Page 1

News for members of Coast Electric Power Association


y n n Fu s e n i Fel Periodical postage (ISSN 1052 2433)


It’s finally here!

The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience opens in Meridian p. 4

6 History comes alive at Shaifer House 10 Mississippi Cooks: Southern comfort cookin’ 17 Cooperatives sponsor Youth Leadership Workshop



Today in Mississippi


April 2018



Taking Mississippi arts to

“It’s really

exciting and


There’s not anything By Debbie Stringer experts. This year’s One more reason to vacation in inductees will be else ” Mississippi opens this month in announced in May. (The Meridian. public can help nominate – Paula Chance The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment artists by voting at Experience, known as The MAX, is a $50 lion facility that celebrates the state’s incredible arts The MAX started out in 2001 as the Mislegacy: namely, the world-famous performing, visual sissippi Arts and Entertainment Center, as established and literary artists whose creativity stems from their by the state legislature. Funding to build and operate Mississippi roots. the center would come from private donations, grants Multi-media exhibits give MAX visitors insight into and state government. the lives of the artists, as well as the unique geographic, But construction of the complex, originally slated to community and cultural influences that shaped their begin in fall 2004 at Meridian’s Bonita Lakes Park, was development. postponed as the state struggled to recover from Hurri“This is a non-traditional museum. There are intercane Katrina and the Great Recession. It would be actives throughout, and that’s how the name Experianother 11 years before The MAX would break ground ence came along,” said Paula Chance, MAX spokesper- at its new location on Front Street in downtown son. “It’s about seeing some artifacts but also experienc- Meridian. ing some of the things that influenced the artists.” In a way, the delay turned out to be a good thing. The MAX also houses the state-sanctioned Mississip- New technologies emerged during those years that pi Arts and Entertainment Hall of Fame. The 18 artists would elevate the museum into a unique arts “experience” for visitors. MAX visitors can create virtual paintand performers selected for the 2017 inaugural inducings, for example, in the style of Walter Anderson and tion—from Elvis to Oprah—are depicted in multimedia displays lining a two-story rotunda gallery. Each other Mississippi artists represented in the museum, and throw virtual pottery in the style of three different year new inductees will be selected by a panel of

like this.

Mississippi potters, such as George Ohr. Serving as an arts education resource for individuals and educators has been a goal of the museum since its inception. Workshops, seminars, changing art exhibits, artist demonstrations and programs for all ages will be offered throughout the year. “Statistics show the importance of arts in education, and that is absolutely one of our goals, to educate people about the importance of art,” Chance said. Some of the programs in development at the museum will target aspiring artists and performers. “I think one of the programs that is especially good is the mentoring program. Our plans are to have students selected that are interested in, for example, putting together an art portfolio or a recording for college. We would assign a mentor to learn not just about their art but how to be an artist [and] all the things you need to promote yourself.” For its first year of operation, The MAX has set an attendance goal of 150,000 visitors—including travelers on Interstate 20, which slices through Meridian a few blocks from the museum. “We see this museum as a gateway to other museums in the state,” Chance said. “For example, probably of those first 18 [artists] in the Hall of Fame, 10 or 12

April 2018


Today in Mississippi


The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience, far left, known as The MAX, opens this month in downtown Meridian. The 59,000-squarefoot facility includes an amphitheater for concerts and other outdoor events. Visitors to the museum’s Juke Joint gallery, above, will be immersed in the sights and sounds of a Mississippi music club, where many Mississippi music legends got their start.

MISSISSIPPI Visitors learn how the land inspired Mississippi artists’ works. Creative approaches to exhibit design are evident throughout The MAX.

have museums in Mississippi, like Faulkner’s Rowan Oak and the B.B. King Museum.” The MAX is expected to help spur business development in downtown Meridian as it joins a list of attractions that includes the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum and the MSU Riley Center, a performing arts venue. The MAX opens to the public April 29 with a slate of special events and presentations, following a grand opening black-tie gala April 27 and member preview day April 28. The full schedule and future event listings are posted on the museum’s website. “It’s really exciting and different. There’s not anything else like this,” Chance said. The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience is located at 2155 Front St. in downtown Meridian. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday. Tickets may be purchased at the museum or online. Contact the museum at 601-581-1550 or

ON DISPLAY Meridian, Mississippi


12 I Today in Mississippi


April 2018

Communicators: April Lollar and Merilee Sands For Today in Mississippi information, call 877-7MY-CEPA (877-769-2372)

Where our members have the power CEO’s message

Coast employees are dedicated to providing quality service initiatives and improved technology to name Last April, I became Coast Electric’s President and CEO. This past year has been full just a few. I can’t wait to share more with you as these programs develop. I think you will like of new challenges and opportunities to serve what you see, and I hope that you you, the members and owners of will continue to give us your feedthis cooperative. Being memberback. focused isn’t just something that’s One message co-op employees important to me, it’s something heard over and over in previous years everyone at Coast Electric believes was the desire for renewable energy is crucial for success. resources. Prices for producing solar Each day, I see the employees of energy have fallen, and our generayour cooperative work to make tion and transmission cooperative, improvements for you. Whether Cooperative Energy, constructed a we are using your feedback to large-scale solar project that is develop new programs and Ron Barnes improve current services or partici- President and CEO producing enough energy to power 11,400 homes for co-op members in pating in projects that improve the south Mississippi. Make sure you read more quality of life in our communities, these hardabout the Sumrall-based plant on pg. 8. working men and women are always looking This first year has gone by quickly and with out for you. so many projects on the horizon, I can only When I became the leader of this cooperative, I worked with our employees, management imagine how quickly I will be looking back on year two. I can’t tell you how much I have team, board members and industry experts to appreciated your support and hope you will outline a strategic vision for Coast Electric. continue to see Coast Electric as your commuWe’ve been working on several initiatives that nity partner, dedicated to improving the quality will enhance your service including system upgrades, more options with our solar program, of life in our communities. increased community and school outreach

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Watt’s up this month 12a PAGE

12b-c PAGE

12c PAGE


I Coast Electric CEOs Recognized

I Youth Leadership Workshop

training local students I Lineworker

Appreciation Day • April 9 and Fill a Bucket I Earth Month Celebration I Energy Fair

May 3 Poplarville & Picayune June 1 Gulfport & Biloxi

Most Holy Trinity Spring Fest April 13-15 Rides • Bands • Vendors • Food • Crawfish Car Show • Corn Hole Kiln-Delisle Road, Pass Christian Call 228-669-7119 or visit Most Holy Trinity Spring Fest on Facebook.

April 2018

Cooperatives are different from other businesses. Coast Electric is a not-for-profit business that is owned and led by those we serve. As someone who receives service from Coast Electric, you are a member and owner of the cooperative. For the co-op to function effectively, it takes everyone doing their part – employees, board members and you – to work toward a common goal. Although the tasks in each department may differ, the goal is the same – to provide superior service to the people of south Mississippi. Every meter, transformer and pole on Coast Electric’s system has a physical location. Maintaining digital records of our electric system helps us make better decisions for future growth and planning. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department is essential in providing solutions for employees and members. When a member calls to report an outage, a digital map finds the member and alerts the dispatchers. Once a crew is assigned, digital maps are used in the trucks to show the exact location of the outage. Members are also able to stay


Today in Mississippi



GIS Supervisor Jay Santinelli and GIS Technician Ted Holland are part of the team that locates and maps all of the cooperative's assets.

up-to-date and view Coast Electric’s outage map on The information our GIS department collects and shares helps us work more efficiently for members like you.

Coast Electric current and former CEOs recognized with awards Coast Electric President and CEO Ron Barnes was recently recognized by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of the state’s best leaders. The Journal recognizes leaders who demonstrate excellence and who have made an impact on their companies and the communities where they serve. Former Coast Electric CEO Bob Occhi received the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) President’s Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made

outstanding leadership contributions to rural electrification, the nation, their states or communities on the occasion of a special celebration, action or event. Coast Electric employees and members alike are served by leaders who have been recognized for their excellence in leading those who work to power our communities.

Tipof the Month

When streaming online content, use the smallest device that makes sense for the number of people watching. Avoid streaming on game consoles, which use 10 times more power than streaming through a tablet or laptop. Source:

12b I Today in Mississippi


April 2018

Coast Electric sends local students to Youth Leadership Workshop

Leading the Way into the

FUTURE through Mississippi’s brightest students

Top photo: Conner, Gage, Marion and Stephen represented Coast Electric for the 2018 Youth Leadership workshop. Above: Ron Stewart, senior vice president of Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, presents Stephen with the Leadership Award during the workshop. Stephen will receive a $500 scholarship at graduation.

The Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi recently held the 32nd Youth Leadership Workshop in downtown Jackson. This annual youth event brought students from across Mississippi to the state capital to meet their legislators and to participate in activities designed to enhance their already-present leadership abilities. The workshop began on Wednesday, Feb. 21 and continued through Friday, Feb. 23. Electric cooperatives from all areas of Mississippi participate in the program each year. Stephen Azar, Gage McClinton, Marion Pohl and Conner Thurtell were selected from a large pool of qualified candidates to represent the Coast Electric during this hands-on event. “The program was developed to help young leaders determine their strengths and weaknesses while showing them ways to become better leaders. We then encourage them to return home and put their skills to use,” said Ron Stewart, senior vice president and program coordinator. “We challenge these young people to go out and make a difference in the lives of others, exemplifying true leadership.” This year, 80 students attended the workshop which was held at the Marriott in downtown Jackson. When the students arrived on

Wednesday, the workshop began with a “get acquainted” session and they were put into situations where they had to learn about others. They were then asked to participate in a Town Hall meeting, which encouraged them to discuss issues they are facing as young people. Together with their groups, they developed possible solutions to these issues, and were encouraged by group leaders to take the skills they learned back to their schools where they could make a real difference in the lives of their peers. On Thursday morning, the students enjoyed breakfast with senators and representatives who serve in state government in the districts where the students reside. The breakfast was well-attended with more than 40 legislators in attendance. Before visiting the Mississippi State Capitol, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves spoke to the students and encouraged them to work hard for their dreams. He gave the students three guidelines for success: dream big, make a plan and work hard. “If you do these three things, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to,” he said. Gov. Phil Bryant continues to support this program by speaking to the students each year during a luncheon at the Old Capitol Inn. During his speech, he encouraged the students to pursue their

“We are proud to have these outstanding students representing Coast Electric.” – Ron Barnes President and CEO



Today in Mississippi

Gov. Phil Bryant

Above: From left, Sen. Angela Burks Hill, Rep. David Baria, Marion, Conner, Rep. Patricia Willis, Gage, Stephen and Sen. Mike Seymour. Right: Gage, Stephen, Marion and Conner pose during the Fun Time photobooth session.

dreams and hold on to their Mississippi values. He discussed the positive economic factors happening in Mississippi and told them that they don’t have to go far from home to become successful. “There are so many opportunities for you in Mississippi to take on leadership roles here. Whether you go on to college or choose a technical trade, there are many advantages to staying right here at home,” he said. The students also heard from other motivational speakers and participated in a fun evening with local magician, Dorian LaChance where he wowed them with his illusions. When the workshop came to a close, the students had made many new friends and memories that will last a lifetime. Building leaders is fundamental to building a strong

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves

community and through this program, Coast Electric hopes to prepare these young people for a bright future. The program has proven to encourage students to reach their goals year after year, and the students take away lifelong relationships. Part of the Youth Leadership workshop is the opportunity to apply for three scholarship opportunities. Coast Electric representative Stephen Azar received one of these leadership awards and will receive a $500 scholarship his senior year. In June, the students will travel with the youth group to Washington, D.C. The seven-day trip will include visits to all of the popular monuments and memorials, as well as meetings with Mississippi’s congressional delegation during a visit to Capitol Hill.

Sen. Philip Moran visited with Stephen, Gage, Marion and Conner at the Mississippi State Capitol.

Bro. Terry Rhodes

Gage McClinton, Marion Pohl, Stephen Azar and Conner Thurtell





Today in Mississippi


April 2018

Lineman Appreciation Day


and Fill a Bucket food drive • April 9 Donations go to local food pantries. Check Coast Electric’s Facebook page for details.


Thanks to the more than 130 uniformed employees at Coast Electric who power our lives.

April 2018


Today in Mississippi

Earth Day celebration Each day, we celebrate the natural beauty of the environment around us and in April, we want you to celebrate with us! Coast Electric employees will be celebrating Earth Day all month and if you are a member who works to reduce your energy use through our Time of Use (TOU)

program, you are eligible for a fantastic prize. Not taking advantage of this rate that helps you save? Sign up in April and you will be eligible for a prize, too! Each of our six local offices will hold a drawing for existing or new TOU members so stop in and ask us about how you can use less energy and save with TOU. What’s the prize? There will be drawings for six carts full of things to help you save on the TOU program such as:

• LED light bulbs – These bulbs use much less energy and last for a long time, making these a great and simple upgrade for your home. • Water heater timers – Having a timer that keeps your water heater from cycling on during peak hours is a great way to save. • Power strips – Make sure your appliances aren’t using energy when you aren’t around by plugging everything into an energy-efficient power strip that you can easily turn off and on. • Potting soil and plants – It’s been a beautiful spring so unplug and


Learn how you can reduce your energy use and save at our energy fairs! May 3 Poplarville & Picayune June 1 Gulfport & Biloxi

All energy fairs will be at 8 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.

We hope to see you there!

recharge by getting outside and planting something. Just remember to call 811 before you dig. • Carts are valued at $175. Sign up for TOU today for your chance to win! Winners will be announced via Facebook Live at 3 p.m. on May 1 so make sure you follow Coast Electric on Facebook. We will also have coloring books, crayons, piggy banks (for all of those energy savings), sunglasses and lots of seeds as giveaways throughout the month in each of our offices for you to enjoy.



Today in Mississippi April 2018 Coast  

Today in Mississippi April 2018 Coast

Today in Mississippi April 2018 Coast  

Today in Mississippi April 2018 Coast