Today in Mississippi March 2024 Twin County

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Another year, another important election

Last year, Mississippians went to the polls and re-elected a slate of state o cials, including our governor.

I hope our members were better informed when they cast their ballots because of an initiative your electric cooperatives launched this time last year.

Co-ops Vote MS came about with a simple goal: to assist our members in making an informed decision on Election Day.

With the big statewide elections we had in 2023, you might feel like we can all take a breather this year. As you probably know, that’s not the case.

This year, we will elect our nation’s president. The 2024 election slate also includes elections for one of our two U.S. Senate seats, currently held by Roger Wicker, and our four U.S. House of Representative seats, currently held by Trent Kelly, Bennie Thompson, Michael Guest, and Mike Ezell.

Our choices on who represent us in Washington, D.C. are just as important as the public o cials we elect to represent us at the state capitol in Jackson — maybe even more important.

Almost every decision our president and federal lawmakers make in D.C, has an impact on all our lives. So, being an informed voter this year is just as crucial as it was last year.

Mississippi’s Republican and Democratic presidential primaries will be held on

March 12. Mark that date right now if you haven’t already.

The general election will be held Nov. 5.

We encourage you to visit our website,, so when you head to the polls, you will be ready.

The website features quick links to important voting information including where to register to vote, our current elected o cials, what elections are occurring this year, and videos of elected o cials talking about the importance of voting, and what they do on a day-to-day basis.

Just like last year’s statewide elections, your votes this year are key to determining the future course of Mississippi and the lives of Mississippians.

We all need to voice our informed opinion on that future.

Enjoy our March issue.

Mississippi is...

Keep me down south, where discipline is doled out with a sobering “no, sir” and “excuse me, ma’am.”

Down where it’s only natural to smell the rain coming, and you can always count on someone to join in remembering and cursing that heifer, Katrina.

I don’t want nothing to do with “you guys,” I only want to be one of “y’all.”

Go on and leave me down by the Mississippi, and baptize me in them muddy currents.

of Biloxi, and a member of Coast Electric

What’s Mississippi to you?

What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your brief thoughts to Today in Mississippi, or mail to P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158

Submit your beautiful digital photo of life in Mississippi to Today in Mississippi,

2024 | MARCH 3 My Opinion



Ron Barnes - President

Brian Hughey - First Vice President

Brian Long - Secretary/Treasurer

Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO


Lydia Walters - VP, Communications

Steven Ward - Editor

Chad Calcote - Creative Director

Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer

Alan Burnitt - Graphic Designer

Courtney Warren - Graphic Designer

Chris Alexander - Member Services Coordinator

Steve Temple - Social Media Director

Kendle Dean - Administrative Assistant



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.

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Circulation of this issue: 486,735

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 o ce. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising. The magazine is published for members of subscribing co-ops. The magazine is a bene t of membership.

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

Vol. 77 No. 3
Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi
On the cover Je Bulington and some of his students at the Franklin Chess Center in downtown Meadville. Photo by Chad Calcote. Southern Gardening Colorful violas look great in containers Outdoors Today Largemouth bass ready for love Scene Around the ‘Sip Walt Grayson tells a di erent story 8 20 31 On the Menu A menu made for March madness Mississippi Seen Gearing up for the St. Paddy’s parade 10 8 20 Local News Feature Je Bulington is teaching Franklin County students life lessons via chess 15 6 In This Issue 31 28 4 MARCH | 2024 Central Electric Power Association, Coahoma Electric Power Association, Coast Electric Power Association, Delta Electric Power Association, Dixie Electric Power Association, East Mississippi Electric Power Association, 4-County Electric Power Association, Magnolia Electric Power, Monroe County Electric Power Association, Natchez Trace Electric Power Association, North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, Northcentral Electric Cooperative, Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association, Pontotoc Electric Power Association, Singing River Electric, Southern Pine Electric, Southwest Electric, Tippah Electric Power Association, Twin County Electric Power Association, and Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association.

News and Notes Cooperative Energy announces first round of finalist SiteInvest properties

Cooperative Energy announced the industrial properties selected as finalists in the first round of the SiteInvest program. The property investment program was announced in September 2023 at the inaugural Economic Development Summit, according to a Cooperative Energy news release.

SiteInvest is designed to help improve readiness and enhance the development of industrial properties in Cooperative Energy’s Members’ territories. The program is a strategic initiative of the economic development team to better align Cooperative Competes grant funds with site development e orts. Both currently marketed industrial properties and newly identified industrial properties were invited to participate in the program.

Cooperative Energy welcomed applications from across the state in the first round of the program. These applications were reviewed by the economic development team, and 20 finalist sites were chosen to advance in the program. The finalist sites are currently under rigorous review by the program’s third-party engineering experts, Burns & McDonnell.

“We were thrilled to receive at least one application for industrial properties within eight of our 11 Members’ service territories,” said Mitch Stringer, Cooperative Energy director of economic development. “Our goal for the program is to continuously and strategically invest in our communities to make them more competitive for recruitment of capital investment and job growth.”

Cooperative Energy Economic Development anticipates a second round of applications for the SiteInvest program later this year.

The 20 sites advancing in the program include:

1. Mississippi River Energy Complex: Former International Paper Site – Adams County

2. Mississippi River Energy Complex: Riva Ridge –Adams County

3. Cleveland Municipal Airport – Bolivar County

4. Eagle One Mega Site – Forrest and Lamar Counties

5. Greene County Rail Site – Greene County

6. Port Bienville Industrial Park Site No. 11 – Hancock County

7. Port Bienville Industrial Park Site No. 4 – Hancock County

8. Port Bienville Industrial Park Site No. 1 – Hancock County

9. GST Site – Harrison County

10. Helena Industrial Complex – Jackson County

11. Jackson County Aviation Technology Park – Jackson County

12. I-59 South Industrial Site – Jones County

13. I-59 Supply Chain Park 40-acre site – Jones County

14. I-59 Supply Chain Park 124-acre site – Jones County

15. Marion Regional Airplex – Marion County

16. Pearl River Technology Park – Pearl River County

17. Gateway Industrial Park East – Pike County

18. Gateway Industrial Park West – Pike County

19. Lake Site – Scott County

20. Rankin East Metro Center Parkway – Rankin County

NASA: More engine tests for Artemis V mission completed

NASA completed the sixth of 12 scheduled RS-25 engine certification tests in a critical series for future flights of the agency’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket as engineers conducted a full-duration hot fire Jan. 27 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis.

The current series builds on previous hot fire testing conducted at NASA Stennis to help certify production of new RS-25 engines by lead contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3 Harris Technologies company, according to a NASA news release. The new engines will help power NASA’s SLS rocket on future Artemis missions to the Moon and beyond, beginning with Artemis V.

For each Artemis mission, four RS-25 engines, along with a pair of solid rocket boosters, power the SLS, producing more than 8.8 million pounds of thrust at lifto . Under NASA’s Artemis campaign, the agency will establish the foundation for long-term scientific exploration at the Moon, land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the lunar surface, and prepare for human expeditions to Mars for the benefit of all.

2024 | MARCH 5

Southern Gardening


Violas are amazing annual plants that can survive our cold winters and grow well in both landscapes and containers. It’s no wonder they are a popular choice for gardeners in Mississippi.

Violas are also known as Johnny jump-ups because of their ability to produce seeds prolifically and pop up unexpectedly in gardens.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Sorbet series of violas.

Sorbet violas are small, growing to about 4 to 6 inches tall and wide, but when planted in mass, they create a stunning floral blanket over the landscape. The colorful flowers sit above the dark green foliage and are a sight to behold.

I particularly like the Viola Sorbet XP Deep Orange variety that has bright orange blooms that really stand out.

Another favorite of mine is the Viola Sorbet XP Yellow Jump Up.

The blooms have cheerful yellow and purple petals that create a striking contrast. Foliage holds the blooms high on slender stems, which makes them stand out even more.

Another beauty is the Viola Sorbet XP Delft Blue that has white-faced petals outlined in a blueish-purple hue. Its yellow center, surrounded by a blotch of dark purple, makes it a captivating flower. The blue flowers are reminiscent of the classic blue and white porcelain associated with the historic city of Delft in the Netherlands.

Violas make excellent companion plants for pansies. They come in a wide range of colors and can be used to create stunning displays. I love violas massed together in landscape beds or containers, and they provide a burst of colorful flowers all the way to Easter.

Like other members of the Sorbet series, Viola Sorbet XP Deep Orange has a compact growth habit, creating tidy mounds of foliage adorned with an abundance of charming blooms. The contrast provided by the deep orange adds visual interest and warmth to garden landscapes.

Violas have smaller blooms than their cousins, the pansies, but they are much tougher and more tolerant of cold weather. The “XP” in the name often indicates an extra performance or extended blooming period, making it a reliable choice for consistent and prolonged floral displays.

6 MARCH | 2024
The blue flowers of Viola Sorbet XP Delft Blue are reminiscent of the classic blue and white porcelain associated with the historic city of Delft in the Netherlands.

One of the unique features of the Sorbet violas is their ability to self-clean, meaning the spent blooms fall off on their own, eliminating the need for deadheading. This makes the plants convenient options for busy gardeners who want to enjoy the beauty of flowers without having to put in too much effort.

Violas make excellent companion plants for pansies. They come in a wide range of colors and can be used to create stunning displays.

I love violas massed together in landscape beds or containers, and they provide a burst of colorful flowers all the way to Easter.

2024 | MARCH 7
Southern Gardening columnist Dr. Eddie Smith, a gardening specialist and Pearl River County coordinator with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, is an internationally certified arborist, Produce Safety Alliance certified trainer, and one of the developers of the Mississippi Smart Landscapes program that encourages the use of native plants in the landscape. The “XP” in the name Viola Sorbet XP Yellow Jump Up often indicates an extra performance or extended blooming period. Violas like this Sorbet XP Deep Orange have a compact growth habit. Tidy mounds of foliage are adorned with an abundance of blooms. Violas are amazing annuals that can survive cold winters and grow well in both landscapes and containers.

When water warms, bass thoughts turn to love

As water begins to warm in the spring, largemouth bass prepare for their annual spawning rituals to repopulate their numbers in Mississippi waters.

“In middle to late winter, bass try to feed up to build up as much energy as possible and grow their reproductive organs before spawning, so they can have a productive spawn,” Ryan Jones, a Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks fisheries biologist, said. “By late February, bass have spawning on their minds.”

Largemouth bass normally begin spawning when water temperatures reach about 63 to 68 degrees. In southern Mississippi, bass could begin spawning as early as late February. Spawning usually peaks in April, but could extend into June.

“Bigger bass seem to want to spawn early,” Jones said. “Bigger bass could spawn anytime in March, depending upon the temperatures. They might spawn earlier on the coast during a warmer winter. Most bass in Mississippi spawn in April through early May. Bass try to go up shallow as soon as the water temperatures start warming into the upper 60s to 70s.”

Even in the same lakes or coves, not all waters warm at the same rate, so not all fish spawn at the same time. On a massive, complex system like the sprawling Ross Barnett Reservoir and associated Pearl River system, di erent bass could be in prespawn mode, actively spawning or finished spawning in the same area on any given day.

Before spawning, bass stage in deeper water. They frequently follow submerged ditches or other features into the shallow spawning grounds and look for good bedding sites. When he finds a spot he likes, a male bass will use his lower jaw as a pivot to rotate around and scour out a saucer-shaped nest with his fins and tail.

MARCH | 2024 Outdoors Today

In late February, some of the big females are already waiting for that first warming trend to move up into the spawning shallows. Then, the big girls will move up looking for beds in early March. A female bass can spawn again if she finds conditions to her liking.

Females usually arrive about two to three weeks after the males. A healthy female largemouth in her prime can produce about 5,000 eggs per pound of body weight. After laying her eggs, the female moves o the nest to rest and recuperate from the rigors of spawning. Then, she starts looking for prey to replenish her energy supplies.

“In late February, some of the big females are already waiting for that first warming trend to move up into the spawning shallows,” Jones said. “Then, the big girls will move up looking for beds in early March. A female bass can spawn again if she finds conditions to her liking.”

The male guards the nest and fry. He eats very little while performing his duty but will vigorously attack anything that might pose a threat to his o spring. Some common nest raiders include crawfish, bluegills, and aquatic salamanders. After the fry hatch and reach about a half-inch long, the male chases them away and looks for another receptive female to spawn again.

When fishing during spawning season, always handle any bass with care. Unless keeping one to mount, return any large females swollen with roe to the water as quickly and gently as possible to protect future generations.

John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer, broadcaster, photographer, and editor who lives in Alabama. An avid sportsman, he’s written more than 3,300 articles for more than 170 different magazines on a wide variety of outdoors topics. Contact him at

Scene Around the ‘Sip

True story.

Longtime Jackson television newsmen Walt Grayson and Bert Case, who both worked for WLBT for years, often got mistaken for one another by members of the public.

“People called me Bert, and they called him Walt. That happened quite often,” Grayson said recently in his o ce at WJTV in Jackson.

Case died in 2016.

One time, Grayson said, a woman walked up to him and asked, “Are you the one who died?”

Really? Really.

True stories are Grayson’s stock and trade.

Grayson, 74, has been on the air — either radio or television — in Mississippi since 1966.

Following a 35-year stint at WLBT, Grayson works today at WJTV, Jackson’s CBS a liate, as a weatherman, news anchor, and feature reporter. He’s been at WJTV for just under six years.

Grayson’s work as a feature reporter might be what he’s best known for. Besides doing feature work for WJTV, Grayson hosts the MPB show, “Mississippi Roads,” and has written a column for this magazine — Today in Mississippi — since the 1990s.

“Getting out and meeting people is wonderful. I get to explore the state, and I love it,” Grayson said.

Born and raised in Greenville, Grayson became obsessed with radios when he was a kid. When the family got their first television set, Grayson’s father gave him the family radio and record player.

10 MARCH | 2024
Walt Grayson sits in his “Storytellers Chair” in his o ce at WJTV. Photos by Chad Calcote

“It was my first toy. I must have taken that thing apart and put it back to together so many times,” Grayson said.

Grayson said he fell in love with music, broadcasting, and the idea of being a radio disc jockey during that time.

He got his first broadcasting job in 1966 at a big band radio station in Greenville, WJPR. When he told the owners he could be at the station at 6 a.m. on Sunday mornings, he got the job.

He later moved on to rock and top 40 stations. At one point, Grayson thought he might become a preacher. He graduated from Mississippi College after getting a degree in Bible and a minor in history.

“Then I realized that wasn’t really for me. I really loved broadcasting,” he said.

Grayson got his first television job while working for a radio station in Jackson.

WJTV needed a part-time weatherman.

“My dad, being a pest control man, spent his time on the road and was fascinated with the weather. We watched the weather portions of all the TV newscasts. So, weather was something I had an interest in early on,” Grayson said.

Following his first stop at WJTV, he then became a full-time weatherman at WLBT where he did the 10 p.m. newscast.

In the afternoons, he went driving around the state looking for feature stories.

Although he’s not with WLBT anymore, driving around looking for stories is what he still does today.

“I love shooting my own stu . I bought a TV camera and started shooting my own stories. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” Grayson said.

The veteran newsman said he grew up in a family of storytellers, so it’s in his blood.

“We would go to family reunions and listen to the older folks tell stories about each other and on each other. There’s a di erence,” Grayson said.

For this year’s Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade and Festival in Jackson, organizers came up with the theme, “Telling the Mississippi Story.”

So, it only makes sense they asked Grayson to be this year’s grand marshal.

The parade is March 23 in downtown Jackson.

The event, which Grayson has covered many times as a journalist, is a Mississippi success story, he said.

Grayson said he has no intention of stopping his storytelling work anytime soon.

“As long as somebody plays the music, I will keep rocking and rolling,” Grayson said.

2024 | MARCH 11
Walt works on a new story for WJTV as he eagerly anticipates being this year’s grand marshal of the Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade and Festival in Jackson.

Visit a place where the trees have knees, and the water keeps secrets.

The Natchez Trace has many scenic stops, but one stands out for its otherworldly beauty. Cypress Swamp takes visitors on a half-mile boardwalk tour of a fascinating wetland environment packed with cypress trees (and their mysterious knees), vibrant green algae-covered water, and, very frequently, juvenile alligators lurking just below the surface. There’s no need to bring hiking gear, as the swamp is located just a few steps off the roadway. Learn more at


Cypress Swamp | Canton, Mississippi


Presented by The National GUITAR Museum

Feb. 10 - May 11, 2024

See How Mississippi Shaped American Music 6 Strings at a Time

If all of history’s musicians formed a band, Mississippi bluesmen would play lead guitar.

So where better to see a new traveling exhibit of 40 amazing instruments than the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience in historic downtown Meridian?

The exhibition’s very name – America at the Crossroads – nods to the legend of Delta bluesman Robert Johnson selling his soul at a Mississippi crossroads for otherworldly guitar mastery.

The museum’s permanent exhibits tell more about Johnson and other Mississippi guitar-playing greats: Bo Diddley, Charley Pride, Jimmy Buffett, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Marty Stuart, Jimmie Rodgers, and, of course, Elvis.

Bring your soul to this Crossroads, and feed it the joy of music.

Downtown Meridian |
Plan to go to the polls! REGISTER. You have the POWER to BE INFORMED. You have the POWER to VOTE. You have the POWER to POWER TO INFORMED. VOTE. VOTE MS Co-ops YOU HAVE THE POWER TO REGISTER. BE INFORMED. VOTE. 14 MARCH | 2024

Clearing the path to

Trees are majestic, beautiful, and good for the soul. But we also know that our members depend on us to deliver reliable power to their homes and businesses. That’s why Twin County strives to balance maintaining the beautiful surroundings we all cherish with ensuring reliable electricity. You might not realize it, but there are several benefits to regular tree trimming.


Working near power lines can be dangerous, and we care about your safety and that of our lineworkers. For example, if trees are touching power lines in our members’ yards, they can pose a grave danger to families. If children can reach those trees, they can potentially climb into a danger zone. Electricity can arc, or jump, from a power line to a nearby conductor such as a tree.

Any tree or branch that falls across a power line creates a potentially dangerous situation. A proactive approach lessens the chances of fallen trees during severe weather events that make it more complicated and dangerous for lineworkers to restore power.


As a co-op, Twin County always strives to keep costs down for our members. If trees and other vegetation are left unchecked, they can become overgrown and expensive to correct. A strategic vegetation management program helps keep costs down for everyone.

When it comes to vegetation management, there are ways you can help too. When planting new trees, make sure they’re planted a safe distance from overhead power lines. Medium-height trees (40 ft. or smaller) should be planted at least 25 ft. from power lines. Taller trees (over 40 ft.) should be planted at least 50 ft. from power lines. You can also practice safe planting near pad-mounted

transformers. Plant shrubs at least 10 ft. from the transformer door and 4 ft. from the sides. If your neighborhood has underground lines, remember to contact 811 before you begin any project that requires digging.

Additionally, if you spot an overgrown tree or branch that’s dangerously close to overhead lines, please let us know by contacting us.

We have deep roots in our community, and we love our beautiful surroundings. It takes a balanced approach, and our vegetation management program is a crucial tool in ensuring service reliability.


Keeping power lines clear of overgrown vegetation improves service reliability. After all, we’ve seen the whims of Mother Nature during severe weather events with fallen tree limbs taking down power lines and utility poles. While many factors can impact power disruptions, about half of all outages can be attributed to overgrown vegetation. This is why you sometimes see Twin County crews or contractors out in the community trimming trees near power lines. Our trimming crews have been trained and certified based on the latest industry standards.

In fact, all U.S. electric utilities are required to trim trees that grow too close to power lines. Scheduled trimming throughout the year keeps lines clear from overgrown or dead limbs that are likely to fall, and we are better able to prepare for severe weather events.

Plus, we all know it’s more cost-e ective to undertake preventative maintenance than it is to make repairs after the fact. Drone inspections of power lines and vegetation allow us to reduce labor and equipment costs while bolstering reliability. Through the use of small drones, we can accurately monitor the health and growth of trees and identify potential problems.

2024 | MARCH 15 Hollandale - 662-827-2262 | Belzoni - 662-247-1909 | Greenville - 662-334-9543 | Rolling Fork - 662-873-4233 | REPORT OUTAGES 866-897-7250 @twincoepa


QWhat are some energysaving tasks I can add to my spring cleaning list?

By adopting simple yet e ective energy-saving strategies during our spring-cleaning routines, we can create an e cient living environment that may also lower our utility bills and extend the life of our heavily used appliances.

Be sure to include these spring cleaning tips to add some energy savings to the job.

Even though it’s out of sight, don’t leave it out of mind. Check the filter in your HVAC system. Your furnace worked hard during the winter. Ensuring your system has a clean filter is a low-cost and easy way to protect your equipment and maximize e ciency. A dirty furnace filter can cause your system to work harder than necessary, decreasing e ciency and shortening the system’s life.

While the filter is easy to replace yourself, you should have your air conditioning serviced and professionally cleaned. Both the indoor and outdoor units should be cleaned. Dirty refrigerant coils reduce e ciency. This also applies to heat pumps and ductless heat pumps, also known as mini-split systems. The technician can check refrigerant levels and refill or repair if necessary.

HVAC contractors get busy responding to calls for repairs during the summer heat. Scheduling cleaning services for your air conditioning in the spring — before the heat of the summer — can ensure the work gets done before the rush and even save you money. Some HVAC contractors o er special discounts for cleaning services in the milder months, which helps fill their schedules and keep their technicians working.

ASpring is a great time to refresh, clean, and enhance energy e ciency at home.
16 MARCH | 2024
Replacing your furnace filter is a low-cost and easy way to protect your equipment and maximize e ciency.

Window AC units can get dirty, too. They can be cleaned with the proper tools, cleaning agents and know-how. Always unplug before cleaning, and wait until completely dry to plug it back in again. Take the time to clean it properly in the spring before you need it in the summer.

Cleaning light fixtures and fixture covers can brighten your space by removing dust and grime collected during the winter. While you are at it, be sure to check your bulbs and replace any incandescent or compact fluorescent with energy-saving LEDs. Although they tend to cost a little more, LEDs last longer and use less energy.

Good-quality LED light bulbs are expected to last 30,000 to 50,000 hours, according to the Department of Energy. A typical incandescent lamp lasts about 1,000 hours, and a comparable CFL lasts 8,000 to 10,000 hours. To put this into everyday use, if you have an LED light on for 10 hours per day, it can last 13 years compared to only about three months for incandescent bulbs and about two-and-a-half years for CFLs.

Don’t forget the oven. A clean oven heats more evenly and quickly, providing better results and lower energy use. A clean oven window allows you to see the food and how it’s cooking without opening the oven door, which wastes energy.

If cleaning windows is on the list, check the seals and sash locks to ensure they close tightly. Check for any areas that need caulking or sealing to reduce drafts. Sealing around windows contributes to year-round comfort in your home. Clean windows also allow more light into the home, reducing the need to turn on lamps and overhead fixtures.

Spring is the ideal time to declutter, deep clean, and implement practices that not only tidy our homes, but also reduce energy consumption, contributing positively to our homes’ energy e ciency and saving money on energy use.

Miranda Boutelle is the chief operating o cer at E ciency Services Group in Oregon, a cooperatively owned energy e ciency company.

2024 | MARCH 17
Schedule cleaning services for your air conditioner in the spring before the heat of summer. While cleaning light fixtures and fixture covers, check your bulbs and replace any incandescent or compact fluorescent with energy-saving LEDs.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Numbers rounded to nearest tenth of a cent

18 MARCH | 2024
U.S. Average: 15¢ per kWh Residential Average
(cents per kilowa
23.2¢ CT: 24.6¢ NJ: 16.7¢ DE: 13.7¢ MD: 14.5¢ DC: 14.2¢ ME 22.4¢ NY 22.1¢ PA 15.9¢ OH 13.9¢ MI 17.9¢ IN 14.6¢ IL 15.7¢ WI 15.6¢ MN 14.3¢ IA 13.2¢ MO 11.7¢ AR 12.1¢ AL 14.3¢ KS 14¢ TX 13.8¢ NM 13.8¢ MS 12.4¢ LA 12.9¢ NE 10.8¢ SD 12.1¢ ND 10.9¢ CO 14.2¢ TN 12.3¢ FL 13.9¢ GA 13.8¢ SC 13.6¢ NC 11.6¢ VA 13.3¢ KY 12.9¢ WV 13.2¢ AZ 13¢ UT 10.8¢ NV 13.8¢ CA 25.8¢ WY 11.1¢ MT 11.3¢ ID 10.4¢ OR 11.4¢ WA 10.3¢ AK 23.1¢ HI 43¢ OK 12.4¢ H 43 4 ¢
to 13.5¢ Over
2022 gures, in cents per kWh
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Je Bulington had never heard of Franklin County or Meadville almost 10 years ago when he was teaching chess at a school in Memphis.


The former college philosophy instructor, who taught logic at Indiana University and Purdue University, was recruited in May 2015 by a Mississippi philanthropist to move to Meadville — the county seat of rural Franklin County — and run a chess program.

The program, originally known as the Southwest Mississippi Chess Foundation, gave public school students an opportunity to learn the game of chess both in class and during an after-school program.

The philanthropist, who has close ties to Franklin County, funds the entire program and wants to remain anonymous.

Bulington, 58, said, in some ways, he sees the lessons of chess as a cross between academics and sports.

“They don’t need to learn it because they will use chess later in life, but because they might face it on the ball field,” Bulington said.

Today, The Franklin Chess Program has about 100 students from Franklin County Lower Elementary, Franklin County Middle, and Franklin County High School participating. Bulington said that about 1,000 students have probably participated in the program since its inception.

“The e ects of that private donation are priceless,” Lisa Storey, principal of Franklin County High School, said.

20 MARCH | 2024
Photos by Chad Calcote

Can chess improve a student’s analytical skill?

Bulington and school principals say yes. Does the game ensure high grades? Not necessarily.

“There’s an assumption sometimes that students who play chess are straight A students. That’s not the case. But the students in the program are much more aware of their schoolwork and study habits. The chess kids miss a lot of class because of tournaments. I’ve never had one teacher call about a chess student not turning in makeup work as a result. They keep up with their grades. They don’t want to let Dr. B down,” Storey said.

The chess program does have a positive effect on the students who participate, according to local educators.

“It seems clear to me that chess can provide a very rich applied context for complementing various types of school learning, K-12 and beyond. Like other sports and competitive games, it instills a sense that success depends on preparation and the formation of good habit,” Bulington said.

“Because chess requires notation of players (writing down moves) it creates an ideal feedback loop for learning. Students play games, critically review their games, and then test their new understandings in further games. It blurs the distinction between work and play, creating a sense of serious fun.”

Bulington also said chess can highlight evidence of a child’s character, intelligence, and willpower that sometimes go undernoticed by traditional academic testing.

Page Goff, principal of Franklin County Lower Elementary, said she once asked a third grader in the program what it takes to be a good chess player.

“They said you need to be ‘scrappy.’ I love that. And it’s true,” Goff said.

Goff also said she remembers a student who was slacking off in class and on homework.

“But they loved chess. Dr. B worked with the student. All of a sudden, the slacking off stopped, and they were back on track,” Goff said.

It seems clear to me that chess can provide a very rich applied context for complementing various types of school learning, K-12 and beyond. Like other sports and competitive games, it instills a sense that success depends on preparation and the formation of good habit.

2024 | MARCH 21

Bulington is originally from Toledo, Ohio, but spent his teenage years in a small town in Indiana.

Bulington said he learned the basics of chess in 1972 after he beat his first-grade teacher at checkers.

“One day, she gave the rest of the class some assignment and then told me she wanted to introduce me to another game. That was my first, fast and loose chess lesson,” Bulington said.

Bulington said he became a much better chess player at 14 when he started playing a local farmer.

“One day in church, this farmer stands up and says, ‘Today is a good day for a chess game.’ Then I started playing him,” Bulington said.

Bulington said he and his wife really love living in Franklin County.

“I fit in pretty well here. It’s not so different from the town in Indiana where I spent my teenage years — except that town was only 100 miles from Chicago and this place has better chess,” Bulington said.

Storey said Bulington is always there for the students.

“He’s such a wealth of knowledge. He does everything he can for those kids,” Storey said.

22 MARCH | 2024

The program has produced state champions and tournament championship teams.

Bulington has now experienced watching one student start in the program when he was in elementary school, and now works alongside him this year as a senior.

Benson Schexnaydre, 18, is a Mississippi state chess champion in both the student and adult categories. He is an assistant coach in the program this year and will be going to college to study mechanical engineering.

Bulington’s teams have traveled to Harvard University, Chicago, and Dallas to participate in chess tournaments – all of it funded by the private donor.

Goff and Storey both said some of the students who went on those trips may never have otherwise left Franklin County.

Bulington said his students will carry the lessons of chess with them into the future.

“Chess can teach you how to be a better coach, teacher, parent, citizen, and how to work on a team,” Bulington said.

Success is defined in myriad ways in our programs. At bottom, it is about students getting what they want from chess. Some want to be chess champions and others are simply attracted to the social learning opportunities it affords them at school, home, and elsewhere.”

For more information about The Franklin Chess Program, visit or call 601-384-2020.

2024 | MARCH 23

If Your Hands, Arms, Feet, or Legs Are Numb - If You Feel Shooting or Burning Pain or An Electric Sensation - You Are at Risk

Get The Help You Need - Here's What You Need to Know...

Purvis, MS - If you experience numbness or tingling in your hands, arms, legs, or feet or if you experience shooting or burning pain, this is important.

Please read this carefully

Peripheral Neuropathy is when small blood vessels in the hands, arms, feet or legs become diseased and tiny nerves that keep the cells and muscles working properly shrivel up and die.

Early-warning symptoms include tingling and numbness, mild loss of feeling in your hands, arms, legs or feet, inability to feel your feet, which increases your risk of foot-injury and falling

More Advanced Symptoms Include...

Loss of coordination & dexterity, which puts you at increased risk of accidents

Inability to feel clothing like socks and gloves

High risk of falling, which makes walking dangerous, and makes you more dependent on others

Burning sensations in your arms, legs, hands or feet that may start mild, but as nerves and muscles die, may feel like you're being burned by a blow torch.

Ignore the early warning signals long enough and you risk progressive nerve damage leading to muscle wasting, severe pain, loss of balance and a lot of staying at home wishing you didn't hurt

When every step is like walking on hot coals, sitting still may be the only thing you feel like doing But there's little joy in sitting still all day long

Now here's the scary part....

Nerve damage CAUSES cell damage Cell damage SPEEDS UP nerve degeneration

Without treatment this can become a DOWN-WARD SPIRAL that accelerates.

The damage can get worse fast Mild symptoms intensify Slight tingling, numbness or lack of feeling can turn into burning pain.

Before you know it, damage can become so bad you hurt all the time Unless this downward spiral is stopped and nerves return to proper function - the damage to nerves and cells in the affected area can get so bad your muscles begin to die right along with the nerves and cells. And that sets the stage for weakness, loss of mobility, disability, and dependence on others.

If you have early warning signs of peripheral neuropathy, (tingling &/or numbness, loss of feeling or pain) it's CRITICAL you get proper treatment

It's critical, because with proper treatment the symptoms can often be reversed Without it, you are playing Russian Roulette with your health

Once your nerve loss reaches 85%, odds are there's nothing any doctor can do to help.

The most common method your doctor may recommend to treat neuropathy is prescription drugs

Drugs like Gabapentin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, & Neurontin are often prescribed to manage the pain But, damaged nerves and dying cells do not heal on their own

Pain pills do not restore healthy nerve function. They just mask the pain as the nerves continue to degenerate and cells and muscle continue to die.

Taking endless drugs and suffering terrible side effects that may damage your liver & kidney and create even more problems, is not a reasonable path. You deserve better.

Three things must be determined to effectively treat neuropathy 1) What is the underlying cause? 2) How much nerve damage has been sustained? 3) How much treatment your condition will require?

With proper treatment, shriveled blood vessels grow back & nerves can return to proper function How much treatment you may need depends on your condition

At Purvis Chiropractic we do a complete neuropathy sensitivity exam to determine the extent of your nerve damage The exam includes a detailed sensory evaluation, extensive peripheral vascular testing, & a detailed analysis of the findings.

Dr Rob Acord, D C will be offering this complete neuropathy sensitivity exam for $47 This special offer goes away at the end of this month as we have a limited number of exam appointments available

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In less than half a year, Mississippi pastures have endured drought conditions and subfreezing temperatures, but landowners can soften the blow winterkill deals to their winter grazing systems.

Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said moderated grazing, cover crop planting and adequate soil nutrition can keep winterkill in cool-season annual grasses from being widespread.

Some forage loss is still to be expected.

Lemus said the extremes in weather have created challenging growing conditions for even the most cold-tolerant varieties of winter grasses, including annual ryegrass, cereal rye, triticale, and wheat. Oats are also widely used in Mississippi, though not as resilient against extreme cold.

“Predicting winterkill is very di cult because it can happen due to di erent factors such as low temperature kill, ice cover, crown hydration, overgrazing and lack of canopy cover, poor fertilization

and stand age,” Lemus said. “The rapid decline in soil temperature during freezing and thawing cycles favors low-temperature kill.

“In a cool season annual forage system, most of the winterkill will be related to grazing management, heavy tra c areas, lack of fertilizer, spots with poor drainage, shaded areas along fence lines, and areas covered by ice for 10 days or longer,” he said.

As these active cool-season annual forages continue to respire and oxygen is depleted, they can build up toxic gasses such as carbon dioxide, butanol, and ethyl butyrate that can kill the plant.

Crown hydration may be the most destructive type of winterkill in Mississippi, Lemus said, because the crown is where grasses develop their root system and new shoots. This is often observed in pastures growing in lowland areas or poorly drained soils where the soil remains frozen below the surface.

“When temperatures start to increase and ice melts, these forage crops begin to de-acclimate and the crowns become hydrated,” he said. “If a drastic freeze occurs during the thawing phase, ice forms inside the crown and ruptures the cell membranes causing loss of moisture and the formation of ice crystals between cells.”

26 MARCH | 2024

Low-temperature kill can occur when cold temperatures set in and cool-season grasses undergo a dehydration process in response to the lower temperatures, shorter photoperiods, and cloudy days.

“This dehydration process increases the potassium and sugars in plant cells that allow the plant to acclimate to freezing temperatures,” Lemus said. “Low soil potassium, low pH, and overgrazing can delay this process and make forages more susceptible to the formation of ice crystals in leaves, shoots, and crown tissues.

“Avoid grazing or applying nitrogen until the plants have recovered for at least three to four weeks after a drastic winter event depending on temperature changes,” he said. “These limitations restrict their ability to fuel rapid growth and conserve energy for survival until more favorable conditions return.”

Another form of winterkill is ice encasement, also known as anoxia. This occurs when forages are covered by ice for several days, causing a reduction in gas exchange between the leaves and the atmosphere.

Lemus said. “The degree of damage may depend on the thickness of the ice, the duration of the ice on the surface, and the forage species.”

Producers use a variety of alternatives to keep their livestock fed in addition to rationing forage and storing extra hay. One of these is stockpiling pastures — blocking o some fields before the season’s first frost exclusively for winter grazing.

“As these active cool-season annual forages continue to respire and oxygen is depleted, they can build up toxic gasses such as carbon dioxide, butanol, and ethyl butyrate that can kill the plant,”

“Having access to stockpiled pastures is one other way to have some roughage source other than hay or commodity supplementation,” said Brett Rushing, MSU Extension forage agronomist.

“Unfortunately, by this time of year, utilization of stockpiled pastures has already been conducted, and producers are forced to dive into hay stocks during these weather events.”

Pastures with widespread winterkill will require more time, heat and care to re-establish.

“With increasing temperatures, we have seen quick response to stands that were knocked back, and we expect full recovery for late winter and early spring grazing,” Rushing said. “Just give it some time, limit grazing, and follow nitrogen recommendations as daytime temperatures increase.”

2024 | MARCH 27
Drought conditions and subfreezing temperatures have created challenging growing conditions for even the most cold-tolerant varieties of winter grasses in Mississippi.

On the Menu

March seems to be ‘that month.’ The month that wouldn’t go for just having one or two things we could look forward to, but ALL the things, and all at the same time. Spring will spring, the Easter Bunny will make his rounds, and little green leprechauns and shamrocks will show up on school bulletin boards. Some of us will wear green for good luck, and to prevent getting pinched. We also have no idea if we’re entering monsoon season in Mississippi, where it will rain buckets for days on end; if we’ll get all the snow and ice that we wished for in January (we actually did this year), or if it’ll be hot as blue blazes. Some call March the month of madness and it seems for good reason (and, lest we forget, March Madness means basketball, too). Things are all over the place. Do you get visions of Mad Hatters and crazy tea parties, and white rabbits, and little girls who fall through looking glasses? For some reason, I do.

So, when I sat down to write a little blurb about the recipes I had rolling around in my head, I couldn’t think of a thing to make them all match up — to give them a March theme if you will. They LOOK like they are all over the place, too. So, in true mother form, I had a conversation with my youngest daughter, and she, in true last-child form, reminded me that we celebrate two birthdays in March — hers

and one of her brothers. Make it about them. Bingo! Just a couple of my family favorites in honor of a couple of my family favorites.

The hamburger casserole is what we call Shepherd’s Pie around here. Classically, a dish made with lamb, this one is made with ground beef. Cottage Pie is a better name fit. A weekly rotation favorite for years when my kids were little, the dish can be put together in 10 minutes. Bake for 25 minutes and its dinner. The Frozen Fruit Salad came from the Magnolia Room at Rich’s in downtown Atlanta. This Georgia girl has had this one in her arsenal for decades. A perfect ‘Lady’s that Lunch’ dish that looks so pretty on those springtime salad plates, canned fruit makes it family friendly, and an easy dish to throw together. Cupcake papers make for a fun serving, but unwrapped or scooped into pretty little dishes make it special. And finally, Earthquake Cake is about the only cake that I can guarantee my husband will eat on the daily until every crumb is gone. Never mind being a kid favorite; I’ve never met a grown-up who didn’t love it.

Soon the long lazy days of summer will try to bake us to a crisp. Maybe a little March Madness is just what our souls, and tummies need.

28 MARCH | 2024


1 pound extra lean ground beef (at least 85/15)

1 can green beans, drain half the liquid (14-15 ounce)

1 cream of chicken soup (10.5 ounce)

3 potatoes, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in salted water and cook until tender. Drain, reserving about ½ cup cooking water. Mash potatoes, using the reserved cooking water as needed. (You might need a little additional water or milk to make spreadable.)

Brown the ground beef in skillet with the salt and pepper. Drain if desired. Combine cooked beef, green beans, and cream of chicken soup in a mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish that’s been sprayed with Pam. Spread mashed potatoes over the top of the casserole. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees until bubbly around the edges.


1 box German Chocolate cake mix

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup coconut

1 stick butter, softened

8 ounce cream cheese, softened

1 pound powdered sugar

Mix cake mix according to instructions. Spray a 9x13 cake pan with pan spray. Sprinkle pecans over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the coconut over the pecans. Pour cake mix over pecans and coconut in pan. Do not combine, just pour it over the coconut. In mixer bowl, beat cream cheese to soften; add butter and powdered sugar and mix to combine. Plop cream cheese mixture over cake mix.

Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes (don’t over-bake - it will look a little underdone). Remove from oven and cool before cutting. When the recipe says plop, really plop it. Don’t swirl it, smooth it, or try to make it neat, just plop spoonfuls onto the top of the cake batter. The cake will cook over it, creating its own swirl.


8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 can sliced peaches, well-drained (8 3/4 ounce)

1/2 cup maraschino cherry halves, well-drained

1 can fruit cocktail, well-drained (30 ounce)

1 can crushed pineapple, well-drained (6 1/2 ounce)

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

Put cream cheese in mixer. Add confectioners’ sugar and blend in mayonnaise. Add vanilla extract. Fold in fruit and marshmallows. Add whip cream and gently fold into fruit mixture. Ladle into large paper soufflé cups or muffin liners. Freeze immediately. Defrost 15 minutes before serving. Do not allow to get soft. Remove soufflé cups or muffin liners before serving.

Vicki Leach is a full-time chef/culinary instructor at Mississippi State University in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion. She teaches Science of Food Preparation, Foodservice Organization, and Quantity Food Production. She also serves as the food service coordinator for First Baptist Church in Starkville, where she attends with her husband, Rob. She has four children and five grandchildren, and lives in a 130-year-old farmhouse that speaks to her old soul. She still has the first cookbook she ever owned

2024 | MARCH 29

Mid-South Military History & Civil War Show. March 1 and 2. Southaven. The South’s oldest military history show will be at the Landers Center on I-55 and Church Road, Exit 287. Open March 1 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and March 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and children 12 and under are free. Vendors from across the country will have quality artifacts from the American Revolution through the 20th Century available to buy, sell, or trade. These include books, documents, uniforms, weapons, relics, photographs, and Native American items. Musicians and food trucks will be on site. On Saturday, historians will speak on Civil War and World War II topics. Civil War re-enactors with a cannon and World War II re-enactors will be there as well. Details: 901-832-4708 or email

Good Ole Days Festival. March 8 and 9. Lucedale. All day events for a tractor show with new and antique tractors, antique vehicles, hit and miss engines, antique farm equipment, petting zoo, food, and craft vendors. Admission is free. L C Hatcher Elementary School, 689 Church St. Details: 601-337-3136 or 601-508-9132 or mail

Big Spring Gospel Singing Jubilee. March 9. Pearl. Starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Pearl Community Center, 2420 Old Brandon Road. Featuring The Dixie Echoes, Terry Joe Terrell, Tim Frith and the Gospel Echoes, and Revelations. Details: 601-906-0677 or 601-720-8870.

Kings-Gold 2024. March 15. Hattiesburg. Kingsmen Quartet and the Gold City Quartet perform. Begins at 7 Heritage Church at 3 Baracuda Drive. Details: 601-261-3371.

South MS Boucherie BBQ Festival and Cooking Competition. March 23. Tylertown. The festival is a competition is a deep south stop on the sanctioned Memphis BBQ Network circuit, firing up local community food, fun and free family entertainment with Pro and Amateur competition cooking and prizes, food trucks, a 5K fun run, pancake breakfast, vendors, kids’ corner and more. This project is partially funded by a grant through Visit Mississippi. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Southwest Events Center, 29 MS 48. Details: 864-320-8742.

The Waynesboro Whistle Stop Arts and Crafts Festival. April 6. Waynesboro. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s theme is “Peace, Love & Whistle Stop.” This year’s downtown event includes pony rides, food, arts and crafts vendors, the Barney & Marie Memorial Car Show, children’s train rides, and other activities. Details: 601-735-2268 or email

Gulf States Quilting Association Biennial Quilt Show. April 12 and 13. Slidell, Louisiana. Harbor Center, Slidell, LA. Will be held at the Harbor Center. The four states in the Gulf States Quilting Association are Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and the Florida panhandle. The event features around 300 quilts from the gulf states region on display in this judged event. The show will also have vendors, a member boutique, door prizes, scissor and knife sharpening, food trucks, and more. A gorgeous one-of-a-kind themed quilt, “Gulf States Beauty,” made by members and appraised at almost $3,000, will be ra ed. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $12 and $5 for children under 12. Details: or email

Gulf Coast Military Collectors and Antique Arms Show. April 19 and 20. Biloxi. The event will be held at the Joppa Shriner’s Center, 13280 Shriner’s Blvd. April 19: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 20: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Historical military artifacts from all periods and wars bought, sold, traded, and exhibited. Firearms, bayonets, daggers, uniforms, helmets, medals, insignia, patches, flags, and books are available. Details: 228-224-1120 or terrell.

Star Spring Festival. May 4. Florence. Proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Event will be rain or shine. Vendors still needed. 5K and Kid’s Fun Run, Car, Truck, Tractor, and Bike Show, beauty pageant, silent auction, vendor/craft booths, 50/50 drawing, food, and DJ. 136 Moto X Dr. Details: 601-842-7947 or visit

Springfest. May 4. Monticello. Put on by Divide Memorial M.P. Church, located 11 miles south of Monticello o Highway 27. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Arts, crafts, entertainment, an auction, food, and free children’s activities. Details: 601-405-4975 or 601-431-9317.

62nd Mississippi Numismatic Association Coin and Currency Show. May 16, 17, and 18. Biloxi. Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3, 2350 Beach Blvd. May 16: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 17: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 18: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors from across the region will be buying and selling U.S. coins and currency, world coins and currency, and gold and silver bullion. Collecting supplies will be available for sale. Free admission and free verbal appraisals. Details: 228-435-8880.

The Hoppers 2024. June 14. Hattiesburg. Concert begins at 7 p.m. at Heritage Church, 3 Baracuda, Dr. Details 601-261-3371.

30 MARCH | 2024
Events open to the public will be published free of charge as space allows. Submit details at least two months prior to the event date. Submissions must include a phone number with area code for publication. Email to Events are subject to change.
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It was over 40 years ago that Malcolm White and some of his friends invented Jackson’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade. It was a dubious start. They snarled afternoon rush hour tra c in downtown Jackson at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, March 17, 1983. Drivers were honking, and people were waving. Malcolm was thinking everybody was really getting into the spirit of things. The reality was commuters just wanted the paraders to get out of the way, so they could get home. Afterwards, the parade was moved to the Saturday following St. Patrick’s Day.

From such humble beginnings come great things. The event is way more than a makeshift parade now. “The parade” takes up a weekend and then some. Especially when you factor in the annual Sweet Potato Queens reunion prior to the parade. And yes, the Sweet Potato Queens were invented in that first parade. Sweet Potato Queen Jill Connor Brown donned her queen’s sash, rode in the back of a pickup truck, and tossed sweet potatoes to bystanders.

Veteran Jackson newsman Bert Case told Malcolm White after that first parade that it would never catch on. Bert was the Grand Marshal of the 25th annual parade, by the way.

If you have never been to a St. Paddy’s Parade in Jackson, try to make it on the 23rd of this month. Get downtown early enough to grab a good spot. Cleverly designed floats and marchers all decked out as their favorite fairy tale character or action-adventure hero or whatever else they can come up with, pass by for an hour or so tossing beads and trinkets.

Downtown Jackson becomes a reunion Mecca the Saturday of the parade. Families or fraternities or businesses stake out a plot of real estate the Friday afternoon before — preferably somewhere with space around it, like the median of Court Street, where there’s room to put up a tent and set up a grill and a table. By midmorning Saturday, the cookers are at work turning out masterpieces of culinary delight. You can count on barbecued “something,” with beans, potato salad, and liquid refreshments on the side. I’ve never been o ered anything to eat that I didn’t like while walking the parade route. The only other time downtown Jackson smells this good is during the Mississippi State Fair with all the food vendors cooking at the fairgrounds.

I have covered the parade for television many times, most recently with my friends at WJTV for the past several years. But this year I am honored to have been selected as the parade’s Grand Marshal.

St. Paddy’s isn’t just foolishness. The benefactor of funds raised by the parade is Children’s of Mississippi, the state’s only children’s hospital.

I have covered the parade for television many times, most recently with my friends at WJTV for the past several years. But this year I am honored to have been selected as the parade’s Grand Marshal. The theme is “Telling Mississippi’s Story.” I’m assuming that’s why I am Grand Marshal this year. I’ve been doing just that on television for the past 40 years. Or it could just be the Luck of the Irish.

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

2024 | MARCH 31

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