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10 Photographer tips

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In Step With

Gratin Clay Russell dishes on all things gratin

Winner Cornelia Mize’s photo of her rescue dog, Annie Pearl, is our winning entry this year in our annual photo contest.

Curtis Butler

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hey say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is often true. But sometimes the story behind a picture is worthy of an explanation, and the winning entry in our second annual photo contest is a fine example. Cornelia Mize’s photo is a simple and cute picture of a very happy dog in some tall grass. We liked it because of the dog’s comical face, surrounded as it was by a sea of green. It turns out the dog is happy

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for a very good reason, as you’ll see in the story Mize tells on Page 11. Together, the picture and its story show that while Mize is a decent photographer, she’s an even better person. Thanks to everybody who sent us photos for the contest. We got a bunch of good ones — of animals, bugs and nature but surprisingly not many people — and used many of them in this edition of the magazine. If you enjoy taking pictures, keep us in mind for next spring.

Publisher - Jack Ryan Editor - Matt Williamson Advertising Manager - Vicky Deere Advertising sales-

LeWair Foreman, Steven Sawyer, Christy Thornton & Margie Williams.

pulse is a publication of J.O. Emmerich & Associates Inc. and is produced in association with the Enterprise-Journal, 112 Oliver Emmerich Dr., McComb, Mississippi. For more copies or advertising information, call 601-6842421, write P.O. Box 2009, McComb, MS 39649 or e-mail advertising@enterprise-journal.com.

Volume 11, Issue 4

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In Step With:

Curtis Butler By Gopika Nair Throughout his life, Curtis Butler says he has come across people who’ve helped him, which in turn, has made him want to give back. With his involvement in many community organizations and as vice president of First Bank, Butler stays busy. Born in Brookhaven and raised in Summit, Butler attended North Pike School District and graduated in 1988. “I graduated as valedictorian and my mother integrated the school in 1966,” he said. “She always said that if all students were given an opportunity, they would be able to succeed and it’s kind of ironic that 22 years later I was able to prove that.” He attended the Oklahoma School of Banking and Louisiana State University’s graduate school of banking. But he credits most of the things he’s learned to on-the-job training. “No matter what you learn at any place, the organizations all do things differently and you have to cater to what the organization does,” he said. “I do have to admit my first job was where I learned the most. I did a little bit of everything there.” At First Bank, where Butler has been working for nearly 10 years, his job entails personal and commercial lending, looking for grants to partner with other organizations and teaching financial education classes to help people understand banking. “In the day to day, I focus on lending and looking for different ways to make our surrounding communities better,” he said. “All banks are required to reinvest in the community we serve, so we look for opportunities to reinvest in different areas, as well.” For most of his life, Butler has lived in McComb and giving back to the community that raised him is a part of his moral values. “I think it’s a good area and I’ve heard a lot of negativity about it whenever I travel, but I’ve been a Jehovah’s Witness all my life, so it’s in my moral values to try and help other people and it just seemed like there was a need for it in McComb,” he said. Butler credits his parents for instilling in him the desire to give back to his community and also the people who have helped him, including his teachers at North Pike. 2019 Spring Issue

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“My first-grade teacher, Ms. Bullock, I was always In Step able to finish my With: schoolwork quickly, so I talked a lot,” he said. “She recognized that I was getting bored in school and so she gave me books to read, all the way up to fourth grade, and I think caring people like her helped me a lot because instead of labeling me as a problem, she realized that I just needed to be occupied.” Butler’s community involvements include serving as treasurer of the McComb Lions Club and being on the boards of United Givers of Southwest Mississippi, Mississippi Scholars, the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Mississippi, the McComb Creative Economic Partnership and formerly the Southwest Mississippi Children’s Advocacy Center. “Lions Club is very good because it helps individuals and serves a need with the hearing impaired as well as sight and United Givers is an organization that helps many other organizations and it does a lot in a very short period of time,” Butler said. The Boys & Girls Club, on the other hand, has several programs to encourage positive thinking in children. “A lot of times people think that’s for in-

Curtis Butler

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ner-city children or problem children, but it’s not, it’s for all children,” he said. “It really is helpful because we can see the success rate of a lot of individuals who have gone on to become doctors, attorneys and everything else and they’re from single parent households, but it’s not just a place to play, they go there to get additional learning.” The Boys & Girls Club’s chief professional officer Randy Tate, who has known Butler for almost 25 years, said Butler has been involved with the club for 10 years, serving as president at one point. “He brings a lot of expertise and knowledge about the community and helps with the fundraisers,” Tate said. As a board member on the Mississippi Scholars, Butler has helped promote the program to eighth-graders. “That one I value because you hit children at eighth grade and that’s an impressionable time in their lives,” Butler said. “Their scores and grades from the past don’t define who they are, but it helps them to see how they can become better in the future and really that program is what I found a lot of successful people have done in school.” Pike County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Catherine Sanders said Butler has been involved with the Mississippi Scholars program since her involvement with the chamber seven years ago. Sanders said he volunteered to present information about the program to eighth-graders. “He’s a really good presenter because he

just has the ability to get on their level and add in some humor and present the information in a way they understand,” she said. “He just is very relatable and he’s so smart and they just automatically look up to him.” When the chamber introduced the Real Life event four years ago, giving eighthgraders a small taste of adulthood through simulation activities, Sanders said Butler continued presenting and adapted to the changes. Butler said as a student, he also took more challenging courses, not just to advance his knowledge, but to help him prepare for the future. “It’s the work ethic of studying hard, of trying to be successful that helps in the future and I think it does real good things for the community because you create people who are going to be a part of the tax base of Mississippi,” Butler said. A good workforce, Butler stressed, is necessary for the growth of the area. “That is so important because when people look at bringing jobs or large companies like Toyota, they need a workforce,” he said. “If we work hard enough, if we have better educated students and if our educational system is better, then we can provide the work staff and attract the type of businesses we need in order to let McComb and Pike County grow.” “If McComb thrives, I think the entire county thrives. ... If we work real hard, everybody’s going to be able to benefit in the long run.” n


Our Winner is: a very good girl

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Cornelia Mize’s photo of Annie captures top prize! By Mack Spe ncer Pulse Magazine’s top model this year came from humble origins. “My husband was coming home from work, and he saw a bunch of people milling around the side of the road, and he stopped to see what was going on,” said Cornelia Mize of McComb. It turned out there was a dog in the ditch next to the road, “skin and bones, and her leg bones were exposed. The vet said it looked like she’d been hit by a car,” Mize said. “My husband used to not be an animal person, but he said he just couldn’t pass her by and leave her there when he looked in those sweet eyes.” That’s how Annie, the subject of Mize’s winning photo in the Pulse contest, found a home — after a couple of weeks at Nunnery Vet Hospital. “Everybody that sees her seems to think she’s mean, but she’s so sweet,” Mize said. “When my dad died, she would get up in my lap Cornelia and Mark Mize. and just look at me with those eyes. I guess most rescues are like that.” Annie is one of four rescue dogs the Mizes share their home with, and one of five dogs total. Most of the rescues they’ve taken in over the years, Mize said, have just shown up at their Caston Road home, though they also adopted one of their current brood from the animal shelter. “We are very much animal people,” Mize said. “You’ve heard of the crazy cat lady, I’m the crazy dog lady. We just love them. Our landscaper one day said when he dies, he wants to come back as one of our dogs. He was working in the heat, and the dogs were lying in the shade in the garage. We pamper our dogs.” Mize said she has no real photographic experience, and doesn’t own an actual camera. Her winning contest photo, and other furbaby photos – “I have lots of pictures of all our dogs,” she said — were taken with her iPhone. “I like taking pictures, but I’m very much the amateur,” Mize said. “It’s good thing cameras are digital these days. You can just delete everything and start over if you mess up.” Mize took her winning photo in late summer or early fall last year in her backyard. A friend who was visiting saw the photo of Annie and urged her to enter it in the Pulse contest. “I didn’t even know there was a contest,” she said. “I have to credit her for knowing it was a good picture.” When she took the picture, Annie was running and playing outside among the grass and flowers. She turned and saw that Annie had sat down among the grass and leaves and was looking up at her. “It was the perfect photo op,” she said. 2019 Spring Issue

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Photo

First place: Belinda Jones Golden Spikes tournament team players, coached by Jones’ son Brady Jones and based in McComb, from left, Brant Bennett, Hadley Watts, Landon Johnson and Deron ‘Snoopy’ McNeil, are seen during a game on June 2, 2018, at a tournament in Slidell, La.

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Jeannie Rape took these photos of two Mississippi kites perched on a tree limb at her house in Liberty. ‘They come every year and last year it was two sets,’ she said.

Contest winners Rose Felder: The water of Topisaw Creek flows over pebbles and leaves near Felders Campground.

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Honorable Mention Rose Felder: A canopy of trees towers over Campground Road near Felders Campground.

Amanda Hughey: Bug the pug, the fur child of recently engaged Katelyn Hughey and Austin Wallace of Liberty, catches her breath while playing with other dogs at Amanda Hughey’s house near Liberty

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Jeannie Rape: Morning mist rests on the petals of daffodils in Liberty.

Liz McDaniel: The 13th floor stairwell of the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago.

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Others we liked!

Janice Hoaglund took this photo of a powered parachute flying over the North Pike High School powder puff football game last fall.

Belinda Jones: A bird comes to a suet feeder.

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Jeannie Rape: A beautiful sunset hangs over a grocery store parking lot in Clinton, La.

Janice Hoaglund took this photo of a pair of mallard ducks near her home at Lake Dixie Springs in the fall of 2018. 2019 Spring Issue

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Gretchen Flatau: A late afternoon winter mist rises from the ground around Flatau’s horses at her home on Bean Road outside of Gillsburg in January. Jeannie Rape: A buttlerfly lights on a lantana.

Amanda Hughey: A cat is silhouetted as it stands on a tree limb. 18

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Trust the photographer for professional photos! By Mack Spe ncer These days, everybody has a camera, and those cameras are better than a Polaroid Instamatic ever thought about being. Ever-present smartphones allow their owners to snap pictures of anything and everything, anywhere they might go. While many of those pictures are more than good enough to show to friends and keep as memories, they might not be quite the quality one wants to frame and keep on the wall constantly especially “A studio is a great asset. It allows you to work inside, where you can control the light and the wind.” Beth Hemeter from those special occasions like graduation, engagements and weddings. Online sources like expertphotography.com aim to help beginners in professional photography take better pictures, but some of the tips offered can help the amateur photo clicker as well. A good camera with a variety of lenses and settings is recommended, along with good lighting or lighting sources and knowledge about how to pose subjects. While anybody can take a picture with those tips, however, a trained, professional photographer can dispense with all the guesswork of the amateurs and get right to the desired look. That starts with the appearance of the subjects. “Wear solid colors,” advises Beth Hemeter of Imagemaker Photography. Also, “it’s always best to cover the armpits. Girls always like wear sleeveless dress-

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es, but no one’s armpits are pretty.” If there’s anything that a professional photographer can do better than the amateur, it’s lighting. “Proper lighting makes all the difference in the world,” Hemeter said. Bright sunlight isn’t always the best choice for pictures, especially portraits, and can be a detriment. But getting the right lighting can be tricky. “If you’re taking a photo of a bride, they paid a lot of money for that dress, and you don’t want miss the detail,” Hemeter said. “You want to get enough light, but if you blow it out, people will notice, and you don’t want it to look yellow. “For a lot of head shots, you want extra light, so the picture is crisp and pops out from the background. A lot of (high school) seniors like lighting outside. They usually have a lot of ideas that are fun to work with. It’s more freestyle.” An experienced photographer can work with the lighting, advise better times for lighting or cancel out problems caused by outdoor conditions. “A studio is a great asset,” Hemeter said. “It allows you to work inside, where you can control the light and the wind.” A studio also gives the photographer more control over the backgrounds behind the subjects, allowing perhaps for a cityscape backdrop in a rural area, or a forest background in the city — but preferably, nothing to busy. “You want to take contrast away,” Hemeter said. “When your subject has a pretty face, you want people to look at that, not the background.” Professional photographers also tend to be more cognizant of items in the background that could make a portrait unintentionally funny, like a utility pole seeming to grow out of the top of the head.


Some of Beth’s “Senior” moments 2019 Spring Issue

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“Antlers (on a mounted trophy) behind someone’s head are something that is missed quite often,” Hemeter said. She is also a fan of having pets in pictures. “I work great with pets, because I’m a petaholic,” Hemeter said. “Incorporating pets in a family picture is great. As kids age, sometimes you don’t take as many pictures of them, but it’s great to keep up taking that kind of pictures. “I’ve taken pictures of kids with possums, baby cows, chicks. A lot of seniors love to have their pictures made with their horses.” Once the pictures are taken, professional photographers can also use computer programs like Adobe’s Photoshop to crop, retouch and fine-tune photographs so they look their best. “I worked with filters when I shot with film,” Hemeter said. “Now, most of that is done with software. I can run a softening that helps with (obscuring) pores. “I’ve gone to a lot of seminars on professional and portrait photography to get ideas. It’s more than just picking up a camera. There’s a lot of planning that goes into a photo session.” And even after the shooting is over, the photographerstill has more to do.

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“I like to educate my clients and make sure they know what they’re getting on the front end,” Hemeter said. “Lot of people can produce a flash drive full of pictures, but what do they do with it? I can produce a flash drive, too, but I can also have prints made for my clients. I offer a full array of services.” n

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The French Gratin: Versatile and oh, so luscious Have you ever made “Gratin de pommes de terre à la dauphinoise?” I’ll bet you have. It’s a dish that appears on restaurant menus across France and is little more than sliced potatoes, baked in a casserole with cream and maybe a little garlic. Sound familiar? It should. It’s scalloped potatoes! “Gratin” refers to both the preparation and the dish in which it’s cooked, and the technique is simple. It’s food— vegetables, pasta, chicken, shellfish—baked in a shallow dish and sometimes adorned with a scrumptious brown crust of cheese, breadcrumbs or both. Our CLAY “Gratin Dauphinois,” RUSSELL by the way, when you throw some grated IN THE KITCHEN cheese on top, magically WITH CLAY becomes a “Gratin Savon yard,” such are the intricacies of French cuisine. With or without the cheesy crown, however, it’s a common dish, but you’ll also see gratins of zucchini (squash casserole), pasta (baked macaroni & cheese), even fruit. Have you ever been to a party where they bring out some spinach & artichoke dip, piping hot and cheese-crusty, and you smear it on bread sooner than you should, knowing it will burn your mouth because it’s so hot but it just looks so good and you can’t wait? That’s a gratin, too. (A note about pronunciation: the French say grah-taan, with the second syllable as if you were pinching your

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nose shut. The French are snobs about pronunciation, but for the purpose at hand I am not. At least, not if you make an effort and cook one of these things.) In France as at home, there are as many variations as cooks. Folks on both sides of the Atlantic will argue over the best kind of potato to use for their “Gratin Dauphinois,” and people will shriek about the necessity, or not, of preboiling them before they go in the casserole. And there’s the cheese-or-no-cheese question. But whatever your view on any of these details, it really is hard to mess up a gratin, or whatever you want to call it. Slice your potatoes super-thin using a fancy device called a mandoline, or whack them up coarsely. Boil them first, or don’t. If you do go for pre-boiling, use cream, or milk, or broth. Toss some cheese among the slices as you assemble your gratin—swiss, cheddar, blue, goat, whatever—or just scatter it on top. Potatoes are forgiving like few other foods, and they will happily bend your way when it comes to embellishment. You might also slip in some slices of leek or bits of bacon, in which case I’ll ask you assertively, “What time is dinner?” Gratin Savoyard (Potatoes baked with cream & swiss cheese) 2 pounds russet potatoes 1 Tbsp. butter 1 clove garlic, A mandoline makes minced (optionquick work of slicing al) potatoes thinly.

1/2 c. grated swiss cheese Salt & pepper 1 c. heavy cream Preheat oven to 400°. 1. Butter an 8” x 8” ceramic or glass dish with 1 tsp. of the butter. 2. Peel the potatoes, and slice them as thinly as possible. 3. Place a layer of sliced potatoes in your dish, and season lightly with salt & pepper. 4. Sprinkle a little garlic, if you’re using it, and a tablespoon of cheese over the potatoes. 5. Continue making layers as above. Dot the top layer with the remaining butter. 6. Pour cream over potatoes, and top with remaining cheese. 7. Cover gratin with foil and bake for 45 minutes. 8. Remove foil and continue baking another 20 minutes or so, until the cheese is brown and the dish is bubbly. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Cassolette de queues d’écrevisses (Gratin of crawfish tails in tomato bechamel) 1 c. crawfish tails 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1/4 c. finely chopped onion 2 Tbsp. chopped shallots 1/2 tsp. dried basil 1/2 tsp. dried thyme Salt & pepper


The French gratin is little more than food baked in a shallow casserole, made brown on top with cheese and/or breadcrumbs. Clockwise from left, Provençal Zucchini & Tomato Gratin, Gratin Savoyard (potatoes, cream & swiss cheese), and Cassolette of Crawfish Tails in Tomato Bechamel.

2 Tbsp. butter 2 Tbsp. flour 1 1/2 c. milk Salt & pepper 2 Tbsp. tomato paste 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese 1/4 c. breadcrumbs Preheat oven to 400°. 1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until

translucent. 2. Add crawfish tails and herbs. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Cook a few minutes, until heated through. Remove from heat. 3. Make bechamel sauce: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour to make a roux. Gradually whisk in milk and cook over low heat, stirring, until sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from

heat. 4. Stir tomato paste into sauce. Add sauce to crawfish-onion mixture. 5. Turn mixture into a shallow dish. 6. Combine parmesan with breadcrumbs, then spread across surface of crawfish mixture. 7. Bake 30 minutes, or until crust is brown and crawfish mixture is bubbly. 8. Serve immediately with warm French bread. n

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Mardi Gras

Above, Southwest Mississippi Community College’s Krewe of Charlie tosses beads to revelers during Summit’s Mardi Gras parade. At right, a New Orleans Saints fan wears a Mardi Gras bead supporting his team as he waits on the Magnolia Mardi Gras parade to begin.

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At left, a member of the Pike County Prancerettes dance team performs as the troupe marches in the Magnolia Mardi Gras parade. Below, Jimmy Brown, president of the Red Knights, a motorcycle club made up of firefighters, smiles as his krewe participates in the Magnolia Mardi Gras parade. Below left, a South Pike band member is dressed accordingly for the Magnolia Mardi Gras parade.

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McComb Garden Club’s 61st Azalea Court

Queen Rachel Frank and King Brady Johnson reign over the McComb Garden Club’s 2019 Azalea Court.

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Azalea Festival Princesses on Parade

From left, front row, are junior court members Lela Mae Tamor, Riley O’Hern, Gianna McNeil, Eleanor Talbot and Colbie DeLong; second row, Eliza Felder, Kaleigh Brister, Savannah Scott, Jacqueline Ervin, Kristen McElveen, Emme McCafferty, Anne Riley Glass, Grace Mims and Elisabeth McInnis; back row, Rebecca Campbell, Kenna Hutto, Abbey Norman, Mary Kate Bates, Madison Moak, Grace Ann Ervin, Rachel Frank and Ramsey Sanders.

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At top, junior court member Gianna McNeil gets antsy as she stands with senior court members. In middle photo, Kristen McElveen, Kaleigh Brister and Savannah Scott wave as a convertible passes by. Above, Riley O’Hern waves to passers-by. 2019 Spring Issue

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Camellia City Civic Club Azalea Court

At top, Queen Lauren Johnson and King Damion Bulter reign over the Camellia City Civic Club Azalea Court at Edgewood Park. At left, Kalyn Turner and her escort Dewayne Wilkinson walk down the steps at the park as they are presented to the audience gathered at the coronation. Below, junior court member Ja’Kylee Martin smiles.

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Flower Shows

At left, arrangements at the Summit Garden Club’s annual flower show, ‘Then sings My Soul,’ are on display at Southwest Mississippi Community College. Above, is Nancy Soyars’ arrangement for the McComb Flower Lovers Club, ‘Welcome Home,’ at Pike National Bank.

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