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August 17 - 23, 2011
August 17 - 23, 2011
9 N O . 49
contents COURTESY OF IBC
8 Creative Dollars Creative pursuits and the people who support them bring money to Mississippi. ELIZABETH WAIBEL
Cover layout by Kristin Brenemen
People who experience poverty simulations learn what it’s like under the poverty line. COURTESY KEESHEA PRATT
ruthie taylor happens, she says, angling the spotlights, styling the costumes, and designing and placing the background and props to combine it all into a fantastical show experience. If students are not gifted thespians, they can explore the technical side of stagecraft and learn the different roles behind the scenes. Taylor, 24, also coaches the middleschool speech and debate team and is one of three coaches for the high school team. With her direction, the students find confidence and eloquence through public speaking, debating and story-telling in middle school. The team has made trips as far away as Boston, Mass., for national debate competitions. In addition to teaching, Taylor plays bass in the rock group Swamp Babies. Josh Taylor, her high school sweetheart and husband, is the band’s lead singer and guitarist. Ryan Baucum, a longtime friend of the couple, plays the drums in the group. The Swamp Babies have been playing locally for about a year, performing original songs as well as some rock ‘n’ roll covers. They performed in her neighborhood at Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights last Saturday. “It was a fun, well-attended event,” she says. “We actually finished the evening by playing at Ole Tavern.” Taylor was pleased to see that her friends and their children had fun listening to their music. —Callie Daniels
32 Op to Pop Keeshea Pratt brings her classical training to bear in her singing and acting career.
41 Vows and Drums Kiwana and Lorenzo Gayden make their wedding ceremony a mix of cultures and traditions.
Ruthie Taylor teaches middle-school classes in theater production where she helps students from fifth to eighth grade find themselves through the characters in plays and through the different functions needed to bring a production to the stage. “Middle school is a tough time to grow up,” she says. “I want to give the students an outlet for their energy.” As many Mississippian do, Taylor returned to her hometown of Jackson last year from studying 1,256 miles away at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Since April, Taylor has been working as a theater teacher for the middle school at her alma mater, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Ridgeland. She attended St. Andrew’s from third grade until her graduation in 2005. Taylor came full circle, back to the source of her lifelong passion. “I want to give back to the program that inspired me,” Taylor says. With actors, artists and musicians in her family, artistic talent runs in her blood. She discovered a channel for her talent in St. Andrew’s theater department when she was in middle school and graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in theater studies (with honors) in 2009. She prefers to stage manage the school’s musicals and plays from backstage. Taylor knows that theater is more than just the actors up front. She wants to be where the real magic
4 ............. Editor’s Note 4 ................... Slowpoke 6 .......................... Talks 12 ................... Editorial 12 .................... Stiggers 13 .................. Opinion 26 ............... Diversions 28 ....................... Books 29 ..................... 8 Days 30 .............. JFP Events 32 ....................... Music 33 ......... Music Listings 35 ...................... Sports 36 ................. Astrology 37 ........................ Food 41 ................... Hitched 42 ......... FLY Shopping
Elizabeth Waibel Cub reporter Elizabeth Waibel grew up in Clinton. In May, she received her journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tenn. She likes coffee and trying new cake recipes. She wrote the cover story.
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 contributed to the cover package.
Andrea Thomas 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.
Sadaaf Mamoon Editorial Intern Sadaaf Mamoon is a senior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She loves film scores, Greek mythology, and naming inanimate objects. Her spirit animal is a pink fairy armadillo. She wrote an arts and a music story.
Mike & Mateo Jacome The dynamic father-son duo Mike and Mateo Jacome enjoy Cub Scouts, tacos and fighting for the affection of the woman they both love. They live by the motto of, “With great power comes great responsibility.” They wrote the book dish.
Rose Pendleton Rose Pendleton is a bitter yet naive girl from Delaware trying to make it in the world and ends up falling over herself in the process. Rose loves video games, long walks on the beach and anything associated with food. She wrote Hitched.
Bryan Flynn Sports writer Bryan Flynn is a Mississippi native who resides in Richland. When not writing for the JFP, he writes a blog, playtowinthegame.com. He lives with his wife and their four cats. He wrote a sports story.
August 17 - 23, 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
Of Anger and Alternative Endings
hen I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to be a civil-rights attorney. I had visions of righting the kinds of wrongs done in my hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. I only learned about the murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner by people my family knew when I was 14, even though they happened when I was 3. I had grown up amid air saturated with the N-word, disparaging comments about people in the “N*gger Quarters” (not to mention on the Choctaw reservation), and hearing all the fearful things about crime and rape that bigots tell to justify their putrid ideas. When I finally found out about “the murders,” I was angry. I cried in bed at night at the horrors I read about in newspaper archives, wanting to turn back time and do something about it. I could imagine myself then, using my brain and my sass to change things. If I had only been there then, I used to fantasize, maybe I could have convinced people to do right. I would have had the nerve, I told myself. I can imagine myself alongside Florence Mars as she held the American flag rigid in salute of Martin Luther King Jr. as he marched through town with her fellow whites flinging bottles and driving cars into the marchers. I picture myself as an intern to white newspaper owner/editor Hazel Brannon Smith as she worked in her Northside Reporter office, defying the white establishment in editorials that would win her a Pulitzer Prize even as whites boycotted her business. So I get it that Kathryn Stockett probably had an ache in her heart when she wrote “The Help.” She grew up amid the white wealth and power of Jackson, the heart and financial power of the Citizens Council in the 1960s. The big differences between us, I expect, is that I knew more former Klansmen and she knew former Citizen Councilors. Oh, and her family could afford maids to raise their kids. But if there was one thing I learned over the years—as I dropped out of law school to ultimately follow the trail Brannon Smith blazed here—it is that you can’t change history. As much as we ache for a different past where our families and their families were less cruel to “the other,” we cannot simply rewrite it. Only the truth, indeed, can set us free. When I read “The Help” two years ago (I couldn’t put it down) and watched the film last Saturday (which made me laugh and cry), I could feel the pain of another white 40something Mississippian who wants to make it all better. She’s pining for a happier ending for our state, and she’s using her talents to make it so. Did she intentionally write a fairy tale? Certainly, her tale is infused with bits of truth about the horror of the time for black women and tragedy of white women raised to love, hate and abuse them all at the same time. But those nuggets are, seemingly, uninformed by voices of real black women, from former maids (like the one suing her) to female intellectuals like bell hooks and, now, Melissa
Perry Harris, who can teach us if we’ll just listen. I’m still learning, but my pilgrimage to seek, study and listen to African American voices has taught me to see what is wrong with “art” like “Mississippi Burning,” “Ghosts of Mississippi,” “Blind Side” and “The Help.” Those films, which taken together define everything many people know about the black freedom movement, start and end poorly, even if there is some level of truth within. The films aren’t a problem because, as too many whites complain, “they make the South look bad” or “dredge up the past.” Face it, white southerners made the South look bad: Our forebears were horrifying when they joined together to defend their white-supremacist way of life by any means necessary. The movies are a problem because they dredge up a white version of a much more complicated past (and present) rich with courageous black heroes finding the faith and courage to reclaim a family structure destroyed by slavery, and ultimately changing this nation. But Hollywood seems to believe it takes a white hero saving poor blacks to sell the story. An occasional film like that would be fine—it did happen, too—but it is an injustice when only a victim narrative breaks through. For me as a hell-raising white woman, “The Help” bothers me even more. I love the strong women in it, but I know our history well enough to see how the movie’s naive ending softens our history for newer generations. The story touches on the Citizens Council and Medgar Ever’s murder by a Citizens Councilor, but viewers will not know just how entrenched Jackson was in 1963-64. Bill Simmons, the head of the Citizens Councils of America, used to spread race hated from his Fairview Street home before it became an inn.
He used to say he knew where every white person in Jackson stood on the race question. That meant whites here had two choices: go along with the Council or live in fear of economic or violent retribution. “Help” viewers will not know that taxpayers (including blacks) paid for the Sovereignty Commission, which would spy on “agitators” (including a white gas station owner in Philadelphia who let a black man use his bathroom) and file “intelligence” reports. Then upstanding whites (not just Kluckers) used the information to organize boycotts and threaten the traitor whites. They fed it to local enforcement who were often members of the Klan (such as Chaney’s license plate number prior to the Philadelphia murders). If they got caught, the Americans for the Preservation of the White Race paid legal fees collected from the wealthy to help them get off, often in front of Citizen Council judges. That is, every white person (a) was in on the conspiracy, (b) didn’t care enough to speak up or (c) was threatened if they tried to. “The Help” just could not have ended as it did. Hilly, or her man, would have called the Council on Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. My guess is that Aibileen would have been severely beaten and never hired again in the state; anyone related to Skeeter would have been destroyed economically and at least one cross burned in her mama’s yard; and Minny would have been killed and her house burned. Oh, and my hero Hazel Brannon Smith, the writer and truth teller? She started out wealthy and owned four newspapers in this vicinity. Her papers were bombed and boycotted. In 1985, the bank took her paper and her home. She died penniless. But she still had her Pulitzer. And her self-respect. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
news, culture & irreverence
Thursday, Aug. 11 Incumbent Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin concedes to Tyrone Lewis in the Democratic primary. â€Ś Texas Gov. Rick Perryâ€™s spokesman confirms that Perry will run for president in 2012. Friday, Aug. 12 A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that a key provision of federal health-care reform requiring nearly all Americans to buy insurance is unconstitutional. â€Ś Realtytrac reports that Mississippi ranks No. 44 in the country in foreclosures, with foreclosures up 16.6 percent from June, but down 13.5 percent from July 2010. Saturday, Aug. 13 Rep. Michele Bachmann wins the Iowa Straw Poll with 28 percent of the votes cast. Rep. Ron Paul came in second with 27 percent. â€Ś An apartment fire in Jackson kills a mother and her four children. Sunday, Aug. 14 President Obamaâ€™s job approval rating dips below 40 percent for the first time in his presidency. â€Ś Community members hold a candlelight vigil in Jackson to honor James Craig Anderson, who was killed in an apparent hate crime.
August 17 - 23, 2011
Monday, Aug. 15 Sara Lee, owner of Ball Park Franks, takes Kraft, owner of Oscar Mayer, to court in Chicago over allegations of false advertising.. â€Ś Waveland dismisses its police chief and may dissolve its police force due to budget deficits.
Tuesday, Aug. 16 The credit rating company Fitch Ratings announces it will keep the U. S.â€™ AAA rating, saying the economyâ€™s monetary and exchange rate flexibility further enhances its capacity to absorb and adjust to shocks. â€Ś Hinds County District 5 Supervisor George Smith concedes defeat to Kenneth Stokes in the Democratic primary. ... A judge throws out a lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett, author of â€œThe Help,â€? saying the statute of limitations has passed. Get news updates at jfpdaily.com.
Hundreds March to Heal and Denounce
by Lacey McLaughlin
ommunity organizers and leaders see the Aug. 14 vigil for James Craig Anderson as the first step toward community healing and racial reconciliation. During the vigil, more than 500 community leaders, families and public officials from various faiths held candles and sang gospel songs as they walked in unison along Ellis Avenue to the Metro Inn where a white teenager allegedly murdered Anderson June 26. West Jackson resident Cassandra Welchlin and her husband, Kass Welchlin, stood side-by-side at the vigil with their daughter Zia Brooke Welchlin wearing red shirts with the slogan â€œNot in My City.â€? Cassandra, who is a member of west Jacksonâ€™s Capital Neighborhood Association, started making shirts and organizing the vigil last week. She said the slogan caught on quickly and other community members made their own shirts to wear. Welchlin said she has attended several meetings with concerned citizens over the past week and is planning to host education forums to promote racial justice. â€œWe are talking about having some kind of dialogue within communities about racial justiceâ€”what that looks like and what it means,â€? she said. The NAACP and leaders from local congregations including New Horizon
Wednesday, Aug. 10 John Langworthy, music minister at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, resigns after allegations of sexual misconduct from 22 years ago. â€Ś The United Statesâ€™ budget deficit amounts to $1 trillion for the third year in a row.
The state of Mississippi spent an average of $8,075 per student in 2009. Of all states, New York spent the most on students that year at $18,126.
Will Deal Chicken save Gannett in Jackson? p 10
More than 500 people gathered in Jackson last Sunday to denounce racial violence.
Church, Hundred Clergymen of Hinds, Beth Israel Congregation and Pinelake Church organized last Sundayâ€™s candlelight vigil after a surveillance video went public last week showing the attack of James Craig Anderson. Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith has deemed Andersonâ€™s murder a racially motivated hate crime. Brandon High School student Deryl Dedmon, 18, accused of driving the pickup truck that hit Anderson, is charged with
murder and remains in jail. John Aaron Rice, also 18, was originally charged with murder but now faces a lesser charge of simple assault and is free on bond. Authorities reported that a group of teens may have been involved with the incident, but no others have been charged at this time. The Associated Press reported Aug. 13 that Riceâ€™s attorney, Samuel Martin, claims VIGIL, see page 7
One Party Future?
d e r u s s e r p
â€œI am not going to be pressured, because of the expiration of GO Zone bonds, to put in jeopardy what I think could be a risk of taxpayer dollars.â€? â€”Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson during a JFP editorial board meeting Aug. 12 regarding the cityâ€™s role to help finance the convention center hotel. The GO Zone bond deadline is Dec. 31, 2011.
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news, culture & irreverence
VIGIL, from page 6
his client had no plans that night to attack a black man. Last month, JPD Det. Eric Smith testified that a black man had robbed Dedmon weeks before the attack and that the teen was looking for revenge. It is unclear what happened before the attack. Defense attorneys claim that the teens came to Jackson with the intention of buying alcohol and that Rice was trying to help Anderson who was locked out of his car. When Dedmon arrived, they claim that’s when an altercation took place. During Sunday’s vigil, organizers placed a wreath and candles at the site of Anderson’s murder as a memorial. “We are here to unify and to share openness and to teach ourselves and our children and everyone out there that there is a better way to live, and love is a better way to live,” Beth Israel Rabbi Valerie Cohen said as attendees lit their candles. “We are here to get beyond hatred.” Madison resident Suzanne Freedman, who is a member of Beth Israel, brought her 5-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son to the vigil. She said the tragedy has given her an opportunity to teach them about racial injustice. Vigil attendee Marcelina Singleton, a
Business Roundup Jackson Joins Greening America’s Capitols The Environmental Protection Agency has chosen Jackson to be part of the Greening America’s Capitols initiative. The Green Government Center explores retrofitting public spaces within about a half-mile radius of the state capitol building with green technologies. These include solarpowered water fountains, indigenous and drought-tolerant landscaping, rain gardens for stormwater treatment, and permeable paving systems. The area includes the Farish Street Historic District. Several major streets run through the area, including Congress Street, along which sits the state capitol, the City Hall and the governor’s mansion. The city requested assistance from the Greening America’s Capitals design team to develop concepts for Congress Street and two public parks along the street. The city wants the street to be more bike- and pedestrianfriendly to better connect the civic buildings with adjacent neighborhoods and businesses. Another goal is for Congress Street to have a significant increase in street trees. Brookhaven plant to get new equipment Delphi Automotive plans to invest about $15 million in its Brookhaven manufacturing facility, keeping 200 jobs there. The money will buy new equipment to manufacture a new version of the printed circuit boards currently made at the plant.
Vicksburg resident, said she was shocked when she saw the surveillance video on CNN last week. “It could have been anyone,” she said. “You would think we are above this, but I guess we are not.” Jordan Richardson, a senior at Brandon High School, went to school with Dedmon and said that he was a victim of Dedmon’s bullying. “I knew the hate that he had in his heart for people who were not like him,” Richardson said. “Deryl bullied and terrorized me my freshman year. He would never do it by himself. ... I just felt that it could have been me in that casket instead of (James) Craig Anderson. But this is a great day for the community to come together, black and white.” He fears this incident will scar Brandon. Winston Thompson, an attorney for the Anderson family, called on community members to donate to the James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance. The foundation wii help promote racial unity, understanding and healing in Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties and “the United States as a whole,” he said. Send donations to the James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance to The Cochran Firm, 162 Amite St., Jackson, 39201, or call 601-812-1000. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Lacey McLaughlin “Delphi has been a key corporate citizen in southwest Mississippi for more than 30 years.” Gov. Haley Barbour said in a statement. The company’s decision to further invest in its Brookhaven plant is great news for southwest Mississippi.” The Mississippi Development Authority supported the project, and the Lincoln County Industrial Development Foundation and Entergy Mississippi provided funding. Delphi expects to begin making the new circuit boards in March 2013. Millsaps Makes ‘Best-of’ List The Princeton Review has ranked Millsaps College among its best 376 colleges in the county. Millsaps earned the No. 8 spot for “Professors Get High Marks and No. 19 for Town-Gown Relations Are Great. Based on student responses, Millsaps professors received the eighth highest ranking in the country. Town-Gown Relations category refers to positive student interaction with the members of the local community. “Millsaps is a stellar academic environment provided by a nationally acclaimed and deeply caring faculty,” Robert W. Pearigen, president of Millsaps, said in a statement. “Distinctive study abroad opportunities, meaningful community service activities and significant pre-professional programs add further quality to the Millsaps experience, ensuring the very best in liberal arts education as preparation for life.”
Parents for Public Schools of Greater Jackson, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, is proud to announce the
2011 Recipients of the Outstanding Educator Award:
Mary Cook McLeod Elementary
by Elizabeth Waibel
Creativity Grows the Economy COURTESY OF IBC
La’Keshia Opara-Nadi Pecan Park Elementary
Diane Setzer Davis Elementary
Barbara Stevens Callaway High School
CFGJ manages the Outstanding Educator Award fund, which grants a substantial monetary award annually to four educators from the Jackson Public School District.
Wednesday, September 7 at 11:45 a.m. Jackson Medical Mall | Call 601.969.6015
Founding Chapter, Parents for Public Schools, 1989
200 N. Congress, Suite 500, Jackson, MS 39201 • www.ppsjackson.org
Noah Maze’ All Levels Anusara Yoga
Friday, August 19 - Sunday, August 21, 2011
August 17 - 23, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011 3:30-6:00pm Strategies for Success: Art of Sequencing For teachers and committed students, this interactive lecture and exercise based session will take your sequencing (of your classes and your practice) to new levels of creativity and efficacy. 6:30-9:00pm Take Your Seat-Forward Bends and Hip Openers Asana means ‘seat’ and refers to your physical posture, and also the seat you take in your mind and heart. In this opening session, we will seat ourselves in a high intention, and embody this intention in a sequence of deepening forward bends and hip openers.
Saturday, August 20, 2011 10-12:30pm Hearts of Courage--Standing Poses and Backbends Standing Poses will prepare our legs, pelvis and spine to ‘bend over backwards.’ Engage your heart and embody your courage and be nourished by these powerful poses.
3:00-5:30pm Inside-Out & Upside-Down-Twists, Forward Bends, Hip Openers and Inversions Yoga invites an expanded and extraordinary experience of this life. We will use these poses to shift and expand ourselves to deeper levels of appreciation and bliss. Sunday, August 21, 2011 10-1:00pm Grace and Power--Hand Balancings and Backbends Come prepared to work and play hard in progressive sequences of hand balancings and backbends. Expect good strong work in poses, technical details and refinements, and a passionate call to be your best. Weekend + Art of Sequencing (Early Bird by August 5-save $80) - $175 Weekend + Art of Sequencing (save $60) - $195 Weekend Workshop (Early Bird by August 5- save $50) - $150 Weekend Workshop (save $40) - $160 Single 2 1/2 hour session - $50 Sequencing or Sunday session - $55
Arts events like the International Ballet Competition draw visitors to Mississippi and contribute to the state’s creative economy, says a new study.
ome people, such as visual artists, already know they are part of the creative economy. But many people have never heard the term before, Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, said. The creative economy is made up of anyone who is involved in a creative enterprise, including chefs, designers, performing artists and writers. It also includes people who might not normally be associated with the arts, such as the people who make stoves, print books or clean auditoriums. The creative economy also has people who do creative jobs in non-creative industries, such as the person who designs labels and logos for a poultry factory. All these people are part of the state’s creative economy, which provides jobs for about 60,000 Mississippians. A new study of Mississippi’s creative economy, “Realizing the Economic Potential of Creativity in Mississippi,” shows the positive impact artistic enterprises can have on the state and local economies. White said the creative economy makes up about 3 percent of Mississippi’s total economy. In other states that have done similar studies, the creative economy has been anywhere from 1 to 5 percent of the total economy. Now that Mississippi has a snapshot of the creative economy’s impact, White said Mississippi has an opportunity to focus its energy on growing that sector. “This existed totally organically,” White said. “None of this was recruited, developed or incentivized. For me, it gives us a baseline to start, and now we can begin to figure out ways to grow it.” MAC and MDA commissioned the study in 2009, using statistics from 2008. The recession and Hurricane Katrina likely had an impact on the study’s findings, and the statistics will soon be updated using 2010 census numbers, White said, probably by the end of the year. White said that although other states have done creative economy studies, Mississippi is the only state he knows of that did one during the recession. He also said this is
the first time Mississippi has looked at nonprofit and for-profit organizations and enterprises side-by-side. The study is now part of the Mississippi Development Authority’s strategy for the state, he said. MAC and MDA introduced the study at a summit Aug. 10, which brought artists, community leaders and government officials together to talk and learn about what communities around Mississippi are doing to encourage the arts. About 400 people attended. At the end of the day, the summit held a “best practices” panel that included David Watkins, CEO of Watkins Development, who helped to revive the King Edward Hotel and Standard Life building in downtown Jackson. Panelists discussed how places like Jackson’s Fondren District, the University of Southern Mississippi and Oxford had all used the arts as a resource to draw visitors. Some of the panelists were concerned that young Mississippians feel that they must move away from the state for jobs and opportunities. Watkins said developments that make both artistic and financial sense help Mississippi compete with other areas of the country when people are deciding where to live. “It’s not just competitive—that’s not good enough,” he said. “We’ve got to be dramatic and dynamic and bold in order to capture the next generation of Mississippians to this state.” White said artistic enterprises do not just provide jobs directly; they can be a deciding factor when a large manufacturer, such as Toyota or Nissan, is considering whether to move to Mississippi. “They locate in places that have a high quality of life, and quality of life really is about arts and entertainment and cultural amenities,” he said. “That’s what the creative economy provides.” To learn more about places where the creative economy is thriving and to download “Realizing the Economic Potential of Creativity in Mississippi,” visit mscreativeeconomy.com. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Lacey McLaughlin
The Convention Hotel Race
Robert Swerdling of Swerdling and Associates was also present at the Aug. 10 meeting. Swerdling, who consults municipalities on financing projects and works with Malachi, gave his assessment of TCI and the deal to the JRA. “I can’t predict how this whole thing will work out,” Swerdling said. “… Because (TCI) is a private real-estate company, it is not strong enough to do this deal on its own. It needs the city’s financial credit to make it work.” Swerdling said that because TCI owns the property, not the city, the developers are unlikely to walk away from their investment. “The financial deal is not a bad deal,” he said. “It’s probably the best deal you can have if you want a private owner. (The city) absolutely needs a hotel. This town is under roomed for the business sector, none the less the convention center.” JRA board member John Reeves floated the possibility of the city buying back the land from the developers. JRA also has the rights to land that TCI owns at the former Firestone Tires site and the old Barefield Furniture property on the corner of Roach and Pascagoula streets. TCI-MS bought the property from private owners for an undisclosed amount in an earlier deal and agreed to place the title in JRA’s name. Once the city crafts a final hotel deal, the agreement may allow for the city to reimburse the developers up to $1.75 million for the second property. Bingham said the city buying the hotel land back from TCI is an option but it could delay the process further because it would take time and money to acquire the property, and it would be difficult to find another developer with enough capital to build the hotel. “It’s not likely that (the city) will find another developer to do a public-private deal, so the city would be left with the reality of building a convention center hotel,” Bingham said. Swerdling added that the majority of developers are spending capital managing distressed assets due to the state of the economy and will likely choose that over building a new hotel. Crozier was not available for comment. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
draft of a cost-sharing agreement. The proposal would require the city to obtain 50 percent ownership of the hotel. Under the agreement, the city and JRA would designate the property as an urban-renewal area, and the city would extend the terms of a $7 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development loan that the city gave to the developers in 2007 to purchase the property. TCI paid approximately $17 million for the property, using the HUD loan, a $4 million private loan and other private funds. The city should have more information by the end of the month to determine whether to finance a Last year, TCI presented convention center hotel to be built in the empty lot shown in this picture. a feasibility study by PFK Consultants to the city. The TCI-financed study determined that ity leaders are racing the clock to make He said he has no financial interest in TCI. the 300-room hotel would have to charge a decision by the end of this month Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said $150 per night to be financially viable, but on whether to finance a convention he is eager to move forward with the develop- Brookins said he did now how many of the center hotel. ment, but the GO Zone deadline has been 300 hotel rooms would have to be rented at On Aug. 10, the Jackson Redevelopment looming for a while. that rate. Johnson requested an independent Authority approved a $15,000 contract with “Back in January, we knew the GO study this spring before finalizing an agreeC.H. Johnson, a Chicago-based financial con- Zone bonds would expire on Dec. 31,” ment with the developers, JRA Executive Disulting firm that conducted a feasibility study Johnson said at a Jackson Free Press editorial rector Jason Brookins said. for the Jackson Convention Complex, to as- board meeting Aug. 12. “… In all fairness it JRA Board members expressed concern sess proposed financing for a downtown con- had taken time to work out the deal to where about the city’s liability if the deal falls through vention center hotel. we are now. But I am not going to be pres- after Brookins said TCI is behind on its HUD The city’s financial consultant, Porter sured because of the expiration of GO Zone loan payments. Brookins said he did not know Bingham of Malachi Financial Group, said the bonds to put in jeopardy what I think could the exact amount that the developers are befirm would need to complete the assessment be a risk of taxpayer dollars.” hind on; however, the developers also have not by the end of the month for the developers, In 2007, TCI purchased property along paid Hinds County property taxes for 2010, Dallas, Texas-based real-estate company TCI Pascagoula Street extending to Farish Street to which were due Feb. 1. In June 2010, the JackInvestments, to also meet a Dec. 31 deadline build a convention center hotel and mixed-use son Free Press reported that the developers had for GO Zone Bonds for the development. The development called Capital City Center. The not paid more than $120,463.34 in property process of acquiring and issuing the bonds original plans included condos, retail space taxes for 2009. TCI has since paid those taxes. takes several months. and 1,500-car parking garage; however, TCI “We are saying we will borrow $93 mil“My fear is that hiring the consultant will has scaled back the plans to a $90 million ho- lion and pay a loan that the ones we are in bed eat up time, and by default, the city will end tel and skywalk to the Jackson Convention with have defaulted on,” JRA Board member up in the hotel business,” he said. “I couldn’t Complex, completed in 2009. The develop- Matt Thomas said. tell you with any assurance that we could get ment has stalled due to financing issues, and Brookins responded that the developers GO Zone bond allocated and sold by the end the city has been negotiating with the develop- have not officially defaulted on the loan. of the year based on where we are now.” ers on finalizing a cost-sharing agreement. “In the colored community, if you don’t Bingham has worked with developers In March, TCI Investment Executive Di- pay, it’s considered a default,” Thomas, who is and the city to come up with an agreement. rector Alfred Crozier presented the city with a black, replied.
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The Street (thestreet. com) reported Aug. 3 that Gannett stock hit a new 52week low earlier this month when it traded at $11.58. That was before the Dow dropped 500 points Aug. 4, affecting much more than Gannett. As this issue went to press, Gannett stock was trading at $11.03 a share. Historically, when Gannett stock goes down, the company lays off employees to improve stockholder value, regardless of how individual properties, like The Clarion- Gannett’s CEO is visiting Jackson to talk to ClarionLedger employees, possibly about Deal Chicken. Ledger, are faring. Dubow and his entourage might also talk about evolving, and there are many opportunities Deal Chicken, a social-media advertising out there, especially in local markets where method that relies on emailing a “deal of the these deals are developing into a new category day” to subscribers. So far, Deal Chicken is of local advertising,” the news release quotes limited to its 50 larger markets, such as Nash- Peter Krasilovsky, vice president at BIA/ ville, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky. A Louisville Kelsey, a Virginia-based advertising consultreporter asked her Facebook friends to sign ing firm, as saying. up for the Deal Chicken email alerts—if she Deal Chicken hasn’t ruffled any feathers gets more than anyone else in her newsroom, in Jackson, yet. Subscribers to the new service she wrote, she’ll get a cash reward. Gannett haven’t received their first offers via email. The is promoting the new advertising vehicle with little yellow hen head has popped up on The phrases like “hatching soon.” Clarion-Ledger house ads, but the Mississippi “Deal Chicken builds on Gannett’s un- deals are not apparent yet. paralleled local market presence and digital During his Jackson visit, Dubow might strength,” a July new release stated, quoting also address Gannett’s search for “passion topDavid Payne, senior vice president and chief ics.” Gannett’s latest news buzzword is appardigital officer. “Gannett’s local focus and ently “passion,” according to posts at Gannett expertise will provide a winning recipe for Blog. At the media giant’s newspapers around consumers and merchants alike. Our people the country, staffers are conducting “passion” on the ground know the markets, the com- interviews to figure out what readers in a parmunities, and their respective needs, and only ticular community care about most. Readers Gannett can provide merchants with the local in Fort Myers, Fla., who agreed to a 60-minmedia support necessary to create a multi-di- ute interview got paid $50 for their input, the mensional marketing strategy that includes Fort Myers News-Press reported. daily deals.” Staffers at the Clarion-Ledger might have The news release goes on to admit that passion topics of their own to share when welthe relatively new daily-deal market segment coming the Gannett leaders to Jackson. is already crowded. “But the industry is fast Comment at www.jfp.ms.
L ACE Y ’S
t’s been a busy summer for Craig Dubow, CEO of Gannett Co., the parent company of The Clarion-Ledger and the Hattiesburg American. First, Gannett fired more than 700 employees corporatewide this summer to make its stockholders happy. Then, Gannett launched Deal Chicken, an advertising campaign based on the Groupon model that overuses every hen and egg metaphor invented. And now, the head of Gannett is embarking on town-hall visits to some of Gannett’s properties. Dubow visits the Jackson newspaper for the first time Wednesday, Aug. 17. Although Gannett calls these visits “town-hall” meetings, it is a misnomer. The public isn’t invited. These meetings are for Gannett employees. The “town hall” part means the meeting will have a question-andanswer format. Long-time employees know that asking direct, pointed questions might lead to possible reprimands. Staffers at The Clarion-Ledger certainly have lots of questions, perhaps including who will take over the newsroom. Former executive editor Ronnie Agnew started his new job this week as executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Agnew left the position only about six months after Leslie Hurst became publisher—this is her seventh newspaper to head as publisher in 14 years. Many at The Clarion-Ledger are probably concerned about their own jobs. At the end of June, Gannett laid off at least four more workers at The Clarion-Ledger. Employees might be ordered to take furlough days off or take a cut in pay to help the stockholders realize better profits. As the staff—and the paper—grows smaller each year, employees undoubtedly want to know how much smaller it can get and still put out a news product. Joining Dubow in Jackson will be Gracia Martore, president of Gannett, and Bob Dickey, president of the company’s U.S. Community Publishing division. They will make a similar visit Aug. 23 to the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey.
by Elizabeth Waibel
A participant in a poverty simulation goes to a “pawn shop” for money to pay bills.
t’s almost the end of the month, and a family is trying to decide how to stretch their money to buy groceries. One family member doles out a few bills, explaining that they have to spend it a little bit at a time, otherwise they won’t have any food at the end of the week. Nearby, the Chen family is trying to decide which bills they can afford to pay. The utility
company tells them their phones and electricity are about to be shut off. They try negotiating. “Can I get an extension?” Charles Chen asks. “I can only give you $50. My mortgage is due; my wife is the only person working. I can pay $50.” The utility company agrees to keep the electricity on, but the family loses their phone service.
These “families” were part of a poverty simulation held Monday, Aug. 15, in Jackson. Organizers assigned scenarios and roles to participants, including the person playing the role of Charles Chen, based on the situations of real-life families. Those taking part spent an hour and a half experiencing some of the frustrations that people living on a low income or in poverty routinely face, such as not being able to find work or running out of food and not knowing which agency to go to for help. Stations representing grocery stores, pawn shops, relief agencies and prisons lined the edges of the room where the simulation took place, while a “criminal influence” tried to convince people who had lost their jobs to sell drugs for him. Linda Barnes is the manager of low-income systems for Entergy, which helped organize the event. “This afternoon, you’ll go home,” she told participants after the poverty simulation was over. “You’ll have plenty to eat; you probably won’t have to worry about paying your rent. You’re going to be very comfortable. But for 39 million Americans, that is not the case.” Barbara Tolliver, who played the role of Charles Chen, said her “month” was frustrating. “I had been employed. My ‘wife’ eventu-
ally lost her job. The children were stressed because we were stressed, and it was hectic,” she said. Entergy Mississippi hosted the poverty simulation as part of the annual conference of the Mississippi Association of Community Action Agencies. Entergy employees, legislators and agencies that work with the poor participated. After the poverty simulation, people talked about the frustrations of trying to pay bills, buy food and make sure the children get to school without enough money. They also discussed ways to more effectively get people living on low incomes the help they need. Several people from relief agencies said the simulation helped them have more understanding and compassion for the people they work with. One man, who acted as a police officer in the simulation, said he understands now how difficult it must be for police officers to have to take teens to jail over and over again. Lawanda Formisano, a board member with Pearl River Valley Opportunity, emphasized the need to treat all people with dignity and respect. “We can step it up a notch and be kinder and more gentle and bless people as they go about their business,” she said. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
PA I D A DV E RT I S E M E N T
here are times when you want to start your day with a good cup of coffee and a tasty treat or hearty plate, but just don’t have the time or energy to make it yourself. Sometimes what you really need is some home cooking that fills you up and makes your day that much brighter. Where do you go for a meal and some inspiration? Head over to Jackson’s newest restaurant, My Cup Runneth Over. My Cup Runneth Over isn’t your ordinary coffee shop. It’s the best of both worlds: great coffee and homemade pastries with home cooking like mac ’n cheese, greens, fried pork chops, and cornbread all under one roof.Owner Shonda Harris is known for her cooking…and her baking. From specialty cakes to full catering orders, Shonda Harris no job is too big or too small. Harris has cooking in her genes, as her father was a chef and her mother was a great cook. As a child, Harris was often in the kitchen learning her craft from a young age. For the past eight years, Shonda Harris has been catering and baking and when the opportunity to open a restaurant in Jackson opened up, she jumped at it. “I love to see the joy on customers’ faces when they eat or when they get a cake and love it so much they don’t want to cut it.” Harris is bringing home cooking to downtown Jackson with the opening of her new venture. With daily lunch specials for under $7, you get good food at a great value. Not to mention a full 2 pancakes, 2 eggs, and 2 bacon or sausage breakfast platter for just $5. So if you’re in the mood for her signature rotel chicken spaghetti, meatloaf, pork chops, or the best ham and turkey sandwich this side of the Pearl River, plan to spend your lunch hour at My Cup Runneth Over. Need a special tray of goodies for your next gathering? How about a birthday cake fit for a king? Harris can do that and more with a wide range of specialty catering options to fit any crowd and any budget. So whether you need a meal to start your day, a cup of coffee and a snack or smoothie to get you to lunch, or a home-cooked, savory meal to make your day, you will find this and more at My Cup Runneth Over.
Simulation Builds Respect
opining, grousing & pontificating
An Open Letter to the Greater Jackson Community
Throw Up Your Hands
e, the members of the board of Jackson 2000, extend our hearts and thoughts to the family and friends of James Craig Anderson, and we join the rest of the community in sharing the pain and sadness they must feel, and offer to them our comfort and resources. Indeed, we are concerned for all of those involved and touched by this tragedy. The mission of Jackson 2000 is to improve race relations and promote racial understanding throughout the greater Jackson area. Our organization, through a variety of methods, encourages people of all colors, ages, ethnicities and gender, to discuss and address racism and its impact on our community. We are horrified and saddened by the events of June 26, 2011, which led to the death of Mr. Anderson, a 49-year old African American man, in the parking lot of a local motel. While we realize that this incident is still being investigated by the police and the district attorney’s office, and that all of the facts are still being gathered, we believe that we must speak out about this heinous crime, which Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith has described as a “crime of hate.” We are united in our belief that this incident shows that the issues of racism and intolerance still have an ugly and corrosive effect on our community. More importantly, we believe that we must identify and examine as a community why these issues remain, and how as a community we are going to address and ultimately overcome them. We believe that it is time for all of us, the average person as well as our civic, political and faith leaders, to publicly acknowledge that these issues still exist. If we are going to grow and prosper as a community and state, we can no longer pretend that these attitudes and actions are gone, and are just a part of an ugly “past” history. The thinking and attitudes that lead up to this horrible event should be a wake-up call to all of us in Mississippi, and show us that we still have much work to do. For 30 years, Jackson 2000 has engaged in promoting public events and forums that focus on racial reconciliation and justice, and in organizing discussion groups called “study circles” that put together diverse groups of people to talk about those issues in an honest and constructive way. We are compelled not only to continue but also to increase these efforts in response to this tragedy. We invite the community to join us at our luncheons at the Mississippi Arts Center, starting at 11:45 a.m. on the second Wednesday of every month. More information about Jackson 2000 is provided on our website, www.jackson2000.org. We hope that all members of the community will join with us to share their feelings, thoughts, fears and hopes, and that more importantly through honest discussion and dialogue we will come to a deeper understanding of how events like this can be prevented from happening in the future.
ev. Cletus: “This is your car sales pastor coming to you live from WGSR radio. I have a very special program dedicated to the recently unemployed, the dwindling middle class and struggling poor folk. On today’s Rev. Cletus Car Sales Church Broadcast, Sister Encouragement has an important message to uplift and motivate the hopeless masses.” Sister Encouragement: “For the common man and woman, the summer of 2011 looks like a season to remember. While investors work to recover from the roller-coaster ride of the stock market, thousands of unemployed workers recall that dreadful day of the surprise lay off from the company. Indeed, these desperate times have influenced some folk to commit desperate acts. “From my perspective, the world is a ghetto
August 17 - 23, 2011
The Board of Jackson 2000 · Co-Chair: Lee Unger · Co-Chair: Todd Stauffer · Secretary: Dana Larkin · Treasurer: Christopher Herron
· Martha A. Alexander · Donna Antoine-LaVigne · Rosie Brantley · Pamela Confer · Dominic DeLeo · Rebecca Harrell · B. Anne Lovelady · Karen Quay · Marcia Reed · George Schimmel · Jackie Warren Tatum · Marcus Ward · Deborah Rae Wright · Emeritus: Cornelius Turner · Emeritus: Earle F. Jones · Emeritus: Joann Mickens
dealing with the inner city blues. It makes you want to holler, weep, wail, scream and throw up both your hands, right? “I say, ‘don’t give up.’ The so-called bad break or setback could be a blessing in disguise. Use this possible double-dip recession as an opportunity to develop, enhance or discover those hidden talents the good Lord gave you. Let the rich corporations hoard their large profits and send jobs over seas. This is a great time for disenfranchised people to work together to develop food, clothes and business co-operatives. “Therefore, I encourage you all to take a chance to do things for yourselves, because you’re tired of beating your heads against the wall and making profits for someone else. “Stay encouraged and be blessed.”
try not to write when I’m angry. They say some of the best writing comes out of emotion. But some of the most regrettable pieces have come when penned emotionally as well. I tried to wait till the last possible moment to write this (much to my editor’s chagrin, I know). I wanted to be sure that I was not writing this column out of an emotional extreme, saying things I didn’t really mean or would have to account for later. But my anger hasn’t quelled, so perhaps these words won’t go over too well with some of you. In fact, you simply may not like them. I don’t ever aim to offend, but if you know me by now then you know it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. I’ve given some thought to it, so here goes. I’m angry. Angry that a black man who was seemingly minding his own business was ruthlessly beaten and killed by a group of white teens. I’m angry that they felt it sporting to “hunt” a black person in the first place. That could have been my father, my uncle, any one of us. I’m angry that despite the heinous nature of this crime, supporters of the accused are trying to justify or lessen the blow through social media groups. It kind of cheapens the life of a perfectly innocent soul, doesn’t it? I’m angry that people suggest we should just “move on” even when signs clearly indicate that some of us haven’t. I’m angry that somewhere in Jackson, race discussions will continue to happen with seemingly no solution, and that some folks on either side refuse to be truly candid, refuse to truly work together. But you know what? It makes me even angrier that we’ll make James Craig Anderson a popular hashtag on Twitter. We’ll get angry about what’s most “popular” to be angry about, but passive about what continues right under our noses. I’m angry that
promising high-school students can be shot down in our streets and our pause only lasts through a 24-hour news cycle. I’m angry there weren’t many Twitter topics for Derronie Spencer. I’m angry that a gentleman simply doing his job was gunned down in cold blood and viewed as collateral damage. There weren’t many Twitter topics for James McKinney, either. I’m angry that the assailants at that Shell station felt they had no recourse to get by other than robbery. And I’m angry because I don’t think we’ve gotten angry enough about what goes on in our communities. I’m angry because I can easily get stopped in Madison for driving while black or easily profiled in a restaurant, but even more easily killed or maimed in my more familiar surroundings. I’m angry that I’m fearful every time my 14-year-old son leaves my house. Not because of what he may do but because of what someone else may do. I’m angry because although it won’t bring anybody back, I haven’t heard from my chief of police, or my mayor, or most of my city council. I’m angry because I’m sure someone will tell me I shouldn’t be angry or that I should be angrier at one thing more than another. Yes, I’m angry that there is still hate in this world. And right now it doesn’t matter to me if it’s white on black, black on white, or the self-hate that consumes anyone who would willingly take a life. You may disagree, and that’s perfectly fine. But as much as I don’t want another James Craig Anderson incident, am I wrong because I’m concerned as much or more with preventing another Deronnie Spencer or James McKinney moment? And that’s the truth ... sho-nuff.
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donâ€™t know if Iâ€™ve ever met James Craig Anderson. The portrait released to the media after his death looks familiar, but it has been burned on my retinas so completely by now in connection with his killing that I would no longer be able to associate it with anything else. What I do know is that he had 49 full years of life before a white racist gang allegedly murdered him in the parking lot of the Metro Inn in June. The complexity of that life, the day-to-day struggles and achievements and dreams that come with living, will be a mystery to most of us now. Murder has ended his personal story and, for the time being, has drowned out the details of his life with violence. National media commentators speak often of how this is a crime out of Mississippiâ€™s past, but it isnâ€™tâ€”not any more, if it ever was. We will never know, and should not presume to know, how many unsolved murders were motivated by racial hatred; most of them did not take place in front of security cameras. Whatâ€™s more, this is not a random crime; the killers were raised in an environment where black Jacksonians are described (sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively) as subhumanâ€”undeserving of a vote, unworthy of food and clothing and shelter and education, unable to make their own destinies. I donâ€™t know exactly where this belief comes from, but I know where it doesnâ€™t come from: It is not based in any way on the real lives and the real stories of African Americans in this city and in the larger community. This image of black Jacksonians is based on centuries-old stereotypes that were used to justify slavery, Jim Crow and the policies that followed, and it is being used now to justify the de facto race and class segregation and color segregation that allows institutional racism to stay alive. Iâ€™ve been very angry about the murder, and about the strange reaction some localsâ€”usually white localsâ€”have had to it. It is strange to hear someone who refers to 13-year-old black children as â€œthugsâ€? turn around and refer to 18-year-old white killers as â€œkids.â€? Itâ€™s strange to hear someone who usually relishes wall-to-wall crime coverage decide, already, that this murder has received too much media attention. Itâ€™s strange to hear somebody whose usual approach to crime is â€œhang â€˜em high and limit appealsâ€? suddenly transform into an advocate for due process
rights and the legal presumption of innocence. This kind of behavior exposes the undercurrent of casual white racism that harms black Mississippians every day, in every measurable area of life. Itâ€™s a mistake to look at the murder as a single isolated incident, as if it wasnâ€™t built on centuries of white supremacist violence, as if it wasnâ€™t the natural product of a racist cultureâ€” and as if the killers werenâ€™t products of this culture, living out the warped values that hum in the background of our everyday lives. This is not a new disease. This is an acute symptom of a very old chronic disease that cuts short the lives of black Mississippians every day, that limits opportunity, that carves Mississippi in two, that stifles economic development, that teaches all of us not to think too hard or too clearly about the world we live in. I have decided to do five specific things in response to the killing of James Craig Anderson: â€˘ I will stop apologizing when I hurt other whitesâ€™ feelings by calling out their words or behavior as racist. â€˘ I will attend more NAACP-sponsored events. â€˘ I will make an effort to stop reading magazines, blogs and other entities that make money off of racism. â€˘ I will read more black authors. â€˘ I will keep my eyes open for opportunities to do more, because none of this will be enough. As 500 of us walked from New Horizon Church to the Metro Inn last weekend, a multi-faith, multiracial group of speakers asked us to think about peace on the way over and about justice on the way back. I canâ€™t give Mississippi justice, but I can try to do a better job of living it. As Mississippians, we are rightly ashamed, at times, of our home stateâ€”but itâ€™s ours, and it is made out of us. We arenâ€™t just products of Mississippi; we are Mississippi itself. We are three million lives, each as fragile and complicated as that of James Craig Anderson, and we can change together. Freelance writer Tom Head is a lifelong Jackson native. He has written or co-written 24 nonfiction books, is a civil liberties writer for About.com and is a grassroots progressive activist. Comment at www.jfp.com.
This is not a new disease. This is an acute symptom of a very old chronic disease.
CORRECTION: In Vol. 9, Issue 48 (Aug. 10-17, 2011), we incorrectly listed Jackson Eye Associates as a walk-in clinic. The Jackson Free Press apologizes for the error.
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