Today in Mississippi January 2022 Coahoma

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scene around the ‘sip co-op involvement southern gardening

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Working for us, year after year

Welcome to 2022. I hope you and your family had a great holiday season and are ready for the new year. January at Today in Mississippi is the time we put together our legislative issue. We like the issue to coincide with the beginning of the new year’s legislative session, which begins in early January. Our legislators — the duly elected public servants that we send to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the state capitol in Jackson — are the folks who represent us at the highest levels of government. Because they represent you and me, and their jobs are so important to our communities, we want to make sure you know who they are. Turn to the local pages in the middle of the magazine to see the names and photos of your lawmakers. Never forget: our legislators are our friends and advocates. They work and fight for us. Our government relations team stays in close contact with them while they monitor state and national legislation that affects the electric power industry. Not coincidentally, lawmakers, representation and democracy are at the heart of our January cover story. We interviewed Meridian author Richelle Putnam about her new book, “Images of America: Mississippi in the Great Depression.” In the early 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mississippi politicians such as U.S. Sen. Pat Harrison and U.S. Rep. John Rankin worked to bring power to rural Mississippi — an action that

transformed our way of life. That electric cooperative history is part of our Great Depression cover story and a reminder that legislators in Jackson and Washington, D.C. continue to play a crucial and vital role in our daily lives and the future of electric cooperatives and the power industry. On a different note, some of you should be on the lookout this month for a reader survey. We periodically seek official feedback on the magazine — what you like, what you don’t, and how we can do better. This year, the survey is going out to a set of readers — picked at random electronically — by mail and email. I hope you take a few minutes to respond to the survey, so we can make sure Today in Mississippi remains one of your favorite publications. Also, this issue will be the last for longtime Today in Mississippi and Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi graphic artist Rickey McMillian. Rickey has worked with us for 21 years. Rickey is leaving us for a well-deserved retirement. We will miss his professionalism, hard work, and good humor. Thanks again for reading, being part of our electric cooperative community, and we wish everyone a terrific 2022.

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

Riding off into the sunset Longtime Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Graphic Designer Rickey McMillan has moved on to the next phase of his life. Following 21 years of professional and exemplary service, Rickey has retired. A key player in the creativity and hard work that makes Today in Mississippi a special statewide publication, to say Rickey will be missed by the co-op community is an understatement. Ron Stewart, senior vice president of communications, has worked with Rickey for his entire time at ECM and known him ever longer. “He’s more of a friend than a co-worker. I’ve known Rickey since childhood as we were involved in the same church in the 1970s. We lost touch, so I was happy to get reconnected when he applied for a job in 2000,” Ron said. “He’s very talented and has been a dedicated and loyal employee. He totally understands the cooperative network and served as an outstanding member of our electric cooperative family. He played a vital role in the success of Today in Mississippi and his willingness to put in extra time and effort to help us meet deadlines has demonstrated his commitment to excellence. Thanks for being such a valuable member to our team.” Following stints as the marketing director of the Metro Center Mall in Jackson, advertising manager at Gayfers, and fashion illustrator at McRae’s, Rickey came to the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi to work as a graphic artist in 2000. A stellar graphic artist and editorial page and advertisement designer, Rickey’s skills stretched into the world of video. In 2014, Rickey won two separate awards for his work on a 75th anniversary video for Singing River Electric. One of those awards came from the Southern Public Relations Federation and the other from the Public Relations Association of Mississippi. Rickey said he’s going to miss working at ECM because of the people. “I know it sounds like a cliché, but it really is like a family here. I’m going to miss being with everybody. But I just think it’s time,” Rickey said. Rickey’s retirement will include time spent playing guitar (which he’s done since he was 13), fishing and watercolor painting. Rickey is also looking forward to spending more time with his family. Rickey is married to Harriet McMillan. The couple has three children: Rachel, Daniel, and Rebecca as well as one 16-year-old grandson, Andrew. “This never felt like work. I always enjoyed the job and I will miss it,” Rickey said.


in this issue

5 southern gardening It’s time for winter vegetables

7 scene around the ‘sip A look at special people and places in Mississippi


9 outdoors today Everyone has a beginning, and an ending

12 local news 16 feature

A look at the Great Depression in Mississippi and the origin of co-ops

22 22

picture this Readers sent us photos of Mississippi churches

24 on the menu

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 75 No. 1

OFFICERS Eddie Howard - President Randy Carroll - First Vice President Ron Barnes - Second Vice President Tim Perkins - Secretary/Treasurer Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Ron Stewart - Senior Vice President Lydia Walters - VP, Communications Steven Ward - Editor Chad Calcote - Creative Director/ Manager Rickey McMillan - Graphic Designer Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer Alan Burnitt - Graphic Designer Courtney Warren - Graphic Designer Chris Alexander - Member Services Coordinator EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600

Acceptance of advertising by Today in Mississippi does not imply endorsement of the advertised product or services by the publisher or Mississippi’s electric power associations. Product satisfaction and delivery responsibility lie solely with the advertiser. • National advertising representative: American MainStreet Publications, 800-626-1181

Circulation of this issue: 491,080

Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year. Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 12 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

A tale of two shrimp po’ boys

27 mississippi seen

Pearl Harbor history in Mississippi

On the cover 27

Ora Baptist Church in Collins. This submitted photo was part of this month’s Picture This feature, Places of Worship. The photo was taken by Southern Pine Electric member Rhonda Wade of Collins.

READER SURVEY NOTICE Today in Mississippi is conducting a readership survey this month, so please be aware that you may receive the survey in the mail or by email. The survey gives you an opportunity to give us feedback on the job we’re doing. It’s always our goal to deliver a quality publication filled with content that is timely, informative and — most of all — of interest to you!


Plant cole crops now for This red cabbage is in the same family as broccoli, kale, and other cole crops. It grows in winter gardens after summer crops succumb to freezing weather.

I never have to worry about my plants having wet feet. Even though I still have tomatoes and peppers producing While we want good soil drainage, we can’t let the plants dry in my home garden, I know these summer vegetables are on out. These plants need consistent soil moisture to be productive. borrowed time. It’s the time of year to appreciate the great We’re likely to have droughty weather during the winter months cool-season vegetables we can grow. in Mississippi. In my Ocean Springs garden, we received less than From broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and collards to cabbage and 2 inches of rain in November. Brussels sprouts, these vegetables are commonly called crucifWinter cold can rapidly deplete soil moisture. Apply mulch erous or cole crops. I think they are delicious, especially after to help retain moisture, but be prepared to water as needed. a freeze takes out my tomatoes and peppers. And here’s a heads up: After The variety of shapes, sizes, and watering, don’t leave the hose colors within this group of attached to the spigot. Freezing vegetables is amazing. But what is temperatures can burst pipes even more amazing is that these pretty quickly. vegetables are all closely related For best growth of cruciferous genetically. In fact, they have a vegetables, do not neglect common ancestor. fertilizing the plants. Wild cabbage is a little plant These vegetables are heavy from the region around the feeders all through the winter Mediterranean. Because of its crop season. I like to add slownutritious foliage, farmers grew release fertilizer at transplanting and domesticated selected plants to get the plants off to a great based on their desired traits. Broccoli performs well in winter gardens. It is part of the Brassica oleracea family start. Then I use a water-soluble Over many, many thousands domesticated for what are actually flowers. fertilizer on a monthly schedule of years, we have developed to keep the plants healthy and growing strong. leafy versions — kale and collards; buds — cabbage and Brussels Now is the time to pick up some transplants at your favorite sprouts; and flowers — broccoli and cauliflower. independent garden center. Follow these tips to enjoy nutritious As a group, they’re known botanically as Brassica oleracea, and and tasty vegetables all through the winter gardening season. each has its own varietal designation: broccoli, B. oleracea var. italica; cauliflower, B. oleracea var. botrytis; kale, B. oleracea var. sabellica; collards, B. oleracea var. viridis; cabbage, B. oleracea var. capitata; and Brussels sprouts, B. oleracea var. gemmifera. Because these vegetables are so closely related, they have similar growing needs and conditions. by Dr. Gary The first is they don’t like wet feet. Like so many of our landBachman scape and garden plants in Mississippi, good soil drainage is a must. Raised beds are a great choice for good drainage, and Gary Bachman, Ph.D., Extension/Research Professor of Horticulture at adding composted materials creates an optimum planting bed. the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in I really like growing these plants in containers because of the Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs. He lives in Ocean Springs and is a Singing River Electric member. superior growing media available that allows for good drainage. JANUARY 2022 | TODAY 5

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scene around the ‘sip

Crosby Arboretum: An ecological paradise in our backyard by Steven Ward There are so many places to visit and “see the sights” in Mississippi that, sometimes, both tourists and locals need a reminder of all the hidden gems just waiting for discovery or rediscovery. One of those gems sits on 64 acres in Picayune near Interstate 59. The Crosby Arboretum is a public garden owned by Mississippi State University and operated by the MSU Extension Service and is a unit of the Coastal Research and Extension Center. The site offers both recreational and educational opportunities and is dedicated to educating the public about their environment as well as serving as a scientific and educational organization that documents and shares information about nature to the public. The Arboretum manages acreage in seven associated natural areas and supports over 300 species of plants. The Crosby site functions as a celebration of local native flora. The Arboretum’s mission is to preserve, protect, and display plants native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem. The American Society of Landscape Architects awarded the site an ASLA award in 1991 calling it the “first fully realized ecological garden in the U.S.” “Many times we’ve heard our visitors say, ‘I’ve always known you were here, but I never stopped in.’ Or, ‘I wish I had come 20 years ago, so I could have been enjoying it all this time.’ Visits to the Arboretum are much like peeling back the layers of an onion. No two days are alike. New creatures, blooms, and experiences are always waiting for you just around the

bend in the path,” Arboretum Director Pat Drackett said. One of the highlights of the site is the award-winning Pinecote Pavilion designed by architect E. Fay Jones of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The structure received an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1990 and was recognized by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History as a Mississippi Landmark. Some of the more recent visitor draws at the Arboretum include, The Gum Pond Bridge, a bridge spanning the headwaters inlet of the site’s gum pond and The Rosen Memorial Pavilion, accessed by a crisscrossing boardwalk that extends from the bulkhead of a new pond overlook. A visit to the Arboretum means moving through exhibits on the pathways, or “landscape journeys.” Visitors to the public garden who walk the three-mile trail system will travel through three main exhibits: a woodland exhibit, an aquatic exhibit, and a Savanna exhibit. Along the pathways, interpretive signage focuses on various coastal ecosystems and their values, and native plant communities and the species within them. “My favorite area is the south pitcher plant bog, where changes are dynamic, plant populations, patterns, and textures are continually shifting due to fluctuations in moisture and are never the same from year to year,” Drackett said. Drackett said the bog changes in color constantly. “The bog will change from the blackened landscape following a prescribed fire, to the yellow pitcher plant blooms in early spring to the pinks and yellows of delicate spring ephemeral blossoms and orange and purple milkweeds,” Drackett said. “This constant change is the reason behind the stories we hear about the magic experienced in visitors’ journeys — each walk brings unexpected and delightful discoveries.”

Visit or call 601-799-2311 for more information. JANUARY 2022 | TODAY 7


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everyday life!

AN END The old year just ended; the new year just began. All entities restricted to this temporal existence have a similar cycle — beginnings that eventually lead to endings. This realization prompts some measure of contemplation should we afford our thoughts the opportunity of mining the depths and looking into shadowed corners that may too often be neglected in favor of comfort. I recently found myself on such an expedition. The episode was my annual October woodcock hunt in Vermont. This is a challenging regimen and one closely monitored. Three birds Spur (left) sleeps on his master’s leg. Finn daily, not much bounclaimed his favorite chair! Photo courtesy of Bob Rose. ty for the effort some might say, but to go, do, and see firsthand changes the perspective. It really is about the totality of experience. My first hunt, close to a decade past, found me in the presence of a new acquaintance, Bob Rose. He was at that time a pilot for American Airlines and chose his schedules to keep October open. That was woodcock-hunting month. He is now retired. Bob employs Old Hemlock Setters as his chosen canine companions. The history of this breed is far too expansive for a treatise of this length, so I shall refrain. But one important element is that on that first hunt, Bob had a new dog, a dog that was just beginning his second season. Fionn Mac Cumhail, his registered name and the Old Irish pronounciation. Finn McCool in modern English. He answers to Finn.

Finn was a true marvel. A gentleman. A professional. A dog with perfect discipline and demeanor. I was mesmerized. And that remains the case even now. Finn is 11, not finished yet, but closer to the end than to the beginning. On this most recent trip, Bob had added another Old Hemlock. Hotspur. He answers to Spur. He is 11 months old. And the makings are there. Spur is destined to the same levels of greatness as Finn has already achieved. This first season Spur still fumbled with the occasional puppy blunder, but not much. I watched and participated in three days of pure wonderment. And during that watching and participating, I found myself mining those depths. I concluded I was more like Finn than I was like Spur. I am not finished, but I am definitely closer to the end than the beginning. I considered my admiration for Finn and felt a peculiar bond with him, we two on the same path of winding down. I celebrated with Spur, young, ready, and excited as I once was — just beginning an exhilarating life. And, in all this thinking, I came to some point of resignation. Things would end, some more quickly than others. Regardless, life had been a spectacular experience. Finn knows that; Spur will know that. And I now give a nod of appreciation to both in the varying steps of their journeys.

by Tony Kinton Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit for more information.

Autumn in Vermont is spectacular. Colors, even in their brilliance, suggest an end. Spring will bring new life.


Next in Picture This:

We want to see your children! Send us photos of your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews. Make sure to let us know their names and how they are related to you. The photos must be high-resolution JPG files of at least 1 MB in size. Please attach the photo to your email and send it to Each entry must be accompanied by photographer’s name, address, and co-op.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Feb. 25. Select photos will appear in the April 2022 issue.

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Tylertown, MS

P.O. BOX 188 • 340 HOPSON STREET • LYON, MS 38645 662-624-8321 • FAX 662-624-8327 • •

SENATE Sen. Robert L. Jackson

Sen. Derrick T. Simmons

District 11: Coahoma, Panola, Quitman, and Tunica counties

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

Address: P.O. Box 383 Marks, MS 38646


Rep. Cedric Burnett

Rep. Dan Eubanks

Rep. Orlando W. Paden

District 9: Coahoma, Quitman, Tate, and Tunica counties

District 25: DeSoto County

District 26: Bolivar and Coahoma counties

Address: P.O. Box 184 Walls, MS 38680

Address: P.O. Box 961 Tunica, MS 38676


Address: P.O. Box 1626 Clarksdale, MS 38614

Coahoma Electric Power Association’s

Annual Meeting of Members Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, at 10 a.m.

Coahoma Electric’s Training Center, Lyon, MS

Statement of Nondiscrimination 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, 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



A free, interactive legislative app for Mississippi

The Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi offers an easy-to-use mobile app of Mississippi’s state and federal elected offi officials. Look for “Mississippi Legislative Roster” in the Apple App Store. An Android version is also available through Google Play.

It’s easy to know your elected offi officials. ONLINE VERSION AVAILABLE AT WWW.ECM.COOP



to our agricultural account holders







United States Senator

First District

Third District

United States Senator

Second District

Coahoma Electric Power Association needs to receive a Utility Exemption Affidavit from all agricultural account holders. The Affi 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 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.

Fourth District


by Maria Kanevsky The kitchen is the center of any home, and the stove is a crucial component to a successful kitchen. Determining which type of stove to purchase can be a big decision. There are several stove cooktop options available, each with its own unique benefits. Learning the basics of each stove type can help you determine what works best for your needs. One of the most common stove tops available to consumers is the electric stove top. This stove top uses electricity to heat the element on the stove top, composed of either radiant heat coils or a glass surface. That heat is then transferred to the pan, pot, or other cookware. Electric stove tops with heat coils are relatively durable and can be scrubbed without having to worry about causing much damage. For electric stove tops with a glass surface, cleanup is easy; however, users should be careful not to scratch the glass. Electric stove tops have a moderate energy efficiency rating, where roughly 74% of the heat reaches the food; however, electric-coil stove tops are slightly less efficient than glass. Another common stove top option is the gas-powered stove top, where the flames can be produced using either natural gas or liquid propane. Many cooking enthusiasts prefer gas because of the instant heat and ability to control temperatures more easily. In the rare case of power outages, gas stove tops will still function while electric stove tops will not. However, gas stove tops are the least energy efficient, with about 40% of the heat generated reaching the food. Much of the energy from gas is lost in the air and wasted as lost heat. It is also important to be careful of the potential safety risks associated with gas stove tops, such as burns, impacts to indoor air quality and gas leaks. Although less common, the induction stove top is quickly gaining popularity. An induction stove top uses electromagnetic heating technology to heat the cookware. Only specific cookware can be used on an induction stove top. The cookware 14 TODAY | JANUARY 2022

needs iron to react properly with the stove top, which makes stainless steel, cast iron or carbon steel excellent cookware options for induction stove tops. Underneath an induction stove top is a metal coil that creates a magnetic field, which reacts with the cookware through an electrical current, generating heat. The induction technology works quickly to heat food and is even faster than gas stove tops. Through the induction process, only the part of the stove top directly touching the cookware becomes heated, while the rest of the stove top stays cool. One of the best benefits of an induction stove top is safety; there are no open flames and the stove top itself is cool to the touch, making burns much less likely. Induction stove tops are also the most energy efficient form of stove top cooking, with an energy efficiency rating of about 90%, so most of the energy goes to heating the cookware and not the surrounding air. Induction stove tops, like glass electric stove tops, are also easy to clean because of the smooth surface. Despite all these benefits, induction stove tops can be quite expensive — more so than gas or electric stove tops. Maria Kanevsky writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association..

One of the most common stove tops available to consumers is the electric stove top.

Composer donates scores to by Lauren Rogers Baltimore composer Larry Hoffman has donated a dozen of his musical scores to the Blues Archive at the University of Mississippi. While Hoffman has written many more works, the awardwinning composer chose his blues- and American folk-infused classical compositions for the acclaimed collection. “It is with great pride that I donate these scores to the Blues Archive at the University of Mississippi,” Hoffman said. “It is at once an honor, a vindication, and a great encouragement.” Greg Johnson, professor and curator of the Blues Archive at the J.D. Williams Library, has been familiar with Hoffman’s work for several years. “I first discovered Larry’s music on a compilation album from the late 1980s called ‘Prelude in Blue,’” Johnson said. “The album caught my eye, because it was a classical music LP in one of the Blues Archive collections. I don’t remember the other pieces on the record, but was struck by Larry’s ‘Blues for Harp, Oboe and Violoncello,’ as it featured world-famous harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and oboist John Mack. “Years later, Living Blues magazine asked me to review Larry’s album ‘Works of Larry Hoffman: Contemporary American Music.’ With each of us having interests in the worlds of blues and classical music, we had a lot to talk about!” From a young age, Hoffman was immersed in American folk music, listening to — and later playing — the music of the Weavers, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and the Everly Brothers. This grew into a passion for the blues. As a professional folk singer, Hoffman played for Mississippi John Hurt, and with Skip James and other bluesmen. He also began his first formal study of music with jazz great John Coltrane’s teacher, Dennis Sandole. A large part of Hoffman’s compositional style melds these seemingly disparate genres. “My initial mission to become a composer was to infuse the contemporary classical language with the great power and dignity of the blues — if I could find a way,” Hoffman said. But blues is rarely represented in American concert music, he noted.

“Sadly, there is often prejudice against this integration in both the blues and classical worlds,” Hoffman noted. “And yet, when I have been present at concerts where my blues-inspired pieces were programmed among serious works of the classical masters, audiences have uniformly shown a great appreciation of this blend of ideas.” Hoffman’s music is helping to bridge that divide, Johnson said. Hoffman was the principal writer for the liner notes to the 2003 “Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues” box set, which won Grammy Awards for “Best Liner Notes of the Year” and “Best Historical Compilation of the Year.” He was also nominated for a Grammy for his writings in the “Mean Old World: The Blues from 1940-1994” box set. The scores donated by Hoffman are valuable additions to the archive, Johnson said. “When I’m introducing new audiences to the blues, I often speak about its influence on other styles of music,” he said. “I think Larry’s compositions provide an interesting point of connection in speaking to some music students who have mostly been immersed in classical training. I think these compositions help demonstrate the reach of the blues outside typical spheres of influence. Lauren Rogers is a library specialist in Archives and Special Collections at the University of Mississippi..

by Miranda Boutelle

Q: Do energy-saving measures in my home make a big difference? A: For the average household, it depends on your home’s efficiency and your habits. Your energy use is based on your home’s equipment and how you use it. You might already have an efficient home and good energy use habits, or you might have room for improvement. Energy keeps us comfortable in our homes, and our monthly

bill is the associated cost for this energy use. To make energysaving measures work in your home, it comes down to preventing energy waste while maintaining personal comfort in your home. Let’s take it back to the basics and see if we can find opportunities to save energy in your home. Filters, LEDs, and thermostat settings are great places to start..

Miranda Boutelle of Efficiency Services Group writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Upgrade to LEDs

Replace filters

Adjust your thermostat

Upgrading your lighting to LEDs is a simple, low-cost way to cut energy use. Depending on your budget, you can do it all at once or change bulbs out over time. If you are going to replace a few at a time, prioritize the lights you use the most. There are many LED options available. One major variation is the color temperature, which is listed on the packaging in Kelvin. I recommend 2700K because it is similar to incandescent lighting. I also suggest ENERGY STAR®-rated products because they meet strict quality and efficiency standards, use up to 90% less energy, and last 15 times longer than standard bulbs.

If your home has a forced-air system, you have a filter. The filter needs to be checked regularly and replaced when it’s dirty. A dirty filter can cause heating and air-conditioning systems to use 15% more energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Since heating and air conditioning make up almost half of your energy use, replacing your filter when it looks dirty is a habit that can reduce energy waste.

It’s amazing how much difference a few degrees can make. By adjusting your thermostat to your home habits, you can save year-round on heating and cooling costs. For winter months, the DOE recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees when you are home and dialing it back 8 to 10 degrees when you leave the house or go to sleep. For summer, the recommendation is 78 degrees when you are home and 8 to 10 degrees warmer when you are away. Using a programmable or smart thermostat will allow you to set it according to your schedule. Making these small changes in your routine will help improve your energy efficiency while maintaining comfort in your home.


by Bonnie A. Coblentz For every reason to eat excessively, someone is pushing a diet plan to reverse the scales, but there’s more to a healthy weight than consuming fewer calories and burning more energy. Weight gain can be brought on by the holiday season, the “freshman 15,” or the first year of marriage. In recent months, many have struggled with COVID-19 weight gain brought on by mental health struggles and isolation.

Good health includes physical activity and eating more vegetables and fruits, consuming less processed foods and sugar, and drinking more water. David Buys, state health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said there is a clear connection between stress and weight gain. Millions of people have been stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “In a lot of ways, our struggle to stay physically healthy is connected to our mental health and well-being,” Buys said. He said living through the pandemic has caused nearly everyone to experience a loss of some kind, and those losses bring a heavy toll. “There’s been loss of routine, income, health, and friends and loved ones,” Buys said. “It’s upended our confidence and led many people to experience unusual levels of stress, anxiety, or depression. “When that happens, some of us turn to comfort foods or just more convenient ways of eating that are not as nutritionally robust. In other cases, we may have a loss of appetite or will to be active,” he said. Qula Madkin, MSU Extension instructor and registered dietitian at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, said people sometimes get caught in

an unhealthy loop that leads to weight gain, and they need to take positive action. “Health is wealth, and I would like everyone to focus on their health — both gaining health and maintaining good health — rather than emphasizing weight loss,” Madkin said. Getting healthier requires an individual approach, she said, but being active whenever possible is a great starting place. “I encourage people to go outside more often and do more activity outdoors,” Madkin said. Rather than recommending that people follow restrictive diets, Madkin suggests making lifestyle changes one small step at a time, focusing more on personal longevity and quality of life. “In my opinion, people should really think less about weight loss and more about their health,” Madkin said. “My goal is for people to be healthier. If I can help someone understand what that looks like for them, it can lead to weight loss, but weight loss does not necessarily equal health.” Madkin defined health as being physically active, drinking more water, eating more vegetables and fruits, and consuming less sugar and processed foods. It also includes self-care and having a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being. When trying to set a weight loss goal, Madkin urged people to try for 5-10% of their body weight. For a 160-pound person, that would mean a goal of losing 8 to 16 pounds over a month or two. “That is an excellent place to start,” she said. “Set doable, relatable and reachable goals. Make sure they are goals that you can meet, and then you can push yourself to meet another goal after you have succeeded in your first goal.” In addition to healthy eating choices, good physical exercise is the next necessary component to losing weight and keeping it off. “Find physical activity and movement opportunities that work for you,” Madkin said. “Remember, you’ve been through a pandemic, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back and make health happen for you.” Bonnie A. Coblentz is a writer/editor for the Mississippi State University Extension Service. JANUARY 2022 | TODAY 17

The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was a progressive and controversial agency advocating government planning and economic intervention to improve living conditions in rural America. The FSA sponsored this “Know your Farmer” tour. Shown here are participants stopping at the home of a tenant purchase borrower in Lowndes County.

Until the Great Depression, soil erosion was not a national concern. However, the connection between the eroded land and impoverished people came into focus and New Deal programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration created jobs that included natural resource projects like the National Industrial Recovery Act of June 16, 1933, which permitted work on erosion control. The red clay hills of Alabama and Mississippi had the worst erosion.

Looking back: The Great by Steven Ward Electric power in rural Mississippi is the direct result of reading about the Greatest Generation and flourished while federal and state politicians working to stop suffering and writing my biography, “The Inspiring Life of Eudora Welty” and hunger during the Great Depression. my regional non-fiction book, “Lauderdale County, Mississippi: President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order A Brief History,” both of which featured the Great Depression on May 11, 1935, that created The era,” Putnam said recently. Rural Electrification Administration “So many New Deal projects still as part of the Emergency Relief exist in and around my Meridian Without electricity, perishable food Appropriation Act. community, such as the Meridian spoiled, and sanitation suffered. Urban Federal Building, the Meridian High The Great Depression tested the areas enjoyed electric lights, washing resolve of Mississippi’s population School Stadium, and Ross Collins machines, and refrigerators, but rural and people who lived all over the U.S. Vocational School (Ross Collins Career The nation’s reaction and fortitude to Mississippians struggled through grueling and Technical Center). persevere during the mass disaster “Entering the Depression, Mississippi days with only sunlight and kerosene was the catalyst for what is known had already suffered greatly from in their primitive environment. today as, “The Greatest Generation.” the 1927 flood. Extreme soil erosion How the people of Mississippi and the nation responded to resulted from soil depletion due to massive cotton cultivation the Great Depression was something that fascinated Meridiand the cutting of the state’s once-grand forests for financial an author Richelle Putnam and led to her new book, “Images gain. The 1930 Mississippi Valley drought added to an already of America: Mississippi in the Great Depression” (Arcadia), a tragic situation. Through research, I realized the many and more than 200-page history with 70 photos from that era. much-needed contributions of Roosevelt’s New Deal “In America, it brought forth the Greatest Generation to Programs that provided jobs and targeted solutions to which we often refer when reminiscing perseverance, strength, the consequences of financial greed and the neglect of and triumph over adversity. My initial interest built from natural resource conservation,” Putnam said. 18 TODAY | JANUARY 2022

Here, the owner scoops pine resin from a settling vat and then pours it into barrels for shipment to various locations. However, for many lumber companies selling stumps from cutover lands, like Crosby Lumber and Manufacturing Company, the Naval Stores Conservation Program drastically reduced the buyers to few or none. In 1937, Crosby built a plant in Picayune, and Crosby Naval Stores grew to 600 tons of stumps a day, the third-largest in the United States.

The sharecropping system in Mississippi was the subject of many Farm Security Administration images. Photographs detailed city street scenes, extravagant brick, and rustic wooden churches, cotton picking in the Delta fields, payday at plantation commissaries, and the lives of poor whites and black sharecroppers and their families.

Depression in Mississippi America’s rural population was at its most disadvantaged Electrification Administration, which offered loans to during the Great Depression. Only 10% of rural Americans had rural farmers and community leaders to provide power electricity, and the number was 1% in Mississippi. in rural areas. “Without electricity, perishable food spoiled, and sanitation Today, the TVA and, in south Mississippi, Cooperative suffered. Urban areas enjoyed electric lights, washing maEnergy generate and deliver power to the state’s 25 elecchines, and refrigerators, but tric cooperatives. Cooperative rural Mississippians struggled Energy, formally known as the through grueling days with only South Mississippi Electric Power sunlight and kerosene in their Association, formed in 1941. primitive environment. They lit Two key Mississippi movers their lanterns before sunrise, and and shakers behind bringing when darkness fell to begin and power to rural Mississippi were finish their labor,” Putnam said. U.S. Sen. Pat Harrison from the Although the need for rural Gulf Coast and U.S. Rep. John electrification was evident, Rankin of Tupelo. private investors and compa“Sen. Harrison and Rep. Known by his colleagues as “The Old Fox,” referring to backroom nies didn’t want the task and Rankin advocated heartily for persuasive power and strategic maneuverings, U.S. Sen. Pat Harrison of expense of running lines into electric power distribution in Mississippi helped shape much of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s rural Mississippi without reaping New Deal legislation. Mississippi. They would also a profit. And rural residents didn’t make enough money to welcome President Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor to do it themselves, even with pooling their money. Mississippi to tour New Deal projects, like the new homesteads The Roosevelt administration created the Tennessee Valley and the TVA, which began rural electrification in Mississippi. Authority (TVA), a federal electric company and the Rural JANUARY 2022 | TODAY 19

Due to Mississippi U.S. Rep. John Rankin’s position in Congress, Tupelo became the first municipality to purchase TVA power and officially became the “First TVA City” in 1934. Pictured here left to right: U.S. Sen. George W. Norris and Rankin photographed at the White House in 1935.


In 1936, the state of Mississippi established the Rural Electrification Authority of Mississippi and passed the Electric Power Association Act, a law that created electric cooperatives. That law was updated in 2016. Mississippi was among the first states in the nation to pass adequate laws for forming electric cooperatives, according to the definitive state electric cooperative history, “Rural Electrification in Mississippi 1934-1970” by Winnie Ellis Phillips. Alcorn County Electric Power Association in Corinth was the nation’s first rural electric cooperative. Rural power wasn’t the only cooperative effort from Roosevelt’s New Deal. Credit unions came about as the result of The Federal Credit Union Act of 1934. Putnam said each Great Depression photo in the book tells a different story. “The images are so diverse. Each tells its personal story. However, the historical narrative expands when the combined photos and captions encompass the more extraordinary story of the Great Depression in Mississippi,” Putnam said. The research, writing, and acquiring the photos took Putnam over a year. “Thanks to other New Deal Programs, photographers employed by the Farm Security Administration and the Works Progress Administration, which included Mississippi’s Eudora Welty, took around 80,000 photos of life during the Great Depression. The Library of Congress, where these photos are archived, provided most of the images in the book,” Putnam said.

Two months after the approval of the TVA Act by President Roosevelt in May of 1933, U.S. Rep John Rankin of Mississippi, TVA Chairman David Lilienthal, and the Tupelo Journal reported that implementation of public power in northeast Mississippi was a distinct possibility as early as the fall of 1933. TVA, the prime investor in nuclear power and the principal user of coal, was the leading producer of electric power in the country. On February 7, 1934, Tupelo became the first municipality in the U.S. to receive TVA power.

Other Great Depression-era improvements to Mississippi included action by Gov. Mike Connor, who initiated measures to improve the treatment of inmates at Parchman Prison in the Delta. Women also played an active role. The Natchez Garden Club successfully spurred tourism by starting the state’s first pilgrimage in 1932. Mississippians found employment through the Public Works Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, which stimulated economic development through new and add-on construction in urban and rural areas and the construction of nine state parks. When asked if there were any lessons learned or to be learned by Mississippi from the Great Depression, Putnam said the power and influence of Roosevelt and the New Deal was immense. “There was political, social, economic, and cultural cooperation for the common good of all Americans and, of course, Mississippians. President Franklin D. Roosevelt served four terms in office and is still considered one of America’s most influential and beloved presidents. We can argue all day about the pros and cons of his administration’s New Deal. However, the fact remains that the American people, including over 90% of Mississippians, voted him into office more than any other president in American history,” she said.

Visit for more information about the book. Author Richelle Putnam JANUARY 2022 | TODAY 21

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1. Brooklyn Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Greenwood by Angela Jones of Laurel; Dixie Electric member.

5. Old Advance Church in Lamar County by Sandy Lindsey of Sumrall; Pearl River Valley Electric member.

2 . First Christian Church in Columbus by Jean Bailey of Columbus; 4-County Electric member.

6. The Village Chapel at Landrum’s Homestead in Laurel by Evelyn King of McComb; Magnolia Electric Power member.

3. Evangel Temple Church in Meridian by Jason Dyess of Meridian; EMEPA member.

7. Antioch Baptist Church in Kemper County by Barbara Bishop of Meridian; EMEPA member.

4. First Presbyterian Church in Tupelo by Robbyn Rogers of Tupelo; Tombigbee member.

8. First Baptist Church in Starkville by Jay Reed of Starkville; 4-County Electric member.


9. Lockhart Methodist Church in Lauderdale by Melinda Goff of Lauderdale; EMEPA member.




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10. Presbyterian Church in Toccopola by Sherry Sledge of Pontotoc; Pontotoc Electric member.

15. French Camp Presbyterian Church in French Camp by Larry Littlejohn of French Camp; 4-County Electric member.

11. Albans Church in Bovine by Denise Jackson of Wesson; Southern Pine Electric member.

16. St. Pierre’s Episcopal Church in Gautier by Scott Lenoir of Gautier; Singing River Electric member.

12. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Raymond by Margaret Wilson of Byhalia; Northcentral Electric Cooperative member.

17. Christ Church in Christ Hill by Teresa Lott of Perkinston; Pearl River Valley Electric member.

13. China Grove Church in Kokomo by Renee Timmons of Kokomo; Pearl River Valley Electric member.

18. Gillsburg Baptist Church in Gillsburg by Donna Williams of Osyka; Magnolia Electric Power member.

14. Bethel Black Jack Baptist Church in Vaughan by David Shipp of Midway; Yazoo Valley Electric member.


Delta Delicious Serves two This is the po’ boy I turn to when I want a quick, saucy seafood sandwich. This is not to be confused with the pour on pulled pork barbecue sauce. This is a garlic and Worcestershire buttery sauce with fresh thyme and smoked paprika. It soaks down into the crisp bread and gives the shrimp a lemony, glistening sheen. Roll

INGREDIENTS 2 (8-inch) po’ boy loaves sliced lengthwise 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, divided 2 cloves finely chopped garlic 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce ½ teaspoon smoked paprika ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves Pinch dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Salt and cracked black pepper 1 pound medium (41/50) peeled, deveined shrimp


up your sleeves and toast-up some extra bread just for sopping up any sauce that is left in the skillet. I sometimes make this BBQ shrimp and toss it with angel hair pasta or ricotta ravioli with a side salad for a fast dinner.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread cut side of bread with mayonnaise and toast until brown and crisp. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter has melted add the garlic, Worcestershire, lemon juice, pepper sauce, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook and

stir for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and increase the heat to high. Cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes until the shrimp are pink and very slightly curled. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining butter until melted. Fill each po’ boy with shrimp and a big spoonful of the buttery sauce.

Martha Hall Foose, the author of “Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales of a Southern Cook,” won the James Beard Award for American Cooking. Her latest collaboration is “A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South” with Amy C. Evans. Martha makes her home in the Mississippi Delta with her husband and son. She is a member of Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association.

Serves four I love a big po’ boy on a Saturday for lunch. By frying the onion rings before the shrimp, the oil gets seasoned and gives the shrimp a special savory fl vor. I like to use a blend of flou , cornstarch, and seafood breading mix to coat the shrimp and onion rings. The flour oats them well. The cornstarch gives extra crunch, and the seafood seasoning adds some southern-style cornmeal fl vor without any grittiness.

INGREDIENTS 2 large, sweet onions (Vidalia or Walla Walla) cut into rings 2 cups all-purpose flou 3/4 cup corn starch 3/4 cup fish fry seafood breading mix (I like Louisiana or Zatarain’s brands made with corn flour) 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning blend 1 cup yellow mustard 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (I like Crystal) 2 pounds large (31/35) peeled, deveined shrimp 1 quart oil for frying 4 (8-inch) French bread loaves or po’boy rolls sliced lengthwise 1/3 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup cocktail sauce 1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce 1/2 cup shredded cabbage

Using a combination of prepared yellow mustard and eggs to act as a “glue” to hold the coating in place works wonderfully well. The mustard does not impart a strong fl vor because the vinegar and water in the mustard evaporates when fried. I like a combo of shredded iceberg and fresh cabbage to provide a fresh crunch.

Soak onion rings in a large bowl of ice water for 30 minutes. Drain the onions. Carefully remove the thin membrane from the inner wall or each piece of onion. Pat onions dry with paper towel. Return the onion rings to the bowl.

Coat onion rings with flour mixtu e. Shake off any excess coating. Fry onion rings until golden brown. Remove to drain on paper lined sheet pan. Pour any leftover mustard mixture from the onions into the remaining mustard mixture.

In a medium shallow bowl, combine the flou , cornstarch, breading mix, and Creole seasoning and set aside.

Working in batches, take the shrimp from the mustard mixture allowing excess to drip off and coat with the flour mixtu e pressing the shrimp into the mixture to coat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, egg, and hot sauce. Pour 1 cup of the mustard mixture over the onions. Toss to coat. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the flour mixture over the rings and toss to coat. Toss occasionally to keep the onions coated. Add the shrimp to the remaining mustard mixture and toss to coat. Heat oil to 400 degrees. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with crumpled brown paper sacks. Working in small batches, take onion rings from mustard mixture allowing extra to drip back into remaining onions.

Fry the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly curled and golden brown. Drain on paper lined sheet pan. Spread the cut sides of each piece of bread very lightly with mayonnaise. Toast in oven cut side up until crusty and browned. Spread bottom of each cut side with cocktail sauce. Top with shrimp, lettuce, and cabbage. Spread each top with mayonnaise and stack the sandwiches. Serve with onion rings.


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mississippi marketplace The Inspirations in concert. Jan. 21. Petal. First Baptist Church of Runnelstown today will host the onEvents the menu outdoors open to the public will be group at 7 p.m. A love offering will be received. Mississippi’s published free of charge as space allows. 9211 Highway 42. Details: 601-583-3733. scene the ‘sip picture this Submit details ataround least two months prior to Lowest 2nd Annual Melodies of Bluegrass Festival. the event date. Submissions must include a Feb. 25-26. Morton. Bands include: Patchwork my opinionLife Insurance co-op involvement phone number with area code for publication. String Band, Catahoula Drive, The Pilgrim Family, Email to Events are subject

Fair River Station, Tyler Carroll and Pineridge Bluegrass, Southern Gentlemen, and The Tennessee Bluegrass Band. Show starts at 1 p.m. daily. Roosevelt State Park, 2149 MS 13. Details: 601-604-4234 or 601-527-9127.

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A piece of Pearl Harbor history at home So, after the first of January, how long did it take before you wrote the correct year on your papers at school? Or finally put the right date on a check the first time? Year-long habits are hard to break. It’s funny the snippets you remember from childhood. Daddy had a brother who lived with us off and on. I don’t remember much about him. But I vividly recall one day he grabbed a page of the kitchen calendar and announced he was going to make it into a new month and ripped it off. I wasn’t sure what to make of that. Can you do that? Does changing the calendar make time change? Or does the passing of time change the calendar? Later, when I’d recall this episode, I figured it was probably the first of the month, anyway. I think all of his verbosity was an attempt to put one over on a little kid — that he had some superpower over time and the cosmos. Maybe it was even a subconscious rebellion over the inevitability of the passing of time. But he wanted to make it look like it was his idea. Like he controlled it instead of the other way around. Another byproduct of time passing is museums. You don’t put new stuff in a museum. It has to age and take on the patina and esteem that only the passing of time can give it. We were shooting another “Mississippi Roads” show the other day at the Laurel Veterans Memorial Museum. There are exhibits there from the Civil War all the way through both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, and more. One of the artifacts they have is an actual piece of the superstructure from the USS Arizona that was sunk in the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 (80 years ago last month) that culminated in bringing the United States into World War II. When the Arizona Memorial was constructed in the 1960s, some of the superstructure

was removed from the ship, and the Navy donated some pieces of it to qualified veteran’s organizations. One of those pieces is in Mississippi. The wooden case in which it is housed is sort of a museum piece itself. The case was built by Ben Napier from wood removed from the deck of the USS Missouri, as well as Piney Woods pine from Mississippi. You will recall Ben and his wife Erin host the HGTV show “Home Town” featuring the fantastic renovations they have been doing with the homes and buildings in Laurel. I suppose that’s another by-product of time passing — renovations. If time stood still, we wouldn’t need to remodel what deteriorated over time. But we might end up like “The Chronicles of Narnia,” where it was always winter but never Christmas. So, since it is going to happen anyway, enjoy the passing of time. Remember the things you choose to and impress your grandkids by making the month change every now and again.

by Walt Grayson 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.” Walt is also a reporter and 4 p.m. news anchor at WJTV in Jackson. He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at