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Seyma Bayram

Stories by Seyma

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Hearing: Formerly Incarcerated Seeking Employment Need Solutions, 'Ban the Box'

Formerly incarcerated Mississippians who are entering the workforce continue to face obstacles to employment, advocates testified Tuesday at the Mississippi Capitol during a Senate Labor Committee hearing.

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City Council Censures CAO Blaine, Pursues Litigation Against Contractor

The Jackson City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to censure Chief Administrative Officer Robert Blaine following an administrative error in a City contract that resulted in the City of Jackson paying a company $100,000 for work that was supposed to have cost $48,000.

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Strong Arms of JXN to Hold Non-Violence Event in Grove Park

The Strong Arms of JXN program plans to train community members to canvas neighborhoods with high rates of gun violence in an effort to let them know about resources that exist and that there is a whole community that cares.

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'Beaten, Broken, Tired': Prison Protest Draws Families, Activists to Mississippi Capitol

Families mourned the death of their loved ones while in Mississippi Department of Corrections custody and shared their fears for those who are still alive and enduring squalid conditions in a protest outside the State Capitol in downtown Jackson Friday.

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Causes, Solutions to Gun Violence in Jackson Emerge at MLK Day Forum

Disinvestment in Jackson communities, lax gun-control laws and a failing mental health system—all under the State's purview—all create conditions for violence. So do gentrification, white flight and black flight.

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Flooding in Jackson Metro Ongoing Concern, More Rain Expected

Flooding remains a risk in the Jackson metro area three days after Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba declared an emergency, due to pending rainfall and high water levels in the Pearl River.

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Jackson Under Flash Flood Emergency: ‘Not Out of the Woods,' Risks Still High

The National Weather Service in Jackson declared a flash-flood emergency on Tuesday, Jan. 14, due to heavy rainfall and already-high water levels in the Pearl River.

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Mayor Lumumba: Violence Prevention Must Take Into Account Poverty and Gun Laws

Addressing reporters last Friday in the wake of high end-of-year homicide rates, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba highlighted his administration's efforts to curb violence in the city through a variety of mechanisms.

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JPS School Closures and Consolidations Raise Concerns in Jackson

Earlier this week, the Jackson Public Schools' board of trustees voted to close and consolidate several schools as part of the district's ongoing efforts to address decreasing student enrollment, teacher shortages and funding woes.

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Police Task Forces ‘Waste of Time’ for Violence Prevention?

Law-enforcement efforts to combat violent crime in Jackson in recent years have increasingly focused on the creation of multi-agency task forces, which identify high-crime regions or criminal activity, gather intelligence, and serve subpoenas, warrants and indictments related to those crimes.

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New DA Jody Owens Promises Reform, Alternatives to Incarceration

Earlier this week, civil rights attorney and avowed criminal-justice reformer Jody Owens officially took over as the new Hinds County district attorney, succeeding the controversy-plagued Robert Shuler Smith, who served eight years.

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JPD Arrests 82 People Under 'Operation Targeting Gun Violence'

Days after U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst chided Jackson public officials for being too soft on crime, Jackson Police Department Chief James Davis held a press conference to highlight 82 arrests in the city.

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Long Sentences, Broken Lives

Paul Houser is one of 2,635 Mississippians currently serving lengthy prison terms under Mississippi's so-called "habitual laws," the state's version of "three strikes laws." Mississippi's habitual laws drive the state's high incarceration rate, the third highest in the country.

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City to Provide 500 Meals to Jackson Children Over Holidays

Several local nonprofits will unite this holiday season to provide 500 free meals to young people in Jackson as part of ongoing efforts to fight food insecurity in the city and state, which currently ranks first nationwide in food insecurity.

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Hinds County Jail ‘In Crisis,’ Still Violates Federal Consent Decree

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors dodged a bullet Monday, narrowly avoiding a federal contempt trial for ongoing conditions at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond.

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Verizon Wireless Suing City of Jackson

Verizon Wireless is suing the City of Jackson over what it claims is an unlawful and discriminatory denial of its application to build a cellphone tower in the city.

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A Colorful Past: Can the Sun-N-Sand Be Saved?

The Sun-N-Sand, located on Lamar Street and steps away from the Mississippi Capitol, has sat vacant and fenced in since 2002, but its place in Jackson's collective memory remains vivid for Rudolph "Cotton" Baronich and others.

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Bloomberg Talks Justice Reform in Mississippi, Apologizes for ‘Stop and Frisk’

Following the private meeting, the former New York City mayor revealed to members of the press that he is running on a criminal-justice reform platform. He promised to cut the United States prison population in half by 2024, eliminate juvenile incarceration for non-violent offenses, invest in alternatives to incarceration initiatives, and fund local violence-interruption efforts across the country.

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CITY: Zoo Demolitions Underway, New Virden Addition Community Center, Trail Moves Ahead

The Jackson City Council voted last week to approve demolition of outdated zoo buildings that city officials say they hope to transform into a contact area for animals.

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Credible Messengers Closer to Hitting Streets to Prevent Violence in Jackson

Credible messengers, many of whom have been through the criminal-justice system, enter into communities to mentor and discourage at-risk individuals from participating in criminal activity.

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Museum-to-Market Trail Could Open by Fall 2020 in Jackson

A new 2.5-mile-long walking, running, and biking trail connecting Jackson's museums and the Mississippi Farmers Market could open as early as fall 2020 if the Jackson City Council gives it the go-ahead tonight.

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JPS Reports Lower Suspensions Overall, But More Discipline of High School Students

The Jackson Public School District is meeting its goal of suspending 12% or fewer of JPS students three months into the 2019-2020 school year, district officials say.

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Jackson Zoo Receives $50,000 from County; Road and Bridge Repairs in Limbo

The Jackson Zoo will benefit from a $50,000 grant from the Hinds County Board of Supervisors after it reversed its earlier decision to withhold the grant because the zoo is now closed and awaiting its new management to get its license to operate the facility.

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Dozens of Sewer Failures Require Millions in Emergency City Funds to Repair

The City of Jackson need to allocate as much as $5 million to fix 50 sewer failures throughout Jackson, although more money may be necessary to fix them all. The Jackson City Council will vote on the additional funding, but it is unclear when.

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Field Hearing Sheds Light on Mississippi ICE Raids

The (ICE) field hearing touched on the impact of the raids on local economies, the cost of carrying them out, and back wages owed to workers, but it did not discuss the role of for-profit prison companies in immigration detention.

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Democrats Secure Victories in Hinds County Elections

As the Mississippi Republican Party swept up all state-wide offices yesterday's general election, Democrats won several seats in Hinds County.

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City Roundup: Water Bill Solution for Now, Zoo Still Closed, Robberies Down

As the City of Jackson continues to devise ways to fix its water-billing system, customers who currently do not receive bills will pay a monthly "minimum-service charge" of $63.27 for water service, officials said.

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Left Behind: Public Defenders Underpaid, Have Little Oversight

When Michele Purvis Harris was city attorney of Jackson, she heard troubling remarks from the people her office was supposed to prosecute. "I don't want the public defender, I want a real attorney," poor defendants would say to the judge.

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Lumumba Vows to Fight Corruption, Cites Progress in 'State of the City'

Corporations and other bad actors will no longer take advantage of Jackson, Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba pledged to a crowd during his third State of the City Address yesterday evening.

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Mississippi HBCUs Among Worst Targets of Discriminatory Lending

Historically black colleges and universities in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana pay three times more in underwriting fees than do their non-HBCU counterparts, a new economics study found.

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John Knight III's Police Brutality Lawsuit Will Proceed, Hinds Judge Rules

A lawsuit accusing the City of Jackson of police brutality will move forward after a hearing this morning.

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Hinds Supervisors Withhold $50,000 from Jackson Zoo Due to Closing

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted this week to reject a claim to give a $50,000 grant to the City of Jackson to support the Jackson Zoo.

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Water-Sewer Lawsuit Against City Has New Attorney, Carlos Moore

As the City of Jackson continues its own legal battle against Siemens seeking $225 million over a botched water-sewer billing system, Carlos Moore is continuing work on a lawsuit filed in June on behalf of Jackson residents.

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Racist Policing in Madison County Target of New Federal Consent Decree

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department engaged in unconstitutional, racially discriminatory policing practices that disproportionately targeted black residents, a Southern District of Mississippi judge ruled last week.

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Jackson Unveils Water-Bill Payment Plan Required for Delinquent Residents

The City of Jackson unveiled a payment plan for residents with delinquent water bills Wednesday, part of its attempt to collect nearly $50 million in delinquent accounts.

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What Can the Hinds DA Do to Cure the System?

Incoming Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens vows a criminal-justice approach focused on public safety and, hopefully, more alternatives to prison.

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Jackson to Use $1.8 Million Federal Grant to Fight Lead Contamination

The City of Jackson is getting $1.8 million in federal funds to clean up lead-based paint and other home health hazards in the city.

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UPDATE: Jackson's $7 Million Water Bill Fix Passes; Zoo Closure Ends Worker Benefits

At a special meeting late last week, the Jackson City Council blocked a $7-million emergency loan to fix its water-sewer system, which has been plagued with problems since the City signed a $90-million contract with Siemens Inc. for a new meter and billing system.

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JPS Improves, City Restrains Zoo Over Zebra, JPD Targets Drug Hubs

The last week saw important developments in Jackson's public schools, its police department and the Jackson Zoo.

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City to Bail Out Convention Center This Month, But Rejects Request for $790,000

The fledgling Jackson Convention Center asked the Jackson City Council for bailout money this week and got it, but not without pushback from two members, Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes and Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote.

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JFP Questions Destruction of Public Records by Hinds County Board of Supervisors

The Jackson Free Press is asking the Hinds County Board of Supervisors to delay its unanimous vote yesterday to dispose of documents relating to its former administrations as well as former County Administrator's files from 1984 to 2007.

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Court: No Voters' Right to Govern Airport, OK to Hide Communications

Capital-city residents do not have the right to govern the Jackson Medgar-Evers Wiley Airport or subpoena records from Mississippi legislators who voted to take over control of the facility, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late last month.

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Jacksonians Must Pay for Recycling, But City Recommendations Fall Short

In the wake of the City's suspension of its recycling program, Jackson residents have limited recycling options.

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Mississippi Launches Statewide Human Trafficking Council

To address rising human-trafficking rates in Mississippi, a collaboration of government agencies has launched the inaugural Mississipi Human Trafficking Council.

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Lee Vance's Priority as Hinds Sheriff: Overhauling Pretrial Detention System

Former Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance said Friday that reforming the pretrial detention system in Hinds County would be a top priority for his administration if he is elected Hinds County sheriff in November.

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Amid Water-Sewer Problems, Jackson 'Millage Rate' Vote a Temporary Fix

Amid an ongoing lawsuit stemming from concerns over Jackson's water-sewer system, the Jackson City Council voted Thursday evening to not change the overall millage rate for fiscal year 2020.

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Focus on Money in Mental Health Crisis a 'Red Herring,' Advocate Says

Disability Rights Mississippi praised a federal judge's ruling earlier this week that found the State violates the civil rights of those with mental illness, but a leading mental health advocate pushed back on Attorney General Jim Hood's emphasis on money, rather than a well-funded systemic overhaul.

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Letters Show Hood Warned State About Mental Health Crisis for Years

Hours after a federal judge ruled that the State of Mississippi's mental-health system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood told reporters that he "knew this was coming."

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Jim Hood, Tate Reeves: Real Issues on Center Stage in Governor’s Race

Tate Reeves pushed typical conservative buttons on his way to primary victory. Tammy Pearson said he spent too much time "relying on his name-dropping of Trump," adding, "This is a state election, not a national election. This is Mississippi."

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Mississippi Sex Traffickers Target Children, Homeless LGBT Kids

Young people in Mississippi are among the most vulnerable targets and least visible victims of trafficking, the executive director of Mississippians Against Human Trafficking said.

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