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News for members of Singing River Electric Power Association

Emily Barnes Ocean Springs

Rachel Pugh Moss Point

Brice Fortinberry Periodical postage (ISSN 1052 2433)


Youth Tour Washington, D.C.




Today in Mississippi


August 2015

We are growers. Soil is in our souls and the creases of our hands. We see things as they could be and don’t stop until the job is done. We are overachievers with well-engineered equipment. We can do almost anything. Š Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2015

August 2015

Electric linemen exemplify the value of teamwork emember how brutally hot and dry it was in July? Heat advisories were commonplace as the combination of high temperature and humidity made it feel hotter than 105 F in some parts of the state. That’s the kind of weather electric power association crews (and all other emergency responders) endured while working in the throes of the Hurricane Katrina recovery. These guys worked from sunrise to dark for days on end to rebuild literally thousands of miles of power lines destroyed by the storm. Teamwork made it happen. As thousands more electric cooperative crews came from other states to help, their ranks swelled to more than 12,000. I’ve mentioned several times in this column how I admire line workers for their unique abilities and skills—and the pride they take in their work. No lineman can escape feeling a twinge of heartache when he sees the electrical system he worked so hard to build lying tangled in debris. Then there’s the physical discomfort. In an emergency situation, line workers are likely to toil 14 hours or more in sweltering heat (or freezing weather, in the case of an ice storm). It takes a work force of dedicated, skilled and safety-conscious individuals to handle the job of emergency power restoration in a disaster. We all depend on their ability to help us recover after a crushing blow like Katrina. In his new book, “America’s Great Storm: Leading Through Hurricane Katrina,” Gov. Haley Barbour shares 10 leadership lessons from the crisis. One of the lessons is “there is no substitute for having a strong team around you.” (More about the book on page 5.) No one accomplishes much without help from others. That’s why Mississippi’s 26 electric power associations unite to achieve mutual goals—emergency power restoration being a perfect example. For decades we have refined not


On the cover This year’s summer break was especially exciting for 58 Mississippi students. They spent a week touring Washington, D.C., during the 29th annual Mississippi Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. Highlights included visits to the U.S. Capitol, Smithsonian Institution museums, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Cathedral and major monuments. See story on page 12.

only emergency response plans on the local level but have forged strong alliances with other electric cooperatives across the region. When we needed help rebuilding our electrical systems after Katrina, it poured in from electric cooperatives in 21 other states. Crews, trucks, equipment and fuel arrived just when we needed them, all according to plan. In the 10 years since My Opinion Katrina, we have returned the favor sevMichael Callahan eral times by sending Executive Vice President/CEO Electric Power Associations emergency crews in the of Mississippi wake of hurricanes, ice storms and tornadoes. That’s just how we do things in the world of electric cooperatives. We’re all on the same team. ••• Don’t get mad at your air conditioner. It’s doing the best it can. On an exceptionally hot day, an air conditioner can cool your home only so much—about 20 degrees below the outside temperature. So if it’s 100 degrees outside, your home’s indoor temperature may hover around 80 degrees or higher, even if the thermostat is set lower. At the same time, your air conditioner is reducing the humidity inside the home, making 80 feel more like the mid-70s, especially if you use ceiling or portable fans. Moving air cools the skin by increasing evaporation; it does not, however, reduce the room temperature. So don’t let a fan run on and on in an unoccupied room. That wastes energy and money. Our job is not only to provide the electric energy you need, but to help you use efficiently. JOIN TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI


Today in Mississippi OFFICERS Randy Wallace - President Keith Hurt - First Vice President Tim Smith - Second Vice President Barry Rowland - Secretary/Treasurer

EDITORIAL STAFF Michael Callahan - CEO Ron Stewart - Sr. VP, Communications Mark Bridges - Manager, Support Services Debbie H. Stringer - Editor Elissa Fulton - Communications Specialist Trey Piel - Digital Media Manager Rickey McMillan - Graphics Specialist Linda Hutcherson - Administrative Assistant

Vol. 68 No. 8

EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600 Acceptance of advertising by Today in Mississippi does not imply endorsement of the advertised product or services by the publisher or Mississippi’s Electric Power Associations. Product satisfaction and delivery responsibility lie solely with the advertiser. • National advertising representative: National Country Market, 800-626-1181 Circulation of this issue: 435,386 Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year

The Official Publication of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published eleven times a year (Jan.Nov.) by Electric Power Associations of Mississippi, Inc., P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300, or 665 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Phone 601-605-8600. Periodical postage paid at Ridgeland, MS, and additional office. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Today, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300

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Today in Mississippi

Our Homeplace

A monument at the Ground Zero Hurricane Museum in Waveland stands in memory of the 25 Waveland residents lost in the storm. Katrina’s eye passed just west of Waveland, placing the Mississippi Coast in the most dangerous part of the hurricane. Fatalities attributed to Katrina in Mississippi totaled 238. A total of 1,833 died in five states.

Mississippi is Warm, beautiful quilts made with love by my friends. Art, music, food and cheer shared with laughter and smiles. A stroll by Deer Creek, taking in cypress, green vines, glimmering sun on water, wildlife and birds breaking silence. Many churches with doors open wide to all in love and communion. Making new friends out of strangers, just because we do that here. — Linda Tankersley, Hollandale My Mississippi is a wealth of childhood memories. A cool breeze drifting in from the gulf as we sit on our front porch. Days spent on the beach swimming and having fun. Funfilled days of throwing the net for Biloxi bacon, crabbing off the old Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge, evenings spent floundering or soft-shelling along the beach, or rod fishing off the old Tivoli pier. The celebration of a shrimp boat trip loaded with family and friends to spend the day at Horn Island for the Blessing of the Fleet and the Fourth of July. The smell of the shrimp factories, the shrimp boats lining the docks and every morning the shrill whistle of the factories calling their workers. Great memories of a place called Point Cadet. How happy I am to be a born-and-bred Mississippian living in the best place on Earth. — Sherry Miques-Hankins, Biloxi

What’s Mississippi to you? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your thoughts to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158, or email them to Please keep your comments brief. Submissions are subject to editing.





Today in Mississippi


August 2015

‘Everyone was in the dark’ Former PSC commissioner Michael Callahan recalls emergency power restoration effort in Katrina’s wake By Debbie Stringer In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina crashed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast, much has been written about its horrific devastation and human toll. But less is widely known about how 26 electric power associations joined forces in a Herculean effort to rebuild thousands of miles of power lines tangled in debris extending more than 100 miles inland. Katrina was historic in many respects, including its impact on electric utilities throughout the state. The storm’s destructive forces caused power outages for members of all 26 electric power associations in Mississippi. Nine electric power associations serving central and south Mississippi lost electric service entirely—for the first time in their history. No other event in the 81-year history of rural elec-

trification in Mississippi ranks near Katrina in terms of its impact on the entire electrical grid, from the generating plants to substations to neighborhood power lines. Michael Callahan served as Mississippi public service commissioner for the southern district before becoming chief executive officer of the Electric Michael Callahan Executive Vice President/CEO Power Associations of MissisElectric Power Associations sippi in November 2005. As of Mississippi PSC commissioner, Callahan helped monitor the restoration of utility services in Mississippi after Katrina, and with a critical eye. Today

in Mississippi asked Callahan for his memories of what went right—and wrong—as electric power associations dealt with a statewide disaster on a scale no one could have foreseen.

What were some early major hurdles to recovery after Katrina’s passage? We did not have any communications. For the first seven to 10 days after Katrina’s landfall on Aug. 29, we were not really a functioning society. Cell phone service was spotty and intermittent, and satellite phone talk time was very limited. Most TV and radio stations were off the air. Those who had generators couldn’t get diesel to power them. So everyone was in the dark when it came to communications.

August 2015

The electric generating plants in south Mississippi were down. From I-20 south, everything was dark. There was no gas available because there was no electric service to power gas pumps. Electric power associations had prepared by fueling up beforehand, but because road crews often ran out of gas trying to clear trees and debris from roadways, utility trucks were stymied in many places. Everything just came to a standstill. It was almost surreal. And it got incredibly hot. We went 17 days without a drop of rain after the hurricane, with temperatures pushing 100 degrees.

What were you hearing from electric utility consumers in the days after Katrina? We got tons of calls at the PSC and the No. 1 complaint I heard was “We haven’t even seen a (utility) truck!” People don’t understand the nature of an electric system—how you have to get this substation on and that line rebuilt before you can get their lights back on. They just wanted to see a utility truck. They just wanted to see hope coming at the end of the tunnel.

In your opinion, how was electric power associations’ response to the massive outages? Electric power associations were getting lights back on and showing real progress early on. They were hard hit, with more than 500,000 meters losing service. As they restored power in the northern counties, electric power associations sent crews to help out in south Mississippi. More than 12,000 emergency work crew members were involved in the electric power associations’ restoration effort. The work force included crews from

electric cooperatives in 22 states. To some degree, there was some friendly competition among the electric power associations. Everybody wanted to be the first to get lights back on. We had estimated the power restoration would take six weeks, but by Sept. 20, three weeks after Katrina’s landfall, electric power associations had restored service to every meter capable of receiving it. They did it by joining work forces, resources and equipment under a disaster emergency response plan they have devoted years to developing and refining.

What were the biggest challenges facing electric power associations? To get the power back on in a crisis of this magnitude, you have to have people, communications and fuel, as I’ve said. You also need a strong team effort to pull it all together. Katrina destroyed or severely damaged the homes of hundreds of electric power association employees, and some of them lost loved ones in the storm. Yet most of these employees reported to work immediately after the winds died down. In many cases, employees’ spouses and children joined the employees in preparing meals and laundering clothes for crew members who were working 14to 16-hour days. Their motivation was to make sure the men were taken care of. One office worker said her team put a homemade dessert in at least one meal a day for the crews. Housing the large numbers of visiting crew members was a huge challenge, but electric power associations routinely plan for this type of situation. Coast Electric had a “tent city” erected near Gulfport for the crews. They ate and slept in air-conditioned 120-by60-foot tents and bathed in mobile shower trailers.

What could electric power associations have done better in the Katrina emergency power restoration? Overall, electric power associations did a great job getting lights back on—but they didn’t tell anybody, at least not at first. I think sometimes that electric power associations feel bad about self-promotion. The investor-owned utilities never feel bad about it; they will always tell you how good they are. When Gov. Haley Barbour overlooked electric power associations while praising other utilities in an interview after all the power was restored, we went to his office. We sat down and gave him the numbers and showed him our day-by-day progress. And Haley said, “I didn’t know this.” The only reason there was a hospital with electricity in south Mississippi was because of South Mississippi Electric Power Association.

Any final thoughts? We thought Camille was the worst we would ever see, but then Katrina came along. One day there will be a storm that surpasses Katrina. I hope I’m not around for that, but rest assured one is coming. That is why the electric power associations constantly work on their energy-restoration plans. We look at storms like Sandy, ice storms in the Midwest and tornadoes and try to learn, so that when we are hit again, we will be able to restore power to our members as quickly and safely as possible.


Today in Mississippi

Gov. Barbour details Katrina recovery, lessons learned in new book If Mississippians need more reason to feel pride in their state, it can be found in the pages of “America’s Great Storm: Leading Through Hurricane Katrina.” “I have come to believe that the response of the people of Mississippi to Katrina’s destruction did more to improve the image of our state than anything that has happened in my lifetime,” wrote Gov. Haley Barbour, who authored the book with Jere Nash. Set for release this month, the book is based on Barbour’s personal experiences as governor in the first 12 months after the hurricane’s landfall Aug. 29, 2005, on the Mississippi Coast. The authors also interviewed more than 45 key people involved in the unprecedented disaster recovery effort to present a variety of perspectives and experiences. Surveying the obliteration of a 70-mile stretch of coastal communities by helicopter the morning after the storm, Barbour identified three major recovery goals: schools for students, jobs for workers and housing for everyone. How Barbour and an army of government officials, state workers, politicians, corporations, law enforcement officers, health professionals, military members, volunteers, and countless other individuals and organizations worked together to meet these goals is the subject of the book. They were, in many cases, breaking new ground for recovery efforts in the wake of the worst natural disaster in America’s history. Barbour relates the big stories—the planning, funding and execution of the rebuilding effort— as well as stories of individual acts of courage and compassion. More than one million volunteers from other states eventually poured into south Mississippi to help in countless ways, and their impact will be remembered for generations. In the final chapter, “Lessons Learned,” Barbour reflects on the lessons learned (or confirmed) as a leader grappling with a megadisaster such as Hurricane Katrina. An epilogue offers statistical information and other details of public and private recovery programs. “America’s Great Storm” will be available this month from booksellers. Price is $25 for the 256page hardback book.





Today in Mississippi


August 2015

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August 2015


Today in Mississippi



This heat is a bear hat a hot summer! I asked Miz Jo if it was this hot when we were kids. She didn’t think so. But then again, I can recall riding my bike in downtown Greenville when I was a youngster and seeing the time/temperature sign on Commercial National Bank at the corner of Washington and Broadway registering 100 degrees. Then I’d ride on over to the levee as if it were nothing unusual. Nowadays I don’t particularly like to ride in the car when it’s 100 degrees outside, much less on a bicycle. But you know and I know that in no time at all it will cool down again. I just hope Mississippi the old folks aren’t right Seen when they say one extreme by Walt Grayson follows another. I would rather not have a winter this year that feels as cold as this summer has felt hot. Not only has it been unusually hot this year but the Mississippi River has been unusually high for summer. And the high river has caused something else out of the ordinary, a bunch of black bear sightings. Folks tell me the high water is running the bears out of their usual secluded stomping grounds and into populated places. I was in Rolling Fork photographing some of the carved black bears they have scattered around town for a story about Mississippi’s most famous bear when several people told me about close encounters with bears in their yards—and even right there in town. And that “most famous bear” is of course the teddy bear. I figure the weather was a lot cooler in November 1902 when Teddy Roosevelt came to Mississippi to hunt bears. The hunt happened about 10 or 12 miles south of Rolling Fork, just past Onward. The president had not been having much luck on his hunt. Someone bet their guide, Holt Collier of Greenville, that he couldn’t lasso a bear, which he promptly did. An aid ran and got Roosevelt, thinking this was a chance for his boss to shoot a bear. How could he miss? It was all tied up in a neat bundle waiting for him. Roosevelt, being the sportsman he was, refused to shoot a tethered bear. A Washington Post cartoonist’s sketch of the incident inspired a New York toy maker and his wife to start making and selling


Teddy’s Bears. So we have Teddy Roosevelt and Holt Collier to thank for the teddy bear. Back in 1902 there were plenty of bears in Mississippi. But as people crowded out their habitat bears grew very scarce. Conservation efforts are helping them make a comeback. I recall someone telling me there used to be no deer in the state until conservation measures were put into place that allowed them to revive. Who knows? Bears may become just as common as deer some day. They celebrate Delta bears and Roosevelt’s bear hunt every October in Rolling Fork with the Great Delta Bear Affair. One of the popular events of the weekend is having a giant bear carved from a huge tree trunk. The bears carved at past festivals are scattered all over town. Standing there in Rolling Fork the other day getting shots of some of those bears, I was sure hoping it cools off before festival time in October or they’ll have to find a place to have it indoors. Maybe that’s why the bears are showing up in town. It’s not the high water driving them out of the woods; they’re looking for some place that’s air conditioned! Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television, and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” Contact Grayson at

The bear in front of the Twin County Electric Power Association office in Rolling Fork is one of several carved bears around town celebrating the area's association with Teddy Roosevelt's 1902 bear hunt, which gave us the teddy bear. Photo: Walt Grayson



Today in Mississippi I August 2015

Let’s talk short trips

in Mississippi ack when I was teaching quarters of the famous Viking range and school and the kinfolks cooking school, The Alluvian Hotel and were driving away after Spa. Some still call it Cotton Row. visiting us on the Fourth Giordina’s and the Crystal Grill are of July, we stood waving restaurants worth driving hours to visit. from the front yard to the departing My over-the-shoulder reader said, “I car; their arms waved back in rhythm. thought you were writing about Someone had wispily repeated the old McCarty Pottery.” clichés: “summer is almost over” or I jumped. He had sneaked up behind “school will began before we know it.” me. I pointed to the door and answered, Yet we had three hot months left on “Don’t disturb a writer in deep the horizon. Back in the day it meant thought.” “school” to me, so my As I was saying, after leavdriver and I would jump ing Greenwood drive northin our camper and make west until you reach Merigold, one or two short trips. about an hour away, where the Mostly in Mississippi. McCartys’ famous pottery stuEarly in our retirement we dio, home and dazzling gartook to the road traveling dens are located. You won’t The tiny town of Merigold is home to McCarty Pottery, founded by Lee McCarty and his late wife, Pup. From their to faraway places in the know the home is really a barn barn-turned-studio has come a wide range of functional and decorative clay items for some 60 years. U.S. and occasionally a since sky-high bamboo surGrin ‘n’ Mississippi River. trip abroad. But we decidrounds the entire block. It Good plan if I can hatch it! By the early 80’s the pottery became ed several years ago to take appears mysterious from the Bare It Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My famous around the world. He produced advantage of what outside. by Kay Grafe Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, Mississippi has to offer. McCartys’ beautiful pottery a variety of sizes and styles, of dishes, address, phone number and $16.95, plus trays, bowls, platters, birds, vases and Naturally, living in the is shown in museums across $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm oodles more. Brides now frequently regsoutheastern part of the state we are the U.S., including the Smithsonian. It Road, Lucedale, MS 39452. ister at McCarty Pottery. familiar with the Gulf Coast’s beachis also internationally recognized. A As you can see I’m a fan. Mr. Roy es—where I toasted my skin beyond recent showing was held in Japan. Quality, affordable travel likes it too, so we purchased a couple of repair. We casually accepted the array of Lee McCarty’s story is truly a love since 1967! unusual creations. antebellum homes and assumed they story, which began when he accompaNow here’s my idea. We have would remain pristine. That was before nied Pup, his soon-to-be wife, to her planned a trip to Yazoo City to buy cathurricanes Camille and Katrina. pottery class at Ole Miss. After their fish, so I’m thinking, we might hit Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis’ home that marriage he taught chemistry and was built in 1889, has finally been physics while establishing their studio in McCartys’ first and then land our camper near the catfish ponds and on to restored. The seafood restaurants are a barn. A real barn! Their good friends Hawaii Four-Island Forest to visit Aunt Ruby Fountain. booming again, as well as the casinos. Albert and Margaret Smith said, “Just Agricultural Tour (Go to All amazing. use our barn.” 13 days from $1999* After our youngest daughter and Lee and Pup moved into the barn in Departs Wednesdays & Fridays in January. MISSISSIPPI’S Experience a true tropical paradise with husband moved to Tupelo, we have 1954 and built their apartment upstairs, perfect climate, stunning scenery and OUGHEST IDS FOUNDATION became familiar with attractions in that as they simultaneously equipped the exquisite beaches while visiting the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the “Big area, including the Tupelo Antique Car downstairs to make pottery. Help us build a very special camp facility designed Island” of Hawaii. Sightseeing includes exclusively for children and adults who want to have Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach on Museum, Buffalo Park and Civil War Lee was the true potter, from the first Oahu; enjoy an entertaining cruise on the fun but who are often limited because of the life sites. And nearby Corinth should not be time he touched Mississippi clay in Wailua River to romantic Fern Grotto and challenges they face everyday such as serious visit a Noni Fruit Plantation on Kauai; missed. Pup’s class. Pup managed the business, illnesses, disabilities, and special needs. DO YOU visit Lahaina, the old whaling capital and Natchez and Vicksburg are also two and Lee. She called their work “orgaMaui Gold Pineapple Plantation on Maui; KNOW SOMEONE WHO NEEDS THIS CAMP? and on the “Big Island,” a Macadamia of our favorite places. The Delta region nized confusion.” Early each morning Visit: nut factory, Orchid Nursery; Volcanoes National Park, Fish Farm, Mountain is fairly new on our list of cool places they put Lee’s unrefined pottery into Please support MTK by Thunder Coffee Plantation and more. purchasing our Specialty Tag! we enjoy visiting, but it too is rich in kilns before he left to teach. At that Per person-based on double occupancy. Plus $199 tax/service/government fees. Add-on airfare available. history, the arts, blues musicians and time they also made jewelry. Call toll-free for details! great restaurants. The McCarty trademark appearing One of our favorite towns is 1-877-859-9464 on each piece of pottery is a slash of Greenwood. Howard Street is headdark-brown color representing the Promo code CF09501





It’s hot. Now what? August 2015

ew will argue that outdoor activities during August in Mississippi can be disagreeable. They may not grind to a halt, but save water sports that provide an opportunity to cool off in the lake or river, viable choices are limited. All, however, is not lost. Some interesting and enjoyable pursuits are available, many of which are near home so that the participant can go inside and bask in the comforts of air conditioning as needed. These may be restricted to backyard outings, but they can be rewarding just the same. A touch of imagination and ingenuity can produce productive outside experiOutdoors ences. Today Watch the by Tony Kinton sunrise. This suggestion may not bode well for those who wish to sleep until 9 a.m., but early mornings are a glorious time. For one thing, the August heat is somewhat abated, making outside a bit more tolerable than it will be at noon. But the greatest reward is becoming partners with




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Today in Mississippi



a new day. Water droplets dripping from overhead leaves. Sparkling dew on freshly mown lawns. Foggy fingers of light reaching gingerly from treetops to ground. Whether walking about the surroundings or sitting quietly with a mug of hot coffee, the visuals such an outing afford enrich the spirit. Listen intently. There will be bird calls. Can you identify them through nothing more than their chatter? If not, spend some time learnA simple fire pit can create the magic needed to sooth ragged edges at day’s end. Photo: Tony Kinton ing to do so. More enrichment. and get comfortable. What you read is a and premier entertainment. That which will be discovered outside is far richer And look for them as well. The oriole matter of personal preference, but it may be flitting about an azalea bush. The stands to reason that since you are doing and more meaningful. Following are the instructions: cardinal may be proffering that crisp this at the beginning of a day, reading Start a fire. Oh, there may be situastaccato chirp from a nearby feeder. The material should focus on the positive. tions where this is not an option. If it is blue jay may be scolding and changing Logical selections may be of devotionpositions from the yard’s floor to some al content and/or could include discours- possible, however, build that fire. Though the heat it provides will not be overhanging limb. Doves will likely peres on the wonders of nature or experineeded, the magic of its flames is life givform that choppy waddle while in search ences others have had in the out-ofing. of seeds. doors. Also, write your own thoughts A big rock pit is ideal, but a simple Amazing and enchanting, all these. and observations. The day and mind are fire ring or similar device will do just Read and journal. And do these dur- fresh. Allow both to probe the depths fine. And this is the time when solitude ing early morning. Go to the porch or and flow onto paper with inspiration. A should be abandoned. onto the patio or even in a woods shade novel could be in the making! Stare into the fire and allow it to genAnd while on that subject of inspira28th Annual erate its particular and pedagogical mystion and probing the depths, attempt tique. This soothing ointment is a grand solitude minus distraction. Unless cell Sept. 25, 26 & 27, 2015 phones or electronic devices are essential, prescription for smoothing rough edges 9a.m til 5p.m. Richton, MS leave them inside. The day could be bet- that developed while living apart from its Admission $10.00 (Children under 4 Free) efficacious solace. Share your sentiments, ter as a result of breaking routine and your fears, your dreams with the one being quiet and reflective. Then there are the late afternoons and there with you. Allow the evening to age early evenings. These may be plagued by with no agenda, with no rush. As a result, subsequent sleep may be restorahigh temperatures, but there will likely tive; rest may be more peaceful. be some slack in discomfort as the sun Yes, August is hot. But nature contindrops below those same treetops that greeted that same sun hours earlier. And ues to strengthen, to enlighten, to enhance life. Plan accordingly and get you will have had the privilege of seeing • SOUTH’S FINEST FOOD • ANTIQUE BOOTHS • MULE PULL • ARTS & CRAFTS outside. The rewards are innumerable. and living and experiencing the process • ANTIQUE ENGINE SHOW • QUILT SHOW in its entirety. • LIVE BLUEGRASS MUSIC • STOCK DOG DEMOS Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors • CHARITY BAKE-OFF • LIVE CRAFT DEMOS It is now time for another outdoor • PURTIEST ROOSTER CONTEST • DRAFT HORSE DEMOS writer for 30 years. His newest book, • BANJO & FIDDLING CONTEST • VERA’S PECAN PIES activity that is far more valuable than “Rambling Through Pleasant Memories,” is watching and hearing nonsensical babble now available. Order from or too often touted as necessary information Kinton’s website: Website,

MS Pecan Festival


10 I Today in Mississippi I August 2015

Mike Smith, General Manager & CEO Lorri Freeman, Manager of Public Relations Amanda Parker, Public Relations Specialist For more information, call 601-947-4211/228-497-1313 x 2251 or visit our website at

CEO’s message

Mike Smith, General Manager and CEO

With the recent decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court requiring Mississippi Power Company to make a retail rate refund, some Singing River Electric members have asked if they will receive the same 18 percent refund. The answer is no, because Singing River Electric’s rates have not increased 18 percent due to the construction of Mississippi Power Company’s Kemper plant. Mississippi Power’s refund only applies to their retail customers. Singing River Electric purchases 100 percent of our wholesale power from South Mississippi Electric, our generation and transmission cooperative. South Mississippi Electric generates most of its electricity and purchases the

rest. Of the purchased power, only 28 percent comes from Mississippi Power Company. Costs to Singing River Electric members have been impacted by wholesale power cost increases from South Mississippi Electric due to the construction of the Mississippi Power’s Plant Ratcliffe in Kemper County. Wholesale power costs are different from retail power costs. First, wholesale power costs are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), not the Mississippi Public Service Commission. Second, FERC allows a portion of the construction cost for new power plants to be recovered prior to completion of the plant. Only a portion of the Kemper plant costs have been approved by FERC and recovered in South Mississippi Electric’s wholesale rate. Since 2011, Singing River Electric has seen about a five per-

cent increase in wholesale power costs that can be attributed to the Kemper plant. Increases in wholesale power costs can be lessened when a variety of wholesale power resources are utilized. South Mississippi Electric works hard to keep costs low by generating or purchasing a blend of resources including natural gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric power to generate electricity. The blended cost savings are then divided by the 11 member electric distribution cooperatives and the number of members served by each of these co-ops. In the end, I know you are more interested in how all of this affects you, so let’s look at residential rates for Singing River Electric members over the past four years. From 2011-2015, costs for 1,000 kilowatt-hours have increased by 5.98 percent, to a current cost of $120.29. Of this 5.98 percent increase, about five percent can be attributed to costs recovered for the Kemper plant. Singing River Electric’s board of directors and management continue to work closely with South Mississippi Electric as decisions are made to ensure we continue to provide you with quality, reliable electric service at the most economical cost possible.

SRE rates not impacted by MPCO 18 percent retail rate increase

Servicing your AC

Jeff Gray Member Services Representative

The heat seems like it has been more extreme this summer than in past years. As you know, extreme heat causes our air conditioners to work overtime. Since the A/C is the largest contributor to your electricity bill, you should make sure the unit is operating at 100% efficiency. Several things can be done to accomplish this. • If your unit has not been serviced in the last few years, it is time to have it done. Cleaning the coils and checking the freon level will assure the unit is operating efficiently. If the freon level is one half to one pound low, your unit could operate about 30% more or longer to do the same job. This causes your power bill to increase. • Be sure to change your filter each month because a dirty filter will cause the unit to work harder and longer to move enough air through to cool your home. Also, if the dirty filter collapses, unfiltered air can clog up your evaporator coil. • The outside unit is called the condensing unit. I have seen small tin or wood awning-type structures built over these. It is not a good idea to cover these. The condensing unit needs to be in the open air so that air flow is not obstructed.

August 2015 I Today in Mississippi I 10a

Annual Meeting attendees learn this and other co-op news

Solar demonstration project slated to be built in late 2015

Clockwise from top left: · SRE employees Betty Carter and James Baker register a member at the meeting. · Credentials and Election Committee member Obie Wells Sr. is available to assist with elections. · SRE employee Jeff Gray explains the benefits of efficient lighting. · A local cub scout pack leads the Pledge of Allegiance. · Two young SRE members pose for a bucket selfie photo. · SRE members display their attendance prizes.

Singing River Electric held its Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, June 25, at the headquarters office in Lucedale. General manager and CEO Mike Smith greeted attendees and discussed the cooperative’s 2014 accomplishments as well as goals for 2015 and beyond. This past year’s accomplishments included: • Retiring more than $5 million in capital credits to the membership. • Offering a SmartHub mobile app to pay bills, check use and review billing history. • Completing the 2015-2018 Construction Work Plan to ensure quality, reliable electric service. • Participating in commercial and residential energy audit pilots to find better ways to help members conserve and save.

“At last year’s annual meeting, I announced a new service, the SmartHub mobile app. Since that time, more than 2,000 SRE members are using the application to pay their bills and monitor their electricity use,” said Singing River Electric general manager and CEO Mike Smith. He further commented on new services just released for the app. “Members may now report a power outage directly into our outage management system and view a live outage map of the service area all from the SmartHub app.” One aspect of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is for utilities to incorporate renewable energy sources into their generation portfolio. Smith discussed how South Mississippi Electric, Singing River Electric’s generation and transmission cooperative, recently announced plans to

build five 100-kilowatt solar demonstration projects at locations throughout Mississippi including George County. “These projects will be used by local schools to learn more about solar power.” The meeting ended with a report from independent auditors about the financial good standing of the cooperative, a question and answer session and the election of this year’s slate of board of directors including: Cary Williams of Greene County, Travis Baxter of George County and Edward Thornton of Jackson County.

Above, SRE CEO Mike Smith presents the $500 proxy/online vote grand prize to Jennifer Williams, wife of Anderson Williams Jr. of Ocean Springs. Proxy/online prizes were awarded to select Singing River Electric members who returned their completed proxy by mail or voted online. 2015 Annual Meeting proxy prize winners: Anderson Williams Jr. of Ocean Springs ($500) Don Rigney of Wayne Co., Miss. ($250) Katherine Shaver of Vancleave ($250) Arthur Burba of Leasksville ($250) Shakeitha Middleton of Pascagoula ($250) James Dorsett of Gautier ($250) Chad Andersh of Lucedale ($250) Annu a

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Download your copy of the annual report at



10b  Today in Mississippi  August 2015


The Ties that Bind a C

With Singing River Electric’s Help, Comm

By Steven Johnson, RE Magazine GAUTIER, Miss.—Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) is doing well. Enrollment is on the rise, instructional and workforce training programs are expanding, and the school ranks among the top 100 community colleges in the country in granting associate degrees. But it could have been otherwise, and the college credits the help of an electric cooperative for its survival. It is part of a relationship between the college and Singing River Electric Power Association that is so strong officials have trouble putting it into words. “When you have an entry badge to their facility or when you have employees stationed in their facility, ‘partnership’ doesn’t describe that,” said Jason Pugh, vice president for Teaching and

Learning/Students Services and Community Campus. “I’ve used the term ‘symbiotic’ to describe it in the past, so maybe that’s a term we’ll use in the future.” Lucedale-based Singing River Electric and MGCCC previously teamed up to expand the school’s George County Center campus and develop an apprentice lineman training school. “The college was instrumental in helping us find a way to replace linemen who were reaching retirement age,” said Mike Smith, CEO and general manager of the co-op. The bond became a lifeline after

Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. As more than 1,000 workers put in 18-hour days to restore Singing River Electric’s system, the college was facing its own crisis. Katrina hit two weeks into the fall semester, forcing the largest community college in Mississippi to suspend operations. MGCCC, which has 10 locations across the Gulf Coast, sustained $15 million in losses. Seventy-five percent of the buildings were damaged at its Jackson County campus, a few blocks west of Singing River Electric’s coastal office in Gautier.

SRE crews worked 18-hour days to restore Hurricane Katrina made SRE crews cleared debris Service restored to Ocean power. Power restored to 22 percent of landfall along and assessed damage. Springs Hospital members. Mississippi Gulf Coast. at 11:45 p.m.

Personnel jumped to 1,000 from 193. Transmission service restored to 27 of 37 substations.

Most troubling, nearly 3,000 of the college’s 10,500 students were gone. Whether they suffered personal or family adversity, moved elsewhere, or dropped out of school, their absence cut deeply into the college’s finances. “We were seeing $4 million lost instantly in tuition when we lost a quarter of our student population,” said Michael Heindl, vice president of administration and finance. The college reopened in about 10 days, which restored an important sense of normalcy to students, staff, and faculty members. But it was wounded. The college board of trustees had already tapped an emergency fund for $4.7 million. “We as an institution made a decision long ago to be able to operate for a short period of time with the funds that we had in our bank account,” Heindl said. “But we saw that going away very quickly. We needed to continue to operate, to continue to pay our employees, to continue to serve this community and the four counties that we serve.” Singing River Electric filled the void. The co-op has been an active user of the

U.S. D Econo Grant under electr Th the R into a discus Willis sustai the bu is the a resu other Aft about six or presen loan f 10 in positi the fi to off retired Pu less p sourc more

Peace River and Escambia Power restored to more River Electric assisted than half of all members. with restoration. SRE Transmission service crews helped them after restored to 36 of 37 Hurricane Ivan. substations.

Katrina Timeline August 29, 2005

August 30, 2005

August 31, 2005

September 1, 2005

September 2, 2005

September 3, 2005

September 4, 2005

August 2015  Today in Mississippi  10c

Katrina by the numbers:

Co-op and a College

munity College Got Past Katrina

Department of Agriculture’s Rural omic Development Loan and t (REDLG) program, which co-ops rwrite with prepayment of their ric loans. he co-op already had a project in REDLG pipeline but converted that a different initiative following a ssion with then-college President s H. Lott. “We knew they had ined a lot of structural damage to uildings, but what we soon learned ey had lost a lot of their students as ult of being displaced or relocated to areas,” Smith recalled. ter a fast-tracked review process— t two months instead of the usual r eight—Singing River Electric nted the college with a zero-interest for $810,000. The money preserved nstructional positions and 10 staff ions. “Singing River Electric was rst community partner to step up fer assistance,” said Lott, who d in 2011. ugh says the REDLG loan involved paperwork than other monetary ces would have required and was timely because Singing River

Electric was local. In addition, the loan came with a 12-month deferment period, giving the college more time to get its finances organized. “Working with people you know locally in the same county, you can expedite things and you can get the revenue to help you get back on your feet,” he said. The loan led to accomplishments beyond the expenditure of $810,000. Studies show investments in Mississippi community colleges return $3.86 for every $1, so the efforts of Singing River Electric and the college’s partners had a multiplier effect, Pugh said. Ingalls Shipbuilding, headquartered in Pascagoula, is the state’s largest employer at nearly 11,000 jobs. Katrina put its facilities under salt water, corroding sensitive equipment that had to be retested before returning to service. That work was performed at MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus. “The money from Singing River and the other money we got enabled us to keep our employees and keep the institution open,” Pugh said. “Because we had the doors open and we were

77 percent of SRE members had power, and transmission service was fully restored. Delaware Electric crew traveled 1,250 miles to help.

Cranes lift 50-foot concrete poles along Graveline Bay in Ocean Springs. By lifting the pole sections, power was restored much quicker than resetting poles individually.

86 percent of SRE members had power. 14 states assisted SRE restorations with co-op, contract or right-of-way.

September 5, 2005

September 6, 2005

September 7, 2005

operational, Ingalls was a step ahead of the game getting back into production. I don’t know how you put a dollar figure on it.” Heindl says the college is in a good position now. Between full-time students, adult education programs, and workforce trainees, it touches some 30,000 Gulf residents. It is implementing a robust strategic plan and has new contingency strategies to deal with natural disasters. “When one of us rises, we all rise together,” he said. “This was an experience that we all went through together. We all helped each other through and came out very well on the other side.”

 Singing River Electric serves electric service to residents of seven counties in Mississippi (Jackson, George, Greene, Perry, Wayne, Harrison and Stone) and two in Alabama (Mobile and Washington). The electric co-op serves 97 percent of the land mass in the Mississippi counties and mostly rural areas.  100 percent of SRE members were without power following Hurricane Katrina.  SRE crews replaced 1,650 broken or damaged power poles and 4,400 damaged meters and transformers.  In addition, 660,000 feet of power line was replaced to restore electric service to our members.  SRE crews worked 18-hour or more days for two weeks following the storm.  By Sunday, September 4, just six days after Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, power had been restored to over 50 percent of members.  The cooperative received 40,000 calls into the call center in September 2005.  SRE employees and volunteers prepared more than 3,000 meals a day for the nearly two week period following the storm.  More than 8,700 cases of water, sports drinks and soda were used to keep crews hydrated through the recovery period.  Singing River Electric and visiting crews used 109,000 gallons of fuel in September 2005.

Power was restored to 94 percent of members SRE crews completed jobs Power restored to ALL MGCCC’s Jackson County had power. Restoration and moved to assist in members who could campus. Over 3,000 slowed as crews other heavily damaged safely receive power. SRE meals were being concentrated on severely areas, allowing for a crews continued to make damaged areas and prepared for SRE more concentrated permanent repairs along employees and visiting remote camps along effort. Power restored with their regular work crews each day. river. to 96 percent of SRE through May 2006. members.

September 8, 2005

September 9, 2005

September 10, 2005

September 11, 2005

10d I Today in Mississippi I August 2015

Hurricane Prep What To Do During The Storm Safety is the utmost concern before, during and after a storm. Here are some tips when it comes to generator safety. Generator Safety Tips: • Connect appliances directly to the generator. Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. (This can energize power lines and endanger the lives of SRE linemen as well as visiting crews.) • Ensure the generator you choose has ample capacity for the load. • Consult a licensed electrician to help with installation. • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before use • Be careful to use generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas.

Report a power outage WITH THE TOUCH OF A SCREEN Step One: Download SmartHub app.

Step Two:

Step Three:

Step Four:

Step Five:

Select “Report an Outage” icon

Select “Report an Outage.”

Type in comments and Select “Submit.”

Recheck app later to verify power has been restored.

Also view a live outage map.

Youth Tour

August 2015 I Today in Mississippi I 11


Local youth participate in Electric Cooperative Youth Tour Singing River Electric sponsored three delegates this year on the Washington, D.C., Youth Tour. Emily Barnes, Brice Fortinberry and Rachel Pugh joined 55 other Mississippi students—and more than 1,700 students representing electric cooperatives from 44 states across the nation—to further develop their leadership skills as well as to learn about the nation’s

history and the role of government. Emily is the daughter of Ron and Angel Barnes of Ocean Springs. She will be a senior at St. Martin High School. Brice, who will be a senior at Greene County High School, is the son of Damon and Leanne Fortinberry of Leakesville. Rachel is the daughter of Jason and Deanna Pugh of Moss Point and will be a senior at East Central High School During the week of June 13-19, the group visited all of the major monuments and memorials, including the Jefferson, FDR, Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Air Force, World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam Veterans memorials. In addition to witnessing our country's history first-hand at Mount Vernon, Ford’s Theater and the White House Visitor’s Center, the students also spent a day touring the Smithsonian museums. One of the highlights of Youth Tour was the popular Marine Corps Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial. Also in the spirit of honoring our nation’s visited and Emily ce ri B l, military, the students visited d e n Rach ve) a House (abo e it h W e l th Arlington National Cemetery, where n Memoria the Jefferso ng many they witnessed the changing of the o (below) am gton, D. C., in guard at the Tomb of the Unknown other Wash sites. Soldier. “This is a once in a lifetime experience,” said Emily. “The friends I made here will last a lifetime.” The students also spent a day on Capitol Hill and, thanks to the generosity of Congressman Gregg Harper, they were given a private tour of the United States Capitol building, where the congressman invited them onto the U.S. House floor and allowed them the privilege to view the Washington Mall from the Speaker’s Balcony. After the tour, students visited with Senator Roger Wicker in the Russell Building rotunda. “Youth Tour has been one of the most amazing

2015 Youth Tour Students

Rachel Pugh, Brice Fortinberry and Emily Barnes

The students had a chance to meet their opportunities of my Congressman, Steven Palazzo. life,” said Brice. The week ended with a visit to Nationals Park where the students saw the Washington Nationals play the Tampa Bay Rays. “Youth Tour impacted my life tremendously,” said Rachel. “I cannot express my gratitude enough to Singing River Electric and to everyone who made this experience possible.” The Youth Tour is part of an extensive Youth Leadership Program supported by Singing River Electric. “We are proud to be able to offer this opportunity to deserving students in our service area,” said Mike Smith, SRE general manager and CEO. “It is important for our future leaders, including these three impressive young people, to see how our country has been shaped through history, as well as how hard our current leaders work on behalf of Mississippi.” Singing River Electric will be considering next year’s Youth Leadership participants this fall. Be sure to contact your school’s guidance counselor for more information on the 2016 Youth Leadership Program.

Emily Barnes and Rachel Pugh visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.



Today in Mississippi I August 2015

Fifty-eight of Mississippi’s finest high school juniors spent part of their summer vacation exploring the nation’s capital and making new friends, courtesy of their electric power association

As participants in the 29th annual Mississippi Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, the students visited many of Washington’s most significant historic and cultural sites, including the Smithsonian Institution, Arlington National Cemetery and the Washington National Cathedral. They also took part in special events with more than 1,700 students from 44 states. A highlight of the weeklong tour was a visit to the U.S. Capitol, where Rep. Gregg Harper took the Mississippi students to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives before the Congressmen convened. Harper also personally took the students onto the Speaker’s Balcony that overlooks the Washington Mall. Each student had the opportunity to visit the office of his or her Congressman. For some of the students, the tour was their first trip to the nation’s capital. “Friendships and memories were made throughout Youth Tour,” said participant Madelynn Lynch, of Corinth. “This is an inforgettable opportunity that everyone should experience.” Madelynn was selected during the Youth Leadership Workshop in March to represent Mississippi on the national Youth Leadership Council. The workshop and Youth Tour are components of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi Youth Leadership Program.

Participants are chosen through a competitive process sponsored by their electric power association. The goals of the program are to motivate students to assume leadership roles and to help them obtain the skills they will need to become effective, respected leaders in the future.

“As adult leaders, we have a responsibility to support and provide our youth with encouragement and resources they can use in making good decisions as they continue on life’s journey.” Ron Stewart, senior vice president of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi “Throughout this leadership program, electric power association leaders, elected officials and successful business people remind the students nothing is accomplished without setting goals and working hard to achieve them,” Stewart said. 2015 Mississippi Youth Tour delegates and their sponsoring electric power associations are Alcorn County EPA: Madelynn Lynch, Matthew Turner; Central EPA: Emerson Billy, Ali Pike, Carly Pippin; Coast EPA: Tommy Duong, Erin Geist, Beth Shiyou; Coast

EPA and South Mississippi EPA: Savanah Rupkey; Dixie EPA: Alicia Brown, Chance Sumrall; East Mississippi EPA: Alec Marlow, Zoria Nicholson, Keira Phillips; 4-County EPA: Philip Evans, Macy Walters, Grant Wolfe; Magnolia EPA: Alexcia Carr, Brooke Myers, Brooke Wells; Natchez Trace EPA: Liz Boyer, Walker Winter; North East Mississippi EPA: Lindsey Lott, Tate Russell, Savannah Shirley; Northcentral EPA: Hailey Corbett, Bailey Easley, Josh Gramm, Alyssa Grant, Stuart Gunner, Sarah Henthorn, Annette McGee, Holly McGinnis, Tyneria Moore, Kaycee Robbins, Loren Williams; Pearl River Valley EPA: Bethany Lawson, Luke Logan; Singing River EPA: Emily Barnes, Brice Fortinberry, Rachel Pugh; Southern Pine EPA: Zavan Brown, Brooklyn Mooney, Marly Perkins; Southwest Mississippi EPA: Marcus Durrell Jr., Katherine Shell; Tallahatchie Valley EPA: Bryce Griffin, Taylor Norwood, Dalton Robison; Tombigbee EPA: Tucker Carter, Beth Ezell, Melea Mansel, Lane Scribner, Dakota Taylor; Twin County EPA: Caleigh Haynes, Baljot Singh; Yazoo Valley EPA: Curtis Hill, Jeremy (J.J.) White. “It’s rewarding to be a part of a program focused on the development of young people. This year we had a fine group of young men and women whom we will look to for our future leaders,” Stewart said. “We challenge them to return to their schools and communities and begin making a difference in the lives of others.”

August 2015


Today in Mississippi



Old-fashioned liriope still a garden staple

ne of the most frequent calls I get in the summer concerns lawns and groundcovers under trees, where sunlight is limited. Most callers want grass in these areas and realize the limitations presented by the shade. My go-to answer is an unwavering: “Why not plant liriope?” Liriope is a versatile groundcover that is very effective under large trees with reduced light, or mass-planted on slopes. It also creates soft borders and edging for paved areas and foundations. Some callers respond to my suggestion by saying, “Liriope is an old-fashioned plant that my grandmother had in her garden.” And that’s true. Liriope is an old landscape standard groundcover. That’s partly because liriope is reliable, especially in the shade. As


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long as the soil is well drained, liriope thrives in heat and drought. This is a great attribute for our Mississippi landscapes. Liriope foliage is narrow and grass-like, and the plant is known by a couple of more comSouthern mon names, such Gardening as monkey grass or even lily turf. by Dr. Gary Bachman It produces flower spikes starting in July, and the flowering period can extend to the end of August. Individual flowers are very small and arranged in whorls. I believe liriope is as showy as any other flowering plant when it’s in flower. Flowering is more intense in full sun, and flower colors are purple, lavender or white, depending on variety. Dark purple-black, round fruit follow the flowers.

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Clumping liriope is a wellbehaved variety that stays where you plant it. As the name suggests, each plant will grow larger in diameter, not from underground stems, but by forming suckers from the crown of the plant. It displays lavender flower spikes uniformly throughout the plant clump. Because it is not aggressive, you need to use more plants for area coverage. A commonly available variety called New Blue is possibly the all-around best for landscape use. The clumps feature arching, glossy leaves. In late summer, its flower spikes feature whorls of dense, lavender flowers that I believe resemble the spring-blooming grape hyacinth. Big Blue will grow to about 1 foot tall, and, when mass planted, it creates an elegant green carpet. Another good landscape choice for areas that need a larger presence is Evergreen Giant liriope. This selection has the same impact as Big Blue, just in a larger version. Evergreen Giant reaches a height of 24 inches. If you like variegated selections, consider the variety Marc Anthony. This variegated selection is 16 inches tall and has three foliage colors. The leaves start out as a unique golden yellow and green and mature with white and green variegation.

The Evergreen Giant liriope is a good landscape choice for shady areas that need a large presence. New Blue liriope has beautiful flowers, and, at 1 foot tall, it can be mass planted to create an elegant green carpet. Photos: MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman

Space liriope about 12 to 18 inches apart in the landscape, depending on the variety selected. The plants readily fill in spaces. When the area becomes overgrown, simply dig and divide every three or four years. Unlike other perennial plants, division is not required for plant health, but it is an easy way to make more plants. The only maintenance these plants need is for gardeners to cut them back before growth starts in the spring. Clearing away old foliage allows the new growth to develop unimpeded and reduces the occurrence of anthracnose. Use a string trimmer or your lawn mower, but be careful not to injure the crown of the plant. Dr. Gary Bachman is an associate Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs.



Today in Mississippi


August 2015

Crunchy Chicken Fingers mississippi


‘Winning Bearcat Recipes’ FEATURED COOKBOOK

Knock one out of the ballpark for your sports fans with these recipes from the Forest High School baseball team, faculty and staff. They collected 200 recipes to create “Winning Bearcat Recipes,” an 86-page cookbook featuring color photos of the Bearcat baseball players. Proceeds from sales of the cookbooks are used to purchase new equipment and supplies for the team, and maintaining facilities. Cookbooks can be ordered by calling 601-6635180 or by sending $15 to FHS Baseball, P.O. Box 74, Sebastopol, MS 39359.

Squash Appetizer 3 cups thinly sliced yellow squash 1 cup Bisquick ½ cup very thinly sliced onion ½ cup Parmesan cheese ½ cup oil 4 eggs, well beaten

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped fine ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. seasoned salt ½ tsp. oregano Dash pepper 1 clove garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients, stirring well. Pour into 9-by-13-inch pan and bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Cut into squares to serve.

Crusty Potato Wedges 1 lb. red potatoes (about 8 potatoes) 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 1 ½ tsp. paprika

¾ tsp. ground cumin ½ tsp. garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Cut potatoes into wedges. Combine mustard, paprika, cumin and garlic salt in a large bowl; mix well. Add potatoes to bowl; toss until well coated with mustard mixture. Spread potato wedges in a single layer in prepared baking dish, leaving a little space between wedges. Bake for 10 minutes and turn. Bake 10 minutes longer, or until tender and crusty.

12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 Tbsp. honey 1 tsp. yellow mustard

1 cup packaged cornflake crumbs, or 2 cups cornflakes, finely crushed ¼ tsp. salt Dash ground black pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut chicken into ¾-inch strips. In a shallow dish, combine egg, honey and mustard. In another shallow dish, stir together cornflake crumbs, salt and pepper. Dip chicken strips into the egg mixture; roll them in crumb mixture to coat evenly. Arrange chicken strips on a baking sheet. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with ketchup, if desired.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Bell Peppers 4 large green bell peppers 2 Tbsp. butter 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 small sweet onion, sliced 6 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1 Tbsp. minced garlic Salt and pepper to taste 1 lb. thinly sliced roast beef 8 slices provolone cheese

Slice peppers in half lengthwise; remove ribs and seeds. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat; add sliced onion, mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until onion and mushrooms are soft. Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion/mushroom mixture. Cook until juices start to flow or about 5 minutes. Line the inside of each bell pepper with a slice of provolone cheese. Fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing. Top each pepper with another slice of cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese on top is golden brown.

Bearcat Dip 1 lb. baby portabella mushrooms, chopped 1 bunch green onions, chopped ½ stick unsalted butter 2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened 12 oz. sour cream 1 (8-oz.) pkg. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

1 can black olives, drained and coarsely chopped 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped 2 tsp. Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning 1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Sauté mushrooms and green onions in butter over medium heat. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and grated Cheddar in a bowl; stir in sautéed mixture. Add black olives, water chestnuts and seasoning mix. Pour into baking dish or slow cooker and heat until bubbly. Top with crumbled bacon. Use sliced French bread or chips or choice for dipping.

Tomato-Cheese Spread 1 (10-oz.) can Rotel tomatoes 1 cup mayonnaise 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce ½ tsp. garlic salt 2 (8-oz.) blocks sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

¾ cup chopped pecans 1 (4-oz.) jar chopped pimento, drained 1⁄3 cup chopped green onions

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt. Stir in cheese, pecans, pimento and green onions. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Slow Cooker Pizza Dip 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened 1 tsp. Italian seasoning 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 (8-oz.) jar pizza sauce ¼ cup pepperoni slices, cut up

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour.

August 2015


Today in Mississippi



Heritage cattle Your family history might include your livestock’s lineage

By Nancy Jo Maples While many genealogy hobbyists can trace their family roots, few know the heritage of their farm animals. However, Billy Frank Brown does. He and his family raise Pineywoods cattle in Pearl River County, a practice that dates back at least 10 generations. Sometimes these animals Billy Frank Brown are called “Rakestraws” because they use their large horns to push through pine needles while searching for food. “They’ll eat brush just like a billy goat,” Brown said. Cleaning underbrush is the trait for which they are best known. These cattle originally came from Spain and adapted to the scruffy terrain of the Mississippi Gulf Coast when the Spanish explorers settled there in the 1500s. They are a hardy breed that can withstand Southern summers and prefer to feed on brush, tree leaves and twigs. They also produce lean meat and rich milk, although they are not considered a dairy animal. Some people own the cows for fun or

to help keep their woodland clean. The Brown farm, called Cowpen Creek, raises them commercially in the oldest homestead in this area of south Mississippi. Brown lives on the property that Carlos Ladner acquired from the United States public lands as a homestead in 1811. Brown’s son, Jess, now owns the farm and continues the family legacy. This property is known by some locals as the Sebron Ladner Place. Sebron Ladner was Brown’s grandfather, who used oxen to harvest longleaf pine timber for the Hines Lumber Company and raised cattle on the open range. When he died in 1956, he had 1,000 head of Pineywoods cattle, 4,000 Gulf Coast Native sheep and 40 horses. The property sits 10 miles southeast of Poplarville in the Silver Run community. The farm was later named Cowpen Creek Farm because it had long served as a watering site for cattle being driven through Mississippi to the markets in nearby New Orleans. Pineywoods cattle is a rare breed and can be registered. Brown has about 350 head of them. They come in a variety of colors including Blue Roan, Pearl River Red and Griffen Yellow. Females weigh between 500 and 800 pounds. Bulls weigh 1,100 to 1,200 pounds. Brown can trace both his family

genealogy and the heritage of his herd to 1726, when Nicholas Christian Ladner married Marie Anne Paquet, a Native American living on the Gulf Coast. They lived on Cat Island in the Gulf of Pineywoods cattle were brought to the Gulf Coast Mexico before petitioning the King of in the 1500s by Spanish settlers. Spain in 1788 for access to vacant areas Brown maintains that Pineywoods of the mainland in order to run cattle cattle and Gulf Coast Native sheep comand sheep in what is present-day Pass plement timber farming by providing a Christian and Long Beach. Pass setting for a silvo-pasture system producChristian was named for Nicholas ing both meat and timber. Christian Ladner. Cowpen Creek Farm not only raises distinct herds of woods cattle, but also has horses and sheep. The farm has 200 sheep and 15 horses. The lineage of the farm’s Pine Gulf Coast Native sheep is a hardy breed that has adapted well to the high heat and Tacky horses humidity of Mississippi summers. can be traced to For more information about these the Choctaw Trail of Tears through animals, see the farm’s website, DNA. Its sheep are called Gulf Coast, or call 601Native sheep and produce fine wool. 795-4692. Because there is currently no market for wool, the sheep are sheared every Writer Nancy Jo Maples can be reached two years for cooling and grooming at 188 Ernest Pipkins Road, Lucedale, MS purposes. 39452 or




Today in Mississippi I August 2015


Type or print your ad clearly. Be sure to include your telephone number. Deadline is the 10th of each month for the next month’s issue. Rate is $2.50 per word, 10-word minimum. Mail payment with your ad to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Have any questions? Phone 601-605-8600 or email

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What to do during an electrical storm Lightning can enter your home through a direct strike, through wires or pipes, and through the ground. During a thunderstorm, don’t touch electrical equipment or cords, such as a corded phone, computer, stove, TV or microwave. Postpone your bath or shower to avoid contact with plumbing. And stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.

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Today in Mississippi

30’x 4 0’x 10 ’ R All Ste ed Iron el Buil ding K (2) 8’x it 8 (1) 3’x ’ Rollup 7’ Walk $6,77 * Kit On 5 ly

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Today in Mississippi


August 2015


Want more than 400,000 readers to know about your special event? Submit it at least two months prior to the event date. Submissions must include a phone number with area code for publication. Mail to Mississippi Events, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300; fax to 601-605-8601; or email to Events open to the public will be published free of charge as space allows. Please note that events are subject to change; we recommend calling to confirm details before traveling.

17th Annual City-wide Pep Rally, Aug. 8, Vicksburg. Begins 9:30 a.m. Free. Outlets at Vicksburg. Details: 601-636-7434. Shape-note Singing School, Aug. 12, Florence. Learn to sing folk hymns in four-part harmony from Sacred Harp hymnals; second Wednesday monthly from 6-8 p.m. Free. Details: 601-953-1094. Sounds of Summer Music Festival, Aug. 15, Byhalia. Live music, arts, crafts, wellness area, Kids’ Zone, corn-hole tournament, more. Admission. Byhalia Walking Park. Details: 662838-8127. Sixth Annual Covington County Genealogy Fair, Aug. 15, Collins. Explore Covington County family lineage; 9 a.m. noon. Free. Collins Civic Center. Details: 601-

947-4610, 601-797-3233. Bluegrass, Country and Gospel Singing, Aug. 15, Black Hawk. Featuring Mack Allen Smith & The Flames and Good Times Express; 6 p.m. Black Hawk Old School. Details: 662-4530072; Lower Delta Talks: “The Literature of Delta Food and Cooking,” Aug. 18, Rolling Fork. Jesse Yancy, presenter; 6:30 p.m. Free. Sharkey-Issaquena Library. Details: 662-8734076. Praise Fest, Aug. 21, Greenville. Featuring gospel recording artist Pastor Shirley Caesar in concert; 7 p.m. Admission. Washington County Convention Center. Details: 662-820-5885; Third Annual Old School Arts Festival, Aug.

21-22, Carthage. Art show, artists’ booths, 5K run, live music, Kids’ Zone, more; free admission. “Johnny Cash Returns” tribute concert; 79 p.m Aug. 22; admission. Carthage Old Elementary School. Details: 601-267-6764;; Mississippi Book Festival, Aug. 22, Jackson. Featuring 75 authors, including Greg Iles. Author signings, panel discussions, exhibitor booths, music, food, children’s stage, more. Free. State Capitol grounds. Details: 42nd Annual Gospel Singing Jubilee, Aug. 22, Magee. Featuring Inspirations Quartet, Tim Frith & Gospel Echoes, Revelations Quartet, Carolyn Norris; 6:30 p.m. Admission. Magee High School Auditorium. Details: 601-9060677, 601-825-3937. Mississippi State Sacred Harp Convention, Aug. 22-23, Sebastopol. An old-fashioned shape-note singing and dinner on the grounds; 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Antioch Primitive Baptist Church. Details: 601-953-1094; Ninth Annual State Qualifying Golf Scramble, Aug. 31, Olive Branch. Four-man scramble to help send local athletes, coaches to Fellow Christian Athletes Camp; 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Cherokee Valley Golf Course. Details: B&S Consignment, Sept. 1-3, Brookhaven. Consignment sales for children and adults. Lincoln Civic Center. Details: 601-303-1466; Mountain Faith in Concert, Sept. 11, Petal. Love offering; 7 p.m. First Baptist Church Runnelstown. Details: 601-583-3733, 601-3254047. Greater Jackson Quilt Celebration: “Stitches in Bloom,” Sept. 11-13, Ridgeland. Judged quilt show hosted by five guilds, silent auction, educational programs; admission. Mississippi Craft Center. Details: Share With MSers Fund Raiser, Sept. 12, D’Iberville. Mississippi Gulf Coast Multiple Sclerosis Society event with music, door prizes, silent auction; 5-8 p.m. Admission. D’Iberville Civic Center Automall Parkway. Details: 228374-7403, 228-392-4179.

Coming up: Fourth Annual Greenfield Cemetery Candlelight Tour, Oct. 2-3, Glen Allan. Storytellers in period dress portray selected persons at their gravesites; 7-9 nightly. Advanced tickets required and go on sale Aug. 1. Details: 662-822-6868; greenfieldcemeterycandlelighttour.

Picture This: A Walk in the Woods What do you see when you walk in the woods? A colorful toadstool? A scenic creek? Share your discoveries with readers of Today in Mississippi! Submissions must be emailed or postmarked by Sept. 14, 2015. Selected photos will appear in the October 2015 issue

of Today in Mississippi. “Picture This” is a reader photo feature appearing in the January, April, July and October issues of Today in Mississippi. We publish a few of the photos that best illustrate the given theme from among those submitted.

Photographers whose photos are selected for publication are eligible for a $200 cash prize, to be awarded in a random drawing in December.

Submission requirements • Submit as many photos as you like, but select only your best work.

• Photos must relate to the given theme. • Photos must be the original work of an amateur photographer (of any age). • Photos eligible for publication may be either color or black and white, print or digital, but must be in sharp focus. • Digital photos should be high-resolution JPG files, with no date on the image. • Photos must be accompanied by identifying information: photographer’s name, address, phone and electric power association (if applicable). Include the name(s) of any recognizable people or places in the picture.

How to submit photos Prints and digital photos are acceptable. Mail prints to Picture This, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Attach digital photos to your email message and send to Please attach all photos to only one email message, if possible. Or, mail a photo CD to Picture This, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 391583300. Question? Call Debbie Stringer, editor, at 601-6058610 or e-mail

August 2015





1" x 25 FT. TAPE MEASURE LOT 69080 shown 69030/69031



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battery pack.

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9999 $129.99












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LOT 62744 69387/62270 4 shown 6878 1/ 6259

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LOT 38391 62306/62376 60657 shown

• Weighs 245 lbs.




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X-LARGE LOT 61359 68498 shown



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LOT 32879/60603 shown







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LOT 95659 shown 61634/61952 • 580 lb. Capacity

REG. PRICE 99 $9999 $279.99



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LOT 6251 69456 shown




$5857 $5 $




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LOT 47872 69006/60715 60714

LOT 47873 shown 69005/61262





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9999 $179.99


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SAVE $80 $


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SAVE $45

900 PEAK/ 700 RUNNING WATTS 2 HP (63 CC) 2 CYCLE GAS RECREATIONAL GENERATOR LOT 66619/60338 62472/69381 shown

LOT 61611 46092 shown

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$36999 $4999 $ 38999




SAVE 50%





Batteries included.


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SAVE 58%


LOT 69043 LOT 69044 42304 shown 42305 SAVE

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LOT 60625 shown 95578/69645





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LIMIT 4 - Good at our stores, or by calling 800-423-2567. Cannot be used with other discount or coupon or prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase with original receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 12/5/15. Limit one coupon per customer per day.



SAVE REG. PRICE $119.99 $60




$ 99


• 3-1/2 Pumps Lifts Most Vehicles • Weighs 27 lbs. LOT 69252/60569/62160 62496/62516/68053 shown

LOT 67514


• 1000 lb. Capacity


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• 225 lb. Capacity


LOT 60497/93888 shown 61899/62399




SAVE 50%

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SAVE 40%




LOT 67847 shown 61454/61693/62803

SAVE $70



3199 $59.99


LOT 61776/61969 61970/69684 shown


SAVE 46%

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LOT 69488 • 1.3 GPM



$ 99


R PE ON SU UP Includes 6V, CO 900 mAh NiCd




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Today in Mississippi August 2015 Singing River  

Today in Mississippi August 2015 Singing River

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