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October 15, 2014

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Gives $2.3 Million to Civil Rights Museum

By AnnaWolfe

JACKSON, Mississippi – Building on its more than 40-year legacy in the state of Mississippi, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation today announced an endowment to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) in support of developing educational programs that will be operated by the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

The $2.3 million endowment from the Kellogg Foundation will fund a partnership between MDAH, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and the Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will educate Mississippians about the struggle for civil rights and provide a venue where visitors may come together to engage in meaningful public dialogue and programs that foster reconciliation and promote healing.

The museum endowment will fund numerous educational initiatives in the lead-up to and after the opening of the museum, including: · Summer teacher training programs and school workshops to prepare educators to teach an expanded civil rights curriculum and utilize the resources of the museum. · Digitizing important historical documents from the Evers collection to be housed at the museum for use by scholars, teachers and students. · Supporting the Medgar Wiley Evers Lecture Series throughout the state to engage communities in the museum’s programs.

“We’ve come to understand that racial equity and healing are essential if we are going to accomplish our mission to support children, families and communities in Mississippi,” said WKKF President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. “The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will help us all take an honest look at the past in a state that was, in so many ways, the epicenter of this struggle in our county. It’s important to heal the wounds of the past, so that we can move forward together and put racism behind us for good.”

“We are thrilled that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation made this grant in honor of Myrlie Evers and Gov. William Winter, two leaders who have been instrumental in making the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum a reality,” said H.T. Holmes, director, MDAH. “We thank the Kellogg Foundation for making this extraordinary investment in Mississippi’s future and connecting the collections of MDAH with the people of Mississippi.”

Myrlie Evers said, “I can’t wait for the day that the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opens its doors to people from Mississippi and throughout the country and the world.” Gov. William F. Winter added that young people visiting the Civil Rights Museum will learn lessons of sacrifice, courage and determination that will help them make a difference in Mississippi and the world.

Mississippi is one of four priority places in the United States for the foundation – along with the city of New Orleans and the states of Michigan and New Mexico. The foundation’s endowment to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum comes one year after the foundation committed grants to 25 organizations across the state whose work focuses on setting Mississippi’s young men of color on a path to success. That $3.8 million initiative is designed to help young men of color in ...

October 11, 2014

What's At Stake For MSU and Ole Miss This Weekend And Beyond

By bryanflynn

As College Gameday prepares for their second visit in Mississippi for the second week in a row, and the first time at Mississippi State, the stakes keep getting higher for the Rebels and Bulldogs. Both teams are tied for third in the AP Top 25 football poll, and the eyes of the football world are once again on the Magnolia State.

Neither the Rebels nor Bulldogs are out of the playoffs with a loss this weekend. That is, unless the voters decide both we're frauds and dump our teams down the polls.

Texas A&M has more at stake this weekend than Ole Miss. The Aggies are coming off a lose to Mississippi State, and a Rebels victory would put an end to Texas A&M's playoff hopes.

Ole Miss must get past the Aggies to get a break in their schedule. Well, at least as much of a break you can get in the SEC.

The Rebels get Tennessee next Saturday at home before traveling to LSU. The Volunteers are an improved football team, and LSU is young but playing in Tiger Stadium is never an easy win.

A win this weekend means the Rebels could climb all the way to up to No. 2 or take sole possession of third place. It would be a step closer to the playoffs and a SEC West title.

Beating the Aggies would leave just Auburn and Mississippi State as the major tests left on the schedule. Sure, Arkansas is in the mix but, even as improved as the Razorbacks are this season, the Rebels should get a win like against LSU and Tennessee.

After this weekend, the road is wide open for the Rebels. Just about all the major stumbling blocks will be out of the way.

Mississippi State has a chance to move up to No. 2 in the nation with a win over Auburn. Much like Ole Miss, the road for the Bulldogs gets a lot lighter for a while after this weekend.

MSU gets Kentucky and Arkansas in SEC action. The Wildcats are improved like the Razorbacks, but that shouldn't trouble the Bulldogs much.

The road gets harder after that with road trips to Alabama and Ole Miss to finish out the season with a home date against Vanderbilt sandwiched between those two games.

This weekend sets up a nice stretch for both the Rebels and Bulldogs. After this weekend, much of the heavy lifting is over.

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott has the most at stake this weekend. He can become the Heisman front runner with a solid-to-great game and a win. His counterpart Nick Marshall of Auburn could also take the lead.

Prescott can put a lock on the award with his normal play against Auburn. He can lock up the award with big games against Kentucky, Arkansas, and UT-Martin.

Keys to Rebels and Bulldogs wins

Things are easy for the Rebels. Just use the ...

October 9, 2014

Rep. Andy Gipson Caves on Gay Marriage; Our Work Here is Done.

By R.L. Nave

Twice this week the unthinkable has happened in Mississippi.

First, Ole Miss rallies back and upsets the Crimson Tide.

Now, Republican state Rep. Andy Gipson is acceding on the issue of marriage equality.

Gipson, a Baptist minister and attorney from Braxton, told the Clarion-Ledger for a story today: "I am opposed to same-sex marriage, but I believe the time has come for people of faith in Mississippi to prepare for the overturning of our constitutional ban on it."

Gipson is one of the Legislature's most conservative members, having introduced legislation in recent years aimed at undocumented immigrants and abortion rights—including a (successful) fetal heartbeat bill and a (successful) 20-week abortion ban.

In 2012, Gipson came under fire for referencing Bible passages implying that gay people be put to death. The remarks came in response to President Barack Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage after years of waffling on the question. Gipson called same-sex marriage "horrific social policy," adding:

"Unnatural behavior which results in disease, not the least of which is its high association with the development and spread of HIV/AIDS; 2) Confusing behavior which is harmful to children who have a deep need to understand the proper role of men and women in society and the important differences between men and women, and fathers and mothers; and 3) Undermines the longstanding definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, a definition which has been key to all aspects of social order and prosperity."

Gipson isn't exactly endorsing marriage equality, but the fact that he appears to be telling fellow evangelical conservatives to save their energy fighting gay marriage.

Calling recent federal court decisions affirming gay marriage "the writing on the wall," Gipson said:

“It’s coming. People of religious conviction need to be processing what this means for the culture, and how we will respond to these issues in coming years – how we will maintain our religious convictions in this environment.”

Of course, Gipson is absolutely correct. More people today support marriage equality than don't; this is especially true of young people.

Through a news release, Rob Hill, the Mississippi state director of the Human Rights Campaign and a former pastor said: “Like Rep. Gipson, I am a person of faith, and our faith teaches that we are all God’s children. We also believe in the Golden Rule, to treat others as we would treat ourselves. ... These conversations are not easy and we welcome the opportunity to meet with Rep. Gipson to discuss ways to make our state inclusive for all Mississippians.”

October 9, 2014

Ashby Foote in Ward 1 Contest

By R.L. Nave

Ashby Foote sent the following verbatim news release:

Today, Ashby Foote announced his campaign for the Ward 1 Jackson City Council seat vacated by Quintin Whitwell.

“I want to make Jackson stronger: a stronger Jackson economy, better working infrastructure, and safer streets and communities,” said Foote, President of Vector Money Management, an investment advising firm he founded in 1988.

Foote continued:

“This isn’t about political aspirations. I’d never entertained the idea of running for office before now. This is about serving my neighbors and city. I love Jackson. My wife and I have made it our home for thirty years. We want Jackson to succeed and Jacksonians to prosper.”

“Jackson is a great city, but like many cities we face economic, infrastructure and crime challenges and it is not easy to simply shrug one’s shoulders and sit on the sideline. I believe my extensive background in finance and economics can bring value and private sector vision to the decision making process at City Hall.”

“I want Jackson to perform up to its economic potential. That takes leadership at the neighborhood and city level. Strong neighborhoods are crucial building blocks for successful cities. It requires reliable infrastructure. It requires safety for citizens and businesses; crime is an economic killer. But business safety is more than just crime. Jackson must be hospitable to new enterprises looking for places to locate and good neighborhoods and schools for their employees. Businesses want a transparent, limited government that plays by the rule of law the same for everyone; cronyism is an economic wet blanket. We need a city government that focuses on the essential roles of government and does those efficiently while freeing up other areas for free markets and the private sector. This will help city government to live within its means and improve tax rates. Economic capital, intellectual capital, and creative capital flow to where they are well treated and safe. Jackson can be just such a place.”

Foote said he would be rolling out his campaign in coming days and said he looked forward to an active and vigorous campaign.

Ashby Foote is President of Vector Money Management, an independent registered investment advisory firm he founded in 1988. Foote graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1974. He served our country as an artillery officer and in the Army Reserves for over 10 years. Foote is recognized as a leader in economic development and economic growth, having held leadership positions on numerous boards in Mississippi as well as serving as a member of the investment committee for the West Point endowment funds. Ashby and Suzie Foote have been married for 30 years and have four children, Turner, Sarah Ashby, Stuart and Tommy. The Footes are members of Christ United Methodist Church.

October 8, 2014

Mississippi Roster For 28th Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game

By bryanflynn

Earlier today, the coaches and players were announced for the Mississippi roster of the 28th Annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game. The Mississippi Association of Coaches made the announcement.

The game will be played on Saturday, December 13th in Montgomery, Alabama. The game will be televised on WLBT.

Local metro coach, managers, and players are in bold.

Team Mississippi

Head Coach

Jamie Mitchell (Starkville)

Assistant Coaches

Toby Collums (Itawamba)

Chad Cook (Ripley)

Trent Hammond (Tupelo)

Lance Mancuso (Bassfield)

John Perry (Pearl)

Tony Vance (Hattiesburg)

Scout Coach

Jeff Breland (Lake)


Armani Linton (Walnut) - DB

Cameron Myers (Oak Grove) - DB

Chris Stamps (Warren Central) - DB

Ephrain Kitchen (South Panola) - DB

Jarvis Wilson (Tupelo) - DB

Richaud Floyd (Gulfport) - DB

Fletcher Adams (Brandon) - DL

Jauan Collins (Pascagoula) - DL

Marshean Joseph (Pascagoula) - DL

D.J. Henderson (Clinton) - DL

Keontye Garner (Murrah) - DL

Michael Godley (Starkville) - K

Fred Walls (Olive Branch) - LB

Joseph Dillon (Tylertown) - LB

Jamal Peters (Bassfield) - LB

Justin Clifton (Tupelo) - LB

Johnathan Abram (East Marion) - LB

Tijan Jallow (Olive Branch) - LB

Leo Lewis (Brookhaven) - LB

Tommy Champion (Callaway) - OL

Jordan Bradford (St. Stanislaus) - OL

Jarien Barksdale (South Panola) - OL

Thad Roberts (Petal) - OL

Ryan Gibson (St. Stanislaus) - OL

Rishard Cook (Hattiesburg) - OL

Javon Patterson (Petal) - OL

Drake Dorbeck (St. Aloysius) - OL

Marquez Griffin (Lake Central) - OL

Austin Riley (DeSoto Central) - P

Brady Davis (Starkville) - QB

J'mar Smith (Meridian) - QB

Darrell Henderson (South Panola) - RB

Ladarious Galloway (Gentry) - RB

Jordan Wright (Pearl) - RB

Terrance Davis (Southaven) - WR

Keenan Barnes (Madison Central) - WR

Willie Hibbler (North Panola) - WR

Malik Dear (Murrah) - WR

Trey Smith (Madison Central) - WR

Raphael Leonard (Starkville) - WR


Dylan McCollom (South Panola)

Daniel Baxter (Brandon)

October 8, 2014

'Tis the week for new music...

By tommyburton

A wide variety of new releases...

October 6, 2014 | 1 comment

Dem U.S. Senate Hopeful Travis Childers Defends Anti-Amnesty Pledge

By R.L. Nave

Last week, former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers became the first Democratic congressional candidate to sign a pledge to protect American workers.

The move brought criticism from some Democratic-leaning not so much because of his stance against amnesty for undocumented people—a position he has held going back to his days in the U.S. House of Representatives—but because of the reputation of the organization behind the pledge, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Because of FAIR's advocacy of limiting immigration into the U.S., some civil-rights organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center have called FAIR extremist and racist.

In a release to news media this afternoon Childers defended position on amnesty, saying:

“As I travel the state of Mississippi, I try to listen to people more than I talk. I ask Mississippians about the issues that are important to them, and I believe it's equally important for me to provide them with answers on where I stand and how I would vote if elected to the U.S. Senate. In every town I visit, voters continue to voice their serious concerns over high unemployment and the lack of job opportunities in our state and want to know where I stand on closing the gap. I continue to believe that Mississippians would be well served by hearing both candidates debate these tough issues, but in the absence of agreement on a public debate from Thad Cochran, I'll continue to explain my positions on the issues."

"Today, Mississippi’s unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the nation. Until we get Mississippians back to work, I can neither support legislation that would grant work authorization or amnesty to people that came here illegally nor can I support increases in guest foreign workers — many of whom accept work at sub-standard wages. There are too many corporations in our state and across the nation who are hiring illegal immigrants and guest workers instead of providing unemployed Mississippians with opportunities to perform hard work at a decent wage. Washington insiders backing Senator Cochran argue that these corporations just can’t find Mississippians willing to do the hard work. However, I know that if the jobs are actually offered to Mississippians and provide livable wages, the people of our state would readily accept the work and do it proudly."

October 6, 2014

SCOTUS Action Spurs LGBT Activists in Mississippi

By R.L. Nave

The Human Rights Campaign issued the following statement on today's U.S. Supreme Court decision declining to hear several marriage equality cases before the court:

HRC Mississippi committed to advancing fairness and ensuring justice across Mississippi

WASHINGTON, DC—Today’s Supreme Court action provides momentum for equality work across Mississippi, and reinforces the need for protections in housing, employment and public accommodations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Mississippians. The Supreme Court made history—bringing final marriage victories to five states and paving the way for possibly six more. But although marriage equality is now the law of the land in 24 states, today’s victory didn’t extent to LGBT Mississippians.

“Any time same-sex couples are extended marriage equality is something to celebrate, and today is a joyous day for thousands across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action," said HRC Mississippi Director Rob Hill. "But this news is an unfortunate reminder that LGBT Mississippians still lack basic legal protections against discrimination, and cannot legally marry the person they love in the place they call home.”

LGBT Mississippians are just as worthy of full legal equality as folks living elsewhere across the country, and they should be given the same dignity and respect. It is for this reason that HRC remains fully committed to creating one America for LGBT people, united under a single banner of fairness.

HRC Mississippi is working to advance equality for LGBT Mississippians who have no protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; legal state recognition for their relationships and families; state rights to jointly adopt children; and state protections from hate crimes. Through HRC Mississippi, we are working toward a future of fairness every day--changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.

October 3, 2014

Mega Magnolia Football Saturday Preview

By bryanflynn

October is the time of year when college football begins to show who is contenders and who are pretenders. This Saturday the SEC West will begin to find out who are contenders and who are pretenders, in earnest.

Mississippi State and Mississippi will have the focus of most of the college football world. The Bulldogs and Rebels could be dark horses for the SEC West title and a spot in the new college football playoff.

Texas A&M and Alabama (who are this week's visitors) are already favorites for both the SEC title and the playoff. The Aggies and Crimson Tide will be expected to win by most but there is no reason not to believe in the Rebels or Bulldogs.

There has been a ton of speculation about both these games. Article after article has been written and I'm sure I haven't read them all by this point.

Let me say one thing. Football is simple.

Don't get caught up in all the long drawn out breakdowns of each position. Football games are rarely won by one single player.

Both these games are going to be won or lost by the team that can control the line of scrimmage on the offensive and defensive lines, who doesn't turn the ball over and gets turnovers and being sound in the kicking game. It is that simple.

IF the Bulldogs and Rebels can control the defensive line of the Aggies and Tide on offense to give Dak Prescott and Bo Wallace time to throw and the running backs a holes to run, offense won't be a problem.

IF Ole Miss and MSU can get penetration with their defensive line against the Texas A&M and Alabama offensive line, they can disrupt the running game and get pressure on quarterbacks Kenny Hill and Blake Simmons.

One more thing on defense, both the Rebels and Bulldogs must tackle well. There is no doubt that the Aggies and Tide are going to get yards and points but don't make things easy by missing tackles and giving them free easy yards.

As much busted coverage as I have seen already this season, Ole Miss and MSU better make sure they know what coverage they are in each play. I have seen the Aggies and Tide score a few easy touchdowns this season by blown coverage.

This is nothing revolutionary. It is just sound football. Block and tackle. Cover receivers.

Mississippi State and Ole Miss have the offensive and defensive lines to control the line of scrimmage. Anyone who watched the LSU game can't deny that MSU can be the more physical team. I have no doubts the Rebels can do the same.

No turnover is really ever good but some are worse than others.

Here are what the Bulldogs and Rebels need to avoid, turnover wise. Don't turn the ball over for guaranteed points (with Alabama's field goal kicking problems, that means from the ...

September 25, 2014

NPR: Eric Holder to Announce Resignation

By R.L. Nave

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is stepping down, National Public Radio is reporting.

Holder is the nation's first African American AG and one of the longest-tenured members of first-black-President Barack Obama's cabinet.

According to NPR: "Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly "adamant" about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama's second term."

Holder shepherded the USDOJ through rocky times and made civil-rights enforcement a hallmark of his tenure.

Under Holder, several issues and cases out of Mississippi garnered national prominence.

In March 2012, Deryl Dedmon and two co-conspirators from Rankin County became the first individuals charged under a 2009 federal hate-crime law for the murder of James Craig Anderson, a black man from Jackson.

The case of Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder challenged the federal Voting Rights Act, which required a number of states that had histories with racial discrimination in voting. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby cleared the way for several states, including Mississippi, to implement voter-ID laws.

Civil-rights groups had argued, and Holder agreed, that voter ID represented an unconstitutional barrier to exercising voting rights. Mississippi's voter ID law, designed to stop election fraud, was first used in the June 2014 U.S. Senate primary, which resulted in multiple allegations of vote fraud that have yet to be resolved.

September 23, 2014 | 4 comments

Museum District Area Not Only Site for Costco

By AnnaWolfe

Mayor Tony Yarber continues the fight to obtain a Costco in Jackson, even after encountering setbacks in last month's zoning meeting, and now says that the location on Lakeland Drive is not the only location Costco will consider, WAPT reported.

"Whether it's there or other flourishing areas on (interstates) 55, 20 or 220, it remains to be seen," Yarber said. "Costco has made clear to us over the last couple of weeks that their commitment is to be in this market."

Since initial concerns from the community regarding the rezoning of green space north of Lakeland Drive near the I-55 intersection, the City's position was that if Costco were to come to Jackson, it would only be interested in that area. Costco has also expressed interest in two other locations along Lakeland Drive in Rankin County, but stringent liquor laws in that area makes them less desirable for the retailer.

The Jackson City Council is scheduled to discuss Lakeland Drive rezoning further on Oct. 20 at 2 p.m.

September 22, 2014

T.I. "The King" Gets The Key (to the City)

By R.L. Nave

Verbatim release from City Hall:

The City of Jackson is pleased to announce that Clifford “T.I.” Harris will be in Jackson, MS on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 to raise awareness on key issues with youth in the metro area. T.I. will be delivering a message wrapped around the basic principles of being safe, being productive, and being better. The American rapper and entrepreneur will focus on galvanizing youth in several Jackson Public Schools to avoid making the same mistakes that he once made. T.I.’s awareness tour will end at Forest Hill High School at 2pm. T.I. is committed to continuing his “road to redemption” – an effort that was sparked by his passion to see kids progress and develop positively.

The City of Jackson will present T.I. with the key to the city for his unwavering dedication to seeing youth and young adults become positive influences within the community. The key to the city ceremony will be held on Wednesday at 9:30am and will feature Mayor Tony Yarber, Sherriff Tyrone Lewis, and the Sonic Boom of the South. The City of Jackson, in partnership with the Hinds County Sherriff’s Office, has committed to support T.I.’s message not only to raise awareness about safe living and productivity, but through a collective mission to eliminate crime in our communities.

T.I.’s message of safe, positive, and progressive living is a testament to the mission of National Night Out, which is an annual initiative held within the city. This year, the City of Jackson & the Hinds County Sherriff’s office have committed to “giving crime a going away party” together! This is the first time that both agencies have completely partnered in their efforts to raise awareness about crime prevention and create a safer living environment. The National Night Out Kick-Off event is Thursday, September 25, 2014 from 5pm till 9pm at the Mississippi Agriculture Museum.

September 22, 2014

Richard Sellers Latest Entry to Ward 1 Race

By R.L. Nave

Here is the full, verbatim release on Sellers' candidacy:

Jackson is moving forward, but without strong conservative leadership on Jackson City Council the strides we have made will come to a halt. Jackson must be the thriving capitol city Mississippi deserves. Considering Jackson’s needs, and after much prayer and discussion with local leaders, I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Jackson City Council to represent Ward 1.

Service is an integral part of my life. As a special education teacher in our local public schools I strive to make a difference for each student I teach. As a high school baseball coach I serve my players as a positive role model and mentor. As an officer candidate in the Army National Guard I serve our state and nation by defending our freedom. As a member of our community I feel the same call to serve the city of Jackson.

I grew up in Picayune, MS, in a wonderful Christian home. My parents pushed me to set my goals high and to never give up. I graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in Education, while my wife, Amanda, attended Millsaps College and earned a degree in Biology. Amanda and I married and moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, where she attended medical school at Virginia Tech. Today, Amanda is a physician at UMC, and I am an educator, coach, soldier in the Army National Guard, and lifelong Republican. Amanda, and I own our home in the Heatherton neighborhood of Northeast Jackson and are members of Grace City Church.

There are three major issues I will fight for at city hall. First, I will address crime and public safety. Police Chief Lee Vance needs our support, and I will make sure he has the resources needed to win back the streets of Jackson. Second, I will tirelessly support our public school system. Dr. Cedrick Gray’s leadership in Jackson Public Schools assures me he has a plan for success. With groups like Alignment Jackson helping to fulfill his vision of strong education in our city, I will be an advocate for these changes in our schools’ achievement. Our children must have great schools to help them be successful, and I will make sure we take steps as a city to see JPS succeed. Finally, Jackson must continue to grow its business base. No longer should businesses gravitate to Madison, Flowood, or Pearl instead of making their home in the capital city. These businesses can provide jobs, services, and tax dollars, which are all things our great city must have to grow. I will make sure Jackson is a place for businesses big and small to succeed. I love the city of Jackson and will serve our citizens as a conservative voice on City Council.

Thank you for your interest, and I humbly ask for your support! You can find more information about me and how to join my campaign for a better Jackson at,, or on Twitter @ElectSellers.

September 15, 2014

Schools Join MAEP Lawsuit

By AnnaWolfe

Jackson, MS – Five Mississippi school districts have joined the fight to recover their share of almost $134 million owed to them by the State of Mississippi under the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (“MAEP”).

Greene County, Humphreys County, Leland, North Bolivar and West Bolivar, join Clarksdale, Clay County, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Leake County, Okolona, Prentiss County, Richton, Simpson County, Smith County, Tate County, Wayne County, West Tallahatchie and Wilkinson County in seeking declaratory judgment to restore funding owed to them by the State. Previous release reported Forest Municipal would join legal action. School Board representatives have confirmed they will not.

The new districts will be joined into the same legal action with the original fourteen districts that filed legal claims in Hinds County Chancery Court in August. The districts allege the State of Mississippi has violated its own laws requiring full funding of the MAEP formula as amended in 2006. The law allowed the State a three-year period – 2007 through 2009 – to phase in full funding to the amounts called for by the formula.

The legal action also seeks to require the State to fully fund MAEP at the current formula levels the law requires. The State of Mississippi has failed to fully fund MAEP in every fiscal year since 2010.

As noted previously, under Miss. Code Ann. § 37-151-6, the law clearly reads:

Effective with fiscal year 2007, the Legislature shall fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

Under Mississippi law, use of the word “shall” imposes a legal and binding agreement with the people of Mississippi. It is compulsory and provides no room for interpretation by the State. If the court rules that use of the word “shall” is open to interpretation, the State would be unable to make people pay their taxes, prosecute hundreds of crimes, or truly function as a government.

During the most recent legislative session, the State placed over $400 million in its “Rainy Day Fund” while underfunding education by more than $250 million. Filing for declaratory and injunctive relief is the only way for school districts to recover the money that has been kept from them over the past 6 years. These districts are also seeking injunctive relief to require the State resume full funding of MAEP for all districts going forward – not just those that have joined in the lawsuit.

Now that the suit has been filed, school districts that have not already joined the legal action may do so without court permission until the State’s answer is due. The Attorney General must answer on behalf of the State on or before September 29. After filing of the answer, remaining districts may only join after court permission is granted. School districts that fail to file for legal action may lose the right to recover any of the lost revenue.

For additional information, contact George Shelton at (601) 927-3044 or You may also find more information at or go to

September 12, 2014

Give Us Your Ideas: How to Be the Change in Jackson

By Donna Ladd

Every year, to celebrate the JFP's birthday, we put the focus on great things happening in Jackson. This year, we published special "GOOD Ideas: Be the Change in Jackson" issue to celebrate the JFP's 12th birthday. The issue, which published Sept. 24, includes all sorts of great ideas of things we can all do to bring positive change in Jackson. Please click that link and flip through the issue for ideas.

But here's where you come in. We're asking our readers to take a 30-day "Be the Change Challenge" in the Jackson metro to help encourage others to get involved, no matter how big or small, to help our city/metro reach its full potential. We challenge you to do something to Be the Change Jackson every day for 30 days starting on Oct. 1, 2014. Snap pictures of you and yours being-the-change and use the hashtag #btcjxn on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. We will give gift cards from local businesses to random be-the-changers over the 30 days. If you participate every day for 30 days, you will go into a drawing for the grand prize: an overnight prize package at Riverwalk Casino and Hotel. But even if you don't do it every day, you can still win prizes! So jump in and help inspire positive change in our city.

Gandhi told us all to "be the change we want to see in the world"; we urge you to focus your efforts on our city in the next month or so to help inspire others, and especially our young folks, to step up and do whatever is in their power to do.

Thank you for whatever you can do and for inspiring others! Remember #btcjxn.

September 12, 2014

College Football Week Three Picks

By bryanflynn

I correctly picked 16 of 19 games last week but I also had my first missed picked involving a Mississippi team. That brings my season record to 32-5 so far this young season, which isn't too bad if I say so myself.

So, I had Millsaps beating Mary Hardin-Baylor and go undefeated. That picked looked good when the game was tied 7-7 late in the first quarter. Then Mary Hardin-Baylor dropped 36 unanswered points on the Majors and pick was done. Millsaps faced one of the toughest teams in Division III and losing is not something to be ashamed of and the team can still have a strong season.

I picked Stanford to win over USC but then the Cardinal did everything they could possibly do to lose the game. Stanford punted deep in Trojan territory several times instead of rolling the dice and going for it. If the Cardinal wasn't punting when knocking on the USC door, they had penalties that killed drives and took scores off the board.

The strangest thing was USC Athletic Director Pat Haden coming down to the field help argue a call because head coach Steve Sarkisian asked him to come help him. No coach should ever call his AD down to the field over calls and someone as respected as Haden never should have come down.

It just looks bad for everyone involved. I don't think it will have any baring on Haden being on the playoff selection committee because he would have to recuse if USC was in the discussion. It was smart of the committee to set up the recusal system before the season before this incident happened.

My last incorrect pick was Michigan State over Oregon. That picked looked good in the third quarter then it looked like the roles sudden reversed. The Ducks had the relentless hard charging defense and the Spartans looked lost and slow on defense.

Oregon scored 28 unanswered points to win the game and they did pretty much what every they wanted on offense and defense while taking control of the game. Michigan State tackled poorly on defense and compounded their poor tackling with even poor coverage.

Stanford plays a similar style to Michigan State and had beaten the Ducks in their last few meetings. Oregon beating the Spartans might mean they have figured out how to go toe to toe with other more physical teams.

This week, Delta State is off and it would be a shame not to mention the Statesmen going on the road and demolishing Fort Valley State University. Delta State routed FVSU for a 56-13 win to get the season off on a nice foot. Now the Statesmen have two week to prepare for Valdosta State.

Be for getting to this weeks picks, here is something to keep an eye on for the rest of the season. Could BYU crash the playoff party. The Cougars are 3-0 after getting past Houston ...

September 11, 2014

TedxJackson Speakers Announced

By R.L. Nave

The speaker lineup for the first TedxJackson, taking place Nov. 6 is out. Here they are:

Marina Bers, Professor at Tufts University, co-founder of KinderLab Robotics

George Bey, Professor of anthropology, researcher of Mesoamerican archaeology

Joel Bomgar, Founder and chairman of Bomgar

Jill Connor Browne, Author and humorist, Queen Boss of the Sweet Potato Queens

Gary Butler, Founder, chairman and CEO of Camgian Microsystems

Kristi Henderson, Director of Telehealth, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Kermit the Frog, Actor, singer, author, Muppet

Andy Lack, Chairman of Bloomberg Media, media industry veteran and visionary

David McRaney, Author and journalist

Melody Moody, Executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi

Hakeem Oluseyi, Professor of physics and space sciences, TED fellow, Science Channel contributor

Joe Reardon, Former mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, economic development consultant

Robert Santelli, GRAMMY Museum executive director, music historian and author

Joe Stradinger, Founder and CEO of EdgeTheory, technology investor and entrepreneur

Richard Summers, University of Mississippi Medical School professor, physician, researcher, scientist

Herman Taylor, Cardiovascular researcher, physician, former director of the Jackson Heart Study

September 11, 2014

Report: Jackson State a Top 20 HBCU Value

By R.L. Nave

Verbatim press release:

For the eighth consecutive year, U.S. News has produced a ranking measuring the quality of the undergraduate education at historically black colleges and universities. In order to be on the list, a school must be currently designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an HBCU. To qualify for the U.S. News ranking, an HBCU also must be an undergraduate baccalaureate-granting institution that enrolls primarily first-year, first-time students and must be a school that is part of the 2015 Best Colleges rankings.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 defines an HBCU as "any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary (of Education) to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation."

If an HBCU is listed as Unranked in the 2015 Best Colleges rankings, it is also listed as Unranked in the HBCU rankings

In total, there were 80 HBCUs eligible to be included on the list; 69 of those were ranked and 11 of those were Unranked.

  1. Spelman College
  2. Howard University
  3. Morehouse College
  4. Hampton University
  5. Tuskegee University
  6. Xavier University of Louisiana
  7. Fisk University
  8. Florida A&M University
  9. Claflin University
  10. North Carolina A&T State University
  11. North Carolina Central University
  12. Tougaloo College
  13. (Tie) Delaware State University
  14. (Tie) Dillard University
  15. (Tie) Morgan State University
  16. (Tie) Winston-Salem State University
  17. Johnson C. Smith University
  18. Clark Atlanta University
  19. Jackson State University
  20. Elizabeth City State University
  21. (Tie) Lincoln University of PA
  22. (Tie) Tennessee State University
  23. (Tie) Alabama A&M University
  24. (Tie) University of Maryland-Eastern Shore
  25. (Tie) Bennett College
  26. (Tie) Bowie State University
  27. Alcorn State University
  28. (Tie) Albany State University
  29. (Tie) Fayetteville State University
  30. South Carolina State University
  31. Bethune-Cookman University
  32. Virginia State University
  33. Oakwood University
  34. Norfolk State University
  35. (Tie) Philander Smith College
  36. (Tie) University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff
  37. Prairie View A&M University
  38. (Tie) Fort Valley State University
  39. (Tie) Kentucky State University
  40. Stillman College
  41. (Tie) Alabama State University
  42. (Tie) Central State University
  43. (Tie) West Virginia State University
  44. Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
  45. (Tie) Paine College
  46. (Tie) Southern University and A&M College
  47. Savannah State University
  48. Livingstone College
  49. Texas Southern University
  50. (Tie) Bluefield State College
  51. (Tie) Florida Memorial University
  52. (Tie) Grambling State University
  53. (Tie) Mississippi Valley State University

September 11, 2014

Federal Judge Dismisses Oakley Training School Lawsuit

By R.L. Nave

U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate has dismissed a federal lawsuit over conditions at Oakley Youth Development Center.

According to a press release, Mississippi Department of Human Services officials credit the ruling with the agency's efforts to "better the conditions for all youth adjudicated delinquent and assigned to Oakley through Mississippi youth courts."

“The Division of Youth Services has worked to improve conditions and education, while ensuring the safety and security of youth at Oakley,” said MDHS Executive Director Richard Berry. “We appreciate the Department of Justice and the federal court’s affirming the progress and advances made for youth in state custody.”

Gov. Phil Bryant also weighed in, through the release, saying: “I want to thank Richard Berry and the Mississippi Department of Human Services for working hard over the last nine years to bring conditions to their current levels at the Oakley Youth Development Center. The diligence of their staff to meet the many compliance issues is apparent, and they have succeeded in improving the center drastically from where it was from almost a decade ago.”

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice conducted an investigation of Oakley and the now-closed Columbia Training School in response to three federal lawsuits alleging abuses ranging from staff forcing students to eat their own vomit, to hog-tying students and leaving them naked in dark cells for days at a time. The DOJ successfully sued Mississippi to correct the brutal treatment of inmates and the deplorable conditions of the facilities in 2005, and had worked with the DHS to devise and implement a plan of action.

DHS added: "In 2010 the state had met 51 of those requirements, and an amended agreement was entered into by all parties. Earlier this year the federal monitor assigned to the case found that OYDC had maintained substantial compliance with the 23 remaining provisions for a significant period of time. As a result of that report, DOJ and the State of Mississippi filed to dismiss the suit.

"Numerous changes have occurred at Oakley since 2005. Expansion of medical and dental services, better mental health care, and an updated education program accredited by Mississippi Department of Education are just a few of the programs now successfully operating at facility. Although DYS has had numerous challenges to overcome, the division has accomplished its goal of meeting the requirements of the lawsuit."