Today in Mississippi July 2024 Coahoma

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Plan to go to the polls! REGISTER. You have the POWER to BE INFORMED. You have the POWER to VOTE. You have the POWER to VOTE MS Co-ops


Another hidden gem

Without patting ourselves on the back too much, Today in Mississippi does a lot of things well.

Our first mission is to inform members of our cooperatives about the latest news regarding their local co-ops. I think we fulfill that primary purpose very well. But our statewide magazine is also a place where members go to read about the people and places that make Mississippi such a special place to live.

I know that we entertain our readers with those feature stories and photographs because your feedback has been so positive over the years.

In the spirit of those kinds of stories, this month’s cover story is a great reminder that Mississippi is filled with special places to visit within our state lines — hidden gems in some cases, so to speak.

When most people think of the origins of Coca-Cola, Atlanta and the state of Georgia spring to mind. The birthplace of the taste of Coke is, indeed, Atlanta, where a pharmacist created the drink’s flavorful syrup in 1886.

But it was a candy store owner in Vicksburg who first bottled Coca-Cola in 1894.

Mississippian Joseph A. Biedenham was the first to bottle Coca-Cola and ship it to rural areas so it could be consumed outside of soda fountains.

Biedenham’s story and the museum dedicated to his achievement is definitely a special place to visit for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

I’m not sure how many Mississippians know about the Museum of Coca-Cola History and Memorabilia in Vicksburg, but hopefully more folks are aware now.

We love to spotlight the special places in our state, and with our July 2024 cover story, we’ve done just that.

We hope you enjoy the issue.

Send us photos of your front porches. You and your family or friends can be on them, or just shoot us photos of your front porch solo. The photos must be highresolution 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: Aug. 30. Select photos will appear in the October 2024 issue.



Natchez novelist Greg Iles


The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 77 No. 7


Ron Barnes - President

Brian Hughey - First Vice President

Brian Long - Secretary/Treasurer

Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO


Lydia Walters - VP, Communications

Steven Ward - Editor

Chad Calcote - Creative Director

Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer

Alan Burnitt - Graphic Designer

Courtney Warren - Graphic Designer

Chris Alexander - Member Services Coordinator

Steve Temple - Social Media Director

Kendle Dean - Administrative Assistant



Acceptance of advertising by Today in Mississippi does not imply endorsement of the advertised product or services by the publisher or Mississippi’s electric power associations. Product satisfaction and delivery responsibility lie solely with the advertiser.

• National advertising representative: American MainStreet Publications, 800-626-1181

Circulation of this issue: 488,978

Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year.

Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 12 times a year by Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Inc., P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300, or 665 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Phone 601-605-8600. Periodical postage paid at Ridgeland, MS, and additional o ce. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising. The magazine is published for members of subscribing co-ops. The magazine is a bene t of membership.

POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2) NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to: Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300

Coke bottles from the past and present at the Museum of Coca-Cola History and Memorabilia. Photo by Chad Calcote.

News and Notes

HISTORY LESSON: Johnson saved electric co-ops

The 1964 presidential campaign got attention among electric cooperatives like no other because President Lyndon Johnson was a champion of rural electrification while his challenger, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, had a 92% unfavorable voting record on co-op issues.

Goldwater publicly stated that co-ops had “outlived their usefulness in most states.” He called for selling the Tennessee Valley Authority “even if the government could get only one dollar for it.”

“Had he been successful in his bid for the presidency, he would have wrecked our program,” NRECA General Manager Clyde T. Ellis wrote in his 1966 book “A Giant Step.”

A red flag was raised in 1960 when Goldwater published “The Conscience of a Conservative,” his manifesto on conservative principles in contemporary politics. When electric co-op leaders read that “the government must begin to withdraw from a whole series of government programs,” including “public power” and “agriculture” on a “rigid timetable,” they knew the Arizona senator was talking about the federal power marketing agencies and the Rural Electrification Administration.

Meanwhile, Johnson “had a long record of support for our program,” and his running mate, Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey “had led us to some of our most vital victories in Congress,” Ellis wrote.

If there was lingering doubt that election year about where Goldwater and the Republican leadership stood on rural electrification, it was eliminated when the National Observer newspaper reported that the candidate’s advisors named only one thing when asked for examples of what the candidate might eliminate if he were president: the Rural Electrification Administration.

Investor-owned utilities loved the book. Ellis noted that one of them, Virginia Electric Power Company, bought 500 copies and distributed them to high school libraries in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

Goldwater and Ellis saw the world very di erently. Sparring at a 1956 Senate hearing, the Arizonan argued that it made no di erence whether the federal government or investor-owned utilities developed hydroelectric power on the nation’s rivers.

Ellis and asserted that the “natural resource of falling water … belongs to the people.” Private companies and their stockholders should not be allowed to profit from it over not-for-profit companies like co-ops and municipal utilities.

“To people who had dedicated their lives to the rural electrification program, it was unthinkable that anyone with such views might become president,” Ellis wrote. “With a grim determination, that united us as never before – Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives – in a massive e ort to be certain he did not carry the rural areas.”

NRECA, the National Farmers Union, the Cooperative League of the U.S.A. and other like-minded groups and individuals organized Rural Americans for JohnsonHumphrey, and by September there were chapters in 40 states. Volunteers distributed more than three million pieces of campaign literature, according to Ellis. And “well over 2,000 radio tapes were prepared and sent to stations throughout the country, along with many TV tapes, and they were widely used.”

County and precinct chapters did everything from hand out JohnsonHumphrey bumper stickers to putting on fundraising dinners.

“The locals did the actual campaigning with the voters and got out the vote on Election Day,” Ellis wrote. Many of those locals were electric co-ops members, directors, and employees.

It worked. Johnson won 61% of the popular vote in a landslide victory in which Goldwater was awarded only six states.

Most newspapers and magazines noted the strength of the rural vote in their election round-up stories, and many singled-out Goldwater’s opposition to rural electrification as a decisive factor. – NRECA

Southern Gardening

Mabel Murphree’s Tupelo garden has an impressive variety of plants, but what really caught my attention when I visited were her purple blooms.

One of the first plants that stood out to me was the chive, typically known as an herb but also a great pollinator plant.

The beauty of chive flowers lies in their small, star-shaped blossoms which are a delightful shade of purple.

These flowers grow in dense, spherical clusters made up of numerous individual flowers connected by slender stems. Typically arranged in a globeshaped formation atop a single, tall stalk, the flowers rise above the foliage of the chive plant to give depth to the garden or landscape.

I found another of my favorites, Bachelor’s buttons, in Mabel’s garden.

beautiful blooms in both dark and light purple. Flowers may come in single or double form, making them a great addition to a garden. Once planted, they reseed freely, allowing you to enjoy their beauty year after year. Bachelor’s buttons are easy to grow and require minimal care. They do best in a full-sun location, but can tolerate some shade. They are perfect for adding a pop of color to a garden.

Bachelor’s buttons, or cornflowers, are classic annual plants that are widely known as reseeding pollinator plants. They produce

I was also intrigued in Mabel’s garden by a plant with striking purple blooms that I don’t often encounter — the Camassia.

the Camassia.

Camassia are perennials that produce clusters of star-shaped flowers arranged on long, slender stems. These spike-like stems rise above the foliage of the plant.

Camassia are known for their showy looks, which makes them a favorite among gardeners and florists alike. Additionally, Camassia blooms come in di erent shades of purple, from deep violet to lavender, adding depth and variety to a garden.

Camassia are perennials that you don’t see very often that produce clusters of star-shaped flowers on slender stems.

I think adding plants with purple blooms to your landscape can be a great way to create a striking and unique display that makes your garden the envy of the neighborhood. By using these plants, you can create a beautiful display that lasts for years to come.

Ajuga covered the ground in a shaded area of Mabel’s gardens. Ajuga, also known as bugleweed, has spikes of small, purple, tubular-shaped flowers. The leaves are often glossy, and vary in color depending on the species and cultivar, ranging from green to bronze, purple, or variegated.

Ajuga is a pretty and low-maintenance plant that is perfect for adding natural beauty to shady areas of the landscape.

I think adding plants with purple blooms to your landscape can be a great way to create a striking and unique display that makes your garden the envy of the neighborhood. By using these plants, you can create a beautiful display that lasts for years to come.

Dr. Eddie Smith

Southern Gardening columnist Dr. Eddie Smith, a gardening specialist and Pearl River County coordinator with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, is an internationally certified arborist, Produce Safety Alliance certified trainer, and one of the developers of the Mississippi Smart Landscapes program that encourages the use of native plants in the landscape.

Bachelor’s buttons, or cornflowers, are classic annual plants that reseed freely and are low maintenance.
Although chives are known as herbs, these pollinator plants have beautiful, star-shaped blossoms in a delightful shade of purple.

Outdoors Today

For millennia, the Mississippi River deposited uncountable volumes of silt into the Gulf of Mexico, turning the bottom into a giant mudflat largely devoid of life. That silty flow also created the beaches and barrier islands along the Mississippi coast. Except for oysters, few natural hard spots existed in Mississippi waters.

Hard spots create entire marine ecosystems from the smallest organisms to huge fish. Algae grows on hard surfaces. That provides food for small creatures. Reefs give cover to crabs, shrimp, baitfish, and other animals. Predators come to reefs to hunt prey.

“Each reef is a fish oasis,” explains Sonny Schindler of Shore Thing Fishing Charters in Bay St. Louis. “I wish the state would line the entire coast with artificial reefs because they are such good places to fish.”

The Mississippi Artificial Reef Program o cially began in 1999, but the state placed a few old automobile bodies near the barrier

islands as far back as the 1960s. Nobody likes to see a hurricane approaching, but good things can spring from disaster. The 21st century hurricanes, particularly Katrina in 2005, provided the state with tons of debris. Mississippi recycled much of it into artificial reefs for fish habitat, bringing life from destruction.

“We have captured some material after hurricanes and deployed that material to create several artificial reefs,” Travis Williams, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Artificial Reef director, said. “When we have a natural disaster, we try to make something positive out of it.”

Katrina demolished the Highway 90 bridge that spanned the pass connecting Back Bay, also called Biloxi Bay, to Mississippi Sound. Now, entire concrete spans from that old bridge form Katrina Key just outside the pass. Also called Katrina Reef, the structure holds speckled trout, redfish, sheepshead, and other fish.

The state of Mississippi uses many di erent materials, such as concrete chunks and old culverts, to create artificial reefs that attract fish in inshore, nearshore, and o shore waters. Here, workers deposit new material at Katrina Key, a reef just outside Back Bay near Deer Island. Photos courtesy of the Mississippi Marine Resources Division.

We catch fish o Katrina Reef all year long, but the species vary according to the season. The reefs give cover to baitfish. Once baitfish get around the reefs, everything else follows

“We catch fish o Katrina Reef all year long, but the species vary according to the season,” says Robert Brodie of Team Brodie Charters. “The reefs give cover to baitfish. Once baitfish get around the reefs, everything else follows.”

Katrina also destroyed the Hancock County Jail in the town of Bay St. Louis. Now, rubble from that correctional facility became Jailhouse Key near Waveland. Some of that rubble also became Pass Christian Key. Storms also provided materials for many other structures.

Besides storm damage, Mississippi also obtains various materials from road repairs, demolished buildings, and other renovation or construction projects. These “secondary use materials” include things like old concrete culverts that make outstanding fish habitat. Most people just want to get rid of the old material and would rather donate it to the state to put it to good use than pay to haul it o to a landfill.

Today, numerous artificial reefs ranging from a few limestone blocks to entire sunken ships dot the Mississippi coast and o shore waters. Many exist where anglers in small boats, even kayaks, can reach them. In some places, wading anglers fishing the coastal beaches can fish the reefs.

For information about Mississippi reefs, see




John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer, broadcaster, photographer,
editor who lives in Alabama. An avid sportsman, he’s written more
3,300 articles for more than 170 different magazines on a wide variety
outdoors topics. Contact him at
Ronnie Daniels of Fisher-Man Guide Services shows o a speckled trout he caught on a topwater bait while fishing near an artificial reef in Mississippi Sound near Pass Christian.
The state of Mississippi built numerous artificial reefs all along its coastline to provide cover for fish. Many anglers fish these reefs, like this one in Mississippi Sound near Pass Christian, to catch a variety of fish including speckled trout, redfish, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, and other species.
Ronnie Daniels of Fisher-Man Guide Services admires a speckled trout he caught on a topwater bait while fishing near an artificial reef in Mississippi Sound.

Scene Around the ‘Sip


Natchez author Greg Iles is not Penn Cage.

It might be hard for readers to reconcile that fact with his new book, “Southern Man,” his seventh novel featuring protagonist Cage, a former Texas prosecutor who moves back to his hometown of Natchez to raise his daughter after the death of his wife.

The Cage story started with his 1999 novel, “The Quiet Game.”

By the time the reader picks up “Southern Man,” Cage and Iles almost seem as one.

Both men grew up and live in Natchez. Both men are published authors. Both lost part of their legs in car accidents. Both men have a daughter that works in Jackson as an attorney. Both men watched their mothers die of a rare blood cancer. Both men su er from multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer – the same cancer that killed their mothers.

“Southern Man,” I was facing a very di erent kind of challenge,” Iles told Today in Mississippi during a recent interview.

“One, I was moving Penn ahead 18 years in time to 2023. Two, by now most of your readers know that at age 36, I was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer, something I chose to keep secret for most of my career. While I was writing “Southern Man,” my mother was diagnosed with the same cancer, and I had to watch her die long before I finished the book. During this prolonged e ort, I found it impossible to leave those unique and remarkable circumstances out of the process. It’s as though the intensity of those events finally caused Penn and I to merge into the same character at last.”

“From the beginning, Penn and I shared a certain number of character traits, but he was never completely based on me. But in

Iles, 64, was asymptomatic for years after his diagnosis. He survived for more than 20 years with a “smoldering” form of the cancer, Iles said. Two years ago, however, the cancer “switched on” while writing “Southern Man.” Iles is slated to get a stem cell transplant soon. In 2011, Iles lost part of his right leg after he was injured in an automobile accident on Highway 61 near Natchez.

Author Greg Iles gave a reading from his new novel, “Southern Man,” May 28 at the Cathead Distillery in Jackson. The event was sponsored by Lemuria Books and the Mississippi Book Festival.

“Southern Man” is a political crime thriller.

A mass shooting, police corruption, race relations, and the hidden generational secrets of powerful Mississippi families all play important roles in “Southern Man.” Tragedies pile up in the narrative’s first 200 pages. Readers of Iles’ previous novels know that the author has never shied away from this kind of subject matter.

“I once had an editor, Colin Harrison, who was also an author. He used to laugh and say every Greg Iles novel contained five times as much plot as any other writer’s and enough for five books. There’s certainly some truth in that. But in the case of “Southern Man,” the escalating sequence of tragedies was quite intentional,” Iles said.

Although he was born in Germany — Iles’ father ran a U.S. Embassy’s medical clinic — Iles has lived in Mississippi since he was 3. Iles grew up in Natchez and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983.

“In many ways, I had an idyllic childhood in Mississippi. Natchez was quite a di erent town in the 60s and 70s. It was an exciting blend of urban and rural life, probably unique in the state. It had a long tradition of international rule, and that gave those of us lucky enough to grow up there a very broad background and sense of a larger world,” Iles said.

With Stephen King and John Grisham counted as longtime fans, the author of 15 New York Times best sellers could live anywhere in the world. Instead, he chose to say in his home state.

“I’ve always loved Morgan Freeman’s answer when he was asked why he lived in Mississippi when he could obviously live anywhere in the world, ‘Because I can.’ Mississippi has produced some of the finest (art) in the nation, and indeed, the world. I’m proud of the Mississippians who have left and found success and have now returned to change their home state for the better. The things that make Mississippi, and once made all of America,

a richer place — a deep love of extended family and of the land itself — still endure here, and we are all the better for it. It’s the reason northern factory managers who came to Natchez with terrible notions about the south ended up retiring here. To their surprise, they loved the place. As one of my Mississippi heroes, Mac McAnally, wrote in his song, “Back Where I Come From”:

“Back where I come from Where I’ll be when it’s said and done And I’m as proud as anyone That’s where I come from”

Mississippi has produced some of the finest (art) in the nation, and indeed, the world. I’m proud of the Mississippians who have left and found success and have now returned to change their home state for the better.

Photos by Chad Calcote

Connor Industries locating operations in Coahoma County

Boat manufacturer Connor Industries is locating operations in Clarksdale, representing a corporate investment of at least $8 million and the creation of 56 jobs, according to a news release.

Connor Industries’ new location will enable the company to manufacture and test boats year-round on the Mississippi River. The project involves the construction of a new 48,600-square-foot facility to house Connor Industries’ new Clarksdale operations, as well as public infrastructure improvements in north Coahoma County, including the construction of a new road over the Mississippi River levee, and a river dock landing.

The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for site development and infrastructure improvements. Substantive additional support is being provided through grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Delta Regional Authority.

“Connor Industries’ new location in Coahoma County is another reminder of the incredible variety of resources that our state has to o er. This significant private-sector investment will bring new opportunities to the people of Coahoma County that, in turn, will strengthen the area’s economy through local spending and a stronger tax base. I welcome Connor Industries to our great state, and I wish the company many years of success in the Mississippi Delta,” Gov. Tate Reeves said in the release.

Coahoma Electric and Cooperative Energy were a key part in supporting Connor Industries’ decision to locate in Coahoma

County. Through a $50,000 Cooperative Competes grant, Coahoma Electric defrayed electric connection costs for this project, relieving Connor Industries from an additional upfront capital outlay.

“While many know Coahoma Electric as a power provider in our area, many may not know that our wholesale power provider, Cooperative Energy, has an entire team of economic development professionals dedicated to working projects like this in the region. The team serves as an extension of ours, and the economic development services they provide helps us compete at an even higher level and on an international scale, attracting businesses like Connor Industries to Coahoma County,” Coahoma Electric CEO Keith Hurt said.

Based in Canada, Connor Industries’ product line includes welded aluminum commercial, luxury, and emergency response vessels. The company expects to complete construction next year and plans to fill the 56 jobs shortly after completion.

“We are thrilled to create new economic opportunity for the citizens of Coahoma County and the entire northwest delta region. We are grateful to all those in local, state and the federal U.S. government who have helped in the recruitment and funding of infrastructure necessary for Connor Industries to expand into Coahoma County, Mississippi. We are excited for the growth opportunities for our company represented by this expansion,” Connor Industries Founder and CEO Bill Connor said.

Foundation scholarship awarded to Lance Shepherd

Coahoma Electric Chief Executive O cer Keith Hurt awarded Lance Shepherd a scholarship on behalf of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Foundation.

Shepherd is a 2024 graduate of Lee Academy in Clarksdale and attended the school since the 7th grade. Shepherd played basketball in 7th through 9th grades.

When asked if he had any advice for underclassmen, Shepherd said, “Su er through your work now, so you won’t have to stress about it right before it’s due.”

He plans to attend Delta State University. Lance Shepherd is the son of Frank Shepherd. Frank Shepherd is the Chief Information O cer at Coahoma Electric Power Association and has been employed there for 23 years.

QHow do I know if my HVAC system is malfunctioning?

AEquipment functionality issues can a ect your electricity use, which may result in higher energy bills. The age of your equipment can be a major factor in function. The lifespan of a heating and cooling system ranges from 15 to 20 years.

Proper maintenance and lower use can increase the life of the equipment. To find out the age of your system, look for the

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is one of the most important and expensive systems in your home. Detecting issues early can help you plan for repairs or equipment replacement.

manufactured date printed on the unit’s nameplate. If you can’t find it, search online using the model number or call the manufacturer. Being thrifty by nature, I typically subscribe to the notion of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That said, I also believe in being prepared for the inevitable. If your system is approaching or past the 20-year mark, start saving for a new system and get replacement estimates.

There are a few warning signs to watch out for if your heating and cooling system needs to be repaired or replaced:

• AIR CONDITIONING – It’s not as cool as usual. If the air from your air conditioner is warm or not as cool as it usually feels, the equipment has an issue. It could be a problem with the compressor or a refrigerant leak. Contact a professional to get the issue checked. Many refrigerants, especially the ones used in older systems, are harmful to the environment. Fix leaks before adding more refrigerant. Special certifications are required for handling refrigerants, so hire a professional to ensure the work is done properly.

• LOW AIRFLOW – If you aren’t getting good airflow, it could be an easy fix, such as filter replacement or opening closed dampers. If you’ve made these fixes and airflow is not at normal levels, contact a professional. There could be a bigger problem with a motor, fan, or something else.

• BAD ODORS – Heating and cooling systems sometimes smell when you first start them up for the season. Those smells should be minor and dissipate quickly. Any serious smells—such as burning metal, melting plastic or noxious odors—are a sign that your system is in trouble. If you smell those odors, turn your system o immediately and contact a professional.

• STRANGE NOISES – There is typically noise associated with the fans and motors in heating and cooling systems. Take note of any excessive or new noises. If your system is making any clunking, clanging, or whistling noises, turn it o and check the filter. If that doesn’t solve it, reach out to a pro.

• RUNNING FREQUENTLY – Your system needs to run more to keep up on extreme weather days, but there might be an issue if it runs too often. Short cycling is when a system cycles on and o before completing the heating or cooling process. Contact a professional to diagnose this issue.

Several factors come into play when deciding to fix existing equipment or invest in new equipment. Consider the severity of the issue, repair costs, the likelihood of additional repairs, equipment lifespan, and your budget.

The e ciency of your existing system is also a consideration. Heating and cooling technology improvements have come a long way in the last 20 years. Lower operation costs can o set the cost of a new system over time.

Consider your options before you are in desperate need. I recommend getting estimates from at least three contractors. Ask the contractor, “If this was your home, what type of system would you install and why?” The best solution for your home might be a di erent type of equipment.

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

The best solution for your home might be a di erent type of equipment. This high-e ciency, dual-fuel heat pump system heats and cools.
Photo Credit: Midwest Energy E ciency Alliance
The lifespan of a heating and cooling system ranges from 15 to 20 years. Proper maintenance and lower use can increase the life of the equipment.


Unless you’ve just awakened from an especially long nap, you’ve probably been hearing plenty about artificial intelligence (AI). It’s likely that much of what you’ve heard is either exciting or terrifying. Movies and TV o er up paradises in which technology frees us from daily drudgery — and frightening scenarios in which machines become our overlords.

Venkat Banunarayanan smiles when asked if popular media’s takes on AI are accurate. “We’re at the stage of discovery with AI,” he says. “There’s a lot more buzz than reality at this point, and we have a long way to go.”

As the vice president for integrated grid business and technology strategies for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Venkat spends some of his time exploring possible use cases with AI, augmented/virtual reality (VR), and other promising technologies, while considering how they might improve the way electric co-ops serve their consumer-members. “Can AI do things better? Can it handle some of the tasks we have to do today? The answer to those and most other questions is the same: maybe.”

Despite what you may have heard, AI is not capable of thinking on its own. The functionality greatly depends on programming, how the tool is trained to handle specific tasks, and the level of data being fed into the system.

Because these new technologies interface with internal and external systems, Venkat stresses the importance of strong cybersecurity. “We need to make sure hackers can’t influence systems,” he warns. “When we consider advancements like AI, we need to ensure protection of personal, critical infrastructure, proprietary, and confidential data, too.”

As electric cooperatives explore the possibilities of AI, they will focus on underlying needs rather than the technology itself. Examining better ways to accomplish tasks and obtain desired results will guide co-ops as they consider AI tools for more e cient processes and approaches.

Electric co-ops are likely to experience the growth of AI in the foreseeable future via incremental improvements. For example, the next generation of smart meters might incorporate AI tools that help homeowners better manage their energy use. AI-based systems may also be used to improve management of the nation’s power grid, spotting potential problems before human operators can. Weather forecasts are likely to become more accurate, pinpointing the areas

most likely to experience damage, so crews can be stationed there.

Another promising technology currently explored is augmented reality (AR), and some co-ops are already testing it, particularly in educational and training opportunities. For example, apprentice lineworkers can become comfortable manipulating AR and VR versions of equipment before working with the real thing. Instead of watching a video or a webinar, lineworkers can interact with what they’re doing.

AR blends VR with the world around us. One day soon, a lineworker may look up at a failed transformer atop a power pole. Their safety glasses will instantly recognize the type of transformer, its exact location, and when it was installed before displaying a checklist of the equipment the lineworker may need, a guide to diagnosing common problems, and even 24-hour access to technical experts.

From solving outages more quickly, to allowing greater control over energy use, to lowering the cost of service, tomorrow’s innovative technologies will continue to help co-ops enhance the services they provide to their local communities.

For more than four decades, business writer Scott Flood has worked with electric cooperatives to build knowledge of energy-related issues among directors, sta , and members.

Electric cooperatives are already using artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) for key tasks and activities. Looking ahead, co-ops see great potential for AI and AR as helpful tools for improving grid reliability and the services they provide to consumer-members.

AI tools like chatbots can enhance member interactions and provide a tailored experience based on energy use data.

With the help of AI, weather forecasts will become more accurate, pinpointing areas to station utility crews.

Through augmented reality, or AR, lineworkers can experience interactive, lifelike trainings, rather than watching a video or webinar.

Our employees will observe Independence Day, and our o ces will be closed Thursday, July 4, for the holiday.

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

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

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

Please read this carefully

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

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

More Advanced Symptoms Include...

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

Inability to feel clothing like socks and gloves

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

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

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

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

Now here's the scary part....

Nerve damage CAUSES cell damage Cell damage SPEEDS UP nerve degeneration

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

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

Before you know it, damage can become so bad you hurt all the time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taking endless drugs and suffering terrible side effects that may damage your liver & kidney and create even more problems, is not a reasonable path. You deserve better. Three things must be determined to effectively treat neuropathy 1) What is the underlying cause? 2) How much nerve damage has been sustained? 3) How much treatment your condition will require?

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

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

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

Stop Hurting & Start Healing


Fans of Coca-Cola consume the world’s most popular soft drink in di erent ways. Some drink it from cans, others like plastic bottles, and some swear by the taste of a fountain drink.

But many Coca-Cola devotees will tell you that nothing comes close to the taste of the soda in an iced cold glass bottle. A cold glass bottle of Coca-Cola just hits di erent.

The first person in the world to ever bottle Coca-Cola was Vicksburg candy store owner Joseph A. Beidenharn.

In 1894, Beidenharn — a German immigrant who ran the Biedenharn Candy Co. on Washington Street in downtown Vicksburg — started to put Coca-Cola in bottles, so he could ship it to rural areas outside the city limits.


Beidenharn’s story as well as decades of Coca-Cola history, advertising, and memorabilia are at the heart of the Museum of Coca-Cola History and Memorabilia in Vicksburg.

“I think we get about 25,000 visitors a year,” said Nancy Bell, the executive director of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation. The foundation owns and operates the museum.

One look at the museum’s visitor’s log during a three-day period shows visitors from as far away as Scotland, the Netherlands, and England. Many of those museum visitors arrive in Vicksburg via riverboat cruises on the Mississippi River.

This year marks the 130th anniversary of the first bottled Coca-Cola.

I think we get about 25,000 visitors a year.

The museum opened in 1979 and is housed in the original Biedenharn candy store building on Washington Street.

When you first walk in, you enter a shotgun blast room of a gift shop filled with Coca-Cola memorabilia for sale on one side and the other filled with bottles and cans from years gone by for display purposes.

The gift shop also features cold bottles of Coca-Cola for sale as well as ice cream for Coca-Cola floats.

On the left side and behind the gift shop is the museum — rooms filled with glass display cases of Coca-Cola memorabilia and toys, advertising from decades ago, and a reproduction of the store’s “bottling works.” The bottling works was the name for the system used to make carbonated water, wash and cap bottles, and mix the syrup and water.

One of the glass displays holds the history of Coca-Cola in bottles, including the di erent sizes and shapes of the glass bottles throughout the years.

A big chunk of the memorabilia and advertising at the museum was donated. In 1985, the museum purchased a Holly Springs resident’s huge Coca-Cola collection, Bell said.

Interestingly, just about everything in the museum is connected to the original Coca-Cola. Out of the thousands of items there, just one references “New Coke” — a 1985 experimental rebranding by the soft drink giant that failed spectacularly.

After six weeks, New Coke fizzed out, and the company pulled the plug.

Photos by Chad Calcote
In 1890, Joe and his father Herman built a two-story brick building at 1107 Washington Street which served as Joe’s wholesale candy company on one side and his father’s shoe store on the other.
Nancy Bell, executive director of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation

According to the museum, Joseph A. Biedenharn — born in 1866 and one of 12 children — got into the soda water business as a sideline to his candy sales.

In 1890, a salesman for Coca-Cola called on the Vicksburg company leaving a five-gallon keg of syrup on the counter. Biedenharn started selling the soda via his soda fountain. Before long, Coca-Cola sales were outpacing his own soda flavors. The sales of Coca-Cola were so high at his store, the businessman figured the drink would be popular in the country as well. He just needed to figure out how to transport the sweet tasting beverage.

Later, after the success of his bottling idea, Biedenharn and his brothers acquired franchises to bottle Coca-Cola in Shreveport

and Monroe, Louisiana, and Texarkana, Wichita Falls, San Antonio, Temple, and Uvalde, Texas.

Today, there are still Biedenharns in those areas and all over Vicksburg.

“The museum is definitely a source of pride for all of us,” said 63-year-old F.M. “Easy” Biedenharn, a financial advisor in Vicksburg.

Joseph A. Biedenharn was Easy Biedenharn’s great uncle.

“It’s amazing to think that immigrants were responsible for all of this. I think this (the museum) is great for Vicksburg and great for Mississippi,” Easy Biedenharn said.

Joseph Biedenharn’s father, Herman, and Uncle Henry, founded a family retail candy store and shoe business. Joe eventually took over the operation of the candy side and it became the Biedenharn Candy Company.
The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum features the history of one of the nation’s beloved beverages, along with equipment of the type that Joseph Biedenharn used to bottle Coke for the first time anywhere in the world in 1894.

The feedback Bell gets on the museum from visitors usually revolves around the idea of nostalgia.

“They say things like, ‘I remember growing up with this.’ ‘This brings back such great memories,’” Bell said.

Back in 2001, Coca Cola’s advertising slogan was “Life tastes good.”

Feeling good seems to be what the Museum of Coca-Cola History and Memorabilia is all about.

A wide variety of original Coca-Cola advertising and memorabilia is on display to allow the visitor to follow the evolution of “The Pause That Refreshes!”

The restored candy store and o ce area will take you back to a simpler, sweeter time with furnishings and displays from the 1890s. Visitors can buy ice cream, fountain and bottle Cokes, Coke floats, and a wide selection of Coke souvenirs.

as corn acres slip

Cotton planting has all but drawn to a close in Mississippi for the year, with the state seeing an increase to an expected 500,000 acres in 2024.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture made that acreage estimate and said the crop was 94% planted by June 9, 2024. Of that acreage, 80% was either in good or excellent condition, with 19% in fair and just 1% in poor condition.

Brian Pieralisi, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said cotton planting began in late April in most places.

“The planting window depends on where you are in the state,” Pieralisi said. “We got a lot of cotton planted in those first few weeks, then there was a gap where some people were finished, and others couldn’t get in the field because of wet pockets.”

The majority of the crop was planted by mid-May, but growers struggled a bit to get the last 20% in the ground.

Pieralisi said the crop was slated to take o by mid-June.

It takes a while for the plants to establish roots, and they don’t look great during that time,” he said. “In the next few weeks, cotton will have reached 8-12 nodes, and they really start to get their feet under them at that point.”

Alex Deason, extension agent in the Delta region, said there is always a di erence between cotton grown in the north Delta and the south Delta.

“Cotton in the south Delta had very few problems as it came up, but recent rains have prevented growers from doing needed weed control or addressing fertility concerns,” Deason said. “The north Delta battled rains at planting, which caused some stand issues.”

Josh Tilley, extension agent in Lowndes County, said cotton in the eastern part of the state had adequate soil moisture, soil temperature and dry weather days to get it planted and has emerged without any major problems.

“Only time will tell how productive the cotton crop will be this year,” Tilley said. “Even though cotton is a heavily managed crop, the numbers worked out better for most growers to shift toward planting more cotton rather than corn or soybeans this year.”

Tilley said area cotton growers are also benefiting from a relatively new and well managed cotton gin, and another nearby gin is making some improvements.

“Between these two gins, they should be able to handle the increased acre production,” he said. “That always helps give farmers peace of mind about getting their cotton out of the field and ginned.”

Will Maples, MSU Extension agricultural economist, said the state’s increased cotton acreage is due to lower corn prices. The acreage expected in Mississippi is in line with recent cotton acreage and up from the 390,000 acres grown in 2023.

Despite the increased acreage, cotton prices have traded lower than in 2023.

Only time will tell how productive the cotton crop will be this year. Even though cotton is a heavily managed crop, the numbers worked out better for most growers to shift toward planting more cotton rather than corn or soybeans this year.

“December cotton futures have traded around $.75 to $.80 for the past month, down about $.05 from earlier in the year,” Maples said. “This decrease is driven by the expectation of larger supplies and weak demand.

“The weaker market might have caused some producers to shift their planting intentions away from cotton, so we may see slightly lower acres than projected in the April Prospective Plantings report from USDA,” he said.

Maples said demand for cotton continues to weigh down prices and is expected to for the near future.

“Any price rallies throughout the summer must be driven from the supply side, which means weather problems,” Maples said.

Cotton planting began in late April in Mississippi and was basically complete by the second week of June. Cotton acreage increased to about 500,000 acres in the state, up from 390,000 planted in 2023.
The state’s increased cotton acreage is due to lower corn prices. December cotton futures have traded around $.75 to $.80 since mid-May.
1. Rose, by Norma Bowlin of Summit; Magnolia Electric members.
2. Bearded Iris, by David Denham of Lauderdale; East Mississippi Electric member.
3. Red Rose, by Madison Collier of Wiggins; Pearl River Valley Electric member.
4. Day Lilly, by Pat Lemmermann of Ocean Springs; Singing River Electric member.
5. Snowball Bush, by Jessica Retherford of Wiggins; Pearl River Valley Electric member.
6. Viola, by Brigitte Cherubini of Gautier; Singing River Electric member.
7. Hibiscus, by Richard Dana of Pelahatchie; Southern Pine member.
8. White and pink Clematis, by Jo Sweatt of Olive Branch; Northcentral member.
9. Garden Dahlia, by Inez McGee of Morton; Southern Pine member.
10. Dogwood, by Julie Cha n of Brandon; Central Electric member..
11. Sweet Memory Cucumber, by Antonette G. Glaskox of Gautier; Singing River Electric member.
12. Louisiana Iris, by Carol Massarini of Lumberton; Pearl River Valley Electric member.
13. Yellow Rose Bud, by John Comeau of Biloxi; Coast Electric member.
14. My very first Rose, by Tiffany Sarah Peeples of Ackerman; 4-County Electric member.
15. Petunias and white and purple Salvia, by Gail Smith of Poplarville; Coast Electric member.
16. Cajun Hibiscus, by Mikie Love of Biloxi; Coast Electric member.
17. Amaryllis, by Joanne Herrington of Crystal Springs; Southern Pine Electric member.
18. Mustard and Ketchup Rose, by Linda Rogers of Laurel; Dixie Electric member.
19. Clematis, by Kim Dunaway of Saucier; Coast Electric member.
20. Canna Lily, by Paula Lyle of Gautier; Singing River Electric member.

THE Kitchen

Nobody in Mississippi would argue that July is when Satan is in charge of thermostats, and he sets them all to “hell,” then sits back and laughs. The temperatures are rising, and July dutifully gives us a taste of what August holds. But the middle child of summer also brings celebrations and vacations. Our January dreams of swimming pools, ice cold sweet tea, tomato sandwiches, and home-churned ice cream have finally arrived.

When I was a kid, my dad’s family reunion was the last Sunday in July — every year, rain, or shine. We would go to my Uncle Bob’s cabin on a lake in western South Carolina. The grown-ups in our family would spend the entirety of the weekend at my Mamaw’s and my Aunt Annie’s houses shucking corn, peeling potatoes, and boiling eggs. Our job was to stay outside and not slam the screen door as we left. On Sunday morning we trotted ourselves to Sunday school; it was Mamaw’s orders whether the adults went or not. When we returned, the house smelled of deviled eggs, potato salad, fried corn, and fried chicken. And the biscuits, oh my word!

Everything would be loaded up into cars, marching orders were given as to who was responsible for what, who was picking up the ice, and who was going by the market for a couple of cantaloupes. The rule was we waited 30 minutes after we ate to jump into the lake, and we had to wait for a dad, or an uncle, or a grown-up cousin to load up their .22 caliber gun so they could take a crack at the moccasins. We’d hear “SNAKE!” and that was code for head to shore. Were we deterred? Heck no. Right back into the water we’d go. There’s no way on God’s green earth I’d ever go back and redo THAT portion of those days, but, oh, what I wouldn’t give to relive the rest.

I hope you’re making some wonderful summer memories. I hope your first watermelon and tomato sandwich of the season was memorable enough to make you long for summer next year.


In a medium bowl, mix together 2 packages grape Jell-O 2 cups boiling water

Stir until dissolved. Then add: 1 large can crushed pineapple (undrained)

1 can blueberry pie filling

Mix all together. Pour into a 9 by 13 casserole dish; cover, and refrigerate until firm.

Serves 10-12

Allow to set overnight if you want a firmer salad, but it’s ready to eat as soon as the Jell-O is set.

Combine in a medium bowl: 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup sour cream ½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour over set Jell-O mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped pecans if desired.

Vicki Leach

Serves at least 12

Use a store-bought brownie mix to make the base of this cake, but be prepared to use muscle to cut it if you do. The taste is wonderful, but frozen brownie is hard to cut. If you have a caky brownie recipe, try it. Or use a cake mix.


1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cups cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1⁄3 cup vegetable oil

1⁄3 cup milk

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add sugar and stir. Mix egg, milk and oil together, and add to dry ingredients. Mix with a spoon until all combined. Bake in a 9 by 13 glass pyrex dish in the oven at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until done. Remove and cool. Stick in freezer for about 30 minutes until ready to assemble cake.

To assemble:

Use your favorite pink ice cream (peppermint, strawberry, or cherry cordial) and plop softened ice cream onto cake. Spread evenly over cake. Freeze for 3 or 4 hours. Remove and top with whipped cream, or Cool-Whip. Garnish with something appropriate, like crushed peppermint, fresh strawberries, or chopped up maraschino cherries.

Makes 24 to 30 cupcakes

A fast, easy coconut cake. I make 24 cupcakes and a little 6” snacking cake. Split the cake and frost the middle and the top.


3 large eggs

8 ounces sour cream

1⁄3 cup water

8 ounces cream of coconut (in the can - NOT coconut milk)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 white cake mix

Beat eggs for about 2 minutes until light. Add sour cream, 1/3 cup water, cream of coconut, and vanilla; beat well to combine. Add cake mix, beating at low speed just until blended. Beat at medium for 2 minutes. Portion into 24 cupcake papers, and a sprayed 6” cake pan or pour batter into a greased and floured 9 by 13 pan to make a sheet cake.

Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pic inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cake cool completely before frosting.

To Frost:

Use your favorite white frosting recipe — buttercream, or meringue, or even Cool-Whip — or use a store-bought white frosting, and frost cupcakes and cake.

To Top:

Combine 2 packages of frozen coconut and ½ a package of sweetened flaked coconut, 2 tablespoons of water, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl. Let set a few minutes then either dip frosted cupcakes into coconut to cover, or use hands to sprinkle coconut on top.

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

Honoring Our Home Front Family Dinner Benefit. July 19. Diamondhead. From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Diamondhead Country Club, 7600 Country Club Circle. Join us in recognizing those who secured the home front while our military members were deployed. Tickets are $100. All proceeds will fund Crusaders for Veterans Inc. in their efforts to promote respect for our military and to provide resources for those struggling. Various sponsorship packages available. Details: 217-201-1330.

Frost Bridge Camp Meeting. July 19 to 28. Waynesboro. This Bible-based family camp meets once a year. The camp is located at 1455 Matherville Frost Bridge Road. The rates are reasonable for dining hall meals, boys and girls dorms, and newly remodeled hotel rooms for adults. Join us for service or stay the whole week.  Bible study daily at 9 a.m. in small groups for adults, teens, and children. Morning worship begins at 10:30 a.m. and evening worship at 7 p.m. The music is led by the Isbell Family and enlightening preaching by Evangelists Dr. David Smith and Dr. Mark Weeter. Youth rates to stay the entire 10 days is only $150 for ages 12-18 staying in the dorm. Hotel rooms beginning at $15 a night and RV full hookups for $10 per day. Details: 205292-9176 or

Calhoun County Sacred Harp Singing Convention. Aug. 10. Vardaman. The event will be held at Mt. Herman Primitive Baptist Church, 163 CR 427, also known as Hollis Switch Road. Singing from starts at 10 a.m. A potluck lunch will be available in the church’s fellowship hall. Details: 662-507-9434.

Big Gospel Singing Jubilee. Aug. 10. Magee. Magee High School Auditorium, 501 Choctaw St. Featuring the World Famous Hinson Family, Terry Joe Terrel, Tim Frith & the Gospel Echoes, and Revelations. Details: 601-906-0677.

Mississippi Sacred Harp Singing Convention Aug. 24 and 25. Forest. The event will be held at Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, 6931 Hwy 21. Singing starts at 10 a.m. both days with potluck lunches to follow in the church’s fellowship hall. Details: marksdavis19@gmail. com

Clarke County Clarke Fest. Sept. 28. Quitman. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will include a car show, live music, food, feel and touch event, arts and crafts vendors, and a kid’s zone. Archusa Water Park. Details: 601-776-5701.

wh e we walk

A few weeks ago, I planned to take a day o from anchoring the 4 p.m. news on WJTV and drive up to Leflore County and do a story about the bridge over the Tallahatchie River in honor of Bobbie Gentry’s song, “Ode to Billie Joe.” The song was about the boy who jumped o the Tallahatchie Bridge on or about the third of June on “another sleepy, dusty Delta day.” When I told news producer Zach Mason that I planned to find the bridge Billie Joe McAllister jumped o , his face told me he was waiting for me to finish the sentence. Only,

The fair is a mile marker in our year. As is the third of June. Both uniquely Mississippi. But more and more, you must explain what they are to the younger folks as time runs on by.

I had finished. If he knew the song (which I assumed everybody did) he’d have understood the whole story. But evidently, he didn’t know the song. So, I quickly counted on my fingers how many years it had been since 1967 when “Billie Joe” came out. I was shocked. I didn’t realize. No wonder Zach didn’t know the song. He wasn’t even born yet. His parents probably weren’t either!

The first time I realized that time runs while we just walk was back in the1980s in my capacity as a weatherman. I was invited to talk to a group of third graders about severe weather. We discussed tornadoes and where to go to stay safe and then we shifted to hurricanes. I told them about Hurricane Camille (August 1969) as if these youngsters were as familiar with it as I was. “Mister, we’re not that old,” filtered up from the giggles.

I bring all this time-passing stu up because in just a few weeks it will be time for the Neshoba County Fair again. It can’t be a year already? But like the saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” And when you live long enough, you discover you don’t even have to be having fun for time to fly.

The fair came up when a friend of mine who does freelance media consulting put me on a conference call with a political advisor friend of his, and the conversation turned to the fair and how this will be an exciting year because of the national elections. Everybody remembers after Ronald Reagan announced he was running for President his very

next speech was at the Neshoba County Fair. (You DO remember that, don’t you? Or should I count years again?) And ever since then, the fair gets an unusual amount of attention during election season.

By the way, I was told all those political posters nailed on the light posts at the fair all go up in one day. The poster posters line up and get a signal and then it’s the Neshoba County Fair free-for-all as everybody shoots for the best spots first.

The fair is a mile marker in our year. As is the third of June. Both uniquely Mississippi. But more and more, you must explain what they are to the younger folks as time runs on by.

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

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