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When it’s your child, there is no such thing as a small problem. As part of University of Mississippi Health Care, the state’s only Academic Medical Center, Batson Children’s Hospital is the leader in our state for treating childhood health problems, whether they be major or minor. From seasonal illnesses and schoolyard injuries, to serious conditions like heart defects and cancer, we’re dedicated to helping the most important child in your life – yours. Because your kids are our world. Learn more at or call 888.815.2005.

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Madison County Magazine is a supplement to the Madison County Journal.

June 2012 Published by The Madison County Journal Publisher James E. Prince III Associate Editor & Publisher Michael Simmons Layout Greg Pevey Ad Design Jason “Twiggy” Lott Contributing Writers Matt Stuart, John Malanchak, Lea Anne Brandon Contributing Photographers David Wiggins /, Robby Followell, John Hooker Administrative Assistant Becky Bray Advertising Sales Mandy Meazell Farrow Taylor Stribling Madison County Magazine is a monthly supplement to the Madison County Journal designed to promote Madison County in an informative and positive manner. We welcome contributions of articles and photos; however, they will be subject to editing and availability of space and subject matter. Photographs, comments, questions, subscription requests and ad placement inquiries are invited! Return envelopes and postage must accompany all labeled materials submitted if a return is requested. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Madison County Magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. We reserve the right to refuse any and all advertising. Subscribe to the magazine by subscribing to the Journal,, or call the office at 601-853-4222. © Copyright 2010 Madison County Publishing Co.

Call 601-853-4222 to subscribe 2 - MADISON MAGAZINE


Features 10 Balloon Glow

22nd Annual Celebrate America event

14 Frazier Riddell Canton’s small-town music man

16 Mermaid Cafe Scenic views and good food at Lake Caroline

18 Q&A with Haley Fisackerly Entergy’s CEO talks energy SHOP


Favorites 6 What’s Hot!

Find some great gift ideas or maybe one of those “must-have” items for yourself

7 Don’t Miss

Our picks for the biggest, best and brightest to-dos to do!

23 Meet the Neighbors The Cook Family

24 Wine of the Month Perfect combinations for home entertainment

On the Cover

The Reservoir is a local hotspot to beat the summer heat. There are plenty of events going on over the summer months. (Photo by David Wiggins Photography)


don’t miss

June Le Comte Ory

Kwiecien is the world’s most famous lover in Michael Grandage’s new production, led by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi. The lineup of refined Mozartians also include Marina Rebeka, Barbara Frittoli, Ramon Vargas and Luca Pisaroni. Call (601) 936-5856 for more information.

Mississippi Chapter will host its first annual camp at Camp Wesley Pines in Gallman, Miss. Open to children ages 7-12 who have or have a family member with multiple sclerosis. There will be educational MS activities, sports, games, swimming, arts & crafts, campfires and more. First come, first serve and the

Independence Day Celebration

June 20 Le Comte Ory The Metropolitan Opera will feature this two-and-a-half hour production beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Tinseltown Movie Theater in Pearl. Bel canto sensation Juan Diego Florez sings the title role of Rossini’s vocally-dazzling comedy, in Bartlett Sher’s Met premiere production. Joyce DiDonato stars in the trouser role of the page Isolier, who vies with Count Ory for the love of Countess Adele, sung by Diana Damrau. Call (601) 936-5856 for more information. 4 - MADISON MAGAZINE

June 21 C Spire Summer Music Series Concert This month’s C Spire Summer Music Series features The Patrick Harkins Band. Bring a blanket and picnic supper to The Cedars at 6 p.m. and enjoy music under the stars. Free. For more information, visit June 27 Don Giovanni The Metropolitan Opera will feature this four hour production beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Tinseltown Movie Theater in Pearl. Mariusz

June 28-July 1 Balloon Fest The 26th Annual Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Fest will begin in Canton with shopping on the Historic Courthouse Square. Dozens of hot air balloons will compete in races and take part in balloon glows. There will be fireworks, a Special Shape Fiesta, children’s activities, food and entertainment. The Ridgeland Balloon Glow and fireworks show will be held at Northpark Mall on Friday, June 29. The Canton Balloon Glow, Fireworks and Special Shape Fiesta will be held at the Canton Multi-Purpose Center on June 30. June 29-July1 Kids Journey Camp The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Alabama-

camp fills quickly. Cost is $30 per child and $25 for each additional child in a family. Call (601) 856-5831 or visit for more details. June 30 Independence Day Celebration This inaugural event hosted by the Barnett Reservoir Foundation and Pearl River Valley Water Supply District will be held at Lakeshore Park and Old Trace Park with gates opening at 5 p.m. Kids activities will include face painting and arts and crafts. Live music kicks off at 6 p.m. and a boat parade begins at 8 p.m. with a live fireworks show at 9 p.m. The Grand Marshals of the event will be Wounded Warriors and Operation PROP as this will

don’t miss Les Conte d’Hoffmann



be a celebration and salute to the nation’s troops.

All Summer Zumba Fitness Class (Ages 40+) Ridgeland Recreation & Parks is offering a Zumba Fitness Class every Thursday from 1 p.m.-1:45 p.m., at the Ridgeland Recreational Center. The cost is $5 per class. The Ridgeland Recreational Center is located at Old Trace Park in Ridgeland. Zumba Fitness is a Latin-inspired dancefitness program that blends Latin music with contagious, easy-to-follow dance steps. The Zumba program borrows from the following dance styles: Cumbia, Salsa, Merengue, Mambo, Flamenco, Cha-Cha-Cha, Reggaeton, Samba, belly dancing, Bhangra, Hip Hop, and Tango. The instructor is Renata Gil. Renata is from Brazil and has her roots in Brazilian or Latino music. She is a certified instructor in Zumba. To register, please call Lynda at 601-856-6876

July 4 Annual Watermelon Classic The annual race includes a 5K run/walk, a one-mile wellness run and a Tot Trot for children ages three and under. Watermelon served after the race. Proceeds benefit the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Register by July 3. For more information, call (601) 9828264. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on Lakeland Drive.

July 4-5 Gospel Fest Homecoming The Canton Gospel Fest Homecoming is a free gospel concert on the Historic Courthouse Square. It celebrates the diversity and rich cultural heritage of Canton and the beauty of gospel music. Free admission. The Canton Gospel Fest Homecoming is sponsored by the Canton Convention & Visitors Bureau along with several local businesses, and is hosted by the Black Heritage Committee of the Canton CVB. The event lasts from 4 p.m.-12 p.m. July 11 Les Contes d’Hoffmann The Metropolitan Opera will feature this three hour production beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Tinseltown Movie Theater in Pearl. Bartlett Sher’s 2009 production stars Joseph Calleja in the tour-deforce title role of Offenbach’s fictionalized take on the life and loves of the German romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffmann. Anna Netrebko is the tragic Antonia and Alan Held sings the demonic four villains. Met Music Director James Levine conducts. Call (601) 936-5856 for more information.

July 13 Titanic Dinner Party The Viking Cooking School on Highland Colony Parkway is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the doomed luxury liner with a cooking class where participants will learn to make classical French rises, seasoning, searing, roasting and testing rack of lamb for doneness, etc. The event lasts from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. and the cost is $119 per person. For more information, call (601) 898-8345. July 14 USA IBC Reunion Gala Former USA IBC medalists will thrill audiences once again. This evening of glitz and glamour celebrates the accomplishments of some of the world’s finest dancers since they graced the stage at Thalia Mara Hall. The Jackson competition began in 1979 and continues to discover international ballet stars. The event runs from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall. July 16-22 True South Classic One of 45 PGA Tour events will be held this year in Madison at Annandale Golf Club beginning with


a Pro-Am on July 16 at 1 p.m. with the First Round Championship beginning July 19 at 7 a.m. Mississippi’s major sporting event is a must-go for the summer. Visit for a complete schedule of events. July 18 Lucia di Lammermoor The Metropolitan Opera will feature this two-and-a-half hour production beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Tinseltown Movie Theater in Pearl. Anna Netrebko sings the title role of Donizetti’s bel canto tragedy in her Met role debut, with Piotr Beczala as her lover, Edgardo. Mariusz Kwiecien is her tyrannical brother. Mary Zimmerman’s hit production, first seen in 2007, is staged as a Victorian ghost story. Call (601) 936-5856 for more information. July 19 C Spire Summer Music Series This month’s C Spire Summer Music Series features The Vernon Brothers. Bring a blanket and picnic supper to The Cedars at 6 p.m. and enjoy music under the stars. Free. For more information, visit July 25 Der Rosenkavalier The Metropolitan Opera for Tinseltown Movie Theatre in 6 - MADISON MAGAZINE


True South Classic

Pearl will feature this threeand-a-half hour production beginning at 6:30 p.m. Strauss’s comic masterpiece of love and intrigue in 18thcentry Vienna stars Renee Fleming as the aristocratic Marschallin and Susan Graham in the trouser role of her young lover. Edo de Waart conducts a cast that also includes Kristinn Sigmundsson and Thomas Allen. Call (601) 936-5856 for more information. July 31 American Idol Live Miss this season’s Top 10 on American Idol? See them live, including Mississippi’s own Skylar Laine for the Chips Ahoy! & Ritz American Idol Live! tour. The show begins at 7 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum.

All Summer Thread, Yarn, Crochet and Coffee Bring your own needles, yarn, thread, (handmade) project the second and fourth Mondays of each month from 1:30 p.m.–3 p.m. at the Ridgeland Recreational Center. Come and enjoy a relaxing afternoon of fellowship, coffee, and work on your handmade project. It will be a great time of “show and tell,” as you work on your own masterpiece. For more information, call Lynda at 601-856-6876.

Wildlife Expo

August 3-5 Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza The event will take place at the Mississipi Trademart and Mississippi State Fairgrounds. Hunting and fishing exhibits, lectures and animal demonstrations will take place. Aug. 3 is Kid’s Day and lasts from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. The Extravaganza is extended to 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Aug. 4 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Aug. 5. August 4 Summer Showcase The Mississippi Chorus will host Summer Showcase 2012 at the Union Station Ballroom located at the corner of Capitol and Mil lStreets in downtown Jackson. Free and secure parking provided. The fundraising event to benefit The Chorus will include performances by several of Mississippi’s finest professional musicians. Guests are invited to bring their own table-scape (prize to be awarded for the best one), picnic basket, hors

Painting and Pastels

Southern Crossroads Music and Tamale Festival

easels will be provided, pastel paper can be purchased at each session, backboards can be purchased, small set of pastels can be purchased, and drawing equipment and tape available at all times. (Please feel free to bring your own equipment and painting supplies.) This is an ongoing class that is held on Friday mornings, 9:30a.m.–12 p.m. Cost $65/month. Register by calling Cecilia Baker at 601856-1802 or email


d’oeuvres, silver service, brown bag dinner, or just come enjoy the phenomenal entertainment and silent auction of coveted items and services. Iced tea and lemonade will be provided, and wine will be available for purchase. Please call The Mississippi Chorus at 601-278-3351 or visit for ticketing information and to reserve your seating. August 10-11 Southern Crossroads Music and Tamale Festival Find your True South in the city of Soul through a journey of taste, flavor, and rhythm at the Southern Crossroads Music and Tamale Festival at the Mississippi Coliseum. The event, billed as the Epic Music and Culinary experience of the Deep South features tamales and other Southern Fare paired with succulent drinks with the music of WAR, Steve Azar, Marc Broussard, Hope Waits, Eric Lindell and many others. The festival will celebrate Tamales from many different regions, featuring Tamales in their earliest


form to the “Mississippi” Tamale created in the Delta region years ago. Admission is $18. August 17 C Spire Summer Music Series This month’s C Spire Summer Music Series features Pryor and The Tombstones. Bring a blanket and picnic supper to The Cedars at 6 p.m. and enjoy music under the stars. Free. For more information, visit All Summer Painting with Pastels Ridgeland Recreation & Parks is offering Painting with Pastels. Have FUN learning all about pastels, the technique of painting with pastels, pastel over watercolor underpainting, wet and dry method, working from photographs, photographing your finished paintings, protecting and framing your pastel paintings. Professional artist, Cecilia Baker, is the instructor. Instructor will provide the following equipment: Table

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local SCENE Thousands of people flock to Ridgeland and Northpark Mall each year for the annual Balloon Glow.

Up, Up and Away By Matt Stuart



amilies in Madison County should start getting ready for plenty of fireworks, balloons and music with the 22nd Annual “Celebrate America” Balloon Glow slated for Friday, June 29. Featuring country singer Neal McCoy as well as Jason Fratesi & Dirt Road Jam Band, the Balloon Glow has grown over recent years to become one of the most anticipated events in Ridgeland. Julie Cox with the Ridgeland Recreation and Parks Department is excited about the evening. “When we first started doing it, we stuck to local acts,” Cox said. “The last decade, we’ve reached out to some regional and national acts.”

Cox noted that the event has become one of the Parks department’s most popular events. “I think for one, it’s a free event so it makes it attractive for families,” Cox said. “We’ve turned it up a notch by getting big acts to come in.” Hosted by Ridgeland Recreation and Parks, as well as Northpark Mall and the Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Fest, the festivities leading up to the night will kick off inside Northpark Mall on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings with the annual karaoke contest. The singing will start at 6:30 p.m., June 26 and the same time the following night. The top five finalists from each night will advance to the finals slated for Thursday night, June 28. The winner will open the show for Neal McCoy and Jason Fratesi & the Dirt

Pull up a chair and listen to great music while enjoying tons of balloon entertainment.

Road Jam Band. Singers can pre-register by calling Angela at 601-566-0951 or e-mailing at The registration fee is $25. Friday evening, “Celebrate America” kicks off at 6 p.m. with the contest winner opening for the Dirt Road Jam Band. DRJB plays a wide mix of country, southern rock and blues with a focus on stripped-down acoustic sets accompanied by mandolins and spoons. Towards the end of their performance, the hot air balloons will be inflated and the lights will come on at dusk. When the sun goes down, fans will get to catch McCoy’s performance. The country artist who has had five No. 1 hits, done 15 USO tours and sold over six million albums will perform plenty of classic hits as well as some of his tunes from his newest album. After McCoy’s performance, the evening will be rounded out with the one of the largest fireworks displays in the state. “The fireworks show is always great,” Cox said. “We have one of the best around.” Along with the fun festivities, carnival foods such as funnel cakes and barbecue will be available throughout the evening. For the kids, a moon jump and slides will be on-hand; along with the Simon Kidgits Karnival Area that will feature an inflatable obstacle course, face paining, lemonade and plenty of fun activities for the kids. Admission is free and activities will be held on the Balloon Glow field between Northpark Mall and Pear Orchard Road. Spectators are advised to park in the Northpark Mall parking lot. For more information, contact the Ridgeland Recreation and Parks Department at (601) 853-2011. - MC MADISON MAGAZINE - 11

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madison PEOPLE Frazier Riddell performs at a recent show in Canton.

Small Town Music: Canton Native Eclectically Succeeds By Mark Stowers Photography by Beth Riddell Penn McNeil


he proprietor of Canton’s Small Town Music, Frazier Riddell, has an unfinished song. He’s the son of a retired farmer and gin owner, an entrepreneur musician and a key cog in what makes a town work. Born in Mississippi, he left for Ole Miss where Jesus changed his life, musical influences changed his major and he ended up in Tennessee. First in Nashville, then to Knoxville where he worked for Dolly Parton’s theme park and then back to Nashville to get into the music business full-time. After a decade, he headed back home, to Canton. But it was in Oxford where his music life started to take shape. “At Ole Miss I definitely had a life-changing experience. A 14 - MADISON MAGAZINE

‘Born Again’ experience some people call it. But it was my encounter with God, for the first time, being real,” Riddell said. “Upon graduation I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Wasn’t ready to try teaching right away. So I moved to Nashville and worked many, many different jobs while trying to sort of pursue the music business. But the truth is, I never really pursued it with much gusto because I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be. I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be in country music and I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be in Contemporary Christian music. And I don’t consider myself a Nashville songwriter. Most of my songs are kind of personal.” So Riddell cut his own niche in Nashville by opening his own “Just Off Church” business where he recorded musicians, rented equipment and stored props for a “show business” friend. But in 1995, with a wife (Susan) and a young son (Evan), they decided to move home to be with family and friends and create a backdrop to raise a family.

Logan Mason, a Canton Academy graduate from Madison, took up songwriting after high school and recently visited from his home in North Carolina to perform.

“Upon graduation I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Wasn’t ready to try teaching right away. So I moved to Nashville and worked many, many different jobs while trying to sort of pursue the music business. But the truth is, I never really pursued it with much gusto because I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be. I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be in country music and I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be in Contemporary Christian music. And I don’t consider myself a Nashville songwriter. Most of my songs are kind of personal.” “I wanted him to grow up around aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmamma and granddaddy and all that.” The unemployed musician with mouths to feed took a limited part-time job in Jackson at a music store and even started singing other folks’ songs to get by. “I started doing cover gigs and that was something I’d never done. I’d only done originals.” After paying some dues around the state playing dives and digs and coffeehouses, he saw the need to create his own music store in his own small town and Small Town

Music was born in 1997. The first incarnation was a small building but a decade later, he moved into his father’s business — literally. “His re-use of the old cotton gin as a business is very creative and innovative and it provides a unique venue for events,” said Lise Foy, executive director of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. “Frazier has taken it upon himself to do a very unique, very eclectic use of that historic building. And that’s extremely positive. The Gin Compound is a great venue for a live performance. It’s always worth

going to,” WGMO radio station owner Jerry Lousteau said. The “compound” consists of the Gin, an office and several smaller structures. It’s the home for his Small Town Music store. “I’m a jack-of-all-trades. The spokes on my wheels are selling new stuff, selling used stuff, teaching and playing live. So between these things I try to squeak out a living. I’m many things. I’m not just a music store.” And he even has become a “go-to guy” for Mississippi pawnshops owners giving out appraisals. Riddell supplies local marching band members with their instrument of choice. And his CD’s – he has 11 so far – are sold on iTunes and his website, And he’s got several, entertaining YouTube videos where he entertains through mini-unconventional infomercials. “He’s a great music teacher. A lot of people have learned how to play an instrument from Frazier and he’s got a lot to offer there also,” Lousteau said. The Compound hosts annual get-togethers as May Day and football weekends when both the Rebels and Bulldogs are playing away games at the same time. “He does his annual May Day concert and that’s something the community looks forward to every year,” Foy said. In addition, he hosts a monthly “Writer’s Night” where songwriters play their original music and he entertains and performs with various ensembles for parties, nightclubs, weddings and other social events. But the heart of it all is Small Town Music. “Anybody that’s going to be an independent, small music and gift shop is going to be a positive for Canton and for the county at large,” Lousteau said. “We like playing his music on our morning show. He’s got several songs that we really like to play, one of them, ‘Mississippi.’ I think it should be the theme song for the state. We play that one and several others on WMGO.” Foy leans on Riddell’s musical talents and connections. “He’s pretty active in the Canton Chamber Main Street Association. He helps with events like Arts on the Square when I have a need with booking musicians. He helps with that.” That unfinished song? He’ll tell you he hasn’t “made it” yet in music. But he’s more than “made it” – he’s just adding more verses to a career hit. - MC MADISON MAGAZINE - 15


local FLAVOR

Shaun Fontenot, executive chef and general manager, has been with Mermaid Cafe since the fall.

Mermaid Cafe Lake Caroline restaurant offers stunning views and southern cuisine By Matt Stuart Photography by Elwin Williams



hile most restaurants fight tooth and nail for spots on major thoroughfares, nestled next to Lake Caroline amidst the sprawling pine and oak trees lies one of Madison County’s best lowcountry style restaurants. Opened in 2009, the Mermaid Cafe has quickly become a local favorite, serving not only the Gluckstadt and Madison communities, but golfers, travelers and

foodies alike. For the past year, Executive Chef and General Manager Shaun Fontenot has been hard at work keeping the menu fresh and innovative. Fontenot arrived at the Mermaid Cafe last fall. Previously, he had worked at the Mermaid’s sister restaurant, Nick’s. Both restaurants are owned by Nick Apostle. “I was on the coast, living in Pass Christian, working at Emeril’s in Gulfport,” Fontenot said of his move to Madison County. “I got a call saying they needed a sous-chef at Nick’s.” After eight months, Fontenot was asked to move to the Mermaid to take over as executive chef. One of the major factors in Fontenot’s decision to move to the cafe was the setting. Overlooking Lake Caroline, the Mermaid Cafe features a large front porch for customers to wait to be seated. “You can’t pick a better location than right here,” Fontenot said. “It’s just beautiful out here.” Inside, a casual atmosphere sets the mood and gives patrons the feeling that they could be anywhere from Biloxi to Charleston, South Carolina. What really sets the mood though is the family-friendly feeling patrons have. “The aim is the customers, the families,” Fontenot said. “I’m real big on families personally.” Hailing from Cajun country, Fontenot said the atmosphere resembles that of traditional family outings. “All my family is back in Louisiana, so it’s nice having the kids running around,” Fontenot said. “You’ll have a family sitting at this table and the kids two tables down because they’re neighbors. It’s just that close-knit, homestyle atmosphere.” Complimenting the coastal stylings of the Mermaid is a wide variety of menu options ranging from fresh gulf shrimp to pork tenderloin. “I guess you can consider it southern coastal,” Fontenot laughed. “You have your fried foods and you have your pastas. It’s really a broad range of food here, which is nice. Since I’ve been here, I haven’t talked to anyone who can’t find something on the menu they’d like.”

Now, Fontenot is busy preparing the menu for the Mermaid’s busiest time of year. While foot traffic typically slows during the winter, warm weather means more people are outside and looking for meals to go along with the Mississippi summer. “We’re coming out of the slow season, so we’re picking up across the board,” Fontenot said. “Winter is either hit or miss and spring is short. Even though we change a lot of stuff, there are some things that we couldn’t take off the menu.” One of the Mermaid Cafe’s most popular items is the chicken spaghetti. Fontenot said that for customers who are unsure of what to order, the chicken spaghetti is one dish that numerous regular customers. With summer bearing down, the Cafe will serve a wider variety of seafood dishes, particularly steamed fish. One of the kitchen favorites though is the blackened drum fish. The seven-ounce drum fish is served with grilled vegetables, Fresh Gulf Shrimp

The Mermaid Cafe opened in 2009.

Outdoor deck seating offers great views of Lake Caroline.

That flexibility with the food is another major aspect that keeps Fontenot on his toes, changing the menu seasonally to reflect what’s available locally. “We typically change the menu three times a year,” he said. “We try to source all our food locally. All our oysters and shrimp and drum come out of Biloxi or Alabama.” Along with local seafood, Fontenot and staff try to source vegetables and other items locally. While inclement weather can limit their options, numerous items such as beans, okra and peas are still purchased at local markets.

roasted potatoes and brown butter sauce. Another dish Fontenot expects to be popular this summer is the lobster tail and king crab legs. “We’re looking at bringing in cold-water lobster tail,” he said. “It’ll be steamed or grilled with a couple of sides. We’re just expanding the seafood.” Fontenot said that in summer, steamed seafood provides a healthy, relatively light alternative to traditional cooking methods. “With that, especially if you’re going the steamed route, it gives you a couple of healthier options,” Fontenot said. “If you wanna go seafood, you don’t have to go fried. You can have this nice steamed crab leg. “Of course, you know we’re in the south, so you gotta have a big bowl of butter with it,” he laughed. Other popular dishes include the N’awlins Red Beans-n-rice, pork ‘n grits and the pan seared salmon. The Mermaid Cafe is open Tuesday though Thursday from 4-9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 4-10 p.m. For more information on the Mermaid Cafe, visit their website at or call (601) 605-8764. - MC MADISON MAGAZINE - 17



Q&A with

madison BIZ




MS: Give us a brief background on yourself. Where did you grow up and what led you into a career with Entergy MS? HF: I grew up on a soybean and cattle farm outside of Columbus, Mississippi, the second of three sons. My parents, Doris and Howard Fisackerly, expected me to work hard on the farm and in school. They raised me with principles that have helped me throughout my life — the importance of hard work, faith and manners.  I was very involved in student politics both at Heritage Academy in Columbus and at Mississippi State University. I was student body president at Heritage and I was student association vice president at MSU. However, I was also very interested in athletics and originally planned to go into the field of sports medicine. I was an athletic trainer at MSU for both football and baseball and even spent one summer working for the Indianapolis Colts.   Getting into the energy industry was definitely NOT planned. By the time I graduated from MSU, I had decided on a career in the political field. My goal was to work in a congressional office in Washington, D.C. I worked as a field representative for the MSU Alumni Association for two years before I was offered a mailroom position in the D.C. office of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. That position led to my handling various projects for the senator such as tracking requests and following up on economic development or funding projects for various cities and counties.

Eventually, I managed the senator’s Washington office and handled economic development, energy/interior appropriations and utility issues. While working for the senator, I earned a master’s in Public Policy at George Washington University. At the time, I planned to continue working in government or politics and GWU had an exceptional curriculum in government and public policy.  It was through working energy-related issues that I developed an interest in energy policy and utility issues that eventually led to my working for Entergy in D.C. and now 16 years later as president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, Inc. I have paved my career path by taking the initiative, working hard and making the most of opportunity.    MS: What are your thoughts on this country’s energy policies? What is the

future of the energy business and is Entergy MS already making steps to provide for a healthy, prosperous future? 
 HF: National energy policy will always be highly-politicized, but it seems clear our country must continue seeking more energy independence. Electricity can be made from many sources that we have in abundance in the U.S.— coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewables. So it’s clear that electricity can and should play a key role in our country’s energy freedom. With sufficient “raw materials” available for electricity production, one of the country’s key policy matters becomes that of transportation — how best to get it from where it is made to where it is consumed. Local weather, seasons, economic growth and population patterns all influence dayto-day and year-to-year electricity demand. But you can’t pick up a power plant and move it somewhere when the demand MADISON MAGAZINE - 19

moves! And of course it takes a long time and a lot of money to create a new generation plant. So transportation is key, and it’s getting a lot of attention both at the national policy level and within our company. Addressing these future needs economically and reliably is going to require unprecedented new investments in our electricity “grid” — the high-voltage, cross-country “interstate highways” of the electric system.  In order to foster this investment, energy policy is trending toward encouraging new models and new methods of financing that will result in a modern, strong grid. For example, on May 21, 2012, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cited concerns over aging electric infrastructure throughout the U.S. and said stakeholders must find ways now to solve cost allocation and siting issues to get new transmission projects built.
 MS: What are some of the exciting things going on now with Entergy MS and with what you’re seeing with energy production across the country?
 HF: This ties into my earlier comment. One of the major initiatives of Entergy Mississippi and its sister utilities in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas is modernizing our transmission system. There are actually two components. The first is joining a regional transmission organization that will result in benefits to our Mississippi customers of $242 million to $284 million in the first decade alone. This is the MISO initiative that is moving through the Mississippi Public Service Commission now. Assuming MPSC approval this summer, we would join MISO by December 2013 and start delivering those benefits right away. The second is a proposal that we plan to file later this year, in which Entergy Mississippi would spin off its transmission assets and merge them into the nation’s leading transmission-only utility. This new business model will further increase reliability, open access to new markets, catalyze investment and help modernize our region’s electrical grid. We first announced this proposal last December, and will begin sharing much more detail and analysis as we near the filing with the MPSC. The exciting thing you’re going to see is the tremendous potential this proposal unleashes! 20 - MADISON MAGAZINE

MS: What are some lesser-known facts about Entergy MS that would surprise most people?   HF: Most people think we do one thing: generate and deliver electricity. What they often don’t know is that we grow our business by working hard to attract business and industry that will help grow our communities. When communities are strong and growing, that increases demand for our product. Throughout the decades we’ve not only delivered electricity to homes and businesses, schools and hospitals, but we’ve worked diligently with state and local officials to create jobs in our community through economic development. For example, right here in Madison County we were very involved in helping to locate Nissan.   MS: Entergy MS is heavily involved in communities throughout the state. Discuss the company’s role in Madison County’s communities and the future relationships.   HF: Entergy Mississippi has 12 substations in Madison County, an office building on Highway 51 and 34 employees. Growth in the county means we are constantly upgrading and updating our equipment to service our customers here. Currently we have three transmission line projects under construction in Madison County and we’re doing some significant substation work in the area. Once completed early this summer the work will represent an investment by Entergy of about $2.8 million in Madison County. Over the past two to three years, we’ve invested another $14.3 million in infrastructure and improvements in the county. That’s resulted in our Madison network having the highest reliability performance in the metro area. We’re also invested in the Madison County area in other ways. For example, Entergy sponsors Madison Central High School in the Adopt-A-School program. As a result, Madison Central was one of the first high schools in Mississippi to incorporate our ‘Power Path to Nuclear Energy’ education curriculum into its science program. We also have a robust employee volunteer program where we encourage our employees to give back to their communities through volunteering to make

them better. Entergy rewards those employees with grants that they can give to community organizations of their choice. MS: What’s one of the biggest misconceptions you see people having about Entergy MS?   HF: When it’s hot outside and people crank up their air conditioner their energy use increases and their bill goes up. No one likes high bills and we do hear complaints, especially during hot summers, about the cost of electricity. But the fact is, Entergy Mississippi’s rates are among the lowest in the state, if not the lowest, and they are 28 percent below the national average! That doesn’t happen by accident. We work hard to provide reliable, affordable electric service every day. We also work hard to educate our customers on how to be more energy efficient and how to better manage their energy bills. We’re rolling out new tools and services that will help customers save money and keep them informed about what’s happening with their electric service. We’re texting customers with outage information when they lose power now, for example, and keeping them updated throughout the restoration process. We also have interactive tools on our web site at that customers can use to get specific information tailored just for them on how to save money at home by making their house more energy efficient. We’re working to create a very positive customer experience for each of the 435,000 customers we serve.

Have your business seen across Madison County! Advertise in



Madison County Magazine is a supplement to the Madison County Journal.

Call us TODAY! 601-853-4222



meet the NEIGHBORS (Left to Right) Jeff, Catherine, Ann, and Timothy







By Michael Simmons

lthough Jeff and Ann Cook both grew up in Madison County, it was a blind date in the early-1990s that brought the two together. It was love at first sight and the two have been together since. “We both grew up here in Madison,” Jeff explained. “Ann went to Madison-Ridgeland Academy and I went to Madison-Ridgeland High School. We met on a blind date at Mississippi State University. We dated three years before getting married.” The couple tied the knot in 1994 at St. Francis of Assisi in Madison and after marriage moved to Austin, Texas for a short stint. In 2000, the couple returned to their Madison roots. Jeff is currently a Product Manager for C Spire Wireless and Ann is a Nurse at Madison Ridgeland Childrens Clinic. The couple have two children, Catherine and Timothy, and they live in the Oak Hollow subdivision. In the fall, Catherine will be a sixth-grader at Saint Richard Catholic School and Timothy will be a freshman at Saint Joseph High School. “Timothy likes to read, play baseball and basketball, and play the guitar,” Jeff said. “Catherine likes to play the piano, to play basketball and softball, and to hang out with friends.” The family is united by their faith and attend Saint Richard 22 - MADISON MAGAZINE


Catholic Church in Jackson. They are heavily involved with the church outside of services, too. “We both volunteer with youth ministry and coordinate the Search for Christian Maturity retreats for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson,” Jeff said of his and Ann’s work with church youth. “These retreats are for juniors and seniors in high school and encourage them to live out God’s calling for their lives.” He added, “We started serving as volunteer youth ministers in 1995 in us tin, Texas. It is a ministry that we share together.” As for family time, the Cooks find plenty of opportunities to bond. “We most enjoy meals together and share a short devotional after dinner,” Jeff said. “We also love being able to find time to go to the beach. We enjoy attending MSU sporting events. We also like to watch classic movies together.” The family wouldn’t be complete without some four-legged friends. The Cooks have a large cat named Katie and two yellow labs, Cotton and Sally. On Oak Hollow, faith and family are keys to happiness inside the Cook home. - MC


WINE OF THE MONTH The Spirits of Summer


ummer time and the livin’ is easy, fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high”. Just to make it clear, my definition


of a summer day is when you can walk at least 50 feet

without babbling and your eyes rolling back in your

head. By no means am I referring to the evil diēs caniculārēs, the ever so brutal “dog days” of summer.

If you want to casually sip on a red wine under a shady tree or

down by the lake, stay clear of tannic, full-bodied reds like cab-

ernet sauvignon and syrah. That would be like eating beef stew outside during the bow wow days of August! Your lighter bodied reds should be slightly chilled. If you are looking for a refreshing

red wine, try a beaujolais, pinot noir, tempranillo, grenache, or a sangiovese.

On the other hand, if you are ready to dive into mouth water-

ing grilled chicken or a juicy hamburger, go with a California

In-Your-Face red zinfandel. They are happy wines that pair well

with the enjoyment of backyard grilling. These reds are fruity and

full-bodied. They also have alcohol contents ranging from about 14 percent to 16 percent. Remember the babbling thing.

Your whites should definitely be chilled. Among my summer

favorites are riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, frascati, pinot grigio, vouvray, albarino, and of course, the sparklers. Don’t forget to try a chilled rose’. Any of these wines will pair nicely with a Lighter-bodied red wines, slightly-chilled go well with the summer heat.

crisp fruit salad. A tip on chilling, if your white wine is at room temperature, put it in the fridge for about 2 hours. If you can’t wait that long, place the wine up to its neck in a bucket contain-

ing ice and water for about 20 minutes. You can chill red wines the same way, but not as long. You don’t want a cold red wine.

Remember my friends, to avoid babbling, drink responsibly.

Enjoy the summer everyone and be safe. - MC

John Malanchak is a sommelier with Joe T’s Wine and Spirits located

at 286 Highway 51 in Ridgeland. For questions or more information, contact Joe T’s at 601-605-7602.


madison seen

Economic Symposium The Madison County Economic Development Authority and Madison County Business League hosted The Economic Symposium 2012: Economic Perspectives for Madison County on May 10 at the Nissan Training Center.










1. Barney Daly and Richard Nixon 2. Cory Wilson and Supervisor Ronny Lott 3. Dexter Young and Lenny Slaughter 4. Dr. Jay Chance and Sherry Chance 5. Jan Collins and Dan Bednaryzk 6. Jan Collins and MDOT Commissioner Dick hall


7. Randy Day, Jennifer Sinclair, Dick Hutchinson and Todd Burwell 8. Richard McRee and Angie Fisher 9 . Terrell Knight and Chip Reynolds 10. Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Dr. Ronnie McGehee, Sherri Hilton and George Gammon



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950 East County Line Road, Suite D Ridgeland, MS 39157 | P: 601.899.0002 | F: 601.899.0088 7213 Siwell Road, Suite A Byram, MS 39272 | P: 601.346.9191 | F: 601.346.5011 1220 Northshore Parkway, Suite B Brandon, MS 39047 | P: 601.829.0505 | F: 601.829.0506 1201 HWY 49 South, Suite 2 Richland, MS 39218 | P: 769.233.8844 | F: 769.251.1825 26 - MADISON MAGAZINE

Madison County Magazine June 2012  

Madison Magazine

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