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Periodical postage (ISSN 1052 2433)

Singing River Electric Power Association

Meet the natives at

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center Former plantation showcases birds

4

Cookbook benefits special-needs kids

14

Fall festival, fair season gearing up

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2 I Today in Mississippi I September 2011

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September 2011 I Today in Mississippi

Our visit to Ground Zero has surprising impact on the kids here were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?” Alan Jackson asks in his hit song about Sept. 11, 2001. 9/11 has become one of those “where were you?” events in history: Where were you when Kennedy was shot, Armstrong walked on the moon, Elvis died, Reagan was shot, the Challenger exploded. Many of these answers depend on your generation. I was not around when Kennedy was president, just a baby when Armstrong walked on the moon, and not old enough to understand why Mom was crying over some guy named Elvis. While these events were important to history, they really did not affect me in an emotional way. For that reason, I was skeptical when my wife suggested we take the kids to Ground Zero when we visited New York in March. While I wanted to go, I was not sure it would mean much to my children. Michael was only 4 in 2001, Katlyne a little over a year and Victoria was yet to be born. I was just not sure the kids would appreciate what had happened that day and how emotional it had been for us as a country. When we arrived at the Ground Zero Memorial, I was a little surprised. The actual 9/11 site was a bustling construction zone. Several huge cranes worked to reconstruct buildings and erect the permanent memorial for those lost on that fateful day. A clock was counting down the days till the 10th anniversary, when all this was supposed to be finished. The temporary memorial was housed in a small storefront not far from the construction. Small and crowded with people, it housed artifacts and pictures of people who had perished in the tragedy. On one wall was a timeline of the events that unfolded that day, and pictures. I was in a doctor’s office, being treated for a sinus infection, when I first heard a plane

“W

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

had hit the World Trade Center. A short time later, I sat at my house and watched in utter shock and disbelief as the towers fell to the ground. As I read the timeline and relived that day, I felt a knot in my stomach, a lump in my throat and tears welling in my eyes. I was trying not to cry in front of my children when I happened to glance down at them. All three had tears streaming down their faces. It was then I realized 9/11 was an event that would transcend generations and time. 9/11 was the day America was attacked for being America. It was the day people died just doing what they do, some while trying to escape the fires in their office buildings. Some brave souls lost their lives trying to save others trapped in the infernos. My 14-year-old son reached into his pocket and pulled out money to make a donation to the memorial fund. The girls quickly asked their mother for money to do the same. Michael bought a lapel pin; the girls bought books. We were all emotionally drained when we walked out the door. As we walked back to the subway, past the construction, my son paused and looked over at the massive site, with all the cranes and workers. “Dad, do you think we will ever catch him?” he asked. “Yes I do,” I answered. As we continued on to catch the girls, Michael said, “They got us that day, they knocked them down, but they couldn’t stop us from putting them back. We are still here and we’re putting them back.” Yes, we are.

On the cover

Today in Mississippi

The promise of seeing the rubythroated hummingbird, and countless other native and migratory birds, draws visitors to Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, in Holly Springs. The National Audubon Society is restoring the natural environment at the former cotton plantation, making it inviting once again to birds and other wildlife. Story on page 4.

OFFICERS

Vol. 64 No. 9

The Official Publication of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi

EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is 601-605-8600 a cooperative newspaper published Acceptance of advertising by Today in monthly by Electric Power Associations Mississippi does not imply endorsement of Mississippi, Inc., P.O. Box 3300 of the advertised product or services by Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300, or 665 the publisher or Mississippi’s Electric Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, Power Associations. Product satisfaction MS 39157. Phone 601-605-8600. EDITORIAL STAFF and delivery responsibility lie solely with Periodical postage paid at Ridgeland, Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO the advertiser. MS, and additional office. The publisher Ron Stewart - Senior Vice President, Co-op Services • National advertising representative: (and/or its agent) reserves the right to Mark Bridges - Manager, Support Services National Country Market, 800-626-1181 refuse or edit all advertising. Jay Swindle - Manager, Advertising POSTMASTER: Send address changes Debbie H. Stringer - Editor Circulation of this issue: 434,032 to: Today, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS Abby Berry - Communications Specialist Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year 39158-3300 Rickey McMillan - Graphics Specialist Visit us at: Linda Hutcherson - Administrative Assistant

Ronnie Robertson - President Darrell Smith - First Vice President Kevin Doddridge - Second Vice President Brad Robison - Secretary/Treasurer

www.todayinmississippi.com

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We Remember A memorial in downtown Durant honors two native sons who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon: • Lt. Col. Jerry D. Dickerson Jr., 41, served in the U.S. Army. He was at the Pentagon when it was struck by the hijacked American Flight 77. He worked on operations research and systems analysis and lived with his wife and two children in the Washington, D.C., area. • J. Joe Ferguson, 39, was director of geography education outreach at the National Geographic Society and a passenger on American Flight 77. An avid traveler, he was flying with a small group of teachers and students on a National Geographic-sponsored field trip to the Channel Islands. He lived in Washington, D.C. Both men are among the victims memorialized with inscriptions at the National September 11 Memorial, located at the World Trade Center site in New York City.

Mississippi is . . . . . . a dream homeplace to me. I wasn’t born in Mississippi but moved here five years ago. As a child I lived in Kentucky and Alabama, and Alabama till I was an adult. I’ve always had a love for Mississippi, and when we were blessed with the opportunity to move here and plant our roots, my dreams had finally come true. Of all the places I’ve lived, Mississippi is my home. Home doesn’t necessary mean where you are born or raised but where your heart is with your family. I’m very proud to say Lucedale is my home and where my heart is with my family. It’s where we’ll spend the rest of our days and beyond. Thank you, Mississippi, with your beautiful magnolias and peaceful, beautiful nights. — Becky Cannon, Lucedale . . . my three boys growing up safe, playing in the dirt! The sweet smells of yellow daffodils and bright colors of tulips in the spring. A summer harvest of yellow squash, ripe red tomatoes, Mississippi purple hull peas and hot peppers make it home to me. — Judy Freeman, Magnolia . . . a historic state full of adventures lurking in every corner, ready to be discovered. It still has mysteries that have not been solved. The treasures buried deep down in the rich soil are waiting to be uprooted and their secrets revealed. — Kelly Denise Common, age 13, Tchula

What’s Mississippi to you? What makes you proud to be a Mississippian? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Please keep your comments brief and send them to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158, or e-mail them to news@epaofms.com. Submissions are subject to editing for space and clarity.

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Today in Mississippi

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September 2011

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center the natural place to

get to know the natives

By Debbie Stringer There was a time when a single plant dominated the landscape at Strawberry Plains plantation. Each summer, cotton blanketed the fields as far as one could see. By September, “white gold” spilled from the woody bolls, ready for picking and ginning. It was the 1850s, the height of King Cotton’s reign in the South, and Strawberry Plains was one of the most prosperous plantations in the region. Nature has since reclaimed this land, enriching it with native grasses, undergrowth trees—with a bit of prodding from the National Audubon Society. And thanks to a bequest from the former owners to the Audubon Society, the plantation opened to the public in 2001 in its new role as a 2,600-acre showcase for the conservation of birds and their habitat. Strawberry Plains Audubon Center is said to be one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by the National Audubon Society. The center not only seeks to restore the environment and teach visitors about environmental issues, but to call attention to the local history. Chickasaws occupied these woodlands and meadows long before white settlers arrived. “A lot of research is still being done on what exactly happened at the site, but an elder in the Chickasaw nation visits us frequently, and he has told us that this property was considered a sacred place by the

The Davis House, built in the 1950s, is a part of the Marshall County estate bequeathed to the National Aubudon Society for use as a wildlife sanctuary. Female ruby-throated hummingbirds, top, fuel up at a feeder in a naturalized garden behind the house. Photos: Janis Greene

Chickasaws,” said Katie Boyle, director of outreach and education at the center. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto clashed with the Chickasaws while leading his expedition through the area in 1541. Strawberry Plains wasn’t the only plantation operating on the Audubon land in the 19th century, but it was by far the largest. Its founder, Eben Davis, came to Marshall County in 1837. His second wife, Martha, named the plantation Strawberry Plains. In 1851 the Davises built the finest mansion in the area: a two-and-a-half-story brick structure set among red oaks. Martha Davis planted red cedars around the home, some of which remain standing today. But the mansion’s glory days went up in smoke in 1864, when Union troops set fire to the home after giving Martha Davis only 15 minutes get her family and possessions out. The family moved into servants’ quarters where they lived for several years until Eben Davis could make their charred shell

of a house livable again. Davis descendants occupied the badly deteriorated house, which had never been wired for electricity, until 1964. Its cotton producing days were long gone; only sharecroppers raised cattle and cultivated small plots. After sisters Ruth Finley and Margaret Finley Shackelford inherited the estate in 1967 (Martha Davis was their great-greataunt), Shackelford tackled an extensive renovation of the abandoned antebellum house, added a wing to the back and planted formal gardens. She and her husband, Dr. John Shackelford, spent their retirement years living and entertaining guests in the home. The Finley sisters had decided years earlier to bequeath the estate to a conservation organization that would maintain it for a wildlife sanctuary, with support from an endowment. Both women, as did many members of their family, shared a deep respect for nature and a desire to protect the

environment. They settled on the National Audubon Society, to which they bequeathed the Davis House, 2,500 acres and an antebellum house in Holly Springs. (Audubon later acquired another 100 acres.) A few months before Margaret Shackelford’s death in 1998, the Audubon Society took the first steps in the restoration of natural wildlife habitat at Strawberry Plains. The Davis mansion’s formal plantings of exotic flowers and shrubs were the first to get a makeover. “When Audubon got here, the first thing we did was rip up all of Margaret’s plants,” Boyle said. “I think she was horrified at first, but as we put in these native species, she started to see the birds arrive. She’d have her girlfriends over to watch the birds.” Today the garden demonstrates there’s no reason why native plants can’t be used in a garden—and in a naturalistic way. The result may appear overgrown and weedy to some, but to the birds, it’s a paradise. The surrounding hardwood forest is renewing itself without human intervention. The grasslands, however, and a few other areas are getting a boost from Audubon with the planting of more native species. The ultimate goal is to restore balance in the plant, insect and animal populations. An environment rich in native plants will support a variety of insects—the food of choice for many birds, amphibians and small mammals. Audubon divided the property into dis-


September 2011

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Today in Mississippi

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Visitors to the center, far left, explore a woodlands area. Photo courtesy Strawberry Plains Audubon Center Black-eyed Susans, center, and beautyberry, right, flourish in the landscape and provide food for birds. Photos: Janis Greene

tinct “demonstration areas”: the native plant garden and lawn, a bottomland hardwood forest, wetlands and grasslands. The latter is “really, really important habitat for birds that are in decline,” Boyle said. “There are not a lot of grasslands left in Mississippi.” Footpaths winding throughout the property lead visitors into the Mississippi that nature intended: teeming with wildlife and lush greenery. “I can’t walk down a path without seeing butterflies and turtles and frogs—every day,” Boyle said. “It’s the most beautiful place ever.” A sharecropper’s house, where the Shackelfords lived during the mansion renovation,

Footpaths lead visitors into the Mississippi that nature intended: teeming with wildlife and lush greenery. serves as a visitors/education center and gift shop. Audubon is expanding the gift shop to make room for more works by local artists. The center is a favorite stop for bird watchers and nature photographers. Hummingbirds zipping past in search of nectar test the photographers’ reflexes and skill. Visitors can get a closer look at these feathered jewels at the center’s annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration, where the birds are banded and released (details below). The center hosts other special education

events, classes and workshops, conducted by experts. Upcoming programs include nighttime “spider walk” led by an arachnologist and a one-day wildlife photography class taught by college professors, both being planned for October. Expertise is freely shared by Audubon staff at any time. Farmers thinking of scaling back farm operations, for example, can learn about ways to transform unsown fields into wildlife habitat—just as Audubon did at Strawberry Plains. “We give them advice and

sometimes even support on the ground for how to do that,” Boyle said. Strawberry Plains’ benefactors envisioned a place where visitors could learn about and develop an appreciation for local history, culture and nature. With the help of a small army of volunteers, the Audubon Society made it happen.

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center is located at 285 Plains Road (Highway 311), just north of Holly Springs in Marshall County. Admission includes entrance to the grounds and house tours. For hours, upcoming events and other information, call (662) 252-1155 or go online to strawberryplains.audubon.org.

Teeny birds draw big crowds Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs will welcome guests Sept. 911 to its biggest event of the year, the annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration and Natural Festival. Thousands of folks attend the festival each year to see ruby-throated hummingbirds being banded and released. A lucky few kids may even get to release a hummer. “Seeing a hummingbird up close is one of those moments you never forget,” said Katie Boyle, outreach and education director at Strawberry Plains. “Seeing a hummingbird up close is one Visitors can also watch ruby-throats throng to of those moments you never forget.” native plants and feeders to fatten up for their Gulf —Katie Boyle of Mexico crossing. Other attractions at this year’s festival will include guided wagon rides and nature walks, a kids’ nature During migration tent, live animal shows, a native plant sale, arts, crafts and food. in spring and fall, Speakers will include: hummingbirds fly • Douglas Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With across the Gulf of Native Plants” Mexico, with some • Rob Mies, from the Organization for Bat Conservation, with live bats starting from as far • Greg Budney, of Cornell University away as Canada. A highlight of the Hummingbird Migration Celebration is the banding and • Terry Vanderventer, snake expert, with live snakes. “They are able to release of ruby-throated hummingbirds. Conducted by the Hummer/Bird “As far as I know, there’s nothing like this,” Boyle said. “I’ve worked at a lot of different accomplish someStudy Group, the banding gives visitors a rare close-up look at the tiny nature centers and in the environmental field throughout my career, and this is handsbirds, above left. Photos courtesy Strawberry Plains Audubon Center thing that seems down the best nature festival I’ve ever been to. It’s just world class.” impossible,” Boyle What’s so special about hummingbirds that they should get their own festival? “Everysaid. “This tiny bird is able to migrate up to 2,500 miles with a brain the size of a pea. We one loves hummingbirds. They do things that other birds don’t do. They fly backwards really don’t know how they do that. It’s one of life’s great mysteries.” and forward and up and down like a helicopter. They have so much personality and so And something to celebrate. much spunk that they’re a joy to watch,” Boyle said. Festival admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for children under 12. For festival They’re fast, too: The ruby-throat flies an average of 30 mph—and up to 50 mph in information, call Strawberry Plains Audubon Center at (662) 252-1155 or go to strawberryescape mode. plains.audubon.org.


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Today in Mississippi I September 2011

Curious ceramic headstones trigger memories t’s been dry enough this “Old Cove” out west of Eupora. summer that an old Greensboro was another of those upfamily story is worth and-coming towns that has vanished retelling. from the map, except for the cemetery. After Daddy retired, There are lots of reasons for it going he and Mama moved back to Mama’s extinct. The railroad bypassing it probahometown, Fulton, right across the road bly was the main thing. The tracks were from the old family home where she put three miles south of Greensboro, grew up. Mama’s oldest sister, running through Tomnolen Aunt Cap, and Uncle Red still and Eupora instead. lived in the old home place. Also, people moved to the And just down the road on new county seat when the the other side of the family original Choctaw County (for communal garden lived which Greensboro was the another of Mom’s sisters, seat) was divided. Greensboro Aunt Ermie, with Uncle ended up in newly formed Lloyd. Webster County with no parMississippi One summer, it just ticular designation. Seen wouldn’t rain. Having been Greensboro was a rough by Walt Grayson raised in a God-fearing family, town, too. So rough that in Aunt Cap declared the reason desperation, alcohol was outfor the drought was obviously “sin in the lawed. At which point the village of camp.” The drier and hotter it got, the Bucksnort was immediately established more insistent she was that the guilty on the outskirts of Greensboro, whose party “get right with God.” Then one chief products were liquor and gambling. weekend Aunt Cap and Uncle Red took But all that’s left of Greensboro a trip to Birmingham. And it rained 3 nowadays is the cemetery. Actually, two inches in Fulton while they were gone. cemeteries: the “old” and the “new,” with There was no further talk of sin in the the new being established when General camp after that, except when Uncle William Brantley was assassinated and Lloyd could work it into the conversaburied elsewhere. After that, people tion just to needle Aunt Cap. wanted to be buried near him. It’s odd how things can remind you As we were wandering through the of old days and places. The hot summer old cemetery laughing at the tales and weather did it—as well as a recent visit reading the headstones, I happened to to the extinct town of Greensboro. Some see a couple of grave markers that carried folks in Webster County took us by me right back to my childhood and the Greensboro Cemetery after we toured old cemetery in Itawamba County where

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The fired-pottery salt-glazed grave markers are (as best as I can tell) found exclusively in northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama. The material they are made of, especially the bases, hasn’t faired well in time, but they are way more readable than expensive marble markers of the same age. Photo: Walt Grayson

many of Mama’s ancestors are buried. That’s the only place I had ever seen any of these particular markers before. They are some type of pottery about a hand-span wide and an inch thick, 8 or 9 inches tall with a pointed top. They are finished in a salt glaze with cobaltblue lettering. Even as a child I thought it remarkable that they were so legible despite being so old. Doing a little research on the Internet, I found they were originally made by some potters in Tremont in Itawamba County, and are found in widely scattered cemeteries in northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama.

They couldn’t have cost nearly as much as a marble marker but were more elegant than something homemade, or nothing at all. And there were a bunch of proud po’ folks in that part of the country who’d be interested in such a product. You never know what will carry your thoughts back—hot weather, headstones. But it’s always a pleasant trip. 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.”


September 2011 I Today in Mississippi I 7

Colorful bananas can thrive across the state lot of gardeners are interested in creating a tropical feeling around their homes, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to add banana plants either in the landscape or in large containers. If you’re about to quit reading because you think bananas can only be grown in coastal Mississippi and you live elsewhere, stick with me. I hope I can change your mind by describing some of the selections that are hardy for all landscapes in Mississippi. A good all-around choice, especially for the beginning gardener, is the Japanese Fiber banana. This is one of the easi-

A

Southern Gardening by Dr. Gary Bachman

est banana plants to grow, and it is cold hardy all across Mississippi. Its coarse-textured foliage is a bright green, and the plant can reach up to 10 feet tall. Even if it only gets to 5 feet tall, this plant has a presence in

the landscape. While the tropical green we commonly associate with bananas is relaxing, there are other colors in the banana palette.

One is Black Thai, a wonderful banana that has shown good cold-hardiness. This banana has a really dark, deep purple stem and petiole, and the foliage is a dark green. It needs a large space in the landscape, as some specimens reach more than 15 feet tall. One of the prettiest bananas is the selection Siam Ruby. The rich, burgundy color of the stem is stunning, and the irregular variegation of bright green on the burgundy foliage makes it seem to shimmer. Siam Ruby usually reaches just 4 to 5 feet tall. This plant is suited to zones 8 and 9, where it will die back to the ground each winter. Grow bananas in full sun in well-

Japanese Fiber bananas planted around a large urn fountain and combined with Louisiana iris add a tropical flair to this outdoor patio. Photo: MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman

drained soil. Soil drainage is a critical factor, as many selections are not as hardy in soils that remain wet during the winter months. Bananas perform best in raised beds. The soil needs to be rich in organic matter, so amend your planting beds with 3 to 4 inches of quality compost, and work it deeply into the soil. When growing bananas in containers, never use the soil from your garden, no matter how good it is. Always use a high-quality commercial potting mix. These mixes are lightweight and have good drainage. For the container itself, choose one that holds at least 15 gallons so it will remain in proportion to the plant itself. Bananas need consistent moisture, so be sure to irrigate yours on a regular basis, especially in dry weather. Keeping a heavy layer of mulch is critical in maintaining soil moisture for optimum growth. Bananas are heavy feeders, so you must keep the soil nutrition at adequate levels. In the landscape, use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer such as a 14-14-14 lightly scratched in around each plant. For containers, I recommend you use a water-soluble fertilizer weekly in your regular watering schedule. Bananas’ coarse-textured foliage is right at home in almost any garden setting. Great places include around swimming pools or water features and paired with ginger, elephant ears and Cajun hibiscus. Dr. Gary Bachman is MSU horticulturist at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.


8 I Today in Mississippi

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September 2011

Lee Hedegaard, General Manager & CEO Lorri Freeman, Manager of Communications Amanda Parker, Communications Specialist For more information, call 601-947-4211/228-497-1313 x 2251 or visit our website at www.singingriver.com

How will new EPA regulations affect your electric service? Lee Hedegaard, General Manager and CEO Singing River Electric

In the electric industry, we normally plan years ahead in order to meet the future needs of our consumers. In fact, one of the ways that we are able to keep costs down is to build facilities and use them for long periods of time.

In order to comply with new regulations, specifically the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), South Mississippi Electric (SME) is being forced to seriously limit one of its most economical options for generating electricity for five months next year during the heat of summer. This could drastically affect the quality of reliable electric service and the cost of electric power to our members. Due to current industry regulations, sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants have fallen 71 percent since 1980 and nitrogen oxide emis-

sions have been reduced by 66 percent since 1997. In July 2011, however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced CSAPR to further reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emission in 28 states by an additional 73 percent and 54 percent respectively by 2014. The new rule takes effect in 2012, offering very little time for utilities to determine the most feasible and economical ways to achieve such reductions. Since the Obama administration took office, the EPA has proposed a series of new and much stricter regulations related to our business. Many of the rules are the result of the president’s campaign promise to reduce the role of the country’s fossil fuel-fired generating plants. These regulations are being made regardless of the effect such policies will have on the cost or reliability of electric service.

Coal is one of the cheapest and most readily available electric energy resources in our country... limiting (it) will affect cost... reliability. In addition, the final statewide limits for Mississippi’s power plants were significantly lower than originally stated in EPA proposals. It is difficult to sufficiently plan for power production and reliability with a moving target of regulated emissions.

South Mississippi Electric Power Association’s Plant Morrow, a coal-fired generation facility located near Hattiesburg.

We had hoped the EPA’s final rule would be based on good science, but environmental regulators in several states, including Mississippi, have disagreed with the methodology and modeling used to reach the new rule’s emission limits. The EPA is determined to move forward, regardless of the additional costs to consumers or the decrease in reliability. CSAPR is having the anticipated effect as numerous utilities have announced they will retire dozens of coal-fired plants and alter operations at many more locations. This is important because it includes the curtailment of SME’s Plant Morrow. Coal is one of the cheapest and most readily available electric energy resources in our country and our region. Limiting coal will most certainly affect cost and reliability for all our customers. SME, our wholesale power provider, is a not-for-profit like Singing River Electric and has spent years developing a fleet of generation resources including coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower and other purchases to keep power cost down. This year, a $63 million environmental and reliability upgrade is being completed at one of SME’s primary resources – Plant Morrow, a coal-fired facility located near Hattiesburg. Even with these improvements, the new CSAPR as currently written will reduce Morrow’s output next year by 70 percent (from a normal output of 400 MW to only 100 MW) from May through September. SME is working quickly to determine how to alter its operations in order to comply with CSAPR, just as other utilities around the region are doing. In addition, we will strive to keep you updated on how the new regulations will affect your service.


September 2011

NHN community grants help George County Library and CHAMPS

Top, Eagle Scout candidate Ben Maples and George County librarian Becky Wheeler receive a NHN grant check from SRE manager of communications Lorri Freeman. Left, Jackson County Alternative School principal Karl Swanson, JCAS teacher Christy Cumbest and CHAMPS executive director Teresa Baum accept a NHN grant from SRE communications specialist Amanda Parker.

Ye a h , a f ew Yeah, e w minut m i n u t es e s . TTha h a t ’s ’ s all a l l t he h e t iim me iitt t akes a k e s t o c hange h a n g e my m y hhome’s o m e ’ s aair i r f ilt i l t er er eever v e r y mont m o n t h. h. II’’ m s a ving v i n g money m o n e y on o n my m y elec e l e c t r iicc it i t y bil bill jjus u s t bbyy c hhanging a n g i n g my m y aair i r f ilt i l t er e r r egular e g u l a r lly. y. Wha W h a t c an a n you y o u do? d o ? FFind i n d oout u t ho h o w t he he llit i t t le l e c hanges h a n g e s add a d d up u p by b y vis v i s iitt ing ing w w w. w . s iingingr n g i n g r iver. i v e r. c om o m aand n d cclic l i c kking i n g oonn t hhee “ S a vvee EEner n e r g y and and M o n e y ” link. link. Money”

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Today in Mississippi I 9

Programmable thermostat www.singingriver.com

Singing River Electric recently awarded two Neighbors Helping Neighbors Community Grants totaling nearly $4,600 to the Lucedale–George County Public Library and CHAMPS (Chemical Abuse Prevention Services). The library will use grant funds to purchase and install two wall-mounted signs for the library’s exterior to help identify the building. The sign project was spearheaded by local Boy Scout Ben Maples as part of his Eagle Scout preparation. CHAMPS will use grant funds to purchase testing/evaluation software, Choices and Consequences, and Foundations in Personal Finance DVD, all to benefit the CHOICES, the partnership with the Jackson County Alternative School to address at-risk student issues.

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Member Services Rep. Nick DeAngelo deangelo@singingriver.com

Heating and cooling a typical south Mississippi home accounts for about 45-55 percent of the electric bill. So having the ability to effectively control the operation of the heating and cooling system can offer immediate savings. Programmable thermostats allow homeowners to preset their temperature settings and operating times according to their schedule and desired temperatures.

Manufacturers of programmable thermostats suggest savings of three to five percent of heating and cooling cost for every degree the thermostat is adjusted accordingly. A common misconception is that leaving the thermostat at one temperature all of the time is the most efficient way to heat and cool a home. Singing River Electric encourages our members to program their thermostats up or down three to four degrees while they are away from their homes or businesses. This will allow for shorter run times on the heating and cooling equipment, therefore lowering your electric bill. This is just one example of how programmable thermostats can help you become more energy efficient. For more examples and information on programmable thermostats or other energy efficiency products, visit our website at singingingriver.com.

Program your thermostat and save up to 5 percent on your electric bill... see how the little changes add up at www.singingriver.com.


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Today in Mississippi I September 2011

Vacation? What’s that? he summer meltdown is history—school has reopened. Schoolagers and teachers’ summer frolic is kaput. Ha! you say. I understand many folks didn’t laze around or play—they worked long hours at other jobs. Especially if growing vegetables, mowing grass and entertaining house guests were in the equation. If you go on summer vacations, high temps and outdoor activities are rarely tolerable. I’m not tolerant. Those who are footloose (retired) tend to schedule vacations in moderate weather—comfort matters. There’s another group of vacationers called stayhomers. We all know the fallacy stamped on this so-called vacation. As I pondered on my past—school days, teaching years and now retirement years—a little bird landed on the window sill and put forth this question, “What is a vacation?” Well, now. I had to ponder once again. “Little bird,” I said, “that’s a noteworthy question.” He chirped and somehow made me aware that people are ice cream with assorted flavors, so we have a variety of choices when the question is posed. My Oxford American Dictionary gave its answer: an extended period of recreation; one spent away from home. That’s not exactly what my tour guide and I subscribe to. We leave home, yes, but our time is spent sightseeing. Discovering places we haven’t seen or going back to the places we loved. These are called trips. We return home exhausted. Taking a trip and taking a vacation are two different things at our house. If you’ve followed this column over the years you know we enjoy traveling. And you may remember that my travel agent/husband devises a plan, a procedure for trips that we follow religiously. He constructs a file folder for each day of the trip. The folder includes a list of sights, natural or manmade, that we’ve admired from afar and want to visit. We’re up when the sun rises and back to the RV or hotel when the sun sets. I can honestly say that Roy has an unusual habit: an urgency to observe, explore and study, then give his opinion, which is a summary of the spectacle. You wouldn’t call this OCD, would you?

T

This summer we parked our RV near Barnes Crossing in Tupelo, our home base. Our goal was to visit our youngest daughGrin ‘n’ ter’s family and Bare It make a few side by Kay Grafe trips. I called this half vacation and half trip. We had no folders, but had a plan in mind: sleep in Mississippi every night. Taking the car, we drove across the Mississippi state line and toured the University of North Alabama, our granddaughter Lealand’s chosen college for next year. Our guides were Jeanie and Max Lassiter from Huntsville. UNA was Jeanie’s alma mater. We explored Shiloh, where a major Civil War battle was fought—near Corinth, but just over the line in Tennessee. My travel agent is a Civil War and World War II buff. We crossed the Mississippi state line again into Ethridge, Tenn., and visited the largest Amish settlement in the South. It was awesome. Not as large as Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, but it looked the same. The horse and buggies were all along the way. We took a ride in a buggy large enough for several people, pulled by two horses. There are 57 Amish homesteads, which operate businesses on their porches. They sell produce, canned jellies, pickles and many other edible choices. They also sell furniture, braided rugs, candles, baskets, carved bowls—just to name a few homemade items. One Amish man became disturbed

Our buggy ride takes us past the homes and gardens of an Amish community in Ethridge, Tenn. Photo: Kay Grafe

because he thought my cell phone was a camera. They are strict about not having their picture taken. My agent came to my rescue. When we turned to go, the Amish man called to me, “I know you have a camera inside your phone!” We left Tupelo and visited Mary Lou and Jack Ware near Carthage. Now that’s what I call a vacation. She cooked a variety of vegetables from their garden. They were delicious. The Neshoba County Fair was only 20 miles away, and since we’d never been, Jack was our tour guide for the day. You ain’t seen nothing until you watch a mule race and a mule pull—on a track of red mud after a rain! To tell the truth, I have only one

vacation a year; the rest are sightseeing trips. My driver cranks up the RV in October and heads to the Smoky Mountains—without a schedule. I sleep late. Shop for art. Hike on mountain trails. Eat breakfast at the Apple Barn and sit by a mountain stream at dusk with Sugar pup in my lap while my driver cooks supper on the grill. For me, that’s a real vacation. What is yours?

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Renew the imagination; revisit the dream Mississippi’s heat has been unrelentn the middle of confuing since June. It has worn and yet sion or darkness or wears on frayed emotions that cry out sorrow or any combifor relief, hunger for change. That leaf nation of these and speaks of hope, helping us in perhaps more, its quiet and unobtrusive way how can the imagination to imagine. That imagination imagine or how can a dream may then lead to an absorpbe dreamed? No easy answers tion in the moment that here. And no realistic way to takes away the sting of other categorize the above mensurrounding realities. We can tioned conditions. They vary be made more resilient and with the individual; their better able to address those degrees vacillate from mild to Mississippi realities through this brief severe. Outdoors respite afforded by that single But make no mistake; the leaf, that gift of Nature. conditions do exist. Life by Tony Kinton Feel the breeze. It will not assures that. Confusion related to economic matters, darkness that per- be especially chilly in September, but it will hold some peculiar essence that has meates health issues, sorrow associated with loss. All are present at some point. gone missing for months now. Imagine what that breeze meant during childThat recognition, though somewhat hood. It surely must have had some beneficial in dealing with such circumimpact on life, even if subliminal. It stances, still leaves behind the question could allow the gentle recipient time to of how. September could be a solution reach into the depths and extract of sorts, a soothing balm of healing. strength to move forward. For instance, observe the first leaf Stop on a September afternoon and that postures a hint of autumn. It will breath deeply, listen intently. The arobe available in September—probably mas are of mowed hay, pumpkins, fall on a sweet gum or black gum, maybe gardens. The sounds are of rustling even a hickory. Its promise is grand, corn stalks, chirping insects, the drone refreshing.

I

While not yet fully developed, autumn’s color show begins in September. Photo: Tony Kinton

of a distant farm implement, the ripple of a stream, the caw of a crow, the raspy chatter of a woodpecker. There may even be the high-school band at practice or the thud of shoulder pads on the gridiron just around the corner. Some keen reminders of youthful abandon and merriment. Some mental portraits of quiet and peace. All more than capable of generating sentiment

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that spreads its medicinal qualities on bruised spirits. And consider the sky. It is distant and clear in September. Patchy clouds drift gracefully in an orb of azure. This space above tugs us upward, there where dreams originate. It then becomes almost impossible to ignore those dreams, some of which may have become dormant, stagnant, waiting only for such a moment as this to emerge from the dross of neglect. And once rekindled, these dreams may blossom with new vitality, sufficient to prompt us into making them a reality to meld with other perhaps less kind realities that have come without our welcome. Perhaps this discourse has come full circle, bringing us back to that original question of how we can imagine and dream. Perhaps the question is more accurate when we ask how can we help but imagine and dream, particularly in those times of confusion, darkness, sorry. September is the perfect time to allow that imagination to run free and consider possibilities, to permit ourselves to dream dreams that could shape life in days to come. Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. His books, “Outside and Other Reflections,” “Fishing Mississippi” and his new Christian historical romance novel, “Summer Lightning Distant Thunder,” are available in bookstores and from the author at www.tonykinton.com, or P.O. Box 88, Carthage, MS 39051.


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Today in Mississippi I September 2011

Mississippi Marketplace Type or print your ad clearly. Be sure to include your telephone number. Cost is $2.50 per word, $25 minimum. Deadline is the 10th of each month for the next month’s issue. Mail payment with your ad to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Have any questions? Phone (601) 605-8600.

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September 2011

Pumpkin Crunch

Mississippi

Cooks FEATURED COOKBOOK:

Showing We Care With More Southern Fare Hundreds of healthy children attend Mississippi camps each summer. But there are hundreds of kids with special needs who can’t. Mississippi’s Toughest Kids (MTK) Foundation is working to build these kids a camp designed to meet their needs in a fun, safe environment. The MTK Foundation, based in Crystal Springs, was created for the sole purpose of building the only fully accessible camp for children and adults in Mississippi with serious illness and physical, mental and emotional challenges. A nonprofit organization, the foundation estimates the project will cost $20 million. “Camping is all about fun, making friends, trying new things and being away from home,” said Mary Kitchens, one of MTK’s founders. “Children requiring special assistance and medical attention are usually excluded from the normal camp setting.” Volunteers across the state lease church camps, state parks or other facilities to improvise camps for special-needs children. Yet these makeshift camps lack infirmaries—a must for special needs—and fully handicapaccessible facilities, especially bathrooms and walkways. “There is a need for one location to be used by special-needs groups all over our state. The facility will be built in Copiah County in order to stay in the center of the state and near the Jackson

hospitals,” Kitchens said. To help raise funds for construction, the MTK Foundation recently published its second cookbook, “Showing We Care With More Southern Fare.” Proceeds will help the foundation achieve its goal of a safe environment where special-needs children can have fun and make new friends with others just like them.

1 box yellow cake mix 1 cup chopped walnuts 2 sticks butter, melted and cooled Frozen whipped topping (optional), thawed

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, cinnamon, sugar and eggs. Oil a 9-by-13-inch pan, line with wax paper and oil paper lightly. Pour pumpkin mixture into pan and sprinkle cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Pat nuts over mixture and spoon melted butter over evenly. Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes. Cool. Turn over onto plate and frost with whipped topping.

Turkey Sausage Pizza Squares 1 tsp. olive oil 1 onion, sliced 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced 7 oz. turkey kielbasa, fully cooked, chopped

1 tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. dried oregano 1 tube (11 oz.) refrigerated thin-crust pizza dough 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in skillet. Sauté onion and bell pepper until tender. Add kielbasa, garlic powder and oregano. Allow kielbasa to heat through. Spread pizza dough on rectangular baking sheet. Sprinkle with sautéed ingredients and top with cheese. Bake at 350 F until crust is done. Cut into squares. Note: Great with a salad.

Beef and Vegetable Rigatoni 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1/2 cup roughly chopped squash 1/2 cup roughly chopped zucchini 1/2 cup asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces 1/2 cup thinly sliced baby carrots 1 med. yellow onion, sliced into wedges 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained 1 can diced tomatoes

2 cups tomato sauce Salt, pepper to taste Garlic powder to taste 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano 4 cups rigatoni, cooked (allow pasta to remain a little firm) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook vegetables in olive oil until cooked through but still a little firm. After meat is cooked and drained, stir into the vegetables. Add canned tomatoes (with liquid), tomato sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Put cooked rigatoni into a large casserole dish. Pour meat and vegetable mixture over pasta. Top with cheese. Bake until cheese is lightly browned and the mixture bubbles around the edges.

Healthy Cabbage Slaw

For more information, call (601) 892-1117 or email mstoughkids @yahoo.com. To order the cookbook, send a check to the MTK Foundation, P.O. Box 520, Crystal Springs, MS 39059. Price is $15 plus $3 shipping, or two books for $25 plus $4 shipping.

Will & Wes’ Frozen Yogurt Pops 2 cups frozen blueberries, blackberries or strawberries 2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

1 (16-oz.) can pumpkin 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1 cup sugar 3 eggs

1/2 to 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Thaw frozen berries in the microwave for 1 minute. Combine fruit, yogurt and sugar in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into freezer-pop molds and freeze.

1 head cabbage, sliced and finely chopped, or 1 large bag sliced cabbage 1 bell pepper, finely chopped 1 bunch green onions, chopped 1 bag radishes, trimmed and sliced

Garlic salt 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup olive oil or healthy vegetable oil, such as canola Salt, pepper to taste

In a huge bowl, combine cabbage, bell pepper, green onions and radishes. Sprinkle with garlic salt and mix. In another bowl, mix lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper to make dressing. Pour over cabbage mixture and mix well. Refrigerate. Note: This makes a lot of slaw. Gets better by the day.

Mini Corn Dogs 2 Tbsp. brown sugar 2 eggs 1 cup milk

2 (8.5-oz.) boxes Jiffy cornbread mix 5 hot dogs, chopped 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400 F. Place 3 mini muffin pans in oven to heat. Beat together brown sugar, eggs and milk. Add cornbread mix and stir until blended. Stir in chopped hot dogs. Spray the hot mini muffin pans with cooking spray, and pour in batter. Bake for 14-18 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately top with shredded cheese. Makes 36 mini muffins.


September 2011

Mississippi

Events We gladly list events of statewide interest, as space allows. Submissions should reach us at least two months prior to the event date and must include a phone number with area code. Mail submissions to Mississippi Events, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300; fax to (601) 605-8601; or e-mail to news@epaofms.com. All events are subject to change. We recommend calling to confirm dates and times before traveling. For more events and statewide tourism information, go to www.visitmississippi.org.

The Trace Traditions, Sept. 10, Ridgeland. Traditional acoustic country, gospel, folk music; 1-4 p.m. Continues every second and fourth Saturday. Free. Log cabin, Natchez Trace Parkway. Details: (601) 898-9417. 21st Annual Rice Tasting Luncheon, Sept. 16, Cleveland. More than 300 different rice dishes, rice cook-off, prizes, exhibits; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Admission. Walter Sillers Coliseum. Details: (662) 843-8371. Dixieland Old Time Engine and Agriculture Club Fall Show, Sept. 16-17, Jackson. Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Details: (601) 261-0929. Hernando Water Tower Festival, Sept. 1617, Hernando. Special guest Bryan Luke, fun run, BBQ tasting, crafts, vintage car show, music, poker run, Artist Alley and more. Courthouse Square. Details: (662) 429-9055. Jag Day, Sept. 17, Southaven. Crafts, food, silent auction, inflatables, music, raffle. Rainout date is Sept. 24. DeSoto Central High School. Details: www.dcspride.com. Carousel Doll Club of Meridian Doll and Toy Show and Sale, Sept. 17, Meridian. Vendors, appraisals, youth doll competition for ages 14 and under; 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. College Park United Methodist Church.

Details: (601) 483-5430, (601) 604-1664. Mississippi Gourd Festival, Sept. 17-18, Raleigh. Gourd-crafting classes and activities, supply and tool vendors, door prizes, food. Early-bird classes Sept. 16. Admission. Smith County Ag Complex. Details: (601) 782-9444; www.mississippigourdsociety.org. Betty Allen Festival, Sept. 18, Toccopola. Honors the woman whose 1800s lawsuit resulted in property rights for married women in Mississippi. Crafts, activities, food, entertainment. Highway 334. Details: (662) 234-3355, (662) 509-8707. B&S Consignment Ladies, Juniors and Men’s Consignment Sale, Sept. 21-23, Brookhaven. Clothing, handbags, shoes, home decor, furniture. Lincoln Civic Center. Details: (601) 303-1466; www.bns consignment.com. Twice as Nice Children’s Consignment Sale, Sept. 22-24, Gulfport. Children’s clothing, books, toys, games; maternity items; baby equipment. Veterans Building. Details: (228) 263-3012; www.2asnicekidsresale.com. Children’s Consignment Event, Sept. 22-24, Tupelo. Free admission. Tupelo Furniture Market Building No. 3. Details: (662) 5740110; www.new2uconsignment.com.

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Pickin’ at the Lake, Sept. 23-24, Grenada. Bluegrass, country, Cajun and gospel pickers. All acoustic. Free. Grenada Lake Spillway. Details: (662) 227-1491, (662) 417-7300. 21st Annual Clarke County Forestry and Wildlife Festival, Sept. 23-24, Quitman. All American Lumberjack Show, entertainment, car/truck/motorcycle show, Ole Time Sweet Shop, children’s activities, arts, crafts, bass tournament, dog show and more. Archusa Water Park. Details: (601) 776-5701. 24th Annual Mississippi Pecan Festival, Sept. 23-25, Richton. Arts, crafts, antiques, bluegrass and gospel music, mule pull, contests, craft demonstrations, living history farmstead, draft horse farming demonstrations, charity pecan bake-off. Admission. Wingate Road. Details: (601) 964-8201; www.mspecanfestival.com. Mid-South Fair, Sept. 23 - Oct. 2, Southaven. Rodeo, carnival games and rides, arena concerts, petting zoo, exhibits, entertainment, senior day, expo and more. DeSoto Civic Center. Details: (901) 274-8800. Noxapater Cotton Gin Festival and Car Show, Sept. 24, Noxapater. Vendors, food, entertainment. Details: (662) 773-8289. Jim Henson Delta Boyhood Exhibit 20th Anniversary Celebration and Rainbow Connection Bridge Dedication, Sept. 24, Leland. Hands-on art stops, arts vendors, live music and Puppet Arts Theatre. Details: (662) 686-7383; www.birthplaceofthefrog.com. Gulf Coast Family Music Festival, Sept. 30 Oct. 1, Gulfport. Friday: car show, sock hop. Saturday: live bluegrass/country/rock music, demos, vendors, silent celebrity auction, more. Harrison County Fairgrounds. Details: (228) 539-0868. Carrollton Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day Festival, Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, Carrollton. Tour historic churches, homes and buildings; admission. Genealogy Expo and Pioneer Day Festival on Oct. 2; exhibits, music and traditional arts/crafts. Details: (662) 237-6910; www.visitcarrolltonms.com. October Fest, Oct. 1, Vancleave. Arts, crafts, baked/canned goods, fish plates, gospel music, volleyball tournament and more. Community of Christ Church. Details: (228) 326-0013, (228) 826-3358. Rockin’ Railroad Festival, Oct. 1, Hazlehurst. Music, classic car/bike show, art exhibit, crafts, Kidz Zone, food. Downtown. Details: (601) 894-3752; hazlechamber.com. Chickin’ Fixin’ and Fall Fest, Oct. 1, Osyka. Team cook-offs in chicken wings, chicken entrees/halves and pork ribs. Entertainment, car show, crafts and more. Free admission. Details: (601) 542-5994; walltimber co@wildblue.net. Oktoberfest, Oct. 1, Hattiesburg. Authentic

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Today in Mississippi

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German food, crafts, bands. St. John Lutheran Church. Details: (601) 583-4898; stjohn lutheranchurch@gmail.com. Laurel Gun Show, Oct. 1-2, Laurel. Fairgrounds. Details: (601) 498-4235; bigpop fireworks@gmail.com. Mississippi Peanut Festival, Oct. 1, Collins. Arts, crafts, food, tour of log homes/farm and more. Mitchell Farms. Details: (601) 6060762; www.mitchellfarms-ms.com. Mitchell Farms Pumpkin Patch and Maze, Oct. 1-30, Collins. Wagon ride tours, animals, log home tours, grist mill and more. Open weekends; weekdays only by appointment. Admission. Mitchell Farms. Details: (601) 606-0762; www.mitchellfarms-ms.com. Swan Creek Farms and Waterfowl Park Pumpkin Patch, Oct. 1-30, Silver Creek. Wagon ride to pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating, mini hay maze, hay pyramid, corn crib and more. Open weekends; weekdays only by appointment. Details: (601) 5877114; www.swancreekfarms.com. Mississippi Coast Swap Meet and Drags, Oct. 5-8, Gulfport. Drag racing, vendors, Ladies’ Alley, burnout contest, music, cruisers parade. Opens 10 a.m. daily. Admission. Gulfport Dragway. Details: (228) 863-4408; www.gulfportdragway.com. Fall-de-Rah Celebration, Oct. 6 - Nov. 30, Moss Point. Displays of scarecrows, tractor made of hay, hay bale maze, pumpkins. Downtown. Details: (228) 219-0161. Mount Olive 1900 Festival on the Boulevard, Oct. 8, Mount Olive. Antiques, arts and crafts. Downtown. Details: (601) 382-9425; mo1900festival@yahoo.com. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Oct. 8, Jackson. 5K walk to honor breast cancer survivors, promote prevention and help fund research. Registration 7:30 am.; walk 9 a.m. Mississippi Capitol. Details: (601) 321-5500; makingstridesjackson.org. Mississippi Coast Jazz Society Dance, Oct. 9, Biloxi. Admission; 2-5 p.m. Hard Rock Casino. Details: (228) 392-4177. Bukka White Blues Festival, Oct. 14-15, Aberdeen. Blues music, arts, crafts, food, exotic animal show, free guitar workshop. Tenn-Tom Waterway. Details: (800) 634-3838; www.aberdeenms.org. 23rd Annual Mississippi Coastal Cleanup, Oct. 15, various locations. Volunteers trash pickup 8-11 a.m. Details: www.mscoastal cleanup.org. Fiber Festival at the Center, Oct. 15, Ridgeland. Fiber art fashion show (1:30 p.m.), vendors, and fellowship with knitters, weavers, spinners and felters. Free admission; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Mississippi Craft Center. Details: (601) 856-7546; fiberfestival @gmail.com.


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Today in Mississippi Singing River September 2011  

Today in Mississippi Singing River September 2011

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