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1.8 million Mississippians

This April, we have something very special to celebrate — National Lineman Appreciation Month. In fact, April 13 is the date that Mississippi’s electric cooperatives, alongside all of the other co-ops across the country, will honor these hardworking professionals. Did you know that geographically, approximately 85 percent of Mississippi relies on electric cooperatives for power? That equates to more than 1.8 million Mississippians. I know we are all grateful to the devoted lineworkers who come to work every day with one goal: ensuring we all have reliable service. It is thanks to their dedication and skilled training that our lights are on, our rooms maintain comfortable temperatures and we are technologically connected to the outside world. We may not always consider, however, the challenges these service-oriented lineworkers face — especially when Mother Nature proves unpredictable. When inclement weather occurs, they must be ready at a moment’s notice, day or night, to confront the elements. Oftentimes, this means they are out in dangerous conditions such as thunderstorms and hail. The truth is, in the electric cooperative industry, lineworkers are our first responders. They work around the clock. They work in dangerous weather conditions. They work on high-voltage lines. They not only power through all kinds

of conditions to ensure dependable service, they get the job done. Whether restoring power after a major storm or maintaining critical infrastructure to our electric system, lineworkers truly are at the heart of everything we do. And it is the commitment of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi to provide these brave men and women the resources, training and support needed to keep them safe and get them back home to their families. On behalf of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, I want to also take this opportunity to extend my deepest gratitude to all co-op employees — because all roles are critical and work in tandem to fulfill the greater mission. We are stronger together! Please join me April 13 and throughout the month of April to thank our lineworkers. There are more than 1.8 million Mississippians who rely on them, so let’s unite our voice in encouragement and gratitude. And if you are on social media, use #thankalineman to show your support for these men and women who do indeed light our lives.

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

TO OUR MEMBERS: Mississippi’s electric cooperatives have been closely monitoring the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Rest assure that we are taking all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of our members, employees and communities across the state. Your local electric cooperatives will continue to review staffing needs with an emphasis on maintaining the availability of key personnel and supplies to ensure business continuity and the reliability of their energy systems. If you have any concerns, contact your electric power association. Please take good care of yourselves and each other during this uncertain time.

“Springtime on the front porch with my granddaughter” Photo by Wendi Steadham, Brandon Central Electric member

Mississippi is ... How wonderful it is, to live in a state; Where the beauty of nature opens its gate. When in March, April and in May; Such wonders for me, are not far away. Along the roadsides and down in the thickets; One can hear the drone of the birds, frogs and crickets. Rooster head violets and jasmine of yellow; Begin popping up along the newly greened meadows. Snowy white blooms of the dogwood trees; Adorned by redbuds, swaying in the breeze. Oh, such a delightful sight to see; And all this is never very far from me. As the farmers begin to plow their ground; New life appears all around. Cotton, sweet potatoes and soybeans; Hard working people make their means. Almost daily, the weather report warns; Threats for tornadoes and of thunderstorms. The black clouds, they roll ominously by; Then once again, there is clear blue sky. Mississippi, my home, the place I love; Is a wonderful blessing, from God above. May the entire world sparkle sublime; Just give me Mississippi, in the springtime.. By Jimmy Dale McDaniel, Summit Magnolia Electric Power member

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

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 3


in this issue

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

8 picture this Front porches

11

5 Longwood Plantation

outdoors today A typewriter and big woods

leadership 13 youth program Mississippi electric co-ops are preparing leaders of tomorrow

20

14 local news 20 feature

Behind the inspiring story of “This Magic Moment: My Journey of Faith, Friends, and the Father’s Love”

24 on the menu Brunch, anyone?

29 31

29

grin ‘n’ bare it

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 73 No. 3

OFFICERS Keith Hayward - President Kevin Bonds - First Vice President Eddie Howard - Second Vice President Randy Carroll - Secretary/Treasurer Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Ron Stewart - Senior VP, Communications Sandra M. Buckley - Editor Chad Calcote - Creative Director/ Manager Elissa Fulton - Communications Specialist Rickey McMillan - Graphic Designer Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer Chris Alexander - Administrative Assistant EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600

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: 455,311

Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year. Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 11 times a year by Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Inc., P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300, or 665 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Phone 601-605-8600. Periodical postage paid at Ridgeland, MS, and additional office. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2) NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to: Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300

www.facebook.com/TodayinMississippi www.todayinmississippi.com

My last story

mississippi seen Church Hill community rises again

On the cover Kelly and Steve Clark with their dog, Blue, enjoy a good “porch-sittin” at their home in Crawford. 4-County Electric members. Photo by Madison Wright.

did you know? An electric power association is a cooperative independently controlled and owned by the members it serves. A member is any customer who has an account with the electric power association. A board of directors, composed of members elected by the membership, governs an electric power association. The board establishes bylaws, policies and rates. Employees are local residents who share a personal and professional interest in the well-being of their community. They embody the cooperative spirit of community involvement by participating in worthwhile causes.

4 TODAY | APRIL 2020


NATCHEZ SPRING PILGRIMAGE

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MARCH 14 – APRIL 14

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Visit www.natchezpilgrimage.com or call 1-800-647-6742 for more information. by Sandra M. Buckley octagonal home in America. “Its story is a unique one, of both As the oldest city along the Mississippi River, and also once highs and lows,” Smith said. Another is Stanton Hall, which home to more millionaires, respectively, than any other place occupies one full block in Downtown Natchez and recently in the country, Natchez remains a tourist hotspot — especially underwent a multi-million-dollar restoration. Then Richmond, in spring. One reason is its exquisite 19th century architecture, considered one of the tour’s most unique homes, showcases which is unmatched anywhere in America today. the three most admired architectural styles of late 18th to mid“There are over 1,000 buildings and structures listed on the 19th centuries. Another highlight is D’Evereux Hall, esteemed as National Registry of Historical Places, more per capita than one of America’s leading examples of Greek Revival architecture. any other city in United States,” said Linda Smith of Natchez Not only are the homes on the tour beautiful, their respective Pilgrimage Tours. “Also, there are 26 National Historical Landgardens and landscapes are equally captivating. “Natchez has a marks in Mississippi, half of which are in Natchez.” unique form of flora unlike anywhere in Mississippi,” Smith notTo both preserve and share the city’s unique history and ed. “Everything from formal courtyards in Downtown Natchez charm, the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage Tour was created to informal gardens dating back over a hundred years at Elgin. decades ago to celebrate its extravagant architecture, legacy Take a scenic drive down the Natchez Trace and see almost and springtime splendor. A ticketed event, the tour draws in every native flora to this region, coming across the immaculate tens of thousands of visitors annually from across the state, Brandon Hall, a columned mansion deep within the forested country and world for an unforgettable experience. This year, oaks and magnolias of Natchez.” it is held March 14 through April 14. Each year, the tour is customized with new details. “Through The first Spring Pilgrimage Tour took place in 1932. “Origiresearch, we are constantly learning new stories to add to nally, it was scheduled to be a garden tour,” explained Smith. the narratives of our tours,” Smith shared. “Heritage has “However, just before the scheduled date, Natchez was hit become very important to us, and we continue to learn with a freeze, killing most of the gardens. The group of ladies more and evolve our tours.” organizing the tour decided to put on their grandmothers’ In addition to magnificent architecture, lush gardens and hoopskirts from the attic and give tours of their homes. The unforgettable historical accounts, the city is rich with culture attendees loved it so much, they asked to do it again the foland hospitality during the lowing year! This group of Spring Pilgrimage Tour hardworking ladies helped dates. “Natchez is a really Natchez to flourish during fun town,” Smith added. the Great Depression, and “Hospitality has been in the tourism today is still the blood of Natcheziens since main industry of Natchez.” its founding in 1716. Many This year, 19 antebellum of our citizens have decided mansions will be open for to call Natchez home after the tour, complete with just one visit. We encourage antique furnishings and everyone to come see this décor, historic items of inhospitality for themselves.” terest and much more. One is Longwood, the largest D’Evereux Hall

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 5


events

mississippi marketplace on the menu outdoors today scene around around the ‘sip picture this LUCEDALE my opinion co-op involvement Each year, the Bluegrass Festival benefits a person in need.

BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

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Proceeds and donations collected this year will benefit Allen

grinDavis, ‘n’anbare it the City of Lucedale who has been employee with

by Nancy Jo Maples Six talented musical groups will headline Lucedale’s Third Annual Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, April 18, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. in City Park. The free event will feature TruNorth, The Carlisle Brothers, Kentucky Masterpeace, The Tipton Family Singers, Joshua “Two Shoes” Ivey and Double Dee, also known as Mayor Darwin Nelson and his wife Dana. Mayor Nelson will also serve as emcee for the festival. The event is sponsored by Power Ministries and is the brainchild of pastor/evangelist Louie Baker, a Kentucky native who had been living in Florida for several years when God called him to Mississippi. “In January of 2018, I was awakened from sleep in the middle of the night,” Baker said. “The Lord spoke to me to lay everything down and get in my car and go for Him. He directed me to Mississippi, so I turned my notice in on my room, got rid of everything and headed to Mississippi to visit a friend.” Baker’s friend introduced him to Mayor Nelson, and a discussion ensued about organizing a bluegrass festival in Lucedale. Two months later, the first festival took place.

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diagnosed with bone cancer. The first festival, in 2018, raised more than $5,000 for cancer patient Mike Steede, former county agent for George County. Last year’s festival raised $900 for the George County public school system’s backpack buddy program. This family-style event will offer attractions for all age groups. In addition to live music, the day will include an exhibit of antique tractors and engines by Danny Clark, as well as plenty of free activities for children such as inflatable slides, a bounce house, face painting, cornhole games, sidewalk chalking and more. Food and other items will be available for purchase. Vendors include Catfish Charlie Catfish Plates, J&J Barbecue and Peanuts, Southern Penguins’ Shaved Ice and Tracy’s Tees. Vendors will donate part or all of their proceeds to the cause. Baker said the festival will take place regardless of weather conditions. City Park is located at 642 Oak Street. Call 228-2198221 for more information. Nancy Jo Maples is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about Mississippi people and places for more than 30 years. Contact her at nancyjomaples@aol.com.

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ONE LOUD by Sandra M. Buckley

! e c i Vo

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi work to drive out child abuse by raising awareness through its new car tag

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month by Sandra M. Buckley Since 1990, the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi (CACM) has been playing a vital role in helping children who are victims of abuse and also championing prevention. An accredited chapter of the National Children’s Alliance, it is the member organization of Mississippi’s 11 local Children’s Advocacy Centers located across the state. All 11 centers operate under one important mission, which is “to provide hope and healing to children that have been severely abused or neglected, witnessed homicide or have been trafficked,” said Karla Steckler Tye, CACM executive director. CACM, headquartered in Biloxi, serves as an umbrella organization that is uniquely structured as a collaborative network of professionals and services. Ultimately, it aims to provide young victims a safe, compassionate environment and a path towards recovery as well as seek justice for those responsible. “By bringing together many disciplines, including law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental and/or medical health, victim advocacy and child advocacy, we work together to conduct interviews and make team decisions about investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases,” Tye explained. Additionally, streamlining the processing of each case in a timely, efficient and sensitive manner for victims is core to CACM’s charge. “Our goal,” she added, “is always to put the needs of the child first.” Statistics from 2019 hold that 6,196 of Mississippi’s children were seen at one of the 11 centers. Of these children, 2,498 received medical exam referrals, 3,695 received a forensic interview and 1,783 either received or were referred to counseling. One way in which CACM is raising both awareness and funds is through a new specialty car tag available to Mississippi drivers. The tag’s colorful design features two small handprints with the wording, “I Protect Children.”

“To us, the handprints remind you of the innocence of children,” Tye shared. “It reminds you that children should be living healthy and happy lives, but some children are deprived of this opportunity due to abuse and neglect. And, ‘I Protect Children’ is asking every person in Mississippi to take action. Every citizen has a role in protecting children.” Tye is grateful that the consumer response to the new car tags has been so positive. “It makes me proud that Mississippi is taking a stance on this issue,” she said. “It’s a great way to have an awareness campaign every day in Mississippi and to remind others as Mississippians are traveling across the country.” A motto CACM incorporates into its everyday mission is “One Loud Voice.” “Seeing professionals all over the state collaborate to help our most vulnerable citizens heal from abuse is inspiring,” Tye said. “These children’s lives have forever been changed by these traumatic events; but because of the tireless efforts by forensic interviewers, therapists, investigators, prosecutors, physicians and social workers to seek justice and ensure healing for these children, they have an opportunity to be happy, healthy adults.” While every day for CACM is dedicated to preventing child abuse, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. “April is the designated awareness month,” added Tye, “but the car tag is a constant reminder that child abuse exists in Mississippi. Help child victims of abuse and neglect obtain justice, hope and healing. Take action by supporting your local Children’s Advocacy Center through volunteering, donating or purchasing a car tag.” Visit www.childadvocacyms.org for more information.

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 7


ssissippi marketplace outdoors today p picture this my opinion grin ‘n’ bare it

Front Porches 1

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5 1. Old Wagner’s Grocery store in Church Hill, by Michelle Green of Sumrall; Southern Pine Electric member. 2. Waiting for daddy to come home, by Marietta Bradley of Brandon; Central EPA member. 3. Ready for the hummingbirds, by Sara Landrum of Richton; Singing River Electric member.

8 TODAY | APRIL 2020

6 4. Our happy place, by Rita Perry of Carthage; Central EPA member. 5. Rainy day blues, by Ted Smith of Carriere; Coast Electric member. 6. Yazoo County’s days gone by, by Sandra Plunkett of Yazoo City; Yazoo Valley Electric member. 7. View from the front porch swing, by Beth Reiss of Brandon; Central EPA member.

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18 16 8. Shoreline Park shines, by Robert Dilmann, of Bay St. Louis; Coast Electric member. 9. Front row view, by Kellie DeSoto of Columbia; Pearl River Valley Electric member. 10. Feeding time at the old place, by Cary Crosby of Biloxi; Coast Electric member. 11. A colorful view, by Andy Armstrong of Newton; Southern Pine Electric member. 12. Welcome to our porch, by Betty Triplett of Louisville; East Mississippi EPA member.

17 13. Peaceful haven, by Judy Blailock of Summit; Magnolia Electric member. 14. Front porch proposal scene (she said yes), by Kim Edwards of Brandon; Central EPA member. 15. Old porch swing, by Jason Mills of Clara; Dixie Electric member. 16. A once majestic wraparound porch of 1930, by Tiffany Smith of Ackerman; 4-County Electric member. 17. Simon’s porch time, by Kelsey Bass of Smithdale; Magnolia Electric member. 18. Meador Homestead B&B and Tea Room, by Dean Meador Smith of Hattiesburg; Southern Pine Electric member.

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 9


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More famous hunters in Mississippi William Faulkner, 18971962, can with authority be considered one of the most influential figures (if not the most) in 20th century American literature. His writing may often be maligned because of its difficulty to read and understand, but his genius goes unquestioned. He was one unlike the multitudes. Faulkner’s impact was recognized when he received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1949 — a commendation he was Cal Trout with two of his dogs, Lilly and Moonshine. reticent to embrace. And of particular interest to one who chronicles stories of wild things and wild places as I have now for 40-plus years, Faulkner was a hunter. Not just a casual hunter, a dedicated hunter who took the pursuit seriously and with deep emotion. He was always respectful of the game. Many of his works were developed from stories he heard around campfires of deer and bear camps in the Mississippi Delta, stories told by fellow hunters ensconced for a time in the big woods. One story often told was of an aging bear the hunters had chased for many years, Old Reel Foot. Faulkner’s fictionalized version of this was the centerpiece of his short story, “The Bear.” It is considered by many one of his best pieces of writing. In typical Faulkner fashion, the story covers a great many avenues Moonshine, Cal Trout’s Britany, locks tightly on point. Few things are more graceful than a solid bird dog on point.

of the human condition but centers around hunting. Recently, I found myself in what I like to think were Faulkner’s footsteps. There is no way to prove — or disprove — that. Consequently, I shall allow my phantasmac supposition to stand. He certainly was in the area. Charleston, Miss. — often referred to as The Gateway to the Delta. There is an annual festival in Charleston by that name. Faulkner was a small-game hunter as well as deer and bear, and I was in an area that he visited quite a bit. So, I was in Faulkner’s footsteps. I was hunting quail with Cal Trout of Trout Valley Quail Preserve. Cal is a quail hunter, a man of letters, a reader of Faulkner. Our conversations vacillated between bird dogs and Faulkner, between shotguns and the poetry of Wendell Berry. It was grand. And regarding shotguns, Cal uncased a Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen, the Belgium version. I put barrels and forearm on the stock of a Beretta Silver Pigeon in 28-gauge. We each nodded at our immediate inauguration into a mutual admiration society. And then Moonshine, Cal’s Britany, went on point. Grand again. Should you elect an intriguing experience, take a quail hunt with Cal. And while there, plan a run over to Oxford and visit Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s home. You will be immersed in Mississippi finery.

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 www.tonykinton.com for more information.

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Mississippi’s Electric Cooperatives host

YOUTH LEADERSHIP CLASS OF 2020 by Elissa Fulton A group of 88 high school juniors from across Mississippi gathered in Jackson for the 34th annual Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Youth Leadership Workshop Feb. 26-28. The hands-on workshop brings these students together from schools across the state to participate in team-building exercises, meet their legislators, tour the state Capitol and hear words of encouragement from government and business leaders and motivational speakers. “The primary goal of our program is to provide encouragement and leadership training for our young people” said Ron Stewart, senior vice president of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi. “With so many youth serving in leadership positions, we believe it’s important to provide an opportunity to discuss issues facing young people in their schools and communities. After the students identify the issues, we guide them in using their problem-solving skills to discover solutions. It’s amazing how creative these students are in addressing the issues.” ALCORN COUNTY ELECTRIC Jake Pearson, Corinth Will Wayne, Corinth

MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC Kathryn Johnson, Ruth Hannah Kinnison, Bogue Chitto Alli Simmons, Summit Madison Stringer, Tylertown

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CENTRAL ELECTRIC Orlando Brown, Carthage Emma Grace Dillard, Brandon Mallory Long, Carthage Megan McMinn, Brandon Mary Kate Moran, Philadelphia Georgia Claire Rudolph, Carthage

NATCHEZ TRACE ELECTRIC Serenity Armstrong, Calhoun City Payne Graves, Houlka NORTH EAST MISS. ELECTRIC Ja’maiyah Carothers, Taylor Ja’syah Carothers, Water Valley Dalton Cooper, Potts Camp Nate Leary, Water Valley Suhani Patel, Oxford Brown Turner, Oxford Nicole Wood, Oxford

COAST ELECTRIC Kodi Fayard, Gulfport Sophia Hebert, Bay St. Louis Ella Nolan, Diamondhead Quin Pisciotta, Biloxi DIXIE ELECTRIC Meghan Cosper-Gamache, Laurel Campbell Hankins, Ellisville

*

EAST MISS. ELECTRIC Curry Black, Louisville Jasmine Kelly, Louisville Veshal Konnar, Meridian Lauren Lewis, Meridian Desarae Skinner, Meridian John Tabor Stokes, Louisville

•*

4-COUNTY ELECTRIC Katie Littlejohn, French Camp Memory Shuffield, Maben Tomyah Smith, Macon

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•*

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NORTHCENTRAL ELECTRIC Greta Allen, Olive Branch Landon Bello, Olive Branch Symantha Cummings, Olive Branch Laura Grace Ellis, Hernando Marybeth Griffin, Olive Branch Raegan Lauderdale, Olive Branch Brenna Luff, Olive Branch Zach Medlin, Olive Branch DeQuan Moore, Byhalia Jeremiah Seals, Byhalia Anna Marie Sternisha, Olive Branch Ben Szabo, Southaven George Taylor, Nesbit Lanie Valentine, Lamar Alexis Williams, Olive Branch

The workshop offered the young people an opportunity to interact with other students also interested in fulfilling a leadership position and serving their community. Stewart emphasized the program is built around the cooperative business model with a focus on the philosophy: working together to accomplish common goals. During a luncheon, Gov. Tate Reeves encouraged the students to stay in Mississippi and work together to maintain a quality place to live and work. After breakfast with their legislators, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Secretary of State Michael Watson addressed the group, both encouraging the students to set goals and work hard to achieve them. The students earned the expense-paid trip to the workshop in a competitive selection process sponsored by their local electric cooperative and will travel to Washington, D.C. in June for a seven day youth leadership tour. “We are proud of our 2020 group, and we are expecting great things from them,” Stewart said. PEARL RIVER VALLEY ELECTRIC Marlie Barnes, Columbia Hagen Bracey, Sandy Hook Jeremiah Jackson, Wiggins

•*

SINGING RIVER ELECTRIC Laney Kate Hulbert, Lucedale Byron Swetman, Vancleave Bethany Toche, Ocean Springs Avarie Wells, Moss Point

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TOMBIGBEE ELECTRIC Zach Crawford, Saltillo MaKayla Dobbs, Nettleton Seth Guin, Marietta Erin Harrison, Belden Jewel Johns, Saltillo Jordan Johnson, Shannon Gavin Lane, Sherman Jaxon Nolan, Fulton

SOUTHERN PINE ELECTRIC Bryce Dupree, Bay Springs Jered Smith, Magee

TWIN COUNTY ELECTRIC Christian Martin, Greenville Simar Thomas, Hollandale Mollie Warrington, Greenville Louise Word, Greenville

SOUTHWEST ELECTRIC Savana Ashley, Woodville DeMarria Brown, Natchez Tomia Jones, Lorman Will McCullough, Wesson

YAZOO VALLEY ELECTRIC Lucas Clark, Yazoo City Kelsey Gilmore, Lexington

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STATEWIDE TALLAHATCHIE VALLEY ELECTRIC Olivia Fulton, Yazoo City Hannah Coyle, Sardis Sara Ellis Dean, Water Valley Lacey Downs, Batesville Leadership Awards Dylan Flippo, Coldwater Leadership Finalists Nathan Gregg, Batesville Aniyah Martin, Coffeeville Cooperative Spirit Award Zack Martin, Water Valley Sierra Mitchell, Batesville Kylie Stephens, Batesville

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• *

Curry Black accepts the overall Youth Leadership Award from Ron Stewart, senior vice president of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi.

Congratulations Curry Black... named to the 2020 Youth Leadership Council Curry Black, representing East Mississippi Electric Power Association, was selected as the 2020 Youth Leadership Council (YLC) member. He is the son of Lori and Stefan Black of Louisville and attends Winston Academy. He will serve a one-year term as Mississippi’s YLC and attend a conference in Washington, D.C., with YLCs from across the United States, speak at ECM’s Annual Meeting in Biloxi and represent Mississippi at NRECA’s Annual Meeting in San Diego in early 2021. Black is an exceptional student. He has been a member of the student council for four years and is currently serving as the president of his class. He is a member of FCA, National Honor Society, Mayor of the Mayor’s Youth Council and has served in many leadership roles in sports and various organizations. Black’s future goals are to attend law school, become involved in politics and eventually become President of the United States. We congratulate Black on his accomplishments!


MEP Contact Information: P: 3027 Highway 98 West • Summit, MS 39666 M: P.O. Box 747 • McComb, MS 39649

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2020 Youth Leadership Workshop working hard to achieve goals. Students from around the state once again assembled in The students also learned about the legislative process from Jackson, Miss., for a leadership conference sponsored by 19 of Paul Purnell, vice president of government relations for Electric Mississippi’s electric cooperatives. Organized by the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi. After visiting the Senate and House Cooperatives of Mississippi, this year marks the 34th year for the galleries, many students were able to have group visits with their Youth Leadership Program. The 2020 class is the largest group to legislators, meet the governor and visit the Senate and House date, with 88 students in attendance. This respected program instills leadership skills, inspires creative Floors. The program coordinators continue to be grateful for the commitment and hands-on education from state legislators. thinking, encourages community service and introduces students Gov. Tate Reeves also continues to to the elected officials who are leaders in proudly support this program. This Mississippi. year, during a luncheon hosted at the The conference was held at the Old Capitol Inn, Gov. Reeves spoke to Marriott in downtown Jackson from the students on leadership, reminding Wednesday, Feb. 26, through Friday, Feb. them that anyone can reach their goals, 28. Kathryn Johnson (home-educated), despite obstacles. The students were Hannah Kinnison from Brookhaven High once again encouraged to “dream big” School and Alli Simmons and Madison and to go back and make a difference in Stringer from Parklane Academy were their schools and communities. selected among the schools in Magnolia Thursday afternoon, the students Electric Power’s service area to represent participated in team-building exercises the electric cooperative at this event. led by Elyon Outreach Ministries that When the students arrived on were designed to sharpen leadership Wednesday, they instantly began and teamwork abilities as necessary networking with their peers through a components to successfully completing “get acquainted” session led by Eddie Kathryn Johnson, Alli Simmons, Hannah Kinnison and a set of challenging activities. Tanner of Madison County where they Madison Stringer attended the 2020 Youth Leadership Workshop as Magnolia Electric Power representatives. Afterwards, the students enjoyed an were asked to participate in a Town exciting evening with local magician and Hall meeting. The exercises presented comedian Dorian LaChance, who thrilled them with his illusions. by Tanner encouraged them to talk about obstacles they face in Concluding the event Friday morning, the students attended their everyday lives. They were also challenged with developing a recognition and awards ceremony, which was followed by a solutions to these issues to take back to their schools and motivational speech from Bro. Terry Rhodes of Van Vleet, Miss., positively impact the lives of their classmates and community who shared with them his extraordinary story of courage and members. determination. Thursday morning, the students shared breakfast with senators Magnolia Electric Power is a proud sponsor of the program. and representatives from their districts, who are always very “We are proud to have these four outstanding students represent supportive of this program. This year, approximately 35 legislators Magnolia Electric,” said Darrell Smith, general manager. “They are were in attendance. Before visiting the Mississippi State Capitol, our future leaders, and we look forward to seeing all that they Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Secretary of State Michael Watson accomplish.” spoke to the students about the importance of leadership and 14 TODAY |APRIL 2020


It’s always a special occasion to have your photo made with the Governor of Mississippi, and our group was lucky to have the opportunity to do just that. From left, Alli Simmons, Madison Stringer, Gov. Tate Reeves, Hannah Kinnison, Kathryn Johnson and Sen. Melanie Sojourner.

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The group was fortunate to visit the House floor thanks to Rep. Vince Mangold. He gave the group a personal escort onto the House floor, where he spent several minutes discussing a number of things that occur in the House chamber. Mangold also gave them the opportunity to take their photo up on the podium. From left, Rep. Vince Mangold, Kathryn Johnson, Madison Stringer, Hannah Kinnison, Alli Simmons and freshman Pike County Rep. Daryl Porter Jr.

Sen. Angela Burks Hill took time for a photo opportunity at the state Capitol. From left, Kathryn Johnson, Hannah Kinnison, Sen. Hill, Alli Simmons and Madison Stringer. It is a rare occasion when the Youth Leaders get the opportunity to visit both the Senate and House floors, but luck was with the group this year and Sen. Melanie Sojourner not only gave the group access to the Senate floor, she took them up on the podium for a photo and chatted with the young ladies about several issues. From left, Hannah Kinnison, Alli Simmons, Sen. Sojourner, Madison Stringer, and Kathryn Johnson.

Breakfast with the legislators is always a fun and learning experience at the Youth Leadership workshop. MEP’s winners had the chance to sit down and talk with their local legislators, which included Sen. Sally Doty and Representatives Bill Piggott and Vince Mangold. Pictured (from left) Mel Anderson, Madison Stringer, Hannah Kinnison, Skipper Anderson, Rep. Piggott, Sen. Doty, Rep. Mangold, Kathryn Johnson, Alli Simmons, Lucy Shell, Heather Atwood and Ben Atwood.

Kathryn Johnson, pictured with Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi’s Ron Stewart, was named one of the Top Ten out of 88 students attending the statewide workshop. Congratulations to Kathryn!

Sen. Tammy Witherspoon took a moment from her busy schedule to take a photo with the winners. From left, Kathryn Johnson, Hannah Kinnison, Sen. Witherspoon, Madison Stringer and Alli Simmons.

The MEP winners at the conclusion of the workshop with Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi’s Ron Stewart and their certificates of completion. From left, Kathryn Johnson, Hannah Kinnison, Stewart, Madison Stringer and Alli Simmons.


Youth Leadership Parents Night Dinner Each year, Magnolia Electric Power honors the winners of the Youth Leadership competition with a dinner for the students, their parents, counselors and school officials from the winners' respective school. Those also attending include MEP Board of Directors and MEP staff, along with the organizers of the event from Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi.

n: (Pictured from hool, Hannah Kinniso General Sc gh Hi en av kh oo Martin, MEP Winner from Br School Principal David nnison, Sina Molitor, MEP gh Hi en av kh oo Br t) lef a Ki , Hannah Kinnison, Lis lor Manager Darrell Smith o and Brookhaven High School Counse sc Si Board Director Jerry Shonique McLaurin.

from left) li Simmons: (PIctured ert, Al ol, ho Sc gh Hi e lan ipal Sid Sieb Winner from Park rl Fuller, Parklane Princ Alli Simmons, Ca or ct re Di of d ar mons, MEP Bo nnifer Van, Jewel Sim Parklane Counselor Je neral Manager Darrell Smith. P Ge Vic Simmons and ME

The group comes together for a Parents Night Dinner before the winners take their trip to Jackson. The Parents Night Dinner is a chance for our Youth Tour participants and their parents to ask questions concerning both trips to Jackson and Washington, D.C. and receive trip information from our Youth Tour Director, Elissa Fulton.

Winner from Parklane Hig h Sc left) Parklane Principal Sid hool, Madison Stringer: (Pictured from Sie MEP Board Director Bruce bert, Parklane Counselor Jennifer Van, McCaffery, MEP General Ma Smith, Trent Stringer, Madis na on Stringer and Melissa St ger Darrell ringer.

Home-School winn er, Directors Odell McK Kathryn Johnson: (Pictured from left )M en Johnson, Brandie Jo zie and Scott Smith, Lande Johnson, EP Board hnson and MEP Gen Ka eral Manager Darre thryn ll Smith.


SIX THINGS TO KNOW WHEN PLANTING A TREE by Derrill Holly Planting trees is an investment in the future. Beyond the obvious benefits of providing shade and enhancing the natural beauty of our surroundings, trees help improve our communities and our world in an abundance of ways, including many that we may not immediately notice. While it is often easy to see the trunk, branches and leaves of a tree, it might surprise you to learn that root zones are often two to four times the diameter of the crown. Those root systems help hold and aerate the soil, filter groundwater and allow the trees to draw in chemical nutrients that otherwise could leach into the environment. Decaying leaves, needles and other tree debris help enrich the soil, providing nutrients for grasses, corms and other vegetation. This mélange of organic matter described by scientists as the “soil food web” includes a huge chunk of the world’s biodiversity. According to researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, millions of species and billions of organisms, including bacteria, algae, microscopic insects, earthworms, beetles, ants, mites and fungi, can flourish in organic soil. “The best soil on most farms is found in the fence row,” a USDA official said, citing its undisturbed properties. “It’s crumbly, dark and loose, and it’s a model of soil structure and organic matter for farmers who are trying to make their soil healthier.”

CALL BEFORE YOU DIG Several days before planting, call the national 811 hotline to have underground utilities located. HANDLE WITH CARE Always lift tree by the root ball. Keep roots moist until planting. DIGGING A PROPER HOLE Dig 2 to 5 times wider than the diameter of the root ball with sloping sides to allow for proper root growth. PLANTING DEPTH The trunk flare should sit slightly above the ground level, and the top-most roots should be buried 1 to 2 inches. FILLING THE HOLE Backfill with native soil unless it’s all clay. Tamp in soil gently to fill large air spaces. MULCH Allow 1 to 2 inches clearance between the trunk and the mulch. Mulch should be 2 to 3 inches deep.

Source:

Trees make a lasting difference Trees take time to grow, but with proper care, after a few good seasons, a mature tree becomes a living air purifier.

Celebrate Arbor Day, April 24

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a mature tree can absorb 120 to 240 pounds of particulate pollution every year. They reduce atmospheric sulfur dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions and absorb heavy metals. And when it comes to trees, bigger is better. The experts say large mature trees absorb 60 to 70 times more pollution from the environment than smaller trees. Let’s plant more The Arbor Day Foundation has set a goal of planting 100 million trees worldwide by 2022, the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Arbor Day. The organization hopes to enlist 5 million new tree planters, urging them to plant trees at home, participate in community tree planting projects and support reforestation programs wherever they are needed. Trees 6 to 8 feet tall that are planted around a home or building can shade windows during their first year. Within five to 10 years, they can also help shade rooflines, reducing cooling costs and energy use. Dense evergreens can serve as windbreaks, diffusing frigid breezes. A local nursery or your county agricultural extension service can make recommendations on the best trees for your landscaping based upon growing conditions, space and design goals. Derrill Holly writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives.

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 17


BIG Creek

Paddling unfamiliar streams with The Man in the Dugout Canoe by Sandra M. Buckley Since he was a young boy, Drew Turner of Hattiesburg has been drawn to nature and the great outdoors. He especially loves canoeing and has paddled nearly 2,000 miles of Mississippi creeks and waterways — all in his handcrafted dugout canoe he made from a poplar tree nearly 20 years ago. It is this canoe and his passion for sharing his experiences that have resulted in his now being known as “The Man in the Dugout Canoe.” This famed dugout canoe, which measures 12 feet long and 22 inches wide, weighs nearly 120 pounds and has carried its 60-year-old owner on countless explorations of streams winding throughout Mississippi. Drew’s wife, Donna, describes her husband as an adventurer who is passionate about discovering more of our beautiful “Hidden Mississippi.” A nurse by trade, she accompanies him on every float, helping Photos by Donna Sones Turner document and photograph these journeys for The Man in the Dugout Canoe Facebook page, which is used as a resource for encouraging others to enjoy and explore Mississippi’s many streams and creeks — both familiar and unfamiliar. One such lesser known waterway in South Mississippi that the Turners both especially enjoy paddling is Big Creek in Leakesville. “It is one of our favorite streams to float in the springtime,” Donna said, “when the water is plentiful.” 18 TODAY | APRIL 2020

In addition to the creek’s nice, mild current and narrow width, the season’s landscape is picturesque. “The scenery of spring flowers and new green foliage is outstanding,” she said, adding that its many bends keep you guessing what splendid scene is around the next turn. “There are also lots of sandbars that are pristine and white, where you can pull over and play in the water or eat a snack or lunch.” While Big Creek does not have a boat ramp, Donna explained that the put in and take out is easy. This is one reason the Turners’ like to recommend it; because sometimes, attempting to access unfamiliar streams can be physically challenging if there is not a cemented boat ramp or the terrain is rocky and steep. For The Man in the Dugout Canoe, inspiring people to discover our “Hidden Mississippi” is his life’s passion. His many adventures are documented on his Facebook page, featuring hundreds of beautiful photos, helpful information and a touch of humor. Drew Turner uses his Man in the Dugout Canoe platform as a ministry to promote families spending time together outdoors as well as acknowledge God as the Creator of the universe. A taxidermist by trade, he is a storyteller and speaker who shares his message with church groups and at wildlife events. The Turners live in Hattiesburg and are Pearl River Valley Electric members. Visit www.facebook.com/ TheManInTheDugoutCanoe for more information.


Serenita Pink was named an March 1 was the meteorological All-America Selection winner in first day of spring, and I found my thoughts wandering to those summer annuals I love so well. 2014, and the entire series was chosen as Mississippi Medallion winners in 2016. One of my cool-season favorites doesn’t last long past the last Always plant Angelonia in well-drained garden soils; never days of spring, but I know I have summer replacement. plant in any soils resembling the tight clay, cement-like soils Angelonia is a close relative of snapdragon that blooms commonly found across Mississippi. all summer and into the fall. It is These soils are compacted with hard to believe that a plant in the little air space porosity. snapdragon family relishes our If your landscape soils are poor, summer heat and humidity, but this this is the perfect situation for using one does. Angelonia is a fantastic, containers. Any of the Angelonia easy-care annual that doesn’t need selections will be outstanding when deadheading, which is always a grown in containers. Be sure to place positive in my garden choices. them in full sun, as this will ensure Angelonias are commonly called the very best flowering performance. summer snapdragons. Since the Once established in either landscape garden world is dominated by beds or containers, Angelonia plants with round flowers, the spiky selections have remarkable drought texture of the Angelonia flower In a garden world dominated by plants with round flowers, Angelonia’s tolerance. This is particularly true in stalks are welcome additions to spiky flower stalks are welcome additions to any summer garden. Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman. organic-rich beds where a layer of any summer garden. Angelonia has mulch has been added to retain moisture. been selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner on a couple of Provide supplemental irrigation to your Angelonias during occasions. Serena Angelonia was first selected to receive this prolonged dry spells. I always use one of the various types of prestigious Medallion recognition in 2007. These plants have trickle or drip irrigation, as I find they perform best. received outstanding ratings all across the country and were Look for Angelonia selections this spring at your garden impressive in our trials as well. center. You will love them in your landscape. Serena Angelonias come in four colors and reach only 10 to 12 inches tall, but they spread 12 to 14 inches wide. Flower colors include blue, pink, violet and white. I have loved having the Serena series in my coastal garden but leave it to the plant breeders to introduce maybe an even by Dr. Gary Bachman better choice, Serenita Angelonia. Serenita is a more dwarf and compact selection than Serena. I think the colors are deeper and much more vibrant. Serenita Gary Bachman, Ph.D., Extension/Research Professor of Horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in is drought and heat tolerant while producing a prodigious Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs. number of flower stems all season long. He lives in Ocean Springs and is a Singing River Electric member. APRIL 2020 | TODAY 19


Bill as a guest of The Moonglows at their 2000 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction

Bill and Prentiss Barnes of The Moonglows in 1994. Photo by Tom Roster

MY JOURNEY OF

by Sandra M. Buckley By all definitions, William H. (Bill) Morris is a successful man, with a prosperous insurance firm, beautiful family and famous friends. But as he will tell you, there is much more to his life’s story. Recently, Morris debuted his memoir, “This Magic Moment: My Journey of Faith, Friends, and the Father’s Love,” a captivating account of his lifelong love of music and unlikely friendships with doo-wop music icons of the 1950s and 1960s that divinely led to transformation of lives and the music industry. It is a chronicle full of heart, humor and healing. I invite you to join me in this memorable conversation with him about life, love, friendship, faith and “magic moments” that inspired his book. Q: When did your interest in music begin, and how did you come to appreciate the distinct styles of the doo-wop era? : I grew up in a house filled with music, and I loved all types — from classical and big band to gospel and rock and roll. I was introduced to doo-wop and R&B music as a teenager, about the same time I was starting to attend dances. These were passionate love songs with beautiful harmonies, and most importantly, ideally suited for slow dancing. I began listening to WOKJ in Jackson, WLAC in Nashville and WDIA in Memphis, which were some of the only stations accessible in the area that played the African American sounds of rhythm and blues 20 TODAY | APRIL 2020

and doo-wop. I would also go to Capital Music in Downtown Jackson to sample the newest 45s. My friends and I had never heard anything like this music. We absolutely loved it and could not get enough. For many of us, the love affair with that era of music has never died, and we still enjoy listening to those great songs today. Q: When you were a student at Ole Miss, you spent your summers back home in Jackson putting on dances to earn money. How did that entrepreneurial experience help shape your future — both professionally and personally? : My father wisely decided that I would benefit more from my college education if I had “skin in the game,” which meant paying for half of college myself. One of my jobs was working on a loading crew at the Pine Sol plant, where I was the only white guy. They played R&B and doo-wop music while we worked, and I came to love that music even more. Before long, I realized that organizing and promoting dances was a much better option to earn money for college. I could do something I truly enjoyed while raising the money I needed. To be successful, I had to pick the dates and locations, hire the right groups, know what to charge and execute all of the promotion. Having this type of entrepreneurial experience at such an early age instilled both ambition and confidence in me that has served me well throughout my adult life.

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Bill singing with The Moonglows in Jackson in 2002

Bill with Bill Pinkney of The Original Drifters in 2007

Bill performed with The Moonglows at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame

FAITH, FRIENDS, AND THE FATHER’S LOVE” Q: Why did you decide to pursue a profession in insurance their records. At intermission, I felt compelled to meet them instead of sticking with music promotion? and before long, we were joking around and singing together. : Fourteen of the dances I hosted were big successes. The The leader of the group, Bobby Lester, heard something in one that wasn’t made me realize that music promotion was an my voice and insisted I do a song with them in the next set. unpredictable career and would not give the financial stability While I was passionate about their music, I never considered I wanted to support an eventual wife and family. My father myself a singer, especially not at this level. I had never held was a successful insurance executive who was devoted to a microphone in my hand. When they called me up to the the welfare of his clients, and they loved him for it. I decided stage, I tried to decline, but they insisted. It obviously turned to follow his path, which proved to out well, because other professional be the right decision. I am proud and singers who had come to hear The grateful for the success I have had Moonglows wanted to know what with the firm, and as I discovered, it group I was in. It was a huge thrill for If you choose to only have was possible for me to also pursue me, but also something I recognized friends that look like you, think my passions for music, photography as too extraordinary not to have some like you and act like you … you purpose in my life. A year later, I found and writing at the same time. are going to miss rich blessings. out what that purpose was. It was to Q: As fate would have it, your give me something that I could use insurance career later had you crossing paths with to connect with Prentiss Barnes, one of the group’s original legendary performers of the doo-wop era, The Moonglows. singers, who was now living in Jackson, broken and in need of Because of this, you had multiple opportunities to sing on a friend. My eventual friendship with Prentiss led to friendships stage with them. How did that happen? with Harvey Fuqua (also of The Moonglows), Bill Pinkney (The : While in Washington, D.C. for an insurance meeting in 1980, Original Drifters) and reconnecting with Rufus McKay of The I discovered The Moonglows were performing in town. The Red Tops. Music was our common bond, and we loved to sing Moonglows are considered by many in the know to be one of together. I was blessed to be included singing with them on the best of the doo-wop era. They sounded amazing, just like many different stages, including major venues.

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 21


Q: Tell us about Prentiss Barnes and how you met. Was there any racial tension in the beginning? : Prentiss Barnes, who was from Magnolia, Mississippi, was the original bass singer with The Moonglows. He was retired from the group when I sang with them in Washington, D.C., but that still played a huge role in our becoming friends. Almost exactly a year after that event in D.C., I picked up the Clarion Ledger to see the cover story about Prentiss who was now living in Jackson. He had been disabled from a car/ train accident a decade earlier and was physically, financially and spiritually broken. The same voice that had urged me to meet The Moonglows now urged me to help Prentiss. When I called, he seemed uninterested until I told him about singing with The Moonglows. A connection was made that led to a three-decade friendship with one of the sweetest men I have ever known. The joy of witnessing his transformation from that low point in his life to later being able to accompany him to historic events like his induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be with me forever. There was never racial tension with me and Prentiss or with any of the other guys. We had a shared passion for music and a shared faith in God and that was all that was important. We became friends in the truest sense. Whatever differences we had in terms of race, backgrounds, views … just did not matter.

: The biggest surprise was that these amazing singers liked my voice and let me sing with them. From that first time singing with The Moonglows in Washington, D.C., later singing onstage with The Original Drifters and the greatest thrill of all — performing with original members of The Moonglows on stage at Boston Symphony Hall. Professional singers do not let “amateurs” on stage to sing with them … and especially not legendary singers who have achieved the pinnacles of success. Those experiences were far beyond anything I could have dreamed would ever happen. Q: Why did you title your book “This Magic Moment”?

Bill with Mary Wilson

“I love that Bill is chronicling his friendships with Prentiss Barnes and Harvey Fuqua (both of The Moonglows) and Bill Pinkney (The Drifters), sharing his magic moments with them and other contemporaries.” — Mary Wilson, original member of The Supremes and author of “Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme” and “Supreme Glamour”

Q: Is racial harmony a focus of this book? : One of the greatest things about this story — a white Mississippi businessman becoming dear friends with four African American legendary singers — is that even though race makes the story more interesting, it is not the focus of the story. We all loved and cared for each other, and we all brought beneficial things to our relationships. A message that I do hope comes through from the book is that when people focus on what they have in common and not what they don’t, friendships can thrive. If you choose to only have friends that look like you, think like you and act like you … you are going to miss rich blessings.

22 TODAY | APRIL 2020

Q: What was the biggest surprise for you on this unexpected journey you took with some of American music’s greatest talents?

: “This Magic Moment” is not only the name of one of the Drifters most famous songs, it is a metaphor for life. We have many “magic moments” in our lives that lead to other “magic moments” if we take the time to recognize them. Sometimes, it is only when we reflect back that we realize how everything worked so perfectly together to bring about a divine purpose. Q: You journaled every morning for the past 38 years. Was that instrumental in composing this memoir?

: I could have never written the book without my journal entries. I wrote about what had taken place the day before, things that were said, the emotions I was feeling at the time. I would read those entries at the end of each year and be amazed to see what had happened and how connected everything was. If this or that had not happened exactly as it did, then the next thing would not have happened and so on. I call it my quiet time. I spend time virtually every morning reading scripture and other inspirational literature followed by writing longhand in my journal. I write about my friends and family, reflections on what I have read and most of all I express my gratitude. I consider my journals my love letter to the Lord, and I have written over 3,000 legal size pages thus far.


William H. (Bill) Morris, a lifelong resident of Jackson, Mississippi, is the founder and president of The William Morris Group, an industry-leading insurance consulting and marketing firm. Because of his love for the R&B music of his youth, his ability to sincerely connect with people and what he credits as divine leading, Morris developed deep friendships with members of two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame groups of the doo-wop era, The Moonglows and The Original Drifters, which he shares in his newest book, “This Magic Moment: My Journey of Faith, Friends, and the Father’s Love.” As president of Hallelujah Productions, Morris had the privilege of producing The Original Drifters’ first two gospel CDs. He has also published a coffee-table book, “Ole Miss at Oxford: A Part of Our Heart and Soul.” Morris and his wife, Camille, have two grown daughters and five grandchildren.

Q: Who do you hope that this book will appeal to, and why? : My intent in writing this book is to bless people and to celebrate the lives of these music legends who left such an indelible impression on my soul. Some readers will enjoy reminiscing about the times, music, people and events included in the book that are also a part of their own memories. Others will appreciate learning more about doo-wop and early R&B music, its history, Mississippians’ contributions and the impact it has had on our culture. My greatest hope is that all readers will be reminded and inspired to realize the power that music, friendship and faith can have in our lives. Q: Has your family served as a strong support for you — not only of this book endeavor, but also of your longstanding friendships with these men? : I am deeply blessed to have had Camille, my loving wife of 47 years, and my two beautiful daughters, Camille and Kathryn, share in this journey with me. They also came to know and love these dear friends and understood that my relationships with them were part of a greater plan. Visit www.williammorrisauthor.com for more information.

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OUR FIRST FIGHT by Chef Andy Chapman many of the same dishes that we had previously enjoyed but with We’d been married about a week when we had that first fight. non-glutinous flour. That’s a tricky endeavor to say the least. We ran into each other in the kitchen early on a Saturday Most breads with no gluten are junk. But waffles... Waffles are morning, both of us eager to cook breakfast for our newly magical with this rice flour. They finish with a crispy edge and are formed family of “hers and mine.” We were both planning to just absolutely amazing when cooked well. So, here’s the recipe cook waffles. But who’s recipe should we use? for those award winning, I didn’t back down. internationally acclaimed Marianna didn’t back down. Peaches should be fine diced and Strawberries are best sliced and waffles. (Seriously, I’ve cooked So, we had a taste off with sprinkled over the batter in the waffle layered on top of the waffle, above them for chefs around the our three kids picking iron. Or, you can place thin slices onto the butter and beneath a good their favorite waffle. world now, and they all love your waffles in the iron depending on maple syrup. Whipped cream on how much peach you like. Both produce top is never a bad idea when As the result of our first them, too!) Please note: You a peach cobbler-like experience that strawberries are involved. fight in marriage, I’m happy can make these waffles with is magical. to share that I hold both regular flour; but if you are the crown and the privilege even a little adventurous and of being the head waffle will trust my guidance, I’d sugIt’s spring, and that means berries are in season! maker at the Chapman gest you use the Beulah Land I love taking whatever seasonal fruit is available and house. Over 10 years ago Tan brown rice flour from incorporating it into this recipe. Here are a few of my favorites. when our kids voted and my Two Brooks Farm in Sumner. Blueberries are excellent placed Apples and pears in the fall and winter recipe won, it was probably I like the fineness of the grind over the batter in the waffle iron, are a great addition when finely diced the butter that pushed my compared to other rice flour so you can guarantee a good place- and sprinkled over batter. I recommend waffle over the top. Her recoptions, plus you’re supportment of the berries in each waffle. adding a half teaspoon of cinnamon to your batter as well. ipe used vegetable oil and ing an outstanding Mississippi company. There is a naturally maybe a little less vanilla. occurring sweetness in rice But today, I have another flour and it crisps well when cooking, which is, I think, why it’s secret ingredient that keeps the rave reviews coming from kids and chefs alike. Rice flour. perfect for waffle making. I want to share that I haven’t always used brown rice flour to I’m not saying it’s the way to fix every argument, but it sure make my waffles, but once you’ve had rice flour waffles, it’s hard does make Marianna happy to bring her a plate of waffles even 10 years later. We hope you enjoy these as much as we have. to go back to the rubbery wheat flour waffles. My wife went gluten-free for a couple of years, and the result was trying to make

FOUR SEASONS VARIETY

24 TODAY | APRIL 2020


DADDY’S WINNING WAFFLES

INGREDIENTS 1⁄3 cup salted butter 2 cups milk 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 eggs 2 cups brown rice flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) 1 big pinch sugar (optional)

6. Add the wet ingredients and stir batter until smooth. Make sure you get the bottom of the bowl mixed really well, too, so that all of the dry ingredients are incorporated into the batter. If the batter feels firm, and it doesn’t whisk easily, add a splash of milk to loosen it up. The batter should not stick to a spoon without running, and it should be slightly thicker than a glass of heavy cream would be. 7. Pour batter in appropriate portions for your waffle iron. They shouldn’t stick if your waffle iron is cleaned appropriately. 8. Cook until crispy and serve immediately with a pat of butter and maple syrup or honey. Makes 5 to 6 Belgium style waffles

1. In a safe space where the waffle maker will not touch anything, plug in and heat up your waffle iron. 2. Melt butter (usually 30 seconds or so in a glass container in microwave). 3. Warm milk in microwave for 1 minute on medium heat in a large, microwave safe bowl. Add melted butter and vanilla and stir. 4. Add eggs to the butter/milk mixture and beat thoroughly. 5. Add brown rice flour to an easy-to-pour mixing bowl with baking powder and salt. If adding optional cinnamon or a pinch of sugar, do that now. Mix well.

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


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with Rebecca Turner

Brunch is an ideal meal for April’s casual season. Mixing breakfast and lunch allows you to sleep in without missing out on either meal. Whether you get up and get out for a brunch meetup, or you host one at home, be mindful to keep your mid-morning meal balanced. Common brunch foods include baked goods, sweet pastries, egg dishes and savory toppings. While there is nothing unhealthy about the individual menu items, it is easy to surpass your saturated fat, added sugar and salt recommendations for the day with one meal. Keep brunch simple and healthy with these tips. Spread Smart Bread, bagels, toast, muffins and pastries galore adorn a brunch table. For every bread choice, there are typically two or more toppings available. Butter, cream cheese, pimento cheese, nut butter and avocado offer a savory taste, but with significant dietary fat. Jams, jellies and honey provide a sweet topping that comes with added sugar. Be mindful that a little spread goes a long way. A teaspoon-sized serving of toppings will give you plenty of flavor and keep you within the proper portion size.

26 TODAY | APRIL 2020

Enjoy Eggs It’s hard not to love an egg when there are so many ways to prepare them. A whole egg is nutrient-dense and provides a high level of vitamins and minerals, plus protein. While all eggs are equally nutritious, it’s how you prepare them that can make a heart-healthy difference. Frittatas, quiche and omelets are a canvas for showcasing eggs quality protein, plus adding a serving of vegetables. In any recipe, omit half the yolks to reduce saturated fat, cholesterol and overall calories drastically. Example: If the recipe calls for six whole eggs, use three whole eggs and three egg whites. Poached, boiled and scrambled eggs typically have less added dietary fat.


Broccoli Frittata

Sheet Pan Pancakes

INGREDIENTS 4 whole eggs 1 cup egg whites 1 cup milk ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Use a sheet pan for your favorite pancake recipe so you can enjoy your company or family without standing over the stove.

½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 1 cup shredded or grated cheddar 3 cups broccoli florets, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, garlic, salt and pepper until well mixed. Stir in cheese. Arrange the chopped broccoli florets on the bottom of the greased dish. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli. Place in the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly. Let cool before serving.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Make your classic pancake batter and let it sit for a few minutes. Spray or grease a medium sized baking pan. Pour pancake batter in an even layer onto the baking sheet and add toppings like fruit, nuts or chocolate chips. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Pre-cut into squares for easy serving.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leftovers? Slice and freeze in individual servings. When ready to eat, pop in the microwave for 1 to 3 minutes, or until warm through and through.

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

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

• Photos must be the original work of an amateur photographer (of any age). • Digital photos must be high-resolution JPG files of at least 1 MB in size. If emailing a phone photo, select “actual size” before sending. We cannot use compressed photo files. • Please do not use photo-editing software to adjust colors or tones. We prefer to do it ourselves, if necessary, according to our production standards. • Each entry must be accompanied by the photographer’s name, address, phone number and electric power association (if applicable). Include the name(s) of any recognizable people or places in the picture. Feel free to add any other details you like. • Prints will be returned if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We cannot, however, guarantee their safe return through the mail. • Attach digital photos to your email message and send to news@ecm.coop. Submission deadline:

Share your favorite vacation spots in Mississippi!

• Or, mail prints or a CD to: Picture This, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300.

June 5. Select photos will appear in the July 2020 issue.

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 27


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Last month, I submitted a letter of resignation to Michael Callahan and the Board of Directors of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi. I started the letter by quoting a passage of scripture that has taken on a new meaning in the past year for Mr. Roy and me. The great book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible states: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.” It makes me so sad to say goodbye to you, my faithful readers of “Grin ‘n’ Bare It.” My first column for Today in Mississippi was published in the January 1995 issue. That equates to 25 years and almost 300 stories. And, I enjoyed writing each one of them. I believe that you and I connected immediately, because I began receiving letters and emails telling me that you had the same experiences or felt the same as me. I can honestly say that over these past 25 years I received only one letter from a reader that was critical of something I wrote. And that was because the article concerned a “hot topic,” global warming. I am sure that not all of you agreed entirely with all of my views, but you kindly tolerated them. Also, many times I wrote tongue in cheek, which I am sure confused a few people. My mother-in-law once told me that she liked my stories, she just did not understand them. My goal has always been to entertain and encourage people to lighten up. A few of my stories were sentimental, but the main thing was that they were true life happenings. I am an animal lover, so many of my stories were about the antics of one of my cats or dogs. And I know you liked them, because they initiated the greatest reader response. Mr. Roy and I are now both in our 80s, and you don’t know how I hate to say that number. I am so proud of the new magazine format for Today in Mississippi and that makes my decision even harder. But I also know that with the new format, it is also time for new ideas and new topics. I believe that the future is bright for Today in Mississippi and for Mississippi’s electric cooperatives. Don’t worry about Mr. Roy and me; we still love to travel and do new things. And we have our family, and our first great-grandchild

  Kay Grafe is retiring from Today in Mississippi after 25 years of storytelling through her monthly column, “Grin ‘n’ Bare It.” I’ve had the pleasure of working with Miss Kay throughout her time as a columnist. She has lived the Mississippi life and understands the interests of our readers. Using her unique writing style and real-life experiences, past

was born in February. We’ll stay busy. Over these 25 years I was frequently invited to speak to civic organizations, women’s clubs, business associations and church groups. I loved speaking all over Mississippi and especially meeting many of my readers in person. If I have any regrets, it is not being able to answer all of your kind letters I received. Please forgive me for this. On one of our many trips, Mr. Roy and I were hiking in the Smokey Mountains when we met a family on the trail with teenage children. We both noticed that before we passed, the children were pointing at us and talking excitedly. As we passed, one of the children asked, “Are you Grin ‘n’ Bare It?” I said, “Yes, I am.” And we stopped and visited with this wonderful family from the Gulf Coast. My stories and speeches have always stressed having a good attitude, so I want to leave you with this advice. We are all occasionally faced with unwanted changes, unexpected challenges and unpleasant surprises; but I believe that things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out. Before I close, I must thank two people that were instrumental in hiring me to write my columns for Today in Mississippi. Jack Ware, our good friend, was general manager of Singing River Electric Cooperative in 1995, and he convinced Hobson Waits, CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, to give me a chance. Thank you, Jack and Hobson. I also want to thank my husband and best friend, Mr. Roy, for his love, patience and encouragement. I love you, my readers, more than you will ever know. It is my prayer that God will richly bless each one of you.

by Kay Grafe Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” She lives in Lucedale and is a Singing River Electric member. Contact her at kaygrafe@bellsouth.net.

and present, Kay can tell a story in a way that people love to read. Her writings have always been entertaining and relatable to our large readership.   On behalf of our loyal readers, we thank Miss Kay for being a valuable part of the Today in Mississippi family. As a highly recognized member of our team, her dedication and

contributions have certainly played a key role in our success. We wish her and husband, Mr. Roy, many more healthy and happy years.   Thanks, Miss Kay, for not letting us forget the past and for your monthly reminders of how fun and enjoyable life can be in Mississippi.

— Ron Stewart

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 29


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mississippi is...

events

mississippi marketplace 40th Anniversary Alcorn State University Jazz Want more than 455,000 readers to know about your special Kitchen Garden Revival, April 25, Lucedale. Presented today event? on Events openthe to the publicmenu will be published free of charge Festival,outdoors April 17-20, Vicksburg. Featuring Mississippi by Ivy League Garden Club, gardening enthusiast Nicole as space allows. Submit details at least two months prior to the GRAMMY winner Cassandra Wilson; university, college Burke will demonstrate how to grow backyard herbs and event date. Submissions must include a phone number with and high school jazz ensembles from around the country; vegetables. Brunch is included. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. First scene around the ‘sip area code for publication. Mail to Mississippi Events, Today a very special guest artist lineup;picture and jazz workshops. this United Methodist Church of Lucedale; 5101 Main Street. in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300; or Free admission. Details: www.alcorn.edu/jazzfest; Admission. Details: 601-770-1456; 601-947-5238. email to news@ecm.coop. Events are subject to change 601-877-6602. my opinion co-op involvement or cancelation due to COVID-19. Please confirm details Old School Bluegrass Bash, April 30, Carthage. before traveling.

10th Annual Cruise for St. Jude, April 18, Lucedale.

Featuring bluegrass bands The Pilgrim Family, The Ellis

motorcycle ride, car/truck/bike show, arts and crafts, food vendors, LifeSouth Blood Mobile, raffles, live music and more. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. LC Hatcher Elementary School; 689 Church Street. Details: Facebook; 601-508-2202; 251-402-0617.

Magnolia Ramblers. Concessions available. 6:30 p.m. Old Elementary School. Admission, ages 13 and older. Details: 601-562-0180.

Family, southern gardening Hosted by Blacktop Posse MC, the event will a grin ‘n’featurebare it Robert Montgomery and Alan Sibley & The

Maker Faire Meridian, April 4-5, Meridian. Part science fair, part county fair and part something entirely new, this unique event is a gathering of “Makers,” including tech enthusiasts, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, craft students and more. No charge to be a Maker. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum; 1808 4th Street. Free admission. Details: makerfairemeridian.com; Facebook; 601-693-9905. Picking 35, April 4, Kosciusko. Don’t miss this 60-plus mile garage sale. 7:30 a.m. From Highway 35 in Vaiden to Walnut Grove and everywhere in between. Details: 662-289-2981; Facebook.

His Last Days, April 9-11, Kosciusko. Live outdoor drama of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Bring your lawn chairs. 8 p.m. 110 East Washington Street. Free admission. Details: 662-289-1412. Easter Egg Hunt at the Ag Museum, April 11, Jackson. This annual event features an Easter Egg Hunt, pictures with the Easter Bunny, egg dyeing and decorating, face painting, games, carousel and train rides and more. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Easter Egg Hunt at 12 p.m. Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Admission. Details: www.msagmuseum@mdac.ms.gov; 601-432-4500. 9th Annual Smokin’ on the Tracks BBQ Cook-off, April 17-18, Summit. Friday night block party; Saturday BBQ competition, car show, 5K run, live music and more. Details: 601-276-9536; 601-248-2509.

Lucedale Bluegrass Festival, April 18, Lucedale. Live bluegrass music, food vendors, children’s activities and more. Lucedale City Park. Free admission. Details: gigielizabeththrasher@gmail.com; 228-623-0387.

The Gulf Coast Military Collectors & Antique Arms Show, May 1-2, Biloxi. U.S. and foreign military arms and memorabilia bought, sold, traded and exhibited. Friday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Joppa Shriner’s Center; 13280 Shriner’s Blvd. Details: 228-224-1120.

Lower Delta Talks Series, April 21, Rolling Fork. Peter Nimrod will deliver a presentation on the history of flood control in the Lower Delta. 6:30 p.m. Sharkey-Issaquena County Library; 116 Robert Morganfield Way. Free admission. Details: www.lowerdelta.org; 662-873-6261.

21st Annual Springfest, May 2, Monticello. Presented by Divide Memorial Methodist Protestant Church, there will be a 5K run, vendors’ booths, children’s activities, auction, bake sale, car show, live gospel music and lots of good food. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Highway 27 South. Details: 601-405-4975.

51st Annual Natchez Trace Festival, April 25, Kosciusko. More than 100 vendors featuring arts and crafts, antiques and artisan demonstrations will be onsite as well as food, live music, children’s activities with a petting zoo, helicopter rides and more. 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details: www.kapartnership.org; 662-289-2981; Facebook. Gospel Music Extravaganza, April 25, Hattiesburg. Featuring music by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and The Hoppers. 6 p.m. Heritage UMC. Admission. Details: www.heritage-umc.org; 601-261-3371.

31st Annual Okatoma Festival, May 2, Collins. Presented by the Covington County Chamber of Commerce, the event will showcase more than 150 artists, crafters, pottery, jewelry and food vendors. The festival features a 5K run/walk and children’s fun run, children’s fair, parade, quilt exhibit, car show and two stages of entertainment. Special entertainment by Nashville country music artist John King. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free admission. Details: www.covingtonchamber.com; 601-765-6012.

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CHURCH HILL COMMUNITY

I

t has been a couple of decades since the first time I drove up Highway 553 between the Emerald Mound exit on the Natchez Trace, north of Natchez, and then back to the Trace at the Fayette exit. It’s a loop about 15 or so miles long, I guess. The ride is pleasant enough. Off through the trees every now and again you can catch a glimpse of one of the old antebellum plantation homes that managed to survive here. There are about a dozen of them. You can’t see all of them from the road. But you pass by the gates that lead back to them. Springfield Plantation may be the most famous. It is privately owned, now. But it used to be open for tours. Springfield is where Andrew Jackson married Rachel Robards — the first time. They went through another ceremony in Nashville later after discovering Rachel wasn’t quite divorced when they married in Mississippi. Well, it wasn’t Mississippi yet. The area was still controlled by Spain. And Spain didn’t recognize protestant marriages at that time, anyway. (Wait a minute. I am straying way off track from what I wanted to write about. Sorry.) Anyway. Back to the Highway 553 loop. The gem of the byway is Christ Church about two-thirds of the way up from the Natchez end. And unlike the old homes, the old church is in plain view, atop the rise at the fork of 553 and Church Hill Road. You can’t miss it. Two hundred years ago Christ Church was the center of the Church Hill community, a community built around cotton growing. Over time erosion, the Civil War, the boll weevil and the young folks moving away depleted the community of the number of people

it takes to make a living here. And when the people go, usually the church also ends up going right with them. Which Christ Church did, ceasing full time services in the 1990s. However, last month there were over 300 people back at Christ Church to celebrate its 200th anniversary. Plus, it has started baby steps back into full time church-hood with an afternoon service every second Sunday of the month. What happened? People have started coming back to Church Hill in enough numbers to bring things back to life, somewhat. And what is bringing the people back? Well, it’s not a resurgence of farming or any other tenuous thing like that. They are relocating to Church Hill just to be here, to live here, to restore the old homes, some of them, and make a life here. And Christ Church is a part of that life. I have seen many thriving places evaporate in Mississippi in just the few years I have been doing television stories around the state. How nice it is to see one of them beginning to come back to life. And how appropriate for that to happen right here at Easter.

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.” He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at walt@waltgrayson.com.

APRIL 2020 | TODAY 31


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Today in Mississippi April 2020 Magnolia  

Today in Mississippi April 2020 Magnolia

Today in Mississippi April 2020 Magnolia  

Today in Mississippi April 2020 Magnolia