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News for members of Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association

Mississippi House Speaker

Philip Gunn 4 Talking with Today: Speaker Philip Gunn 8 Mississippi Cooks: Dawg Bites 18 Comics artist Steven Butler

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Summer Memories

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January 2014 I Today in Mississippi

Electric cooperative lobbyists represent members’ interests each year in Congress, hundreds of bills are introduced that could directly affect you, as a member of an electric power association. These issues range from energy and climate-change policy and disaster relief to endangered species protection and railroad reform. On the state level, legislators frequently debate proposals that could profoundly affect the reliability or affordability of your electric service—consequences they may not have intended or even foreseen. These are the reasons electric power associations maintain a close relationship with state lawmakers and help support the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) in its federal lobbying efforts. Since 1942, NRECA has been an advocate for consumer-owned electric cooperatives on energy and operational issues, as well as community and economic development. NRECA lobbyists work with two-thirds of the U.S. House and Senate committees and subcommittees. But they get their “marching orders” from your local electric power association’s board of directors, whom you elect at the association’s annual meeting. Your association’s directors and staff do all they can to keep your electricity costs affordable, and they do a great job of it. But there are things outside their control, like government rules and regulations, that affect prices and electric service. So electric power association lobbyists and leaders work with lawmakers to develop policies that are fair to electric cooperative members. And when lawmakers hear the voice of Mississippi’s electric power association members, they tend to listen. Our very existence serves as a prime example. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935, rural residents in Mississippi began forming their own electric cooperatives to bring electricity to their homes and farms. Today, 42

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On the cover Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn talks about his role in state government, accomplishments as well as top issues facing legislators in the 2014 session. See story on page 4. Six-year-old Peter Blakeney, inset photo, makes the most of a summer afternoon in a photo by Elizabeth Blakeney, of Gautier. See more “Summer Memories” photos on pages 14-15.

million Americans receive electricity from more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Twenty-five electric power associations distribute electricity to consumers in Mississippi. That’s a pretty impressive achievement for a grassroots movement rooted in the Great Depression. I realize you may not wake up in the morning wondering whether electofficials could be disMy Opinion ed cussing a proposal that Michael Callahan Executive Vice President/CEO could raise your electricity costs. That’s why we have EPAs of Mississippi lobbyists to track such things for you. We do, however, encourage you to learn who represents you in the Mississippi Legislature and in Congress. And we have an app for that! The Electric Power Associations of Mississippi offers a free, interactive legislative app that provides information and links for Mississippi’s state and federal elected officials. Download the “Mississippi 2014 Legislative Roster” from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. We also offer a free digital version of the roster at our website, www.epaofms.com. We encourage you, our members, to get involved in the political process; after all, you are the real voice of your electric cooperative. You can make a difference by helping shape the laws and rules that affect your electric service—and your wallet. Meanwhile, we will continue meeting face to face with Mississippi’s elected officials to help them understand the value of reliable, affordable electric service in improving the quality of life throughout our state. JOIN TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI

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

EDITORIAL STAFF Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO Ron Stewart - Sr. Vice President, Communications Mark Bridges - Manager, Support Services Debbie H. Stringer - Editor Trey Piel - Digital Media Manager Abby Berry - Communications Specialist Rickey McMillan - Graphics Specialist Linda Hutcherson - Administrative Assistant

Vol. 67 No. 1

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: 449,728 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

Visit us online at www.todayinmississippi.com

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Our Homeplace

The halls of the Mississippi State Capitol stir to life this month with the opening of the 2014 session of the Mississippi Legislature. The Capitol is a major tourist draw in Jackson. During the legislative session, visitors can watch action in the Senate and the House of Representatives from galleries on the fourth floor. Learn more about the Capitol building from “Mississippi Seen” columnist Walt Grayson, on page 6.

Mississippi is ... ... sitting on the front porch, listening to the beautiful sound of crickets chirping and watching butterflies dancing from flower to flower with the heavenly smell of magnolias riding the light summer breeze. They all come together in a harmonious symphony. This is my Mississippi. — Dianne Harrison Workman, Brandon Back Home Memories of my boyhood flooded back as I walked the familiar streets of home. They say once you leave you can never return, but the more things change, the more they stay the same in your mind. So you can go back home any time. Remembering old places and familar faces as they would pass with a surprised smile and a look in their eyes, as if they recognized me from years passed by. I began taking stock of the “era” of my life. I think how fragile life was at times, and meaning is something you build into your life, out of your past, out of affections and loyalties, out of your own talent and understanding. You can see we all fall at times, but thank God for showing us how to get up again with dignity, and to see us through. We are all born into this world with nothing but moments that turn up in every life as unpredictable as they are delightful and memorable. There is no place to find them like back home. — Jack C. Nobles, Lucedale

What’s Mississippi to you? What makes you proud to be a Mississippian? 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 news@epaofms.com Please keep your comments brief. Submissions are subject to editing.

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 Philip Gunn 

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Today in Mississippi



January 2014

Talking with ‘Today’: Speaker of the House







Speaker Gunn reflects on his role, accomplishments and issues facing legislators this session.

Philip Gunn, of Clinton, meets with citizens during a stop on a 19-city tour spanning two years.



What does the speaker of the house do? The speaker is the presiding officer over the House of Representatives. It is my job to assign the members of the House to the various committees on which they serve and to select the chairmen of those committees. In making these assignments, I consider the various abilities, interests and talents of the members to make sure that they are placed where they can be of most service to the House. It is also my job to assign bills to the appropriate committee for consideration. When the House convenes, it is my job to preside over the proceedings in the House. In short, I do the same thing for the House of Representatives that the lieutenant governor does for the Senate.

How do you view your role in state government? I believe that I am here to serve the citizens of the state and make sure that their best interests are advanced. I believe that government should have a very limited and defined role so that all citizens can enjoy as much freedom as possible. I am charged with the responsibility to maintain decorum in the House of Representatives and ensure that the legislative process moves along in an orderly and timely fashion. Sometimes, this can be a very challenging task. We have 122 members in the House of Representatives, which

means we have 122 personalities, political agendas and opinions that have to be heard. This can present some very difficult debates, and it is my job to ensure that the process moves along so that we get the work done without getting bogged down.

What have been some of your major accomplishments in your two years of service as speaker? One of my main objectives is to get government spending under control, and in our first two years of leadership, we have done just that. When Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, we had three main goals regarding budgeting. The first is to live within our means— that is, to spend no more money than we have to spend. For too long, it has been the practice of prior leadership teams to decide what they want to buy and then try to figure out how to pay for it. That is a fiscally irresponsible way to spend taxpayer dollars. Anyone who doesn’t consider how much money they have to spend before they start spending it is going to end up in financial ruin. We have completely changed this way of

thinking. Our approach to spending is to first decide how much money is available, then decide what we can afford and spend no more money than that. This has ushered in a whole new mindset in investing taxpayer dollars and has put Mississippi on solid financial ground. Secondly, we made the tough decision to eliminate Mississippi’s dependency on “one-time money.” This simply means that we eliminated the practice of prior administrations to use non-recurring money to pay for recurring expenditures. Any fiscally responsible person is going to pay his recurring expenditures with recurring revenues; otherwise, he is going to go into financial ruin. For example, your monthly electricity bill is a recurring expenditure (it comes around or “recurs” every month). Your paycheck is a recurring source of revenue (it comes around, or recurs, every month too). A fiscally responsible person is going to pay that recurring expenditure with a recurring source of revenue. However, the person who pays that recurring expenditure with a non-recurring source of revenue (such as a retirement account that is

not a recurring source of revenue) is going to eventually run out of money and have no way to pay his bills. Such a practice is fiscally irresponsible, and we have warned against this for years. In fact, we recently received word that certain bond rating agencies are considering downgrading our state’s bond rating specifically because prior leadership teams have utilized this practice of using non-recurring monies to pay for recurring expenditures. So, when Republicans gained control two years ago, we set out to eliminate this practice, and in only two short years, we have essentially done that. Our budgeting practice has been to use only recurring money to pay for recurring expenditures. This has put Mississippi back on sound financial ground. Thirdly, we feel it is fiscally responsible to save some money each year for any unforeseen expenditures that may arise during the year. If such an emergency arises, we have some money to help cover this unexpected expenditure. If it doesn’t arise, we have money in the bank that can be used to help reduce additional burdens on our taxpayers for the next year. Each


January 2014

year since we have gained control of the House, we have saved or “pushed forward” money for the next year’s budget cycle. In applying these principles, we have stabilized Mississippi’s financial condition in just two short years, and we are very proud of this accomplishment. Additionally, we have made great improvements in education. We have put more money into all levels of education, kindergarten through college. We passed the Third Grade Reading Gate, which ensures all children can read by the time they pass the third grade. We passed the Mississippi Student Religious Liberties Act. We passed a charter school bill that gives more educational options to those children in districts that are failing to provide them with an adequate educational opportunity. We also continue to focus on workforce development by improving educational opportunities at our community colleges. We have also made tremendous strides in creating jobs in Mississippi over the last two years. Gov. Bryant dubbed the 2012 session as the most business-friendly session in modern Mississippi history. We passed numerous bills that provide tax incentives for Mississippi businesses. Additionally, we have been able to attract numerous businesses to Mississippi because of the business-friendly environment we have created. Last year, we saw an increase in jobs in Mississippi for the first time in the previous four to five years. It seems that Gov. Bryant is somewhere almost every week welcoming the start-up of a new business. We are extremely proud of the economic prosperity that seems to be coming to Mississippi because of the sound business-friendly legislation that we have been able to pass over the last two years. Other accomplishments that I will

briefly mention are: the Attorney General Sunshine Act, which implements protections for taxpayers during the process of hiring of outside attorneys; the Child Protection Act, which protects children against sexual predators; a fair and reasonable redistricting plan; Voter ID; and numerous bills that protect our citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.

You recently completed your second annual “Mississippi Solutions: An Ideas Tour” throughout the state. Tell us about that. We recognize that not all citizens can come to Jackson to meet with their state leaders. Some just don’t have the time or resources to take a full day or two away from their jobs and families to drive to Jackson and voice their concerns. Therefore, we decided to take ourselves to them. Over the last two years, we have gone to 19 cities in this state and held meetings to see from citizens. These meetings have proven to be very well received. Rather than having to take a full day off work, these citizens can take an hour to come express their ideas for improving our state. People like the fact that their voices can be heard, and they seem to appreciate our efforts to bring the legislature to them. They use these meetings to express their concerns and offer potential solutions to the issues we face in Mississippi. We also benefit from these meetings because we usually learn of some situation we were not aware of and can work to address it. For example, there are some circumstances unique to a particular region of the state. We have learned that by going to that region, the citizens have been able

Gunn and his sons enjoy the outdoors together. Gunn supports state legislation to protect citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

Continued on page 6

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Today in Mississippi

Speaker Gunn seeks solutions through bipartisanship Philip Gunn began serving the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2004. On Jan. 3, 2012, he became the 61st speaker of the House of Representatives in Mississippi. This is the first time in 136 years a Republican has held this title in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Through bipartisan committee chair appointments, Speaker Gunn created a functional House of Representatives in his first session as speaker. The House redistricting map was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. Business-friendly legislation was passed, along with many other laws that focused on education, healthcare and keeping Mississippi within its budgetary means. Speaker Gunn credits his ability to reach across the aisle to his time spent at Baylor. While earning his B.B.A., Gunn met students from every state in the nation and from countries around the world. Being exposed to this diversity set the foundation for Gunn’s career. His time in the legislature has proven he is a leader Making up the Gunn family are, standing from left, John not only in the House of David, Alex, Lisa, Philip and Meredith; seated are Andrew and Representatives, but also his wife, Jessica. Photos courtesy of Philip Gunn. throughout the entire state. As a result, through the years he has served on the Executive Committee of the Mississippi Republican Party and has served as chairman of the Republican House Conference since it was formed in 2006. Gunn was instrumental in organizing the Republicans in the House of Representatives for the first time in modern history. Gunn’s biggest reward from attending Baylor has been his wife, Lisa, whom he met at school. The experiences they shared, and the memories they made have bonded them in a special way. The Gunns have been married for 26 years and are the proud parents of Meredith, Alex, Andrew and John David. They live in Clinton. After graduating from Baylor, Gunn earned a J.D. from The University of Mississippi Law School, where he was elected student body president. He is an attorney at Wells, Marble, Hurst PLLC in Ridgeland, where he practices primarily in insurance defense and civil litigation. In 2010 Gunn was named “One of Mississippi’s Top 50 Leading Attorneys” in the Mississippi Business Journal’s Leadership in Law Class of 2010. Gunn is actively involved in his community. Before being elected to the House of Representatives, he served on the Clinton Public School board. He currently serves as an elder at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton and is a member of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and a trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

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Today in Mississippi I January 2014

Speaker Gunn Continued from page 5 to discuss the need in detail and give us greater insight into their need. However, had we not been present in their town or region, we might not have ever been made aware of it. This has proven to be very helpful, and the citizens of the state seem to be very appreciative that we come to them and make ourselves accessible to them, rather than making them come to us.

What do you see as top issues for the upcoming 2014 Legislative session? We will continue to hold the line on spending and make sure the taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely. We are going to take a hard look at all our expenditures to make sure the dollars we invest give us a good return on that investment. If a program gives us good results, we will continue to invest dollars in that program. However, if a program is not giving us a good return on our investment, we will reallocate those dollars elsewhere and look to shut down that program. This is common sense. Our citizens invest their own personal dollars this way, and I think they should expect no less from their government. The governor has stated that he would like to make public safety a major focus for this session, and we look forward to supporting him in that effort as well. We will also continue to look for ways to improve educational opportunities for our children. We must realize that we can never relax when it comes to the education of our children. They are our future leaders and we must prepare them as best we can. Therefore, working on educational improvements is a process in which we will engage every year.

Electric power associations serve 1.8 million Mississippians. How important is the role of these associations? The importance of the electric power associations cannot be overstated. I have been fortunate since being elected to actually represent one of your associations, both as a legislator and an attorney. Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association serves part of the district I represent in Yazoo County, and I have been privileged to observe firsthand how they meet the needs of their customers. I witnessed how they handled the fallout from Hurricane Katrina and from the various ice storms that have struck that region over the past few years. Moreover, I witnessed how they dealt with the terrible tornado that struck their service district a few years ago. In each of these situations, they responded with speed and efficiency to restore service to their customers, and from what I could tell, performed miracles to get service back up. However, what struck me most is how they cared for their customers. They demonstrated real compassion and concern for the plight of their customers. They set a great example for how all companies should treat their customers. I believe they are just one small reflection of how all our electric power associations provide service and treat their customers. We are extremely fortunate, indeed, to have such quality people serve in our electric power associations.

New Capitol construction blended fresh design with cost-saving tricks t noon on Jan. 7, the Mississippi Legislature will convene in session in the New Capitol Building in Jackson for the 111th time. In 1900 the state authorized building a new statehouse and paid for it with back taxes obtained in a lawsuit against the Illinois Central Railroad. The price tag on the building totaled about a million bucks. It was finished in 1903. Somewhere in the planning for the New Capitol it was decided to break away from the architectural styles that had dominated the antebellum era in the South, and to build something new and modern and forward thinking. And that’s what we have. The name of the style of architecture of the New Capitol is Beaux Arts, which was in keeping with the freshness of the new century into which we were heading. A time that was hoped would be brimming over with discovery and invention and progress. As an example of how quickly the times lived up to expectations, the Wright Brothers flew their airplane the same year the New Capitol opened. Henry Ford started turning out Model Ts that same year too. The New Capitol Building settled right into that era of enlightenment, literally, by being wired for modern electric lights from the onset, one of the first buildings in the state to be electric from the beginning. But there are examples of classical architecture in the New Capitol too. For instance, in the interior the rotunda is circled in marble columns. Well, they are real marble on the ground floor. Up in the upper reaches, the columns are plaster made to look like marble using a painting technique called scagliola. Architect Lawson Newman told me the idea at the time was to save money by not having to buy so much marble. But the art of creating scagliola has diminished over the decades to the point that today it is more expensive to hire the artisans to create it than it is to use real marble. A lot of old mansions use that faux marble effect on baseboards and mantles. Waverly, between Columbus and West Point, comes to mind. Outside the Capitol, the same idea was used: Put the expensive stuff where it would be seen and

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The New Capitol building still looks new, even after 111 years of use. Photo: Walt Grayson

the more practical material elsewhere. At ground level are slabs of limestone. Up above the roofline terracotta is used around the skylights over the legislative chambers. That’s not to imply that the designers and builders tried to skimp on the construction of the New Capitol. It was just more practical to do things the way they did them. The building looks much the way it did when it was built, thanks in great part to a four-year restoration back in 1979. The restoration cost $19 million to restore a building that originally cost a Mississippi little over a million to Seen build. And there would be by Walt Grayson no practical way to try to replace the New Capitol brick for brick and light bulb for light bulb today. We have a truly priceless Capitol building. And it is your building. You can go see it any time you want to, at no charge. Brenda Davis at the New Capitol says there have always been selfguided tours. But now there are daily guided tours too, all still free. Call and get the schedule at 601359-3114 or on the web at tours@house.ms.gov. By the way, traditionally on the first day of the legislative session all 4,700 light bulbs in the New Capitol are lit. Impressive today, but really something 111 years ago when they lit them for the first time. 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 Walt Grayson at walt@waltgrayson.com


January 2014 I Today in Mississippi I 7

The question:

Resolve or reflect? ustom desigcovey of bobwhites. The nates January as birds exploded with my a month for approach and the 20 rumresolutions. I bled. Two birds dropped; admit to makLady raced about trembling ing quite a few over the years. with excitement. That was Still do from time to time. my first double and the only And while there is value in one in Lady’s career. such contemplation, I find Replaced by pleasant myself more prone these days Mississippi reflection, resolutions were to reflection rather than resoset aside. Outdoors lution. And then I found myself by Tony Kinton No, I don’t find fault with a year older and stationed in anyone who fails to share that the Pearl River swamp. That opinion; as I suggested above, there is same 20-gauge was in my hand, but value in planning for the future. It is Lady was home doing her best to just that I now realize any well-intenassuage the sting of a January frost from tioned attempt to resolve sends me creaking joints. Herman and Homer backward into former Januarys instead superseded her at the moment, for this of pointing me forward in the direction was a rabbit hunt; Herman and Homer of those to come. were rabbit dogs—beagles. Or at least I While recently working on a held hopes that they would become rabShawnee-style white-oak and hickory bit dogs. They were still young enough pack frame such as one I saw in an to leave a rabbit track and chase a squirancient sketch, I considered a New rel or investigate a terrapin or explore a Year’s resolution. Timing was perfect to slough. But they held great promise, and analyze the upcoming year and what I like Lady, I had raised them from tiny, hoped to accomplish. squirming pups that turned over their But without warning, I found myself food bowls and barked at backyard a 14-year-old walking the fields of our chickens. home place one January afternoon. JoinHomer bawled; he was the jump dog. ing me was an aging bird dog of quesAnd immediately Herman caught the tionable pedigree; I had acquired her scent and accompanied his litter mate. when she was a pup. In the crook of my Before long a skilled and refined pursuit arm was a Stevens 20-gauge double that was on, these young ones fulfilling their my dad had given me. purpose with practiced dedication. After Not the best performer on quail, a relatively short and circuitous route, Lady was in fine fashion that day. She the swamp rabbit broke from cover and skidded to a stiff halt and locked in as was put in a ragged game vest. That rabperfectly as any dog could on a resident bit would be supper, and if memory

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serves correctly, the fried rabbit was exceptional. Within a matter of seconds I moved forward another year. I was 16. The same swamp, the same 20-gauge, the same beagles. But this time I got an even bigger surprise than I did that day when Herman and Homer had morphed into professional rabbit dogs. They were running another swamper, and off to the side I saw something I had never seen. A huge whitetail buck ghosted away from the ruckus and crept into an adjacent thicket. He was magnificent—wide, heavy antlers atop an erect and cautious head, seeming to simply ride the fog and wisp away with grace and majesty. I stood mesmerized. Deer were less than common in our area back then. As I cinched the pack frame with a final piece of rawhide, I felt again that mystique, that ripple of chilling excitement running through a back that is now stiffened with years. Once again I was 16, toting my double and listening to Herman and Homer scramble after a rabbit and watching my first buck skulk from the intrusion—a near phantom, the likes of which would never again be encountered. All those entities are gone now, tempered shadows shaded by 50 years. Per-

The white-oak and hickory Shawnee pack frame secured with rawhide; flint-and-steel fire kit in buckskin bag at top. It was during the construction of this that the author recalled those pleasant reflections from the past. Photo: Tony Kinton

haps I will make some resolutions after all. But I must concede that any follow through and realization of the loftiest resolve will likely pale when compared to the serendipity of profitable reflections from Januarys past. Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. “Uncertain Horizons,” book two in Kinton’s “Wagon Road Trilogy,” is now available. Order from your local bookstore, Amazon.com or Kinton’s website: www.tonykinton.com

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A new cookbook not only delivers time-tested Southern recipes but helps support the local 4-H program for children ages 8 to 18. “Dawg Bites,” compiled by the Choctaw County office of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, offers recipes for casual cookery, from appetizers to desserts and special treats, including the recipes reprinted here. Many call for convenience foods like canned soup and jarred sauces to make preparation simple and quick for busy families. The cookbook’s “Gifts from the Kitchen” chapter has recipes for making citrus bath salts, gift baskets, mixes in a jar and more. The “Kids’ Kitchen Crafts” section offers ideas for wild bird treats, pasta art, fingerpaints and other fun things kids and grown-ups can enjoy making together. Available in spiral-bound softcover, “Dawg Bites” may be purchased at the Choctaw County Extension Service office in the Courthouse Annex in Ackerman. Price is $10. Books may be ordered for $10 plus $3 S&H. Send order to Choctaw County 4-H, P.O. Box 370, Ackerman, MS 39735. For information, call 662-285-6337 or email: jhughes@ext.msstate.edu

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1 can diced tomatoes, optional Soft whole-grain wraps, baked taco shells OR tortilla chips

Toppings, as desired: Light sour cream 1 to 2 avocados, sliced Chopped lettuce Cheddar or pepper jack cheese Diced tomatoes Taco sauce

Sauté red onion in olive oil. Add ground beef and seasonings. Brown beef, stirring occasionally. When cooked, reduce heat to simmer and stir in pumpkin, cooked brown rice and tomato sauce. Add canned tomatoes, if desired. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture is cooked and mixed well. Spoon beef mixture into wraps or taco shells or onto tortilla chips. Top with cheese and toppings. Drizzle with taco sauce.

Surprise Cupcakes 1 (family size) pkg. fudge brownie mix 2/3 cup water 2 eggs

Cream cheese filling: 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup sugar 1/8 tsp. salt 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake papers. Blend brownie mix, water and eggs. Fill cups 2/3 full with mixture. Beat cream cheese, sugar and salt on low speed in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling onto batter in each cupcake. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Wonderful eaten warm. Store in refrigerator.

Slow Cooker Corn Casserole

Grilled Chicken Stir-Fry 6 frozen grilled chicken breasts, thawed 4 Tbsp. cornstarch 3 Tbsp. soy sauce 1/2 tsp. ground ginger 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Beef Tacos with Pumpkin and Brown Rice

1/4 tsp. grated lemon rind 1 can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup 4 oz. light processed cheese, cubed 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 5 drops hot pepper sauce

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Cook turnip greens in microwave according to package directions and drain well. Combine drained turnip greens, mushrooms and lemon rind in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine all ingredients and heat for 2 minutes. Stir mixture. Repeat until the mixture is heated throughout and cheese has melted. Serve hot with miniature cornbread or in toast cups.

1 (16-oz.) bag frozen kernel corn 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1 stick margarine Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt cream cheese and margarine in microwave. Coat slow cooker with cooking spray or use a disposable liner. Pour melted cream cheese mixture into slow cooker. Stir in corn, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir before serving.

Maple Syrup Muffins 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 3 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup shortening 1 egg 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup maple syrup

Mix all ingredients together, just until well blended. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with butter. Makes 12 muffins.

Low-Cal Chocolate Pie 4 ounces bran cereal pieces, crumbled 4 Tbsp. peanut butter, creamy or crunchy

2 tsp. honey 1 box sugar-free chocolate pudding mix 2 cups low-fat milk

To make crust, combine cereal, peanut butter and honey. Press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. To make filling, mix pudding and milk. Pour into crust shell and refrigerate. Store leftovers in refrigerator.


January 2014



Today in Mississippi



9

Football is not just a game A New Year is notorious for went to college on its campus or chose it giving renewed hope to for other reasons, diehard fans stay faiththose of us who had setful through bad times and good. They backs, even tiny ones, or can analyze and criticize that team for all regrets, frustrations or it’s worth, but don’t let anyone else plans that went awry. speak disparaging words against their Yippee! We have another chance to “child.” grab that pot of gold—not necessarily And believe me, I can vouch for that. the monetary gold, but My football man can handle aspirations and objectives the most devastating events that weren’t met. with courage and shoulders I’m not overlooking the back, but let someone make sadness that some of us had fun of Mississippi State with a to face. However, that old joke or sneer ... watch out! word that’s tossed around, He will eventually get “time,” will eventually do revenge. The decisive occaits work on us. It has sion will come when that proven itself down through someone’s team also loses an the centuries. Aren’t you important game. And in due Grin ‘n’ thankful that we have new course it will. Bare It opportunities every year? It’s best to pull for by Kay Grafe Realistically, we have new Mississippi school teams, opportunities every day. except when they compete To get specific about renewed hope, with your “child.” And truly it’s a here’s a phrase I’ve heard repeated oodles metaphor to compare how you feel of times by Mr. Roy and many MSU about your own true blood. A bull’s hair fans at the close of college football seabristles just like mamma cow’s hair. If son: “Wait until next year.” That gives the guy sitting next to you at a game hope to football enthusiasts who love doesn’t know your school’s cheers or their collage football. have a cow bell, it might be best not to The South is legendary for its unshak- initiate a conversation. able devotion to the team that has a speYet, when you’re watching the SEC cial place in their hearts. Whether they teams—which are MSU, Ole Miss,

Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt—and your team isn’t playing that weekend, always pull for one of them and especially the underdog. All those kind of dogs need your support. Mr. Roy’s and my team has been the dog under enough times for us to appreciate all the cheers we can get. However, this year MSU is bowl-eligible for the fourth year in a row. Ain’t bad. We don’t care how big the bowl is, so long as it’s a bowl. Oh, yes. The SEC must be the strongest of all conferences, since next year there will be a TV channel devoted only to—drum roll—SEC teams! The South has an unspoken proclamation that football is a sacred sport. Not sacred as in Biblical terms, of course. God created everything, even football—in a roundabout way. For many people the sport represents our Great Land of Liberty. Example: All through the night, our flag was (is) still there. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. And if we continue to fight for our rights, our flag will always be there. If someone tells you, “It’s only a game,” tell them no, it’s who we are; it’s who the South is.

It’s gallantry: loyalty, courage, bravery, heroism and valor. It’s spirit: strength, character, guts and strength of mind. Note: For the sake of those who don’t enjoy football, I won’t talk about it again for a year. Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.

Our next Picture This:

Things to Love About Spring Now that the holidays have passed, let’s turn our thoughts to springtime! We are looking for photos of something you love about spring. Submissions must be emailed or postmarked by March 10. Selected photos will appear in the April issue of Today in Mississippi. Photographers whose photos are selected for publication are eligible for a $200 cash prize, to be awarded in a random drawing each 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 must be in sharp focus. • Digital photos must be high-resolution JPG files. Please do not use photo-editing software to correct colors or tones. (We prefer to do it ourselves, if necessary, according to our printer’s standards.) • 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, places and pets in the picture. • Prints will be returned if accompanied by a selfaddressed, stamped envelope. We cannot, however, guarantee their safe return through the mail.

 How to submit

Mail prints to Picture This, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Attach digital photos to email and send to news@epaofms.com. If submitting more than one photo, please attach all photos to only one e-mail message, if possible. Or, mail a photo CD to Picture This, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Question? Call Debbie Stringer, editor, at 601-605-8610 or e-mail: news@epaofms.com


10  Today in Mississippi



January 2014

PRVEPA Contact Information: Columbia: 601-736-2666 Hattiesburg: 601-264-2458

Purvis: 601-794-8051 Wiggins: 601-928-7277

To pay bills or report outages:

855-2PRVEPA (855-277-8372) Visit us on line at www.PRVEPA.com

Member owned. Locally operated. That’s the cooperative difference. Meet Your State Legislators

2014

The Mississippi Legislature convenes in January for the 2014 session. On these pages are the state lawmakers who represent residents living in Pearl River Valley Electric’s service area. Take time to familiarize yourself with the legislators representing your area, as they are your voice at the state Capitol. Pearl River Valley Electric salutes each of our state senators and representatives. Their spirit of public service, selfless dedication and efforts on our behalf are vital to maintaining the quality of life we all enjoy as Mississippians.

Senate

Sen. Sally Doty District 39: Lawrence, Lincoln and Simpson counties Address: 183 Oak Hill Dr. Brookhaven, MS 39601

Sen. Joey Fillingane District 41: Covington, Forrest, Jefferson Davis, Lamar and Marion counties Address: 8 Westbrook Dr. Sumrall, MS 39482 Sen. Tony Smith District 47: Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River and Stone counties Address: 51 Lancair Dr. Picayune, MS 39466

Sen. Phillip A. Gandy District 43: George, Greene, Stone and Wayne counties Address: 17 Oakwood Ln. Waynesboro, MS 39367

Sen. Angela Burks Hill District 40: Marion, Pearl River and Walthall counties Address: 54 Watts Rd. Picayune, MS 39466

Sen. Billy Hudson District 45: Forrest, Lamar Pearl River, Perry and Stone counties Address: 27 Troon Circle Hattiesburg, MS 39401

Sen. John A. Polk District 44: Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties Address: 53 Tidewater Rd. Hattiesburg, MS 39402

PRVEPA DISTRICTS 42

39 41

NOTICE of contract right-of-way clearing Contract right-of-way (ROW) crews with Looks Great Services, Inc. will be in the following communities during the next several weeks performing ROW maintenance: Lamar County (Bass Academy, Coaltown, Hwy 11-South Purvis, Pinecrest, Purvis, South Beaver Lake); and Forrest/Stone Counties (Carnes, Hwy 13, Lee Town, Pistol Ridge, Project Road, Stump Texas). Crews will be clearing underbrush, trimming back limbs, and cutting trees so that the maximum ROW width within the easement is cleared. This process helps reduce potential power outages and safety hazards caused by limbs or trees coming in contact with our power lines. Crews will complete this work with the least interference to you and maintain a high standard of workmanship. As always, we appreciate your cooperation and support as we work to maintain safe, reliable electric service at the lowest possible cost. If you have questions concerning ROW maintenance, please call your local PRVEPA office or Wade McKenzie at 601-441-2336.

44

43

40

45

47


January 2014  Today in Mississippi

House of Representatives

Rep. Toby Barker District 102: Forrest and Lamar counties Address: 409 S. 21st Ave. Hattiesburg, MS 39401

Rep. Larry Byrd District 104: Forrest and Lamar counties Address: 17 Byrd Road Petal, MS 39465

Rep. Timmy Ladner District 93: Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, Lamar, Pearl River and Stone counties Address: 6 Michael D. Smith Rd., Poplarville, MS 39470

Rep. Ken Morgan Rep. Sam C. Mims V Rep. Robert W. (Bobby) Moak District 97: Adams, Amite, District 53: Amite, Franklin, District 100: Jefferson Davis, Lamar and Marion counties Franklin, Lawrence, Pike and Lawrence, Lincoln Address: 1640 Hwy. 587 Walthall counties and Pike counties Morgantown, MS 39483 Address: P.O. Box 1018 Address: P.O. Box 242 Jackson, MS 39215 Bogue Chitto, MS 39629

Rep. Bob Evans District 91: Copiah, Covington, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence and Simpson counties Address: P.O. Box 636 Monticello, MS 39654

Rep. Hank Lott District 101: Forrest and Lamar counties Address: 1438 Hwy. 42 Sumrall, MS 39482

Rep. Douglas D. McLeod Rep. Bill Pigott District 107: Forrest, District 99: Lamar, Marion, Pike George, Jackson and Walthall counties and Stone counties Address: 92 Pigott Easterling Rd. Address: 1211 Bexley Tylertown, MS 39667 Church Rd. Lucedale, MS 39452

Rep. Herb Frierson District 106: Lamar and Pearl River counties Address: 12 Trailwood Lane Poplarville, MS 39470

Rep. Dennis DeBar, Jr. District 105: Forrest, George, Greene, Perry and Wayne counties Address: P.O. Box 1090 Leakesville, MS 39451

PRVEPA DISTRICTS

91 90 53

100

97

101

Rep. Joseph L. Warren District 90: Covington, Forrest, Jefferson Davis, Marion and Simpson counties Address: P.O. Box 42 Mount Olive, MS 39119

104

99

105 102

103 106

93

107

Rep. Percy W. Watson District 103: Forrest County Address: P.O. Box 1767 Hattiesburg, MS 39401



11


12

I

Today in Mississippi I January 2014

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January 2014 I Today in Mississippi

I

13

Pyracantha brings color to winter-dreary scenes olor in the landscape can seem like an unachievable goal in the cold and dreary winter months. But it can be reached when gardeners rely on plants with features other than flowers to brighten the areas around homes. Pyracantha is one of the best choices the home gardener can make for the winter landscape. This plant’s colSouthern orful berries can Gardening add beauty and by Dr. Gary Bachman interest to any winter setting. Pyracantha is a medium-large landscape shrub that is semievergreen in mild winters. It is versatile, with many landscape uses. Left unpruned, pyracantha has a casual habit and can reach up to 10 feet tall and wide. It has abundant clusters of white flowers in the spring. Fruit clusters are prominent from the late fall all the way through winter to spring. The arching, branching habit is accentuated by the production of these red-orange berries toward the ends. The heavy fruit clusters seem to drip off the

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branches. You can bring stems with fruit clusters inside and display them in a vase for a winter decoration. Perhaps pyracantha’s most popular landscape use is as an espalier specimen, which is a plant trained to grow in one plane. Pyracantha readily accepts being trained to grow flat across a trellis. Such a specimen can enhance a blank wall or fence. The botanical name for pyracantha literally means firethorn, which is its common name. It certainly lives up to this name with sharp and painful thorns on almost all of the branches. The thorny nature of Pyracantha makes it the perfect shrub to plant underneath

and around windows. No burglar would want to tangle with one of these shrubs. Pyracantha is a fast-growing shrub suitable all across Mississippi. The best fruit production is from plants in full sun. Fruit production and growth rate are reduced when the plant is grown in the shade. This plant can adapt to almost any soil condition and type, as long as the soil is well drained. Be careful not to plant too deep; do this by keeping the top of the root ball even with or slightly

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Pyracantha’s colorful berries can add beauty and interest to any winter landscape. The fruit is also a winter food source for birds and other wildlife. Photo: MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman

above grade. A little handful of fertilizer will get your new plant off to a good start. In subsequent years, fertilization is not required. As with most landscape shrubs, Pyracantha appreciates a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch to help it conserve soil moisture in dry spells. Pyracantha is not native to North America but came instead from China and Taiwan. It is related to the apple tree. After doing a little research, I found that the berries are edible and make a nice jelly. A word of caution is required: Fresh fruit can cause some gastric distress and must be cooked first. Pyracantha adds beauty to our Mississippi winter landscapes, and the berries also play an important role as a winter food source for birds and other wildlife. Be sure to include this dualpurpose shrub in your personal landscape.

Dr. Gary Bachman is MSU horticulturist at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.


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Today in Mississippi

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January 2014

ummer S Picture this...

memories

Thoughts of summertime warm the heart and brighten dreary winter days. Here, Today in Mississippi readers share photos of their fondest memories of summer.

1. Crawfish boils with friends are a favorite of Sandy Warren, Benton; Yazoo Valley Electric member. 2. A cool tunnel of green beckons in DeSoto National Forest. Cynthia Allen, Biloxi. 3. Kayaker Samantha Thompson lets her mind drift at Clarkco State Park. Connie Thompson, Lumberton; Pearl River Valley Electric member. 4. Summertime floats Carson Jones’ boat. Erin Jones, Macon; 4-County Electric member.

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5. Brylee Faith Cherry, 8, skis with ease. Jahnae Cherry, Olive Branch; Northcentral Electric member. 6. Walker Griffin, 2, sees what fishing is all about. Beverly Griffin, Gulfport.


January 2014



Today in Mississippi



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7. Gulls captivate Jacob, 4, and Cameron, 7, on the beach in Biloxi. Brenda Kostelak, D’Iberville; Coast Electric member. 8. Fishing is a favorite summer memory for the family of Brack Rudolph, 11. Ben Rudolph, Carthage. 9. Keith and Kaitlin Holifield have a fishing lesson on a pier at Lake Eddins. Carolyn Holifield, Ellisville; Southern Pine Electric member. 10. Jeffrey Jones appears to be coaching Julianne on her diving technique. Alice Ann Jones, Moss Point; Singing River Electric member. 11. Anna, Garrett and Jasmine Hutt leap into a cool lake on a hot summer day. Martha Walker, Wesson; Southern Pine Electric member. 12. Accompanied by Chopper, Ralph Bacheman enjoys fishing a quiet pond. Evelyn Tournillon, Carriere; Coast Electric member.

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Our next “Picture This” theme: Things to Love About Spring Details on page 9

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Congratulations!

Teresa Broadus of Moss Point, a member of Singing River Electric, is the winner of our 2013 “Picture This” drawing for a $200 cash prize!


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Today in Mississippi

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January 2014

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Today in Mississippi



January 2014

Mississippi comics artist

By Nancy Jo Maples Vibrant colors and action-packed stories drew Steven Butler to comic books in the early 1970s. Today he draws them. “You have to be good and you have to be fast in this business,” Butler, a professional cartoonist, said. Working from a small one-room studio next to his rural home in southeast George County, Butler draws for national names, but he also works on commissions from individual clients. He is launching a new project with a publishing partner from Florida. His signature can be found underneath characters like Spiderman and Silver Sable. He has worked at Disney World properties, has drawn “Pirates of the Caribbean” cartoons and was hired to feature Walt Disney’s 100th birthday anniversary in a strip for

that I’d use my talent to create artwork that I could read and enjoy with my kids,” he said. He and his wife, Christy, have five children. Butler still draws plenty of action in his strips, but he steers away from blood and violence. He said too many modern comics focus on vulgarity and violence instead of emphasizing good storylines. Butler has created sequential art professionally since 1987 when he graduated with an art degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. However, he has been sketching comics almost all of his life. He taught himself to draw the figures by tracing comic books and improved his skills under a high school art teacher who pushed him to pursue the craft. His work includes commissioned pieces, lithographs, cartooning, caricatures and wood carvings. He recently sculpted an action figure from clay that will be used as a prototype for a children’s toy figure. Steven Butler, a member of Singing River Electric Power Association, prefers to create artHe still works for Archie Comics but is a work for action comics that emphasize story. His newest venture is Gallant Comics, created part of a new venture called Gallant in partnership with friend Barry Gregory. Comics with his friend, Barry Gregory. Disney Adventures magazine. The duo creates pictures and stories using characters “That was scary to do but it was an honor. It was popular in the 1930s and 1940s whose copyrights have like holding lightning in my hand,” he said of the expired. These characters, such as John Aman and opportunity to feature Walt Disney. Horace Googer, were created by famed artists Bill His first job was drawing Badger with First Comics. Everett and Jack Kirby, respectively. The Gallant books For 16 years he animated Sonic the Hedgehog with have an initial story arc told in six issues that will be Archie Comics and for about eight years he drew collected into a trade paperback. Christian comics depicting Bible stories for PowerMark. “Our storylines are created using golden-age charac“Along about that time, I made a promise to God ters that seem like new characters to today’s kids,”

‘I made a promise to God that I’d use my talent to create artwork that I could read and enjoy with my kids.’ – Steven Butler

Butler said. “Also, people like me who grew up on comics and who still like to read comics are glad to see these characters come back.” For Gallant issues, Gregory gives Butler a storyline and Butler maps out the scenes. Creating one page of comic strips takes about four hours; Butler said he cannot afford to spend more time than that per page. “I can’t put pencil to paper unless I know I am going to make money,” he said. While some cartoonists have begun creating comics digitally with computer programs, Butler still draws the traditional way and either scans his images for electronic delivery or mails the original sheets to clients. The bright colors and exciting tales of superheroes first influenced Butler when he was about 8 years old. Comic books cost 20 cents back then. “That was in about 1972 and 1974. If I had a dollar I could buy five of them,” he said. Four decades later comic books still beckon Butler. Butler’s work can be viewed on Facebook at Steven Butler Studios. Gallant Comics’ website is www.gallantcomics.com and books can be bought for $3 each at: indyplanet.com Writer Nancy Jo Maples can be reached at 188 Ernest Pipkins Road, Lucedale, MS 39452 or via email: nancyjomaples@aol.com


January 2014

Events Mississippi

Want more than 400,000 readers to know about your event? Send it to us 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 601-6058601; or email to news@epaofms.com. Events of statewide interest will be published free of charge as space allows. Event details are subject to change, so we strongly recommend calling to confirm dates and times before traveling. For more events, go to www.visitmississippi.org.

Chill in the Hills, Jan. 18, Vicksburg. Run/walk races: 10K run, 5K walk and 1-mile fun run; 8:30 a.m. Registration fee. Benefits Grace Christian Counseling Center. Guaranty Bank and Trust. Details: 601-636-5703. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, Jan. 18, Vicksburg. Historic downtown; 2 p.m. Details: 601-678-8263. Crystal Ball, Jan. 18, Southaven. Dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions; 6 p.m. Admission. The Arena. Details: 662-449-5002; crystalballgala.org The Kingsmen in Concert, Jan. 19, Newton. Love offering; 7 p.m. Ebenezer

Baptist Church. Details: 601-896-2249; 601683-3928. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast, Jan. 20, Vicksburg. Alpha Phi Alpha-sponsored event; 8:30 a.m. Admission. Vicksburg Convention Center. Details: 601630-2929. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Jan. 20, Vicksburg. Vicksburg City Auditorium; 6-8 p.m. Details: 601-630-2929. Shuffle to the Chefs, Jan. 23, McComb. Featuring professional chefs; 6-9 p.m. Sponsored by St. Andrew’s Mission. Admission. McComb Mill. Details: 601-684-4678.

Forge Day: Blacksmithing and Metalworking, Jan. 25, Picayune. Demonstrations by area craftsmen; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Admission. Crosby Arboretum. Details: 601-799-2311. Hot Chocolate Classic, Jan. 25, Brandon. 5K run/walk, 1-mile kids fun run. Rankin Landing, Ross Barnett Reservoir. Details: 601-825-5590; robin.haney@rcsd.ms Big Pop Gun Show, Jan. 25-26, Natchez. Natchez Convention Center. Admission. Details: 601-498-4235; bigpopfireworks.com 85th Vicksburg Coin Show, Feb. 1-2,



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Vicksburg. Buy, sell, trade; free verbal appraisals. Sponsored by Vicksburg Coin Club. Free admission. Battlefield Inn. Details: 601618-7140. Annual Chili Feast, Feb. 6, Vicksburg. Chili lunches served 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.; dinner 5-7 p.m. Admission. Purks YMCA. Details: 601218-1754. Oxford Film Festival, Feb. 6-9, Oxford. Independent films, panel discussions, social events. Admission. Details: 877-560-3456; oxfordfilmfest.com Gold City Quartet in Concert, Feb. 7, Moss Point. Doors open 6 p.m.; concert at 7. Admission. Escatawpa Baptist Church. Details: 228-475-2938, 228-219-5759. Big Pop Gun Show, Feb. 8-9, Laurel. Laurel Fairgrounds. Details: 601-498-4235; bigpopfireworks.com Mississippi Coast Jazz Society Dance and Jam Session, Feb. 9, Gulfport. Casual dress; 2-5 p.m. Gulfport Elks Lodge 978. Admission. Details: 228-392-4177. Gulf Coast Orchid Society Show and Sale, Feb. 14-16, Gautier. Preview party on Friday; exhibits, sales. Gautier Convention Center. Details: 228-474-2500; bjzoo@aol.com; gcorchids.org

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Today in Mississippi Pearl River Valley January 2014