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Page 1

FOR MEMBERS OF COAHOMA ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION

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J. OLIVE CO. LEGISLATIVE

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MAGNIFICENCE IN SCENES CAPTURED BY READERS

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JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020


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outdoors today picture this my opinion

Farewell

grin ‘n’ bare it

Stand Strong I’d like to open with a Happy New Year to everyone and also an energetic welcome to Mississippi’s newly elected statewide officials and legislators. It’s an honor to bring you this year’s first issue of Today in Mississippi, where we can share more about Mississippi’s elected officials and national delegation who are vital to the success of our electric cooperatives, and ultimately to you, our members. I invite you to read our interviews with Governor Tate Reeves, Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and Speaker of the House of Representatives Philip Gunn in the following pages. They were eager to share with us their goals for the coming years as well as encouraging words of support for Mississippi’s electric cooperatives. We certainly look forward to working alongside each of them in the days ahead as we continue to ensure our co-ops are aligned for a strong, successful future. The Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, through our dedicated government relations team, also closely monitors legislation on the state and national level that is deemed important to our industry and that can impact our membership. For example, December marked the passage of landmark legislation for the U.S. with the RURAL Act. This bipartisan legislation is a simple, one-page bill correcting an unintended problem created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This is important because it will continue to provide more than 900 electric cooperatives throughout the

country much-needed protection from losing their tax-exempt status if they had accepted government grants in 2018 or 2019 for disaster relief, broadband service or other viable programs such as investing in renewable energy. Without this law in place, numerous co-ops would have had to start paying significant amounts in taxes this spring; in turn, members’ electricity rates would have increased to cover those taxes. Passing the national RURAL Act was a top legislative priority last year due to the profound and potential threat it posed to the fundamental business model of not-for-profit electric co-ops — including Mississippi’s. In fact, a large group of Mississippians actively joined with tens of thousands of other co-op leaders, employees and members from across the U.S. to advocate for this bill. It’s important you know, too, that our entire Mississippi congressional delegation, both in the House and Senate, supported and voted for this legislation. On behalf of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, thank you to all who stand strong with us — the more than 785,000 members who rely on Mississippi’s electric cooperatives for their power service.

by Michael Callahan Executive Vice President/CEO Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

to a co-worker

It’s with mixed emotions that I announced the retirement of a valuable team member, Mark Bridges. Mark joined the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi in 1993 and loyally served as manager of support services and leader of our production team. Mark began his journey with print publications in 1978 when he joined me as a graphic artist for the MFC News, a regional farm supply cooperative newspaper. He later left to enter private business and then rejoined me at Today in Lexie and Mark Bridges Mississippi in 1993. We have not only been team members, but close friends throughout our careers. As manager of our production team, Mark’s commitment to excellence and his artistic talent earned him recognition as one of the best graphic designers in the state. His optimistic attitude and strong work ethic kept our team from missing a deadline while producing tens of thousands of jobs throughout our time together. He was always available whenever someone had a last-minute project or an emergency arose. The award-winning artist has been wonderful to work with — offering so many brilliant and creative ideas and suggestions. His vast knowledge of the cooperative industry and experience in the area of print production has been the foundation on which we have built and maintain the quality of this publication. Mark possesses the cooperative spirit, working with others to accomplish a common goal and not worrying about who received the credit. He had a passion to make sure every printed piece was of the highest quality and met the established goals. Our cooperatives benefited from his contributions throughout his career. People enjoyed working with Mark on special projects because they knew his distinctive touches would make a positive impact on their final product. They appreciated his thoughtful, steady approach to solving problems, large or small. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with someone so passionate, loyal and professional, all at the same time. Mark is a wonderful person, great team member and I cherish our friendship. Mark, on behalf of your Today in Mississippi family, we wish you and Lexie the best as you begin your retirement journey.

— Ron Stewart

JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020 | TODAY 3


in this issue around the 6 scene capitol

Vol. 73 No. 1

11 outdoors today

OFFICERS Keith Hayward - President Kevin Bonds - First Vice President Eddie Howard - Second Vice President Randy Carroll - Secretary/Treasurer Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO

Conversations with Mississippi’s governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house

A new year

Photo by George Patton, 12 Kosciusko, Central EPA member

12 picture this

Mississippi sunrises & sunsets

14 local news 20 feature

EDITORIAL STAFF Ron Stewart - Senior VP, Communications Sandra M. Buckley - Editor Chad Calcote - Creative Director/ Manager Elissa Fulton - Communications Specialist Rickey McMillan - Graphic Designer Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer Chris Alexander - Administrative Assistant EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600

J. Olive Co. inspires heart-health for Mississippians through its brand of pure, fine olive oils and balsamic vinegars

20

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

23 for the love of the game An SEC family tradition

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: American MainStreet Publications, 800-626-1181

Circulation of this issue: 464,648

Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year. Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 11 times a year by Electric Cooperatives 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 all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2) NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to: Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300

24 on the menu

Warm up with winter meals www.facebook.com/TodayinMississippi

29 grin ‘n’ bare it

www.todayinmississippi.com

My hometown has changed

29

31 mississippi seen First man standing

On the cover Pascagoula River Sunset Photo by George Housley, Jr., M.D., Belden, Pontotoc Electric member

NEXT IN PICTURE THIS:

Front Porches

Submission guidelines: www.todayinmississippi.com Deadline: March 2. Select photos will appear in the April issue. 4 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020


Q&A

with Governor Tate Reeves

Q: What major issues do you plan to address as Governor? A: Work is changing. The jobs that paid well 50 years ago are not as strong today, and skilled trades are soaring. We need the next generation of Mississippi workers to be equipped to take on any job. With the right training, they can. I plan to invest more in helping local communities be certified as “work ready,” incentivizing high school graduates to earn industry credentials so they are prepared on the first day of their new career, and continuing to help our community colleges modernize their workforce training capabilities. We also have to combine that with efforts to help working families get on their feet by addressing issues Q: What were some of your major accomplishments as of childcare and transportation. Lieutenant Governor? We must also address access to quality healthcare and A: Today in Mississippi, our economy has grown by almost continuing to improve our healthcare system. Just having $10 billion dollars in the eight years I’ve served as Lieutenant more doctors isn’t enough; we need to get them to rural Governor. Our economy is on the rise. There are more goodareas. That’s why I support increasing paying jobs than ever before. There are the number and expanding the geomore people working than ever before. It graphic presence of medical residencies used to be that we had more people than and embracing innovation through jobs. Now we have more jobs than people. We have the highest telemedicine. Even more specifically And that is due in large part to the public high school graduation for hospitals — I support giving tax policies passed by conservative leadership, rate than at any time incentives to businesses that want to including the largest tax cut in Mississippi in our state’s history contribute to struggling facilities, as history that we passed. In the 2019 fiscal well as incentive packages to attract new year, we collected over $300 million more right now, beating the doctors to our state. in revenue than was originally estimated. national average. Instead of raising taxes, we created more Q: Electric power associations serve 1.8 million Mississippians. taxpayers, helping Mississippi businesses grow and attracting How important is the role of these associations? new businesses to our state to create more high-paying jobs. A: Electric power associations are critical to building a successful We have also seen significant improvements in students’ outeconomic development program and providing for a majority comes and public schools over the last eight years, thanks to the of our state’s population. Without the strong partnership by education reform efforts of conservative leadership and, most electric power associations, the legislature, the governor and the importantly, to the students, teachers and parents working hard Mississippi Development Authority would have a difficult time to make it a reality. We have the highest high school graduation recruiting new businesses to the state. When companies look rate than at any time in our state’s history right now, beating the to Mississippi, they want a strong workforce, a reliable power national average. We have a nationally recognized prekindergarsource and room to grow. ten program that brings together the private and public sectors These associations also provide important services within the to address community needs. communities themselves and for the future of Mississippi. I have Mississippi is now leading the nation in educational gains. In the spoken to their Youth Leadership Program a few times throughrecent National Assessment of Educational Progress, our students out my time as Lieutenant Governor and seen firsthand the outperformed every other state in 4th grade reading and math inspiring work they do training our future leaders. results and are ranked third and fourth for gains in 8th grade math and reading, respectively. We have our education system pointed in the right direction, and my goal is to build on that success. Q: What are the key responsibilities of the Governor? A: The Governor of Mississippi is responsible for setting the direction of our great state and creating opportunities for our people to succeed. As Governor, one of my top priorities will be job creation — bringing better and higher paying jobs to our state so people can stay here in Mississippi to start careers and provide for their families. More people are working in Mississippi than ever before, and I want everyone in Mississippi to have the chance to work an honest job for good pay.

6 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020


Q&A

with Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann

Q: What are the main duties of Lieutenant Governor, and how do you view your role in state government? A: The Lieutenant Governor is in very close proximity to the budget and policy, so it is a pivotal role in terms of setting the state’s priorities. He or she presides over the Senate, selects chairmen and chairwomen of committees and appoints various Mississippians to boards and commissions. I take these responsibilities very seriously, and I am grateful for the confidence Mississippians have instilled in me to do the job.

public schools. I am really proud of this accomplishment. We also revolutionized the process of starting a business in Mississippi by lowering filing fees and automating legal requirements, and launching our one-of-a-kind website, Y’all Business, www.yallbusiness.com. Providing free demographic and consumer information, Y’all Business helps economic developers sell their communities to new industry and allows entrepreneurs to gather free information to launch a successful business. Finally, we made the security of our elections a priority by enacting a constitutional Voter ID law and dramatically increasing cybersecurity at the local and state levels. While other states are still defending lawsuits related to Voter ID, Mississippi’s law remains effective and unchallenged in court.

Q: What do you see as top priorities for the upcoming 2020 legislative session? A: We have many challenges in Mississippi, including ensuring every child has access to a high quality education, shoring up our infrastructure, making healthcare Q: Electric power associations serve 1.8 I am grateful for the more accessible and affordable, growing million Mississippians. How important is confidence Mississippians our economy and supporting our small the role of these associations? have instilled in me businesses. At a minimum, we must ensure A: Our electric power associations are our teachers and other state employees, providing electricity, a critical part of our to do the job. including our correctional officers and economy and daily life, to more than half social workers, are fairly compensated at a level that creates of the citizens of Mississippi. Every opportunity for economic more stability in state government. development in your served area, now including broadband under the new law, begins with electric power associations. Q: What major accomplishments are you proud of as Secretary Furthermore, these associations carry out this role in a truly of State? democratic way — through an organization that allows A: When I ran for Secretary of State, one of my major goals members and owners to weigh in on the operation. We look was to make sure 16th Section land, which supports our public forward to working with our electric power associations in the schools, was leased for fair market value as required by law. coming years. When we left office in January, we had raised $1 billion for

Photo by Lee Hood, Yazoo City

Yazoo2020 Valley Electric member7 JANUARY & FEBRUARY | TODAY


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Q&A

with Speaker of the House Philip Gunn

Q: What are some of the major accomplishments during your time as Speaker of the House of Representatives? A: Over the last eight years, the Republican-led legislature has: • Put forth a Road and Bridge Plan that will invest between $120-150 million into roads and bridges every year from now on. This plan took money that we already have and rededicated it to Mississippi’s roads and bridges. Cities and counties now have a continuing source of revenue to maintain progress in fixing our roads and bridges. In addition, we’ve injected an additional $250 million into local bridges to address immediate problems.

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Q: What are your legislative priorities for this session? A: In the 2020 legislative session, the goal of the Mississippi House of Representatives is to continue to build on these past achievements and to push the needle forward, as far as we can, in order to make Mississippi the best it can be for all the people of this great state.

• Passed SB2347, commonly known as the “Third Grade Reading Gate.” Before this measure, our students were In the 2020 legislative session, Q: Electric cooperatives serve 1.8 only reading at a 69 percent the goal of the Mississippi House million Mississippians. How important grade level. Today, the grade of Representatives is to continue to is the role of these associations? level exceeds 90 percent. We build on these past achievements A: The importance of Mississippi’s have done more to improve and to push the needle forward, electric power associations cannot be reading in Mississippi than as far as we can, in order to make overstated. I have been privileged to has ever been done before. observe firsthand how they meet the Mississippi the best it can be for Overall, we’ve increased the needs of their customers. I witnessed all the people of this great state. amount of education funding how these cooperatives handled the over $2.5 billion – the most in fallout from Hurricane Katrina, the greatest natural disaster our the history of our state. Just to name one of the many state has ever seen, and from various ice storms and tornados benefits of this funding, graduation rates have increased that have struck the region over the years. In each situation, these by 11 percent, putting Mississippi at the national average. associations responded with speed and efficiency to restore • Balanced the state’s budget. We pledged to not spend more service while at the same time demonstrating real compassion money than you give us and will continue to do so. Because and concern for the plight of their customers. We are extremely of this, we’ve had to make some tough decisions; but by fortunate, indeed, to have such quality people serve in our state’s following this conservative approach, Mississippi today is electric power associations. in the best financial condition it has seen in years. We now have a balanced budget, have fixed retirement and have given pay raises to both state employees and teachers. The Republican-led legislature has been good stewards of your money, and tax cuts have not affected our ability to www.ecm.coop run this state.

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Q: What are some key issues in the 2020 legislative session? A: A few priorities will be to focus on workforce development and Brain Drain, we also have funding of K-12 and community colleges tied up in that, which circles back to job creation – which I believe is a top priority for many Mississippians. Other issues on the horizon include various healthcare issues that need to be addressed, education, infrastructure and MDOC among others.

legislation in the country with HB571. This bill has been called model legislation for other states to follow by the most reputable advocacy organization in the United States.

103⁄8 101⁄2 103⁄4 107⁄8 111⁄2 113⁄4

The Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi offers free versions of the 2020 Mississippi Legislative Roster app. Look for “Mississippi Legislative Roster” in the Apple App Store or in Google play.

JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020 | TODAY 9


mississippi seen events

m

on the menu

scene around the ‘s co-op involvement

southern gardening


een

mississippi is...

mississippi marketplace u outdoors today d the ‘sip picture this my opinion ement

rdening

A New Year

grin ‘n’ bare it

(and things i like )

I like to climb a mountain. Not that regimen that employs crampons or carabiners or ropes. I elect the more gradual — an obvious woods road or trail, climbing that requests stamina but does not demand enhanced dexterity. And elevations are not crucial. While that above-timberline business has an allure unto itself, 1,000 feet is more than adequate. But adequate only if that height affords a vista, a spot from which I can look down. Down there are the things I left behind, things that while I was down there seemed essential, things that occupied time, things I did but did not want to do. Simple falderal of too much muchness. William Faulkner wrote in his work “Big Woods,” “… whole puny evanescent clutter of human sojourn …” Looking down on things below morphs perspective, brings to realization genuine reality. Assumed essentials become extras while looking down from a mountain. I like to sleep in a tent. Even those small backpack units and sleeping pads are acceptable, but I now much prefer that reliable standard of canvas. A big one with walkingaround room. And a cot. Age and discerning tastes dictate such amenities. The world is simply not the same when absorbed from a tent. It is earthy. It whispers of the natural. Speaks gently of the past. Shouts to remind its guest of the future. A cricket chirping inches away. The howl of coyotes busy about their business of life. An owl hooting. These are contemplative, ecclesiastical. When heard from a tent, anyway.

Photo by Tony Kinton

I like to sit alone under an African night sky. There is no night sky like an African night sky. The Southern Cross always captures me. Seen by some perhaps as simply a constellation, I see it as a reminder of the only thing of lasting importance. I sit and look until I recognize, again, how terribly small I am. And the sounds below that sky? Engaging. Frightening. But look up long enough and a transition occurs — not in surroundings, but within the core of that observer. Danger, while real and present, tiptoes across that threshold separating rigid angst from fluid acceptance. Blue-cold fear is quietly painted over by an invisible brush and becomes an aquamarine serenity ­— under that African night sky. I like new years. Though they remind me that I am no longer new, I like them just the same. And if I circumvent some bleak tendency toward being jaded, that newness of the year radiates hope. Hope is good. And a new year, quite often these days, reminds me that I have far fewer new years ahead of me than I have behind me. And I have even come to like that well enough.

by Tony Kinton Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. Visit www.tonykinton.com for more information.

JANUARY JANUARY & – FEBRUARY 2020 | TODAY 11


ssissippi marketplace outdoors today p picture this my opinion grin ‘n’ bare it M I S S I S S I P P I

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1. A sunset of sunflower fields, by Cassandra Midkiff of Steens; Monroe County EPA member.

6. Soul-soothing sunset, by Todd Hubbard of Batesville; Tallahatchie Valley EPA member.

2. A God-created, beautiful setting, by Carroll Polk of Purvis; Pearl River Valley Electric member.

7. Fields of light, by April Harmon.

3. Flooded field at sunset, by Evan Anderson of Pontotoc; Pontotoc Electric member. 4. Morning mist on a spider’s web, by Deborah Myers of Newton; Southern Pine Electric member. 5. Coastal calm, by Tammy Jones of Florence; Southern Pine Electric member.

8

8. Daybreak on the farm, by Michelle Green of Sumrall; Southern Pine Electric member 9. Sunrise over Horn Island, by Delk Smith of Moss Point; Singing River Electric member. 10. Lamar County sunrise, by Henry Cooper of Purvis; Pearl River Valley Electric member. 11. Sunset beach run, by Jennifer Baxter of Bay St. Louis; Coast Electric member.

12 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020


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21 12. A glorious sunrise, by Carol Ash of Liberty; Magnolia Electric Power member. 13. Heavenward, by Charles Miller of Ellisville; Dixie Electric member. 14. Start of a new day, by Nannette Shinn of Cedar Bluff; 4-County Electric member. 15. The sun sets on Queen Anne’s lace, by Amy Massey of Starkville; 4-County Electric member. 16. Good morning, Mississippi, by Jennifer Hurley of Ocean Springs; Singing River Electric member. 17. Sunset roost, by George Housley, Jr., M.D. of Belden; Pontotoc Electric member.

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19. A heart for a sunset, by Jerome Zoller of Vancleave; Singing River Electric member. 20. Sunset sails, by Meredith Hylender (age 10), of Hattiesburg; Pearl River Valley Electric member. 21. Sunrise at Buttercup Flats, by Cary Crosby of Biloxi; Coast Electric member. 22. Beachfront sunset, by Diane Beebe of Ocean Springs; Singing River Electric member. 23. A golden greeting, by Charlene Point of Foxworth; Pearl River Valley Electric member. 24. A daffodil at sunset, by Debbie Suggs of Carrollton; Delta Electric member.

18. Sisters at sunset, by Daryl B. Love of Calhoun City; Natchez Trace EPA member.

JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020 | TODAY 13


2020 Mississippi Legislature

Electric Power Association

Coahoma Electric Power Association salutes Mississippi’s senators and representatives who represent our state in Washington, D.C., and at our state capitol in Jackson. We appreciate their dedication and willingness to serve in the spirit of public service to help shape the future of our state.

Providing affordable, reliable electricity to our members since 1937.

SENATE

Sen. Robert L. Jackson

District 11: Coahoma, Panola, Quitman and Tunica counties Address: P.O. Box 383 Marks, MS 38646

Sen. Derrick T. Simmons

District 12: Bolivar, Coahoma and Washington counties Address: P.O. Box 1854 Greenville, MS 38702

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Rep. Cedric Burnett

District 9: Coahoma, Quitman, Tate and Tunica counties Address: P.O. Box 961 Tunica, MS 38676

Rep. Dan Eubanks

District 25: DeSoto County Address: P.O. Box 184 Walls, MS 38680

Rep. Orlando W. Paden District 26: Bolivar and Coahoma counties Address: 3731 Stovall Rd. Clarksdale, MS 38614

Notice to Members

Statement of Nondiscrimination

Coahoma Electric Power Association’s

Coahoma Electric Power Association is an equal opportunity provider and employer. If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866)632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Annual Meeting of Members Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, at 10 a.m. Coahoma Electric’s Training Center, Lyon, Miss. 14 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020


It’s easy to know your elected officials

NOW AVAILABLE

A free, interactive legislative app for Mississippi

ONLINE VERSION AVAILABLE AT

WWW.ECM.COOP

The Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi offers free versions of the 2020 Mississippi Legislative Roster app. We hope they will be helpful in your involvement with state government. Our easy-to-use mobile app provides information on Mississippi’s state and federal elected officials. Look for “Mississippi Legislative Roster” in the Apple App Store. An Android version is also available through Google play.

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION

IMPORTANT NOTICE

to our agricultural account holders

ROGER WICKER

CINDY HYDE-SMITH

United States Senator

United States Senator

TRENT KELLY

BENNIE G. THOMPSON

First District

MICHAEL GUEST Third District

Second District

Coahoma Electric Power Association needs to receive a Utility Exemption Affidavit from all agricultural account holders. The Affidavit ensures that all accounts that are agricultural in nature are being taxed at the appropriate rate. The Mississippi Department of Revenue requires an Affidavit to be filed and maintained at the electric cooperative to verify compliance. The forms can be found in the web page of the Revenue Department at www.dor.ms.gov or at the Association’s office at 340 Hopson Street, Lyon, MS.

Should anyone have a question, all calls can be directed to our Customer Service Representatives at 662-624-8321.

STEVEN PALAZZO Fourth District

JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020 | TODAY 15


Start the New Year with E N E R G Y S A V I N G S by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen Dear Pat and Brad: My neighbor claims they were able to cut their energy bills nearly in half. Is that even possible? What would I have to do to get there? It sounds like it would take a lot of time and money. — Luke Dear Luke: The story you heard is not far-fetched. We’ve been involved with energy efficiency programs that have achieved those kinds of results. Let’s talk about some energy-saving measures you can do right away and how you plan for greater savings down the road. DIAL IN SAVINGS Now: The first place to start is your home thermostat. In most homes, the largest portion of the energy bill goes toward heating and cooling. Setting back your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save you up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling. In the winter, you could aim for 56 F at night and when no one is at home, and 68 F when you’re up and around. If you’re used to a warmer house, it may mean throwing on a sweater or pair of slippers. It should be noted this tactic is not as effective for some homes with radiant heat systems. Later: Make sure to adjust your air conditioning settings next summer. If you have a manual thermostat and don’t always remember to adjust it, consider purchasing a smart or programmable thermostat. SET REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZER TEMPS FOR EFFECIENCY Now: Make sure your refrigerator and freezer aren’t set to a colder temperature than needed. The fridge should be at 38 F to 40 F and the freezer compartment should be 5 F. If you have a separate chest freezer, set it to 0 F. Also check your water heater setting. You should aim for a setting of 120 F.

Set Thermostat: Setting back your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save you up to 10 percent a year on home heating and cooling. Photo credit: Consumers Energy

Later: Old refrigerators and freezers can use a lot of electricity. If yours was made before 1993, you can save upwards of $65 a year with a new ENERGY STAR® model. If you eliminate a second refrigerator or freezer, you can save even more, especially if they are stored in your garage. MAKE BRIGHT MOVES WITH YOUR LIGHTS Now: The obvious first step is to make sure lights are turned off when they’re not in use. If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, you could switch the five most-used bulbs to LEDs and save about $75 per year. LEDs last much longer and use about one-fourth as much energy. Later: Over time, plan to replace all your old incandescent bulbs, and consider smart lighting options that can be programmed to turn off when a room is not in use. ELIMINATE DRAFTS Now: Look carefully around your home for signs of air leaks. If you have a gap under an exterior door, you can block it with weather stripping. Make sure windows are sealed with caulk, and you can also seal areas around plumbing and wiring penetrations. Later: Have an energy auditor do a blower door test, which is the best way to identify all air leaks. Taking some of these easy steps now should provide some quick energy savings. To save even more, you’ll need a plan that includes the “later” steps we’ve shared above. An energy audit can help you determine a much better plan, and your electric co-op may be able to provide an audit or recommend a qualified local auditor. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. Visit www.collaborativeefficiency.com/ energytips for more information on energy savings.

Refrigerator: For maximum efficiency, your fridge should be between 38 F to 40 F, and the freezer compartment should be set to 5 F. Photo credit: Marcela Gara, Resource Media

16 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020

Insulate Outlet: Carefully insulating around outlets on exterior-facing walls is a simple way to eliminate drafts. Photo credit: Marcela Gara, Resource Media


Electric Cooperatives

A partner and trusted source for members Electric cooperative members across the country are increasingly satisfied with the performance of their electric co-ops — and more than ever before see them as trusted sources for information on keeping their energy costs low. These are among the key findings of a recent national survey commissioned by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national trade association representing more than 900 electric cooperatives, including those in Mississippi. The survey found increased satisfaction over 2018 numbers from respondents who say their electric co-op keeps them informed about its actions (84 percent) and is a trusted source for information about energy use and devices, including solar energy (83 percent). It also recorded an increase from 2018 in co-op members who say their electric co-op is a partner in understanding energy technologies and controlling energy costs (83 percent). “We hear a lot of stories about how Americans are losing faith in institutions like big companies and government, but

that’s clearly not the case with electric cooperatives,” said NRECA Communications Senior Vice President Scott Peterson. “The positive view that members have of [electric] co-ops is a testament to their reputation as honest brokers and entities who truly care about their communities.” Other data shows electric co-ops holding steady with prior surveys on overall job performance (93 percent positive), providing reliable electric service (95 percent positive) and quickly restoring power after outages (92 percent positive). More than half (56 percent) of the co-op members who responded said their electric bills are “about right” or “a bit low” versus 41 percent who say their bills are “too high.” Electric co-ops care about the local communities they serve and want to be the trusted energy source for their members. If you have questions about your energy use or ways you can make your home more efficient to save money on your energy bills, contact your electric co-op — they’re ready to help!

Members have a high opinion of their co-op Co-op performance on specific traits Consumer-members give co-ops high marks across the board for performance but registered their highest satisfaction ever with co-ops being a “partner” in controlling energy use.

have a positive opinion of their co-op as a trusted source of information about energy use and consumer choices.

Perception of electric rates More than half of survey respondents said their co-op’s rates are “about right” or “a bit low.”

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ACCLAIMED CHEFS TOUR MISSISSIPPI RICE COUNTRY

by Deborah Willenborg This September, USA Rice brought seven foodservice chefs, nutritionists and award-winning individual chefs to Mississippi rice country for the fourth iteration of the Foodservice Farm & Mill tour to learn and experience first-hand the whole story of U.S.-grown rice from the field to their kitchens. The tour kicked off with a U.S.-grown rice presentation that covered the history, plant anatomy and nutritional profile of rice, and the latest in rice uses, applications across all foodservice meal components and foodservice trends for rice. Following the presentation, the group visited the Delta Seed and Service Center where Mississippi rice farmer Carter Murrell provided an informative walk through of the planting and harvest cycles, as well as the drying, milling and grading processes. He also spoke about sustainable farming practices utilized in the state and shared his experiences with alternate wetting and drying on his own family farm. It was then a short ride down MS-438 to Marvin Cochran’s farm and fields where harvest was in full swing. Cochran welcomed the group and explained the proud history of rice farming in Mississippi. “There aren’t many places in the United States where you can say we’re growing the seed, planting the rice, harvesting it, drying it and milling it all in the same county or parish, but we can say that here in Washington County where you are standing right now,” Cochran told the group. “That’s pretty special and we’re proud of that.” Cochran then saw to it that all the attendees got to ride in one of the two combines running that morning, which was a highlight for all. “Getting these chefs out into the field to actually experience harvest is a vital part of the tour that gets them thinking about our rice differently,” said Cameron Jacobs, USA Rice domestic promotion manager. “In the field you can really see it click with our attendees. Rice goes from just something that’s in their pantry to a locally grown crop being nurtured and prepared by family farmers. This year’s attendees were from Chicago, New York City, Tampa, Nashville, Roanoke, Washington, D.C. and the Philadelphia area — this visit to the farm made an impact!” After a rice-centric lunch, attendees were ready to suit up for their tour of the Mars’ Food U.S. facility in Greenville that is 18 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020

home to the ready-to-heat process for Uncle Ben’s quick cook bags. At the facility, attendees learned about the process, where rice is sourced, how quality of products are ensured and Mars’ sustainability goals. “It was great to learn more about American-grown rice from seed, to harvest, to mill, to polish, to bag. I took away a lot from this tour,” said three-time James Beard nominee Chef Hari Cameron. “I now know how unique the U.S. rice industry is in its ability to produce all types of rice — long, medium and short grain, as well as aromatic and specialty varieties,” added 2018 Rising Star winner Chef Jerome Grant. New to the foodservice tour program this year was a reality show-style cooking competition that took place following the mill tour at the Viking Cooking School Test Kitchen in Greenwood. Attendees were put into teams of two and had to answer rice trivia questions to earn market baskets of different ingredients including shrimp, catfish, chicken thighs and pork tenderloin. Chefs then had one hour and their choice of Uncle Ben’s quick cook rice varieties to produce a dish that would be judged for a chance to win a commercial Zojirushi rice cooker. Jacobs noted while these tours are educational opportunities, it’s also about establishing and maintaining relationships with tour attendees. “Restaurants have tremendous influence on consumers, and the proper promotion and plating of U.S.-grown rice can have a trickle-down effect to your everyday consumer,” he said. “The more restaurants we get using U.S. rice — ­ and calling it out — the broader we can spread our messages and awareness of our industry, and potentially impact consumer purchasing habits.” Tour participants represented more than 1,600 restaurants from Bloomin’ Brands (parent company for Outback, Fleming’s, Bonefish Grill, and Carrabba’s Italian Grill), Logan’s Road House, Virginia Tech’s dining services, the Restaurant Associates group, a (muse) coastal cuisine and the Smithsonian’s African American History and Culture Museum. Deborah Willenborg is the USA Rice director of marketing and communications. This article is reprinted from Whole Grain, Winter 2019 issue, with permission by USA Rice.


MISSISSIPPI’S MANSION of

MEMORIES Welcoming its first executive in 1842, the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion is the second-oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence in the United States. The Mansion is both a public building open for tours and the private residence of the governor and his family. In this unique book, readers are invited to explore the entirety of the building, from the attic to the garage and everything in between. The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion: Memories of the People’s Home is the first book of its kind dedicated to images and stories about the Governor’s Mansion. The volume reveals Governor Phil Bryant’s profound respect for the office he holds and his deep appreciation for the National Historic Landmark in which he resides. Through his personal, often touching, reflections, Governor Bryant pays tribute to former governors, their families and the many public servants who have dedicated their lives to taking care of this beautiful Greek Revival masterpiece.

More than 60 elegant watercolor paintings by noted Mississippi artist Bill Wilson accompany the governor’s stories. Wilson captures the beauty and majesty of the home, its furnishings and the restored historic grounds. The volume also features a personal foreword by First Lady Deborah Bryant inviting readers into the home, an artist’s statement by Wilson and a brief historical essay written by Mansion curator Megan Bankston. Published in November 2019 by University Press of Mississippi, the hardcover book retails for $35 and may be purchased at www.upress.state.ms.us/Books/T/The-Mississippi-Governor-s-Mansion or by calling 1-800-737-7788.

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A family’s journey towards heart health leads to a brand of fine olive oils and balsamic vinegars that is now benefitting the wellbeing of Mississippians statewide.

by Sandra M. Buckley Wanting to know what is in the food we consume, where it comes from and its nutritional value is natural. In culinary circles, olive oils and balsamic vinegars are the topic of such queries — and the consensus is undisputable: not all are equal. It is only those crafted to meet the highest standards of authenticity and purity that deliver the highest possible health benefits, the most fragrant aromas and elevated taste. For one Mississippi family, the quest to discover and understand the health benefits, origins and preparation methods of olive oils and balsamic vinegars became a personal mission that stemmed from a health scare in 1992. In turn, this family’s quest has subsequently expanded the availability, selection and knowledge of gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars for numerous Mississippians — thanks to the James family, which consists of Alan and Tom James of Canton and their two sons and daughters-in-law, Tommy and Manda and Lee and Debbie, all of Madison. 20 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020

“My dad suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery,” Lee recalled of the moment nearly 28 years ago that would forever change their family and the course of their lives — though, ultimately for the better. At that time, Tom’s cardiologist strongly encouraged the family to follow a more heart healthy diet. This, Lee said, included consumption of more olive oil through salads and cooking. With that advice, the entire family rallied in support and started buying and cooking with olives oils from their local grocery stores. “Then, once my brothers and I left for college, my parents had an empty nest and began traveling outside the country,” Lee said. “They were exposed to fresh olive oil and began bringing it back from their trips abroad. At that point, we were all hooked.” This newfound richness of flavor and overall quality of the products their parents brought back far exceeded that of what they had been buying locally. “We just thought that this was how all olive oil tasted,” Lee said. “Boy, were we wrong!”


These experiences are what prompted the James family to open their own specialty olive oil store so that other Mississippians could also enjoy, have access to and learn more about them. “And J. Olive Co. was born,” Lee shared, adding that the ‘J.’ represents the James family name. Their flagship J. Olive Co. store was launched in Ridgeland in August 2014. Since that time, the brand has expanded into two more physical locations, in Hattiesburg and Oxford, and a convenient website. Olive Oil “All of our oils are 100 percent natural, non-GMO and gluten free,” Lee noted. “It is literally fresh olive juice. Other oils cannot make that claim.” Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or EVOO, describes the pure oil produced from first press of an olive. It is the result of harvesting fresh green olives, crushing within 2 to 4 hours of harvest and maintaining an optimal temperature of 69 degrees or less at crush. These factors create an olive oil with exceptional freshness and quality, which lead to improved health benefits. Once anything is added to an EVOO, even simply infusing it with natural herbs or fruit, it is no longer labeled EVOO. As J. Olive Co. procures the freshest olive oils from across the globe, this means that harvest timing of olives is crucial. “We call it chasing the crush,” he said, “because in olive oil, freshness trumps everything.” The family imports its pristine olive oils from countries in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and the state of California, as well as Southern Hemisphere regions of Argentina, Australia, Chile, Peru and South Africa. The company’s high standards for EVOO surpass those set by the International Olive Oil Council and FDA. “Grocery stores will often carry ‘pure olive oil’ or ‘fresh olive oil’ — these are just ways of branding a substandard olive oil that did not even meet the lax standards to be considered an Extra Virgin Olive Oil,” Lee explained. “Often, they have been found to be blended with sunflower or another type of oil.” A popular product with J. Olive Co. customers is fused and infused olive oils, which are naturally flavored and include such options as basil, blood orange, butter, chipotle, garlic, lemon, rosemary and Tuscan herb, where the oils are flavored during the crush stage. “For example,” he shared, “lemons are thrown in with the olives at the crush to make the fused lemon olive oil.” One question J. Olive Co. staff is often asked is if olive oil can be used as a substitute for butter in cooking or baking. “Absolutely,” Lee confirmed. “Our butter flavored olive oil allows you to get the taste of butter on everything, from

oatmeal at breakfast to spritzed over popcorn, without the guilt of using butter.” J. Olive Co. EVOO provides harvest dates on all bottles, as consumption is recommended within one year of that date. Health Health benefits unique to a high quality EVOO are numerous. First, it is high in monounsaturated fat, which is considered a good fat, and is noted to improve blood sugar levels, lower belly fat and potentially prevent cognitive decline often associated with aging and Alzheimer’s. It also is low in saturated fat, contains vitamin E, increases calcium absorption to promote healthy bones, has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve arthritis pain and boosts the immune system. “Perhaps the most significant health benefit of a quality EVOO, such that is found at J. Olive Co., is the presence of a significant polyphenol level in the oils,” Lee said. Photos by J. Olive Co. “Polyphenols work as antioxidants to protect the cells in our bodies from damage from cancer causing free radicals. A diet high in polyphenols has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease by decreasing certain inflammatory factors, reducing the risk of blood clotting, improving the lining of arteries, increasing blood flow and circulation and decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”

Wild Rice with Feta and Pecans INGREDIENTS 2 (6-ounce) boxes of long grain and wild rice mix ½ red onion, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped ½ cup J. Olive Co. EVOO ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted 4 tablespoons J. Olive Co. Cranberry-Pear Balsamic Vinegar 1⁄3 cup dried cranberries ½ cup crumbled feta cheese Cook rice according to package directions and set aside to cool. When cooled, stir in onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, olive oil, pecans, balsamic vinegar and cranberries. Stir well, and then carefully fold in the feta cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020 | TODAY 21


Balsamic Vinegars “Just like there are white and red wines, you can have white and dark balsamic vinegars,” Lee explained. “The taste of our white balsamics is fruitier and less bodied than our more traditional dark balsamics. White and dark balsamics are both great over salad, fruit and as marinades. From Modena, Italy, our balsamic vinegars are a low calorie and healthy way to add great flavor to your foods.” Among the collection of taste bud-pleasing white balsamic vinegars offered at J. Olive Co. are flavors such as apricot, coconut, grapefruit, honey ginger, jalapeno and peach. Darks range in depths of flavors from black currant, dark chocolate, fig and pomegranate to strawberry, vanilla and wild blueberry. While many balsamics on the market have hidden ingredients, such as added sweeteners, color or thickeners, J. Olive Co. ensures theirs are 100 percent natural, gluten free, contain no added sugar and are non-GMO. And as a bonus, they have no expiration date. The stringent production process adhered to by J. Olive Co. for balsamic vinegar ensures the Italian grapes are harvested, crushed and cooked in copper kettles within the region of Modena.  This ancient procedure of using copper kettles is central to caramelizing the grape and is considered a rare step in these days of quick, mass production. Then, the liquid is aged in wooden barrels for up to 18 years. Popular Pairings According to James, good EVOO and traditional balsamic is a staple that everyone should have in their home. The James family and J. Olive Co. staff enjoy talking with curious customers who are learning about the expansive uses of these products in the kitchen. “Our managers and employees are a great help,” Lee added, “and we couldn’t do everything without them.” A few favorite “go-to” recommendations for customers to try are J. Olive Co.’s Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil and Sicilian Lemon with chicken, fish or on a salad. Lemon Fused Olive Oil and Cranberry Pear Balsamic are also fantastic on chicken, fish, roasted vegetables or a salad. The Butter Olive Oil and Dark Chocolate Balsamic is a crowd pleaser on steak. Basil Infused Olive Oil and Strawberry Balsamic over a spinach salad with feta cheese, nuts and strawberries ranks high too.

J. Olive Co. At J. Olive Co., all olive oils and balsamic vinegars are handpoured onsite into dark bottles, which should be stored in a cool, dark space, such as a kitchen cabinet or pantry. This ensures that light or UV rays do not taint the natural health benefits of the product. Plus, empty and clean J. Olive Co. bottles can be used for refills in-house, at a $1 discount, on their 200, 375 and 750 millimeter bottles. While the main focus of J. Olive Co. remains olive oil and balsamic vinegar, boutique gifts such as candles and home décor are also available. “We carry products made from olive wood and also soaps and lotions made from olive oil,” Lee noted. “Other offerings include seasonings and white truffle oil and black truffle sea salt used in cooking.” The website is an additional emporium of products, recipes, pairing suggestions and more. Many customers call in or order online, as the business ships its products all across Mississippi and the country. “We have had such a good time interacting with our customers and growing closer as a family,” Lee shared. “Our employees have become part of the family as well. It has been such a rewarding experience. It is truly a passion for the James family.” Today, J. Olive Co. is doing more than starting a conversation about heart health, it is bringing delicious, nutritious and wholesome olive oils and balsamic vinegars to kitchens across Mississippi — making it easy to use in our favorite recipes and establish as a healthy habit in our daily life. “One of our favorite things is to talk to our customers that come in and find out how they are using our products,” Lee added. “People love to talk about food, and so do we.”

RIDGELAND 141 Township Ave., Suite 109 / 601-850-3860 OXFORD 265 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite J / 662-380-5013 HATTIESBURG 6555 US Highway 98 West, Suite 22A / 601-336-7702 STORE HOURS: Monday — Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

www.joliveco.com


A FAMILY TRADITION A SP

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THE SEC FOOTBALL LA S S N RO

Not many football fathers have the chance to witness an eightyear journey across the SEC football landscape as M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole has. He was a three-year letterman at Ole Miss while son Mitt would later play at LSU and son Drew at Auburn. Hoppy’s two great highlights are of his sons winning national championship rings. Mitt won his title with LSU in 2007 while Drew won his at Auburn in 2010. The elder Cole was not left out totally, as he does have some hardware from helping lead Pascagoula to the Big 8 state championship in 1976. “I used to kid with them and say, ‘When you play on Saturday, you can talk trash,’” Hoppy said. Well, Mitt and Drew reversed it on him as then now can laughingly say, “When you play on Monday, you can talk trash, dad.” Hoppy is a bank president and CEO of The First in Hattiesburg. The Pascagoula native’s first taste of football came early. He grew up an Ole Miss fan because of his older neighbor, Allen Bush. Bush signed with Coach Johnny Vaught’s powerhouse and played for the Rebels from 1965-67. “My dad took an old bus and made it into a camper,” Hoppy said. “He did it because every Saturday we were following Ole Miss and Bush around.” Hoppy remembers riding in that overhauled bus all the way to El Paso to see Ole Miss play. Hoppy later followed in Bush’s foot steps to Pascagoula High and then to Ole Miss. Unfortunately for Hoppy, in his three varsity seasons in Oxford under Steve Sloan, the Rebels were not very productive. Even so, he said, “We had some great moments. We beat State twice and whipped USM. I also played with and against some of the greatest in SEC history.” Mitt started his high school playing career at South Jones High School in Ellisville. Midway through his junior year, his dad was in the midst of helping start up a new bank, and the job called for relocating the family to Picayune. Mitt, a 6-4, 265-pound tight end, had already attracted college attention. Coaches were making comments like, “Who is that big kid that can run?”

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Drew, Hoppy and Mitt Cole

“I grew up an Ole Miss fan,” stated Mitt. “My final two choices came down to LSU and Ole Miss. It really came down to that I wanted to play for Nick Saban.” After Mitt’s second year, Saban was hired away by the Miami Dolphins. In came Les Miles to coach the Tigers. In the final game of Mitt’s career, he helped the Tigers win their first National Championship since 1958. “We beat Ohio State in the Superdome for the title. Nothing like that feeling,” Mitt reminisced. Mitt also works for The First. Drew was a tagalong to college camps with Mitt since he was four years younger. Drew, who was a running back and defensive back in high school, ran a 4.39 40-yard dash. He became very close to the LSU and Auburn coaching staffs. They stayed in touch, and in the end Drew chose Auburn over LSU and Ole Miss. “I grew up an Ole Miss fan until Mitt went to LSU,” stated Drew. “Dad never put any pressure on us to sign with any particular school. Coaches come and go, so it should be all about the school. I was going to play defensive back in college, so to me on the football side was all about the defensive schemes the teams were running.” During his junior season, the Tigers beat Oregon for the national title. Drew works for Laurel’s Sanderson Farms.

by Dale McKee Dale McKee is a Waynesboro resident who has been writing about sports in Mississippi since 1973.

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Sweet Potato Bacon Soup

by Andy Chapman Sweet potatoes are one of Mississippi’s most iconic and abundant fall food crops, so in this recipe we elevate and celebrate this Mississippi favorite with a heartwarming and belly-filling sweet potato soup recipe sure to nourish and brighten your winter season. This recipe originated from the “What’s in the Pantry?” method. Often, at our house, new recipes emerge when I’m “forced” to cook with what’s left over in the fridge and pantry. You know the scenario: you open the fridge and cabinets and proclaim “there’s nothing to eat.” Yet obviously, there are plenty of foodstuffs available in most homes with shelves at least partially stocked and a random assortment of fresh products in the fridge. Those ingredients just don’t add up to your go-to recipe or an easy grab-and-go snack. For me, these scenarios initiate a personal challenge. They’re a welcomed opportunity to get creative: to make something great from ingredients we already have on hand, or with minimal additions from the store. I believe this Sweet Potato Bacon Soup recipe to be one of the best recipes for the winter months, and the sort of thing that you won’t ever need space for in the fridge. Why? Because it’s always gone after seconds and thirds (at least at our house). It’s easy to make any day of the week. It’s nutritious and filling. And best of all, despite its simplicity, it’s an elegant dish that will wow a crowd of dinner guests. 24 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020

Sweet Potato Bacon Soup INGREDIENTS 4-6 large sweet potatoes 3 strips thick bacon ¼ stick of butter 1 cup water 1 cup milk 1 cup heavy cream 1 packet chicken stock concentrate 4-5 fresh thyme stems 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste EQUIPMENT NEEDED Skillet Soup or stock pot (a large Dutch oven is perfect!) Immersion blender or other hot liquid-friendly blender (like a Ninja, Blendtec or Vitamix) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and roast sweet potatoes for 35 minutes or until softened throughout. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven baking, place skillet over medium heat. (Directions continued on next page.)


Quickly slice bacon into matchsticks. (Tip: If you fold each bacon strip in half lengthwise, twice, you can slice the six layers of bacon at once. Repeat for each strip.) Add bacon to skillet and crisp the bacon matchsticks. Remove to a paper towel to use later. In a large soup or stock pot, whisk the chicken stock into the cup of water over low heat until fully blended. Add the butter and half of the cream and continue to whisk over medium heat. Remove mixture from heat. Peel the sweet potatoes’ skins off with two forks or use heat resistant gloves to get the job done. (Keep in mind that the steam inside the potato will be hot!) Add the sweet potato “meat” to the soup pot with water mixture. Add half the bacon to the soup pot as well. Strip the thyme leaves from the stem and add most of the leaves (reserving a few for garnish), nutmeg and cinnamon. Break apart the potato pieces with a wooden spoon or whisk and stir mixture to begin combining ingredients. At our house, we call the immersion blender the “boat motor.” It’s a fabulous tool to use in this case because it will minimize cleanup later because the “blending” can happen in the original soup pot. Alternately, you can transfer the ingredients in a couple of “batches” into a large hot food-friendly blender and then stir the batches back together well before serving. Either way, blend the ingredients until the soup is “whipped” — creamy, smooth, velvety. It’s best to remove the soup from heat during blending. Once blended, add the other half of the cream and milk to the soup slowly. If you need to add a little more milk or cream to help it come to a perfect texture, go for it.

Your soup should be soup, not mashed potatoes; plus, it’s a fact that you can’t have too much cream, bacon or sweet potatoes in any recipe. Once you’ve gotten the soup silky smooth, bring the pot back to the stove on low-medium heat. Continue stirring until it’s piping hot. If the soup thickens up too much at this point, thin it with chicken stock. If it’s too thin, simmer it longer to reduce it down slightly. This is a very forgiving recipe — which is part of its magic and ease. We like to serve this soup garnished with a crumble of the reserved bacon and a pinch of fresh thyme. As I mentioned earlier, this is a crowd-pleasing dish, so invite some neighbors over to enjoy this with you or really make someone’s day by taking it over to someone else’s home who needs a bright spot on a gloomy winter day. Pack the soup in one container and the fresh thyme and bacon crumbles separately. Garnish all the bowls after it’s back up to serving temperature. Everyone eats with their eyes, so dress it up with a sprinkle of that bacon and something green and folks will think you just invented soup and won winter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chef Andy Chapman lives in Gulfport where he owns and operates Eat Y’all, a business that helps farmers and food producers connect to chefs around the globe who are looking for better ingredients. Andy would love to hear how your turkey turns out. Contact him at andy@eatyall.com or 601-852-3463.


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grin ‘n’ bare it with Rebecca Turner

cucumbers and tomatoes during the winter and pile on inter weather typically means piping hot soups, and seasonal produce. Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, hearty chilis are simmering in a slow-cooker. Cassecauliflower, parsnips rutabagas or turnips can be chopped raw roles and comfort foods usually take center stage this time of and make great salad toppers. Add in seasonal fruits such as year, edging out wholesome fruits and vegetables. Long gone apples, grapefruit, oranges, pears or tangerines for a sweet is the array of summer’s bountiful crops convincing consumers twist. Use their fresh-squeezed fruit juice to make a homethe harvest is over. But, just because it is sweater weather made vinaigrette. Roast a pan of sweet potatoes or winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy seasonal salads. While there squash and cube them to toss in with may be a smaller selection of in-season sauteed greens. Beets are beautiful, deliproduce during the winter months, there cious and nutritious but can be a booger is still plenty to build a healthy salad. to prepare. Utilize canned vegetables like Greens are the base for traditional Whether you eat them raw beets and hearts of palm to add distinct salads. Leafy green vegetables, regardless or cooked, a winter diet flavors without the fuss. of the season, are an essential part of a rich in leafy greens helps Make your winter salads hearty, hearthealthy diet — the darker the green in reduce your risk of heart the leaf, the more vitamins, minerals and disease, high blood pressure healthy and fiber-filled by including cooked whole grains, like quinoa, barley or burglar. fiber. Several dark green leafy vegetables and mental decline. Other fun winter salad toppings include are in season during the coldest months, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, chopped nuts, figs and including kale, spinach, endive and Mississippi’s beloved pomegranate seeds. Pair salads with popular lean proteins or collard greens. All of winter’s greens can be eaten raw, but plant proteins like frozen edamame or canned beans. Even swap out crisp greens for sauteed leafy greens as the base of when your slow-cooker is filling your home with smells of a warm winter salad. Whether you eat them raw or cooked, a comfort foods, serve it with a winter salad on the side. Whether winter diet rich in leafy greens helps reduce your risk of heart your winter salad is warm or cold, use these ideas to keep you disease, high blood pressure and mental decline. healthy, full and out of hibernation all winter long. Set aside your stereotypical salad toppers like carrots,

26 TODAY | JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020


Brussel Sprout Quinoa Salad

Pomegranate and Pear Salad

INGREDIENTS 1 pound Brussel sprouts, halved 3 cups butternut squash, cubed evenly 2/3 cup dry quinoa 1 medium pomegranate, deseeded 1/2 cup pecans, chopped Olive oil spray

INGREDIENTS 1 pear, thinly sliced 3 cups spinach 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds 1/8 cup pecans 1/8 cup blue cheese 2 tablespoons sherry vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place Brussel sprouts on one side of the pan and butternut squash on the other side, or you can use two pans. Spritz vegetables with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes; remove Brussels sprouts and place into a large bowl. Return squash to the oven if not yet tender and bake 10 to 15 more minutes. Add to the bowl with Brussel sprouts. While the vegetables are baking, cook quinoa according to directions. In the large bowl with the vegetables, add cooked quinoa, pomegranate seeds and pecans. Stir to combine. Serve warm.

Layer ingredients into a bowl or on a plate. Add dressing when ready to eat. This recipe yields one serving, so make several salads at once. Pair with a lean protein for an easy weekday lunch or convenient weeknight meal.

Tip: Save time and purchase pre-cut butternut squash, microwavable quinoa pouches and pomegranate seeds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rebecca Turner is an author, registered dietitian, radio host, television presenter and a certified specialist in sports dietetics with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A lifelong Mississippian, she has spent the last decade offering no-nonsense nutrition guidance that allows you to enjoy good health and good food. Her book, “Mind Over Fork,� challenges the way you think, not the way you eat. Find her on social media and online at www.theRebeccaTurner.com.


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MY HOMETOWN HAS CHANGED traffic, vendors set up food sales and all businesses are open for At one of our daily board meetings, Mr. Roy said, “I am so proud visitors. These events attract more and more people. I asked of the way Lucedale has changed in the past few years. Have you him what other events the city promotes. He said, “Miss Kay, we noticed how busy Main Street is now?” I said, “Yes, and all of the will sponsor or encourage any event that will attract visitors to once vacant stores have been renovated and filled with little shops. our town. If a doughnut-eating contest will get visitors to come, It’s wonderful. And not only that, many of the old houses have we’ll promote it. Our Christmas Parade is the second largest in been refurbished, and that really makes me proud.” Mississippi. I tell people that Lucedale is a regional attraction. Just Mr. Roy is a native of our hometown, and I moved here when walk down Main Street today and notice where the cars are from.” I was 12 years old. After we married, we moved away for approxI thanked Mayor Nelson for his help and headed to see Russell imately 10 years, but returned to live and raise our children in this Evans to get his thoughts. Mr. Evans agreed with the Mayor’s little town. We have discussed our decision many times, and we opinions, but added one comment. Several investors with adequate both agree that we are glad we returned. capital and a love for Lucedale were responsible for purchasing Lucedale, like most small towns in Mississippi, went through a many of the old buildings, renovating them and renting space to period of change during the 1970s, 1980s and most of the 1990s. the right kind of businesses. Without their help, revitalization of Downtown, and especially Main Street, almost died. Stores closed downtown might not have happened. and business moved to the suburbs. My little town struggled to The changes to “This Best Little Town” required the efforts of survive. I have previously discussed the book that Mr. Roy and our many individuals and groups, including a forward thinking Mayor good friend Dayton Whites wrote entitled, “The Best Little Town.” and City Board, investors with adequate capital, an energetic downThe book describes Lucedale during 1945 to 1950. Main Street was town merchants association and entrepreneurs with a vision. busy, as were most Main Streets in small towns in Mississippi. The You are invited to come see for yourselves. book gives this description: In 1948, Lucedale had a respectable shopping area, and most all professional services needed were available. The town had five dry goods stores, seven grocery stores, three drug stores, two hardware stores, one variety store and six new car dealerships. In addition, there were five restaurants, four by Kay Grafe hotels, three movie theaters, one pool hall, a bowling alley, a gift shop and one bank. Today, downtown Lucedale is a far cry from Contact Kay Grafe at kaygrafe@bellsouth.net. the way it was in the 1940s and 1950s. Approximately eight years ago, Lucedale began a process of metamorphosis. Today, Main Street is once again busy and bustling with people and cars. But there is one big difference; most of the businesses are antique stores and specialty shops. All of the storefronts have been refurbished to fit each store’s new identity, but all still retain their original character. To better understand what enabled this revitalization, I met with the town’s mayor, Darwin Nelson, and also Russell Evans, owner of a local real estate firm and active in the Hattiesburg, MS • 1-601-296-0550 Downtown Merchant’s Association. Mayor Nelson is a dynamic leader and always anxious to talk about Lucedale. He told me Our Prices Include that he believes a key to getting the city labor & metal sides. busy again is attracting visitors to the city. An Also available in wood sides. example of this is the Second Saturday event that is held each month from March through Garage with hardy siding and We will build any size barn. www.farmbarnsinc.com concrete slab, any size. September. At 5 p.m., Main Street is closed to

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events

mississippi marketplace SOON Church/Government uniting, suppressing Want more than 464,000 readers to know about your special The Talleys in Concert, February 28, Hattiesburg. event?on Events openthe to the publicmenu will be published free of charge RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, enforcing NATIONAL 7 p.m. outdoors First Baptist Church of Glendale; 2311 Glendale. today as space allows. Submit details at least two months prior to the Love offering accepted. Details: 601-544-0414. SUNDAY LAW. Be informed! event date. Submissions must include a phone number with TBSM, BOX 99, Lenoir City, TN 3771. area code for publication. Mail to Mississippi Events, the Today in ‘sip scene around picture thebiblesaystruth@yahoo.com Melodies of Bluegrass Festival, February 28- 29, this Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300; or email Morton. Featuring bluegrass bands Carolina Blue, Tyler 1-888-211-1715 to news@ecm.coop. Events are subject to change. Please confirm Band, myCartelopinion detailsco-op before traveling. involvement Carroll & Pineridge Bluegrass, Bluegrass Southern Strings Dulcimer Festival, February 20-22, Petal. The 22nd annual event will offer workshops, jamming sessions, concerts and more. Workshops taught by nationally known instructors include mountain and hammered dulcimers as well as psaltery, autoharp/ ukulele and percussion. Dulcimer Championship will take place Saturday. Calvary Baptist Church; 1123 U.S. Hwy 42. Details: www.mississippidulcimer.com.

Catahoula Drive, Another Town, Alan Sibley & Magnolia Ramblers and Russell Burton Family. Music starts both days at 1 p.m. Livingston Performing Arts Center at Roosevelt State Park; 2149 Highway 13. Admission; children under 12 free with paying adult. Details: 601-604-4234 or 601-527-9127.

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World of Customs Auto Show, February 21-23, Tupelo. Mississippi’s largest indoor car show will feature ISCA and True Street cars and motorcycles from all over the USA, live music, evening concerts, special tribute artists, Mrs. Mississippi, vendor booths, children’s activities and more. Tupelo Furniture Market, buildings 4 and 5; 1979 Coley Road. Details: www.worldofcustoms.com; Facebook.

32nd Arbor Day Run/Walk/Roll, February 29, Biloxi. Join the Disability Connection, Gulf Coast Running Club and City of Biloxi for this charitable event promoting healthy lifestyles to individuals of all ages, with and without disabilities. The event is free to attend and includes live music, games, vendors and more. The 5K/1 Mile Run/Walk/Roll and 1/4 Mile Challenge requires registration (with fee). 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Biloxi Town Green. Details: www.disabilityconnection.org.

61st Annual Gem, Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry Show, February 22-23, Jackson. Featuring vendors, door prizes, demonstrations, children’s activities, exhibits, educational opportunities and more. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mississippi Trade Mart. Admission. Details: www.missgems.org; 601-344-8171.

Whispers in the Cedars, March 6-7, Port Gibson. The 7th annual cemetery candlelight tour features actor representations of historic figures, which will take place at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wintergreen Cemetery. Admission; tickets must be purchased in advance. Details: pinnixdesignsinc@gmail.com; 601-437-5097.

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Ephraim Woods’ grave is a testament to his undying belief in the promised Day of Resurrection — a testimony that has long since outlived his physical life on earth. Photos by Walt Grayson.

I

’m not sure the name of the little cemetery across the Over the years, lots of people have tried to find the grave of the road from Red Lick Baptist Church in Jefferson County. It man standing up at Red Lick. Until the cousins chopped the may belong to the church, or it may be an old family plot. cemetery out of the wilderness a few weeks ago, the cemetery But whichever, it was recently cleaned up by a bunch of itself was hard enough to find — much less the up-standing grave. cousins who are descendants of one of I suppose a curious grave like that is the long-time occupants, Ephraim Woods. enough of an oddity that folks would want He died back in the 1880s, I think. I’m tryto see it for themselves. I did a TV story ing to remember if that’s what Margaret about it. So, obviously I wanted to go see it. I suppose a curious grave like Woods Collins from Madison, Ephraim’s If you ever want to find it, the best way that is enough of an oddity great-granddaughter, told me. He has no to do so is stop by the Old Country Store at that folks would want to headstone, so I couldn’t read it anywhere Lorman and ask my “go to” buddy, “Mr. D.,” for myself. And, I forgot to write down how to get there. And go hungry enough to see it for themselves. what Margaret said. eat some of his “Best Fried Chicken in the But no matter. Even without a headstone, Ephraim’s grave is by World” while you are there. His chicken is almost good enough far the easiest in the cemetery to find. It is shaped like a head-high to raise the dead, itself. Indian Mound — because Ephraim is buried standing up. Why did he want such an odd burial? Well according to Margaret, her great-granddad was a very religious person and wanted to be able to step directly out of his grave on Resurrection Day and look his maker squarely in the face. A little eccentric, perhaps. by Walt Grayson Another cousin, J.W. Woods from Pearl River County, says he thinks his great granddad was just some kind of a weirdo. Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Perhaps. But if it ends up that Ephraim is the first man standing Broadcasting television and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” and lends a helping hand to others struggling to climb out on That books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” Day, then we’ll know he had the right idea all along. Contact him at walt@waltgrayson.com. JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020 | TODAY 31


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Today in Mississippi January & February 2020 Coahoma  

Today in Mississippi January & February 2020 Coahoma

Today in Mississippi January & February 2020 Coahoma  

Today in Mississippi January & February 2020 Coahoma