Iron Horse, Lifelong Learners, Heart Studies and Utilities | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Iron Horse, Lifelong Learners, Heart Studies and Utilities

All this week, staff members at the Iron Horse Grill (320 W. Pearl St.) are training, cleaning and tying up lose ends in preparation for the restaurant's grand re-opening Monday, Nov. 25.

All this week, staff members at the Iron Horse Grill (320 W. Pearl St.) are training, cleaning and tying up lose ends in preparation for the restaurant's grand re-opening Monday, Nov. 25.

Iron Horse Grill Prepares for Opening Week

All this week, staff members at the Iron Horse Grill (320 W. Pearl St.) are training, cleaning and tying up lose ends in preparation for the restaurant's grand re-opening Monday, Nov. 25. The return of the Iron Horse, rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire in 1999, has been a much-anticipated event for downtown Jackson.

"We're looking forward to getting to work providing jobs and revitalizing the downtown area," Iron Horse General Manager Andy Nesenson said. "We'll be employing 120 people here."

The rebuilt Iron Horse will feature multilevel dining within its 12,000-square-foot space and has enough seating for more than 300 guests, not including private dining. The menu will incorporate a number of the favorite items guests enjoyed in the past like chicken enchiladas, fajitas, chips and salsa, and the Iron Horse Burger.

The restaurant offers signature items such as smoked catfish dip, fried chicken cob salad, crawfish and crab enchiladas, Mexican lasagna, and roasted poblano mac and cheese. Also available are fresh seafood and steaks at dinner and desserts such as Mississippi praline cheesecake and bananas foster. All the food at the Iron Horse will be made from scratch daily with local ingredients such as seafood from Heartland Catfish, chicken from Sanderson Farms and Delta Grind grits.

The restaurant will feature live entertainment three nights a week beginning opening week. The performers will be a mixture of local and regional talent from the Jackson area, booked by Arden Barnett of

The Iron Horse will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays except for Thursday, when the restaurant is open until 11 p.m. The restaurant is open until midnight on Saturdays and open for lunch only from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Lessons for Lifelong Learners

The Mississippi Children's Museum is planning a partnership with the Picayune School District to launch a project called Lessons for Lifelong Learners. The project will provide targeted professional development for district elementary teachers and field trips to MCM for all elementary classrooms. The program also has the long-range goal of providing a series of arts-integrated professional development workshops—aligned with Mississippi's Common Core State Standards and the Picayune School District curriculum—free of charge to all K-6 teachers during the 2014-15 school year.

The Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation provided the museum a $12,587 grant in Sept. 2013 to fund the project.

Lessons for Lifelong Learners aims to supplement school curriculums and provide support for district teachers. The museum will host workshops to promote integrated learning—which is increasingly proven to engage students' interest in academic subjects—and provide direct services to students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to visit the museum.

MCM's professional development workshops are open to teachers throughout the state to earn Continuing Education Units. The museum offers the workshops online through Mississippi's University for Women, onsite at MCM, and on location for groups of 20 or more. Workshop topics include Wild about Reading; STEAM Learning; Healthy Fun and I Wonder: Critical Thinking for Children. Each workshop integrates English, math, science, and history with visual and performing arts; is aligned with common core curriculum standards; and shows educators how to teach to different learning styles and abilities.

For more information about MCM's professional development workshops or MCM, visit the museum's website.

Heart Studies v2.0

On Sunday, Nov. 17, the American Heart Association established formal research ties between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Boston University to expand the two universities' population studies of cardiovascular disease: The Jackson and Framingham heart studies.

Called Heart Studies v2.0, the AHA-sponsored collaboration will allow researchers in the two studies to more deeply analyze genetic and other patient information collected in the studies' data banks.

The research has the potential to offer more effective and personalized medical treatments based on an individual's genetic makeup, environment, history, particular disease sub-type and other variables.

The Framingham Heart Study, founded in 1948 at Boston University, is the nation's longest-running cardiovascular-disease investigation. Its researchers have collected health data over the years from seven cohort groups made up of thousands of participants. The study has produced information on identification of risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and insights on the effects of these factors, including smoking, obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol and physical activity.

The Jackson Heart Study is the largest study in history to focus on the genetic factors related to cardiovascular diseases in African Americans, a group that faces increased risk for heart disease and stroke. It is an extremely important study because, while the Framingham study has provided decades of important data, its subjects have historically lacked racial diversity.

The JHS draws together the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson State University and Tougaloo College. It has followed 5,300 African Americans in Jackson for more than a decade, compiling data from numerous medical tests, scans, exams and interviews, while also analyzing the effects of lifestyle factors such as diet, community and church involvement on their overall health. JHS researchers have identified links between social conditions and specific risk factors for diseases, uncovered differences in metabolic syndrome between blacks and whites, and identified how location of fat in the body affects African Americans—a topic previously analyzed mainly in white people.

Representatives from the AHA, Boston University, the University of Mississippi and other scientific thought leaders appointed by the collaboration's Scientific Oversight Group will govern the collaboration.

Mississippi Second in Nation for Utilities

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, North Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley announced that Area Development—a national site selection publication—has ranked Mississippi as second in the nation for competitive utility rates related to economic development and job growth.

"I am proud that the economic-development community around the country is taking note of the pro-jobs efforts of the Mississippi Public Service Commission to keep rates low," Presley said in a release. "The first job at the PSC is to protect the public interest and bring reliable utility service to the people, businesses and industries of Mississippi. While we still have much work to do to keep rates low, I am proud that Area Development has recognized the Commission's hard work."

Presley sponsored and passed the Small Business Rate Incentive, which helps Mississippi small business owners save on upfront utility costs. The incentive program has helped more than 1,000 small businesses around the state save an average of $600 in initial utility costs.

Recently, Presley asked the state's major electric and gas utilities to extend the small business incentives through 2014. So far, all major public utilities have either filed extensions to the program or plan to by the end of the year.

For more information about Mississippi's ranking, visit Area Development's website.

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