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News for members of Electric Cooperatives in Mississippi

The Ultimate Float Trip

Delta canoeists paddle 2,400 miles down the Mississippi River

Periodical postage (ISSN 1052 2433)

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Port Gibson landmark vanishes—for now

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Mississippi Cooks: Easy low-carb recipes

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Picture This: Mississippi mornings


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Nation’s birthday a reminder of the ongoing cost of freedom arbecues, cold watermelon, fireworks and flag waving are staples of America’s birthday party, Independence Day. It’s one of our most fun holidays in Mississippi: School’s out, the sunshine’s plentiful and the heat makes a cool swim a wonderful thing. Folks flock to the beautiful Mississippi Coast and patriotic celebrations crank up in communities across the state. Independence Day marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. This bold move by the 13 American colonies cut their political ties to Great Britain and opened the door for the new nation to be officially recognized by foreign governments. A war would be fought, though, and many lives lost before America would finally emerge as a free and independent nation after the British surrender in 1781. Political and civil liberties are glorious (and rare) things, and worthy of our sacrifices and protection. Too many people throughout our nation’s 241-year history have given their lives to secure and safeguard our freedom for us to take it for granted. I suspect Independence Day will mean more in the future to a special group of Mississippi high school students. These 70 students recently toured Washington, D.C., courtesy of their local electric cooperative. The annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour took them to war and veterans’ memorials, monuments honoring great leaders, world-class museums, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington National Cathedral and the U.S. Capitol. All these sites share a common theme: Freedom is not free. I’m sure our Youth Tour students—always a bright bunch—picked up on that. The students also learned how electric cooperatives work with elected leaders to relay the concerns of rural Mississippians. That’s why we urge our members to vote and why we focus on advancing the interests of rural communities in our nation’s capital. The Youth Tour is part of the Electric Coopera-

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On the cover Mission accomplished: Delta residents John Keen, left, and Park Neff pose by their decked canoes in August 2016 upon reaching the mouth of the Mississippi River at the Gulf of Mexico. Two months earlier, the men had begun their float trip at the river’s origin in Minnesota. Learn more about their expedition on pages 4-5.

tives of Mississippi Youth Leadership program. We’ll tell you more about it in our August issue. ••• If your electric service was interrupted during Tropical Storm Cindy’s sweep through our region last month, the most likely cause was a tree (or limbs) falling onto a power line that serves you. Rainfall deluged Mississippi’s already saturated soils for days, causing some trees to lose their grip and topple over—and, in many instances, take power lines down with them. Electric cooperative crews respondMy Opinion ed immediately. They Michael Callahan began rebuilding lines and Executive Vice President/CEO restoring service as soon as Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi conditions allowed them to work safely. Power outages caused by storms cannot be prevented, but they can be reduced through aggressive right-of-way clearing practices. Each of Mississippi’s 25 electric distribution cooperatives places a priority on maintaining a clear path for delivering electricity to members. Keeping thousands of miles of power lines free of underbrush, trees, vines and nearby limbs is a huge job in this state, where nature runs wild in the summer months. It’s also a huge expense. Yet the payoff is real. Routine right-of-way maintenance drastically reduces the chances of a limb or tree damaging a power line. There are other causes of power outages, of course, including wildlife, traffic accidents, lightning, equipment failure and countless others. Rest assured that regardless of why (or when) your electric service is interrupted, electric cooperatives have the ability and the will to restore it quickly and safely.

Today in Mississippi OFFICERS Tim Smith - President Barry Rowland - First Vice President Randy Smith - Second Vice President Keith Hayward - Secretary/Treasurer

EDITORIAL STAFF Michael Callahan - CEO Ron Stewart - Sr. VP, Communications Mark Bridges - Manager, Support Services Debbie H. Stringer - Editor Elissa Fulton - Communications Specialist Rickey McMillan - Graphics Specialist

JOIN TODAY IN MISSISSIPPI

ON FACEBOOK Vol. 70 No. 7 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: National Country Market, 800-626-1181 Circulation of this issue: 456,582 Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 11 times a year (Jan.-Nov.) 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 address changes to: Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300

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Today in Mississippi

Our Homeplace

Magnolia Electric Power member Charlene Point, of Kokomo, captures a foggy morning in a Walthall County hay field. See more beautiful Mississippi mornings in “Picture This,” pages 14-15.

Mississippi is I love a Mississippi morning On a summer’s day; Everything’s so glorious, In the most delightful way. The sun is peaking upward, The earth begins to warm; Magnificent works of nature, Are simply just the norm. There is a sense of wonderment At how all things look so new; The flowers glow with freshness From the past night’s dew. The beauty all around you, Would take away your breath; You feel you’d like to soak it in Until there’s nothing left; There’s nothing like a Mississippi morning, On a summer’s day; It’s such a grand production, It seems we all should pay. —Patricia Neely-Dorsey, Tupelo from her book “Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia: A Life In Poems” I live in Mississippi, the state that I love. There’re so many things to do and see; This is what Mississippi means to me. Helping Grandmaw in the garden, Riding four-wheelers too. Oh my! There’s so much to do! Dancing in the rain, Watching firecrackers go off with a bang. Eating watermelon and drinking sweet tea; this is what Mississippi means to me. I live in Mississippi, the state that I love. To me it’s a gift from God above! —Anna Grace Ellis, age 13, Collins

What’s Mississippi to you? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your thoughts to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158, or to news@ecm.coop. Please keep your comments brief. Submissions are subject to editing for length and clarity.

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THE PASTOR & THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S

Great River Adventure Park Neff paddles past marsh grasses lining the extreme upper reaches of the Mississippi River. The small wheeled cart strapped to the stern of his 17-foot decked canoe is for portaging the boat around dams on the upper river. Photos courtesy of John Keen.

By Debbie Stringer Neff, a pastor living in Arcola, and Keen, a profesAvid canoeists Park Neff and John Keen have sional photographer in Greenville, have long enjoyed floated the entire length of the Mississippi River sevcanoeing and kayaking local waterways, including the eral times. Or so it seems. Mississippi River. Paddling the river’s entire length For years Neff and Keen followed other paddlers’ seemed to be the next logical step for these experisource-to-sea Mississippi River trips through social enced paddlers. media. And they’ve met many “The Mississippi River is the of them by volunteering as ultimate place to go canoeing,” “river angels,” the name for Neff said. people who offer meals, lodgSo four years ago, he started ing or other assistance to padplanning his own source-to-sea dling passersby. Mississippi River adventure. Last summer, Neff, then Hoping for a paddling partner, 62, and Keen, 68, finally Neff pitched the idea to Keen. slipped their own boats into “Like Park, I had been thinkthe river’s headwaters in Mining about that for a long time,” nesota. From June 1 until Keen said. He signed on only Aug. 2, 2016, the two friends after assurance from wife Sharon paddled from Lake Itasca to that she wouldn’t mind managthe Gulf of Mexico, a journey ing their photography business of some 2,400 miles powered alone for two months. by millions of paddle strokes Neff’s wife, also named and river currents. Sharon, was equally supportive, With only five days off for so the men began choosing gear rest, the men achieved their for the trip, starting with canoes. goal in 58 days by paddling 10 They each purchased a 17-foot to 12 hours a day, on average. Sea Wind, a sleek, 63-pound “The longest day we had canoe hand crafted by Kruger was paddling 82 miles, when John Keen, left, and Park Neff pose for a photo on June Canoes in Irons, Mich. The 1, 2016, before launching their canoes in the headwawe were coming in to boat’s foot-controlled, flip-up ters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca in Minnesota. Greenville,” Neff said. rudder would prove invaluable River length measurements vary, but Neff estimates “We paddled in after dark in maneuvering through the they paddled nearly 2,400 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. with headlamps on,” Keen said. river’s strong currents, eddies That night, both men slept in their own beds at and churning waters. home, instead of a tent on a sandbar. Two days later “They’re specialty canoes, made with 10 layers of they were back on the river, continuing southward. Kevlar,” Neff said. “They have the lines of a kayak

but are considered a decked canoe. It’s made for a trip like this—made for comfort, speed and safety.” Next, they chose bent-shaft paddles made of carbon fiber and weighing only 7.5 ounces. “They are unbelievably light, which makes a big difference when you’re paddling a million-and-a-half strokes,” Neff said. Three years after Neff began planning the trip, the paddlers and their wives loaded up the boats and gear and drove north to a cabin near Lake Itasca in Minnesota. The next day, Neff and Keen’s grand adventure began with the launch of their canoes, each loaded with 160 pounds of gear and supplies. They put in near a line of rocks marking the outflow of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca. “We backed our canoes up and touched the rocks, and then we started off,” Neff said. At this point, the great river looks more like a shallow creek, with crystal-clear waters and shores lined with evergreens. At times the paddlers negotiated boulders and rocks in rapids so swift Neff compared it to a ride at Disney World. In calmer waters, the men draped their legs over the sides of their boats while drifting and enjoying the scenery. “The first part of the trip, I think I almost dozed off paddling a few times,” Keen said. “The beauty of the upper river, it was spectacular,” Neff said. “We saw eagles, swans, ducks and deer. That first week or two the scenery was unbelievable.” Using two cameras and a cell phone, Keen photographed riverscapes, sunrises, sunsets and the people they met along the way. Neff kept a daily trip journal, often scribbling in the dark by the light of his headlamp. Both men posted progress reports, videos and photos on their Facebook page, Mission Mississippi River.


July 2017

Neff and Keen pitched their tents on a river bank or sandbar most of the time. They started out with 160 pounds of gear and supplies in each canoe but later shipped some items home. The men usually set out at sunrise and paddled 10 to 12 hours a day, on average.

Neff handled navigation. Having downloaded maps to his GPS beforehand, he could pinpoint their location on the river in real time. That ability proved especially useful early in the trip when the paddlers found themselves drifting through disorienting mazes of marsh grass. They intended to follow a time schedule in order to achieve their goal of reaching the gulf in 60 days. But there were delays. On 13 occasions the paddlers had to pull their boats and gear from the water, mount them on small carts and drag them around dams in the upper reaches of the river. The longest of these portages was

and Keen paddled more than 8 miles in sudden stormy conditions. They lost sight of each other amid winddriven waves of up to 3 feet. “That was one of the few times I felt a little bit uneasy,” Keen said. “The bows of the canoes were going underwater. We were a long, long way out from shore, and we could barely see the dam in the distance.” Both men always wore life jackets while paddling, knowing that storms, rough water, whirlpools or other river hazards could rise up at any time. Yet they never capsized, or even came close. “We paddled through water like a washing machine, but in all of that we never took on any water or got swamped,” Keen said. One morning, Neff suffered an “attack” from Asian carp. “I still have this image in my mind. Park looked like a Kung Fu fighter.... I bet 15 fish jumped over his boat,” Keen said, laughing at the memory. “I mean at the same time! And none of them hit the boat,” Neff added. Having built up “paddling muscles” from years of float trips, the men never felt sore after a day on the river, just fatiqued—too tired to prepare dinner on a small camp stove. “I was so tired after paddling all day John Keen’s boat is dwarfed by an ocean vessel docked at a port on the lower Mississippi River. long and setting up camp that if I The bimini top helps protect him from the hot July sun. couldn’t just boil water, pour it in a pouch [of instant food], stir it up and 1.5 miles, due to a lock closure at Minneapolis. eat it, I wouldn’t eat,” Neff said. Neff and Keen passed through 27 locks before reach“We built one fire the entire trip,” Keen said. ing St. Louis, Mo. Canoes are allowed to enter the Snacks and stops for meals at riverside eateries kept locks alone and with other small craft, but not with the paddlers fueled. “It got to where we would stop at a barges. Sometimes the men waited hours for barges to marina or restaurant and eat cheeseburgers and french exit a lock before they could enter. fries or pizza—or anything just to get calories in,” Neff The weather didn’t always cooperate either. Dense said. fog and thunderstorms forced the paddlers off course or Even so, the pounds fell off both men as their expeto the shore. In one of the lakes formed by a dam, Neff dition unfolded. Neff lost 15 pounds and Keen 25 in

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the first month. “River angels,” following the men’s progress on Facebook, offered meals, showers, lodging, re-supply runs and even laundry service. Neff and Keen gratefully accepted their hospitality and stayed overnight with more than a dozen kind strangers. Throughout the trip the men stayed in contact with their wives, “the two Sharons.” In early July, they all enjoyed a weekend reunion in Hannibal, Mo. The women found their husbands to be bearded, tanned and trim—and happy. During a stop in Memphis, Keen visited Dale Sanders, who in 2015, at age 80, became the oldest known person to canoe the entire length of the Mississippi River. Neff was able to surprise his father at his 90th birthday celebration. Neff himself was surprised later by a visit from daughter Jennifer at Vicksburg. The July heat cranked up as the paddlers continued southward, but their main concern was the increase in river traffic. Throughout their journey they had encountered towboats, barges and high-powered pleasure boats without a major incident. They used a VHF marine radio to communicate with towboat captains and found most to be polite and professional. A few offered the paddlers cold drinks and good wishes. But from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and beyond, they traveled through one of the largest port systems in the world. Huge freighters, tankers and cruise ships towered over their canoes, making passage unnerving in some areas. “The thing is they were so fast and quiet,” Neff said. He used an app to identify commercial craft in the areas they paddled. The paddlers finally escaped the busy shipping channel near the river’s mouth, where it branches into three separate waterways before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. “Surprisingly, when we got to the end of the river, it was like paddling in molasses,” Neff said. “You really had to paddle hard to get in 40 miles. And we were pretty well able to paddle hard by the end of the trip.” The paddlers’ Facebook page lit up with hundreds of congratulatory messages after they posted a “mission accomplished” photo on Aug. 2: Standing beside their boats on a shore south of Port Eads, La., Keen grins while Neff raises both arms in jubilation. The men’s long journey ended well due to their extensive preparation, paddling experience and vigilance in remaining alert to their surroundings and river traffic. They returned home to the Delta with thousands of photographs, good memories and muddy boats. Neff, who is also an artist, has since based several paintings on their river photos. Both men have shared their river experiences in presentations to civic and church groups and by exhibiting their art and photography. The 58 days they spent together paddling the river were physically draining, and the nights hot and humid. Comforts like showers were few and far between. Still, their friendship survived the journey intact. “We were friends before and we’re friends after,” Neff said. “It was a good experience.”


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Port Gibson’s Golden Hand ne of Mississippi's most hand pointing toward heaven. I have it. The church supposedly adopted the state that had the finger pointing famous icons, the Golden heaven-pointing hand to point to a better done a lot of stories about cemeteries. I DOWNWARD! They figured that perHand pointing heaventell people I like any cemetery I can walk son must have been particularly bad, and place. ‘Course, no bigger than Port Gibward atop the Port Gibson is, I figure everybody knew where the out of. My fondness for cemeteries comes his unfortunate eternal destination was son Presbyterian Church house was as well as from my childengraved as a warning for all steeple, has come hood. During passersby to see. down. Temporarily. family reunions I actually found that stone It’s going back up in at Grandmothbut decided it was just a variaa few months. er’s, at some tion on the “upward” theme. The problem is, all point we Sort of like God pointing that’s gold doesn’t would all pile down in the same spirit of the glitter. Well, it into however old “Uncle Sam Wants You!” doesn’t after a quarter many cars it recruiting posters. century since its last took to get all As far as the hand, what Mississippi cleaning. Neither the of us there, comes down must go back Seen elements nor the birds and we’d carup. Give them a few months by Walt Grayson have been kind to it. avan out to and you can get your golden So the Golden Hand the family directions to heaven once has been brought down burial grounds. again in Port Gibson, atop the steeple at for repair, cleaning and The trip there was fun the Presbyterian Church. a new application of for me. Every uncle I Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi gold leaf. would ride with had difRoads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting The present heavenferent stories about adven- television, and the author of two “Looking pointing hand is not the tures of growing up there. Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That original hand that (They all had different Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown topped the steeple. That stories, but each of them Stories.” Contact Grayson at first hand was wooden, would tell their same sto- walt@waltgrayson.com. carved by a young artist ries every time we went.) named Daniel Foley When we got to the 39th Annual around 1860. I have been cemetery my cousins I told he is the same teenagand would try to find er who carved the altar rail the oldest grave. And I in St. Joseph Catholic particularly noticed difChurch in Port Gibson ferent headstone decoabout that same time. rations. One of the Woodpeckers rendered recurring headstone the original hand too “holy” The heaven-pointing hand atop the Port Gibson Presbyterian Church steeple themes was the index (877) 790-9722 is down at ground level for a few months for a cleaning and re-gold leafing. to use, so it was replaced by a more finger pointing heavenwww.mswatermelonfestival.com The steeple is one of Mississippi's most unusual icons. Photo: Walt Grayson durable metal hand around 1901. The ward. Ticket Prices: last cleaning and gold leafing was done in A few years ago someFRIDAY SATURDAY Adult: $5.00 Adult: $10.00 1989. The steeple was reinforced at the they knew where the church was. one wanted me to check out a headstone Child under 6: $3.00 Child under 6: $5.00 same time. Now, it needs another going There may be other reasons for using a in a cemetery in the eastern part of the Gates open to the public on: over. • Friday at 3:30 pm • Saturday 8:30 am The inspiration for the clenched fist with the finger pointing toward heaven as Concert: Saturday night in concert at 8 p.m. an ornament for the top of the steeple may have come from the first pastor, the JOHN CONLEE Rev. Zebulon Butler. They say he gesFireworks show sponsored tured upward with his index finger during by BigPopFireworks intense moments in his sermons, attemptALL the FREE ing (literally) to make a point. watermelon you can eat! That may be true. But I have also • Arts, Crafts, & Food Vendors • Talent Contest heard other theories why the church • The Mississippi Watermelon Festival 5K Run chose the heaven-hand as their steeple • Live Music • Watermelon Eating, Seed Spitting, topper. Supposedly there was a house of & Biggest Watermelon Contest less-than-good reputation in Port Gibson All Proceeds go to the back in that day, and pointy-hand placMize Volunteer Fire Department ards were nailed all over town leading to

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Snakes Truth and Consequences

“That snake bit me!” My excited cry echoed across the pond and garnered the full attention of all there. The episode took place when I was 15 or so, and began with a Sunday afternoon swim in a clear, sandy-bottomed pond tucked quietly into the woods a few miles from my home. It was a common gathering place after church every Sunday of summer. There were five or six of us there that particular day. The problem began with a couple of comrades throwing broken limbs and pine cones at a snake that was swimming just outside the area we inhabited. “A water moccasin,” one shouted. Despite outcries from some of us that they leave the snake undisturbed, they persisted. The reptile, actually a brown water snake, eventually moved away—or so we thought. We commenced with the splashing and diving and general frivolity. A short time later I opted to move over close to the edge and rest. I sat on that sandy bottom in water just deep enough to cover outstretched legs and began to lean back on my elbows. The snake struck; he made contact with the triceps of my right arm. I scrambled and grabbed and shrieked, all the while grasping the snake with my left hand and giving him a toss. Then time seemed to stop; at least the pace slowed adequately for some measure of composure to return.

This was a brown water snake, not some venomous monster that had just filled me with poison. Medical facilities were not immediately available, and the truth of this situation, apart from a severe case of nerves, was that I was likely in no real danger. Yes, there was the possibility of infection, as is true with any compromise of the skin, but I would care for that with a thorough cleaning and application of antibiotby Tony Kinton ic ointment as quickly as I got home. Perhaps not the most effective treatment, but a common approach in country life during the 1960s in rural Leake County. That frightening afternoon is now more than 50 years in the past, and to the best of my recall there were no negative results other than the pain similar to a wasp sting. Oh, my head is practically bald, my beard gray, one knee doesn’t function well and I am now the proud owner of my very own heart attack. Thinking back, however, I have concluded that the bald and gray are closely

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The eastern garter snake is one of the many nonpoisonous snakes important to the ecosystem in Mississippi. If you see one in your neck of the woods, leave it be.

linked to a sufficient collection of years, the bum knee is likely the product of too many mountains while in search of mule deer and elk, and the heart issue is most probably a result of high stress and my fondness for fried chicken and fish. That snake bite, it is logical to determine, caused none of these maladies. Snakes are interesting creatures and are certainly more than available during July in the outdoors of this state. While I am no herpetologist and don’t keep snakes as pets, I do stop along the way to admire these often misunderstood creatures. And while some are poisonous and all snakes should be left to go about their way, most are entirely harmless. Of the 40 or so species of snakes found in Mississippi, only four are truly dangerous. The four that are venomous and can threaten real harm are the cottonmouth, copperhead, rattlesnake and coral snake. Most of these are easily recognizable and best avoided. Regarding the coral snake, there is some confusion when determining if the snake in question is truly venomous, for there are two snakes here that have that coral configuration. One is the real deal, the other not. A common rhyme that aids in identification is this: Red on yellow kill a fellow; red on black, venom lack. If you encounter either, this rhyme will make perfect sense. The most common reaction to dealing with a snake of any sort is to grab the .22 and blast away or pick up a hoe and give the snake a whack. Neither is

required. Unless the snake is venomous and posing a direct threat, such as a cottonmouth in the swimming pool or a rattlesnake in the woodpile, most will go their way to more favorable turf if left alone. True, there are occasions where the snake must be dispatched, but these are, in the greater scheme of things, somewhat uncommon. All others apart from the venomous invaders afford no real concern. And what is the advantage of leaving snakes as you found them? The danger factor is one—if that snake is dangerous. If you avoid the snake, you likely decrease significantly the possibility of a bite. If not venomous, the snake you leave can be a bona fide mouse and rat machine. They can help keep sheds and flowerbeds free from other pests that are far less desirable than the snake, and some even eat those other snakes that are harmful. They are simply a part of nature’s design and will coexist quite well if simply ignored. Snakes are out there and they require vigilance. But they should not paralyze us with unmerited fear. Not all of them are set on biting someone. They are just going about their business of being a snake. If you react to a snake, do so with thought. In every circumstance that thought will be advantageous. Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. His newest book is “Rambling Through Pleasant Memories.” Order from Amazon.com or Kinton’s website: www.tonykinton.com.


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Sun coleus offers summer beauty without much work With summer officially here and hot and humid weather firmly in place, many gardeners—myself included—like to look at a pretty landscape, but don’t really want to get out and do much work in that same landscape. So selecting plants that look good without much work pique my interest. One plant that doesn’t disappoint me is Sun coleus. This is a group of ornamental plants that have moved out of the shadows to take their Southern rightful place in Gardening the full sun. by Dr. Gary Bachman They thrive in our Mississippi summers. Sun coleus colors are rich and diverse, and the plants come in highly variegated variations. They offer a kaleidoscope of combinations and are foolproof land-

scape plants. Coleus have a growing season that lasts from planting in the spring to frost in the fall. I think they belong in every garden and landscape. You need to take a close look at Electric Lime coleus, a Mississippi Medallion winner from 2010. At 24 inches tall, the beautiful lime-green foliage makes this an outstanding garden performer. Electric Lime coleus is a durable plant that can be paired with spring flowers, as well as mums in the fall. The Kong coleus has massive foliage and thrives in shady areas of the landscape. Photo: MSU Extension/Gary Bachman One selection that has impressed many gardeners across the above with a deep burgundy undergood in these settings, and that is where Deep South is Henna, a coleus that has neath. the shade-loving coleus takes its rightful stunningly beautiful, serrated foliage. But what about that shady corner or place. The leaves are chartreuse and copper patio you have? Coleus would also look Many of these varieties have gone by


the wayside as home gardeners prefer the sun-loving varieties, but one shade-loving coleus every gardener with a shady spot should consider is the Kong coleus series. Kong coleus was named a Mississippi Medallion award winner in 2006, and it is still a winner in the landscape today. Kong coleus have huge leaves large enough to cover a human face, living up to their namesake. Their foliage is the main focus, with bright colors featuring many shades of red and purple. Coleus plants are easy-to-grow, lowmaintenance plants. They are almost foolproof when grown in well-drained landscape beds or containers and consistently watered through dry periods. They also are excellent in baskets as filler plants, especially when grown in combination with a vining or cascading plant. Since we grow coleus for its boldly colored foliage, there is no point in letting them use energy to develop flowers. Pinch these off to help develop a bushy plant. New varieties are bred to resist flowering until late in the season, if they bloom at all. One key to success with coleus planted in landscape beds is to improve the soil with organic matter. In heavy clay soil, organic matter improves drainage and aeration, allowing better root development. In sandy areas, liberal amounts of organic matter help soil hold water and nutrients. Dr. Gary Bachman is an associate Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also host of “Southern Gardening” radio and TV programs.

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et’s talk about reunions and 4o years ago. (That’s a whisper.) If you get distressed over your rising age, stop and think about the future, fun, fulfillment, maturity and the “best years of your life are yet to be.” Sooo, I’ve been to high school reunions, college reunions, family reunions, special friend reunions, but on June 10, I was the only teacher invited to attend the high school reunion for the Class of 1977. Tommy Polk was the courier of the invitation. These students I remember as kids are now almost 60 years old. Their chatter wasn’t about their children, but their grandchildren. After I got over the initial shock and a wide array of conversations that brought back memories, I could close my eyes and picture those kids so full of life, mischief and dreams of the future … as it was in 1977. I didn’t go to college until Dawn and Babette were in school. I wanted the best of both worlds: stay-at-home mom and working mom. I graduated from the University of South Alabama in the spring of 1972 with a major in secondary education, specializing in history. At this point I had never had a paying job. Mr. Roberts, the high school principal, offered me a job teaching history. He had been Mr. Roy’s high school football coach, so I thought I would get special treatment and privileges. Boy, was I wrong. The first week on the job Mr.

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Reunion

Roberts called me on the intercom to report to his office at once. He measured my skirt length. The rule was it could be no more than 4 inches above your knees. He said in a harsh tone to go home and change my skirt. I felt like a student who was disciplined. Another rule was that girls who wore pants must wear a pants suit to cover their hips. So, on another morning when I walked into the office to sign in, he immediately called me back to his office. “Mrs. Grafe, I can see your crotch; your jacket isn’t long enough.” I wanted to say, why are you looking at my crotch? But I didn’t have the Grin ‘n’ nerve. Bare It Another trip by Kay Grafe home. The first thing I asked permission to do was to paint my classroom. Mr. Roberts said, just don’t paint it a bright color like red. So, I chose the next best color— orange. All other rooms were that sick pale green. I had read that orange would entice your brain to absorb information better. I wanted my students to have fun in class, so we had debates about the hot news of the week. Sometimes I read them a few chapters of a best-seller

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Guarantees subject to the claims-paying ability of the Insurance Company. Surrender of the Contract may be subject to surrender charge or market value adjustment. Product not available in all states. This is a single premium deferred annuity. Interest rates are subject to change. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty.

book at the end of class, if we had time. Also, every few weeks we had an unofficial class party at the end of class and before the bell. Students would bring some goodies and I brought Cokes in a cooler. We also wrote stories about famous characters in history, and I gave out parts for them to read. However, this got me in trouble. A student made a remark that started an argument, and her mother came to the office to have a “word” with me. After that Mr. Roberts took me to his office again and said, “Mrs. Grafe, when you get to the Civil War chapter, just skip it.” I said, “Mr. Roberts, I can’t do that. You can’t change history.” He frowned and said, “Yes, you can. I’m your boss.” One reason I believe the students enjoyed my classroom is because I was the only teacher who had air conditioning, thanks to Mr. Roy. He installed a used window air conditioner that actually worked until I left the high school. Back to the reunion. All the people there treated me like a queen and told funny stories about things that happened in class. While the stories were being told, Tim Rogers and Ronnie Davis, the class musicians, played 70’s music. The reunion was held at Ralph and Kacoos Restaurant, and we had the entire bottom floor reserved. On the way back home after the reunion was over, I began thinking about the significance of the event. The years of college, the sacrifices that my husband and children made, the long nights of study and the long daily drives to Mobile were all worth it. These wonderful kids matured into outstanding, successful adults. Maybe I played some little part in that. They told me that I did and that’s good enough for me. But I still had a nagging question. Did they pick me as their favorite teacher because of my superb ability to teach history or because they had so much fun in my class? Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.


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Board of Directors

www.4county.org • 1-800-431-1544

Marty Crowder, President John E. “Jay” Gilliland Jr., Vice President Johnny Johnson, Secretary/Treasurer Mike Banks Bill Bell Kenneth Seitz Ernest H. “Bud” Tumlinson

YOUR COOPERATIVE By Joe Cade CEO/General Manager

Gee-whiz electronics can be quite helpful One of the things I love most about the ever-changing world of electronics is the fact that so many different devices have entered our homes and businesses in a useful way. I get excited when I hear that the latest gadget can save me money, help me monitor the safety of my family or help me save on home energy costs. This may sound too good to be true, but there are many products on the market that do all these things and more! Take, for example, smart lighting systems. This energy efficient technology is fun and easy to use, and you can control many systems through the convenience of a smartphone app. The bulbs used with smart lighting systems typically use less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, and since the system can be controlled through your phone or tablet, you can turn off your lights from anywhere. No need to worry about spending money lighting an empty house! Just like smart lighting, smart security systems allow you to access and control your system through an app on your smartphone. Most smart security systems are customizable, and you can choose whether you want to install the system yourself or hire a professional

to set up the system for you. Some smart security systems even offer professional monitoring as a feature. Knowing your home is safe, no matter where you are, is comforting. Of all the new technologies out there, one I think helps 4-County Electric Power Association members most is an online energy-monitoring tool. Go to www.4county.org for a variety of energy-saving tips, tools and calculators. Just follow the prompts, like those on the home page banner and the “energy savings” link. With these systems, you can monitor your energy use anytime from anywhere, and in some cases, you can remotely operate your appliances through a smartphone app. These systems can help reduce your energy consumption, which will decrease your monthly electric bill. It seems like there are new innovations in electronics and technology every day. It can be hard to keep up and determine the systems that are right for your family. To learn more about smart home technologies that will save energy and work best for your home, contact the energy experts at 4-County, 1-800-431-1544, or go to www.4county.org.

Here’s An Idea

Stealing electricity is illegal and dangerous In these current times of economic difficulties, many customers are concerned with their electric bills. While there are numerous ways to cut down on the amount of electricity used in a home, in some cases customers resort to trying to steal electricity. Tampering with an electric meter is both illegal and dangerous. Under Mississippi law, anyone who intentionally tampers with a meter is guilty of a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine and imprisonment. “Those who tamper with their electric meters in an effort to reduce their power costs are stealing from their energy providers and their fellow cooperative members,” said Joe Cade, CEO/general manager at 4-County Electric Power Association. “Like any other business that is required to cover the costs of theft by increasing its prices, memberowned electric cooperatives must cover the costs of meter tampering in their rates.” Electric meters are designed to accurately record the electricity used each month and are routinely tested. Meters are sealed for the protection of the homeowner and the energy provider. Members who break a meter seal are exposing themselves and their home to the risk of electrocution and fire. Once a meter has been tampered with, it becomes both unsafe and unstable. Interrupting the flow of electricity through a line also poses serious risk to linemen working nearby. Your cooperative is dedicated to providing safe and reliable electric energy. Meters owned by 4-County are regularly inspected for signs of wear and damage. Employees are also trained to recognize the signs of meter tampering; they will report the crime and action will be taken. As members of an electric power association, you can assist in cracking down on energy thieves. If you are aware of or suspect that someone is tampering with a meter, please let us know. “If members are having trouble with their bills, they should not hesitate to contact us,” Cade said. “We’re happy to help suggest energy-efficient options and other ways they can reduce their use. Tampering with meters should never be an option.”

Co-op Connections Card saves Since the Co-op Connections Card was unveiled in September 2011, 4-County members have saved over $546,464 on prescription drugs through April.

Look here each month to see the savings total!


July 2017

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Today in Mississippi

Annual meeting a day of fellowship and fun Some 700 members of 4-County Electric Power Association attended the cooperative’s annual membership meeting Thursday, June 1, at the East Mississippi Community College auditorium in Mayhew. Those attending the event enjoyed a day full of food, fun, fellowship and information. Registration and a health fair for members began at 9 a.m. A catfish lunch with all the fixings for members began at 10:15 a.m. The business portion of the meeting began at noon. Members viewed a variety of displays featuring 4-County programs, services and equipment. Clara Hemphill of Weir, at right, participates in the 4-County 4-County CEO Joe Cade said there health fair June 1 at the co-op’s annual meeting. Willie B. Robinwas something for everyone at the meet- son of West Point, below middle, won the grand prize of a ing. “We provided our membership with retired 4-County fleet truck, presented by Board President Marty good information, elected two directors Crowder, left, and 4-County CEO Joe Cade. and, of course, gave away some great door prizes, including a truck,” Cade said. Held in conjunction with the annual meeting, the health fair provided members the opportunity to receive a variety of healthcare screenings. In addition to the pre-meeting health fair, the business session included financial and management reports along with the election of two directors to the Association’s board of directors. Two incumbent directors were re-elected: Mike Banks of Macon, District 4 (Noxubee County), and Bill Bell, also of Macon, District 7 (at-large). They will serve three-year terms. Willie B. Robinson of West Point won the grand prize, a retired 4-County fleet truck. There were a variety of other attendee prizes.

Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Dubois talks with co-op members about the unit’s new canine officer (purchased partly with funds from the 4-County Foundation).

Members of the East Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department show off their Jaws of Life, funded through an award from the 4-County Foundation.

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Running for her

By Brad Barr Some people run away from things. But for the past six years, Melinda Howard has been running towards something—a healthier lifestyle and a renewed sense of purpose. When Melinda and her husband, Chris, moved to Lowndes County from Colorado eight years ago, her future was uncertain. Melinda was on oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In her own words, she was not in good physical condition and didn’t expect to live another five years. “I had to have people put my shoes on for me.” At the encouragement of her sister, Melinda began a regimen of healthy eating and exercise. “It needed to be done,” she said. “I needed something to kick-start my metabolism.” Melinda said during her efforts to change her diet, she never felt hungry or deprived. “I just ate the right things. It was not an overnight thing,” she explained. “Patience is a virtue. There is no quick fix.” And her exercise program progressed to training for a 5K race. The new runner started and finished it. She began running Labor Day 2011 and hasn’t stopped. Today, she’s 170 pounds lighter and running marathons. Her husband and children are “ecstatic” with her transformation. Melinda has participated in about 30 races in the

life

past six years. She competes in marathons and ultramarathons (50 miles or more). The longest she has run is 55 miles at the Brazos Bend Ultra-Marathon in Texas. “Speed is not my friend; so I concentrate on distance.” Other than the obvious health benefits of running, what does Melinda enjoy about the sport? “I like the challenge. I like the ‘me’ time. And I enjoy seeing all the scenery and other cool things in Mississippi,” she said. Fellow runner Thomas Witter of Columbus, and recent top Mississippi finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon, agrees that running is a challenge. “The part of running I enjoy the most is the mental aspect. Running really helps me filter out the extra noise and focus on a particular thought. I perform my best problem solving during a long run,” he said. Witter was quick to add, “Running hurts; it doesn’t matter what level you are at. Physically, running is exhausting. However, I find running is very rewarding. It offers me an infinite number of goals and milestones to achieve.” Melinda grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, in a nice, cozy home. She took piano for 16 years and had little interest in physical activities. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from Summit University in Pennsylvania. She taught for a while and was a youth director at a YMCA. Melinda is now retired, but Chris still

works as an IT professional. She and Chris have known each other since eighth grade, and have been married for 32 years. “We’ve grown up together.” The couple has two grown children: a son, Thomas, who is attending the University of Alabama, and a daughter, Laura, who is soon to be married. Melinda has three pets: Paxton, the necktie-wearing Boxer, and cats Kali and Castro. She often trains on the roadways in and around Lowndes County. Her coach, Brent Cunningham, offers her tips from Texas. What does she think about when she runs? “I have solved all the world’s problems out on the road,” she joked. But, seriously, she often thinks about an upcoming race and the strategies/routes involved with that race. She also concentrates on form, cadence, heart rate and the weather. She always keeps a close eye on traffic, animals and people. Melinda has had some interesting encounters on the road. Dodging lumber trucks, for example, can be quite a trick. “I’ve been blown backwards by a truck,” the runner said. And she has been matched pace for


July 2017

Melinda Howard of Columbus has run her way into a better life and a number of marathons.

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“You know, running can be a very selfish sport. Participating in this program counteracts that and encourages me to do my best for Aiden. I love him.”

Howard partners with young Aiden, above, in the “I Run for Michael” program.

She has even taken her show on the road, participating in the London Marathon, above, and earning a medal there, above left.

pace by a four-legged friend. “I’ve run with cows,” she said with a laugh. Once, a cow got out of an adjoining field and trotted along behind her. “We had an interesting conversation.” She’s even been dive-bombed by vultures. Melinda doesn’t, she stressed, run with headphones. “I need to be aware of my surroundings.” She sometimes, however, does sing in her head. “And I will yell at myself too. I have to button my lip when I’m racing.” Ultra-marathons are often run on trails and varying types of terrain. Timing is not the focus. Finishing is. “They want to know if you have the grit to finish,” she said. Melinda has competed in the Chicago Marathon and the Berlin Marathon. She even competed in the London Marathon, just weeks before a recent terrorist attack there. “It’s really sad. We were at the same spot where that happened.” She has also made some lasting friendships through running. Melinda participates in a program called “I Run for Michael.” This unique program partners run-

ners like Melinda with those who have medical challenges. Runners give reports to their partners during training and dedicate their runs to them too. Melinda even gives duplicate medals to her partner, Aiden, a 5year-old who lives in Michigan. “I really wanted to be a part of this,” she said. Melinda has become good friends with Aiden and his mom, Andrea. “I post to him every day and tell him about my training sessions,” she said. “You know, running can be a very selfish sport. Participating in this program counteracts that and encourages me to do my best for Aiden. I love him.” Andrea says the relationship with Melinda has been a blessing. “She has been absolutely wonderful to Aiden and us. It is nice knowing that there are genuinely caring people out here that want to make sure that those who can’t do things on their own feel included and cared about by other people besides their families,” she explained. The duplicate medals are just icing on the cake, Andrea said. “Aiden has his own wall with his ‘race bling’ that Melinda has sent him along with her many other gifts.” She recommends participation in the I Run for Michael program. “If you can run (or whatever you are capable of doing) for others, it will surely make them feel special,” Andrea added. Those interested in becoming a buddy in the pro-

gram can go to www.irunformichael.com to get an application. They also run for the siblings of those with medical challenges. “They’re always in need of buddies,” Melinda said. Just like any other sport or hobby, running has its own tools of the trade, she said. Those necessities include a pair of carefully researched running shoes, quality socks, reflective clothing, a headlamp and a hydration vest. “I’m lit up like Christmas. It’s just smart.”

Her advice for new runners? • Work your way up to a run (consult with a medical professional) • Get the right shoes (research) • Get a runner’s store to fit you • Dress properly for the weather • Hydrate before and after run • If running on a roadway, run against the traffic Melinda’s plans for the future include putting one foot in front of the other. Recently, she said, a 94-yearold woman broke a half-marathon world record. “I’m going to do that,” Melinda said. “I’m going to break that record when I reach 94.” Running has provided her with something even more special than records. “I got a new lease on life.”


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Today in Mississippi



July 2017

4-County leadership trio tour D.C. Charlie Brand of Maben, Noah Methvin of Starkville and Tyler Dickerson, also of Starkville, were among more than 1,500 high school students from across the country who participated in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour held June 10-16 in Washington, D.C. The 4-County Electric Power Association delegates travelled to Washington with a group of 70 high school juniors from across Mississippi. The Youth Tour is designed to offer students from across the nation the opportunity to meet their elected officials, watch government in action and tour historically

significant sites, memorials and museums. Highlights of the event included meeting with their elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate to discuss the process of government and issues of the day, and learning more about electric cooperatives and American history. The Youth Tour is a joint effort of 4-County, the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Look for more details and photos in next month’s issue of Today in Mississippi.

Stevenson joins 4-County Dedrick Stevenson has joined the 4-County Electric Power Association team. Dedrick and his wife, Kimberly, live in Macon with their daughters, Aymelia, 13, and Dedrianna, 5. He will work as an Apprentice Lineman III on the Corporate Center crew of Glen Ledbetter. Dedrick worked in a similar position for the City of Macon.

Welcome to 4-County, Dedrick! 4-County Youth Tour delegates, from left, Tyler Dickerson, Noah Methvin and Charlie Brand toured Washington, D.C., in June.

Watts Happening

This listing of area events is compiled from information provided by area chambers of commerce and visitors bureaus. The events listed are subject to change. Please call to confirm dates, times and additional details.

 THURSDAY, JULY 6

 SATURDAY, JULY 8

Monthly Gallery Opening and Reception; Main

Possum Town Quilters; Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501

Gallery of the Columbus Arts Council, 501 Main St. in Columbus; 5:30 to 7 p.m.; details, (662) 328-2787. Free Small Business Workshop; Developing Your Business Plan; Mississippi State University Business Incubator Building Conference Room, 60 Technology Blvd. in Starkville; 1 to 3 p.m.; details, (662) 325-8684. Free Small Business Workshop; Starting a Business – First Steps; Mississippi State University Business Incubator Building Conference Room, 60 Technology Blvd. in Starkville; 1 to 3 p.m.; details, (662) 325-8684.

Main St. in Columbus; 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; details, (662) 3282787. Columbus Disc Golf Club Tournament; Lake Lowndes State Park Disc Golf Course, 3319 Lake Lowndes Road in Columbus; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; details, (662) 329-1191.

 FRIDAY, JULY 7

2017 Black and White Ball; Trotter Convention Center, 123 Fifth St. N. in Columbus; 7 p.m.; tickets $25 each; details, (662) 251-7355.

through Thursday, July 13, and runs again July 24-27; $60 for wellness members, $70 for non-members; details, (662) 3239355.

CAC Summer Arts Camp; Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main St. in Columbus; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; continues through Friday, July 21, and second camp runs July 17-21; $100 per week for each camp; details, (662) 328-2787.

 MONDAY, JULY 10

 SATURDAY, JULY 15

OCH Summer Camp for Kids; Oktibbeha County Hospital

Lion Hills Member – Guest Golf Tournament; Lion

Regional Medical Center Wellness Connection, 400 Hospital Road in Starkville; 8 a.m. to noon; continues

Hills Center and Golf Course, 2331 Military Road in Columbus; continues through Sunday, July 16; details, (662) 328-4837.  FRIDAY, JULY 28

“Mississippi Characters” – CAC Youth Theatre; Columbus Arts Council, 501 Main St. in Columbus; 7 to 9 p.m.; details, (662) 328-2787.


July 2017

Payment options include kiosks 4-County Electric Power Association looks for ways to make doing business with the cooperative easier for its members. One of those easy payment options is kiosks located throughout the 4-County service area. Kiosk locations at the 4-County Corporate Center in Lowndes County and the coop’s Starkville office are available 24 hours a day. Other kiosks are available at various times throughout the co-op’s service area. The kiosks will accept check, credit cards or cash. The payment machines do not give change. Money taken in that exceeds the payment total will go toward the member’s next bill. The kiosk payment method is but one option. Members can continue to pay their bills in person, by mail, bank draft or online.

The cooperative now has 20 kiosk locations: Choctaw County Zippin – 1000 W. Main St. in Ackerman Piggly Wiggly – 24844 Miss. Hwy. 15 in Mathiston

Noxubee County Tem’s Food Market – 179 N. Oliver St. in Brooksville Tem’s Food Market – 101 W. Pearl St. in Macon Tenn-Tom One Stop – 14636 Hwy. 388 in Brooksville

Clay County West Point Shell – 1443 Hwy. 45 N. in West Point Knox Grocery – 9672 Brand Una Road in Prairie Sprint Mart – 631 W. Main St. in West Point McKee’s Kwik Stop – 8200 Hwy. 50 W. in Pheba

Oktibbeha County University Hills Shell – 1125 Hwy. 82 E. in Starkville State Shell – 801 Blackjack Road in Starkville Walmart – 1010 MS-12 in Starkville

Lowndes County Dutch Village Shell – 1245 Lehmberg Road in Columbus Sprint Gasoline – 3115 Hwy. 45 N. in Columbus New Hope Shell – 5780 Hwy. 182 E. in Columbus Sprint Mart – 1313 Hwy. 69 S. in Columbus Walmart – 1913 U.S. 45 in Columbus Sprint Mart – 111 Lehmberg Road in Columbus

4-County locations Starkville office – 9776 Mississippi Hwy. 25 S. Corporate Center – 5265 S. Frontage Road in Mayhew

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Deadline approaching to participate in extreme savings program A groundbreaking energy-efficiency program for homeowners is continuing to make life better for those eligible in the 4-County Electric Power Association service area. The 4-County Extreme Energy Makeover (EEM) program may sound too good to be true. But 4-County officials say the program is as true as they come. To participate in the limited time program, however, members must sign up quickly. The program offering is entering its final stages. Jon Turner, manager of public relations and marketing, is encouraging members to learn more about this valuable assistance. “This is a great program. Everything starts with an application and could end with a lengthy list of home energy-efficiency improvements. That likely means ensuing lower electric bills for those participating,” Turner stressed.

To participate, a member’s home/unit must be: • The primary residence • Site built and owner occupied • 20 years old or older • Heated by electric heat and have an electric water heater George Spain of Steens, owner of Spain Blowing and Wall Service, said the company is excited to be part of the EEM program. “It’s a good program. This work is going to help,” Spain said recently, while preparing to work on an EEM program home in Brooksville. “Basically, anything we do in these homes is helpful. They all need insulation.” Spain Blowing and Wall Service is located in Steens. It began serving customers in 1994. The company specializes in insulation. For more information on Spain Blowing and Wall Service, call 662-549-9228. The program needs more applicants, Turner said. “EEM is designed to help eligible homeowners living within 4-County’s service area to increase the energy efficiency, comfort and durability of their homes. The program starts with a home energy audit to identify opportunities for improving efficiency. If a member meets the eligibility requirements, then a participating contractor will install a variety of energy-saving upgrades in his/her home that will reduce the energy use,” he explained. The best information about the program? It’s free for those who qualify, Turner said. How does a member get started? Call Turner at 1-800-431-1544, or members can download the EEM application from 4-County’s website, www.4county.org/EEM.


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Stovetop Mock Mac and Cheese 1 head cauliflower 2⁄3 cup heavy cream ¾ tsp. ground mustard ½ tsp. salt

RECIPES FROM:

‘Quick & Easy Low-Carb Cookbook’ If you or someone you cook for has adopted a low-carb approach to eating, this new cookbook is for you. Professional chef and cookbook author George Stella has redefined comfort foods by using low-carb alternatives to white flour and sugar. Stella advocates eating natural, unprocessed foods at all times. “To eat well, you have to cook well. It doesn’t have to be difficult. And it doesn’t have to take all day,” he writes. The cookbook opens with Stella’s own story of losing 265 pounds. He shares tips on grocery shopping and information on high- and low-carb ingredients, sugar substitutes and pantry items. Recipes include appetizers, everyday meals, no-sugar-added desserts and snacks. Color photographs and cooking tips accompany most every recipe. Stella explains how to use “pasta alternatives,” which substitute spaghetti squash or zucchini for flour-based pasta. And he gives cauliflower the lead role in recipes where you’d expect to find pasta, rice or potatoes. Most of Stella’s recipes save time (like TwoHour Pot Roast), use few ingredients (only three for sweet and savory Chipotle Flat Iron) and offer fresh, flavorful combinations (Avocado and Melon Salad). The cookbook is part of the “Best of the Best” series of cookbooks published by Quail Ridge Press, of Brandon, a member of Southern Pine Electric Power Association. The 224-page softcover book is available in stores. Price is $19.95. To order, contact the publisher at 800-343-1583 or visit QuailRidge.com.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Minis 12 ounces cream cheese, softened ½ cup sugar substitute 1⁄3 cup natural smooth peanut butter

2 large eggs 2 Tbsp. half-and-half 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place oven rack in the center position and preheat to 350 F. Spray 6 (6-ounce) ramekins or oven-safe custard cups with nonstick cooking spray. Make a water bath by pouring ¾ inch of hot water into a shallow roasting pan. Place the water bath onto the center oven rack to preheat. Place all ingredients in an electric mixer and mix on medium speed, just until combined. Spread an equal amount of filling into each of the 6 ramekins. Place the ramekins into the preheated water bath, and bake for 26 to 28 minutes, just until the tops of the cheesecakes start to crack. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate at least 1 ½ hours before serving. Serves 6. Tip: Garnish with a sprinkling of unsweetened cocoa powder, chopped peanuts and a dollop of sugar-free whipped cream.

¼ tsp. garlic powder 1 ¼ cups sharp Cheddar cheese 4 slices deluxe American cheese

Chop cauliflower into small pieces, stem and all. Discard leaves. Boil or steam chopped cauliflower for 10 minutes, until very tender. Drain well. Transfer drained cauliflower to a sauce pot over medium heat, and add heavy cream, mustard, salt and garlic powder. Stirring frequently, bring the heavy cream in the pot to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in Cheddar and American cheeses, stirring until well combined. Let stand 1 minute to thicken before serving. Serves 4. Note: Using the American cheese helps bind the Cheddar cheese with the heavy cream, making it easier to mix without the sauce separating.

Lemon and Garlic Chicken Legs 8 chicken legs (not drumettes) 1 Tbsp. olive oil Zest of 1 lemon Juice of ½ lemon

1 Tbsp. minced garlic ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, toss chicken legs with all remaining ingredients. Transfer the coated legs to the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through. Chicken legs are done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 175 F. Serves 4.

Fresh Ratatouille Sauté 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes 2 medium zucchini, chopped 1 large tomato, chopped ½ red onion, chopped large ½ yellow bell pepper, chopped

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil 1 Tbsp. minced garlic 1 tsp. dried thyme 1 bay leaf ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, until nearly smoking hot. Add all remaining ingredients to the skillet and stir to combine. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, uncovering only to stir occasionally, until eggplant is soft. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and remove bay leaf before serving. Serves 4. Tip: If the ratatouille begins to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pot, add a splash of water.

Bacon-Wrapped Boneless BBQ Ribs 8 boneless country-style pork ribs (about 2 pounds) 8 slices raw bacon

Quick BBQ Sauce: ½ cup no-sugar-added ketchup 2 tsp. smoked paprika 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce ½ tsp. onion powder ½ tsp. garlic powder ½ tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place ribs into a large mixing bowl. Add all Quick BBQ Sauce ingredients, and toss to mix and fully coat the meat. Transfer the coated ribs to the prepared sheet pan. Wrap each rib with a slice of bacon, securing with toothpicks for best results. Bake for 40 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and pork mostly white throughout. Serves 4. Tip: As this cut of pork is very lean, these ribs will have the consistency of pork chops. You can, however, cook them to be fall-apart tender with a little more time. Simply bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 350 F, and then cover and reduce heat to 250 F for 1 ½ hours of cooking, or until desired tenderness.


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FREE Car Charge r

s o t N ac tr

“My friends all hate their cell phones… I love mine!” Here’s why.

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July 2017

Say good-bye to everything you hate about cell phones. Say hello to the Jitterbug Flip. “Cell phones have gotten so small, I can barely dial mine.” Not the Jitterbug® Flip. It features a large keypad for easier dialing. It even has a larger display and a powerful, hearing aid compatible speaker, so it’s easy to see and conversations are clear. “I had to get my son to program it.” Your Jitterbug Flip setup process is simple. We’ll even program it with your favorite numbers. “What if I don’t remember a number?” Friendly, helpful Personal Operators are available 24 hours a day and will even greet you by name when you call. “I’d like a cell phone to use in an emergency.” Now you can turn your phone into a personal safety device with 5Star® Service. In any uncertain or unsafe situation, simply press the 5Star button to speak immediately with a highly-trained Urgent Response Agent who will confirm your location, evaluate your situation and get you the help you need, 24/7. “My cell phone company wants to lock me in a two-year contract!” Not with the Jitterbug Flip. There are no contracts to sign and no cancellation fees. “My phone’s battery only lasts a short time.” Unlike most cell phones that need to be recharged every day, the Jitterbug Flip was designed with a long-lasting battery, so you won’t have to worry about running out of power.

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IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: Jitterbug is owned by GreatCall, Inc. Your invoices will come from GreatCall. 1Monthly fees do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges and are subject to change. Plans and services may require purchase of a Jitterbug Flip and a one-time setup fee of $35. Coverage is not available everywhere. 5Star or 9-1-1 calls can only be made when cellular service is available. 5Star Service will be able to track an approximate location when your device is turned on, but we cannot guarantee an exact location. 2We will refund the full price of the Jitterbug phone and the activation fee (or setup fee) if it is returned within 30 days of purchase in like-new condition. We will also refund your first monthly service charge if you have less than 30 minutes of usage. If you have more than 30 minutes of usage, a per minute charge of 35 cents will be deducted from your refund for each minute over 30 minutes. You will be charged a $10 restocking fee. The shipping charges are not refundable. There are no additional fees to call GreatCall’s U.S.-based customer service. However, for calls to a Personal Operator in which a service is completed, you will be charged 99 cents per call, and minutes will be deducted from your monthly rate plan balance equal to the length of the call and any call connected by the Personal Operator. Jitterbug, GreatCall and 5Star are registered trademarks of GreatCall, Inc. Copyright ©2017 GreatCall, Inc. ©2017 firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc.


14

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Today in Mississippi

PICTURE THIS

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July 2017

Mississippi Morning

Reader photos capture nature’s wake-up call 1. Lake Eddins, near Pachuta. Bob Livingston, Lucedale; Singing River Electric member. 2. Montpelier sunrise. Nannette Shinn, Cedar Bluff; 4-County Electric member. 3. 4 Lakes Bass Club morning blast-off, Fulton. Charlotte Reiland, Aberdeen; Monroe County Electric member. 4. Sunrise on the Big Black River, Yazoo County. Sam King, Madison; Yazoo Valley Electric member. 5. Early morning riser. Sandy Warren, Benton; Yazoo Valley Electric member. 6. Sand, seagrass and sunrise over the Mississippi Sound. Dianne Ott, Biloxi; Singing River Electric member. 7. Lilies await the sun’s rays. Tiffany Smith, Weir; 4County Electric member.

1 2


July 2017

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Today in Mississippi

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15

4

3

5 7

8

6

9

8. Dawn of a new day. Myrna Davis, Wiggins; Pearl River Valley Electric member. 9. Ocean Springs beach sunrise. Melinda Youngblood, Laurel; Dixie Electric member. 10. Fog drifts across the water. Jimmy Wheat, Petal; Dixie Electric member.

Our next Picture This theme:

10

Kids Being Kids Submit your photos of kids doing their thing. Deadline for submissions is Sept. 11. Find photo submission details on page 17.


16

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Marketplace

Today in Mississippi

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July 2017

Mississippi

MISCELLANEOUS PLAY GOSPEL SONGS by Ear! $12.95. “Learn Gospel Music” - chording, runs, fills - $12.95. Both $24. Davidsons, 6727MS Metcalf, Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204. 913-262-4982. FREE BOOKS/DVDS. Soon Church and Government uniting, will supress “Religious Liberty” enforcing a “National Sunday Law,” leading to the “Mark of the Beast.” Be informed/Be forewarned! Need mailing address: TBSM, Box 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 the biblesaystruth@yahoo.com, 1-888-211-1715. FREE E-BOOK "Secrets Your Creditors Don't Want You To Know" Call 888-485-7757 NOW. Stop Letting Debt Ruin Your Life!

Type or print your ad clearly. Be sure to include your telephone number. Deadline is the 10th of each month for the next month’s issue. Rate is $2.50 per word, 10-word minimum. Mail payment with your ad to Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Have any questions? Phone 601-605-8600 or email advertising@ecm.coop.

FOR SALE SAWMILL EXCHANGE: North America’s largest source of used portable sawmills and commercial sawmill equipment for woodlot and sawmill operations. Over 800 listings. Call for a free list or to sell your equipment, 800-459-2148; www.sawmillexchange.com.

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Who knows what kids will do next— but you can show us! Submit your photo of kids being kids for our next “Picture This� reader photo feature. Selected photos will appear in the October issue of Today in Mississippi. Deadline for submissions is Sept. 11.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES • Submit as many photos as you like, but

Mississippi’s Giant House Party since 1889 Philadelphia, Miss. (Neshoba Co.)

Arts & Crafts market, garden & field crop exhibits, home arts & crafts exhibits, needlework and quilt displays. State dairy cattle show, beef cattle & sheep shows. Petting zoo. Harper, Morgan & Smith PRCA Rodeo. Harness and Running horse races, pony pull. Antique car show. Local & statewide political speaking. Nightly variety & Nashville Entertainment. 38th Annual Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon. Thacker Mountain Radio Show. Fireworks. Midway amusement & rides by Mitchell Bros. Amusements. 8 huge days of family fun and hospitality. For more information,

EASTERN

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DIVISION

Today in Mississippi

I

17

Next ‘Picture This’: Kids being kids

128th NESHOBA COUNTY FAIR

Fri., July 21 thru Fri., July 28

I

July 2017

visit www.neshobacountyfair.org or call 601-656-8480 Enclosed $9,995 - 30x50x10 Painted Built Price (Not Shown) STORAGE BUILDINGS HAY BARNS HORSE BARNS GARAGES

Building shown: $18,938 Built Price 30x60x12 w/ 12’ open shed

-\SS`0UZ\YLK‹ 4L[HS‹*\Z[VT:PaLZ‹YVVMWP[JO             ,UNPULLYLK[Y\ZZLZ‹3VJHSJVKLZMYLPNO[TH`HMMLJ[WYPJLZ         www.nationalbarn.com www.nationalbarn.com 1-888-427-BARN (2276) 1-888-427-BARN

select only photos in sharp focus. • Photos must relate to the given theme. • Photos must be the original work of an amateur photographer (of any age). • Photos may be either color or black and white, print or digital. • Digital photos should be high-resolution JPG files. Please do not use photoediting software to adjust colors or tones. (We prefer to do it ourselves, if necessary, according to our printer’s standards.) • Please do not send a photo with the date appearing on the image. • Photos must be accompanied by identifying information: photographer’s name, address, phone and electric power association (if applicable). Include the name(s) of any recognizable people or places in the picture. • Prints will be returned if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We cannot, however, guarantee their

safe return through the mail.

HOW TO SUBMIT PHOTOS Attach digital photos to your email message and send to news@ecm.coop. If submitting more than one photo, please attach all photos to only one email message, if possible. Or, mail prints or a photo CD to Picture This, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300. Question? Contact Debbie Stringer, editor, at 601-605-8610 or email news@ecm.coop. Photographers whose photos are published are entered in a $200 cash prize drawing in December.

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18

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Today in Mississippi

I

July 2017

Events MISSISSIPPI

Want more than 450,000 readers to know about your special event? Events open to the public will be published free of charge as space allows. Submit details at least two months prior to the event date. Submissions must include a phone number with area code for publication. Mail to Mississippi Events, Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300; fax to 601-605-8601; or email to news@ecm.coop. Events are subject to change. We recommend calling to confirm details before traveling.

“Thinking Art into Being: Ruth Miller’s Contemporary Embroidery,” through Aug. 19, Biloxi. Personal photographs, sketches and written descriptions trace development of Miller’s tapestries from concept to finished work. Admission. Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Details: 228-374-5547; GeorgeOhr.org. “Avalon,” through Aug. 12, Biloxi. Iron, bronze, wood sculpture exhibit by Greg Moran. Admission. Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Details: 228-374-5547; AmberglowForge.com; GeorgeOhr.org. Mississippi Opry Summer Show, July 8, Pearl. Bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, Ole Tyme and country tunes; featuring Harmony & Grits, Bill & Temperance with Jeff Perkins; 6 p.m. Admission. Pearl Community Room. Details: 601-331-6672; sa5ash@aol.com. Horsemanship Mini Camp, July 10-14, 1721, Gulfport. Admission. Bienvenue Acres LLC. Details: 228-357-0431; BienvenueAcres.com. Dizzy Dean Fastpitch World Series, July 13-18, Southaven. Ages 6-18. Greenbrook Softball Complex. Details: 662-890-7275; GreenbrookSoftball.com. 39th Annual Mississippi Watermelon Festival, July 14-15, Mize. Arts, crafts, 5K run/walk, watermelon contests, talent contest, fireworks, more. John Conlee in concert 8 p.m. Saturday. Details: 877-790-9722; MSWatermelonFestival.com. Seventh Annual Mississippi Corvette Classic, July 15, Jackson. Ride-and-drive event, car show, vendors; 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sponsored by Mississippi Corvette Club; benefits Diabetes Foundation of Miss. Jackson Convention Complex. Details: 601-668-0533, 601-862-7560; MSCorvetteClub.com. Magnolia State Bluegrass Association Summer Show, July 15, Ackerman. Featuring Tyler Carroll & Pine Ridge Bluegrass, Russell Burton Family, Eddie Pilgrim Family, Alan Sibley & Magnolia Ramblers; 1-9 p.m. Admission. Choctaw County Community Center. Details: 662-258-2334. Kids’ Day, Excel-ebration, July 19, McComb. Scooter mouse, museum tours,

miniature riding train, model trains, inflatable jumpers, book giveaways, more; 9 a.m. noon. Free admission. McComb Railroad Depot Museum. Details: trainmaster@mcrrmuseum. 128th Neshoba County Fair, July 21-28, Philadelphia. Arts/crafts, entertainment, exhibits, livestock show, rodeo, horse races, pony pull, antique car show, midway rides, political speaking, more. Admission. Neshoba County Fairgrounds. Details: 601-656-8480; NeshobaCountyFair.org. Rascal Flatts Rhythm & Roots Tour, July 22, Southaven. Admission; 7:30 p.m. BankPlus Amphitheater, Snowden Grove. Details: 662892-2660; TicketMaster.com. The Rose Hill Revue, July 22-23, Meridian. “From grave to the stage”; 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Meridian Little Theatre. Details: 601-681-8525, 601-482-6371. The Whisnants in Concert, July 24, Osyka. Love offering; 7 p.m. Gillsburg Baptist Church. Details: 601-542-5231, 601-684-8943. Author Event: Allen Boyer, July 24, Greenwood. “Rocky Boyer’s War” author Allen Boyer signs and speaks; 5:30 p.m. Turnrow Book Co. Details: 662-453-5995; TurnrowBooks.com. Christmas in July, July 25, Newton. MSU floral professor Dr. James DelPrince leads workshops on holiday decorating with fresh materials and bow making. Also, lunch and demos on holiday craft/food ideas. Registration fee. Mississippi State University Coastal Plain Experiment Station. Details: 601-635-7011; newton@ext.msstate.edu. Natchez Food and Wine Festival, July 2829, Natchez. Fine food by regional chefs, special events, Mississippi vendors and artists, blues music. Reservations. Various venues. Details: NatchezFoodandWineFest.com. LaurelLittleTheatre.com. City Wide Rummage Sale, Aug. 5, Laurel. Indoor sale with more than 100 vendors; 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Free admission. Magnolia Center Arena, fairgrounds. Details: 601-319-6086; MyRummageSales.com.

Bikes, Blues and Bayous Cycling Event, Aug. 5-6, Greenwood. State’s largest bike ride; 11-, 22-, 46- and 62-mile (metric century) rides; 70-mile competitive division. Details: 662-453-9197; BikesBluesBayous.com. Mississippi Zydeco Jamboree, Aug. 11-13, Hazlehurst. Trail ride, campout, rodeo, horse show, prizes. Copiah County Fairgrounds. Details: 769-798-9412, 601-918-2333; SouthernHorsemen.com. Sacred Harp Singing, Aug. 12, Bruce. A cappella congregational singing of early American hymns in four-part harmony; 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Free admission. Bethel Primitive Baptist Church. Details: 601-5024634. Karen Peck and New River in Concert, Aug. 13, Petal. Love offering; 6 p.m. First

128

Baptist Church of Runnelstown. Details: 601583-3733. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Aug. 3-6, 11-13, Laurel. Musical story of Joseph and his “coat of many colors.” Admission; reservations. Laurel Little Theatre. Details: 601-428-0140.

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July 21-28, 2017

Y E ARS

! !

!

!

!

!

!

! Tickets ! $40 season pass; $15 day ticket

!

Children 9 & under FREE

!

!

! !

!

!

William Michael Morgan Tuesday, July 25- 8:00 pm

Frank Foster

Thursday, July 27- 8:00 pm

!

Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers Wednesday, July 26- 8:00 pm

Brothers Osborne

Friday, July 28- 8:00 pm

21, 8 miles southwest of Philadelphia 601-656-8480 Highwaywww.neshobacountyfair.org


July 2017

I

Today in Mississippi

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19


Today in Mississippi July 2017  

Today in Mississippi July 2017

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