5K to benefit Habitat for Humanity MS

The 2013 Sun King 5K Memorial Run and Walk will continue its tradition of celebrating and honoring lost loved ones in a 5K race that will benefit Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area (HFHMCA).

The 13th annual Sun King run will be held at 8 a.m. Oct. 19 at St. James Episcopal Church, 3921 Oakridge Dr. in Jackson. The annual run through the Fondren neighborhood streets will feature a 5K run and walk and a 1-mile fun run for children.King-of-Kings-5K-Ted-ran3

Originally organized in 1999 in memory of tri-athlete Earnest Davidson, the annual Sun King is a unique way to remember, honor and celebrate the lives of lost loved ones. “It is our hope that families will participate and/or sponsor the Sun King 5K in memory of someone they wish to remember and honor in this way,” said Amy Davidson, event founder. “As in the past several years, funds raised from the 2013 Sun King Memorial 5K will benefit Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area.”

HFHMCA works with area churches, businesses, civic clubs, groups and individuals to build decent, affordable housing for families in need. Since it was founded in 1986, more than 580 homes have been built, empowering families through home ownership while stabilizing neighborhoods and contributing to the tax base and local economy.

The race awards are glass “sun dancers” made by Davidson family friend and artist B. J. Hatten of Enterprise, Miss.  The “sun dancers” will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place finishers in each race division. This year there also will be a cash prize for the overall male and female winners in the run and walk events.

Registration is available online at www.sunking5k.com or www.mstrackclub.com. Registration forms also may be picked up at St. James Episcopal Church on Oakridge Drive in Jackson and at Fleet Feet Sports in Ridgeland.  The pre-registration deadline has passed and on-site registration the day of the race begins at 6:30 a.m. For more information, contact Thad Hopper at (601) 954-2038 or Larry Allen at (601) 260-7648.



Strengthen your community through volunteerism

I’m always on the lookout for volunteer opportunities and Volunteer Mississippi often sends information about how to serve your community. Starting next Tuesday, Volunteer Mississippi will hold information sessions to discuss the availability of federal funds to support local national service programs and opportunities to access national service resources. Programs include AmeriCorps State, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and Senior Service Corps programs.

All sessions will be an hour and a half long. Those interested in submitting an application for an AmeriCorps State program to operate in 2014 will meet for an additional hour after the presentation, for Nuts & Bolts of AmeriCorps State.


STARKVILLE – Tuesday, August 20, 9 – 11:30 am

                      Greater Starkville Development Partnership, 101 S Lafayette St, Starkville         


HERNANDO – Wednesday, August 21, 9 – 11:30 am

                            Gale Center, 2601 Elm St., Hernando


CLARKSDALE – Thursday, August 22, 9 – 11:30 am

                              Coahoma Opportunities, Inc. – 115 Issaquena Avenue, Clarksdale


 JACKSON  – Thursday, August 29, 9 – 11:30 am

                         William F Winter Building, 200 North St., Jackson


 HATTIESBURG – Tuesday, September 3, 9 – 11:30 am

                                  Train Depot Community Room, 308 Newman St., Hattiesburg


GULFPORT – Wednesday, September 4, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

                          Knight Nonprofit Center, 11975 Seaway Rd., Gulfport

AmeriCorps is a grant-funded national service network providing resources to Mississippi communities. Service program members pair with nonprofit and faith-based and community organizations and public agencies to build volunteer capacity and meet locally-identified needs. AmeriCorps members also recruit area volunteers to directly address core issues—education, disaster, health, veterans, and the environment—forging self-sustaining communities. To learn more or register for an information session, contact AmeriCorps Mississippi Program Officer Judy Stein at (601) 842-6700 or judy@volunteermississippi.org.

During the public information sessions, Volunteer Mississippi invites informal comment from the public concerning the use of service and volunteerism as strategies to meet critical community needs. This input will be considered in the development and implementation of a national service plan for the State of Mississippi. Comments will be accepted during each public information session or may be submitted in writing by email to info@volunteermississippi.org. Comments should be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Central Time, September 30.

Volunteer Mississippi engages and supports Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities. As your state office of volunteerism, Volunteer Mississippi administers AmeriCorps programs, supports a network of Volunteer Centers, and coordinates other initiatives fostering community engagement and building volunteer capacity throughout the state. Contact MCVS at (888) 353-1793, our website http://www.volunteermississippi.org, Facebook http://www.facebook.com/volunteeryall and Twitter @volunteeryall.

“Because of Medgar Evers…”

As the 50th anniversary of the murder of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers approaches, numerous events are being held in Jackson to commemorate his legacy. The efforts of Evers and countless others that fought for civil rights of all Americans resonate in today’s society. Sadly, racism still exists and division hampers the ability of our communities to thrive and grow. But, the arts remains one of the best ways for people of all ages to express themselves. Arts helps young people stay out of trouble and find their own creative niche. I, too, love the arts and what it means to my life. Singing, dancing and writing are three things I love most!

Evers’s legacy and the arts back in the civil rights movement up to now were discussed in a panel last month at Jackson State University for the 7th annual Creative Arts Festival. The panel featured National Book Award Winner and author Jesmyn Ward and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Leonard Pitts with The Miami Herald, Freedom Rider Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and Evers’s neice Courtney Cockrell, attorney with Morgan & Morgan Law Firm in Jackson.

Here are memorable quotes from the panel, and enjoy the pictures and video of Ridgeland High alum Kristen Dupard reciting poem about Medgar Evers.

Pitts on what inspires activism: “I am a storyteller and I believe there are stories that have to be told. Who we are as Americans, how we treat each other. The arts are a component of social activism.”

Mulholland on the arts in the Civil Rights Movement: “Photojournalists work was done with great risk to their own safety. The arts is needed to do what’s necessary for the math and sciences. Artists today should insert themselves into social activism to make a real difference.”

Ward on making a statement in the arts: “Make people realize how human we are. Something that needs attention is to…encourage young people to pursue the arts.

Cockrell on how we can exemplify Evers’s legacy: “It is important to not have fear in whatever you do, and be true to your message. Everything you do affects more than just you.”

One panel for the Creative Arts Festival (l to r) Leonard Pitts, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, Jesmyn Ward and Courtney Cockrell.

A panel for the Creative Arts Festival (l to r) Leonard Pitts, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, Jesmyn Ward and Courtney Cockrell.

Courtney Cockrell is the niece of Medgar Evers, representing their family in the panel.

Courtney Cockrell is the niece of Medgar Evers, representing their family in the panel.

Pitts addresses the audience at JSU.

Pitts addresses the audience at JSU.

Mulholland speaks on her experience as a Freedom Rider.

Mulholland speaks on her experience as a Freedom Rider.

Ward gave good insight into her life as a writer and how the arts are vital to the community.

Ward gave good insight into her life as a writer and how the arts are vital to the community.

Spring horse show and benefit for Mississippi College Equestrian Team

If your family is looking for something to do this weekend, go see the Spring Horse Show and Benefit for the award-winning Mississippi College Equestrian Team. It’s on April 13-14 at Providence Hill Farm in Jackson.

Spring Luncheon and Silent Auction are 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, with Hunter Derby at 1 p.m. Tickets for lunch are $35 a person. The money goes to the MC Equestrian Team. Check out some of the following items in the Silent Auction:

Item # 1:

A 2 night stay in our “Love Me Tender” Suites, which is a 4 room suite dedicated to Elvis Presley (he stayed here during the summers in the 50″s).  It is 2200 sq ft, it has 3 bedrooms and a hospitality room.  I can match that up with a golf package; I will ask Jimmy F at the Golf Course how many rounds he can give me with this package.  The estimated value of this package will be $2600.00.  If any of you want to see our hotel, you can go to www.gulfhillshotel.com.  I am sure that many people you all do business with has been here and have played golf here, and can also appreciate our downtown area.  Perhaps some of you have been here yourselves. Contact is Becky Bartles.  Donor is Gulf Hills Hotel, attn:___________, address & phone no.

Item # 2:

“An Old Fort Bayou Getaway”

One night for 2 at Gulf Hills, Kayak rentals for 2 at the Kayak Shed from South Coast Paddling Company, and Dinner at the famous Shed BBQ and Blues Joint.  Value starts at $160

This package is pretty neat because they bring the kayaks to the hotel and we launch you here, or at The Shed.  You can paddle upstream or downstream, and when you get to the Shed, they will pick up your kayaks there.  Then you can eat and listen to the live music as long as you wish!

Contact is Becky Bartles; Donor is ______________________.

 Item # 3:

“Appetizers for your Spring Party”— Gift Certificate for appetizers for 50 donated by Fresh Cut Catering & Floral and Wendy and Bruce Putt.

Contact is Jamie Martin

Item #4:

Spa and Salon Services from Barnette’s Salon and Aqua the Day Spa—Gift certificate with basket of goodies on the way.

Contact is Jamie Martin

Item #5:

Three Introductory Lessons at Providence Hill Farm by Tina Davey– $135 value

Item # 6:

Day of Bass Fishing at Providence Hill Farm for 4– $500 value.

Item #7: 

Duck Flush Sporting Clay Shoot for 4 people and Providence Hill Farm(Approximately 2 hours)– $440 value

Item #8:

$50 gift certificate to Pan-Asia, 1 month Diamond membership to Palm Beach Tan, 1 hour massage at Massage Envy, 1 hour facial at Massage Envy.– $266 value

Item #9:

Handmade queen size quilt with equestrian theme.– $200 value

Item #10:

Original watercolor by equestrian team member Sarah Yost, fine arts major at MC. Painting will be 16×20. –$200 value

Item #11:

Commissioned oil painting or your favorite equine by Sarah Yost. — $400 value

Item #12:

Hand painted TOMS shoes for child– $75 value

Item #13:

1 week vacation in a RCI affiliated resort anywhere in the US, Canada, Mexico,  Bermuda, Bahamas, or the Caribbean. RCI is the largest timeshare vacation exchange network in the world. 

Submitted by Mississippi College

Team Pay It Forward (with more information from Suburban Digest column)

Today’s Suburban Digest column is from Brandon, about a group of students from Brandon High School in Team Pay It Forward. Art teacher Marcia Davis asked her students to help renovate a daycare center in Flowood, and the group has more service projects in store this year. To read the article, click here.

I didn’t have enough space to include more information about the Ronald McDonald House in Jackson where the group will do house and office chores on May 4. I’d like to share the Wish List of items needed and hopefully someone can help out the team and the Ronald McDonald House. You can reach Ms. Davis at (601) 447-8619 if you’d like to join the team that day.

Office needs: Postage stamps, print cartridge for HP printer (number 940 xl color and 940 xl black), Office Depot gift card.

Food/kitchen needs: Individual size boxed cereal (variety pack), individual snack food items (please no “nabs”/crackers with peanut butter or cheese), microwaveable meals, single-serve frozen dinners.

Cleaning needs: Liquid laundry detergent, self-squeeze mops with matching replacement mop heads, Mr. Clean floor cleaner, multi-surface cleaner (409/Clorox brand), disinfectant spray, disposable spoons, toilet paper.

General House needs: “Discount store” gift cards (I’m guessing any dollar store or Fred’s)

Share-a-Night Donor: $8 per night

Disclaimer: For health and safety of families, used items or stuffed animals are not allowed. If you have other gift ideas, call house manager Chris Kennedy at (601) 981-5683 before delivering them. The Ronald McDonald House is 2524 North State Street.

And, here are a few photos of the Ray of Sunshine Learning Center where the students painted the main hallway and left some nice artwork. Enjoy.

RayofSunshine2 RayofSunshine3 RayofSunshine1

2012 in tweets.

Call me a copycat, but I saw a very good blog post by my colleague Alex McDaniel titled, “What Does Twitter Say About Your Life in 2012?”  and read about a free tool named Vizify that allows users to create interactive profiles using information aggregated from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Instagram. So, I wanted to see what this year looked like for me and the tweets I put out. Needless to say, this was a busy year full of changes in my life, personally and professionally.

These are the terms I tweeted the most in 2012 — yes, I know there are 19 days left in the year.

STORY-133 uses, 4 responses

I had my first hurricane experience with Isaac and did double duty for the Suburban Digest page that week.

The week I moved from The Madison County Herald to The Clarion-Ledger was busy and stressful.

#SUBURBANDIGEST-75 uses, 2 responses

I tweet using this hashtag almost everyday because this page prints every Thursday. My new beat is rolling along!

The main column carries good news and feature articles from eight communities in the metro area.

CANTON-71 uses, 3 responses

I depend on social networks daily for information from my communities.

Multimedia is something I’ve taken on this year as I strive to have a multifaceted beat. This particular video has over 4,000 views.

JACKSON-49 uses

My first tweet from this twitter account at an assignment in Canton.

My first experience seeing (and smelling) dead bodies.

RIDGELAND-46 uses, 3 responses

I have a soft spot for our military. These are the most selfless people in the world.

It’s nice to see my place of residence get an app!

VIDEO-42 uses, 8 responses

One of the funniest assignments I’ve had.

HOME-32 uses

I use the word “home” a lot as it is my favorite place before and after work.


I like giving positive words on my Twitter account and interacting with followers.

PAGE-29 uses

The growing pains were killing me when I first started the Suburban Digest page.

My tweet for 12/12/12.

CITY-28 uses, 6 responses

On September 11, the city of Jackson presented me with a parking ticket. Never again!

More volunteers needed for Trekkin the Trace cycling event

The Jackson Metro Cyclists are gearing up for their annual Labor Day weekend ride along the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway. More volunteers are needed for the event and if you or anyone wants to help out, email events@jacksonmetrocyclists.com. 

Here is event information about the event from the website, http://jmc.clubexpress.com/:

Come join other fellow cyclists from all over the great State of Mississippi for the last JMC supported ride for 2012, on Sept 3rd. This ride will be on one of the most scenic routes in MS, on the Trace from Old Trace Park in Ridgeland. We will have a short 10mls family route escorted by experienced JMC members going at a slow easy pace on the multiple used trails. For the avid cyclists we do have more routes, up to a 100mls. This ride is a member’s only ride and FREE with three fully stock Rest Stops and SAG provided by Indian Cycle.



If you are not a member it’s easy to sign up. Just click on the Members Signup link then follow the prompts to become a member – it’s only $15. Once done return to the Trekkin the Trace event to register. After the ride we will have a nice family style BBQ and drinks cool down so invite your friends and family members to meet you at the park around 12noon.


Ridgeland business owners to be sentenced for employing illegal immigrants

WLBT reported this week that one of the owners of Love Irrigation who entered a guilty plea to harboring illegal aliens is scheduled to be sentenced today. Paul and Barbara Love were both charged with improper use of social security numbers and hiding the fact they hired illegal workers from immigration agents. Paul Love entered a guilty plea May 21 to harboring illegal aliens. As part of a plea agreement, the couple will pay a $515,000 fine, according to WLBT. Today’s sentencing could carry up to ten years in prison for Paul Love. Barbara Love is scheduled for sentencing on August 9th.

Note: I wrote the initial story when the news broke last November. Can’t post the link since it’s too old, but here’s the text:
2 charged in immigration case: Business owners facing felony counts

Owners of a landscaping business are facing federal charges for allegedly using illegal immigrant employees from 2003 through 2010.

Paul and Barbara Love of Ridgeland were arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Jackson on a multi-count indictment charging Love Irrigation with conspiracy, harboring illegal immigrants and encouraging illegal immigrants to reside in the United States.

Both entered not guilty pleas and were released on a $10,000 bond each.

Love Irrigation, a lawn irrigation and landscaping company, is accused of violating a section of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which “requires employers to hire only U.S. citizens and aliens who are authorized to work in the United States.”

Employers are required to attest they have verified employment eligibility of any persons hired after Nov. 6, 1986, using the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

According to the indictment, Love Irrigation employed illegal immigrants, despite certain immigrants admitting their status.

Paul Love, vice president and secretary, faces five felony counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States; bringing in and harboring illegal immigrants; encouraging illegal immigrants to reside in the U.S.; and misuse of Social Security numbers.

Barbara Love, president and treasurer, faces the same felony counts, including two additional counts of fraud and misuse of visas/permits/false attestation.

A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 9 before U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate.

If convicted, Paul Love faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine. Barbara Love faces a maximum 40 years in prison, a $1.5 million fine and five years probation.

The U.S. attorney’s office would not comment, said secretary Sheila Wilbanks.

Frank W. Trapp of Jackson, the Loves’ attorney, said he is evaluating the case with his clients.

As far as employing Hispanic workers under federal immigration regulations, “they’re just like many other small businesses caught in a vice,” Trapp said without elaborating.

According to the indictment, in May 2008, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement visited Love Irrigation and told Paul and Barbara Love how to properly complete I-9 forms, verify Social Security numbers and participate in the E-Verify program.

Upon reviewing 21 I-9 forms, ICE noticed seven unauthorized employees and ordered the Loves to terminate them.But Love Irrigation continued to employ them and hide them from detection, according to the indictment.

The Loves classified the employees as “contract labor” and ceased reporting them to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security as required by law, the indictment says.

Furthermore, the Loves stopped paying the illegal employees with company checks and began paying them in cash at off-site locations, according to the indictment. Crew supervisors were instructed to pick up and drop off illegal employees at covert locations, the indictment says.

The indictment further alleges that, in 2010, Love Irrigation began submitting names of its illegal immigrant employees to MDES, using the same names and Social Security numbers for some and used different numbers for others previously identified by ICE in 2008.

In 2010, Paul and Barbara Love also began falsifying I-9 forms, listing false employment start dates for various illegal immigrants while listing different Social Security numbers from those used by the same employees on past forms reported to MDES, the indictment says.

ICE served a search warrant on Love Irrigation’s offices in July 2010.

As a result of committing the alleged offenses, Paul and Brenda Love and Love Irrigation were ordered to forfeit $220,109.67 from accounts with First Commercial Bank.