m. $16; visit msfilm.org. … Ballet Mississippi’s spring gala at Thalia Mara Hall is at 3 p.m. $10-$20; call 601-960-1560. … Capitol City Cinema Night at the Old Capitol Green (100 S. State St.) at 7 p.m. features the movie “Toy Story 3.” Free; call 601-981-2122. … The film “Memphis” also shows at Tinseltown (411 Riverwind Drive, Pearl) at 7:30 p.m. $18, $16 seniors and students, $14 children; call 601-936-5856.
Carolyn Ford Brownell’s art exhibit at Fitness Lady North (331 Sunnybrook Road, Ridgeland) hangs through May 18. Free; call 601-354-0066. … The Central Mississippi Blues Society Jam at Hal & Mal’s is at 7 p.m. $5.
The exhibit “A Retrospective of Color” at the Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.) opens today and hangs through June 30. Free; call 601-960-1557. … The Jackson Choral Society presents “The Art of Music” at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.) at 7:30 p.m. $10, $8 seniors and students; call 769-218-0427.
Mezzo-soprano Lester Senter is the presenter at History Is Lunch at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.) at noon. Bring lunch; call 601-576-6998. … Dreamz JXN presents Wasted Wednesday. … Hal & Mal’s hosts Singer-Songwriter Night. More events and details at jfpevents.com.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra (founder Bob O’Neill pictured) performs at the Mississippi Coliseum April 30 at 8 p.m. BOB CAREY
jfpevents JFP-SPONSORED EVENTS Radio JFP on WLEZ ongoing, at WLEZ 100.1 FM and wlezfm.com. Join Donna Ladd and Todd Stauffer every Thursday from noon-1 p.m., where they discuss vital issues and play local music. This week’s guest is state NAACP president Derrick Johnson. JFP sports writer Bryan Flynn also gives commentary at 12:45 p.m. Listen to podcasts of all shows at jfpradio.com. Free; call 601-362-6121, ext. 17. Crawfish Boil May 1, 2 p.m., at Cherokee Inn (1410 Old Square Road). George McConnell & the Nonchalants and the Delta Mountain Boys perform. Call 601-362-6388. Zoo Brew May 13, 6 p.m., at Jackson Zoo (2918 W. Capitol St.). The theme is “Wingin’ It with the Macaws.” Sample more than 40 specialty beers from Capital City Beverage, margaritas by Paco’s and chicken wings from the Tyson’s Wing Cook-off competition. The Sole Shakers perform. $25, $20 members; call 601-352-2500.
COMMUNITY LGBT Support Group for Youth/Young Adults April 28, 6:30 p.m., at A Brave New Day (Fondren Corner, 2906 N. State St., Suite 204). Rise Above for Youth welcomes youth and young adults ages 14-24 to connect with others and to share experiences and resources. Free; call 601-922-4968. Medical Technology Showcase April 27, 8:30 a.m., at St. Dominic Outpatient Therapy (970 Lakeland Drive, second floor). Learn more about the Bioness NESS L300, a technology designed to help individuals suffering from foot drop, a neurological disorder caused by diseases such as multiple sclerosis. By appointment only. Free; call 601-200-4920. Events at Jackson Medical Mall (350 W. Woodrow Wilson Ave.), at Center Stage. • “Don’t Be a Ruse” Uniform Fashion Show April 28, 10 a.m. See employees in law enforcement, shipping and other industries model uniforms, and learn to spot fake uniforms. Call 601-982-8467. • Alpha Kappa Alpha Spelling Bee April 30, 10 a.m. Children in grades 3-5 compete for cash prizes. Free; call 601-212-5293. Professional Assistants’ Day April 27, 11:30 a.m., at Plantation Commons (105 Plantation Cove, Madison). Guests enjoy pampering, designing crafts, lunch, gifts and door prizes. $50, $45 Madison Chamber members; call 601-605-2554. “History Is Lunch” April 27, noon, at William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.). Former Mississippi secretary of state Dick Molpus talks about the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Bring a lunch; coffee/water provided. Free; call 601-576-6850. National Policies Workshop April 28, 8:30 a.m., at Mississippi Center for Nonprofits (921 N. President St., Suite C). David Thompson of the National Council of Nonprofits speaks on national trends in public policy. Registration required. $25, free for MCN members; call 601-968-0061.
April 27 - May 3, 2011
Ole Miss Alumni Scholarship Luncheon April 28, 11:30 a.m., at Capital Club (125 S. Congress St., Suite 19). Whitman Smith, director of enrollment services at Ole Miss, is the speaker. Reservations preferred. $15; call 601-594-4185 or 601-506-3186.
JPS Moms Conference April 28, 5:30 p.m., at Cardozo Middle School (3180 McDowell Road Ext.). Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. The event includes dinner, learning sessions, resources and door prizes. Free; call 601-960-8945. Mississippi Heritage Trust Gala April 28, 7 p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). MHT announces “10 Most Endangered Historic Places” list for 2011. $50 in advance, $60 at door; call 601-354-0200.
Landscape Management Spring Plant Sale April 29-30, at Produce Market Building (Highway 18, Raymond), next to the Gray Partridge Diesel Equipment Building. Hours are 8 a.m.6 p.m. April 29 and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. April 30. Email email@example.com. NAMI State Conference April 29-30, at Hilton Jackson (1001 E. County Line Road). Topics include reforming Mississippi’s mental health system and the criminalization of mental illness. $20-$100; call 601-899-9058. Imagination Conversation April 29, 2 p.m., at Mississippi Children’s Museum (2145 Highland Drive). Learn the importance of imagination as a fundamental skill for competing in the global economy. Free; visit lciweb.lincolncenter.org/ imaginationconversation. Community Bike Crawl April 29, 6 p.m., at Rainbow Whole Foods Co-operative Grocery (2807 Old Canton Road). Riders leave the parking lot at 6:15 p.m. and make several stops ending at Sal & Mookie’s (565 Taylor St.). Helmets and lights strongly encouraged. Call 601-454-1286. JPS Fishing Rodeo April 30, 7:30 a.m., at JPS Environmental Learning Center (6190 Highway 18 W.). Students in grades K-12 are eligible to participate, but must be accompanied by an adult and provide their own rods or cane poles. $8 in advance, $10 day of event; call 601-923-2572. Women in Politics Summit April 30, 8:30 a.m., at Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Topics include navigating the qualifying process, accessing resources and developing a plan of action. Lunch provided. $20; call 601-927-2267. Mississippi Health and Wellness Expo April 30, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at Mississippi Trade Mart (1200 Mississippi St.). The annual event showcases products, services and treatments from health-care and wellness industry providers. $5, seniors and children 12 and under free; call 888-987-3976. Curves Party April 30, 9 a.m., at Curves, Richland (1201 Highway 49 S., Suite 32, Richland.), in the parking lot. Enjoy demonstrations of Zumba, Zumbatomic and Curves Circuit with Zumba Fitness. Refreshments included; door prizes given. Free; call 601-420-6800. WESToration Initiative Workshop April 30, 9 a.m., at Koinonia Coffee House (136 S. Adams St., Suite C). The program enables new or existing homeowners in west Jackson to apply for mortgage loans. RSVP by April 28. Free; call 601-979-2255. FreeCycle Jackson April 30, 8 a.m., at St. Alexis Episcopal Church (650 E. South St.). Bring gently used clothing, appliances and other items to give away to others, and shop for items to take home for free. Food and music provided. Call 601-944-0415. Homebuyer Education Class April 30, 9 a.m., at Jackson Housing Authority (2747 Livingston Road). The class covers topics such as personal finances, home inspections and the role of lenders and real estate agents. Registration required. Free; call 601-362-0885, ext. 115. Jackson Arts Collective Monthly Meeting May 2, 6 p.m., at The Commons at Eudora Welty’s Birthplace (719 N. Congress St.). The Collective Steering Committee meets to discuss previous business and listen to local artist proposals. Open to the public. Call 601-497-7454. Story Time Tuesday May 3, 10 a.m., at Jackson Zoo (2918 W. Capitol St.). A local celebrity comes to the zoo to read an animal story. Afterwards, the kids get to do a related craft project or have an animal encounter. Free with paid admission; call 601-352-2580. “Restoring Mississippi Delta Habitats” Lecture May 3, noon, at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). Dr. Andy Peck explains how planting trees benefits the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge. $6, $5 seniors, $4 children 3-18, members free; call 601-354-7303.
STAGE AND SCREEN “Memphis” Film Screenings. The film is of the Tony Award-winning musical running on Broadway. • At Malco Grandview Theatre (221 Grandview Blvd., Madison). Show times are April 28 and May 3 at 7:30 p.m., and May 1 at 12:30 p.m. $12.50, $10 children; call 601-898-7819. • May 1, 7:30 p.m., at Tinseltown (411 Riverwind Drive). $18, $16 seniors and students, $14 children; call 601-936-5856. Events at Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.). • Art House Cinema Downtown April 29-30. Films include “Bruce Springsteen: The Promise” at 7 p.m. and “Super” at 8:45 p.m. Popcorn and beverages available. $7 per film; visit msfilm.org. • “Salome” May 1, 2 p.m. The Mississippi Film Institute presents the Italian opera film. $16; call 601-960-2300. The Ingredients in the New Mississippi April 30, 8 p.m., at Afrika Book Cafe (404 Mitchell Ave.). Arts Klassical is the host. Enjoy an 8 p.m. reception and performances at 9 p.m. by rappers and lyricists Tremble and Klaccic Carpenter, and poets Dr. Lorie Anderson, Ms. Shay and Candice Sims. Free reception, $10 show; call 601-291-8804 or 601-214-4482. Ballet Mississippi Spring Gala May 1, 3 p.m., at Thalia Mara Hall (255 E. Pascagoula St.). See IBC City-Dance presenting “The Eternal Dance,” Ballet Mississippi performing excerpts from “Sleeping Beauty” and guest artists from American Ballet Theatre. $10-$20; call 601-960-1560.
MUSIC Events at Jackson State University (1400 John R. Lynch St.). • All City Elementary Music Festival April 27, 7 p.m., at Williams Athletics and Assembly Center Jackson Public Schools students showcase their talents. Free; call 601-960-8935. • From Mozart 2 Motown April 28, 7 p.m., in F.D. Hall Music Center. Enjoy performances by the JSU Opera Workshop, the JSU Vocal Jazz Ensemble and local artists. $10, $5 students; $15, $10 VIP; call 601-979-2984. .38 Special and the Marshall Tucker Band April 29, 8 p.m., at Golden Moon Hotel and Casino (Highway 16 W., Choctaw), at The Arena. The bands celebrate the Marshall Tucker Band’s 40th anniversary. $10-$75; call 800-745-3000. Jazz Night Live April 29, 7 p.m., at circa. Urban Artisan Living (2771 Old Canton Road). Enjoy the sounds of Jazz Beautiful featuring Pam Confer, and a cash bar with artisan beer, light wine, soft drinks and juice. Light snacks included. Tickets at the door or at circaliving.com. $12; call 601-362-8484. “Carmina Burana” April 30, 7:30 p.m., at Ridgeland High School (586 Sunnybrook Road). The Mississippi Chorus sings poems set to music by Carl Orff in 1935. The Mississippi Boychoir and the Holmes Community College Concert Chorale also perform. $20; call 601-278-3351. The Art of Music May 3, 7:30 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). The Jackson Choral Society presents choral literature and visual art from each period in music history. $10, $8 seniors and students; call 769-218-0427.
• “Gone: A Photographic Plea for Preservation” April 30, 11 a.m. Photographer Neil Dickerson signs copies of his book. $29.95 book. • “You Think That’s Bad: Stories” May 2, 5 p.m. Jim Shepard signs copies of his book; reading at 5:30 p.m. $24.99 book. Applause! April 28, noon, at Eudora Welty Library (300 N. State St.), in the Ellen Douglas Meeting Room. The guest author is Steve Yates (“Morkan’s Quarry”). Free; call 601-968-5820. Writer’s Spotlight April 28, 7 p.m., at The Commons at Eudora Welty’s Birthplace (719 N. Congress St.). Local writers read their short stories and poems. Delta bluesman Bill Abel performs at 8:30 p.m. Free, $5-$7 suggested donation for concert, $4 food; call 601-540-1267 or 601-352-3399. “Experience Poetry in Vicksburg” April 30, 3 p.m., at Warren County Library (700 Veto St., Vicksburg). The program features a poetry reading, panel discussion and book signing by Darrell Bourque, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Michael Heffernan and Murray Shugars. Free, book prices vary; call 601-634-8624.
EXHIBITS AND OPENINGS Dinners á la Art. Proceeds benefit the Mississippi Museum of Art. RSVP required; call 601-9601515. • A Sankofa Excursion April 28, 7 p.m., at the home of Isaac Byrd (14 East Hill Drive). Enjoy Brazilian, Cuban and African food, and jazz music. Limit of 50 guests. $50. • Wine Tasting and Private Art Collection Tour April 29, 6:30 p.m., at the home of Erin and Steve Chevalier (610 Abbots Lane, Ridgeland). Enjoy a contemporary art tour, wine samples and hors d’oeuvres. Limit of 15 guests. $75. Check jfpevents.com for updates and more listings. To add an event, email all details (phone number, start/end date and time, street address, cost, URL, etc.) to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 601510-9019. The deadline is noon the Thursday prior to the week of publication. Or add the event online yourself; check out jfpevents.com for instructions.
BE THE CHANGE Take Back the Night April 27, 7:30 p.m., at Nu Vision Worship Center (4800 Watkins Drive). The Rape Crisis Center hosts the candlelight vigil against sexual violence. Call 601-366-0750. March for Babies Benefit Concert April 28, 7 p.m., at St. Joseph Catholic School (308 New Mannsdale Road, Madison), in the Fine Arts Building. The event includes music by opera singer Mary Margaret May and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit March of Dimes of Mississippi. $10 in advance, $12 at the door; call 601-984-2454. Relay for Life Jackson April 29, 6 p.m., at Millsaps College (1701 N. State St.). Team members take turns walking or running during the 24-hour event. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. $10 registration, additional donations welcome; e-mail angela. email@example.com.
LITERARY AND SIGNINGS
Community Training April 30, 10 a.m., at Baptst Family Life Center (349 N. Canal St., Canton). The Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse is the host. Learn to navigate the disciplinary process in school districts. Free; call 601-355-6464.
Events at Lemuria Books (202 Banner Hall, 4465 Interstate 55 N.). Call 601-366-7619. • “Panther Tract: Wild Boar Hunting in the Mississippi Delta” April 27, 5 p.m. Melody Golding signs copies of her book; reading at 5:30 p.m. $40 book.
“Divas 4 Charity” Diva Sale April 30, noon, at Downtown Cafe (105 E. Capitol St.). Shop for new and gently used, brand-name clothes and accessories priced at $25 or less. Proceeds benefit Kids in Need and Hope Haven. Call 601-974-5718.
by Larry Morrisey
ill Abel stands alone with his blues. The 48-yearold Delta resident (a Belzoni native, now living in Duncan) performs as a one-man band, playing electric guitar, singing, and keeping rhythm by playing drums and cymbals with his feet. Abel cranks out raw, unvarnished blues with a cutting guitar sound and mournful, gruff vocals that transport listeners to a dark and lonely spot in the Delta. Abel has many other artistic pursuits in addition to his music. He’s a prolific oil painter, a recording engineer and an instrument builder. He makes diddly bows and cigar-box guitars, fashioning their necks from driftwood he collects alongside the Mississippi River.
How do you choose the right piece of wood? It’s the opposite of what you think. Guitar necks are made out of hard woods: oak, maple, stuff like that. But this (pointing to his guitar neck) is made out of a super-light wood: cypress. And for some reason, the cypress just vibrates the cigar box to death, it will almost fall out of your hand. It just vibrates, and you really get a unique sound.
You started out in the blues playing bass for the late guitarist Paul “Wine” Jones. What did you learn from him? I learned the open format of the juke-joint blues. You go with what you feel, and there are no set changes. It helped me to learn the groove of the music. They’re not easy grooves to learn, but when you have them, you can play anything along with it that you feel.
What are the advantages Bill Abel, from Duncan, Miss., plays raw blues on guitars he makes himself. and disadvantages of working as a one-man band? recording, you hear “OK, put your hands up!” I had my One of the advantages is that you can lock into your own eyes closed while we were playing, and I hear that. I open rhythm and do things that you can’t do when you play with my eyes, and there’s the police pointing guns at everybody. someone else. You can turn the beat around whenever you Later on, it all settles down, and David Lee kicks back in, want to and twist it, change the timing and stuff like that. the blues kicks back in. The disadvantage is carrying all the stuff around. I’ve gone out to play at an outdoor thing where I had to supply You’ve re-habbed your home in Duncan, and a P.A. system. So I took a P.A., a drum set, amplifiers and you do a good bit of work with your hands. all that. It’s just crazy. Have any tips for aspiring carpenters? Wear a dust mask, use a square when you’re doing carYou’ve also recorded many Delta blues pentry work, and save your bent nails because these days musicians and you specialize in recording them they cost $3 for 20 of them. in their everyday environments rather than in a studio. What has been one of your more Bill Abel plays at the Welty Commons at 8:30 p.m. Thursunusual recording sessions? day, April 28. Jonathan Sims from Welty Commons will play I’ve got a recording I did of playing with (the late drums for Abel. For more information, call 601-352-3399. Delta blues guitarist) David Lee Durham at a juke joint To learn more about Abel and his many artistic pursuits, check in Shaw. And the police raided the place. It got busted be- out “Bill Abel: Portrait of an Artist,” a documentary made by cause they were gambling in the back. And so it’s on the Barefoot Workshops at: vimeo.com/12078330
You’re known for your skillful guitar work backing up older blues musicians like T-Model Ford and “Cadillac” John Nolden, which is much harder than it appears. How do you this? You have to listen real close and know how to hang back and follow them, but not too far behind. You have to play with them. You watch their body gestures. But if you’ve got the groove, then it takes care of itself. There are a number of people building cigarbox guitars these days, but yours are unique in that you make your guitar necks from driftwood.
the fabulous Joe.) Jo Jo Long brings his Southern rock and blues to Hal and Mal’s, Wasted Wednesdays happens at Dreamz, and DJ Phingaprint spins all night at Poets II. All shows should start around 9 p.m., so get there early for a good seat. Thursday night, Que Sera has music on their patio with the sensational Debbie Buie performing, Underground 119 hosts guitar hero Barry Leach, Fire rocks out with Cold, Egypt Central, Kopek, and The Glitter Boys, and Mississippi bluesman Bill Abel jukes it out at The Welty Commons. Also on Thursday, the band God-dess plays in Hal and Mal’s Red Room. On Friday night, make sure to check out The Bailey Brothers at Martin’s, Shane and Frazier at Burgers and Blues, Jazz Night at circa in Fondren, and Jacob Lipking at Julep’s. On Saturday night, Ole Tavern hosts Roosevelt Noise (a Jackson favorite) starting at 10 p.m., Kerry Thomas acoustically accosts (but in a good way) at Suite 106, and The Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at The Coliseum at 8 p.m. Please call the Coliseum Box Office for ticket information.
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW
Stage (formerly C Notes) on Old Canton Road in Ridgeland. And if you’re looking for something fun to do on Sunday evenings, head down to ToMara’s on Highway 18 for Mike and Marty’s jam session, where everyone is invited to participate. Pop’s Saloon has started having open-mic jam sessions on Sundays as well. I host Singers-Songwriters Night May 4 at Hal and Mal’s. Feel free to contact any of the venues above (and me) if you would like to get more information on how you can play your original songs. If you’re reading this article on April 27, I’ll hopefully be in New Orleans watching two of my favorite bands, Mumford and Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show, along with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on their Railroad Revival Tour. I’m excited about my mini-vacation to The Big Easy, but promise to be back for the week’s great lineup of music in Jackson. My friend and awesome musician Mississippi John Doude plays his first show at Fenian’s Wednesday, so please stop by for a listen (and a strong drink from
by Natalie Long
’ve lived in Jackson for 11 years now. I love this city and all it has to offer. I’ve had many musicians ask me how to get gigs here, as well as information on how they can get their music out to the masses. So, instead of emailing each person individually, I decided to write about it in this week’s article. Open-mic nights are great opportunities to get your name out there and perform. On Monday nights, Martin’s hosts openmic night. Burgers and Blues in Ridgeland has also started an open mic night on Monday nights. On Tuesday nights, Fenian’s has open mic (where I got a lot of my performing experience), and Liver Mousse’s Cody Cox hosts open mic on Tuesdays at Ole Tavern. (Cody says he’s had several folks play at both locations, so there’s an opportunity for double exposure!) Wednesday nights the fab guitaristmusician-human-jukebox Doug Frank hosts the open-mic jam session at Center
Get Your Art Out!
Old Crow Medicine Show performs April 27 in New Orleans.
Keep enjoying your weekend and get your brunch on by stopping by to hear good friend (and crazy jazz cat) Raphael Semmes at Char, and Howard Jones performs at the King Edward Hotel (and thanks for the ride at the Zippity Doo Dah Parade, Howard!) Sunday afternoon is going to be a blast, because The Cherokee is having a crawfish boil with The Delta Mountain Boys and George McConnell and the Nonchalants starting at 2 p.m. What a lineup of music. I hope to see you out and about this weekend. Please stop by and say hello!
Locking Into the Rhythm
livemusic APRIL 27 - WEDNESDAY
LIVE MUSIC CALENDAR
ALL SHOWS 10PM UNLESS NOTED WEDNESDAY 4/27
LADIES PAY $5, DRINK FREE FRIDAY
THE BAILEY BROS. IRON FEATHERS
OPEN MIC JAM TUESDAY
MATTâ€™S LATE NIGHT KARAOKE
$2 MARGARITAS $1 HIGHLIFE & PBR WEDNESDAY
LADIES PAY $5, DRINK FREE
April 27 - May 3, 2011
THE LAST STRAW 214 S. STATE ST. â€¢ 601.354.9712 DOWNTOWN JACKSON WWW.MARTINSLOUNGE.NET
Wednesday, April 27th
BILL & TEMPERANCE
(Bluegrass) 8-11, No Cover Thursday, April 28th
(Jazz) 8-11, No Cover Friday, April 29th
THE JUVENATORS (Blues) 9-1, $10 Cover
Saturday, April 30th
THE FEARLESS FOUR (Funk) 9-1, $10 Cover
Wednesday, May 4th
Yâ€™ALLâ€™S BLUES BAND
(Bluegrass) 8-11, No Cover Thursday, May 5th
(Jazz) 8-11, No Cover Friday, May 6th
SUNSET SERIES WITH RAPHAEL SEMMES Outside Event, 5-8, No Cover
(Blues) 9-1, $10 Cover
Saturday, May 7th
CHRIS GILL & THE SOLE SHAKERS
(Blues) 9-1, $10 Cover 119 S. President Street 601.352.2322 www.Underground119.com
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1 inside and 1 on the patio
THURSDAY - April 21 LADIES NIGHT DRINK FREE 9-11PM FRIDAY - APRIL 29 GHOST TOWN SATURDAY - April 30 HILLBILLY DELUXE
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PULL FOR RONALD MCDONALD DailyHOUSE LunchCHARITIES Specials - $9 The McDonald house is a temporary “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children being treated at nearby hospitals.
Order a canned beverage. Give the tab to your server. Help a child in need. BUDLITE, MILLERLITE, BUDWEISER, COORSLITE
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ust before her junior year in college at Delta State University, around 1999, now the love of my life and bride, Lacey, met a young man while working at a summer job. He offered to show her around because she was new to the area and transferring from Hinds Community College. They soon began dating, but the relationship started to unravel when the young man wanted to get serious. Lacey was not looking for a serious commitment. She ended it after a major fight when the young man got physical with her. Shortly afterward, Lacey began to receive unwanted letters and phone calls from the man. Over time, they became threatening and frightening. Her ex-boyfriend was a parole officer so he knew just how to bend the law without breaking it. Lacey documented everything, though, and took it to Delta State Police Chief Lynn Buford, who contacted the young man’s boss. The letters and calls finally stopped. Many women deal with stalkers or have a need to defend themselves. Imagine walking across a dark lonely parking lot on your own. If you are a man, this might not bother you, but if you are a woman, this type of scenario can be scary. It becomes even more frightening if you know a man is following you. Being a son, a brother and a husband, I worry about the safety of the women in my life. That led me to look at the statistics on assaults against women. Here’s what I learned: Even being at home or a familiar place can be dangerous for women. People known to their victims commit two-thirds of all sexual assaults, the U. S. Department of Justice’s 2005 National Crime Victimization Study reports. One in six women will be a victim of sexual assault at some point in her life, according to a report from the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, But, according to Coalition Educating About Sexual Endangerment, the actual number is twice as high due to underreporting: One in three American women will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. FBI crime statics for 2009 show 939 forcible rapes in Mississippi. The majority of those assaults were in metropolitan areas. Next stop: Find out if anyone teaches women’s self-defense classes in the Jackson area. Millsaps College offers a course on women’s self-defense as a satellite program at Chatan Dojo USA School of Karate in Richland. The school welcomes walk-ins, too. Sensei (teacher) Shelby Kenney, a surprisingly solid and powerful man even at about 5foot-9, is a retired Air Force major. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan, he began to study Shohei-Ryu martial arts and today is a sixthdegree black belt with 24 years of training. Kenney has taught Shohei-Ryu for 20 years. While he was in the Air Force, several female lieutenants asked him to offer a women’s self-defense class. He crafted a course using common Shohei-Ryu training in practical situations.
VOTED BEST SPORTS BAR AND BEST JUKEBOX!
by Bryan Flynn
Doctor S sez: The NBA and NHL playoffs continue this weekend. I could guess who will play when, but it’s easier for you to check your local listings. THURSDAY, APRIL 28 Southern League baseball, Huntsville at Mississippi (7 p.m., Pearl, 103.9 FM): The Stars open a series with the M-Braves on Thirsty Thursday. Drink up responsibly, folks.
Shohei-Ryu instructor Shelby Kenney, left, and his assistant, Erin Cox, demonstrate defensive moves that could save your life.
Shohei-Ryu is a hard-soft style of martial arts—hard because body conditioning teaches students to take and deliver a full-force attack. Shohei-Ryu is a soft style because it teaches how to deflect an attack as well. Kenney asked me to punch him full force. It was like punching a brick wall. I have never seen stomach muscles that hard. I can attest his style does teach how to take a full-force punch. One of the first things Kenney teaches is how just being vigilant can help prevent someone from becoming a victim. You can discourage potential predators by parking in well-lit areas, for example, or having your keys out and eyes up when heading to your car. Kenney stresses that he hopes his students will never need to use Shohei-Ryu. “But with proper training, you can have a 20- to 30-second advantage,” he says. It’s an advantage that could save you. The training teaches practitioners how to stun an attacker and get away, and includes knowing how to go for pressure points such as the groin, and attacks to soft parts of the body such as the eyes. Using these techniques, a woman can gain the upper hand on her attacker and get control of the situation. Kenney teaches how a woman can protect herself if her attacker comes from the front, back, or even if women end up on the ground, being attacked in a reclined position. Joining Kenney as assistant teachers at the Chatan Dojo are Erin Cox, a second-degree black belt, and Emily Luckett, a junior black belt. These young women demonstrate techniques and simulate attacking students so they can learn how to defend themselves. Women take this class to learn selfdefense, improve self-confidence or deal with fear, Kenney says. Several women retake the class after completing it to keep their skills fresh. The Chatan Dojo USA is at 657 U.S. Highway 49, in the Richland Village Shopping Center. The cost of a six-class series is $110 and provides nine hours of training. To learn more, call Kenney at 601-420-0009, or visit www. chatandojousa.com.
FRIDAY, APRIL 29 College baseball, Ole Miss at Florida (6 p.m., Gainesville, Fla., 97.3 FM): This could be a rough weekend in Gator Country for the Rebels. … ASC playoffs, Mississippi College at Hardin-Simmons (6 p.m., Abilene, Texas) The Choctaws open a best-of-three playoff series against the Cowboys. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) are set for Saturday. SATURDAY, APRIL 30 MLB baseball, St. Louis at Atlanta (1 p.m., Ch. 40, 930 AM): The Cardinals and Braves, two of the NL’s best battle at the Ted. … College baseball, Alabama at Mississippi State, (2 p.m., Starkville, SportSouth,, first game only, 105.9 FM): The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are playing a rare doubleheader because of commencement. I hate it when academics interfere with college sports. SUNDAY, MAY 1 College baseball, Jackson State at Alabama A&M (1 p.m., Normal, Ala.): The Tigers continue fighting for their lives in the SWAC East race. MONDAY, MAY 2 Southern League baseball, Huntsville at Mississippi (7 p.m., Pearl, 103.9 FM): The Stars and M-Braves conclude their series at Trustmark Park TUESDAY, MAY 3 Southern League baseball, Mississippi at Chattanooga (6:15 p.m., Chattanooga, Tenn., 103.9 FM): The M-Braves head for the mountains to open a series with the Lookouts. Visit Rock City, y’all. . … Movie, “A Day at the Races” (7 p.m., TCM): The Marx brothers go to the track to help save a girl’s sanitarium in this 1937 comedy classic. This movie kicks off a night of horse racing movies, in case you’re into the sport of kings. WEDNESDAY, MAY 4 MLB baseball, Milwaukee at Atlanta (6 p.m., Fox Sports South, 930 AM): The Brewers and Braves continue their series. Does the winner get free beer? Yes, and the losers get free beer, too. The Slate is compiled by Doctor S, who is resisting editorial pressure to make a Haley Barbour joke. Fight the power at JFPSports.com.
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