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FEBRUARY 2019

OXFO R D

OUR COVER WINNER SERVICE ANIMALS

S AV E L I V E S INSIDE A

BIRD DOG FIELD TRIAL OXFORD'S WILDLIFE

WHISPERER


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I N

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DEPA RTMENT S

EVENTS

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Letter From the Publisher

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Cookie Palooza

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Calendar

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Thacker Mountain Radio

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Shoutouts

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Christmas Parade

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InstaLove: Blake Gore

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JA Charity Ball

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Meet the Pet: Winston Restaurant News

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Books and Bears

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I Am Oxford: Dr. Steven Blackwood

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Resurrection Program

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Roxford Showcase

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All White Affair

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Chamber Christmas Party

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YAC Ornament Auction

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In Season: Chili

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Out & About

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Recipes: Homemade Dog Treats

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F E AT U R E S

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FE ATURES 34 Where the Wild Things Are When things go bump in the night, an intrepid trapper comes to the rescue.

38 Faces in the Crowd

Artist Kirstie Manning brings bold and captivating subjects to life in a recent collection of portraits.

42 On Point

A 38-year-old event brings sporting dog enthusiasts and animals together from all over the nation.

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ON THE COVER The winner of Invitation Oxford’s Pet Cover Contest is Winston, a pug owned by Abbey and Marshall Fratesi. The social media contest reached more than 70,000 people, and almost 1,600 pets were entered. As a semifinalist, Winston received 680 votes to win. Thank you to all who participated in this year’s contest! Read more about Winston on page 25. PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

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46 The Night Shift

By day they make ordinary deliveries, but by night, medical couriers rendezvous in dark parking lots, brave black-market thugs and speed through city streets to save lives.

48 Trained to Serve

In homes, schools, hospitals and even courtrooms, dogs and other animals recognize medical conditions, perform tasks, or just offer companionship and emotional support.

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L E T T E R from the P U B L I S H E R This month we celebrate our beloved pets, who are more like family to many of us. In December 2018 we launched our online cover contest, and you showed us all kinds of charming and unusual pets — cats, dogs, parrots, goats, and even an iguana. Almost 1,600 pets were entered, and you chose Winston, featured on our cover, as the 2019 winner. We found all kinds of other interesting features to showcase this month, including Oxford resident Mike Merchant, who captures and relocates furry critters that make themselves at home but don’t make good neighbors, such as bobcats, raccoons

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and coyotes. You’ll want to check out images of him at work, some of the creatures he traps in a humane way, and details about his interesting career on page 34. With our minds on social justice issues such as the #MeToo movement and the recent birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., we feature Oxford artist Kirstie Manning on pages 38 and 40. Manning’s stirring portraits of both the leaders and the victims in the ongoing battle for equal human rights serve as powerful reminders of these important issues. As we begin 2019, some exciting changes are on the horizon for Invitation

@INVITATIONOXFORD

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Magazines. Be sure to watch for a completely new website, where you can share stories, see extra content that didn’t make the magazine and much more. If you don’t already, follow us on Instagram or Facebook now so we can stay in touch with you throughout the month. Thanks for reading this month’s issue of Invitation Oxford.

RACHEL M. WEST, PUBLISHER

@INVOXFORD


PUBLISHERS Phil and Rachel West

EDITORIAL

EXECUTIVE EDITORS Allison Estes Emily Welly EXECUTIVE MANAGING EDITOR Mary Moreton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS C. Adams Andi Sherrill Bedsworth Kimme Hargrove Ginny McCarley Sarah McCullen Charles Owens Keith Wiseman SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Sarah McCullen COPY EDITOR Kate Johnson

OFFICE

BUSINESS MANAGER Hollie Hilliard DISTRIBUTION Donald Courtney Brian Hilliard MAIN OFFICE 662-234-4008

ART

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Holly Vollor STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Worthem CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Paul Gandy James Goolsby Alice McCullen Sarah McCullen Jessica Richardson CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATORS Frank Estrada Kirstie Manning

ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Timeka Davis Alise M. Emerson Leigh Lowery Lynn McElreath Stacey Raper Moni Simpson Whitney Worsham Anna Zemek ADVERTISING DESIGNERS Paul Gandy Becca Pepper Hallie Thomas ADVERTISING INFORMATION ads@invitationoxford.com

To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation Oxford or to buy an announcement, visit invitationoxford.com. To request a photographer at your event, email Mary at mary.invitation@gmail.com. Invitation Oxford respects the many diverse individuals and organizations that make up north Mississippi and strives to be inclusive and representative of all members of our community.

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

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C A L E N DA R FEBRUARY 2019

Oxford Film Festival

Night to Shine

F E B R U A R Y 6 -1 0

FEBRUARY 8

Featuring hundreds of feature-length and short films from around the world for all ages and interests, the 16th annual Oxford Film Festival celebrates the art of independent cinema. For tickets and information, visit oxfordfilmfest.com or email info@oxfordfilmfest.com.

Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, this prom-night-themed event honors people with special needs ages 14 and older. Grace Bible Church joins more than 600 churches around the world in celebrating this special night. Register as a volunteer or an attendee online. 6-9 p.m., Oxford Conference Center. nighttoshineoxford.com

FEBRUARY 7

Enjoy soup from one of over a dozen local restaurants in a handmade pottery bowl. Admission, $20, benefits The Pantry. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Oxford Conference Center. visitoxfordms.com

Small Hall Concert Series

“We Shall Overcome” F E B R U A R Y 12

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council kicks off the Small Hall spring music series with a night of blues from Mark “Muleman” Massey. Tickets $8 for members, $10 for nonmembers; couples tickets $12 for members, $15 for nonmembers. Doors open at 7 p.m., music at 7:30 p.m., 1109 Van Buren Ave., upstairs.

Featuring a band and five vocal soloists, this production by producer and musical director Damien Sneed combines AfricanAmerican musical traditions, including gospel, classical, jazz and spirituals, with recorded speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. to showcase the inspiration behind generations of civil rights activists. Tickets $10-$30. 7:30 p.m., the Ford Center.

oxfordarts.com

fordcenter.org

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FEBRUARY 14

PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE TIM TEBOW FOUNDATION

Empty Bowls Lunch

Valentine’s Day Show your love today by a posting a photo using #InvValentinesDay for a chance to be featured on Invitation Oxford’s social media pages.

“The Lion King Jr.” F E B R U A R Y 1 4-1 5

Regents School of Oxford presents “The Lion King Jr.,” a shortened version of the Disney classic starring first- through fifthgraders. Tickets $5. 6 p.m., The Powerhouse.

“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” F E B R U A R Y 1 4-1 6

OHS Theatre takes on the drama and romance of the Old West in this classic tale about an idealistic young lawyer, a vicious outlaw, a troubled and enigmatic homesteader and, of course, a love triangle. 7:30 p.m., Oxford Middle School.

National Random Acts of Kindness Day FEB RUA RY 17

Mark Twain said, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Look for opportunities to be kind today, and share your moment using #RandomActsofKindnessDay.


Presidents Day FEBRUARY 18

School’s out and federal buildings are closed on this holiday honoring our nation’s first president, George Washington, who was actually born Feb. 22, 1732.

Supermoon FEBRUARY 19

Known by some Native American tribes as the Full Snow Moon, this month’s full moon occurs near perigee (the closest point to Earth in the moon’s orbit), making it appear especially large and bright.

“August: Osage County” F E B R U A R Y 2 1 -24

Theatre Oxford presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning tragicomedy by Tracy Letts. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2-4 p.m. Sunday, The Powerhouse.

Oxford Art Crawl FEB RUA RY 26

The double-decker bus stops at the Powerhouse, the UM Museum, the Square, and campus for a pop-up art crawl the fourth Tuesday of every month from January to October. Free. 6-8 p.m. oxfordarts.com FEBRUARY 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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TRUE BLUE

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S H O U T O U T S

PHOTO PROVIDED BY OLE MISS ATHLETICS

Me e t O le M i s s Ba ske t ba l l C oa c h Ke r m it D av i s This season, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team faces its SEC rivals under the leadership of new head coach Kermit Davis. A native of Leakesville, Davis is the program’s 22nd permanent head coach. Davis joined the Ole Miss family after 15 years at Middle Tennessee State University, where he led the Blue Raiders to three NCAA Tournament appearances since 2013, as well as numerous conference championships. Davis is an eight-time conference coach of the year and ranks 11th nationally in winning percentage over the last three years. Also recognized for his devotion to the academic success of his athletes, Davis pushed MTSU to become one of six teams in the country with a 100 percent graduation rate in 2017 and one of seven such teams in 2016. Visit olemisssports.com for the complete Ole Miss basketball schedule. Welcome, Coach Davis!

Operating in the building that previously housed the OxfordLafayette Humane Society, Mississippi Critterz is a nonprofit organization that provides temporary shelter and foster homes for cats, dogs and other pets in Oxford and Lafayette County. Through adoption and transportation to other animal shelters and rescue groups, Mississippi Critterz aims to reduce euthanasia rates, creating a 90 percent live-release rate within the L-O-U community. The organization also provides referrals for low-cost spay and neutering services from local veterinarians. “We are a no-kill shelter,” said Interim Director Justin Shumate. “Everything that comes through the door will be taken care of, but we want the community to play a part. The dogs may be homeless, but they’re here, so come visit and play with them.” In addition to adoption, Mississippi Critterz offers many opportunities to help Oxford’s orphaned animals. People interested can apply to foster pets, volunteer at the shelter, or donate money to purchase pet supplies and fund transportation of the animals. For more information on helping, email info@mscritterz.com, call 662-832-6727, or stop in Tuesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., or Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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CATS PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROBERT JORDAN PHOTOGRAPHY LLC

M i s s i s s i p p i C r it t e r z


SHOUTOUTS

continued

Committed to Excellence Dan Finan, Realtor Ole Miss’15 MBA

C o ok i n g a s a Fi r s t L a n g u a ge

When a few friends from Japan asked Tupelo-based food blogger Lauren McElwain to teach them how to cook a traditional Southern meal, McElwain was happy to oblige. When she witnessed the special bond that formed among the students, she realized that, despite language barriers, cooking was a language everyone could speak. Born from a desire to celebrate and unite community members from different cultures, McElwain’s program, Cooking as a First Language, welcomes people of all backgrounds to participate in cooking classes. In each class, participants learn to prepare dishes traditional to a specific country from someone native to that country. Now, after several successful years in Tupelo, the class is coming to Oxford. “Everyone enjoys learning about cuisine from different cultures, and those who teach love sharing their culture,” McElwain said. “Tupelo is so diverse, and I think Oxford will be even more diverse. I want to share what [Tupelo] has experienced with Oxford.” Each class is $20 per person. Availability varies by class. To sign up for upcoming classes or for more information on teaching a class, follow @cookingasafirstlanguage or @CFLOxford on Instagram and Facebook.

CELL: 601.917.5429 wdfinan@hotmail.com www.resideoxford.com OFFICE: 662.234.5621

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instaL O V E Bl a ke G o re

University of Mississippi alum Blake Gore is a self-proclaimed “draw-er of tiny stuff,” but his minuscule sketches are nothing short of masterpieces. Gore was an English and political science major and is now director of learning experience design at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. He never pursued a career in art, but he has always doodled as a hobby. In September 2018 Gore joined a challenge hosted by House of Illustration, a London gallery dedicated to illustration and graphic art. Along with thousands of others worldwide, Gore created a 1-inch-by-1-inch drawing every day for 30 days. He didn’t win, but he fell in love with the concept. “I love the challenge of squeezing as much detail as I can in a tiny space,” Gore said. “And it’s sustainable — I have four kids, a wife and a job, and the tiny drawings allow me to produce so much more art in a

short amount of time using fewer materials.” Gore accepts commissions through direct messages on Instagram, and in the spirit of making original art accessible to others, he keeps the rates reasonable. “I always loved art but can’t afford a lot of it,” Gore said. “I like drawing things that have special meanings for people. That’s

FOLLOW ON INSTAGR A M @bla kegore

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why I do what I do. It’s more important to me to be able to preserve a memory than to get rich.” To spice up your Instagram feed with an abundance of astoundingly detailed, smallscale landscapes, portraits and cartoons, in black-and-white and color, pencil and ink, follow @blakegore.


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M E E T the P E T S i r W i n s to n Fra n k l i n Frat e s i

The winner of Invitation Oxford’s Pet Cover Contest, with almost 700 votes on Facebook, is Sir Winston Franklin Fratesi. Born on March 28, 2015, Winston is a nearly 4-year-old pug owned by Abbey and Marshall Fratesi. “We were joking about Winston Churchill one day and thought that would make a good name,” Marshall said. “We picked him up in Franklin, Tennessee, so we added that, and added ‘Sir’ just for fun.” Winston always gets excited about his monthly Bark Box, a subscription package of toys, treats and accessories, and he likes to play with his “cousin” Susie, a mixedbreed dog from a local shelter. Winston loves mealtimes, but peanut butter SmartBones are his favorite treat, and he will sit, stand or high-five to get one. Winston also enjoys a good nap. “He’s the best cuddle partner, but he snores louder than I do,” Marshall said. For a glimpse into Winston’s life, follow him on Instagram at @sir_with_the_fur.

FOLLOW ON INSTAGR A M @ s i r_w i t h _ t h e _ f u r

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R E S T A U R A N T news Marco’s Pizza

Frutta Bowls

NEW | 100 S . L A M AR COURT

N E W | 51 4 E . J A C K S O N AV E .

South Lamar Boulevard now boasts one of the fastest-growing chain restaurants in the country, as recognized by the Nation’s Restaurant News Top 100 Report. Founded in Ohio by Italian Pat Giammarco, Marco’s uses fresh ingredients to create its pies.

Tucked under Uncommon Oxford, this superfood cafe chain crafts colorful smoothie bowls, healthy toasts and other nutritious treats. fruttabowls.com

662-267-5545 | marcos.com

OxfordSip N E W | 1 5 3 7 U N I V E R S I T Y AV E .

This nutrition studio sells 50 flavors of soy-based shakes that are high in protein but low in fat, calories and carbs, a healthy choice for pre- and post-workout snacks. OxfordSip also offers teas full of vitamins and minerals, and high-protein iced coffee. 601-668-8886

Holy Crab & Sushi

Holy Crab & Sushi N E W | 70 5 S I S K AV E . , S U I T E 1 0 1

Here, fresh seafood comes in many forms, including fried, boiled or stuffed in sushi. The menu also features salad, soup, pasta and sandwiches, as well as a variety of options for the kids. 662-324-4666

Southern Coop

OxfordSip

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Bremma's Sweet Treats

Bremma’s Sweet Treats

N E W | 1 12 0 N . L A M A R B LV D .

N E W | 176 H I G H WAY 3 0 E .

This new chicken joint has all the classics, including chicken salad, tenders and sandwiches, and bone-in and boneless wings in nearly 30 flavors. Closed Sundays.

This new bakery, located inside Fergndan’s Wood Fired Pizza, specializes in filled Bundt cakes and cheesecakes but offers cookies and other baked goods too.

662-638-3767

662-234-3912


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OXFORD

Me e t D r. S t e ve n Bl a c k wo o d INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN BL ACKWOOD, MD

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

Dr. Steven Blackwood, the newest addition at Oxford Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, brings specialized talent and expertise to the Oxford community through his knowledge of orthopaedic foot and ankle care. Dr. Blackwood and his wife, Sara, along with their two children, moved here in September 2018 and are elated to call Oxford home. Q: What can a foot and ankle specialist do? A: As an orthopaedic surgeon, I’m able to treat a wide variety of orthopaedic injuries. Throughout medical school and residency, I had various opportunities for diverse experience and extensive training, especially with my fellowship in foot and ankle care where day to day I was treating numerous patients with a wide variety of conditions. I’m specialized to treat any problems specific to the foot and ankle — anything from bunion and hammertoe correction or arthritis to a total ankle replacement or fracture care. Q: What has been your favorite thing about Oxford since moving here? A: The people! When Sara and I came here for the interview, it automatically felt like home. Not only are the people welcoming, but also they have shown us Southern hospitality and a sense of community. I am able to see my patients outside of work, at the grocery store or an event. It’s great because it’s like having a very large family. Q: Who or what inspired you to become an orthopaedic surgeon?

part of their lives. But as I went through medical school, I found that the surgical side was my calling. Orthopaedics was of interest because as a former baseball player, I saw teammates of mine with injuries and the ability that orthopaedics had to put them back in the game. I really like that in orthopaedics you have a chance to be involved with the patient and make a difference in their lives. Q: What is most rewarding about your job?

A: When I was young, I always thought I would be a pediatrician. I loved the idea of seeing my patients growing up and being

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A: When a patient comes to the clinic with an injury or fracture, and after treatment,

seeing the progress they’ve made being able to walk again and regain the level of activity they were at before the injury. Seeing those successes at the end of the day is the most rewarding part of my job. Q: What is the one thing you would like patients to know about you? A: At Oxford Orthopaedics we care about the patient first and foremost. I’d like them to know that I consider them family from the moment I meet them, and I’ll do everything I can to see to it that they get the quality care that they deserve.


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C H I L I RECIPES BY KIMME HARGROVE AND CHARLES OWENS

JOE WORTHEM

GREENLINE VEGAN CHILI

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hen you’re longing for the end of winter, why not knock off the chill with a hearty bowl of chili? On a cold day, Charles Owens’ vegan chili will not disappoint. Owens has been a chef for close to 30 years. He has worked in fine dining and catering for major music tours, movies and television and for sports and special events around the globe. He is the chef and kitchen manager of South Depot Taco Shop and Greenline, which specializes in fresh salads, house-made dressings and soups made from scratch. For carnivores, Invitation Magazines food blogger Kimme Hargrove’s classic red chili can be made with either beef or venison. For a different and delicious twist, try Kimme’s white chili, made with chicken and green chilies.

½ cup olive oil ¼ cup chopped fresh garlic 2 cups diced green bell peppers 2 cups diced red bell peppers 2 cups diced red onion 2 cups chopped celery stalks (include the inner leaves, which are full of flavor) 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 tablespoons garlic powder 2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons ground cumin 6-ounce can tomato paste Two 14-ounce cans chopped tomatoes with juice 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained 2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained 2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained 1 bottle pale ale (such as Sierra Nevada) 1 cup lime juice (fresh is preferred) Salt and pepper to taste Cilantro for garnish

Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic and next 4 ingredients, and cook over medium-high heat until vegetables begin to color, approximately 8-10 minutes.

tomatoes, and stir well to create a bubbly mixture. Cook on low heat for 3-5 minutes.

Add chipotle powder and next 4 ingredients. Stir to combine thoroughly and caramelize, approximately 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and

KIMME'S WHITE CHILI 1 onion, chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 4 garlic cloves, minced 4 cups chicken broth 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (may use a precooked rotisserie chicken)

4-ounce can green chilies 2 teaspoons cumin 2 teaspoons oregano 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste) Three 14.5-ounce cans northern beans, drained and rinsed Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings: shredded Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro, sliced jalapenos, sour cream, tortilla chips In a large stockpot, saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until softened (about 8 minutes). Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute more. Stir in chicken broth, chicken, chilies, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a low boil.

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In a bowl, using a potato masher or fork, mash 1 can of northern beans into a paste. Add to stockpot. Add remaining beans. Simmer on low for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with toppings of choice.

Add black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans and the beer. Bring to a boil, add lime juice and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 30-60 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro.


KIMME'S CLASSIC CHILI 4 strips bacon 2 pounds ground beef or venison 2 onions, chopped 2 green bell peppers, chopped 5 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup red wine 6-ounce can tomato paste 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, crushed (may substitute ground cumin) 1 tablespoon oregano 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (season to taste) 28-ounce can diced tomatoes Salt and pepper to taste 2 cups beef stock 2 cans dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed

102 COURTHOUSE SQUARE, OXFORD, MS • 662.236.3626

Toppings: shredded Colby-Jack cheese, cilantro, sour cream, sliced jalapenos, tortilla chips In a large stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the ground meat to the bacon grease in the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crumbled. Drain the meat by pouring into a metal strainer. Add onions, bell peppers and garlic to the pot, and cook over medium-low heat until softened (about 8 minutes). Stir in wine and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a low boil. Stir in all spices, tomatoes and beef stock. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 30-45 minutes, until slightly thickened. Crumble the bacon into the pot, then add cooked ground meat. Return to a low boil and add beans. Cook about 10 minutes to heat completely through. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with toppings of choice. FEBRUARY 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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WHEN THINGS GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT, AN INTREPID TRAPPER COMES TO THE RESCUE. WRITTEN BY KEITH GORE WISEMAN

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ritters don’t care about the status of a neighborhood, but they do care about location. Just as Oxford’s friendly neighborhoods and watering holes draw people into town from far and wide, so do they draw wild animals. Squirrels, opossums and groundhogs move into residential areas looking for a quiet place to settle down and raise their families — their own noise and mess aside. Predators like coyotes and bobcats come solely for the nightlife.

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

So maybe it’s not too surprising that a few years ago a coyote took up residence in the woods behind Lisa and Richard Howorth’s house just off the Square, probably drawn to the location by the neighborhood’s cats. “Having a coyote right here in town seemed weird, but we live right by the cemetery and one of the bigger wooded patches, so we have all kinds of wildlife,” Lisa said. “Polina Wheeler, who lived behind us, discovered the remains of two pet cats.

And then the sightings began.” The coyote was wily of course, and what to do about him was certainly a quandary — until Lisa and her neighbor called Mike Merchant of Wildlife Resolutions. A native of Scott County, Merchant has a degree in agriculture from the University of Tennessee at Martin and previously worked as a wildlife biologist technician with USDA Wildlife Services. He founded Wildlife Resolutions in 2009, putting his lifelong interest in animals (and hankering


for the occasional adrenaline rush) to good use. Affectionately known as The Legend to former clients, Merchant climbs to frightening heights, squeezes into tomblike spaces and occasionally endures a coyote bite to rid good folks of those pesky critters that move in uninvited and make bad housemates or neighbors. “I like to wear the white hat, to be the good guy, and to people who are not accustomed to wild animals, I get to play that role,” Merchant said. “A little animal like a squirrel seems much bigger when it is scratching its way through your walls or chewing your electrical wires, so when I am able to relocate even such a small animal, people can’t seem to praise my work enough. They become friends, like family.” While each job is unique, Merchant’s goal is always a quick response to limit damage; a safe relocation of the wild animal to an appropriate habitat; and an end result of savings, safety and peace of mind for the client. “Wild animals are opportunists, seeking access to shelter, consistent food sources and protection from predators,” Merchant said. “So they will find or make openings in built structures as they would in a hollow tree or under a rock to create a dry, safe space. Add a consistent food source nearby, and the animals will come.” Continued on next page Mike Merchant of Wildlife Resolutions rescues homeowners from nuisance animals by safely relocating them. Among the creatures he deals with are birds, raccoons, opossums, armadillos and bobcats. FEBRUARY 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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Safely returning a truckload of captured critters to the wilderness is just another day’s work for Merchant. While pests like raccoons are commonplace, he also traps more dangerous predators like bobcats (above left) and coyotes (above right), which can be more of a challenge.

The coyote behind the Howorths’ house proved to be particularly difficult to catch. Merchant, who tried all that spring to trap the animal, said coyotes know how to avoid humans. They usually work at night, and catching one is not easy. For three months, the elusive animal dodged the commercial lures and traps he set to attract it. “My ego was battered and my reputation on the line, but worst of all, now some of [the Howorths’] neighbors’ pets were disappearing in the area,” Merchant said. “The coyote was becoming more bold, even being spotted some in the daylight.” Indeed, summer came, and the coyote made a surprise appearance at a special event at the Howorths’ house. “People kept seeing the coyote and keeping their cats inside,” Lisa said. “And then during our daughter’s backyard wedding reception, he came trotting up to the party along the catering line. One of the guests from New York said, ‘Look at that weird dog!’ And one of the Mississippi folks responded, ‘That’s a coyote.’”

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In the fall, Merchant got back on the case, and this time he had a new plan. “Coyotes are territorial and mark their claims with urine,” Merchant said. “To draw this one for trapping, I had to mimic a competing male by marking over his claimed space so that he would emerge to reclaim and protect that space.” Because the commercial imitations of male coyote urine had failed, Merchant instead collected the real thing from another coyote he had captured. Eventually, that solution, along with a customized padded foot trap, allowed Merchant to capture the animal, get him into a cage safely and relocate him far from town. Merchant’s work is tricky, can be dangerous and is certainly not something the untrained should attempt. Additionally, there are laws regarding who can trap animals, and it is illegal to trap animals classified as game (including raccoons, opossums and squirrels) out of season unless the trapper has a nuisance wildlife relocation permit, which allows the removal of any animal anytime, except endangered species.

“People love wild animals, until they become bad housemates,” Merchant said. “They will chew just about anything, are noisy and smelly, sometimes carry disease and affect a homeowner’s sense of security. At the same time, no one wants to see animals hurt, so I have to be very careful in catching, transporting and releasing them to satisfy the client and the animal.” Lisa said reluctantly that it may be time to call Merchant again, because Homer the woodchuck has taken up residence nearby. Even more brazen than the coyote, Homer waddles up to eat plants in her yard — good ones like zinnias, hollyhocks and daylilies — and even saunters up the back steps to eat potted plants on the deck. Whether Homer will be evicted remains to be seen, but it’s no surprise that Merchant’s business is booming. In its first five years in operation, Wildlife Resolutions served more than 500 clients, but in 2018 alone, almost 300 people called for help. “Mike Merchant is professional and persistent,” Howorth said. “It may take a while, but he always gets his man.”


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A R T I S T K I R S T I E M A N N I N G B R I N G S B O L D A N D C A P T I VAT I N G SUBJECTS TO LIFE IN A RECENT COLLECTION OF PORTRAITS. WRITTEN BY ANDI SHERRILL BEDSWORTH

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ART BY KIRSTIE MANNING

irstie Manning, an Oxford resident, has always been drawn to faces. When she was in first grade, her classmates would crowd around her as she drew, waiting for their turn to be sketched by the budding artist. “I enjoy looking into and capturing the eyes of a person,” Manning said, recalling the scene. “I would draw huge heads filling [the pages], with little box bodies with stick arms and stick legs.” Manning attended elementary school in Verona, where she looked forward to art class — taught by video lessons. In fifth grade she was accepted into a gifted art class with a real live teacher. Manning went on to study art at the University of Mississippi, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in art with a focus on painting. She works primarily in acrylic, occasionally dabbling in watercolor or ink. Manning said she’s inspired by those whose lives are a testament to the impact of African-American history and culture on the arts, literature, music and character of our country. She often finds subjects in people she hears about on the news, especially victims and people who refuse to be victimized. “Being a millennial, I see a lot of what’s happening in the news on social media,” Manning said. “I am inspired by the faces of truth-tellers because they aren’t afraid to say what needs to be said. They use their voices or their platforms to serve their truth, and through speaking truth, people are healed.” Manning’s latest body of work is evidence of the passion she has for capturing the spirit of these truth-tellers in paint. Manning has made it her mission to make sure they are known and their stories are heard. Continued on page 40


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Continued from page 38

KALIEF BROWDER “Killed by Systemic Depression” (12- by 12-inch acrylic on stretched canvas) This is a haunting portrait of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old who was accused of stealing a backpack and its contents in 2010 in The Bronx, New York. He spent three years jailed on Rikers Island while he awaited trial and was eventually released due to lack of evidence against him. He took his own life just two years after his ordeal, some believe as a result of the suffering he endured during his imprisonment.

ZUL AIKHA PATEL

SELF-PORTRAIT

“Distracting Hair” (12- by 12-inch acrylic on stretched canvas)

“Get Outta My Hair” (16- by 20-inch acrylic on stretched canvas)

Zulaikha Patel, the proud South African teenager full of grit and willing to stand up for her rights, refused to tame her hair despite rules set by Pretoria Girls High School’s policy regarding black girls’ hair.

Manning painted this self-portrait in response to the stories of police brutality she was hearing about on the news. Though at first glance it might seem to be a simple image of a young woman, the army tank in her hair makes a strong statement about her feelings.

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ON POINT A 38-YEAR-OLD EVENT BRINGS SPORTING DOG ENTHUSIASTS AND ANIMALS TOGETHER FROM ALL OVER THE NATION. WRITTEN BY GINNY McCARLEY

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n a frigid morning, the trials begin. Contestants and their dogs gather in fields, everyone tense with excitement, before the dogs are let loose to sniff the air for the scent of quail. Scouts follow on horseback as the dogs move boldly and purposefully through the field, with a larger group observing on horseback behind. Once the dogs catch a whiff of quail, they stop on a dime, holding the point position perfectly. Blank shots are fired into the air, after which the dog is touched lightly on the top of the head by its handler and allowed to break form. The National Amateur All-Age Invitational Championship, a much-anticipated bird dog competition, is underway.

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

The event takes place annually in December, under the auspices of the American Field Trial Clubs of America, at the historic Ames Plantation, just a little over 50 miles north of Oxford. Each year select dogs and horses from all over the country trek with their owners to take part in the trials. The stunning 18,400 acres of land dotted with row crops, purebred Angus cattle, forests and horses has been home to bird dog championships for over 100 years. Twelve dogs from eight states qualified to compete in the invitational, one of the three most prestigious amateur stakes in the nation. Behind the graceful movements of the dogs and handlers in the field are countless hours of hard work and training.

Pat McInteer, who has been attending field trial competitions with her husband for more than 40 years, said the sport is “truly a passion.” The couple, who live in Nebraska, train their dogs for hours every day, even in the dead of winter. “[Our children] say, ‘Dad’s gonna die on a horse working a bird dog,’” McInteer said with a laugh. “But he’d die happy.” In 2018, all of the dogs that qualified for and competed in the championship were English pointers. Gary McKibbon of Hernando, a field trial enthusiast and judge in the 2018 National Amateur Invitational Championship, said judges are looking for a dog that stands out and can hunt, find game and have good manners around the game.


For David Williams, who was judging the competition for the eighth time, the championship is a chance to see the powerful possibility of a well-trained bird dog. “It’s a true test of a dog’s intelligence, stamina and intensity,” Williams said, noting that because the trial is three days long, it offers ample opportunities for mistakes and triumphs. “You get to see all of the flaws of the dog but also the best of [the dog’s] training and breeding.” Since the championship is an invitationonly event open to the top-ranking amateur dogs in the field, all of the performances are impressive. Rick Carlisle, who manages Ames Plantation, said the level of competition at the event makes it always enjoyable to watch. “[For those observing], it’s always less than an hour before you see another set of good dogs,” Carlisle said. “You’re already a winner if you’re here.” “Everybody that’s invited is great,” Williams agreed. “This is one of the best trials I go to every year. I see more camaraderie here than anywhere.” It’s this sense of comradeship that many of the participants credit with making the hobby (which they all admit is expensive and time-consuming) so enjoyable and entertaining. Contestants traveled from Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Nebraska and Missouri for this year’s national championship, and the close-knit group is infused with a sense of conviviality. “These guys are very competitive,” McInteer said. “But once they’re done running, they’re the best of friends.” Continued on next page Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, Tennessee, hosted the National Amateur All-Age Invitational Championship in December 2018. The annual bird dog event is known not only for the skilled dogs and handlers that participate but also for the camaraderie among the contestants and spectators. FEBRUARY 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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“It’s like a brotherhood,” McKibbon said, echoing McInteer’s sentiment. For Piper Huffman, secretary of the Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America, attending the trials is a chance to both watch the dogs in action and see friends. “It’s kind of like one big family,” Huffman said. James Atchison has been field trialing for 56 years, and his wife, Charlotte, for 32 years. James, who has been reporting on the trials for the Chicago-based publication The American Field since he retired from banking, has missed only two of 56 national field trial championships held at Ames Plantation. Though the couple does not train dogs, they return every year for the chance to ride and see their friends. “We keep several horses and we trail ride, so field trialing gives us a chance to use our horses year-round,” James said. “In the course of having done that, we’ve just made so many wonderful friends.” James loves to watch the dogs, all of whom he describes as outstanding athletes, and he especially appreciates the relationship and trust that develop between a dog and its handler. However, it’s the relationships between field trial contestants that keep the Atchisons returning year after year. “There’s really wonderful camaraderie,” Atchison said. “Something about this sport is that even people that are competing against one another help each other. That kind of sportsmanship is not alive in most sports anymore.” The competitors are so friendly, it might seem unimportant who wins. But at the end of the three-day championship in December 2018, when the judging was over, Touch’s Firedancer, a 4-year-old female English pointer owned by Keith Wright of Covington, Indiana, emerged victorious. Twelve dogs from eight states competed in the three-day event in 2018. Judges, who ride along with participants, are looking for well-trained dogs with superior hunting skills and manners. In the end, Touch’s Firedancer (pictured middle left) was the winner.

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tacy Bowers can remember every route she has ever driven, she never forgets a face, and she can tell you where each and every pothole is in Memphis. And that’s a lot of potholes. Her photographic memory is a crucial asset in her line of work as a courier for Blue Sky Couriers in Memphis. But Bowers isn’t delivering Valentine’s Day flowers or the contents of your latest online shopping spree. “You can’t put a value on the things I deliver,” Bowers said. “It can be life or death.” During daylight, Bowers’ same-day deliveries include just about anything, from court documents and machinery to personal paperwork and lab specimens. But once the night shift starts, Bowers says her runs are

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DA Y FRANK ESTRA ILLUSTRATED B

99 percent medical-related. Blood, skin, tissue, medication, bone and even organs fill her cooler, and it is her role to get them from pickup to drop-off in a timely, safe manner. In her line of work, every second counts, and she doesn’t have time to pull over to fiddle with a GPS. In fact, Bowers hasn’t kept a navigation system in her car for nearly four years. Instead, she lets her mind do the navigating. “I can see things like a movie,” she said. “I found a job that lets me take advantage of that.” Bowers, who has worked for Blue Sky Couriers for more than six years, fell into that line of work by happenstance. She fell in love with the job after accompanying her husband, who is also a courier, on a

few runs. Bowers, who made her first trek to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital from Nebraska as a 10-year-old with ulcerative colitis, has been on the receiving end of medicine for most of her life. Transporting medical supplies, and often being the last one to handle an organ before the doctor places it into a recipient, has put her on the other side of medicine. “I like knowing I make some sort of a difference,” Bowers said. “I may not be a doctor or a nurse, but I can get you what you need right away.” Runs go as far north as Canada and as far south as Mexico. Bowers averages between 11 and 22 runs per shift and plays a game of Tetris in her head each time she packs her van. Her busiest shift was a 32-run


night, during which Bowers barely had time to park, much less unload and reload her van, before she was off to the next stop. The work as a courier is not for the faint of heart. Bowers often goes directly into operating rooms after bad car accidents and has seen her fair share of death and grief. “You’re standing there in your mask, booties and gown and thinking, ‘Man, I hope I got it here in time,’” she said. “Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you got it there in time. And those are the hard days.” Outside of the hospital’s walls, a black market exists for the goods the couriers transfer, including tissue, medicines and organs.

Safety is a top priority, and Bowers is on constant alert as she enters dangerous neighborhoods to drop off and pick up her special deliveries. “Sometimes you have to take the flood route or the route through the bad part of town to be quicker,” she said. She has been followed through the streets of Memphis and has been physically attacked, and she once had her car surrounded in an attempted robbery from which she barely escaped. To this day she wears a shirt that was torn up the side by someone who attacked her to steal medicine she was carrying. “I wear it to remind

myself it could happen again,” she said. Time and procedures are other stressors. There’s only a 12-hour window after an organ exits a donor’s body to get it into a recipient. For this reason, Bowers doesn’t have time to wait in traffic or airport lines. She is TSAcertified and accompanies

her deliveries through security screenings and onto the tarmac. Chain of custody is a careful, methodical process, and even the slightest tear in the red tape could render an organ useless. “If you don’t have the right forms or follow the right process, it doesn’t go,” Bowers said. “Then you are risking someone’s life.” Once, she had to take custody of bone marrow from a doctor at Le Bonheur, only

to drive across the street and hand it back to the same doctor at St. Jude. Even the short trip was risky: As Bowers explained, the slightest temperature change or bump could ruin the shipment. The clock almost ran out on her one time as she tried to orchestrate a heart delivery amid a snowstorm. Flights were being canceled by the minute, and Memphis International Airport was on the brink of a shutdown. Bowers raced to the airport only to find that the flight the organ was scheduled to leave on had been canceled. But Bowers had a heart to get to California and was determined to get it there. She called in reinforcements to find a plane for the heart. “It helps to have friends at the airport,” Bowers said. “They can make magic happen.” At the last minute, as she was standing in the cargo hold with time ticking away as the weather grew worse, she managed to track down a route to California. Within seconds, the plane was stopped in transit, and the container with its precious contents was whisked away on a cart. It was the last flight out of Memphis that night and the last hope to get the heart to the west coast in time for a transplant. “That was someone’s life on the line,” Bowers said. “Later would’ve been too late.” Bowers is just one of the unsung heroes in the arduous and miraculous process of organ donation. This month, remember that Feb. 14 is not just Valentine’s Day; it’s also National Organ Donor Day. To learn more about lifesaving organ donation, visit organdonor.gov.

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Scott Wilson visits The Blake at Oxford assisted living facility with his therapy dog, Roxy, bringing comfort and happiness to residents there.

IN HOMES, SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS AND EVEN COURTROOMS, DOGS AND OTHER ANIMALS RECOGNIZE MEDICAL CONDITIONS, PERFORM TASKS, OR JUST OFFER COMPANIONSHIP AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT. WRITTEN BY BROOKE HUTSON GIBSON

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n December 2018 the world watched as Sully, President George H.W. Bush’s service dog, lay in front of his master’s flag-draped casket in his last act of loyalty. The yellow Labrador retriever, provided by America’s VetDogs, had been at the president’s side offering comfort and companionship since Barbara, his wife of 73 years, died in April. In recent years, use of service, emotional support and therapy dogs has increased. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines “service animals” as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Examples include guiding the blind, alerting

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

the deaf, alerting a diabetic to dangerous blood sugar levels, or calming a person who has experienced trauma. “Emotional support animals” are not required to perform any specific tasks; rather, they simply offer affection and companionship. “Therapy animals,” primarily dogs but sometimes cats, horses, birds, pigs, llamas, alpacas, rabbits and guinea pigs, serve to relieve stress, anxiety and fear while enhancing feelings of comfort, calm and well-being. A therapy dog’s owner or handler may bring the animal to meet individuals or groups of people. Some states have even begun using dogs to offer emotional support

to children and others in situations where they must testify in court. Scott Wilson has been a dog owner for 40 years. “My wife and I couldn’t afford a honeymoon when we got married, so instead we bought a dog,” Wilson joked. After three decades at the University of Illinois, Wilson retired, and he and his wife began researching the perfect hunting dogs for their retirement adventures. Their search ended in Oxford, where they settled with their new dogs, including a retired Labrador retriever sire, FTW Widgeon. Widgeon was so incredibly calm, the Wilsons thought he would make a perfect service dog — and indeed he did. Widgeon earned his American Kennel Club Therapy Dog designation in less than a year. After volunteering for two years with Widgeon as a therapy team, Wilson became a licensed therapy team evaluator through Pet Partners, a nonprofit therapy animal organization. Then he became the service companion director at Oxford’s Wildrose Kennel. Beyond that, Wilson volunteers his time taking another Labrador retriever therapy dog, Roxy, to help members of the OxfordLafayette community. On a biweekly basis, he visits residents of the memory care unit of The Blake at Oxford. On a recent visit, residents’ faces lit up when Wilson entered the gathering area. One resident began reminiscing while petting Roxy’s head: “I just love the dog! She’s just like the dog we had when we were kids. She’s just like her!” For many of the residents, Wilson’s visits with Roxy are more than just friendly interactions with a calming dog. “In the memory unit, visits are really human-to-human for me,” Wilson said. “I know several of these people don’t have a lot of visitors. The magic of the dogs is that they really relax people.” Wilson sees that magic happen when he


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Wilson and Danielle Drewrey (top left) bring therapy dogs Roxy and Foxy to Lafayette Upper Elementary. Teacher Whitney Drewrey (pictured middle right and reading to her class, bottom) says her special education students benefit greatly from the visits. Teacher Jennifer Sharp (pictured middle left and bottom) assists Wilson and Drewrey.

volunteers with Whitney Drewrey’s special education students at Lafayette Upper Elementary on Mondays. Drewrey, who was named Mississippi Teacher of the Year in 2018, works with 16 students, all of whom have severe cognitive disabilities. “For kids with severe cognitive delay, dogs are good listeners and nonjudgmental,” Drewrey said. “They make eye contact and let the kids read to them.” One girl in Drewrey’s class made such progress reading with Roxy that she jumped two grade levels in reading during the year. “More than anything, it was her confidence that grew,” Drewrey said. “Now she’s comfortable reading out loud in front of her peers.” In addition to being part of classroom learning, Roxy serves as an incentive for students to work hard on their tasks. Sometimes kids are rewarded by being invited to go for a walk with Roxy and Wilson. For accomplishing big goals, they get to take independent walks with Roxy. Wilson and Roxy’s visits have also helped the children with communication. “I’ve seen the dogs be a comfort to the students who have trouble communicating their needs,” Drewrey said. “Three autistic students who are not aware of others and don’t pay attention to their peers are aware of Roxy and have started interacting with her. It’s amazing to see the change — for them to interact with reality.” Drewrey wants to expand her lessons and come up with more innovative ways to use therapy dogs in the classroom. “Scott and Roxy have become a fixture in the classroom,” Drewrey said. “The pride and independence it brings [the students] is so neat and amazing.” Sharon Stinson, an Oxford native, was diagnosed in 1995 at age 20 with Type 1 diabetes. As a student at Northwestern Community College, she felt sick and tired

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all the time. For several years after her diagnosis, Stinson had many ups and downs, hospitalizations, and diabetic seizures. “My doctors had labeled me as a ‘brittle diabetic,’ and it just got to the point where I couldn’t feel my highs and lows,” she said. One day in 2009, Stinson, a stay-athome mom and piano teacher, saw a diabetic alert dog in an issue of People magazine. “I told my husband, ‘This is the answer!’” Stinson said. “I knew that I had to get one.” To save money, the couple decided to learn how to train the pup themselves. It proved to be a challenge, but Stinson said Gracie was like an angel. Three years later,

Gracie died, and Stinson was devastated. Their church family raised money, and even strangers who heard about her story donated so she could get a new dog. In 2012, Maia, which means “brave warrior,” became Stinson’s new diabetic alert dog. It was an extensive process to train Maia to recognize Stinson’s saliva scent when her blood sugar levels are off. She also trained the dog to nudge her when her blood sugar is low and wave a paw when her blood sugar is high. “Having an alert dog has given me peace of mind,” Stinson said. “It lowered my anxiety about diabetes. [Maia] has helped me in my fight. I’m just so thankful for her.”


FEBRUARY 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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FEBRUARY 2019 | INVITATION OXFORD

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COOKIE PALOOZA PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH McCULLEN

The Cedar Oaks Guild hosted its sixth annual Cookie Palooza Dec. 2 at Cedar Oaks. The family-friendly event featured house tours, refreshments, children’s crafts and a visit with Santa. 1

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1. Barbara Purdon, Sue Hodge, Keri Dibrell and Toni Paolillo 2. Donovan, Ryder, Christy and Dylan Wishon 3. Isis Arantes with Ben and Kevin Felker 4. Chloe, Shannon and Aaron Sharp 5. Rachel Collins and Aviona Lemus 6. Sharon Hawkins and Bobby McConnell 7. Jack Adams, Lillie Watkins and Jesse Adams 8. Sharon Schreiber and Adielaide Chapman

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THACKER MOUNTAIN RADIO PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH McCULLEN

The sixth annual Thacker Mountain Radio Hour Membership Party was held Dec. 7 at Southside Art Gallery. The event featured cocktails, appetizers, a silent auction and live music from the Thacker Mountain Radio house band, The Yalobushwhackers. 1

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1. Bethany Cooper, Rosie McDavid, Mary Margaret Andrews and Michael Koury 2. Coulter Fussell, Will Cook and David Swider 3. Sara and Ben Lloyd 4. Tom and Carol Sharpe with Angie Littlejohn 5. Ron and Misty Feder 6. Dorothy and Jim Reidy 7. Yujing Zhang and Timothy Steenwyk 8. Kaye Bryant and Kate Teague 9. Pam Malone and Susanne Campbell 10. Marianne Parks and Chris Ross 11. Belinda and Rachel Buddrus

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CHRISTMAS PARADE PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH McCULLEN

The City of Oxford and the North Central Mississippi Realtors hosted the Oxford Christmas Parade Dec. 3. With “An OldFashioned Hometown Christmas” theme, the event featured Santa, local marching bands, dancers and music. 1

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1. Emanuel Wadlington with Makyi and Mariah Reed-Jones and Mya Fondren 2. Everett, Emmett and Easton Thompson 3. Linda Whitten, Melissa Vincent and Melissa Cox 4. Izzie Langendoen and Parker Heard 5. Ashunti Powell and Gabby Coleman 6. Kaylee Merritt and Reese Trainer 7. Gray and Eric Hutto 8. Ben, Evie and Erica Jones

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JA CHARITY BALL PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH McCULLEN

The Junior Auxiliary of Oxford held its seventh annual Bid for the Kids Charity Ball Dec. 8 at Castle Hill Resort. The event featured dinner, an auction, a wine pull and live music by Meet the Press. View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1.Keeana and Bill Koenig 2. Matt Copeland with Jordyn and Kyle Thornton 3. Beth and Niles Norris 4. Caroline and Sid Johnson 5. Bryan and Taylor Patton 6. Kesha Williams and Sherrita Harris

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JA CHARITY BALL

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7. Afton and J.T. Thomas 8. John Burnett and Kaitlyn Mize-Burnett 9. Christina Correnti and Katy Waters 10. Matt and Tiffany Peay 11. Mary Adams Kinney and Meredith Griffin 12. Lolita Gregory and Torie Marion

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BOOKS AND BEARS PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH McCULLEN

The University of Mississippi Black Faculty and Staff Organization held the 21st annual Books and Bears Dec. 14 at Fulton Chapel to distribute teddy bears, children’s books and toys to employees of the university’s Facilities Management Department. 1

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1. Jackie Certion and Donald Cole 2. Destini Jones and Toni Avant 3. Dorothy King, Brenda Dunn and Cassandra Porter 4. Ross Bjork and Larry Sparks 5. Braiylen Robertson and Jasmine Vaughn 6. Tim Furr and Jeremy Vance 7. Mark Webb, Eddie Moody and Richard Brown 8. Taranique Brown and Jacqueline Vinson

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RESURRECTION PROGRAM PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALICE McCULLEN

Resurrection House of Prayer Church held its annual children’s Christmas program Dec. 21. The event included refreshments, children’s activities and fellowship.

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1. Vicky White, Alice Blackmon and Jamarious White 2. Syncere, Tiyanna, Mia and Antonio Gilliam 3. Deloise McEwen and Toni Thompson 4. Stellahya, Nehemiah and Sharetta Armstrong 5. Travis Carter and Linda Booker 6. Jordan Morgan and Matthew Phillips 7. Dnijha Morgan and Lyric Webb 8. Montaeja Morgan and Vasesthertie Campbell

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ROXFORD SHOWCASE PHOTOGRAPHED BY JESSICA RICHARDSON

Roxford University held its annual Winter Showcase Dec. 15 at The Lyric. The concert featured students performing a variety of popular rock music and original songs.

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1. Bill Perry and Tate Moore 2. Elsie Bridgers and Carter Wilkes 3. Tony Caldwell and Laura Gillom 4. Tonja and Marissa Michael 5. Lucy, Eliza and Jacob Schultze 6. Nayoun and Jianne Choi 7. Andrea Staten and JoAnne Oliver

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ALL WHITE AFFAIR PHOTOGRAPHED BY JAMES GOOLSBY

The ATSOF (Anything That Swims Or Flies) Diet Club held its fifth annual All White Affair Nov. 10 at The Martin Center. The community networking event featured music and dancing. View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Timothy Porter and Priscilla Gillom 2. Valerie Kirkwood, Jacqueline McIntosh, Lakesha Wortham and Alisa Liggins 3. David and Shadra Mathis 4. Carol Goolsby, Jacqueline Quarles and Millissa Wilson 5. Bobby and Carol Goolsby 6. Antoinette Jeffries and Brian Hilliard with Reamus and Corretta Jefferson Mathena

lafayettepediatrics.net

1300 Access Rd, Suite 400 Oxford, MS 38655

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CHAMBER CHRISTMAS PART Y PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH McCULLEN

The Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation and Chamber of Commerce annual Christmas party took place Dec. 13 at The Chancellor’s House. It featured live music, cocktails and food. 1

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1. Rebecca Edwards, Russ Russell and Samantha Avant 2. Leslie Moon, Jordan Hoecherl and Rosemary Couch 3. Jo-Shannon and Mark Hartnett 4. Collin Hill, Mandi Buck and Joe Austin 5. Hittie and Bill Adams 6. Ron Kitchens and Michael Joe Cannon 7. Steve and Leah Wooten 8. Tony Halcin and Geoffrey Calderero 9. Adam and Abigail Salters 10. Kay and Roy Hightower 11. Hardie and Katrenia Meeks 12. Jon Maynard and Pam Swain

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YAC ORNA MENT AUC TION PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARAH McCULLEN

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council hosted its annual Holiday Ornament Auction fundraiser Dec. 14 at The Powerhouse. The auction featured ornaments made by local artists, and the event also included food, cocktails and a raffle. 1

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1. Laura Dixon with Deborah and Donna Mower 2. Betty Robbins, Elizabeth Fisher and Barrie VanCleave 3. Mickey and Kathryn Koury 4. Beth and Sue Ziegenhorn 5. Tom and Carol Smith 6. Ginger and Lee Bruton 7. Lucy Banks, Judy Trott and Martha Kelley 8. Josh and Diana Cissell 9. Mary Anne Wakefield and Debbie Myers 10. Cali Geoffrion and Turner McClendon 11. Ken McGraw and Jane Henderson 12. Liz and Benjy Foster 13. Buddy Bass and Leigh Solomon

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OUT & ABOUT VIEW MORE PHOTOS AT INVITATIONOXFORD.COM

Luc iu s L a m a r A r t i s t Re c e p t io n

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O x fo rd C iv ic C ho r u s W i nt e r C o nc e r t

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1. Chloe Lloyd and Fannie Elliot 2. Lucius and W.T. Lamar with Leslie Lamar Mallory 3. Olive and Tyler Crotwell 4. Amy and Sadie Grace Farmer 5. Ezra, Ethan and David Holben 6. Caitie Smith with Ranger 7. Brittney Eakin and Steven Adams with Gigi

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OUT & ABOUT VIEW MORE PHOTOS AT INVITATIONOXFORD.COM

D o o r s of Ho p e Hol id ay Hou s e Tou r

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S qu a re B o ok s Jr. S to r y T i me

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B oy s & G i rl s C lu b Tre e D e c o rat i n g Pa r t y

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1. Susan Meredith and Phyllis Frazier 2. Charlotte Cooper, Kelsey Dismukes and Katherine Farese 3. Nancy Vick and Anne Fair 4. Wesley and Logan Gosline 5. Margaret and Jonathan Palmer 6. Alicia Thigpen and Katie McLeod 7. Alex Vaughn, Jamari Fondren, Robyn Tannehill and Nicholas St. Romaine

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MISSISSIPPI’S BEST MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS FOR VALENTINES DAY!

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MISSISSIPPI’S BEST

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TRE AT S

COT TON’S SWEET POTATO-CRANBERRY DOG TREATS RECIPE BY JANET McCART Y

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

Like so many others, Janet McCarty lost her business in the economic downturn of 2009. Since then, she has journeyed from financial and emotional devastation to starting a new and successful business that has influenced the lives of others in many positive ways. And it all came about because of a little one-pound miracle dog — Cotton. “After losing my real estate business in the market crash, I lost all hope for my future,” McCarty said. “I fell into this depression that seemed to swallow me whole. Cotton changed that. As I focused on her survival, I realized that I could survive too.” McCarty had rescued the tiny, malnourished pup and nursed her back to health. Cotton had so many allergies, McCarty began making her food and treats using local produce, including blueberries from Pontotoc Ridge and apples from Cherry Creek Orchards in Pontotoc, sweet potatoes from Vardaman, and squash from Bost Farm in Water Valley. She began selling the treats at farmers markets for 50 cents apiece. Then McCarty won a $10,000 prize in the University of Mississippi’s Gillespie Business Plan Competition and $10,000 in the Advocare Challenge with the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. She used the money to start Cotton’s Cafe, a natural and locally sourced dog treat company. Whole Foods soon became a client. But McCarty felt strongly that her company could be more than a vehicle for making money. She saw it as an opportunity to give others a second chance, too, and she made it a point to hire workers with criminal backgrounds. “They were good people who made some bad choices,” McCarty said. “They were some of the hardest workers I have ever met in my life. I watched many of them go on to bigger and better things. But I was better for it too.” The success of the company and McCarty’s altruistic approach has led to numerous speaking

engagements, including a TED Talk and speeches at local schools, about helping yourself and others and achieving goals and dreams. In December 2018, McCarty had the opportunity to pass the torch to another company. Selling the business will allow her to continue to reach out to others, encourage them, and help them to know they are not alone.

COTTON’S

sweet potato-cranberry DOG TREATS

1 cup baked sweet potato (about two medium-sized potatoes) 4½ cups flour 2½ cups oats ¼ cup dried parsley 5 ounces peanut butter ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar ¾ cup water ¼ cup pure cranberry juice 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Heat oven to 350°F. Remove skins from baked sweet potatoes and mash, or grind along with the skins. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats and parsley. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of the mashed potatoes and the rest of the ingredients. (Hint: Heat up peanut butter to make it easier to measure and stir.) Combine wet and dry ingredients, and mix with an electric mixer on low speed for approximately 10 minutes. Mixture is ready when it no longer sticks to the bowl. (If it’s too sticky, just add a little more flour.) Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness, and cut into desired shapes — doggie bones and hearts are the best! Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and hard to the touch. Allow to cool, and store in your favorite cookie jar.


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Invitation Oxford - February 2019  

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