RON WILLIAMS FOR GOVERNOR
HINDS COUNTY SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 2
NORTH JACKSON • FONDREN • BELHAVEN CLINTON • BOLTON • EDWARDS • UTICA David Archie Will: •Fight for better services and lower taxes •Encourage Economic Development In Hinds County •Create Strategies To Reduce Crime In Hinds County •Fight Furloughs And Layoffs For Hinds County Employees
David Archie Is:
The people who make money from the good ole boy system and special interests are going to vote on Aug. 2.
A Republican Everyone Can Vote For.
•Pro Life •Pro 2nd Amendment •Anti Big Government •Anti Special Interest A Conservative Business Owner And Family Man.
Don’t let this election be decided by campaign contributors and special interests. www.ronwilliamsforgovernor.com
•A •A •A •A •A •A
Community Activist and Organizer Member of the ACLU Member of Parents for Public Schools Member of the Mississippi Jazz Foundation Graduate of Jackson State University Father of 4 and Husband to Niya Archie
VOTE DEMOCRAT AUGUST 2ND 2011
FOR CONTRIBUTIONS OR MORE INFO CALL: 601.918.4353 P.O. BOX 83057 | JACKSON, MS 39283•3057
Together We Can Do Better If you give me a chance I pledge
New Ideas To Fight Crime more visibility and increased law enforcement
An Open Relationship With Every Community someone that you can talk to and that respects you
Accountability On The Budget you should get what you pay for Now is the time for us to make our communities safe and to make the Sheriff’s office accountable. As Interim Police Chief of the Jackson Police Department I led an effort that reduced crime by 10% in 6 months. At the same time we reduced the budget of the Jackson Police Department by 3%. I can do this again for Hinds County. We can do better. I don’t want to be THE SHERIFF; I want to be YOUR Sheriff.
July 20 - 26, 2011
For more information, visit:
Paid for and approved by Ron Williams.
www.lewis2011.com Paid for by Friends to Elect Tyrone Lewis
July 20 - 26, 2011
9 N O . 45
contents AMILE WILSON
6 Bonds Away The Jackson City Council approves a debt refinancing deal that should keep water rates down, for now. COURTESY DANIEL DOYLE AND THE G-6
Cover photograph of Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin by Aaron Phillips
THIS ISSUE: ............. Editor’s Note
COURTESY UNIVERSITY PRESS OF MISSISSIPPI
minnie watson Minnie Watson still remembers the day she met Medgar Evers in 1961. She was attending Campbell College, an all-black private college in Jackson, when Evers came to speak to their class about joining the NAACP. “It was only five dollars to join, and you know a lot of us didn’t have money,” Watson says. “But we scrambled and got that five dollars and became members. He really made an impression on us.” Her memory of the civil-rights leader motivates Watson to tell her story today as curator of the Medgar Evers House Museum, a position she’s held since 1997, when Tougaloo College opened the home as a museum. White Citizens’ Council member Byron De La Beckwith gunned down Evers in his driveway in 1963. Watson’s goal is to spread Evers’ message of freedom and equality to as many people as possible. “People need to know the things he did and what he stood for, what he lost his life for,” she says. Watson has given tours of the home to thousands of people from around the world over the years. “I get people everywhere from Germany to Nigeria.” She is often surprised by how little many Mississippians know about Evers compared to some of her foreign visitors. “I have visitors tell me that when they stop someone in the neighborhood to ask for directions to the Medgar Evers House, the locals often say, ‘Who?’”
Watson stresses that a shared history is essential to any thriving community. Understanding the work of leaders like Evers can motivate young people to take positive action. “If they knew where they came from, knew what they were a part of, then maybe some of the problems we have now would be eliminated,” Watson says. Watson is active in her neighborhood and serves as secretary of the Georgetown Neighborhood Association, whose goal is to revitalize the area and motivate people to take pride in their neighborhood. “You’ve got to get in your community and be concerned. You’ve got to keep up your own property values and fight to make the city great,” she says. One of Watson’s favorite events hosted by the group is their annual “National Night Out” celebration. For one night in August, they ask everyone to turn their porch lights on, come outside and get to know each other better. They open Johnson Elementary to the people and serve hot dogs and hamburgers, “because if you want a crowd, you feed people,” she laughs. She calls the event a “going away party” for drugs and crime. “It’s frustrating sometimes,” she says, “but if you want things to change, you have to get in there and work for it.” —Mary Blessey
20 Finding Grace Ann Napolitano’s new novel is all about grace and redemption: finding it and giving it. FILE PHOTO
4 ................... Slowpoke 6 .......................... Talks 12 ................... Editorial 12 .................... Stiggers 13 .................. Opinion 18 ............... Diversions 20 ....................... Books 22 ..................... 8 Days 24 .............. JFP Events 27 ....................... Music 28 ......... Music Listings 31 ...................... Sports 32 ................. Astrology 33 ......................... Food 38 ............ Fly Shopping
The wheels on this refurbished bus are traveling cross-county as a demo of sustainable, green living.
33 Too Damn Hot When it’s this hot, the last thing you want to do is heat up your kitchen with that big ole oven.
Round and Round
Lacey McLaughlin News editor Lacey McLaughlin is a Florida native who enjoys riding her bike around Jackson. She is always on the hunt for news tips. E-mail Lacey@ jacksonfreepress.com or call 601.362.6121 x. 22. She interviewed Malcolm McMillin.
Aaron Phillips Originally from Texas, Aaron Phillips has lived in Mississippi for more than a decade. He works for a local graphic design firm and is a freelance photographer. He took the cover photograph.
Briana Robinson Third-year editorial Intern Briana Robinson is a 2010 graduate of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. Her hobbies include photography, ballet and ballroom dancing. She is a rising sophomore at Millsaps College. She helped edit many stories for this issue.
Callie Daniels Editorial intern Callie Daniels is a native Mississippian, although her accent sounds vaguely Lithuanian. Her crowning glory, aka her curly hair, identifies her. If you got a story, tell her. She absolutely loves them. She wrote a Talk.
Meryl Dakin Editorial intern Meryl Dakin is a recent MSU grad in English literature and aspiring journalist. She looks forward to many long years of enjoying fascinating people, exciting travel and abject poverty in her chosen field. She wrote a Talk.
LaShanda Phillips Editorial assistant LaShanda Phillips is a recent graduate of Jackson State University. She is the third oldest of seven children. Her motto is: “Make-up is fantastic!” She helped edit many stories for this issue.
Chris Zuga Chris Zuga is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and fine artist. When not hunched over a project, he is preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse and devours pop culture. He wrote and illustrated a Diversions piece.
July 20 - 26, 2011
Advertising designer Andrea Thomas is a native of Ridgeland and is a recent Antonelli College graduate. She loves to sing, dance and write poetry in her free time.
by ShaWanda Jacome, Assistant to the Editor
What It Takes
t was my final semester in college, and I arrived in the Pendleton Learning Center for BA 465, Human Relations and Values. The class would help me finish my graduation requirements to walk that May. When I stepped into the classroom, I recognized many faces in the seats—some I knew well, others just in passing from around campus. There were only about 15 of us in the HRV class. In the school’s catalog, the class was described as “a course that develops understanding of one’s self and others as individuals and as members of working groups. Knowledge and skills emphasized include group dynamics and self-awareness, the impact of the self on others, free expression and better listening and barriers to group participation. Through the exploration of differing values and roles, the student is able to improve communications and decision-making both in and out of the workplace.” Our professor, Jeff Banks proceeded to take us down a rabbit hole that was different from anything we had experienced before. We had basically entered group therapy. Over the semester, we all shared intimate details about our lives. We cried and laughed in equal amounts. In this one transformative class, my entire college experience culminated into a singular, critical lesson: It’s not just about me; it’s about other people. I learned that people approach life based on life experiences, backgrounds, relationships (good and bad) and values. This does not excuse bad behavior, of course, but it does help you to be cognizant that there is usually more going on than what is on the surface. In the office last week, I was asked to gather information about candidates running for the Mississippi governor’s seat. As I scoured through the different candidate websites, I found several common threads in their platforms. Each has heralded a strong commitment to improving our educational system. I asked myself what it will actually take to build a stronger educational system in the state of Mississippi. What will it take for us, as a collective, to help our school-age kids become strong critical thinkers, armed with the knowledge and skills to make good decisions for the future? If you were to ask any random citizen, politician, critic or proponent of educational reform, you’d receive varying answers, ranging from increased funding to more emphasis on the whole child and smaller classroom sizes and less on standardized testing. Some would point fingers. They would blame teachers, administrators, parents and even the kids. But again, I ask, what will it take to make things better? Come Aug. 12, I will join the ranks of the Jackson Public Schools as a middle-school teacher. I am excited and nervous. I will have between 125 and 150 sixth-grade students staring at me across their desks, waiting for me to teach them something worthwhile.
As an educator, I am charged with the challenging task of taking the required curriculum and presenting it in a way that engages the students and prepares them for the state testing at the end of the year. I am certain that over the next 12 months, teaching will stretch me as an individual and solidify my resolve as a first-year teacher, but I’m eager to begin. I have high expectations for myself and for my soon-to-be students. I want to join with my fellow teachers to make a difference. As corny or cliché as that may sound, that is my heart’s desire. When I look back over the course of my life, I know that everything was in preparation for teaching. I am equipped, not only with a sound knowledge-base of my subject matter, but with life experience. I am a stronger and wiser person now than I was in my 20s. Since I am an optimistic-realist (I don’t know if that’s a real term, but let’s just go with it), I don’t expect my first year to be all rainbows and unicorns. I doubt we will be singing “Kumbaya” around a camp fire. I understand that I will have challenges and setbacks that will knock me on my keester. I know there will be students who will test me every step of the way. I also understand that I can’t solve every problem my students will bring with them to this rodeo. However, I do hope that I can add a positive link to each of my students’ chains of life. Hopefully, for the 50 minutes each day that I have them, I can be someone who believes in them and pushes them to do great things. I will remind myself to look past the exterior walls they may have built up or their hormonal adolescent shenanigans to see the miniperson inside that just wants to be validated . I’ve been reading “The Cause Within You”
by Matthew Barnett. He founded the Dream Center in Los Angeles. This volunteer-driven organization started in 1994 and serves more than 40,000 people each month. Its mission is to reach those who have been disconnected from God due to homelessness, poverty, substance abuse and other negative elements, and reconnect them to a supportive community that meets their physical and spiritual needs. It does this through developing support systems that encourage positive, long-term changes that honor God and thereby enhance the quality of life. More than 130 Dream Centers have opened around the world. In his book, Barnett, 37, says our greatest cause in life is to serve other people, and that when we do so, we find ourselves the most fulfilled. In short, we find purpose. “A transforming cause is never about you—promoting yourself, achieving greater fame or fortune, experiencing more pleasure or comfort, amassing greater power. It is always about using the resources God has given you—skills, relationships, experiences, money, time, intelligence and all the rest—to make a positive impact in the lives of others.” During my time at the Jackson Free Press, I had many rewarding experiences, worked with an amazing group of folks and met wonderful people in the community. As I take this next step, I don’t feel as if I am taking it alone. I feel the supportive hands of my family, friends and many others. I may be the one standing in the classroom, but as I embark on this journey, I feel confident that I have a community of people that I can call upon. To answer what it takes to make things better: It takes a community of committed people all working together.
news, culture & irreverence
Thursday, July 14 The number of properties threatened by foreclosure-related actions in Mississippi dropped in the first half of 2011, 42 percent from the previous six months and 16.5 percent from the same time last year. … The FBI says it is looking into allegations that News Corp. may have tried to hack into the phone records of Sept. 11 victims. Friday, July 15 Delta Air Lines announces it will “adjust” service to 24 small airports, including those in Greenville, Tupelo and Hattiesburg, due to low demand. … “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” has a record-breaking first day in theaters, grossing more than $91 million Friday. Saturday, July 16 Jackson Zoo keepers find the elderly white rhinoceros named Longhorn dead. … A 6.1 magnitude earthquake strikes the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, but authorities report no casualties or damage. Sunday, July 17 Rookie golfer Chris Kirk wins his first PGA Tour event at the Viking Classic in Madison. … Japan beats the U.S. in a penalty-kick shootout in the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament.
July 20 - 26, 2011
Monday, July 18 Officials in Jackson begin a $3.5 million project to increase the city’s water supply. … Media company Gannett, which owns The Clarion-Ledger, The Hattiesburg American and USA Today, announces a 22 percent drop in net income in the second quarter of 2011.
Tuesday, July 19 The University of Mississippi Medical Center receives a grant to bring oral health care and health education to the Delta. … A protester hits media mogul Rupert Murdoch in the face with a shaving cream pie during testimony in London about the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal. Get daily news updates at jfpdaily.com.
Debt Ceiling Debate Hits Home
ackson City Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon expressed concern this week over what Congress’ debt ceiling debate will mean for the council’s decision to restructure its bond debt. Congress is currently debating whether to raise the U.S. debt limit by Aug. 2. President Barack Obama said that if Congress does not raise the current $14.29 trillion debt ceiling, the government would ultimately have to default on its debts. “With the current situation in Washington, there is a lot we don’t know about what the impact will be on the bond market as well as ratings,” Barrett-Simon said. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Moody’s put the country’s credit on negative review last week, citing an increasing likelihood that Congress will not raise the debt limit by the deadline. The city hired financial adviser Porter Bingham of Malachi Financial Group to help execute the bond restructuring deal. Bingham said that the city could back out of the deal before the bonds are sold, if the market changes drastically and takes a turn for the worst. He estimated a two- to threeweek time period for selling the bonds. “The credit rating will be driven by what’s taking place in the broader market if the U.S. credit rating is cut, and subsequently it appears to trickle down to municipalities,” Bingham said. “I think the timing is now, and that’s one good reason why I think
by Lacey McLaughlin
we should do this.” The restructuring plan the council passed Monday excuses the city from original payments on its 2002, 2004 and 2005 water and sewer bonds for the next two years. The transaction will lower the city’s interest rate from 5.05 percent to 4.30 percent, but extend the life of the 2004 and 2005 bonds two additional years to 2034. While it ultimately adds about $3.8 million in debt service after refinancing, it allows the city to realize short-term savings of $3.3 million this fiscal year and $3.3 million in fiscal Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said that the council’s decision to refinance its bond debt will help stave off water year 2012. and sewer bill hikes. The city’s debt-service ratio requires it to maintain $1.20 in its water and sewer fund for every Aug. 2 and said ‘we aren’t going to pay our $1 it has in bond debt service. If the city vio- debts’ that would be very bad for the bond lates the debt-service ratio, it could poten- market and bond holders,” Brown said. tially prevent the city from obtaining bonds He likened the city’s debt restructurin the future. ing to refinancing a home: As along as inState Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, terest rates are fixed, it can be a viable move an investment adviser at Medley & Brown for the city. Bingham said that the city’s LLC, said if Congress defaults on its debt, it rate of 4.30 percent is fixed and would only would have negative consequences for mu- change if the city chooses to refinance its nicipal bonds. DEBT see page 7 “If the U.S. government got down to
“I’m not sure that I’ll even take sides in the primaries. If Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels had run, I would have been for him. There’s nobody else I feel that strongly about,”—Gov. Haley Barbour about his decision to not endorse any Republican candidates for president in 2012.
Wednesday, July 13 Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. announces a new “Jobs for Jacksonians” program in his State of the City address. … A credit-rating agency Moody’s puts the United States’ credit rating on review for a possible downgrade.
LeNell Waldrup Dogan became the first female sheriff in Tallahatchie County in 1964. Her husband Ellett Rice Dogan was sheriff at the time, and he persuaded his wife to run to continue an 83-year tradition of Dogans in the sheriff’s office.
Barbara Dunn wants to keep her job as Hinds Circuit Clerk. p8
City of What? W
ith Hinds County diving into a rebranding effort this week, we thought a little Jackson rebranding was in order. Here’s our take on how some might re-position the capital city if they could.
Ben Allen Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. Gannett Corp. John McGowan Rev. C.J. Rhodes Kenny Stokes Chokwe Lumumba Quentin Whitwell Chief Rebecca Coleman Julie Skipper Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler Kamikaze
Copy-cat City New City Most violent, third-world city Oil City Beloved City Chocolate City People’s City Republican City Safe City Chic City Queen City Kamikaze City
news, culture & irreverence
DEBT from page 6
debt again in the future. Council members spent more than an hour asking Bingham and bond attorney Steve Edds questions about potential risks the deal would have on the city’s financial future. In the end, the council voted unanimously to approve the deal, with Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes absent. The restructuring also takes pressure
off the city to increase resident’s water or sewer bills. “This is not a guarantee that we won’t have a rate increase, but they don’t have to be as drastic as they would if we had not done the deal,” Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said. “It would have put our infrastructures repairs on hold and potentially put us in violation of our own ordinance that requires us to have 120 percent coverage on our debt. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
August 6th at 9 a.m.
“As yet, it’s unclear when those funding opportunities might resume,” Mazurak said in an email. Numerous businesses such as Belhaven University, UMMC, The Jackson Medical Mall Foundation, Entergy and Baptist Health Systems are supporting the endeavor.
New Development The Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership announced last week the launch of a five-mile long development linking Interstate 55 to Interstate 220. The Partnership intends the Mississippi Healthcare Corridor to include expansion and redevelopment of Hawkins Field, the development of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s projected biomedical research centers, and a host of new health-care institutions. The development, which is in its infancy stages and does not have a time line for completion or funding sources, will also include neighborhood redevelopment, as well as hotels, restaurants and “night life.” One of the springboards for the project, UMMC’s bio-medical research center, which is proposed for the space now occupied by the old farmer’s market, is on hold for the moment while the university gathers more funding, according to UMMC spokesman, Jack Mazurak. Mazurak said Congress cut federal earmarks identified for the project earlier this year.
Branding Hinds County Hinds County will hold the following public meetings during a three-day process to brand the county.
rookings Institution’s new MetroMonitor says Jackson’s robust hospital-based economy, its universities and its role as a seat of government helped rank it No. 11 among the nation’s strongest metro economies, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. “Employment in the Jackson metro peaked in the fourth quarter of 2007. Gross metropolitan product in the second quarter was down 3.8 percent from the peak in the third quarter of 2008. Home prices grew 2.8 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period a year earlier. And the unemployment rate in June was 7.9 percent, up 1.5 points from a year earlier,” Bloomberg reported. The metro area ranked No. 19 for job growth, and its home prices appeared to remain stable. Bloomberg reports that unemployment hit major cities last. Jackson ranked No. 1 in terms of unemployment change with a relatively stable employment picture.
Circle of circa. Vintage arts and crafts store circa. Urban Artisan Living nabbed Niche Magazine’s 2011 Top Retailer award in social networking. The national fine-art gallery and retail magazine offers an award for the retailer using best social networking or viral marketing, which reflects circa.’s extensive use of Facebook and Twitter to promote their latest offerings. “To win national recognition after being open for such a short time and for simply doing what we love is phenomenal,” stated Circa owner Craig Escude in Jackson publication Find it in Fondren.
Wednesday June 20 • 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m., Clinton Visitor’s Center (1300 Pinehaven Road, Clinton) • 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Terry Community Center (Cunningham Street at Village Square, Terry) • 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m., Eudora Welty Library, Ellen Douglas Room, (300 N. State St.) Thursday June 22 • 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., Eagle Ridge Conference Center (1500 Raymond Lake Road, Raymond) • 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m., Charles Tisdale Public Library, Teen Study Center, (807 E. Northside Drive) Friday June 23 Presentation of brand schema • 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Mississippi e-Center, Oklahoma Room, (1230 Raymond Road)
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Saturdays July 16th, 23rd and 30th 9:30 a.m. 408 Monroe St., Clinton 601-624-6356
Saturdays July 16th and 23rd 9:30 a.m. Northeast YMCA 601-709-3760
Saturdays July 16th, 23rd and 30th 11 a.m. 7048 Old Canton Road 601-613-4317
Saturdays July 16th, 23rd, 30th 12 p.m. 3025 North State Street 601-594-2313
Tuesdays July 19th and 26th 7:15 p.m. 665 Duling Ave. 601-209-6325
Wednesdays July 20th, 27th 10 a.m. 408 Monroe St., Clinton 601-624-6356
Yoga for Non-Violence | mscvp.org
Jackson Ranks as ‘Strongest Economy’ by Adam Lynch
Benefitting The Center for Violence Prevention
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arbara Dunn wakes up at 4 a.m. every day, makes a cup of coffee, watches the news and then heads to the Hinds County Circuit Clerkâ€™s office where she prepares breakfast for her employees. Sheâ€™s been doing this for 27 years, ever since she was first elected circuit clerk. In the mid-1970s, Dunnâ€™s south Jackson neighbor, an election commissioner, asked her to volunteer and file paperwork in the clerkâ€™s office. Shortly after, the mother of six started working as a deputy clerk. Dunn, 74, calls her employees â€œfamily.â€? Many have worked in the office for more than 10 years. The circuit clerkâ€™s duties include filing lawsuits and indictments, qualifying juries, issuing marriage licenses and registering citizens to vote. Dunn, a Democrat, faces Vickie Mumford in the primary election. Mumford has openly criticized Dunn because the Mississippi Supreme Court fined Dunn for clerical errors in February 2010. In April 2011, the court issued another sanction against Dunn for paying the fine from a clerkâ€™s account instead of writing a personal check. Dunn has since repaid the fine from her private account. What are your accomplishments as circuit clerk? When I first came here, we didnâ€™t have a computer. We had nothing on computers. We had just begun talking about data processing. No one knew anything about computers in 1984. I brought the office from carbon paper to computerization. What makes this election cycle different from previous years? Four years ago Vickie (Mumford) ran against me. Last time, she was on the street corner with a tambourine getting attention. She didnâ€™t know much about me then. This time, she has nailed me to the cross. Every time she gets the chance, she just batters me everywhere.
I understand that the Mississippi Supreme Court fined you $5,000 last year for your officeâ€™s clerical errors. A clerk failed to send an attorney a copy of an order. That attorney went to the (Mississippi) Supreme Court because we messed up his appeal timeâ€” which can really be undone. Because I am the clerk I take that responsibility. The Supreme Court came down with an order to pay a $5,000 fine, and if I could show them that I made improvements, then they said they would lower the fine. Well, I (get paid from the fee account). That fee money is my (discretionary) money until the end of the year. I wrote a check out of that account. But they said no, I couldnâ€™t do that. What is a fee account? Attorneys come in here and file a lawsuit. That is the fee to pay to file the lawsuit. Thatâ€™s how I get my money and pay my people. They still have not reduced the fine. But sometimes something bad makes something good come out of it. I am now on an emailing system, and the attorneys are jubilant. So you are emailing attorneys their court orders? Yes. And you maintain that the check did not come from your officeâ€™s budget? I donâ€™t have a budget. Well, my officeâ€™s budget is like $50,000 a year. I canâ€™t buy materials for $50,000. My fee money is my big money that I pay my people with. ... All that comes out of the fee account. When will all the filings be available online? With e-filing, the Administrative Offices of Courts is starting with Chancery Court before they start with us.
Hinds County Circuit Clerk Barbara Dunn has spent the last 27 years as the countyâ€™s circuit clerk.
I talked to (state Supreme Court Justice) Bill Waller and said, â€œBill, you are doing Chancery Court before us. This is not going to help me.â€? â€Ś He got up on TV in December and said e-filing was going to happen after the first of the year. We donâ€™t have it, yet. Seven or eight years ago, we had an e-filing system with a company, and the Supreme Court turned us down. What was it like raising six children and working a full-time job? It was during the time that drugs hit the high schools so hard. Iâ€™ve been through everything with six children. I had two runaways. â€Ś That gave me an out. I needed that rather than being at home. We just went through some terrible times at home. The job was a lifesaver for me. Iâ€™m sure you know where everything is in the office because you have been here so long, huh? Let me tell you. I was at the counter one day, and there was some afternoon mail that was very little. I opened it and file stamped it. The next day my staff said, â€œPlease donâ€™t do that anymore.â€? I think I file stamped stuff that didnâ€™t need to be file stamped. ... My office is like a big family. There are lots of big families with 12 or 13 people in them, and thatâ€™s how I feel. See more candidate interviews at www. jfp.ms/politics.
July 20 - 26, 2011
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Travels With Chickens COURTESY DANIEL DOYLE AND THE G-6
bus and drove more than 700 miles to retrieve it from Alabama. Other MSMS students helped them clean the bus and fix it up. During spring break they brought the bus to Glenn’s house in Moss Point, where they made more renovations. They gutted the interior to install bunk beds and stapled-down carpet. Then, the bus was put on the back burner until the summer The Farm on Wheels is traveling cross-country as an when they began working example of sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyles. with Daniel Doyle to convert the bus into a greenhouse. Doyle was one of t started out as a typical yellow school Glenn’s former teachers at MSMS. He heads bus. When six Mississippi teens were Gaining Ground’s North Central Missisdone with it, the bus had turned into sippi chapter and runs a farm and grocery a colorful “Farm on Wheels,” with a delivery system in Oxford. A few days becheery agricultural scene along the side fore graduation, he pointed the young men topped with puffy clouds and even a rain- toward the Gaining Ground Sustainability bow or two. Oh, and it now runs on veg- Institute of Mississippi, a non-profit group etable oil instead of gasoline, and a chicken in Starkville, which promotes eco-friendly coop is among its new features. living. Gaining Ground was already planThe 2011 Mississippi School of Math ning a farm on wheels for an educational and Science graduates, all 18 and known tool. The group agreed to help sponsor the collectively as G-6, or Green-Six are: Bob- boys’ road trip if they would use the bus by Glenn of Moss Point, Daniel Eisler of to educate people about a sustainable, ecoOcean Springs, Tyler Crutcher of Senato- friendly lifestyle. bia, Ryan Chapman of Brandon, Sterling They then converted their bus engine Harper of Gautier and David Liang of to bio-diesel. It takes an ounce of gasoline Cleveland. They set out to share the perks to start it up, and then the boys switch the of eco-friendly living. engine over to run solely on vegetable oil. “We wanted the road trip to be epic,” The 1990 model school bus holds two large Glenn said with a slow grin. tanks of vegetable oil. The original plan was to convert an By June 26, the Green 6 crew finished old school bus to run on vegetable oil and a base layer of paint and was already showdrive it around the country as their senior ing off the bus in Oxford. Two Oxford arttrip. In the spring, Harper read an article ists, Wendy Hansen and Andi Bedsworth, in Momentum, Mississippi State Univer- painted a radiant mural. sity’s engineering magazine, about MSU The G-6 adapted the bus to house students with a bio-diesel bus that ran on themselves, a garden of figs, strawberries, vegetable oil and was inspired. blueberries, and a coop full of chickens “The idea stuck with us,” Harper said. hatched on the bus. At each stop, the hens “We did not want to go broke over gas.” will be able to go through the back door The friends purchased a 1990 school and forage inside a portable fence.
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The group took the bus on a test run through Mississippi. Their first stop was at Fondren after 5 on July 7. The next week, they stopped at the Starkville Community Market and the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point. The state test tour included Hattiesburg and Oxford. On the national tour, they visited the Grand Canyon and will travel through California. They plan to visit Washington, Colorado, Montana, Illinois and Tennessee. Now, there are three bunk beds in a “U” shape at the rear of the bus. They also have electricity set up to charge laptops and cell phones as well as a monitor for movies and video games. They built an irrigation system that channels rain water to the small garden. A worm compost bin provides natural fertilizer for the plants. A solar panel is installed on the bus to provide electricity, as is a retractable awning for shade and shelter from the rain. The purpose of the garden is to educate visitors—especially children—that homegrown food tends to be cleaner and healthier than food from a grocery store. The children will get to taste first-hand an organic fruit. The presence of plump, happy hens will be a far cry from the disease-ridden, sleep-deprived chickens in overcrowded coops on commercial farms. “You know how the kids get gathered up to go to museums and such? Well, I thought, ‘Why not make a mobile farm instead?’ I wanted to bring the farm to the kids instead of taking kids to the farm,” Doyle said. Next, the bus returns to Oxford in August where it will become a greenhouse, complete with trees and bushes. The bunk beds will be removed to make more room for plants and free-range chickens. Glenn plans to intern with Gaining Ground by driving the bus around on another nationwide tour after the final conversion. To support and donate to the Farm on Wheels and to see a schedule of stops, visit msmobilefarm.com. Brianna Robinson contributed to this story. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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by Meryl Dakin
Job Trainer Loses Job FILE PHOTO
Public schools do more than educate children. They measure a city’s pride. They reflect community. They predict the social and economic well-being of a city’s future. For 20 years, Parents for Public Schools of Jackson has worked to keep our public schools strong, to empower parents as leaders for positive change, and to engage community support of our public schools.
Join us. For our city. For our children. For our future.
Founding Chapter, Parents for Public Schools, 1989 200 N. Congress, Suite 500, Jackson, MS 39201
Mississippi Sickle Cell Foundation
2011 Celebrity Roast Honoring Dr. Rathi Iyer
July 20 - 26, 2011
Friday, August 5
Silent Auction & Cocktail Hour: 6:00pm Roast: 7:00pm Jackson Country Club 345 Saint Andrews Drive $75 per person
ne month ago, Machelle Kyles was busy preparing to train another wave of job seekers at Floridabased Paxen Learning Corp.’s office in Jackson. Now, the former program coordinator is job-hunting herself. She got the word June 28. “Our performance managers were over the top, so we were very hopeful to be renewed,” she said. “Then I got a phone call saying that we were going to close on the 30th.” Paxen had a contract with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, one of many private work development programs throughout the state. The Paxen program Mississippi Forward March-About Face trains men and women of all ages in areas such as GED preparation and career readiness. Most of its funding, however, came from the federal stimulus package—grants in amounts of $500,000 and $300,000— which ran out at the end of June. In Mississippi, Paxen also received $200,000 from the Workforce Initiative Act, or WIA. The federal government allots funds through the WIA to states to increase workers’ job readiness and retention. WIA provides the framework for Mississippi’s Workforce Initiative Network, or WIN, which has 55 job centers around the state. LaRaye Brown, MDES communications department manager, said they simply had to respond to the shortage of federal funds this year. “We provide money for anything as money is available,” she said. “We are happy to participate in training programs; however, if we don’t have stimulus money we can’t fund those things.” Kyles said she was surprised to find out Paxen was closing, as they exceeded expectations for the year. Still, she knew there was the chance the office would close. “Our benchmark requirement was 54 people in job placements, and we
placed 74 people,” she said. “We had major success stories that were published in the MDES newsletter. … There was a glimmer of hope that we’d be renewed.” Now, the single mother of two is taking classes at Belhaven University toward her master of science in leadership to prepare herself for another job in work-force development. “I have a passion for economics in Mississippi and putting our people back to work, so that’s what I want to go into,” she said. “I have faith that something will come up.” Kyles isn’t the only one in workforce development left jobless. Faced with a $6 million shortfall, MDES had to terminate 40 workers. A MDES news release said those 40 laid-off workers could apply for the 30 anticipated jobs in the agency that will open up when other employees retire or leave their positions. “We’re disappointed to lose team members, but this is a very necessary step to maintain the financial health of our organization,” MDES Executive Director Les Range said in a press release. “We’re encouraging team members to apply for the openings we’re announcing.” The federal government had to cut funds in the Workforce Investment Act and MDES also saw a reduction in the temporary funding from Hurricane Katrina aid and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As for the rest of Mississippi’s job seekers, programs are still available to help them find employment, Kyles said. On her last day in the office, the phone was ringing off the hook from people trying to enroll in their GED Accelerator program. She referred them to some of Paxen’s affiliates, including continuing education programs at Jackson State University and Hinds Community College. Jackson’s WIN job center is located on 5959 Interstate 55 and can be reached at 601-321-7931. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Adam Lynch
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley says ratepayers should not have to foot the bill for utility companies’ private jet flights.
Presley said he is eager to hear utility companies’ reaction to the proposal. “They’ll probably whine and moan and talk about their poor, pitiful lavish jet that they need customers to pay for, but the
bottom line is if they’re going to fly around in luxury they need to pay for it and not ask the customers to pay for it,” Presley said. Posey, who agreed to set the hearing, said Presley is making political hay out of a non-issue. “Contrary to popular belief, we’re tight as hell on aircraft travel. We’ve been tough on these guys. We’ve made the staff tighten it up some,” said Posey, who added that the staff knew to pull the $900,000 request based upon the PSC’s stringent policies. “We’ve been that way for a pretty good little while,” he said. “All we’re doing is making it formal by putting it on paper.” Posey said that Entergy Mississippi, one of the state’s two major power suppliers, does not try to claim reimbursement for private jet travel, leaving only one major company with access to personal jets. “You’re basically talking about Mississippi Power, and I don’t know what they’re going to object to because it’s no more than we’ve been doing now,” he said. “We’re not going to allow anything more than what it could cost on a common carrier, but if it doesn’t cost any more to fly private than it does on a regular airplane then there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the basic philosophy that’s always been in place there.”
Presley said utility companies should not look for ratepayers to foot the bill for jet travel. “Some of the best service and rates in this state come from power associations like our rural co-ops like Tombigbee Electric Power Association, and you won’t find one of them with a corporate jet.” Mississippi Power spokeswoman Cindy Duvall refused comment, saying the company respected the commission’s decision but will address the issue during the September hearing. Virden Jones, director of MPSC sister agency Mississippi Public Utilities Staff, told the JFP that Mississippi is the only state that does not allow corporate aircraft costs to be inserted into rates. The JFP filed a request this week for PSC documents detailing the costs of airfare ratepayers have financed over the last five years both for private jet travel and commercial flights. Jones said Mississippi Power Co.—the only state utility company that he said requests air travel reimbursement—had filed that information confidentially with the PSC. Jones said he would need permission from the company to release the information to the public. Jones had no answer at press time. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
PA I D A DV E RT I S E M E N T
f there’s one thing a Mississippian knows, it’s how to survive the summer heat. It’s not called a Blizzard for nothing; Dairy Queen has a surefire way to cool down on a hot day. It wasn’t the Blizzard, however, that skyrocketed Dairy Queen to fame. It was sale of a then-unnamed product on August 4, 1938, in Kankakee, Illinois, that put DQ in the spotlight. A father and son in the mix plant business in Green River, Illinois, had been experimenting with a soft frozen dairy product when they contacted a good friend and acustomer who agreed to run an “all you can eat” trial sale at his ice cream store. Two hours and over 1,600 servings later, success was just a scoop away.
Pre-World War II food franchising was unheard of. The new dairy product’s potential made it a natural for such a business. When the US entered WWII, there were less than 10 Diary Queen stores. However, after the War in 1947, 100 stores had opened. That number grew to 1,446 in 1950 and to over 2,600 in 1955. Today, there are over 5,900 restaurants in the US, Canada, and 20 foreign countries. What sets Dairy Queen apart from most fast food chains is that as a locally owned franchise, they are committed to the communities they occupy. Dairy Queen has been a proud sponsor of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 1984. For the past 27 years, Dairy Queen franchises throughout the US and Canada have raised more than $86 million for CMN Hospitals. Because Dairy Queen believes in investing in the youth of its communities, many DQ operators offer tours of their restaurants to kids in grades 1-4. These tours teach students about how the facility operated and more importantly, the values of cleanliness and hard work. But don’t make the mistake that Dairy Queen is only good for dessert. From fresh chicken strips to chicken sandwiches, salads to hamburgers, there isn’t much on the menu that won’t satisfy. Want to have a party that really takes the cake? Serve one of Dairy Queen’s specialty cakes and really get the party started. Of course, with so many cakes to choose from, do you really need a reason to party? From the Dilly to the Buster, Blizzard to Sundae, anytime is a good time for a sweet treat to cool you down on a hot Mississippi afternoon.
corporate utility wants to charge private jet expenses to ratepayers, and Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley wants to forbid it. “Corporate utilities should not be able to pass along the costs of flying private jets to their customers,” Presley told the Jackson Free Press. “Mississippi customers shouldn’t have to pay for lavish jet-setting by corporations. If they want to fly around, they should pay for it themselves.” Presley proposed the rule after learning prior to the commission’s July 7 meeting that commission staff had removed from the PSC docket a $900,000 reimbursement request from Mississippi Power Co. for one year of corporate jet expenses. Presley then trotted out a rule discouraging making such requests in the first place. “I felt it was time to set a rule that says, ‘No corporate jet expenses,’” Presley said. “The only thing we’ll pay for is the commercial coach rate, and you’ve got to justify the trip and the occupant.” Central District Commissioner Lynn Posey and Southern District Commissioner Leonard Bentz agreed to Presley’s proposition and set a hearing on the matter for Sept. 8.
Utility Co. Wants $900,000 for Jet Fare
opining, grousing & pontificating
It’s Up to Us to ‘Rebrand’ City
his week, in preparation for our big Jackpedia student/newcomer guide in August, we asked Facebook friends to share the city’s “best-kept secrets” to include them in Jackpedia (and at jackpedia.com). One smart aleck responded immediately: “don’t leave your keys in your vehicle, nor running in certain areas, be careful, very careful, fasten your seat belt. PRAY!” (sic). How tired we get of crime sensationalism and obsession, and how much such foolish rhetoric has hurt our city. It has spread for all kinds of reasons, and usually becomes over the top and rampant during campaign seasons—the more local the campaign, the more disgusting it gets. Why? Because too many fool politicos believe that you run for office and become a “leader” by constantly whining about the guy or gal who’s in there and talking down the city. The message, somehow, is supposed to become that the (mayor, supervisor, council member, sheriff, etc.) is the reason that crimes happen. (Yes, the whiners are insulting your intelligence, especially in one of the country’s most povertyridden, poorly educated states.) The corporate media then lap it up and spit it back out—leading their papers and newscasts with one crime incident after another, more focused on scaring people into tuning in or subscribing to their rag than in actually being responsible citizens. And they seldom show interest in actual crime trends, causes and context, the understanding of which can help citizens to actually do something about it. Progress, for these folks, is not the priority. We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re headed into one of those horrendous election cycles. Brace yourself, and reject the hype. Tell the candidate to stop complaining about incumbents and answer real questions: “What are you going to do for the city, state or nation? Give me specifics.” Meantime, an effort to “rebrand” Hinds County is coming to fruition this week. We encourage you to attend at least one of the meetings and give your input. In the past, we’ve criticized some of the frantic hype about U.S. Census figures indicating the “news” that Jackson had lost population in a decade (actually, the news was that population losses had slowed in the last decade, but that’s the kind of context that doesn’t fit into hysterical frames, so it’s ignored). We hope good things come out of this campaign, and applaud folks like Blake Wallace of the Hinds County Economic Development Authority and Bob Wilson of the Mississippi Main Street Association for their hard work and for keeping the public involved and informed about the meetings. We urge each of you to attend and speak up. (See times and locations on page 7.) Ultimately, though, the branding of the metro is up to each of us: Call out the negativity, demand better of candidates, and reject media and politicians that hawk the negative.
July 20 - 26, 20110
iss Doodle Mae: “Jojo, our fearless leader, keeps his workers informed about current events. Before Jojo opens the doors of his discount dollar store to the public, he makes sure that all staff members watch at least 15 minutes of morning news headlines and updates, followed by a brief question, answer and personal concerns session. This morning, a new staff member was worried about the government’s debt issue and how customers from the Ghetto Science community will be affected. Jojo did his best to address the new employee’s concerns.” Jojo: “Our poor and middle-class customers should understand what their government is experiencing. This crucial situation could be a great lesson for our congressmen and senators, for they will go through what every poor and middle-class citizen experiences when the bill collector calls. Perhaps this financial dilemma could be a teachable moment about showing grace toward the financially troubled working class. For the sake of the nation, I hope our politicians and government will have enough sense to raise the debt ceiling or make some payment arrangements with the debtors. “In the meantime, it’s up to us to be positive and continue a good relationship with our loyal customers by honoring the Jojo’s Discount Dollar Store slogan: ‘In the ghetto, everything is everything, but, at Jojo’s, everything will always be a dollar.’” Miss Doodle Mae: “Should our government default on its debt, Jojo’s Discount Dollar Store will continue to make life affordable for its disappointed, disfranchised and desperate customers.”
cringed when I heard the president utter the words. As his quote was continuously bandied about the Internet, I became even more disappointed. Barack Obama had become the very thing that he tried so hard to convince us he was not. In a Lebron James-type “you have to return to your mediocre lives” moment, Obama may have lost some supporters. The president referred to himself and other lawmakers as “professional politicians.” That may not mean much to you; in fact, some of you may agree. But to me, they are curse words. And as far as Jackson goes, they are a major problem. These days, “professional politicians” rule our city—hell, our country. Why isn’t it a good idea? Because professional politicians have little or no real-world dealings and oftentimes lose touch with the very constituents they serve. It’s like a bad marriage where a couple stays together “for the kids,” or because they’re in too much debt to separate. Political experience simply does not always translate to “people” scenarios, and we need to begin thinking more carefully. Sure, you want your barber, your electrician, your mechanic to be good at that one thing, but if you’ve ever wondered why some things that occur in government seem nonsensical, it’s because those running it are doing what’s most expedient to save themselves. I imagine that when this country was formed, the Constitution was written with the
idea that Congress and the president would be “of the people”—offices held by regular people for limited periods of time. Term limits prevent presidents and some governors from growing roots; however, term limits don’t apply to mayors, council persons, supervisors, congressmen and the like. After nearly every Jackson election, our “new” council is our “old” council. Our “new” supervisors are the “old” supervisors, and even the “new” mayor is the “old” mayor. Honestly, if you can’t make an impact in an office in eight years, then you need to move on. So why are we expecting new results again? I’m sure Obama used the term because of the frustrating debt talks. Perhaps he was having a bad day. But the commonly held belief that politicians are smarter, more enlightened, or more important than you or me is poppycock. The notion that you or I aren’t “experienced” enough is equally ridiculous to me. Good old common sense, a love of the people and the ability to stand your ground are all that’s needed to make a good public servant. Professional politicians thrive on disenfranchised voters. They live off ignorance and apathy. Until we react at the ballot box, or until someone passes a blanket term-limits bill, we’ll forever have folks who are pros at holding office. My question then becomes: Are you there for the people or for the position, prestige and a secure paycheck? And that’s the truth ... sho-nuff.
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Do Unto Others
wake up feeling gratitude every day for so many things. I have my health. I have a job that pays my bills and allows me to help others who are in crisis. I have a roof over my head and reliable transportation. I live in a neighborhood I love. I have a supportive family and a network of close friends. I believe it is vital to our well-being to view life from the positive side, and to be thankful every day for the simple things we have. Love and faith lead to dramatic transformation in our lives. As a newly single woman, I have faced my share of struggles in the past six months. I have no financial safety net right now. Iâ€™m wrestling with debt, figuring where I can make cuts and where I canâ€™t; however, I know everything will work out for the best. I have learned to embrace faith as my greatest asset. I firmly believe that it is not too late to rebuild and reinvent my life, on my own terms. I know I am not the only one out there dealing with uncertainty. So many people who were having a hard time when the economy was booming are facing an even worse situation today. Unemployment is high. So is the cost of living. I am finally getting used to the increase in grocery prices. I have to wonder what life is like for people living on a fixed income. Have they had to cut back on food? Turn the heater down and bundle up? Turn the air conditioner to 80 degrees and get a box fan? I am fortunate I havenâ€™t had to resort to drastic measures to stay afloat. I know others arenâ€™t so lucky. Our nation is struggling, too. Two costly wars and a financial bailout on top of a recession that is nowhere near the end have taken their toll. The people of our nation and our representatives are sharply divided on the solution to our deficit. People are angry and fearful. The situation has pitted people against one another and brought out the worst in many. One only has to log on to YouTube to view a plethora of videos showing people viciously attackingâ€”physically and verballyâ€”people with an opposing viewpoint. What has happened to the free exchange of ideas in our country? Have we become so crazed with fear that anyone
8:30 a.m. A Service of Word and Table who has a different idea on how we should tackle our problems becomes the object of wrath and ridicule? Apparently, our representatives are turning their own fear and frustrations on the very people they were elected to serveâ€”and aiming it at Social Security and Medicare. Last week, I signed three petitions demanding that Social Security and Medicare cuts be taken off the table. Why does the government feel entitled to our money? And, yes, thatâ€™s our money. We paid it in. Now, our benefits are on the table to be cut. Iâ€™m not an economist or a brilliant mathematician, but wouldnâ€™t cuts to Social Security at this time simply add to the numbers of people living at or below the poverty line? Can we really make a cut to Medicare at this time and have a viable health-care system? Will cutbacks to the funding of our infrastructures prove to be sustainable in the long run, or will we, 10 years from now, be scrambling to make repairs to roads and bridges we canâ€™t safely drive on? Representatives, can we count on you to take off your partisan hats long enough to roll up your sleeves and work together to come up with solutions that everyone can live with? Fellow constituents, can we set aside our differences and make our solutions known to our representatives? This is not the time to be angry or despondent. We must have faith in our ingenuity and resilience, and recognize each other as members of a larger community. It will take a multifaceted approach to solve our complex problems. The actions we take today to repair our flagging economy will have lasting effects for us all. We should be sure we can live with the end results. I cannot in good conscience support austerity measures that will impoverish our most vulnerable citizens. Can you? Letâ€™s do unto others as we would do unto ourselves. Award-winning columnist Casey Purvis is a Fondrenite who loves planting flowers and watching the birds in her backyard. She is a sucker for a suspenseful movie or thought-provoking documentary. She is owned by Phoebe, a 9-year-old Lhasa apso. She works as a nurse in her spare time.
I am fortunate I havenâ€™t had to resort to drastic measures to stay afloat. I know others arenâ€™t so lucky.
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