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I sue you, you sue me. So goes the Ballad of Rudy the Warnock. Former Madison County engineer Rudy Warnock filed an amended complaint against his former client in U.S. District Court last Thursday as he claimed the county owed him $1.448 million. Madison County said "we see you one lawsuit and raise you one lawsuit" as it sued Mr. Warnock and his firm in Madison County Circuit Court yesterday.
Will a state lottery become the pied piper of Mississippi as it plays a catchy tune but leads to ruin? The creation of a state lottery appeared in the legislature this week as two amendments were attached to other amendments to bills that are still alive. Slipping such amendments into bills at the last minute when no one is looking is how Mississippi wound up with bad ideas such as the beef plant. The creation of a state lottery is no exception but it will continue the tradition of Mississippi yet again shooting itself in the foot.
When the 77th NCAA Tournament Final Four is completed next Monday, 308 teams will have competed in college basketball's ultimate showcase.
And here's what you need to know about that. Of those 308 teams, only one has been from the Magnolia State: the 1995-96 Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Ridgeland Police issued the following statement and mug shots:
Two amendments that would create state lotteries were slipped into Senate bills that were passed by the Mississippi House of Representatives yesterday. One amendment creates a state lottery and directs the proceeds into a scholarship fund for college students. Who could be against education, right? The other amendment mandates half of the funds (after expenses) are spent on education while the other half is spent on "infrastructure improvements". Will the Senate concur or will the bill go to conference?
The Mississippi Court of Appeals overturned a contempt of court ruling against State Auditor Stacey Pickering today. Harrison County Chancellor Jennifer Schloegel ruled he was in contempt of court after the State Auditor subpoenaed DMR records during the course of the DMR investigation in 2012. Gulf Publishing, the owner of the Sun-Herald, sought the records.
Tinseltown presents Tuskegee Airmen tonight at 7:00 PM. Many people gripe about the poor quality of movies now served up by Hollywood. This is a good one to see.
Meanwhile, Cinemark let us down by refusing to show another movie that is presented on other Cinemark screens this week:
The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure is changing the maximum distance a nurse practitioner can operate under a supervising physician's supervision from 15 to 75 miles. The Board filed an amendment to its current regulations yesterday with the Secretary of State. The Board held up its end of an agreement made with the legislature last month after a bill with similar language passed the Senate Committee on Public Health.
Representative Kim Campbell stood up on her own two feet and swung at the Republican monolith last week on the floor of the Mississippi House of Representatives. She is normally one of the more quiet members of the house, as the black Democrat has gained a reputation for avoiding racial politics while working with members of both parties and races. However, the airport takeover bill was more than she could stomach so she spoke out against the airport bill during debate. No punches were pulled as she crucified Republicans who had come to her for help in past years. Watch the video. It's always the quiet ones you have to watch out for and Ms. Campbell is no exception.
Jim Barksdale's new online newspaper went live today. Check out Mississippi Today. The organization hired several veteran reporters and editors. The website states Mississippi Today is "incorporated in Mississippi as a nonprofit organization on Oct. 3, 2014,
and was granted its exemption from federal income tax under section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code on March 6, 2015." Mississippi media and political junkies will recognize some names on the staff:
It seems Belgium has its own catch & release program for suspected terrorists. Brace yourself. The Wall Street Journal reported several cases of Belgian authorities dropping the ball when it came to nabbing those responsible for bombing an airport and subway last week:
It seemed fitting to post this plea for help on Easter Sunday. The family of Lonnie Blue, Jr. set up a Gofundme page to assist with burial expenses. Mr. Blue was killed by a suspect fleeing police last week.There has been a heated debate over police chases since Mr. Blue lost his life but regardless of fault, a family lost their boy and a child lost his father. The goal is $3,000. Please donate. Link to Gofundmepage.Click Here to Read More..
Jackson Councilman DeKeither Stamps and several community activists held a press conference Friday at the corner of Capitol Street and Tennessee Avenue. The subject was police chases into Jackson by police departments of surrounding cities. Some highlights of his comments are:
Several thugs physically attacked Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker and his son at Shuckers a few weeks ago. The police incident report and mug shots are posted below. The narrative is on page 4 and the mug shots are on pages five and six.
Madison County Coroner Alex Breland, Jr. confirmed what everyone suspected: Mississippi filmaking legend Jim Dollarhide died in a tragic fire at his house last week. His family posted Harmonies: A Mississippi Overture on Youtube this week. Mr. Dollarhide produced it for the Mississippi Development Authority back in 1994. It is a celebration of all things Mississippi and perhaps in a way, of Mr. Dollarhide's life. Enjoy
The airport bill passed the Mississippi House of Representatives this afternoon on a vote of 74-46. It is currently being held on a motion to reconsider. The votes are posted below. All Jackson representatives voted against the bill- except Bill Denny. He just couldn't help himself.
Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance called out the media for "erroneous" reports about JPD's participation in a Clinton police chase of a shoplifting suspect into Jackson Monday night. The chase ended when the suspect crashed into a car driven by Lonnie Blue, Jr. at the intersection of Tennessee and Capitol Street. Chief Vance held a press conference yesterday to dispute Clinton PD's statements that JPD participated in the case. It was also announced at the press conference that JPD will charge driver Donald Jones with second degree murder once he is released from UMMC for the death of Lonnie Blue, Jr.
Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd issued a temporary restraining order against the Mississippi House of Representatives. House Democrats have used the age-old tactic of asking for the reading of each bill before a vote is taken in an effort to slow the operations of the House to a crawl, or reduce it to the pace of the Jackson City Council in making decisions. Representative Jay Hughes, The Oxford Don (although it is Oxford, Mississippi and not Oxford & Cambridge, although in Mr. Hughes' mind he probably does not distinguish between the two Oxfords), petitioned the court to stop the House leadership from using a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious speed reader that can make twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesoniononasesameseedbun seem but a blur.
A New York federal appeals court slammed Jim Hood . Court documents also show the sister-in-law of the deceased Precious Martin dipping her beak, as she produced what can be termed bogus work for $112,500. Alan Lange covered this case over at Y'all Politics:
Basketball Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor drawls on and on in superlatives when asked about Geno Auriemma and his Connecticut women's basketball juggernaut.
Hey, Van, is UConn the most dominant team in sports today?
Clinton police released videos of a chase that ended in a fatality early this morning of an innocent bystander. A controversy has arisen since the chase began in Clinton but ended in West Jackson. Clinton officials and JPD dispute whether JPD was notified of the chase or participated.
Mayor Tony Yarber nominated Ward 1 resident James Stanley to the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Board of Commissioners on February 23. Mr. Stanley possesses a sterling resume: a decorated combat fighter pilot, many years spent at Ergon in management, and more years spent as an engineer. City Council President Melvin Priester, Jr. postponed his appointment to the board as he promised at the February 23 meeting that a confirmation hearing for Mr. Stanley would be held a week later. Watch his promise for yourself in this video:
Steve Wilson reported at Mississippi Watchdog.org:
Gun rights advocate Rick Ward filed several Freedom of Information Act requests in January with the city of Hattiesburg to provide him a list of all the guns seized by its police department since 1991. Some of those guns, Ward says, were taken in violation of state law.
He was told that the information would cost him more than $5,000, at $5 per page. Ward threatened a lawsuit and the city later reduced the price of the records to $78. Now the Mississippi Legislature is considering creation of a free, searchable databases of all seized property maintained by the state.
JJ discovered this video of a 1975 party in Belhaven that was shot by none other than Jim Dollarhide. Many people are bracing themselves for the official news about what happened when his house burned down last week. However, enjoy this video shot by a young Jim Dollarhide who was obviously enjoying life at the time.
Peggy Noonan has been providing some of the better observations about the Presidential race in her weekly Wall Street Journal column. Ms. Noonan is hard to beat for political analysis when she is at the top of her game. She pens an interesting hypothesis on the cause of the "anger" that seems to fuel the support for Trump, Sanders, and even Cruz, much to the chagrin of both party elders. Ms. Noonan writes:
Jackson Rising is back. The "progressive" group advocating the Jackson-Kush plan posted a video online spelling out their views in no uncertain terms. June Hardwick and her partner call for a boycott of all businesses in all of the cities surrounding Jackson. You can't make this up. Blacks who disagree with this crowd are internalizing "white supremacists". Everything is a Klan plot. Kali Akuno produced the video. Watch it for yourself. A roadmap of sorts is posted below if you don't want to watch the whole video. Pour a drink and enjoy.
National Review published a rather penetrating analysis of how Senator Marco Rubio imploded. The essay began with a highly-touted Republican pollster comparing him to Michael Jordan a year ago. The Senator stood in high esteem a year ago:
A Hinds County grand jury indicted Dr. Michael Molleston in December for felony malicious mischief. The good doctor is a neurosurgeon. He was arrested in December 2014 for allegedly using a golf club to smash the windows of an Audi belonging to Dr. John Davis in the parking lot of the Manship restaurant. The incident allegedly occurred on October 1 although it was not reported to police until October 31.
Update: Judge Priester bound Butler over to the grand jury today. His bond remains at $500,000.
Complete transcript of hearing is posted below. Verrrry interesting reading.
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith clashed with the Mississippi Attorney General in Judge Melvin Priester's courtroom two weeks ago over convicted drug dealer Christopher Butler. The AG is prosecuting Butler for alleged consumer fraud. However, Mr. Smith showed up unannounced and unexpected at a preliminary hearing and tried to take control of the case. It was a rather colorful hearing as Judge Priester allowed Mr. Smith to have his say and then shut him down. The District Attorney also announced that he had subpoenaed the AG's prosecutors before a grand jury over the case as well and accused Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents of doctoring videotapes and trying to frame Butler in a separate case. Mr. Smith even argued that the Attorney General can not prosecute a case for anything in Hinds County without his consent. Judge Priester postponed the preliminary hearing until today "Because of the raucous and unprofessional behavior by Mr. Smith, District Attorney.."
Video of incident and the police report are posted below. The police report provides more details about this incident.
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Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Jr. tried to remove Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill from a case because Judge Weill allegedly filed a bar complaint against his father. Lumumba sued attorney Toney Baldwin in Hinds County Circuit Court for allegedly interfering with his representation of several clients in Stonewall (Clarke County). Judge Weill denied his motion.
The Ben Allen indictment dominated the news last week. Most readers know the story. Linda Brune provided several boxes of Downtown Jackson Partners documents to the State Auditor and the Clarion-Ledger in 2014 while she was employed as a secretary by DJP. Reporter Jerry Mitchell had a field day and garnered several front page headlines for his scoop. However, the media has not reported that DJP and its former employee have been facing off in several courtrooms.
Downtown Jackson Partners sued Linda Brune on December 10, 2014 in Madison County Court for allegedly embezzling $40,439. The lawsuit also states she was "terminated on July 25, 2014 for sharing confidential corporate information with a reporter from the Clarion-Ledger." Ms. Brune is a resident of Madison County.
Jackson City Council President Melvin Priester, Jr. charged last week in a Facebook post that the airport fight is really a battle over who controls the land near the East Metro Parkway. Mr. Priester wrote:
First Bowie, then George Martin, and now Keith Emerson. A true rock and roll legend died a few days ago, one who was a true virtuoso of the keyboards. His fingers produced magic. No piece was sacred nor safe from his creativity. He produced his own masterpieces and re-worked others. He combined an unmatched talent with an equally unmatched flair for showmanship.
There is some good news to report in this era of government austerity. The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Welfare Program for lawyers continues to expand. Lawyers billed JMAA $130,530 on the January and February claims dockets. The average monthly bills of $65,265 are an increase of 12% over 2015. The May Firm and Walker Group send four lawyers to each monthly work session and board meeting as well.
Update: Clinton PD has pending charges against this guy: auto theft, possession of a stolen auto, and auto burglary. He is not going anywhere.
Is (alleged) New Stage Theatre carjacker and attempted cop killer Suava Blair going home? A Hinds County grand jury indicted him on December 10 for carjacking, attempted aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and armed robbery.
Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber made quite a stir when he penned some of his frustrations to paper and posted them on Facebook Friday. Copy of Mayor's remarks. Sales Tax Commission member Pete Perry responded to his comments in a column submitted to JJ that is posted below*.
Jackson native and nationally-renowned recording artist David Banner expressed his thoughts on the Mississippi state flag in an eloquent yet colorful manner. It was not quite to the level of poetry once expressed by Deacon Jones but was much better than the rhyme expressed by Huggie Bear. . Start at 3:50.
Update: Harris turned himself in to JPD. He is charged with two counts of capital murder.
JPD issued the following statement about the arrest of Anthony Harris. He is charged with capital murder in a double-homicide that took place last weekend.
A Hinds County grand jury indicted Andre Kennedy on February 26 for kidnapping, armed robbery, and burglary. Kennedy and his accomplice Edwin "Guttalife" Robinson kidnapped a doctor from his Ridgewood home early on a Saturday morning, May 16, 2015. A doctor who just happened to be a competitive shooter. The indictment states the charges are terror-enhanced.* The case is assigned to Judge Jeff Weill.
Lock and load. A murder suspect is on the loose. Consider him to be armed and dangerous. JPD issued the following press release and mug shots.
Update (6:46 PM): District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith texted Howard Ballou "This is an ongoing investigation and he (Mr. Pickering) is welcome to come testify under oath."
Original post (3:03 PM): State Auditor Stacey Pickering defended two employees indicted by a Hinds County grand jury in a press release that is posted below. Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith is prosecuting them for allegedly obstructing an investigation of Ben Allen and his use of funds as Executive Director of Downtown Jackson Partners. Pickering minced no words and provided several documents with the statement. Earlier post with copy of indictments.
Update (10:38 AM, 3/11/16): Cases is assigned to Judge Winston Kidd. Judges Jeff Weill and Tomie Green recused themselves.
Update (6:40 PM): Copy of indictment is posted below. The indictment charges him with ten counts of embezzlement and mishandling of Downtown Jackson Partner's funds. The indictment also charges him with spending DJP money on Mayor Tony Yarber's inaugural gala.
Original post (10:40 AM) Multiple sources have confirmed to JJ that Ben Allen was indicted on ten counts. It is not yet known what the specific charges are but sources say they are related to this Jerry Mitchell story that appeared in the Clarion-Ledger in 2014. More information will be posted when available.
Consider this the Presidential Primary post. The Trumpster wowed 'em in Madison yesterday while Cruz paid homage to all things catfish and the giant cross in Florence. Kasich be-bopped through here last week although he met with "The Party" instead of the voters. Can't trust the folks with pitchforks, you know. We got to see Bill himself grace us with his presence as Fondrenites oohed and ahhed. Bernie? Who dat be? Bernie didn't even visit the state. Oh well. Here is a round up of the primary news:
Copies of indictments are posted below.
Update (10:44 AM, 3/10/16): Attorney Hiram Richard Davis, Jr. represents both defendants.
A Hinds County grand jury indicted David Huggins and Karei McDonald for "first degree hindering prosecution by obstruction" on February 26, 2016. Mr. Huggins is the Deputy State Auditor and Mr. McDonald is an investigator for the Office of the State Auditor. The indictment states the two acted together to "hinder the prosecution" of Ben Allen.
The water at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Jackson has "higher than normal" amounts of lead. The school announced the test results in a letter sent to parents of lower school students last week. The letter is posted below.
The state newspaper has been engaging in a serious bout of investigative journalism in the last few Sunday editions. It took aim at our seriously weak and ineffective campaign finance laws. Some call Mississippi campaign finance "legalized bribery". The Clarion-Ledger began its series on February 20 with this story:
Thank you, Politco. The ehealth section of Politico Pro picked up JJ's "Shameful" post from Thursday:
Anita Lee reported in a Sun-Herald blog post that a company just won some nice incentives from the legislature to create jobs on the Gulf Coasts has been laying off workers at its Gulf Coast operations. Ms. Lee reported:
It's time for a document downpour for the weekend. JJ posted several emails written by members of the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure yesterday. JJ does not want to be accused of cherry-picking so here is the entire batch of emails JJ received from the Board after submitting a public records request. Read through all 683 pages to your heart's content. The batch includes emails, transcripts of the telemedicine hearing, and other correspondence pertaining to the telemedicine issue. 683 pages, although much of the documents are duplicates. However, do not fear, for the Kingfish provided a road map for you to navigate through the batch.
The Jackson Public School District has no records or invoices for professional services that were provided during the $118 million refinancing of bonds that took place in 2015. The District paid $1.2 million in fees to lawyers, financial advisers, and other parties to conduct the transaction. The same issue only generated nearly $550,000 in fees when it was sold back in 2007. JJ tried to obtain the invoices for the professional service fees through a public records request. However, JPS claimed it had no copies of invoices or other records for such services. Earlier post.
The pilot shortage is hurting airlines that serve smaller markets such as Jackson. Republic Airways filed for bankruptcy in no small part due to the shortage. The Wall Street Journal reported last week:
The Senate recommitted the bill expanding the "Nurse Practitioner radius" from 15 to 75 miles in Mississippi. Nurse Practitioners had not been allowed to work more than 15 miles from their supervising physician. Senator Terry Burton announced the Board of Medical Licensure agreed to change its regulations to the 75-mile radius. He said the new regulation will appear on the Board's website in 28 days. Senator Burton also said there is currently no limit on how many Nurse Practitioners can be supervised by a physician. There had been a common assumption that state law imposed such a limit but Senators Burton and Dean Kirty said the actual laws did not have a limit. Burton's bill was a committee substitute for a similar one sponsored by Senator Angela Hill.Click Here to Read More..
Update: Bill Clinton will be in town this afternoon.
The Presidential race moves to Mississippi next week and Mississippi is actually getting some attention. For all the gnashing of teeth over protracted nomination fights - elections can be soooo messy - it is nice to actually have a voice in the primary fights. It's much better than in elections past when the fight was over after South Carolina. Here are some updates.
A fight over the use of telemedicine rages behind the scenes at the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure. Telemedicine is used by tens of thousands of patients in Mississippi as its growth has exploded over the last few years. However, emails and other correspondence show the Board has been waging its own war on telemedicine as it seeks to control the market and limit its use. One board member even calls his employer "shameful" for offering telemedicine to its employees. The Executive Director chews out the board attorney for daring to offer an opinion whether some forms of telemedicine are legal. Other emails show the lengths the board has gone to to regulate the market while avoiding the rules it must follow in doing so. JJ obtained emails through a public records request.
It seems our fearless leaders in the Mississippi House of Representatives voted to expand the vaccine exemptions available to children today. The measure passed nine votes and had thirty-three sponsors. The bill will allow parents to obtain vaccine exemptions from out of state-doctors.
Far be it from me to become involved in the Academy Awards controversy about the lack of nominations for African American actors. I hope the people voting know more about it than I do.
Fact is, I only know what I like and what touches me. And one of the 2015 movies that touched me most was “Concussion” – a film starring the immensely talented Will Smith, which dealt with the catastrophic effects of repeated concussions for professional football players.
Several taxicab drivers who wish to start their own taxicab companies sued the city of Jackson today in Hinds County in Hinds County Chancery Court. They claim Jackson's taxicab licensing ordinance is unfair and keeps them from obtaining a license. The case has been assigned to Chancellor William Singletary.
Disruption is the new buzzword in corporate America as old business models are blown up and new ones created on an almost daily basis with the advent of the smartphone. Few things are immune to the technology tidal wave that is sweeping across the economy and the practice of medicine is no exception. Meanwhile, government is often ill-suited to handle such disruption and often does not know what to do. Mississippi is no exception as shown in the fight over telemedicine. It is a fight that is little understood or covered by the press but may impact what healthcare options are available to Mississippians.
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