Page 1

Dixie Electric Power Association

4 Take a ride on the Marion County

Recreational Railroad 12 Campout teaches skills for life

Periodical postage (ISSN 1052 2433)

15 Belzoni set to celebrate catfish

2 I Today in Mississippi I March 2013

The Union County Master Gardener’s Present

2013 New Albany Home and Garden Show

“Windows into Spring” Friday April 5, 2013 11:00 am - 5:00 pm Free admission except for Kevin Hinton seminar

Saturday April 6, 2013 8:30 am - 3:30 pm

Speakers for the fifth annual event include: Carol Reese, University of TN Extension Ornamental Horticultural Specialist Jason Reeves, University of TN Landscape Designer and Ornamental Horticulturist Dr. Lelia Kelly, Ornamental Horticulturist Specialist for Mississippi State University Kevin Hinton AIFD, Floral Designer Bob Mercier, Landscape Architect ($15 with lunch) “The Doctors are in” all Mississippi State University Horticulturists to answer questions about garderning and master gardeners

More information at or by calling garden show chairman, Tim Burress at

(662) 316-0088

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March 2013 I Today in Mississippi

Never let your guard up near overhead power lines he news photos and accounts of tornado victims in several south Mississippi counties last month were heartbreaking. Our prayers are with them as they begin the long recovery process. I was also distressed to see photos of people walking through city streets in the midst of downed power lines. Were the lines dead? Who knows? You can’t tell by looking! The best way to stay safe around any power line is to assume it is energized, and therefore extremely hazardous. Contact with an energized power line causes serious injury, and even death. Immediately after February’s severe storms, we activated our statewide emergency plan to get additional emergency crews to the hardest hit of our electric power associations. This work force labored long hours to restore electric service to more than 13,000 meters within two days. Working around electricity demands specialized skills and knowledge. One careless move can result in a tragedy. Our line workers not only train hard to work safely, they think about electrical safety every day. The rest of us should think about electrical safety too, and not only during natural disasters. Too often, our work, play and daily activities bring us too close to power lines. Working too close to power lines is not only deadly, it’s against Mississippi law. Commonly called the 10-Foot Rule, it requires the person responsible for work being done close to a high-voltage line to contact the electric utility so arrangements can be made for safety. Children (and adults) must be discouraged from climbing trees in contact with a power line. A tree’s high moisture content makes it an excellent conductor of electricity.



Our Homeplace

My Opinion Michael Callahan Executive Vice President/CEO EPAs of Mississippi

If you are planning to build a new home, workshop, barn, swimming pool or other major outdoor project, you must make sure the structure is a safe distance from overhead (and underground) power lines. A line doesn’t have to be touched to spark danger. Electricity can jump, or arc, from a power line to a person or object that gets too close. When equipment comes into contact with power lines, it becomes energized and dangerous. If this happens at your work site, do not go near or touch the machine. Keep others away and call your electric utility immediately. If an object such as a scaffold must be moved near overhead power lines, appoint a worker whose sole responsibility is to watch the clearance between the power lines and the object—and to warn others if the minimum distance of 10 feet is not maintained. If you should be in a vehicle in contact with an overhead power line, do not leave the vehicle. Stay inside, avoid touching outside metal and wait for help. If you need to get out to summon help or because of fire, jump out without touching any wires or the exterior, keep your feet together and hop to safety. Please call your electric power association to report damaged power lines. And above all else, never assume a power line is dead. JOIN TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI


On the cover

Today in Mississippi

Former freight train engineer William McNeese now carries joy riders on the Marion County Recreational Railroad, Columbia’s newest tourism asset. McNeese and his crew of volunteers enjoy sharing local railroad lore with passengers of all ages as they ride the historic rails. Story begins on page 4.

OFFICERS Kevin Doddridge - President Brad Robison - First Vice President Wayne Henson - Second Vice President Randy Wallace - Secretary/Treasurer

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

Vol. 66 No. 3

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: 427,512 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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The brilliant yellow daffodils popping up across Mississippi tease us and lift our spirits with a preview of springtime color. Gardeners are counting down the last days of winter, dreaming of the flower and vegetable varieties they will choose for this year’s plantings. Gary Bachman advises on colorful options in cool-weather annuals in his Southern Gardening column, on page 9.

Mississippi is . . . . . . antebellum tours and hospitality doers, Small towns and Indian mounds. Delta fields, sawmills and piney hills, farmers’ tractors and 12-point rackers. Shrimp boats and live oaks, blues bands, Elvis fans and Gulf Coast sands. Civil War sites and catfish bites, Steamboat wheels and oil well drills. Gospel choirs, bonfires and rusty barbed wires, Gravel pits and buttered grits, Jerry Clower tales and round hay bales, Porch swings and Walt Grayson’s scenes. — Lynda O’Quinn, Church Hill Mississippi is walking out on the patio of your countryside home, miles away from any town, neighbors widespread, looking to the left through a line of peach and apple trees at a 7acre lake surrounded by wild ducks and deer. Take another look to your right at your planted fall garden of greens: turnip, mustard, kale, rape and collards. You remember to sit carefully because you have a cup of coffee and a buttered hot biscuit filled with muscadine jelly you made from the bush in your backyard.The serenity is magnificent. The only sound you hear is the old owl hooting in one of the nearby trees in the forest, and sometimes crickets. How wonderful is that? — Anita Walton Moore, Holly Springs I can sum up what Mississippi is to me in one word: home! — Vickie Everett, Mendenhall

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 Please keep your comments brief. Submissions are subject to editing.



Today in Mississippi

March 2013 Passengers prepare to board the train at the Columbia Exposition Center. The switch engine pulls (or pushes) a large passenger car and a caboose for a 45-minute round trip on a section of track leading into Columbia.



On Track

By Debbie Stringer The locomotive’s whistle blasted with such authority that no one would have suspected a kindergartener was pulling the cord. Five-year-old Benjamin Dearmon gave a few more long pulls before giving up the train engineer’s seat to the other rail fans waiting in line. Benjamin’s hands-on exploration of the locomotive cab topped off his recent ride on the Marion County Recreational Railroad, in Columbia. “He has something about trains. He loves to look at them, loves to ride them—loves just William McNeese sits in the 1940s vinabout everything about tage caboose, which was modified to them,” said his grand- carry passengers before Marion County mother Eleanor Robin- acquired it. son, a Dixie Electric Power Association member. Since the train began making regularly scheduled

Marion County’s recreational railroad couples trainloads of fun to local history runs in April 2012, people of all ages have climbed aboard for the 45-minute round-trip ride into Columbia’s history. Consisting of a 25-ton diesel-powered switch engine, a flatbed car converted into a passenger car and a bright green caboose, the train departs the first Saturday of each month from the Columbia Exposition Center. From there it rolls southward into Columbia on the historic Silver Creek–Columbia line. Passengers pay $5 each to settle into one of the caboose’s vintage green-and-white vinyl benches and watch the landscape slide past at an easy 6 mph. The train’s engineer is William McNeese, a member of Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association who used to run a train for Georgia-Pacific when that company leased the railroad. He ambles among the passengers, answering questions about the train and explaining the railroad’s prominent role in local history. Lending sound effects to his talk are the creaks and groans of steel wheels rolling on steel rails, the clanging of the train’s bell and the long whistle blasts at road crossings. The caboose rocks slightly as it rolls, adding yet another singular sensation to its passengers’ experience. Local volunteers serve as train conductors, assistant

engineers and flagmen. Communicating with handheld radios, the men stay in constant contact with each other to ensure the safety of their passengers. The volunteer flagman speeds ahead in a pickup truck to stop traffic at each of the railroad’s road crossings as the train approaches.

‘My dream is to get an old dining car and every month or so have a special ride with food and entertainment.’ – Eddie Ray Breakfield

Finally, brakes applied, the train squeals to a halt before reaching a wooden trestle bridge. Had it not burned in ‘09, the bridge would have given the train access to Bluff Street Park, overlooking the Pearl River. The bridge will be rebuilt, but for now the stop allows passengers to step off the train, walk to the bridge and hear more stories about the historic railroad and the community’s plans for its preservation. “We typically share our hopes and aspirations for

March 2013


Today in Mississippi



‘To me, it’s really exciting because the train is so unique.’ – Robin Sanderson

Clockwise from left: • At the south end of the route, passengers step off the train’s colorful caboose to explore the trestle bridge. Volunteer train crew members Lloyd Thompson (brown jacket), Steve Robbins (on ground at right) and Jerry Collier (on caboose)—all train enthusiasts themselves—assist and answer questions. Their chief duty is to ensure a safe ride for their passengers. • At the end of the ride, train engineer William McNeese directs Benjamin Dearmon, 5, onto the locomotive, where he will get to blow the train’s whistle and ring its bell. • Whistle blowing is not just for kids. Passenger Sheila Cuccia, of Marion County, gives it a try in the locomotive’s cab.

expanding the route by rebuilding the bridge and maybe taking it on in to downtown,” said Lloyd Thompson, a volunteer conductor and flagman. Preserving the railroad’s history while developing its potential as a tourist attraction is the concern of the five-member Marion County Railroad Authority (MCRA), chaired by Columbia native Eddie Ray Breakfield, a member of Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association. Beginning around the turn of the 20th century, railroads played a vital role in the early development of Columbia and Marion County. By mid-century, three railroads served the area. Logging and lumber companies used the railroads to transport locally harvested yellow pine logs to sawmills, and lumber to markets across the country. The county’s recreational railroad was once a part of the Columbia–Silver Creek line, owned by Illinois Central. Marion County acquired the line when it was abandoned by the Gloster Southern Railroad in 1995. The late Maurice Danton, a former mayor of

Columbia who chaired MCRA, led a group of local business people in securing funds to buy the line. “It was his vision and dream to have a recreational railroad,” Breakfield said, “and we have been working on it for years and years and years.” Much of the track, including one road crossing, had to be rebuilt and switches removed to transform the line into a recreational railroad. Danton’s enthusiasm for the project must have been contagious; in its first eight months of regular operation last year, more than 1,000 people of all ages rode the railroad as he envisioned.

“We’re the second-largest passenger carrier in the state. We’re also the only other one besides Amtrak,” Thompson quipped. The passengers are train lovers and travelers, elementary school children and senior church groups, grandparents and retirees. For most of the children, it is their first train ride. The train may be reserved for private events. The passenger car is suitable for birthday parties, reunions and other special events. Continued on page 8



Today in Mississippi I March 2013

Tourism dollars saved many historic homes from ruin ow that a bunch of early bloomers have already blossomed out, we are moving into the time of year when they really should have bloomed in the first place. In the middle of February I drove past Johnny Baker’s house out west of Port Gibson and the row of azaleas I’m used to seeing bloom about mid to late March were open a month ahead of time. Jeanette Feltus, who owns the antebellum home Linden in Mississippi Natchez, was Seen telling me that by Walt Grayson people plan their trips to the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage to try to be there when the azaleas are in full bloom. She was hoping they wouldn’t all be bloomed out by the time Pilgrimage starts March 9. We are observing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in America until 2015. This month 150 years ago, Union Gen. Grant was getting his army ready to invade Mississippi south of Vicksburg (he crossed the Mississippi River April 30, 1863). Col. Benjamin Grierson was hatching plans to do a daring raid down the middle of Mississippi to divert attention from Grant’s army so they could cross with as little resistance as possible. I guess it worked. Grant had no resistance until midnight the next night. His army was marching toward Port Gibson, about to pass the front yard of the Schaifer House, when Confederate skirmishers exchanged shots with the Union vanguard. I have kiddingly said that the first big push of tourists who came to the Deep South were Union soldiers in the Civil War. And just as pilgrims today love to flock to our antebellum homes, so did they, but for entirely different purposes. Harvey Washington Walter owned the Mississippi Central Railroad and had his home, the Walter Place, built in Holly Springs in 1859. His first longstay house guest turned out to be Gen. Grant’s wife, Julia, and her servant after Grant took the town and comman-


The Walter Place in Holly Springs played host to Gen. Grant's wife during the Civil War while Grant was in the process of wrecking the homeowner’s railroad. By the way, the Holly Springs Pilgrimage is April 12-14 this year. Photo: Walt Grayson

deered the house as quarters for his wife. Ironically, the reason Grant was even remotely interested in this part of the country was to attack Mr. Walter’s railroad. Many of the old homes in Mississippi that made it through the war were used as headquarters for generals or as hospitals, or both. That’s the reason a bunch of them survived. Gen. Sherman used a number of other old Mississippi mansions as a literal warm-up for his later March to the Sea across Georgia. But “War is Hell,” as Sherman was quoted saying. (He may have uttered those famous words in Jackson, by the way, as he watched a team of mules and a cannon tumble into the Pearl River off a makeshift pontoon bridge.) For decades after the Civil War the homes that were left struggled to survive. The money to maintain them properly was gone. Then in the 1930s came the idea to open up the homes’ gardens to tourists who might like to see the magnificent flowers that burst into profuse bloom every spring. The garden tours worked well until 1932 when there was a town full of tourists in Natchez and a late freeze killed all the flowers. Not wanting to leave the visitors empty handed, the owners of the homes opened the doors and invited the tourists inside to take a

look. And the pilgrims have been coming to see the inside of the mansions every year since then. So I suppose it really doesn’t matter whether the flowers have already bloomed out early or not this year; most of the tourists will be indoors at the vari-

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ous spring pilgrimages around our state anyway. 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

Join Walt and many other Mississippians as they open their life albums and share their memories in words and photographs. This collection from the readers of Today in Mississippi prompted Walt to pull related tales from his vault of experience, collected while living in and traveling throughout his home state. “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories with Walt Grayson” is a valued gift, and the book is sure to become a collector’s item.

March 2013 I Today in Mississippi I 7

King of the hill hank you for your concern about Mr. Roy. Mack, his blue heeler (also called an Australian cattle dog), passed away in October. Many of you offered to give him a blue heeler, and we are grateful for strangers who understand the love humans have for their pets. Also thank you for the letters and stories you sent about your pets. Today I have good news and unpleasant news to tell you. The good news first, of course: We now have a 3Grin ‘n’ and-a-halfBare It month-old blue by Kay Grafe heeler, whose name is Little Mack. Allen Davis from Lucedale called as soon as he read my column in Today


is as strong as a bull already. I take one step and he tackles me. Mr. Roy said, “We should have researched blue heeler puppy behavior.” “You say that now? After telling me I don’t ‘read-up’ on a product before I buy?” I answered sharply. “Well, you bought that robot vacuum cleaner that does nothing but make circles in one place,” he said. I frowned. “It picks up

in Mississippi and offered the puppy to Mr. Roy. We adopted him at first sight. He was small, mostly white with black undertones and irresistible. Now Little Mack is large, Little Mack amid his mischief. mostly black with white undertones and irresistible... when he’s asleep or a few things.” we’re watching him from afar. He muttered, “You wasted all that Like so many other things in our lives, money planting flowers that only grow we say bring it on, what’s the harm? in the north. You should have researched Well, folks here’s the true story. When we or asked Billy Tilley, our flower expert.” adopted Big Mack he was 2 years old. “Okay, mister,” I said, “Let’s hire her Someone had trained him—I understand to plant our flowers and you pay!” this now. He was intelligent. He came There was nothing to do but take when called, understood the commands Little Mack to school. We did just that no, sit, down, go get in your bed. He for six sessions and he learned one never dreamed of digging up the yard. He word: sit. And then only if he smells never jumped up on us or friends. Little treats in your pocket. Little Mack says, Mack jumps, bites too hard playing and “No treat, no sit.” Then he lunges at

It’s easy to know your elected officials

Scan this QR barcode to view our electronic version of the 2013 roster.

The Electric Power Associations of Mississippi offers free online versions of the 2013 Mississippi Legislative Roster. We hope it will be helpful in your involvement with state government. To use this interactive site, go to and click on “2013 Legislative Roster.”


NOW AVAILABLE! A free, interactive legislative app for Mississippi. Our easy-to-use iPhone app provides information on Mississippi’s state and federal elected officials. Look for “Mississippi Legislative Roster” in the Apple App Store. An Android version will be available soon.

your legs or bites your hand or nose. A month ago I decided all he needed was tender loving care, so I put him in the swing with me on the back porch and pulled him to my lap. I began my usual singing that I croon when we get new animals. “I’ve got a home in glory land that’ll outshine the....” He was so excited to be in my lap and hear me sing that he lifted his head up to kiss my face, but instead he bit through my ear. I took a round of antibiotics and had a tetanus shot. He has torn two of my nice sweaters and bitten holes in three pairs of Jones New York jeans, which were Christmas gifts from relatives. His owner, Mr. Roy, didn’t offer to pay the expense for new clothes. He just said, “Little Mack will grow out of his puppy stage. Oh, look! Isn’t he cute chasing Molly to the top of the pine tree.” I adopted Molly (black, with a tad of white) from the veterinarian as a kitten 16 months ago. A month ago a solid white cat moved into the oak tree near the tree house. Oakley is a young cat, and like Molly, Oakley had to have a hysterectomy. My other two cats, 13year-old females, aren’t happy with their two new sisters. Feeding time is stressful. I feed the older cats together then Molly in a different place and Oakley in a different place. Mr. Roy takes his big, strong male dog for a walk to distract him from chasing them. At this moment Little Mack is King of Fig Farm Hill. If he wasn’t so cute and innocent I would get angry. I’ll not take a chance with my baby, Sugar— who sleeps at the foot of our bed—and let her in the yard with the King, not until his crown falls off and he’s just one of the bunch. I will admit, if Mr. Roy’s happy, I’m happy. If he can put up with my cats, wrecks, stumbles and complaints, I’ve got a good man. Footnote: Things could be worse with Little Mack. Our friends Lee and Beverly Hedegaard have a blue heeler puppy named Jack that can tear through hard plastic, anything made of rubber, and does a pretty good job on metal and wood. But that's a story for another time. 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.



Today in Mississippi I March 2013

Income from ticket sales and party car reservation fees pay the train’s operating costs. Funding Continued from page 5 sources for the “I had a 5-year-old here last year from development of Lucedale. He’s a train nut,” McNeese the recreational said. “His mama said every time the railroad have train blows going through Lucedale she included the has to put him in a car and they go Marion County watch it. So he had a birthday party on Development this train, and he asked all kinds of quesPartnership, the tions.” Mississippi Train passenger Riley Reynolds, 3, shares a thumbs-up with his Papaw, Danny MCRA members believe the railroad Blackwell, a Dixie Electric member from Jones County. Blackwell said next time he Department of will bring Riley’s cousins to ride too. will attract visitors looking for someTransportation “My dream is to get an old dining car and the Pearl River Basin Authority. A thing fun and different to do on a weekand every month or so have a special end. $170,000 grant from MDOT will fund ride with food and entertainment,” “To me, it’s really exciting because the repair of the trestle railroad bridge Breakfield said. the train is so unique,” said Robin and construction of a new passenger There is talk of building an old-style Sanderson, an MCRA member and loading area. railroad depot in Bluff Street Park, with CEO of Citizens Bank in Columbia. But it takes more than money to restrooms and a gift shop. Soon to “We really want to grow this. We just energize a project like this. The passion become a reality is the Pearl River need to work together to see the potenof a small but dedicated group of volunInterpretive Plaza, whose centerpiece will teers and supporters burns at its core. tial, and to use the energy, enthusiasm be a large scale model of the entire Pearl and creativity to turn ourselves into a Thompson, for example, became a River basin fed by an artesian well. [tourist] destination.” railroad volunteer simply because he

ON TRACK Marion County’s

recreational railroad

loves trains. “I’ve loved trains since I was knee-high to a frog. I have tons of model trains and one day will expand that layout when the kids move out,” he said with a laugh. Thompson manages the railroad’s website, in addition to serving as a conductor and flagman and, on occasion, a trimmer of limbs overhanging the track. “We’re small now, but we’re hoping to grow it and add more stuff for the people. We would love for people to come out to see what we’re doing and what our vision is,” he said. Since his first ride on the MCRR in early February, Benjamin Dearmon has been asking his grandparents when he can ride again. “That’s all he has talked about,” Eleanor Robinson said. The Marion County Recreational Railroad offers rides for up to 100 passengers on the first Saturday of each month at 10 a.m., and at other times by reservation. Admission is $5 per person. Group rates are available. Volunteers are welcome. For details, contact William McNeese at 601408-7544 or, or go to or

March 2013


Today in Mississippi



Spring brings garden shows across the state variety. These plants have abin fever seems colorful flower spikes to hit me earlier available in a kaleidoscope each year, and it of colors that include doesn’t help that orange, scarlet, pink, we haven’t had white and yellow. It’s easy much of a winter the past couto see why Sonnet snapple of years. dragons are so popular. I already have tomato transNemesia is a colorful plants ready to put in the Southern annual native to South ground even though it’s still Gardening Africa that is related to two months from the traditionsnapdragon. Flowers are al last frost date here on the by Dr. Gary Bachman up to an inch in diameter, coast. I saw blooming annuals and the interior is bearded for sale this weekend at a local garden center. I think I’m feeling a little like an Iris. Blue Bird is an old standby variety that offers some of the best warm. Every time I find a new catalog in the bright blue flowers, each having a white mailbox, the pictures look so good that I and yellow throat. A newer series of nemesia called Juicy start to feel a little guilty that I don’t Fruit put on a colorful flower display. have at least one of everything. Now if Their delicious-sounding names—like I’m feeling this way and I’m a profesPapaya, Kumquat and Watermelon— sional gardener, what’s the casual garcome in almost gaudy colors. dener supposed to do? Diascia is another snapdragon-like In case you’re feeling overwhelmed by the options already showing up in stores, favorite that is vigorous and cold tolerant. This plant is commonly called twin I’d like to recommend a few colorful annual plants that will hold up well until spur because of the descending spurs on the back of the flower. Wink Garnet is a The nemesia Juicy Fruits series has almost gaudy colors, such as those found on Papaya Nemesia, top. Whisper the warmer days of spring are upon us. Pumpkin diascia, left, shows the spurs found on this snapdragon-like favorite. Gardeners can’t go wrong with bright magenta, while Whisper Pumpkin the colorful flower spikes of these Sonnet snapdragons, right. Photos: MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman These are the snapdragon, nemesia and is a glowing orange. Diascia are cheerful diascia, all available at local garden cenplants especially well-suited for combina- ing shows coming up in the next several and scratch those gardening itches. No ters. tion containers. weeks that will help give Mississippi gar- matter where you live in Mississippi, you The snapdragon is an old standby, There are several really good gardendeners ideas for their own landscapes will be fairly close to one of these: and you can’t go wrong with the Sonnet • Gulf Coast Garden and Patio Show, Biloxi, March 1-3 • Jackson Garden and Patio Show, March 15-17 • Everything Garden Expo, Starkville, March 22-23 • New Albany Home and Garden Show, April 5-6 These events are great opportunities for home gardeners to get inspired to plant the newest trees, shrubs, and flowering annuals and perennials for the home landscape and garden. Local garden centers and landscape professionals will have vendor displays, and some of the leading horticulture and landscape professionals in the Southeast will present seminars. So come to a garden show if you’re ready for spring and want to catch a glimpse of how these beautiful plants could look in your landscape or learn how to grow them successfully.


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


Today in Mississippi  March 2013

Proudly serving members since 1938

Devastation has a way of bringing folks together I want to extend concern for you, our members, who were recently impacted by the tornados that cut a path of destruction across south Mississippi. We are aware that many of you lost your homes or had other property damage. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we will respond as quickly as possible when you are ready to receive power again. Coincidentally, before the tornado hit on Sunday, Feb. 10, we had planned to discuss line construction and power restoration in this month’s issue of Today in Mississippi. As you may have read, we are celebrating our 75th anniversary, and each month, we are highlighting a different aspect of our business and how it has evolved through the years.

You will see on the following pages, how past storms have impacted our members and how our line crews, servicemen and other employees have responded to those in the past. Every hurricane, tornado or thunderstorm power outage is unique. This storm was different because it impacted two areas of our system. Members in Petal and Macedonia were hit, and then the tornado moved to Wayne County, affecting members in Clara and Buckatunna. There were a few scattered outages in Jones and Perry counties too. I’m very proud of the effort of our employees. Our crews worked through Sunday night and all day Monday to restore power to our members. By 6 p.m. on Monday, power was restored to

Share Your Stories

s r a e Y 75 r

all of the members drives our business and who could safely our local community. receive it. When a disaster strikes, This strong, hard like the February 10 working spirit has tornado, south defined electric coopMississippians simply eratives since their go to work to clean up beginning 75 years and rebuild. I’m ago. Local residents thankful to live and who started Dixie work in an area where Electric and other people take care of one cooperatives worked another. together to design In the coming and build the electrimonths, we will cal system. They continue to witness the Randy Smith, general manager worked with engineers enduring strength of who designed the system, and then set our members as they rebuild and the poles and strung the lines themrecover. I’m proud that our employees, selves. here at Dixie Electric, had a part in Now 75 years later, this spirit still rebuilding our community.

g n embe i m e t r o a h r b bers w ossible e m l e e m C n f the p eeking

s ome o your home i y S tric is . c y e r l o E t tricit ng to Dixie ur his c i o e l m t e o u c o ab how city stories lude electri tories about ries of o c s m n e r i o topics fond m 1940s e d v n a a h s u en o 30 the 19 your life. If y eeting, kitch ould like w d lm change ctric’s annua activities, we le er Dixie E ations or oth str t demon ose as well. Augus is h t e r h t a e n i to h atured if your story e f e b ll d ries wi ssissippi, an o t s t s The be Today in Mi asket. b t f i f g o a edition you will win d, selecte

Share Your Stories

Please write your story and mail or email it to:

Pollyanna Magee Dixie Electric Power Association P.O. Box 88 • Laurel, MS 39441 Email: Please include your name and a phone number with your entry. Deadline is May 15, 2013.

March 2013



Today in Mississippi



Tree clearing in your area Dixie Electric Power Association will continue with its right-of-way clearing program in 2013. Cutting and trimming trees around power lines began in January. The lines extending out from the Sharon and Eucutta substations will be cleared early in the year. The Sharon substation serves the communities of Sharon, Hoy, Shady Grove and into Jasper County. The Eucutta substation serves members in the Shubuta, Sandersville, Altair, Eucutta and Sugar Hill communities. In summer 2013, the right of way extending from the West Waynesboro and the Hebron substations will be cut and trimmed. Dixie Electric clears the right of way to keep the electrical system reliable and to protect individuals from the dangers of electricity.

Think Safety!

System provides quicker American Cancer Society response to outages Golf Tournament Hosted by

Dixie Electric Power Association

Thursday, March 28, 2013 Dixie Golf Association Morning Tee Time:

Registration at 7 a.m. with an 8:30 a.m. tee time

Afternoon Tee Time:

Registration at noon with a 1:30 p.m. tee time Four Man Scramble Entry Fee: $75 per person Sponsorship: $100 Hole in One Sponsored by

Kim’s Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Toyota Closest to the Hole Sponsored by


Lunch will be sponsored by

Welch Construction and R&C Sons, LLC

For more information, call 601-425-2535.

Dixie Electric is in the process of implementing an outage management system (OMS), so members can quickly report power outages.

The system works like this: • Your power goes out. • You call Dixie Electric, and select “report a power outage” when the automated phone system answers. • If your phone number is updated in Dixie Electric’s computer system, the OMS will recognize your account and verify your address, using Caller ID. • Once you have pressed the number to verify your address, the outage is reported in the system. • Hang up. There are numerous benefits to this simple system. By using the automated phone system, the dispatcher knows immediately that you have called and where your outage is located. Outages appear on a system map, so the dispatcher knows how many houses are affected by the outage. “The primary purpose for installing these systems is to take more outage calls in a shorter period of time. This will enable us to identify the source of an outage faster and

respond in a timelier manner than has been possible,” General Manager Randy Smith said. By using this system to report outages, you will not have to call to report the outage again even if the outage lasts for several days. As you can see, we need current and accurate telephone numbers for all of our members in order to keep everyone informed and to enable us to respond quickly to outages. If you have not already gone to to create a login under “My Account,” please do so today. Provide the phone number(s) and e-mail address you want us to use when contacting you. Also, there is space on your monthly bill statement where you can provide this information as well. The outage system is for power outage reporting. If you need to make a service request or report an outdoor light repair, please speak with a service representative at one of our offices during regular business hours.


Today in Mississippi  March 2013

Tornado devastat Dixie Electric members’ homes and businesses, causes outages

A long-track tornado skipped through south Mississippi from Marion County to the Alabama line, damaging more than 500 buildings and causing power outages on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 10. At the height of the outages more than 5,600 members were without power across Dixie Electric’s seven county service area. The hardest hit areas were in Forrest County with 3,500 members without power, and Wayne County with 1,500 members without service. The remaining outages were in Jones and Perry counties. “This tornado was in two concentrated areas - one around Petal and Macedonia and the other around Clara and Buckatunna,” Operations Manager Pat McCarthy said. “It’s unusual that the same storm system would affect two completely separate areas of our system.” Power was restored to all members, who could safely receive it, by 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11. Line crews, servicemen and other personnel worked through the night to replace 15 power poles and string wire. “We have an emergency response plan, so everyone knows their role when a disaster like this strikes. Our employees immediately go into action,” General Manager Randy Smith said. “I’m very proud of them.”

The torn photo w

Here is a brief timeline of the devastating storm and Dixie Electric’s response:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

 At approximately 5:30 p.m., a devastating thunderstorm, spawning tornadoes, passed through Dixie Electric’s service area.  The first calls, reporting outages in Petal and Macedonia, began coming into the answering service at about 5:30 p.m. Other scattered outages were called in as well.  By 6:30 p.m., servicemen responded and requested assistance from the line crews.  At 7:45 p.m., six line crews, four Dixie Electric crews and two contract crews, loaded trucks and went to Petal and Macedonia in Forrest County and to Buckatunna and Clara in Wayne County to restore power. Servicemen stayed in the Laurel service area to restore scattered outages.  Transmission lines to the Petal substation were down, which had to be repaired by South Mississippi Electric Power

Association, and there was additional damage to Dixie Electric’s lines extending from that substation. Four poles were down in Macedonia. Crews worked through the night and repaired most of the damage by daybreak.

Monday, February 11, 2013

 At 6 a.m. Monday, 500 accounts remained without service, which was down from the height of 5,600. Those 500 accounts were in Wayne County. Crews worked through the day in Wayne County to set poles and string line. Five poles were broken and had to be replaced.  By 4 p.m., 200 accounts remained without power in Wayne County. A few accounts were under water and not accessible.  Power was restored to members who could safely receive it by 6 p.m. on Monday.

Above: Groundmen Andrew Jones and Brett Weltzheimer clear trees and limbs from a broken pole caused by the tornado.

March 2013

Today in Mississippi


e tornado destroyed more than 500 homes and businesses in its 70 mile path. This oto was taken in Petal. Photo courtesy of Brian Robertson.

Above: Line Foreman David Hayes’ crew, along with Operations Manager Pat McCarthy (left), replace a pole on Monday, Feb. 11, restoring power to members in Wayne County.




Today in Mississippi  March 2013

Technology and equipment

In early days of electric cooperatives, there were no digger trucks to dig holes and set poles. There were no bucket trucks to reach the high voltage lines; poles had to be climbed. “It was a different bunch of folks in those early days. Everything had to be done by muscle,” retired Operations Manager Phillip Shaw said. “You had to dig and hand set poles, and then you had to climb and then climb the next pole.” Shaw worked for Dixie Electric for 40 years, retiring in 2012. The early linemen, like Leonard Breazeale who was one of Dixie Electric’s original four employees, knew the system because they helped build it. “Leonard was really, really good. When I was a serviceman, I would be working at night by myself,

and he would come on the radio and tell me how to reroute the power,” retired Line Foreman Harold Ishee said. “I don’t think he ever slept.” Ishee worked at Dixie Electric for 35 years. “The man that knows every pole and breaker is retiring,” Line Construction Supervisor Wayne Johnson said about Breazeale when he retired in 1984. “When I started here (in 1972), we had one digger truck and two pole trucks,” Shaw said. The pole trucks were hand built at Wansley Machine; all of the poles were hauled on top of these trucks to the job sites. Lineman Duke Boutwell was driving one of the pole trucks in Laurel when the poles fell off the truck and rolled down 16th Avenue. Thankfully, no one was injured; however, the incident made the front page of the Laurel Leader-Call newspaper. Poles are carried on trailers now and each of the four line crews has their own. They also have digger and bucket trucks. The crews began taking bucket trucks with them daily in the mid1990s, recalled Shaw.


change with the times These improvements in equipment have made power line construction and power restoration both much quicker and safer.

“It was a different bunch of folks in those early days. Everything had to be done by muscle.” - Phillip Shaw

“We don’t have near the outages now that we use to have. I don’t remember the last rotten pole we’ve had,” Johnson said. “Servicemen would lose a lot of family time because we were on call every other week.” Johnson was a serviceman for more than 30 years before becoming a supervisor. “Clearing right of way is the best thing we’ve ever done,” Shaw said. Right-of-way clearing is removing trees and other undergrowth from

around the power lines to prevent outages and for the safety of the public. Right of way is cleared across the system on a six year cycle, keeping the lines clear of trees and limbs. In addition to right-of-way clearing, Dixie Electric has a pole inspection company to check the power poles on an annual rotating basis, so rotten poles can be replaced before they cause an outage or injury. Just like other occupations, a lineman’s job continues to change. Line foremen and serviceman now have laptops in their vehicles with the mapping system on it, and Dixie Electric is in the process of implementing an outage management system for quicker dispatching and power restoration.

March 2013


Today in Mississippi


Power Restoration: A lineman’s toughest job “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night . . .” can keep them from erecting poles or stringing power lines. This quotation was written to describe the tough conditions that postal workers face, but it is also describes the challenges of linemen. Recently, a tornado devastated two areas of Dixie Electric’s service territory. Linemen worked through the night of Sunday, Feb. 10, to restore electric service to nearly 6, 000 members. It rained constantly while the line crews set poles and strung lines. “As one of your members that was affected by the tornadoes that hit Clara, I wanted to let you know, your crews rock! They worked through some of the roughest conditions to restore our power in record time,” member Sue Fallin wrote to our general manager after the February tornado. Through the years, the linemen have restored power in all types of weather disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, snow and thunderstorms. Hurricanes Camille, Frederick, Georges, Ivan, Katrina and most recently Isaac are a few that have affected all or portions of Dixie Electric’s service area. “We retired the phrase, ‘this is the worst I’ve ever seen,’” Line Construction Supervisor Wayne Johnson said when he recalled Hurricane Katrina that devastated south Mississippi in 2005. Hurricane Katrina knocked out electric service to all 38,000 accounts. More than 1,000 line workers came from across the nation to restore electric service to Dixie Electric’s members. “I called statewide and told them that I needed as many crews as possible,” retired Operations Manager Phillip Shaw said. Dixie Electric is part of a network of electric cooperatives who work together to restore electric power after major disasters. This army of linemen restored electric service to Dixie Electric’s members in 19 days. “Hurricane Katrina took down a system in about 10 hours that took 65 years to build,” Johnson said. The linemen recalled several devastating tornadoes, including Glade in 1987, Dixie Hills in the early 1970s, Hebron and Moss in the late 1990s, Sharon in 2011 and recently the 70 mile tornado that cut a path of destruction from Marion County to the Alabama state line. There are probably many more through the years that have damaged the electrical system. When other people are home with their families after a storm, linemen are braving the weather and destruction to help others. After Katrina, many linemen as well as other utility workers had damage to their homes, but they came to work anyway.


Closing Mississippi’s season with Bo 12


Today in Mississippi I March 2013

e have camp secure, Bo and I. Housing is a David Ellis Range Tent, a 10 by 10 suspended by peeledpine poles. Inside are foam sleeping pads, sleeping bags, a pair of wool blankets and an olive-oil lamp. This latter will flicker its mystical glow well into the night as I attempt to answer with clarity and sincerity Bo’s grandiose questions about the hunting world and my many experiences in it, these now encompassing more than 50 years. Goodness, time has done anything but creep. Outside the tent is a canvas fly, this also 10 by 10. It will serve as a place to sit while a small 18th century-style brazier emits its diminutive but warming flame just beyond the fly’s eve. Two oak-


and-rope holders nestle containers of water, one for hand washing and one for drinking and making coffee. There is also a Mississippi two-piece oak Outdoors table that I envisioned one late by Tony Kinton night when I should have been sleeping. I built it so that it would slide together on either side of the fly’s middle pole, thus producing more usable space under that fly. I also built the oakand-rope holders so that they fold into a compact package for travel. Somewhat favoring a throw-back to antiquity, the

Bo begins the process of producing a spark with flint and steel. If he is successful, that spark will fall onto char cloth and begin to smolder. He then needs only to wrap it in the tinder and blow it to life.

camp is highly functional. I like things that way, old and functional. No new gadgets to clutter one’s mind. I hope Bo will like such systems as much as I. I have been watching Bo since camp was set. He split with a hatchet some fat pine kindling into usable splinters. These I will employ to start the evening fire. He is now tinkering with his new .22 rifle. Quite the marksman he has become. And safe too. Not once during my observation have I seen him abandon prescribed protocol. I worry little about him now in that regard. And those same splinters split today will serve well tomorrow. For it is then that I will teach him the fascinating tactic of starting fire with flint and steel and char cloth. He needs to know that. His survival could depend upon such skills. But even if it

Char catches spark and Bo blows it to life in the birch-bark tinder.

never does, he needs to know so that he can understand what it means to be selfsufficient and will know how it was done by individuals long ago. Another day has slipped quietly over the pines. We slept well last night. I

Quite the marksman he has become. And safe too. Not once have I seen him abandon protocol. heard Bo stir but once, and this hardly noticed. He did so when a collection of coyotes whaled a plaintive song near camp. Though signaling little danger, this sound still causes chills, perhaps because of its wildness as opposed to its threat. Today we will end another season, and my young companion will try


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March 2013 I Today in Mississippi

his hand at the flint and steel. We will cook breakfast over the fire he generates. All has been well. Bo is growing up. The nature of that process is change, and I am sure he will. But I hope the whirlwind of young adulthood will be kind to him. I hope he will still want to strike fire with flint and steel and char cloth and sleep in canvas tents and move quietly though the squirrel woods. Those decisions are his and time will reveal the outcome. I

hope I have done my best. And I look forward to the others: Grant and Carson and Ford and Ethan. All, like Bo, are great nephews, but I could never have had sons or grandsons who would be more entrenched into my very core than these. Boys, to each of you, all the best this life has to offer.



Bo standing in camp. The surroundings must appear ancient to him, but he later said, “That was the best sleeping I have done in a long time.”

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, or Kinton’s website:

Bo tries his hand at cooking venison sausage over the brazier for breakfast. Photos: Tony Kinton

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Today in Mississippi


March 2013

Orange Cake



‘Ladies of the Church’ Since publishing their first recipe collection in 2000, the ladies of Liberty Baptist Church, in Waynesboro, have produced an all-new cookbook every four years. Last summer they released their fourth, simply titled “Ladies of the Church.” The goal of all this hard work is to help support their mission work. But by sharing recipes, these church women also want to emphasize the importance of sharing meals in the home, and the value of “breaking bread together” in fellowship. From Apricot Bacon Delight to Zucchini Spaghetti, their recipes fill more than 230 pages of a threering binder. Most are easy-to-prepare dishes based on readily available ingredients—like the recipes reprinted here. Some of the recipes will help teach beginning cooks the basics, including ways to prepare various sauces for barbecue, pasta and other dishes in place of commercial versions. The cookbook may be ordered from Liberty Baptist Church, 485 Old Hwy. 84 Road, Waynesboro, MS 39367. Price is $15 each plus $3 S&H per book. For more information, call 601-735-2597.

Molten Chocolate Surprise 4 squares Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 2 whole eggs 2 egg yolks

1 cup powdered sugar 1/3 cup flour 12 Chips Ahoy! cookies 1/2 cup thawed frozen whipped topping

Heat oven to 425 F. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwavable bowl on High for 2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk whole eggs, yolks, sugar and flour until blended. Gradually beat into chocolate mixture. Line 12 (2 1/2-inch) muffin cups with paper liners; coat with cooking spray. Place 1 cookie, upside down, on bottom of each liner. Cover with batter. Bake 8 minutes or until cakes are fim around edges but still soft in centers. Let stand 1 minute. Carefully remove cakes from pan. Invert onto dessert dishes and remove paper liners. Serve with thawed whipped topping.

1 orange cake mix 1 small pkg. orange Jell-O

3/4 cup water 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients. Bake in a tube pan for 45 minutes. Glaze: 1/2 cup (6 oz.) frozen orange juice 1 cup sugar

Combine orange juice and sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Pour juice over cake in the pan. Let set 1 hour before removing from cake pan.

One-Dish Chicken Pasta 1 (12-oz.) pkg. farfalle (bow tie) pasta 5 Tbsp. butter, divided 1 medium onion, chopped 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped 1 (8-oz.) pkg. fresh mushrooms, quartered 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken broth 2 cups milk 3 cups chopped cooked chicken 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in Dutch oven over low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken, cooked vegetables and hot cooked pasta. Add cheese, salt and pepper. Serve with desired toppings: toasted sliced almonds, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, shredded Parmesan cheese.

Barbequed Pork Tenderloin 2 (1-lb.) pork tenderloins 1 cup tangy barbeque sauce Juice and zest of 1 orange

Juice and zest of 1 lemon 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 3 cloves garlic, chopped

Place tenderloins in a zipper-top bag. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over tenderloins. Marinate for several hours in the refrigerator. Remove tenderloins from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Over high heat, grill tenderloins for 10 minutes. Turn meat, reduce heat to medium low and grill for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until meat registers 145 F (medium) on a meat thermometer. Remove from heat, transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let meat rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve with Tangy Slaw on buttered, toasted French bread. Tangy Slaw: 1 head cabbage, core removed and leaves sliced thin 1/2 head red cabbage, core removed and leaves sliced thin 1/2 red onion, sliced thin 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin 1 tsp. celery seeds 1 tsp. celery salt 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup vinegar 1/2 cup mayonnaise Salt, pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Win a FREE cookbook Enter our drawing for a chance to win a free copy of “In Good Taste: Recipes for Healthy Living,” compliments of the Jackson Heart Clinic. Send your name, address and phone number to Cookbook Giveaway, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158, or send email to Hurry! The deadline for sending entries is March 18.

Bunny Bait 2 cups pretzel sticks 2 cups Rice Chex cereal 1 bag microwave popcorn, popped

1 bag white melting candies Pastel-colored sprinkles 1 large bag pastel-colored M&M’s candy

Spread pretzel sticks, cereal and popcorn on a cookie sheet. Mix. Pour melted white chocolate over mixture and stir to coat. Sprinkle on the sprinkles, but do not stir to avoid coating the sprinkles. When mix is set, add M&M’s. Package for neighbors, for a party or in individual treat bags.

March 2013


Today in Mississippi



zoni l e B By Nancy Jo Maples Catfish and catfish lovers will be the craze next month when Belzoni welcomes the world to its World Catfish Festival. Where else can a person meet a Catfish Queen and eat all the catfish they can stomach? April 6 will mark the town’s 38th annual celebration. Events start at 8 a.m. with 10-K and 5-K runs, plus one for fun. Activities will continue until 4 p.m. with live music and food which, of course, primarily consists of catfish. In addition to vendors selling catfish entrees, burgers and tacos, festival goers will have a chance to enter the eat-as-much-catfish-as-you-can contest. That event is set for 2:30 p.m. Another highlight of the day will be a drawing for $1,000 cash. Situated in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, Belzoni and Humphreys County have all the ingredients for a day like this. Music and catfish are the heartbeats of this region. This year’s musical slate showcases Southern Halo, Kudzu Station, Columbus Toy and On the Run Band. Belzoni’s music history includes blues piano man Pinetop Perkins and blues songwriter/singer Denise LaSalle. Both have Mississippi Blues Trail markers in town detailing their roots in Humphreys County. Hosting a catfish festival here makes sense. Mississippi farmers market more than half of all the farm-raised catfish in the United States, and Humphreys County carries a large portion of that

At Belzoni’s World Catfish Festival, competitors eat their fill and more in the catfish-eating contest. Captain Catfish, above right, greets visitors who come for catfish, music, crafts and the crowning of catfish queens.

percentage. In farm-raised catfish production the county boasts 8,100 acres, almost a tenth of the national acreage of catfish farms. Catfish are such an icon of Belzoni that the town features 42 whimsically painted fiberglass catfish. The county’s art council promoted the idea a few years ago. Today 5-foot tall catfish decorate the town dressed in brightly colored garments that depict the businesses that sponsor them. For example, the catfish outside the local hospital is painted like Florence Nightingale. Another one on a city sidewalk is called “Blues Cat.” He is painted blue and sports an orange blazer, brimmed hat and an acoustic guitar. In addition to the musical slate and the catfish-eating contest, the coronations of youth and teenaged catfish queens are among the day’s highlights. The Little Miss Catfish pageant is at 10 a.m. and the Miss

Catfish pageant begins at noon. Event coordinators expect about 10,000 visitors to fill the downtown area streets where the day’s activities will take place and where approximately 150 craft booths will exhibit wares. The festival is touted as a family event filled with free activities for adults and a free kids’ zone. Belzoni Garden Club members will perform in a production of “The Wizard of Oz” at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. at The Depot Theater. Admission costs $1. Belzoni launched its World Catfish Festival in 1976 and reportedly drew 3,000 visitors that year. Since then, its popularity has grown and its success placed it on a list of the Top 100 Events in North America and the Top 20 Events in the Southeast. Belzoni was named for Italian explorer and engineer Giovanni Battista Belzoni. In addition to catfish and blues, it is known as the home of some of the largest bald cypress trees in the world. One with a circumference of more than 46 feet grows in the Sky Lake Wildlife Management Area north of town. Another fact for which the area is known involves one of its late preachers who possibly could have been the first black person to die in the pursuit of civil rights in America. Some historians allege that Rev. George W. Lee was shot to death in 1955 because he had registered to vote and had encouraged other blacks to register. Whether you seek cypress trees, history, blues or fish with whiskers and fins, the World Catfish Festival can satisfy your soul. Hope to see you there.



Today in Mississippi


March 2013

Mississippi Marketplace 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, ten word minimum. Mail payment with your ad to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Have any questions? Phone 601-605-8604 or email

FOR SALE LAND FOR SALE • 47 ACRES • HINDS COUNTY 4 miles south of Bolton, MS. On Houston Road off Raymond-Bolton Road, 4 miles from Hinds Community College. Two small ponds, timber and open with planted pines. Good deer hunting near Jackson, Clinton and Vicksburg areas. Several home sites with rolling hills. $139,000. Call 601-941-3726. JACK FOSTER HANDMADE SADDLES. Hazlehurst, MS 601-894-3809, West Monroe, LA 381-397-0086.

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PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR! $12.95. “Learn Gospel Music” - chording, runs, fills - $12.95, Both $24. Davidsons, 6727MS Metcalf, Shawnee Mission, KS 66204. Call: 913-262-4982.

LAKE WASHINGTON RUSTIC CABIN ON WATERS EDGE, East side, pier, bbq grill, furnished, two night minimum, 4 bedrooms call Ricky 662-827-5310 or 662-820-3724 after 5pm.

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BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY WATKINS SINCE 1868. Top 10 home business. Over 350 products everyone uses. Free catalog packet. 800-352-5213.

MISCELLANEOUS FREE BOOKS/DVDS, Soon the “Mark of the Beast” will be enforced as Church and State unite! Let the Bible reveal. The Bible Says, P.O. Box 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771. 888-211-1715.

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March 2013

Today in Mississippi



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Today in Mississippi


March 2013


Events 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 601-605-8601; or email to 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

Fiber Art Exhibition, through March 12, Hattiesburg. Featuring works by Martha Ginn and Diane Williams. Hattiesburg Cultural Center. Details: 601-583-6005; Mississippi Blues Fest, March 2, Greenwood. Doors open 5 p.m.; show starts 7 p.m. Leflore County Civic Center. Details: Gospel/Bluegrass Concert, March 2, Fulton. Paul Williams and The Victory Trio, Rhonda Vincent and others. Admission. Itawamba Community College, Davis Event Center. Details: 662-842-1891. B&S Consignment Spring/Summer Sale, March 6-8, Brookhaven. Clothing, toys, shoes, DVDs, furniture, more. Lincoln Civic Center. Details: 601-303-1466; First Thursdays, March 7, April 4, May 2, June 6, Greenwood. Extended store hours, live music at The Alluvian and dining; 5-7 p.m. Details: 662-453-9197; 58th Annual Mississippi State Square and Round Dance Festival, March 8-9, Brandon. With caller Andy Petrere and cuers Tim Eum and Cindy Hartley. Brandon Municipal Building. Details: 601-825-1230, 601-684-5783. Lamar County Bluegrass Fest, March 8-9, Purvis. Rigney Family, Breaking Grass, Flatt Lonesome and others. Admission. Lamar County Community Shelter. Details: 601-5966496; Fort Pemberton Encampment With Company K and 30th MS Infantry, March 9, Greenwood. Guided tours of the fort and the firing of the Lady Polk Cannon at dusk. Details: 662-453-0925; Natchez Spring Pilgrimage, March 9 April 9, Natchez. Tours of 23 antebellum homes and six museum houses with guides in period clothing, special events, music, “Southern Road to Freedom,” more. Details: 800-647-6742;

Capital City Gun Show, March 16-17, Jackson. Admission. Wahabi Shriners building, I-55 South. Details: 601-498-4235. Mississippi Gulf Coast 61st Spring Pilgrimage, March 16-24, Mississippi Gulf Coast. About 40 homes, gardens and historic landmarks, including Beauvoir, along the coast, plus special events. Free. Details: 228861-5826; “Songs of the Old and New World,” March 19, Hernando. With Irish soprano Virginia Kerr and conductor/pianist Coleman Pearce; 6-7 p.m. Free. Hernando Public Library. Details: 662-429-4439. “May the Force Be With You,” March 20, Horn Lake. Talk and signing with Marvel Comic’s John Jackson Miller of “Star Wars” graphic novels; 6-7 p.m. Free. M.R. Dye Public Library. Details: 662-393-5654; 41st Annual Smith County Jamboree, March 21-23, Polkville. Bluegrass, gospel, country music featuring Bluegrass Cartel, Southern Flair, Polkville City Limits, others. Camper hookups. Admission. Music Barn. Details: 601-946-0208, 601-955-9182. “Get Your Book Published” Workshop With Neil White, March 22, Greenwood. Registration fee. The Alluvian Hotel. Details: 662-513-0159;; Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival, March 22-23, Starkville. Concerts, seminars, tours of Templeton Museum. Admission. Mitchell Memorial Library, MSU. Details: 662-3258542; Spring Plant Sale, March 22-23, Picayune. Hard-to-find native trees, shrubs, perennials; see plant guide on website. Free admission. Crosby Arboretum. Details: 601-799-2311; Great River Road Bike Trail Ribbon Cutting and Ride, March 23, Tunica. Thirteen-mile ride; 8:30 a.m. Rivergate Park, downtown. Details: 662-363-6611;

Ironwood Market: Art on the Tracks, March 23, McComb. Ironwood 5K/10K walk and run, juried artists, local chefs, regional musicians; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Historic downtown, Railroad Boulevard. Details: 800-9930757; Easter Bunny Visits Swan Creek Farm, March 23, Silver Creek. Photos with the Easter Bunny or with live rabbits, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Bring eggs for staff to hide. Play, picnic areas. Admission. Swan Creek Farm Petting Zoo and Waterfowl Park. Details: 601-310-8592, 601587-7114; Laurel Gun Show, March 23-24, Laurel. Admission. Fairgrounds. Details: 601-4984235. Pearl River County Arts League Art Show and Sale, March 23-24, Picayune. Acrylic, oil, mixed media, watercolor, three-dimensional works and photography; raffle for an original painting. Free admission. Knights of Columbus Hall. Details: 601-798-7758; Cedar Hill Farm Annual Easter Egg Hunts, March 23-30, Hernando. Hay ride, petting zoo, railroad, chicken show, Easter bunny, hay fort, picnic areas and more. Admission. Cedar Hill Farm. Details: 662-429-2540; “Taste of DeSoto,” March 26, Southaven. Food-tasting with about 50 restaurants, silent auction, entertainment; 5:30 - 9 p.m. Admission. Landers Center. Details: 662-9106732, “Pieces and Strings 2013,” March 29 - April 26, Port Gibson. Quilt exhibit. Entries accepted through March 25. Recognition ceremony 11 a.m. March 29. Mississippi Cultural Crossroads. Details: Second Annual Viking Half Marathon and 5K, March 30, Greenwood. Starts 8 a.m. Downtown. Details: 662-453-4152; Hippity Hop for Your Heart 5K Fun Run, March 30, Lucedale. To start 8:30 a.m. at George Regional Hospital and continue through the city. Details: 601-947-0709;; Tapestry: The Pilgrimage to Vicksburg Tour of Homes, April 1-30, Vicksburg. Details: 800-221-3536; Vicksburg Sesquicentennial Heritage Fair, April 5-7, Vicksburg. Pemberton’s Headquarters, Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation Complex and Old Courthouse Museum. Details: 800-221-3536; Third Annual Cruise for St. Jude, April 6, Leakesville. Motorcycle ride, car show, live auction, entertainment, food.

Details: 601-947-3963. “Edible and Useful Plants of the Gulf South” and Field Walk, April 5, Picayune. Dr. Charles Allen to present hands-on program, to include tea and spice tastings; 1011:30 a.m. Admission. Margaret Reed Crosby Library. To register: 601-799-2311. Field walk with Dr. Allen in Crosby Arboretum’s Hillside Bog area from 2-4 p.m. Admission. To register: 504-293-4726. Second Annual Good Ole Days Festival, April 6-7, Lucedale. Breakfast, old-time demonstrations, antique tractors, hit-andmiss engines, kids’ games, more. Admission. Benefits George County Habitat for Humanity. George County Fairgrounds. Details: 601-7660730, 601-947-2755; adailey.gchabitat Two Rivers Bluegrass Festival, Heritage & Forestry Expo, April 9-13, Leakesville. Bluegrass bands, instrument master class workshops, children’s activities, quilting demonstrations, much more. Admission. Greene County Rural Events Center. Details: 601-758-4976, 601-408-5965. Amory Railroad Festival, April 11-14, Amory. Entertainment including Restless Heart, arts and crafts, new BNSF locomotive display, 5K run, carnival, more. Frisco Park. Details: 662-256-9671. Smokin’ on the Tracks, April 12-13, Summit. Barbecue cook-off, music, vendors. Block party 5 p.m. Friday. Downtown. Details: Bay Oaks Quilt Guild Show, April 13-14, Bay St. Louis. Exhibit of more than 100 quilts, merchandise mall, handmade items sale, demonstrations, door prizes. Admission. St. Rose de Lima Holy Spirit Center. Details: 228-2231033; Philadelphia Gun Show, April 13-14, Philadelphia. Admission. Neshoba County Coliseum, Hwy. 15 North. Details: 601-4984235. Mississippi Poetry Society Spring Festival, April 13-14, Ocean Springs. Featured speaker is poet, essayist and editor Lenny Emmanuel. Gulf Hills Hotel and Resort. Details: 228-875-4350; (specify “Poetry Festival” in subject line); Meridian Little Theatre Ladies Guild Spring Variety Sale, April 13-14, Meridian. Clothing, accesssories, shoes, linens, toys, books, more; half price on Sunday. Meridian Little Theatre. Details: 601-482-6371, 601679-7671. Mississippi Coast Jazz Society Dance and Jam Session, April 14, Biloxi. Non-member and student musicians may sit it (students must call first); 2-5 p.m. Admission. Hard Rock Casino. Details: 228-392-4177.

March 2013

Today in Mississippi


Today in Mississippi Dixie March 2013  

Today in Mississippi Dixie March 2013

Today in Mississippi Dixie March 2013  

Today in Mississippi Dixie March 2013