Today in Mississippi July 2022 North East

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scene around the ‘sip

co-op involvement “I haven’t been this excited southern gardening since I got my first bicycle!”



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Please mention code 117220 when ordering. The Zoomer and Zinger Chairs are personal electric vehicles and are not medical devices nor wheelchairs. They are not intended for medical purposes to provide mobility to persons restricted to a sitting position. They are not covered by Medicare nor Medicaid. © 2022 Journey Health and Lifestyle

picture this my opinion grin ‘n’ bare it

On and off the field

We know it’s July in Mississippi because of the oppressive heat outside. It felt just as hot in June. I’m not sure there’s much of a difference in those two months during the dog days of summer. I was thinking about the heat of summer when reading our July cover story about new Horn Lake High School Head Football Coach Brandon Jackson. I was thinking about those kids running conditioning drills in the heat while Coach Jackson pushed them to keep on moving. I remember practicing in the summer. I played football at The University of Southern Mississippi. I know what’s it like to be yelled at on the field under a Mississippi baking sun. I was heartened to read why Coach Jackson wanted to go back to his high school to lead the football team. He said he wanted to lead young men on the field and off. He made memories at Horn Lake High School and learned that hard work, discipline, and dedication can lead to great things. Following his stellar career at Horn Lake, Coach Jackson went to college at the University of Nebraska and then was drafted by the Green Bay Packers to play in the NFL. That, in and of itself, is something many of us only dreamed about. Only a select few are fortunate enough to play among the professional ranks.

Coach Jackson reached the pinnacle of pro football success when he and the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011. Now, Coach Jackson wants to give back to his school and community. The overwhelming majority of the high school football players that Coach Jackson will lead will not play in the NFL. But the lessons and habits he will teach his players will carry over into their lives wherever they wind up. His players will be better men, better fathers, and better husbands later in their lives if they listen and practice what he preaches. In the end, that’s what makes a high school football coach truly successful. We hope you enjoy the story and this month’s issue. Also, we want to wish all our electric cooperative members a Happy Independence Day this month. Never forget the sacrifices our forefathers made for us, creating the greatest country in the world.

Mississippi is... Mom’s apple pie and once a week going to the nearest town, Picking cotton all day long and watching the sun as it goes down. Drinking Coca-Cola from a glass bottle and going to a cotton gin, Hitchhiking to the nearest store and listening to tales by men. It’s thumping watermelons and pinecones falling from pine trees, Watching TV in black and white while listening to the late breeze.

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

Learning to drive a standard transmission in a 57-pickup truck, Catching a string of huge bream if you happened to have good luck. It’s trips to the outhouse and attending the nearest school, It’s love for all people and learning the golden rule.

by Ty Anthony, a resident of Union, and a member of Central Electric

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

JULY 2022 | TODAY 3

in this issue


southern gardening Earning a gardening badge

7 outdoors today Grandpa’s fly-fishing reel

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


12 picture this 14 local news 20 feature Graduation day



The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 75 No. 7

OFFICERS Eddie Howard - President Randy Carroll - First Vice President Ron Barnes - Second Vice President Tim Perkins - Secretary/Treasurer Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Lydia Walters - VP, Communications Steven Ward - Editor Chad Calcote - Creative Director/ Manager Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer Alan Burnitt - Graphic Designer Courtney Warren - Graphic Designer Chris Alexander - Member Services Coordinator Steve Temple - Social Media Director Mickey Jones - 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

Super Bowl winner and former Green Bay Packer Brandon Jackson is the new coach at Horn Lake High School

Circulation of this issue: 469,686

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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

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Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year. Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 12 times a year by Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Inc., P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300, or 665 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Phone 601-605-8600. Periodical postage paid at Ridgeland, MS, and additional office. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising.

31 mississippi seen

The story of the Flying Dutchmen of Jackson


On the cover New Horn Lake High School Head Football Coach Brandon Jackson runs drills with his players on the first day of summer practice. Photo by Chad Calcote.

And we think you’re going to love ours. So let’s work together: As electric cooperatives, we were built by the communities we serve—and by members just like you. 4 TODAY | JULY 2022

Gardens can be recognized as part of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, an effort that helps increase the habitat of the Monarch butterfly.

Several years ago, many businesses and organizations began offering digital badges to replace the traditional certificates that signify the successful completion of some specialized, non-accredited course or workshop. These badges are icons or symbols that offer instant recognition of the expertise of the individual. If you’re a fan of social media like I am, then you certainly know about group badge icons. These designations easily identify roles and interests of group members, such as admin/moderator, new member, conversation starter, or expert. But you may not know that there are badges your garden and landscape can earn, and that you can share so your friends and neighbors will know about your expertise. These are more like certificates, but like the digital badge, they offer instant recognition to neighbors and others passing by your garden and landscape.

The first garden badge my garden earned was Certified Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation. My garden and landscape provide sources of food, water, and cover, as well as areas to raise babies. I also engage in sustainable gardening practices. Providing these resources for local wildlife is important, as natural habitats are being lost to rapid urban development. A big, 150plus home development is currently under construction just down the street from my home garden.

I’ve recently become a member of Monarch Watch, and I’m waiting for my newest garden badge, the Monarch Waystation plaque. My garden and landscape were certified as a Monarch Waystation for providing the resources necessary for the Monarch butterflies to produce successive generations and thus sustain their incredible migration across North America. This involves planting forage for the caterpillars and nectar plants to feed the butterflies. I’ve started seeds to grow seven Mississippi native milkweeds, and of course I have lots of nectar-rich flowers.

For more information on becoming a Monarch Waystation, visit Meeting the requirements to earn these badges is not difficult. You simply confirm that you are or will practice good gardening or conservation practices. Generally, these certifications charge a nominal fee for the badge that you can proudly display. The Certified Wildlife Habitat designation is given to gardens with sustainable practices that provide wildlife with sources of food, water, and cover, as well as areas to raise babies.

For more information on becoming a Certified Wildlife Habitat, visit

My garden’s second badge involved becoming a member of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail. The idea for this trail was inspired by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to help increase the habitat of the Monarch butterfly. This trail program started in Plains, Georgia, and has registered gardens all over the United States. I was privileged to have been an invited speaker at the 2022 Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Symposium.

For more information on the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, visit join-the-rosalynn-carter-butterfly-trail.

by Dr. Gary Bachman Gary Bachman, Ph.D., Extension/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. He lives in Ocean Springs and is a Singing River Electric member.

JULY 2022 | TODAY 5

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The reel was growing old. And so was its current owner. Its original owner had long passed from the ranks of fly-fishing dukes. This story came to me without request, and since such bonuses are often rife with intrigue, I listened carefully. I shall tell the tale as I heard it. It was my grandpa’s reel. Not the first among automatics I’m sure, but still old. Daddy said his daddy, my grandpa, got it maybe in the early 1950s. Grandpa was so enamored of it that he could hardly talk of anything else. He was a hard-scrabble farmer, wore overalls, and plowed two mules. Pleasures were scarce and extravagances maligned in his day. Still, my grandpa bought this reel. “The fishin’est thing you ever saw,” I remember him saying. Daddy also remembered such hyperbole. Grandpa was proud of the automatic reel. I recognized several years before my grandpa passed that such a contrivance would not be the premier selection for fishing dry flies or nymphs along the Madison, Yellowstone, or Watauga. Not first choice when seeking big browns in valley streams of New Zealand. It was not that the automatic was ineffective; it was simply that the artsy-smartsy manuals were overflowing with class. Lefty Kreh and Ernest Hemingway used them. Grandpa didn’t know Lefty Kreh and Ernest Hemigway. He never saw the Madison, Yellowstone, or Watauga. He likely didn’t know that New Zealand even existed. Grandpa’s world was small, his streams basic, and often turbid. He walked from home when he went fishing. A creek for the most part, across a dirt road, and pasture east a half mile. He fished for whatever took his offering. That offering was always a simple popping bug. He disliked dry flies and nymphs. He walked the banks and executed roll-casts or slingshots to place that bug under dangling limbs or along steep bends. Lefty’s graceful and signature back-cast was not an option. Grandpa caught fish. Bream primarily; he liked them best. “Ole trout tore up my best popping bug on the creek,” he would sometimes opine. Of course, it was a bass. There are no trout in Mississippi creeks. But we knew what he meant. This old automatic still works. I tried it in the backyard a few weeks back. Guess I should take it to a creek or pond and catch some sun perch with a popping bug. Grandpa would be proud. He was a simple and solid man, you know. The storyteller’s tale complete, he nodded and walked away. I smiled. I had enjoyed his discourse. It prompted me to contemplation. I concluded old reels — automatic or manual — creek banks; pleasant memories; and simple, solid old or young men are entities of great value.

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

JULY MAY 2022 2022 || TODAY TODAY 7 7

by Steven Ward First off, there’s that name. No, slugburgers have nothing to do with worms. If you’ve heard of slugburgers before, you might know that Corinth is the home to the tasty treat and that, every July, the town celebrates their famous grub with a festival. Celebrating 35 years, the 2022 Slugburger Festival will be held in historic downtown Corinth July 7-9. Emily Steen, brand manager for the Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the town celebrates the slugburger for an obvious reason. “You celebrate your oddities! Since we claim the slugburger as a Corinth creation, we celebrate it,” Steen said. Steen said the origin of the slugburger has ties to the Great Depression. “During the depression, meat was scarce and had to go as far as possible. Whatever protein people had — beef, chicken, pork — would be ground up and combined with extenders, such as lard, breadcrumbs, or soy flour. The mixture is made into patties and

8 TODAY | JULY 2022

deep fried, served on a hamburger bun. The cost was a nickel, also known as a ‘slug.’ Hence, a slugburger,” Steen said. According to the Visit Corinth website, resident John Weeks started selling burgers in a small moveable building that rolled along on bicycle wheels. To save money, he had his butchers extend his hamburger meat by grinding in potato flakes and flour. The burgers, sometimes called doughburgers, are usually served with mustard, dill pickles, and onions on a small bun.

The festival will include a carnival, a car show, food vendors, the Miss Slugburger pageant, and the World Championship Slugburger Eating Contest. This year the festival is featuring local craft vendors — artisans and crafters from within a 100-mile radius, Steen said. According to the Visit Corinth website, the festival has grown so popular that Trip Advisor named it one of America’s “Wackiest Summer Events.” Slug Idol, one of the most popular festival events, sees locals compete to determine the area’s best singer. Steen said the Slugburger Festival is always a good time “to come home.” “For all our transplants and wayward Corinth natives, this July weekend stands out as a tradition to come home for, whether it’s to see old friends, listen to local talent, or just get your slugburger fix.”

Where to Find Slugburgers Thanks to their long history and enduring popularity, you’ll find slugburgers at plenty of Corinth eateries. As you plan your Corinth food itinerary, be sure to check out a few of these destinations: • Borroum’s Drug Store: Mississippi’s oldest operating drug store helps bring you back to the days slugburgers were first served with a throwback style. • Slug Burger Café: As the name implies, this restaurant is known for its slugburgers. They also serve breakfast, sandwiches, fries, and homemade desserts. • White Trolley Café: Grab a stool at this retro café’s counter to enjoy a delectable slugburger and other treats.

For more information about the Slugburger Festival or Corinth, visit www. or call 662-287-8300.

JULY 2022 | TODAY 9

Fun on the Water We want to see photos of you or your family having fun on the water. Whether it’s fishing, swimming, water parks, or boating, send us your faves. The photos must be high-resolution JPG files of at least 1 MB in size. Please attach the photo to your email and send it to Each entry must be accompanied by photographer’s name, address and co-op.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: August 31. Select photos will appear in the October 2022 issue.

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tdoors today picture this my opinion grin ‘n’ bare it










1. Anna Grace Nobles, by Thomasyne Nobles of Sumrall; Pearl River Valley Electric member. 2. Imani Bennett, by Sydney Tapley of Pearl; Southern Pine Electric member. 3. Caroline Eastland Watson, by Marci Pinion of Greenville; Twin County Electric member. 4. Megan Isabella Wise, by Pamealia Gentry of Starkville; 4-County Electric member. 5. Dustin May and Jaden Smith, by Jennifer May of Bruce; Ponotoc Electric member.

12 TODAY | JULY 2022

6. Mackenzie Mims, by Kelli Nobles of Coila; Delta Electric member. 7. Logan Hux, by Tracy Hynum of Port Gibson; Southwest Electric member. 8. Sarah Elizabeth McClain, by Janice McClain of Carrollton; Delta Electric member. 9. Frederick Akeem McNair, by Barbara McNair of Collins; Southern Pine Electric member. 10. Baleigh Cheyenne Brumfield, by Dawn Brumfield of Summit; Magnolia Electric member. 11. Rylee Winstead, by Becky Winstead of Moss Point; Singing River Electric member.






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12. Jacob McMillan and Alexandria Howard, by Jeannie Ross Howard of Louisville; East Mississippi EPA member.

18. Charlisia Richardson, by Calvin Richardson of Port Gibson; Southwest Electric member.

13. Amber Terry, by Linda Terry of Olive Branch; Northcentral Electric member.

19. Hunter Snellgrove, by Angelia Snellgrove of Mendenhall; Southern Pine Electric member.

14. Carrigan Prine, by Trish Little of Magee; Southern Pine Electric member. 15. Ryan Renfroe, by Terri Corley of Pearl; Southern Pine Electric member.

20. Colby Braidon Bronson Johnson, by Destiny Hart of Columbia; Pearl River Valley Electric member.

16. Drewnae Aliese Pickens, by Danielle Pickens of Gautier; Singing River Electric member.

21. Briana Grace Reed, by Annie Banks of Fayette; Southwest Electric member.

17. Wesley Jacobs (left) and Tommy Jacobs by Elizabeth Jacobs of Brandon; Central EPA member.

22. Madyson Canulette, by Paula Warnke of Picayune; Coast Electric member.

JULY 2022 | TODAY 13

North East Mississippi ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION For more information about Today in Mississippi, contact Sarah Brooke Bishop or Marlin Williams at 662-234-6331





Continuing service to our members, improving the quality of life It’s hard to believe we are already over halfway through 2022. North East Mississippi Electric Power Association has been busy staying on top of issues which all of us in the utility world are facing. I am listing a couple I wanted to update you on.

Electric Vehicles (EV) There is a great deal of “buzz” going around about electric vehicles. While this does bring excitement of new sales to the industry, it also brings challenges regarding infrastructure and pricing. Think about a gas station. The power required to charge a car in less than 30 minutes is about 300 kW. If you have 10 charges at a convenience store, the capacity to supply the load is the same as a small factory or a Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Studies show 80-90% of the charging will be done at home. A class two charger in the home requires as much current as most air conditioners. And there is the issue with our residential pricing structure. If your neighbor has an EV and they charge it when our system is experiencing peak demand, you will be subsiding the charging of their car. More on this in a later issue. To better understand car charging we installed charging stations at our office. Currently, NEMEPA is providing free charging to people in our parking lot. This allows us to obtain data which will enable us to better plan for what’s coming in the future. If you own an electric vehicle, I encourage you to come by and use the charging stations. Also, NEMEPA will be purchasing an electric vehicle soon and hope to have a demonstration day for our membership.

largest concerns is the delay on getting transformers. Many of our manufacturers have had restrictions which is delaying the number of materials they are able get to build transformers. As you can imagine, this has caused a drastic shortage of them. Nobody knows what the future holds. It is very concerning, but we are staying on top of this and working to ensure NEMEPA has what it needs.

Bright Ideas Employees at North East and NE SPARC are working closely with our area schools to provide grants to teachers in a new program called Bright Ideas. I am very excited for this new program. Our youth are our biggest asset, so any time we can invest in them it benefits our community. As far as economic development and growing our communities, we need talented, educated people, and I am all for anything we can do to help in that regard. Teachers are eligible to apply when they have students who are part of a household serviced by North East Power or NE SPARC. Teachers can find out all the details on our website — I hope we get lots of participation from our area schools. As we approach the second half of our year, all of us at NEMEPA will continue to serve our members — helping to improve the quality of life for everyone.

Supply Chain There are benefits to electric vehicles, but there are also some concerns. Another concern I have is the supply chain. If you have tried to order a product in the last 24 months, you know there are delays in delivery. In our industry, one of the

14 TODAY | JULY 2022

by Keith Hayward General Manager/CEO


NE SPARC begins construction in Pontotoc County

NE SPARC has begun construction in Pontotoc County to bring the fastest, most reliable fiber internet option available to Randolph, Ingomar, Toccopola, and surrounding areas. “Recently NE SPARC installed its first communication shelter at the Algoma Water Association site to serve customers along Highway 334 and Highway 9. Construction is in process for those areas with expected completion in the fall,” said Randall Abel, chief operations officer of NE SPARC. “NE SPARC contractors also have begun fiber construction in the Ingomar area with additional construction scheduled to begin along Highway 346 this summer.” Our construction crews have installed nearly 1,500 miles of fiber in the last 24 months and are well trained and dedicated. Some fiber will attach to poles owned by our friends at Pontotoc Electric. Other fiber will be buried underground along the county roadways. Burying the fiber where possible provides

a more reliable network and in the long run helps us keep down costs. Our goal is to have the network up and going in this area as quickly and safely as possible. “We are very excited that our project is 100% complete in 24 months and under budget, so now we are expanding into areas that make sense. The demand is there for people who want our service. I think we have seen what it can do to help the community and people get through COVID-19 issues, schooling issues, working from home — it just changes life,” said Keith Hayward, chief executive officer of NE SPARC. “As long as we can make it work, we will provide NE SPARC wherever it makes sense — even if they are not our members.” Anyone interested in checking to see if this phase of construction includes their home or business can visit NESPARC. com. While on the site, you can pre-register for service, so you will be notified when your zone opens.

In April, North East Mississippi Electric Power Association celebrated Lineworker Appreciation Day by hosting a lunch for our employees. Lineworker Appreciation Day started in 2013 to honor the linemen that put their lives on the line to bring power to the people. We are so thankful for each of our linemen and the hard work they exhibit each day to keep our system operating.

JULY 2022 | TODAY 15

by Susan Collins-Smith It is hard to resist soaking up the sun’s rays in the summertime, but it’s important to take proper precautions. “Most people don’t know tanned skin is damaged skin,” said David Buys, Mississippi State University health specialist. “That golden brown is actually an injury in the top layer of your skin.” That damage can lead to burns, cataracts, skin cancer, premature aging, less immunity to illness, and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in adults. To avoid these damaging effects, people who spend time outdoors, even on cloudy days, should always take steps to protect themselves from the ultraviolet A and B light — or UVA and UVB. These two spectrums of light damage the skin and eyes. Sun damage can progress into skin cancer in some cases. Buys

16 TODAY | JULY 2022

urges people to learn how to recognize the signs of three types of skin cancer related to sun damage: basal cell, squamous cell, and malignant melanoma. “Knowing how to spot these cancers early can lead to timely, effective treatment,” said Buys. “Check the skin all over your body once a month. Look for fleshy bumps that bleed, scab over and heal in cycles; scaley patches of skin; and moles that appear suddenly or begin to grow and change color. “Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer and the one most likely to spread to other parts of the body,” he said. Susan Collins-Smith is a writer with the Mississippi State University Extension Service..

• Always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor — or SPF — of 30 or higher. Look for water-resistant formulas, and apply as directed. Reapplication is recommended after at least two hours and after sweating or swimming.

• Apply a thick layer of sunscreen, and rub it in well. • Sunscreen expires after one to two years. Replace it every year, and write the purchase date on the container.

ASYMMETRICAL SHAPE One half of the mole does not look like the other half.

BORDER The border of the mole is scalloped or poorly defined.

• Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. if possible.


• Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight.

The colors within the mole vary. There may be shades of tan, brown or black, or areas of white, red, or blue.

• Wear broad-brimmed hats (3- to 4-inch brims) and tightly woven clothing. Clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor — or UPF — are available.

• Buy sunglasses with labels that say they block most UVA and UVB light.

• Use a beach umbrella, cabana, tent, or canopy for shade during extended exposure to the sun.

• Set a timer or alarm if falling asleep in the sun is a possibility.

DIAMETER The mole is larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser (6 millimeters).

EVOLVING The most important factor is to know what is normal. If a mole changes color and/or size, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

JULY 2022 | TODAY 17

by Abby Berry We spend a lot of time indoors. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the average person spends 90% of their life indoors. (I don’t know about you, but I suddenly have the urge to go for a long walk!) Additionally, our homes are becoming more energy efficient — they’re better insulated and sealed with less ventilation — which is great for our energy bills but not so much for our indoor air quality. The thought of breathing in pollutants can be scary, but the truth is, indoor air pollution is common and simply unavoidable. The good news is there are ways you can easily improve the air quality of your home.

Here are five tips to help you breathe a little easier. Change your air filter often. Clogged, dirty filters reduce the amount of airflow and the HVAC system’s efficiency. When a filter becomes too clogged, the excess dirt and dust are sent through your air ducts, adding unnecessary allergens and other unwanted particles into your living space. During the cooling season (summer months), the Department of Energy recommends replacing your air filter every month or two. This is one of the easiest ways to promote better indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

Regularly vacuum carpet and rugs — especially if you have furry friends. The cleaner the home, the healthier the home. Vacuuming carpet and area rugs once a week can greatly reduce the accumulation of pet dander and dust inside your home. Frequently clean other areas that collect dust, like drapes, bedding, and cluttered areas. 18 TODAY | JULY 2022

Use vents to remove cooking fumes. Those exhaust fans aren’t just for when you burn the bacon. Fans help remove fumes emitted while cooking and eliminate unwanted moisture and odors. They may be a bit noisy, but these handy tools can help you improve indoor air quality while you’re preparing that culinary masterpiece (or even a grilled cheese sandwich!).

Get a handle on humidity. Summer months typically bring more humidity than we’d like, especially if you live in a high-humidity climate zone. Moisture in the air can carry bacteria and other unwanted particles that you eventually breathe in. Dehumidifiers work to remove that moisture from the air, reducing the amount of bacteria, mold and other allergens in your home.

Incorporate air-purifying plants into your living space. There are several varieties of indoor plants that can help detoxify your home from dust and germs found in a variety of home products, furniture, and other materials. A few low-maintenance, air-purifying plants to consider are snake plants, aloe vera plants, and pothos plants (also known as Devil’s Ivy). These vibrant, lush plants are eye-catching and beneficial for any home. Remember to review care conditions, and think about placement for any new plants you add to your home.

Taking simple steps to purify indoor air can improve health and overall quality of life. With a little effort, you can improve the indoor air quality of your home and breathe a bit easier.

JULY 2022 | TODAY 19

by Steven Ward

“I made em hurl!” Brandon Jackson, Horn Lake High School’s new head football coach, was running conditioning drills with his team on the first day of summer practice.

20 TODAY | JULY 2022

Jackson wasn’t laughing or even smiling. But he was enthusiastic and loud while he yelled at the high school students as they ran up and down the practice field. “I’m not training you to be high school athletes; I’m training you to be college athletes,” Jackson shouted to the students. The team had breakfast together before heading outside to run. Some of that breakfast later wound up in a few little piles on the field. Jackson’s first day of summer football practice at Horn Lake High School in 2022 marked a historic milestone. Jackson is the school’s first black head football coach. He also won a Super Bowl in 2011 when he was a running back for the Green Bay Packers. It was hard to tell if the boys were in awe of their new coach on the first morning of summer practice. How can someone be in awe of anything when they are trying to catch their breath and keep their breakfast down?

Jackson’s Horn Lake High School retired football jersey is Jackson has made history as the school’s first black head encased in a frame that hangs on a school wall. football coach, something the married father of three takes Jackson, 36, grew up in Chicago, but later moved to Mississippi very seriously. with his family and landed in Horn Lake. “It is an honor and privilege to be the first African American “Growing up in Chicago and coming to Horn Lake was a cultural head coach at Horn Lake High School, and the second in the hisadjustment for myself and my family. Playing football at Horn Lake tory of Desoto County. Growing up, my father was the first African High School was one of the greatest experiences because it gave American to play the sport of basketball at Arkansas College. me the opportunity to play on the next level, college football,” He left me a part of his legacy and history,” Jackson said. Jackson said. “As a community I believe young, Mentorship plays a key role in a rising African American men need to see young man’s life, Jackson said. He a familiar image to help them become knows firsthand from his experiences successful. This is the experience of It is an honor and privilege to be a lifetime, and I’m here to serve my in Horn Lake. “Coach Craig Casey (one of Jackcommunity proudly.” the first African American head son’s former high school football Horn Lake High School Principal Nick coach at Horn Lake High School, Toungett, who is white, said representacoaches) was a great mentor. He inspired me throughout middle school tion matters, but he didn’t hire Jackson and the second in the history and during my high school years. He because he was black. of Desoto County. taught me about never giving up and “I believe it is important to have a staff how to overcome onerous situations. population that represents the student Outside of high school, my biggest inspiration is my brother Ben population that they serve. When screening candidates, I did not Jackson. He never missed any of my accomplishments throughhave a goal to hire the school’s first black head football coach. My out my life with football. He’s my greatest support and always the goal was to fill the position with the candidate that had the best counselor I needed,” Jackson said. chance to grow our young men on and off the field and win at When asked why he wanted to be Horn Lake High School’s everything,” Toungett said. head football coach, Jackson said he wanted to “change young “I felt like Brandon Jackson was that guy. However, I am men’s lives.” extremely excited that the guy we chose is from Horn Lake, is “Growing up in Horn Lake, I always wondered what if? What a Super Bowl champion, and is the first black head football coach if I had a Super Bowl champion for a coach, how much more at Horn Lake.” would I have accomplished,” he said.

Photos by Chad Calcote

JULY 2022 | TODAY 21

When he was a student athlete at Horn Lake, Jackson was twice named a Class 5A offensive player of the year. He was recruited by the University of Nebraska where he scored 14 touchdowns and ran for 1,431 yards on 291 carries. Jackson was selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers where he later won Super Bowl XLV in 2011 against the Pittsburg Steelers. “Winning the Super Bowl was a very surreal situation. Growing up, I would watch every Super Bowl throughout the years, hoping that it would be me one day,” Jackson said. In July 2011, Jackson was signed by the Cleveland Browns where he finished out his pro career. Jackson has coached at the college level, including stops at Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri State. Before he took the Horn Lake job — his first as a head coach — he was a defensive coordinator at Olive Branch High School.

22 TODAY | JULY 2022

Toungett said he loves Jackson’s enthusiasm and passion for the community. “He has brought a tremendous amount of energy and excitement to our program. The main three things about his personality that grabbed my attention was his energy, his passion, and his humbleness. Coach Jackson has accomplished great things as a player and a coach yet remains humble and grounded. You don’t always find this when dealing with people that have accomplished as much as he has,” Toungett said. The principal said the most important trait he was looking for in a coach was someone who could lead the students on and off the field. “Someone who will inspire them to be the best that they can be at everything they do, while holding them accountable along the way,” Toungett said.

Back out on the practice field, Jackson and his assistant coaches kept asking the students if they “want it?” “If not, just go home,” Jackson yelled. There were other phrases Jackson shouted out to his students as the drills continued. “Get up! You want it? Take it! Fight!” “Keep up or get passed up!” “My goal for these kids is to take them back to my grind. This is what I did. I want to show them how to make it,” Jackson said during a break. “This team is going to be the fastest and most disciplined team in Mississippi. Even our managers are going to be fast,” Jackson said smiling. Later, after practice, Jackson put it a different way. “Understanding where I have been in life and where these young men want to go is part of the journey. I want our young men to be student athletes first. That means the classroom will always come first and football second. Having success off the field is of the upmost importance.”

JULY 2022 | TODAY 23

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209 Black Jack Rd, Rd, Choctaw, Choctaw, MS 39350 Chocta 39350

The Mississippi Heritage Trust has honored the UM Museum with a Heritage Award for its work to oversee and preserve Rowan Oak, home of author William Faulkner. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

by Edwin B. Smith For more than two decades, the University of Mississippi Museum “Bill is the reason this award is occurring, by dint of his leadership, has been the steward of Rowan Oak, Pulitzer Prize-winning vision and professionalism over so many years of dedicated service,” author William Faulkner’s home and grounds, with the support Saarnio said. “I have observed often that Bill Griffith is among a of university leadership and the very small number of top-tier and Facilities Management Department. most accomplished historic house The museum’s efforts were publicly museum curators in the nation. recognized recently with an award “I am proud and honored to be from one of the state’s premier historic his colleague.” preservation organizations. Griffith said it has been a pleasure The Heritage Award recognized the to serve as curator. museum’s stewardship and oversight “I’m honored and humbled that of Rowan Oak since the late 1990s. Mississippi Heritage Trust has The honor, which includes a plaque, chosen to give Rowan Oak its came during the statewide annual preservation award,” Griffi th said. historic preservation conference of “We’ve done a lot, but we still the Mississippi Heritage Trust. have a lot to do. This award will “Constructed circa 1840, Rowan ertainly go a long way in encouragOak has an important story to tell ing our efforts.” about Mississippi and one of our most Organized in 1992, the Mississippi famous writers, William Faulkner,” Lolly Heritage Trust was formed by a Rash, MHT executive director, said in a group of preservationists who Robert Saarnio (right) director of the UM Museum, accepts the 2022 news release. “The Mississippi Heritage Heritage Award from Kasey Adams, Mississippi Heritage Trust president, envisioned an organization that Trust is pleased to recognize the would work with local preservation during the MHT annual conference. University Museum for its stewardship groups and support their efforts of this treasured historic place with a 2022 Heritage Award.” to save Mississippi’s rich architectural legacy. Over its 30-year exisThe award is a tribute to more than two decades of daily direction tence, MHT has created programs such as the 10 Most Endangered by Rowan Oak’s curator, William Griffith, said Robert Saarnio, director Historic Places in Mississippi, the Mississippi Historic Preservation of University Museum and Historic Houses. Conference and Heritage Awards.

JULY 2022 | TODAY 27

Serves 12 The flavors of New Orleans’s signature sandwich, the Muffaletta, make for terrific pasta salad. Giardiniera is a mixture of pickled Italian vegetables. The blend usually contains cauliflower, carrots, pepperoncini, and celery. The name comes from the phrase “from the garden.” Chopped with green and black olives, this vegetable assortment adds some crunch, and

a zesty tang to this salad filled with provolone, mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, and ham with sprinkles of fresh oregano and sesame seeds. If needed, stir in more dressing if pasta has absorbed most of the dressing as it sits.

INGREDIENTS 1 (25 ounce) jar mild giardiniera, drained (any stems on peppers removed) 1 (5.75 ounce) jar sliced manzanilla pimento-stuffed green olives, drained 1 (7 ounce) jar Kalamata olive pieces, drained ¼ pound diced provolone cheese ¼ pound grated mozzarella cheese ¼ pound diced salami ¼ pound diced pepperoni ¼ pound diced ham ¼ cup Italian salad dressing ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

28 TODAY | JULY 2022

¼ cup red wine vinegar ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ teaspoon onion powder 1 (1 pound) box cellentani or your favorite pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained, and cooled to room temperature. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves 1 tablespoon sesame seeds Combine the vegetables and olives in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Toss everything together and let chill for at least an hour. This salad keeps well for up to 5 days.

Sift flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch together and set aside. Using an electric mixer beat the butter until creamy. Add the zest and the juice. Add the flour mixture and beat at medium-low speed until a smooth dough forms.

The zippy flavor of lime sings summer. These buttery cookies are glazed with a tart lime icing then dusted with powdered sugar.

INGREDIENTS 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour ½ cup powdered sugar ¼ cup corn starch 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature 1 tablespoon lime zest 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface shape each piece into a 10-inch log. Wrap up the logs and chill for 2 hours. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the dough into ½-inch pieces and form into crescent shapes. Place cookies 1–inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Mix the glaze ingredients together. When the cookies are completely cooled dip the tops into the glaze and place on a rack set over parchment paper. Let cookie glaze harden completely then dust with additional powdered sugar, if desired.

FOR THE GLAZE 1 ¼ cups sifted powdered sugar plus additional powdered sugar for dusting 1 teaspoon lime zest 2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice

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

JULY 2022 | TODAY 29

mississippi seen

mississippi is...


mississippi marketplace onopenthe menu outdoors today Events to the public will be published free of charge as space allows. Submit details at least two months prior to the event date. Submissions must include a phone number with area code for publication. Email to Events are subject to change. scene around the ‘sip picture this Frost Bridge Camp Meeting. July 15 to 24. WaynesThe World of Marty Stuart. Now through the end of boro. Christian family camp has been meeting for the year. Jackson. The exhibit will debut at the Two my co-op involvement over 100 years. This year’s special speakersopinion are Mississippi Museums downtown. “The World of Marty Stuart” explores Stuart’s life and his legacy of collecting country music’s stories. The exhibit includes hundreds of items never shown before in Mississippi, including Marty’s first guitar, original handwritten Hank Williams manuscripts, guitars from Merle Haggard and Pops Staples, costumes from Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, personal items from Johnny Cash, including his first black performance suit, and much more. 222 North St. No. 1206. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details: 601-576-6934.

The Isbell Family, evangelist Dr. George Matherson, evangelist The Rev. David Spencer, Bible teacher and Camp President The Rev. Richard Roach. Daily meetings are at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. with inspiring preaching and uplifting music. Country cooking daily in the dining hall at noon and 5 p.m. for $6 fee. It’s a family camp and facilities are available to come and stay all week. Boy and girl dorms house children 7 and up with a youth director and activities director for $75 to $150 for the entire 10 days, which includes meals and lodging. Lodging is available for adults in a motel for $20 a night and $10 a night for the RV park. 1455 Matherville Frost Bridge Road. Details: or 205-292-9176.

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Patriotic Saturday at Landrums Homestead. July 2. Laurel. Working homestead with over 85 buildings and displays, patriotic music, old tyme games, wagon rides, gem mining, demonstrations, homemade ice cream, watermelon, and lemonade. Smokehouse will be open. Admission $10, children 3 and under free. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Highway 15 South. Details: 601-6492546. The 64th Annual July 3 Gospel Sing Concert. July 3. Waynesboro. The Whisnants, Ricky Atkinson and Compassion, Sound Street and Harmony Brothers with LaBreeska Atkinson will all perform. A love offering will be received. Concessions will be available. Bring lawn chairs. Begins at 7 p.m. The South Mississippi Baptist Youth Campground, Pine Grove Road. Details: 601-735-9083.

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Holy Land Trip. Nov. 25 to Dec. 4. Ronnie and Beverly Cottingham are hosting a trip to the Holy Land. This will be their 20th time to host trips to “the land of the Bible.” If you’ve ever dreamed of literally walking where our Lord walked, this trip is for you. Sponsored by Jus’ Jesus Ministries, Incorporated of Lucedale. Space is limited. Details: 601-770-1447.

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Back in 1995, I was with a small group of journalists who went to St. Petersburg in Russia to preview the palaces that would be showcased the following year in The Palaces of St. Petersburg Exhibition in Jackson. We stopped briefly at Helsinki, Finland for the plane to be serviced before the last leg of the journey. Some of us got the bright idea that we needed to dash out of the airport so we could say we put our feet on Finnish soil. It was only after we had gone through customs and tapped our toes on the grass beside the sidewalk that we realized customs is just one way! You don’t turn around and go back in the way you came out.

We did find the entrance and got back to the plane on time. Fortunately, we didn’t have to have some special visa to get out of the country. We also didn’t require any particular level of intelligence as either. I thought about that adventure the other day when I stepped onto Dutch soil. And I didn’t have to leave Jackson to do it. I just went to Cedar Lawn Cemetery on West Capitol Street and visited Section 41. That portion of the cemetery was ceded to the Netherlands by the City of Jackson as the final resting place for Dutch pilots who lost their lives while training in Mississippi during World War II. Since the section is owned by the Netherlands, the pilots literally are buried in Dutch soil. The Flying Dutchmen of Jackson is a part of Mississippi history I didn’t know about until after I had been living here for several years. The Netherlands was overrun by Germany early in World War II as was the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) by Japan. So, the Netherlands military was without a country. The U.S. allowed Dutch pilots to train in America. Since they were using open cockpit aircraft, they requested bases in the south. Hawkins Field in Jackson became their headquarters.

Some of the pilots and trainers lost their lives in accidents. Not only here, but at other bases as well. They were all buried in Jackson. Later, other pilots, killed in combat, were returned to Jackson. By the end of the war there were 30 graves in Section 41 of Cedar Lawn. Then, in the years after the war, some of the men who had trained here wanted to be buried with their companions when they died. Some of their family members are buried with them. In years past there have been ceremonies at the Dutch flier graves around Memorial Day. Not so much lately. There were none this year. COVID-19 may have stopped them the past two years. So now, while we display our patriotism on the 4th of July, let’s remember the Flying Dutchmen of Jackson along with our service members. They trained here and fought for the Allies in World War II. They are buried in Dutch soil, right here in Mississippi.

While we display our patriotism on the 4th of July, let’s remember the Flying Dutchmen of Jackson along with our service members.

by Walt Grayson Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” Walt is also a reporter and 4 p.m. news anchor at WJTV in Jackson. He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at

JULY 2022 | TODAY 31


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