AUGUST 2021 Revisions Requested
MEXICAN NIGHT WITH
FOR MEMBERS OF 4-COUNTY ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION
on the menu
outdoo scene around the ‘sip
The Invention ofco-op theinvolvement Year southern gardening The world’s lightest and most portable mobility device
The Zinger folds to a mere 10 inches.
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folded it can be wheeled around like a suitcase and fits easily into a backseat or trunk. Then, there are the steering levers. They enable the Zinger to move forward, backward, turn on a dime and even pull right up to a table or desk. With its compact yet powerful motor it can go up to 6 miles an hour and its rechargeable battery can go up to 8 miles on a single charge. With its low center of gravity and inflatable tires it can handle rugged terrain and is virtually tip-proof. Think about it, you can take your Zinger almost anywhere, so you don’t have to let mobility issues rule your life. Why take our word for it. You can try the Zinger out for yourself with our exclusive home trial. Call now, and find out how you can try out a Zinger of your very own.
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The Zinger Chair is a personal electric vehicle and is not a medical device nor a wheelchair. Zinger is not intended for medical purposes to provide mobility to persons restricted to a sitting position. It is not covered by Medicare nor Medicaid. © 2021 firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc.
Throughout the ages, there have been many important advances in mobility. Canes, walkers, rollators, and scooters were created to help people with mobility issues get around and retain their independence. Lately, however, there haven’t been any new improvements to these existing products or developments in this field. Until now. Recently, an innovative design engineer who’s developed one of the world’s most popular products created a completely new breakthrough... a personal electric vehicle. It’s called the Zinger, and there is nothing out there quite like it.
outdoors today picture this my opinion grin ‘n’ bare it
Catfish and community There’s a reason catfish is synonymous with the great state of Mississippi. For one, we love good food. Even though there’s nothing quite like a back yard fish fry, or a po-boy stuffed with a golden brown, fried catfish fillet, there are plenty of ways to prepare the state’s favorite fish. (Grilled catfish, anyone?) There’s also the fact that the tiny Delta town of Belzoni is considered the “Catfish Capital of the World.” The Mississippi Delta and east Mississippi are ground zero for catfish farms and processors. Mississippi is the largest catfish producing state in the country with close to 70 percent of total production, according to The Catfish Institute, a national trade group that promotes U.S. farm-raised catfish. August also happens to be National Catfish Month. For this issue, we visited with a Mississippi catfish farmer to find out how the mouthwatering seafood goes from pond to our plates. Will Nobile runs a family catfish farm in Moorhead. Nobile has been named the Mississippi Catfish Farmer of the Year two years in a row by the Catfish Institute. Nobile is part of our cooperative family as a member. His farm is partly powered by Delta Electric Power Association.
I love our cover story this month because it is both a story of the impact of our state and culture on the national economy while also telling the story of one of our members. Catfish farms, processors, fish feed businesses and restaurants in our state all benefit our community in different ways. Our seventh cooperative principle — Concern for Community — reflects the spirit of the catfish industry in Mississippi and what we stand for as electric cooperatives — “While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.” Delta Electric and the electric cooperatives in Mississippi are part of both the local catfish farming community that directly impacts Mississippi and the global world of catfish sales. In the end though, for a lot of us, catfish is just good eating. And amen to that.
by Michael Callahan Executive Vice President/CEO Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi
Walters joins ECM staff We’re pleased to announce that Lydia Walters, a 23-year veteran of Mississippi’s electric cooperative family, has joined the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi (ECM) team as vice president of communications. “Walters brings a wealth of cooperative communication experience to the statewide team having served more than two decades with three Mississippi electric cooperatives,” said Michael Callahan, executive vice president and CEO of ECM. “Lydia is an award-winning writer and public relations veteran who is totally committed to keeping our cooperative members informed and entertained.” Recently, Walters served as manager of communications and human resources at Dixie Electric Power Association in Laurel. Walters worked at Dixie Electric since March 2009. Prior to her responsibilities at Dixie Electric, Walters worked for both East Mississippi EPA and Cooperative Energy. Walters has been very active on the national level and is the immediate past chair of the Certified Cooperative Communicators board. Walters, a native of Laurel, is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, with a master’s degree in public relations and a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film. She is also a graduate of NRECA’s Management Internship Program and a certified cooperative communicator.
What’s Mississippi to you? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your brief thoughts to Today in Mississippi, firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 3
in this issue
5 southern gardening Container gardens provide weekend fun
8 scene around the ‘sip A look at special people and places in Mississippi
Take time to listen
12 local news
EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600
August is National Catfish Month. A catfish farmer in the Delta shows us his ponds
Vol. 74 No. 8
OFFICERS Kevin Bonds - President Eddie Howard - First Vice President Randy Carroll - Second Vice President Ron Barnes - Secretary/Treasurer Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Ron Stewart - Senior Vice President Lydia Walters - VP, Communications Steven Ward - Editor Chad Calcote - Creative Director/ Manager Elissa Fulton - Communications Specialist Rickey McMillan - Graphic Designer Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer Chris Alexander - Administrative Assistant
11 outdoors today
The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi
24 on the menu
Mexican night with a dash of Mississippi flavor
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: 454,710
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. 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
27 mississippi seen
The allure of the front porch
On the cover A fried catfish platter at Cock of the Walk in Ridgeland. Photo by Chad Calcote.
NEXT IN PICTURE THIS:
Mouthwatering Mississippi meals Send us photos of your favorite foods. Show us entrees, sides or desserts from your favorite home-cooked meals or grill outs. Or send us something from a visit to a restaurant. 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 email@example.com. Each entry must be accompanied by photographer’s name, address and co-op. Submission deadline: Sept. 3. Select photos will appear in the October 2021 issue.
4 TODAY | AUGUST 2021
offer fun weekend project The possibilities for container combinations are endless, such as this calibrachoa combined with celery.
Now that we’re officially into summer, I know there will be days when it will be too hot to work in the garden, but I’ll still want to do garden activities. Basic, black plastic pots are functional but dull until they are decorated, such as this one that has been On those days, one appliquéd with the name of the plant it contains. easy garden project that I think is perfect is creating combination containers. Putting together beautiful flowers and colorful foliage is as easy as gathering pots and planting. You can use everything from heirloom vegetables to flowers or any other type of plant you like. I like to combine herbs in containers that I keep on the back porch and patio for easy access for dinner prep. Over the years, I’ve tried lots of different combinations, but I like the old thriller, filler and spiller method (TFS for short) best. For an herb thriller, choose from wooly, silver-gray curry plant; woody-stemmed, upright rosemary with aromatic gray-green, needle-like foliage; or the lemony-ginger fragrance of lemongrass. Both rosemary and lemongrass are Mississippi Medallion winners. For filler herbs, you can’t go wrong with basil. This plant has varieties like lemon-scented and flavored lemon basil, spicyflavored spicy globe or licorice-flavored amethyst basil. Great spiller herbs that will sprawl over the container edge are creeping rosemary with its scented, bluish-green, needle-like foliage; pineapple mint with its delicate pineapple scent; and the creamy, variegated foliage of English thyme with its wonderful, aromatic, gray-green leaves. Other combinations I like use leafy greens like kale or celery — yes, celery — and colorful flowers like calibrachoa or petunias. I typically just plant these together and don’t worry about TFS. An important and fun decision is what container to use. Old school is terra cotta, but there are other options. The colorful Talavera containers are becoming more widely available. Or, if you’re a fan of home-remodeling shows, finding something you
can repurpose can be satisfying. I love my herb box made by the Pine Belt Master Gardeners using scraps from their salad table construction projects. I like to grow plants in the basic, black plastic pots, likely a throwback to my nursery and greenhouse background. While functional, these containers are also very dull. An easy way to jazz up these basic containers is to paint them. I like to use textured spray paints that result in a stone-like appearance. This year, my wife has been decorating and appliquéing the names of the plants on my containers. So for a new project this week, go to your favorite independent garden center and pick up some plants and a great container, and go have some garden fun.
Putting together beautiful container gardens is as easy as gathering pots and planting what you like, such as this dinosaur kale growing with calibrachoa.
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.
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 5
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7/6/21 11:41 AM
Dallas Gorbett, a transplanted Yankee, moved to Hattiesburg in 2007 and joined OLLI — a life-improving experience — shortly after that.
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For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 601-264-2780 or 228-214-3277. Check out the full range of offerings at www.usm.edu/lifelonglearning. The faculty and instructors are current and retired teachers, professors and experts in their fields.
In celebration of OLLI’s 30th anniversary at Southern Miss, the new member’s fee has been reduced to $30 this year only. The usual annual fee is $50 in Hattiesburg and $40 in Long Beach.
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 7
by Dallas Gorbett Have you ever gone birding on a pontoon boat with a bunch of your friends on the Pascagoula River? Join a community of adults 50 and above who are having fun discovering new interests in art, history, science, and many other wide-ranging subjects. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at The University of Southern Mississippi is a welcoming place for seniors to develop new and lasting friendships and to be part of an open, inclusive and thriving community. OLLI offers noncredit courses with no assignments or grades to “seasoned” adults regardless of their educational background. Just because you spent your career in finance, physics or forestry doesn’t mean gardening, genealogy and gallivanting across the state (or beyond!) are off-limits. The curriculum is as broad and diverse as its members. History, literature, science, health, exercise, art, current affairs, computer skills, religious history, cooking, bridge lessons and, yes, ukulele lessons are among the many offerings. There are field trips and longer travel excursions to cement friendships. Classes are presented in a mixture of in-person (following the Southern Miss pandemic protocols for safety) and online — a community at your fingertips if you can’t attend in-person. The new digital technologies have made it possible for anyone to be an active member. (We even have out-of-state members.) Live classes are held at both the Hattiesburg and Long Beach Southern Miss campuses. There are Special Interest Groups (SIGS) for members who want to dig deeper into a subject or activity that excites them. They include life story and poetry writing, book clubs, bridge and poker players (chips, not cash), photography, current events and ukulele. They’re free to paid members. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has 124 branches nationwide with thousands of members. Southern Miss hosts the only OLLI in Mississippi.
scene around the ‘sip
SPECIAL ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE
Seniors born before 1956 get big boost SLEEK NEW MEDICAL ALERT DEVICE IS FLYING OUT THE DOOR
COMES WITH NO CONTRACTS, NO DEPOSITS AND NO MONTHLY BILLS
Seniors get new medical alert device that instantly connects to free unlimited nationwide help with just the push of a button Instantly connects Comes with new All seniors born Nothing to hook Sleek new modern Seniors born you to free unlimited cellular embedded before 1956 are getup. You don’t need design makes you before 1956 get nationwide help technology that ting an instant $150 a land line or cell look important not with no contracts, works at home or rebate making this phone. It’s ready to old new medical no deposits and no anywhere you go so deal just too good to use right out of the alert device monthly bills ever you are never alone pass up box Special Report: Demand for new Medical Alert Device soars
The phone lines are ringing off the hook. That’s because for seniors born before 1956, it’s a deal too good to pass up. Starting at precisely 8:30 am this morning the PreStore Release begins for the sleek new medical alert device that comes with the exclusive FastHelp™ OneTouch E 911 Button that instantly connects you to unlimited nationwide help ever y where cell service is available with no contracts, no deposits and no monthly bills ever. “It’s not like old style monitored help buttons that make you talk to a call center, only work when you’re at home and come w ith hef ty bills every month. FastHelp comes with state-of-the-art cellular embedded technology. That means it works at home or
anywhere, anytime cell service is available whether you’re out watering the garden, driving in a car, at church or even hundreds of miles away on a tour or at a casino. You are never alone. With just a single push of the One-Touch E Button you instantly get connected to free unlimited help nationwide with no monthly bills ever,” said Jack Lawrence, Executive Director of Product Development for U.S. based Universal Physicians. “We’ve never seen anything like it. Consumers absolutely love the sleek new modern design and most of all, the instant rebate that practically pays for it and no monthly bills ever,” Lawrence said. FastHelp is the sleek new medical alert device with the best of combinations: a quality, hight e ch en g i ne er e d device that’s also an extremely great value because there are no monthly bills ever. ■
Doctor urges seniors to get new medical alert device Seniors snap up new medical alert device that comes with no monthly bills People don’t always do what their doctor says, but when seasoned veteran emergenc y r o om phy s i cian, Dr. Philip B. Howren says every senior should have a medical alert device, you better listen up. “Seniors are just one fall away from being put in a nursing home,” Dr. Howren said. “With a medical alert device, seniors are never alone. So it keeps them living independently in their own home. That’s why seniors and their family members are snap-
ping up a sleek new medical alert device that comes with no monthly bills ever,” he said. Many seniors refuse to wear old style help buttons because they make them look old. But even worse, those medical alert systems come with monthly bills. To solve these problems Universal Physicians, a U.S. company, went to work to develop a new, modern, state-of-the-
art medical alert device. It’s called “FastHelp™” and it instantly connects you to free unlimited nationwide help ever y where cel l service is available with no contracts, no deposits and no monthly bills ever. “This slick new little device is designed to look like the pagers doctors wea r ever y day. Seniors love them, because it actually makes them look important, not old,” Dr. Howren said. FastHelp is expected to hit store shelves later this year. But special new s p ap er pr o motional giveaways are slated for seniors in select areas that call 1-800-275-0444 Ext. HELP3217. ■ (Continued on next page)
8 TODAY | AUGUST 2021
SPECIAL ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE
No contracts, no deposits and no monthly bills ever FastHelp is the only Medical Alert device that won’t break the bank. That’s because it comes with no contracts, no deposits and no monthly bills ever – which makes FastHelp a great choice for seniors, students and professionals because it connects to one of the largest nationwide networks everywhere cell service is available for free. And here’s the best part. All those who already have an old style monitored medical alert button can immediately eliminate those monthly bills, which is why Universal Physicians is widely advertising this announcement nationwide. So if you’ve ever felt a medical alert device was too complicated or expensive, you’ll want to get FastHelp, the sleek new medical
alert device with no monthly bills. The medical alert device slugfest was dominated by two main combatants who both offer old st yle mon itored help buttons that come with a hefty bill every month. But now Universal Physicians, the U.S. based heavyweight, just delivered a knockout blow sending the top rated contenders to the mat with the unveiling of FastHelp. It’s the sleek new cellular embedded medical alert device that cuts out the middleman by instantly con ne c t i n g you directly to highly trained 911 operators all across the U.S. There’s absolutely nothing to hook-up or install. You don’t need a land line and you don’t need a cell phone. Everything is done for you. ■
HOW TO GET IT BORN BEFORE 1956: Use the rebate coupon to the right and call this Toll-Free Hotline: 1-800-275-0444 EXT. HELP3217 BORN AFTER 1956: You cannot use the rebate coupon to the right and must pay $299 Call: 1-800-281-0344 EXT. HELP3217
The problem with medical alert devices is, nobody wants to wear them because it makes them look old. Well, that’s not the case with FastHelp. That’s because it’s the first state of the art medical alert dev ice de si g ne d to make you look important, not old. Old style monitored help buttons you wear around your neck, or require expensive base station equipment or a landline are the equivalent of a horse and buggy, it’s just outdated. Millions of seniors fall every year and spend hours lying on the f loor helpless and all alone with no help. But seniors who fall and get immediate help are much more likely to avoid getting sent to a nursing home and get to STAY living
PROS: It’s the BOTTOM LINE:
You don’t need to shop around. We’ve done all the leg work, this deal is too good to pass up. FastHelp with the instant rebate is a real steal at just $149 and shipping and there are no monthly bills ever.
Five Star Customer Reviews
The only device that makes you look important, not old
sleek new medical alert device that comes with the exclusive FastHelp One-Touch E 911 Button that instantly connects you to free unlimited nationwide help everywhere cell service is available with no contracts or deposits. It connects you to the vast available network of cellular towers for free and saves seniors a ton of money because there are no monthly bills ever making this deal irresistible. Plus it’s the only medical alert device that makes seniors look important, not old.
in their own home independently. Yet millions of seniors a re still risking their safety by not having a medical alert d e v i c e . T h at ’s because seniors just can’t afford to pay the monthly bills that come with old style medical alert devices. That’s why seniors born before 1956 are rushing to cash in the whopping $150 instant rebate before the 7 day deadline ends. So there’s no need to wait for FastHelp to hit store shelves later this yea r b e cau s e s en ior s born before 1956 can get it now just by using the $150 instant rebate coupon printed in today’s newspaper before the 7- day deadline ends. If lines are busy keep trying, all calls will be answered. ■
sumers can’t get FastHelp in stores until later this year. That’s why it’s so important for seniors born before 1956 to call the National Rebate Center Hotline within the next 7 days. For those who miss that deadline, the sleek little medical alert device will set you back over $300 bucks.
See what actual customers are saying about FastHelp VERY IMPRESSED “When I pressed the alert button, I got straight through to help and they answered me immediately. I live out in the country and my cell phone doesn’t always get reception... that was not a problem with my FastHelp device.” - Walter, TN LIFESAVER “When I got my FastHelp I never thought I’d have to use it, but when I fell and broke my hip it saved my life.” - Harold, OH Very appreciative of having FastHelp “I did have an emergency. Help RESPONDED quickly and came in a few minutes.” - Irving, PA
WE LOVE THE PRODUCT “We bought it outright with no bills ever.” - Rosemary, NY Safe anywhere “This little FastHelp device is my guardian angel. I’m so glad my daughter-in-law got it for me.” - Pete, FL Everyone should have it “I’ve been telling everyone to get one. Thanks to the folks at FastHelp for taking good care of people when they need it.” - Mark, IA Love my unit and feel much safer “I am a 68 year old recent widow. Standing on a chair to put my tree topper on this Christmas I thought ‘What if I fell?’ Saw your ad and ordered my FastHelp unit.” - Megan, CA Unsolicited consumer feedback from satisfied customers as reported to Universal Physicians. Universal Physicians rated these customer reviews 5 stars
VALID FOR USE 7 DAYS ONLY Amount of Rebate (AOR )
RE: HELP3217 DLV Y: ML2077R-1
1 OF 1
FASTHELP IS COVERED BY A 30-DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE LESS SHIPPING AND A 1 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY. FASTHELP IS A 4G CELLULAR DEVICE. FASTHELP WILL NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE 911 CALLS WHEN CELLULAR SERVICE IS NOT AVAILABLE SUCH AS IN REMOTE AREAS. FASTHELP USES GPS TRIANGULATIONS TO APPROXIMATE YOUR LOCATION WHEN YOUR DEVICE IS TURNED ON. DR. HOWREN IS A COMPENSATED MEDICAL ADVISOR. OH RESIDENTS ADD 6.5% SALES TAX. UNIVERSAL PHYSICIANS 7747 SUPREME AVE, NORTH CANTON, OH 44720. P7328 OF22283R-1
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 9
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(Continued from previous page)
d ea h
e v r u C e h t f o
on the menu
scene around the ‘s co-op involvement
southern gardening Not shown actual size.
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10 TODAY | JULY 2021
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mississippi marketplace u outdoors today out d the ‘sip picture this my opinion ement
grin ‘n’ bare it perhaps 100 yards the gallant little gentleman spoke, tenSix a.m. A slight breeze pushing a spring cool front tatively at first but with much more confidence afterward. and brushing new growth with lowered humidity. The “Bob white.” Musical like; a crescendo and staccato on sun making way through scattered clouds and spreading that last syllable, “white.” daylight across a woodlot. Grand it was that morning. Just below the hill lay a derelict mule-drawn hay mower. It was my second and last opportunity to take advantage I knew it was there and could see its metal tentacles strugof the brief spring squirrel season in Mississippi, and I was gling to maintain posture in the easing along a familiar woods honeysuckle and sweetgum thicket road watching for movement in but had given it no thought on this the tree tops or along the ground. morning. Suddenly, the rusting tool Nothing, but that was of no real seemed to glimmer. I shivered. I was consequence. mystified. If the uniqueness of quail I thought of an old saw that can call were not adequate to extract be used for a broad assortment nostalgia and romance from the of proclamations: “Life is too core of an aging hunter, the skeleshort to….” Add whatever words Quail have fallen on hard times over the past several decades. But ton of that mower appended to that you like. For me that morning with ongoing research and positive management practices, the those words were, “shoot an ugly whistles and calls may be a bit more common than these are today. brilliantly mournful call did the trick. A peculiar element of solemnity shotgun!” I toted a nifty little dou- Photo by Garrett Davidson abounds when the wild places suggest human laughter and ble-barrel configuration; 28 gauge. And it was definitely not tears and sadness and joy and life. That life now present ugly. It doesn’t have to be shot to be appreciated. only in atrophy, the wild now taking back ownership of Never do I amass great fortune while squirrel hunting what was once tamed. Those folks who rode that mower in spring, if this amassing is measured solely by collecting and whose lives were attached to those hills and hollows the basic ingredients for a stew. Nor do I seek such. Wealth likely heard the same quail song I was hearing. comes in increments — a little here, a little there. Add them The little bird called again. I wished him well. Perhaps up and the account soars. That soaring was what had there was hope. Dim hope for sure but hope just the same! begun immediately after I closed my truck door. Cool; crisp. Leaves damp enough to afford silent steps. And the birds! Everywhere and of every variety. All singing their reveille. Rain crows were particularly vocal. Cardinals, too. Ample sounds but no noise. The chorus was magnificent. by Tony Kinton And then it happened; the portfolio practically burst. I received an unexTony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in pected bonus — the best kind. Just Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit www.tonykinton.com along a grassy road to the east for more information.
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 11
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BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Johnny Johnson, President • Mike Banks, Vice President • Marty Crowder, Secretary/Treasurer • Bill Bell • John E. “Jay” Gilliland Jr. • Bruff Sanders • Kenneth Seitz
Electricity Brings Everyday Value Even though I work in the energy industry, like most people, I expect the lights to turn on when I flip the switch and the coffeemaker to work each morning. Because electricity is so abundant, we don’t think much about it. Since many of us have been spending more time at home over the past few months, we have likely been using more energy. And yet, we still expect an endless supply of power with uninterrupted service 24/7. The only time we really think about electricity is when the power goes out or perhaps when the monthly bill arrives. Given how electricity powers our modern lifestyle every day, it’s a great value, especially when compared to other common services and expenses. For example, think back to the cost of a gallon of gasoline 20 years ago. Consider the cost of groceries or a cup of your favorite specialty coffee from a few years back. In comparison, the cost of electricity has remained largely flat, unlike most other consumer goods. Like many of you, I have a cell phone to stay connected, and I subscribe to TV channels so I can enjoy more viewing options. Many of us consider these necessities for modern day life. We can see what we’re getting for our money, and we pay the price for those services. In contrast, when we use electricity, we don’t necessarily “see” all that we’re getting for our money. But considering what electricity does for us, it’s a tremendous value for our quality of life as well as our budgets. For comparison, consider that the average rent increase was nearly 4% (from 2014-2019) according to the 12 TODAY | AUGUST 2021
Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI). The cost of medical care was increased 3% during this time, and education was not too far behind at 2.6%. So, where did electricity rank? According to the CPI, electricity increased by less than half a percentage point, 0.4%. The bottom line: electricity brings everyday value. In fact, 4-County Electric Power Association members, in an average year, are out of power for about two hours. Considering that electricity is something that we all use around the clock, I’m very proud of our track record. At the same time, we are striving to increase our service reliability, reduce those brief interruptions and reduce costs. We are continually working to improve our operations to ensure a smarter grid and exploring more renewable energy options where possible. 4-County provides the reliable service you expect and deserve as valued members of the co-op. And as your trusted energy advisor, we want to help you save energy and money. We recognize that the past few months have been challenging for many of our members and we’re here to help. If you have questions about your account or are looking for ways to save energy at home, please give us a call.
by Brian Clark CEO/General Manager
Are you grounded? GFCI outlets can help! Did you know there are different types of electrical outlets? Each are designed for different purposes; however, there is one specific type that stands high above the rest — the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. GFCIs have saved thousands of lives and cut the number of electrocutions in half since the 1970s. GFCIs are the most efficient outlet in protecting from electrical shock. If it senses a loss of current, the outlet switches off power to that circuit. These devices can either be installed in your electrical system or built into a power cord. The third hole at the bottom of the outlet is known as the “ground” slot, and it monitors electrical currents that flow through the left “neutral” slot and the right “hot” slot on each outlet. A GFCI can react faster than a blink of an eye to any imbalance of power by immediately shutting off the electrical current. These outlets are now a requirement in all places where water could potentially come into contact with electrical products such as bathrooms, garages, outdoors and kitchens. GFCIs are not exclusive to three-prong outlets. They can be installed into standard outlets, and there are even portable devices available when installation is not practical. GFCIs should be tested at least once a month to ensure they are working effectively. The first step you need to take is to test an item, such as a lamp, that visibly powers on when plugged in. Push the “reset” button to prepare the outlet then push the “test” button. Did your lamp turn off? If it did, the GFCI is working properly. Now, hit the “reset” button once again to power it back on. If your lamp did not power off, then you should contact a certified electrician to correct the problem.
Broadband customers could get discounts FASTnet, 4-County Electric Power Association’s broadband subsidiary, is participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, providing a temporary discount on broadband services for qualifying households. The EBB is a temporary government program funded by the Federal Communications Commission to help offset the cost of broadband services for eligible households during the COVID-19 health emergency. The program offers a $50 discount per month on broadband services and associated equipment rentals. “FASTnet is opting in this program as a participating service provider to help keep our community connected in this difficult time. We’re proud to participate in the EBB program for qualifying households,” said 4-County/FASTnet CEO Brian Clark. The EBB is a short-term subsidy program. The program will end when the fund runs out of money or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency (whichever happens first).
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below: • Qualifies for the Lifeline Program; • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program (including through the USDA Community. Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year); • Qualifies for SNAP, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits, or SSI; • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; • Experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program. To qualify, visit getemergencybroadband.org, and follow the instructions. Then, let us know you are qualified by calling 1-800-431-1544.
4-County completes Prairie substation project Crews with 4-County Electric Power Association have placed the final touches on the Prairie substation project in northern Clay County. The substation’s transformer was energized June 24. The new Prairie substation replaces a now retired substation that was built during World War II. It will serve the Prairie and Happy Valley communities, other areas of northern Clay County and 4-County’s members in southern Monroe County. The site is on Hwy. 45, about seven miles north of West Point. The new substation will enhance residential and commercial reliability and address the need of a growing industrial development sector in the area. Manager of Engineering Mike Jones said he was pleased with the work displayed by cooperative crews during the year-long project. “We’re really pleased with this substation and look forward to it providing power to 4-County members for years to come. This substation will provide an ample power supply for members in the area and for future economic development,” Jones explained. AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 13
by Brad Barr Some say imagination is the product of the five senses. If that’s the case, residents of the Choctaw Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (CNRC) are now flying high — even if, at times, their bodies are not. The 60-bed center’s new and innovative Sensory Garden opened its colorful pathways June 15. It is, local officials say, a restoration of the senses. “Literally, it’s a breath of fresh air,” said CNRC Activities Director Nita Foust. The sprawling garden, annexed to the CNRC, is a landscaped area designed to stimulate all five senses: hearing, taste, smell, touch and sight. Featured around the wandering sidewalks are colorful flowers, plants, aromatics, a double-sided water feature, sound makers such as wind chimes and a standing xylophone, planting areas, birdhouses and other resources. CRNC officials believe it’s the only Sensory Garden of its kind in Mississippi. Resident response has been more than positive, Foust said. “Our residents love it. It is an outlet for them. The Sensory Garden is very soothing and relaxing. Many of them ask to go
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there every day.” CRNC resident Subrina Lambert enjoys her daily visit to the garden. “I just love it,” Lambert said of the picturesque setting. “Everything is so peaceful. I really enjoy hearing the waterfall.” The Sensory Garden is the five-year brainchild of the Choctaw Medical Foundation Board of Directors. Board members, who describe the project as a labor of love, are Mike Pearson, Donna McKay, Jim Turnipseed, Luke Jones and Deanie Graves. The group has collected quite a bit of sweat equity in the project. “The board worked tirelessly to obtain funding, research components needed for the garden, and executed the plan,” Graves said. The creative genius behind the incredible design of the Sensory Garden is Tom Cooper of C&C Landscaping. Cooper served as project manager, landscaper, contractor and electrician. The project is a wonderland for the senses, CNRC officials stress.
Wide concrete walkways intertwine between the portico (obtained through a $7,000 4-County Foundation grant) and a large gazebo. Benches are located along the walkway. An eight-foot wooden fence surrounds the garden. Funding for the project came through grants and individual donations. “Community members and others were very generous because they saw a need and understood the importance of the Sensory Garden to our community.” Therapy is a primary Sensory Garden component. “It is not just for looks,” Graves said. Research, she stressed, indicates that this type of environment helps those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other medical conditions. Therapy options include occupational, music, horticulture, physical, cognitive and others. “We know how important it is for people to be outside in fresh air and be exposed to nature,” Graves said. “It’s a therapy goldmine.” Four garden tables (two for standing residents and two for seated residents) are located along the sidewalk. Residents care for flowers, vegetables and other plants in the raised table setting. CNRC provides special gardening tools for those with arthritis. Graves said it’s rewarding to see the smiles on residents’ faces when they enjoy the garden setting. “Their eyes and senses light up when they see birds at the feeders, hear the waterfall feature and wind chimes, touch the soil when planting and smell the specially-selected flowers/plants. They might even taste the squash they grew in the garden tables. It truly is an enchanted place.”
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 15
Sign up for Bank Draft today Get paid to make your life easier. 4-County Electric Power Association will give you $25 to pay your bill by Automatic Bank Draft. Bank Draft is easy and saves you from having to mail in your payment or driving to a Service Center each month. So do yourself — and your wallet — a favor and sign up for Bank Draft today. Members who sign up for Automatic Bank Draft will receive a $25 credit to their electric bill. To keep the credit, members must remain on the Automatic Bank Draft program for 12 consecutive months. Members who have previously been on the Bank Draft program within the past 12 months are not eligible to receive the $25 credit. For more information, visit www.4county.org or call 1-800-431-1544.
Farm workers urged to reap safely It can be an exciting and exhausting time, the culmination of a season of hard work. However, the rush to harvest can also yield tragic outcomes. Each year, dozens of farm workers are killed and hundreds are injured in accidents involving power lines and electrical equipment. “Things people see every day can fade from view and in the busyness of harvest time, it’s easy for farm workers to forget about the power lines overhead,” said Richard McCracken of the Safe Electricity Advisory Board. “But failure to notice can be a deadly oversight.” Review with all workers the farm activities that take place around power lines. Inspect the height of farm equipment to determine clearance. Keep equipment at least 10 feet away from power lines — above, below and to the side — a 360-degree rule. “Always lower grain augers before moving them, even if it’s only a few feet,” said Bob Aherin, PhD, CSP and University of Illinois Professor and Agricultural Safety and Health Program Leader. “Variables like wind, uneven ground, shifting weight or other conditions can combine to create an unexpected result. Also use extreme caution when raising the bed of a grain truck.” Operators of farm equipment or vehicles must also know what to do if the vehicles come in contact with a power line: stay on the equipment, warn others to stay away and call 911. Do not get off the equipment until the utility crew says it is safe to do so. “If the power line is energized and you step outside, touching the vehicle and ground, your body becomes the path and electrocution is the result,” Aherin said. “Even if a power line
has landed on the ground, the potential for the area nearby to be energized still exists. Stay inside the vehicle unless there’s fire or imminent risk of fire.” If this is the case, jump off the equipment with your feet together, without touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then, still keeping your feet together, hop to safety as you leave the area. Once you get away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment. Some electrocutions have occurred after the operator dismounts and, realizing nothing has happened, tries to get back on the equipment. It is very important that all farm workers and seasonal employees are informed of electrical hazards and trained in proper procedures to avoid injury.
For more information on farm electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.
Farm workers should take these steps to ensure a safer harvest season: • Use care when raising augers or the bed of grain trucks around power lines. • Use a spotter when operating large machinery near power lines. Do not let the spotter touch the machinery while it is being moved anywhere near power lines. • As with any outdoor work, be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles or rods into power lines. Remember, non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, ropes and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness, dust and dirt contamination. • Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path. • Don’t use metal poles to break up bridged grain inside bins. • Know where and how to shut off the power in an emergency. • Use qualified electricians for work on drying equipment and other farm electrical systems.
Tanner Owen is a team player For Tanner Owen, a self-described “fixer” of this and that, sometimes the joy is in the journey. That adage often rings true, he said, when he tackles projects at the family shop in Scooba. “I love working with my hands and fixing things,” Tanner explained. “The process of tackling the project is fun. I’ve always been a fixer.” Currently, he is elbows deep in restoring a 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m almost there.” Today, Tanner is a fixer of things at 4-County Electric Power Association. The Apprentice Lineman 4 is a member of Tim Adkins’ Corporate Center Construction Crew. Every day and every project is different, he said. “You have to develop a new strategy each day to get the job done,” Tanner explained. Prior to 4-County, the Scooba resident worked as an Apprentice Lineman for electrical contractor MDR. He joined the 4-County team in August 2020. Tanner is a graduate of East Central Community College (ECCC) where he earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts. While at ECCC, he played center for the Warriors’ basketball team. He is also a graduate of East Mississippi Community College’s (EMCC) Lineman Training Program. While at EMCC, Tanner played offensive tackle for the Lions’ football team.
Basketball or football? “Football is more of an extended sport. Basketball is a sport full of short-paced bursts. I enjoyed them both. I believe playing sports is where I developed a good work ethic and an appreciation for teamwork,” Tanner said. Tanner also likes to dip a hook in the water every now and then, making trips to the Tombigbee River in Epps, Alabama. “I love going to the river, fishing for bass, catfish and setting out jugs.” He attends Binnsville Baptist Church in Kemper County. Where did his interest in line work begin? Tanner’s brotherin-law is a longtime journeyman lineman at East Mississippi Electric Power Association. “I saw what he did and really appreciated it. I just thought I’d like to make a career of it.” His experience in teamwork comes in handy when the 4-County crews respond to power restoration efforts. “Storm work is especially challenging and rewarding,” he said. “It’s pretty special to get the lights back on for folks.” And, he stressed, it’s pretty special to work at 4-County. “It’s a family-oriented organization. Everybody is supportive of each other and has a good attitude. 4-County is a great environment.”
Directors earn national credentials
4-County Electric Power Association Directors Marty Crowder of Ackerman and Bruff Sanders of West Point have recently completed certifications through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
Crowder (serving District 5, Choctaw and Winston counties) earned his Director Gold Credential while Sanders (serving District 3, Clay and Monroe counties) earned his Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate. Crowder has served as a co-op director since 2010. Sanders has served as a co-op director since 2020. “Our directors are diligent in their continuing education efforts,” said 4-County CEO Brian Clark. “This is a clear example of their commitment to increasing their industry knowledge and providing the best product and service to our members.” According to NRECA officials, the certifications recognize directors committed to continuing their industry education and who desire a tangible credential that demonstrates their ongoing commitment to advancing their knowledge and performing their fiduciary duty to the best of their ability. AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 17
Mississippi catfish farmers Jerry Nobile (left) and son Will Nobile stand near one of their catfish ponds in Moorhead.
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Photos by Chad Calcote
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 19
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by Steven Ward The farm was created by Nobile’s grandfather in the 1940s Catfish farmer Will Nobile is driving a truck slowly alongand his dad expanded operations in the 1980s with catfish. side one of his ponds while a steady stream of fish feed “My dad built our first ponds in the mid 80s when cotton fires from a computer-controlled spout attached to the and soybean prices kind of hit bottom. He bought a John side of his vehicle. Deere 4850 with two, 10-yard dirt buckets and started The surface of the pond water transforms from a still building ponds. He built six at first and brown to what looks like glass cracks a couple more every year until the early in motion or hard rain drops as the 2000s when I came back from college,” fish race to the top in a feeding frenzy. said. Feeding is just one of many jobs on With about 35,000 acres Nobile “We almost doubled in size when we a catfish farm. and annual farmer sales purchased an old out of production farm “It’s a 24/7, 365 job. It takes a special person to work on a catfish farm,” of about $240 million, the about five miles north of us and rebuilt it Nobile, 42, said recently. Mississippi industry remains and put it back in operation. Ever since then we have stayed about the same size, Nobile is a special catfish famer. an economic powerhouse, but we are always renovating ponds due Nobile has been named the Missisespecially in the Delta to water and wind erosion. Fish just grow sippi Catfish Farmer of the Year two better in rebuilt fresh ponds.” years in a row by The Catfish Institute, and east Mississippi. Like any industry, catfish processing in a national trade group that promotes Mississippi has ups and downs. U.S. farm-raised catfish. “For the last several years, industrywide processing volMississippi is a special place when it comes to catfish. ume has ranged from 340 million to 300 million pounds. Of Mississippi is the largest catfish producing state in course, adequate fish prices are very important to farmers the nation with 60 to 70% of total production, said Mike and processors. Also, McCall of Catfish other issues confront Farmers of America the industry, includand editor of The ing the pandemic Catfish Journal. impacts, feed prices, “With about fish health, labor 35,000 acres and shortages and import annual farmer sales competition,” McCall of about $240 milsaid. lion, the Mississippi “Catfish farming is industry remains an almost feast or fameconomic powerine. It’s like nobody house, especially in has catfish, and the the Delta and east price is high, or everyMississippi,” McCall body has catfish, and said. the price is low, and “These numbers you can’t give them don’t include thouaway,” Nobile said. sands of people emHe said grain prices ployed at processing affect the bottom plants, feed mills, line of profitability farms and support because catfish feed industries.” is made from grains. Nobile works with Catfish dart to the surface of a farm pond after feed pellets are ejected into the water during a Foreign competition, his father Jerry, 70, recent feeding. mainly from China on their family farm and Vietnam, also plays a role in catfish farming profitability. in Moorhead. A good portion of their Delta farm is powered “That’s why when you are in a restaurant or store you need by Delta Electric Power Association. to make sure you are buying U.S. farm raised catfish,” The Nobiles farm 700 water acres from 70 ponds. They Nobile said. also have a catfish hatchery and acreage with soybeans.
Catfish fast facts Where is U.S. farm-raised catfish raised? Ninety-four percent of all U.S. farm-raised catfish is raised in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Today, the industry employs nearly 10,000 people and contributes more than $4 billion to each state’s economy.
How is U.S. farm-raised catfish raised? Mature catfish remain in production an average of 4 to 6 years, depending on where they are grown, and lay 3,000 to 4,000 eggs annually per pound of body weight. Once the eggs are laid and fertilized, they are collected and taken to special hatcheries designed to replicate the natural environment. The eggs hatch after seven days and move to the next level of maturation, called “sac fry” because of the attached yolk sacs that supply their food. Soon, the tiny U.S. farm-raised catfish begin to swim and are moved to ponds, where they grow into fingerlings. When the fingerlings are about 4 to 6 inches long (the size of an index finger), they are placed in manmade ponds filled with fresh water pumped from underground wells. When the catfish reach about 1 pound each, they are harvested with seines (large, weighted nets) and loading baskets, then taken to processing plants.
According to a report published in August 2020, Mississippi catfish farms’ productivity rose to 5,700 pounds per acre in 2019 from 3,100 pounds per acre in 2011, the Mississippi State University Extension Service reported. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported last year that the U.S. catfish industry generated about $379 million in sales in 2019, of which $226 million originated from farms in Mississippi. Although Mississippi catfish export numbers are not available, the U.S. Department of Commerce tracks total industry exports. For the most recent month on record, the industry shipped 135,000 pounds of processed catfish to Canada, Mexico, China and the Caribbean islands, McCall said.
How long does it take to grow U.S. farm-raised catfish? It takes about 18 months to two years to grow a 1-pound fish. Farmers use a long net called a seine to catch and sort the fish from the pond. The fish are then loaded onto a truck with water and oxygen.
How large is a full-grown U.S. farm-raised catfish? A full-grown fish averages between 1 and 2 pounds
What does “farm-raised” mean? U.S. farm-raised catfish is raised in environmentally controlled, clay-based ponds, filled with fresh water pumped from underground wells and filtered by alluvial aquifers. The average pond, constructed by building above-ground levees to serve as natural barriers, is 10 to 20 land acres in area and 4 to 6 feet deep
What gives U.S. farm-raised catfish its clean, mild taste? Fish tends to adopt the flavor characteristics of what they eat. Because U.S. farm-raised catfish is fed a scientifically formulated diet of high-protein pellets that float on top of the water, it has a consistently mild, slightly sweet flavor. The Catfish Institute
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Even though Nobile works with them every day, he never tires of eating catfish. “I love it and my family eats it at least once per week. It’s hard to beat it fried but I also like it grilled or baked in the oven. I have a recipe I like to cook also called Quarantine Catfish that you can find at The Catfish Institute’s website — uscatfish.com,” he said. Nobile said he loves catfish farming and wouldn’t do anything else. “I have always worked on the farm while growing up and, without a doubt in my mind, it’s what I have always wanted to do,” Nobile said.
Visit uscatfish.com for more information about U.S. catfish farming.
Catfish farmer Will Nobile feeds fish with pellets shooting out from the side of his truck.
For the catfish INGREDIENTS 4 U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets ¾ cup yellow cornmeal ¼ cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper ¼ teaspoon garlic powder Vegetable oil for frying
Instructions Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Coat catfish with mixture, shaking off excess. Fill a large, heavy skillet half full with vegetable oil. Heat to 350 degrees. Add catfish in a single layer, and fry until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes, depending on size. Remove fish from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with hushpuppies.
For the hushpuppies INGREDIENTS 1½ cups self-rising cornmeal ½ cup self-rising flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt ¼ cup jalapeños, finely chopped (optional) 4 green onions, thinly sliced 1 cup buttermilk 1 large egg, beaten ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Instructions Preheat oil to 350 degrees. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine jalapeños, onions, buttermilk, egg and cheese. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Drop batter by heaping teaspoons into heated oil and fry, turning hushpuppies to cook evenly, until golden brown. The Catfish Institute
Fried catfish platter at Cock of the Walk in Ridgeland.
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 21
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Mexican night with a dash of homegrown Mississippi flavor
Everyone loves taco night! It’s a quick, inexpensive meal that the whole family enjoys. Who doesn’t like Mexican food? But typically, families rely on the pre-packaged kits for seasonings and shells. These can be full of unnecessary salt, additives and leave little room for recipe creativity or fresh vegetables. You can spice up your Mexican night by using homemade taco seasoning and adding Mississippi fresh produce to traditional dishes. Mississippi grown onions and bell peppers can make fresh, traditional fajitas. But don’t be afraid to branch out and add summer squash, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, or a variety of peppers (not just bell peppers) to your fajita saute. Most of us buy store-bought taco seasoning for convenience without realizing that the main ingredients are already in our spice cabinets. By making taco seasoning at home, you can skip any additives that don’t fit your health goals, like added salt or sugar and customize your season blend to suit your family’s taste buds. Traditional Mexican cuisine has a distinct taste thanks to a few flavors like onions, garlic, chili powders, paprika, cumin, and oregano. Once you find a seasoning combination you enjoy, it only takes a few minutes to mix up a big batch and store it in an airtight container. Then use two tablespoons of your homemade seasoning with a ¼ cup of water in place of one storebought packet. There is more to Mexican food than tacos. Some of the most popular Mexican ingredients are beans, rice, and corn — all Mississippi staples! Sometimes, I like to bypass the tacos altogether and utilize rice grown in the Mississippi 24 TODAY | AUGUST 2021
Delta to make a one-skillet beef and rice casserole. No storebought kits required! Bonus: this easy weeknight meal is a delicious way to get the whole family to eat spinach. Think fresh when you think of toppings for your tacos or Mexican cuisine. Instead of more cheese, pile on various nutritious options like avocado, pico made with tomatoes, onion, peppers, spices, and cilantro. Cilantro is often referred to as Mexican parsley, as it is a fresh herb commonly found in and on many Mexican dishes. Cilantro smells amazing and is simple to grow at home or found at your local grocery. Next time your family screams for tacos, broaden their horizons and bring the taste of Mississippi fresh produce into your Mexican night at home.
Homemade Mexican Seasoning INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon chili powder ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ teaspoon onion powder ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional) ¼ teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon paprika 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon sea salt (optional) 1 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
In a small bowl, whisk together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.
Place chicken, squash, onion and garlic in a single layer onto the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle seasoning mixture over chicken and vegetables; gently toss to combine. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through reaching 165 degrees and the vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve immediately with tortillas and desired toppings. One-Skillet Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole
INGREDIENTS 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 pound extra lean ground beef or turkey ½ teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder ½ teaspoon paprika 2 cups prepared brown rice 1 cup salsa 1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach ½ cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the chopped onion. Cook until the onions start to soften. Add the meat and the spices and cook until the meat is browned. Stir in the cooked rice and salsa, then reduce heat to medium and place the spinach on top. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Stir in the cheese and serve immediately. Top with fresh cilantro, chopped avocado, if desired.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rebecca Turner is an author, registered dietitian, radio host, television presenter and a certified specialist in sports dietetics with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A lifelong Mississippian, she lives in Brandon and has spent the last decade offering no-nonsense nutrition guidance that allows you to enjoy good health and good food. Her book, “Mind Over Fork,” challenges the way you think, not the way you eat. Find her on social media @RebeccaTurnerNutrition and online at www.RebeccaTurnerNutrition.com.
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 25
Revisions Requested Revisions Requested
In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Prepare a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
One Skillet Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Stir the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, garlic, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Best to refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.
*Or use chicken strips and slice lengthwise. *Sub spices with 2 tablespoons of homemade Mexican seasoning.
INGREDIENTS 6 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced ½ red onion, minced 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced ½ lime, juiced 1 clove garlic, minced 1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder 1 pinch ground cumin, or to taste salt and pepper to taste
INGREDIENTS 2 teaspoons chili powder 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon paprika Salt and pepper, to taste 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips* 1 zucchini, cut into half moons 1 yellow squash, cut into half moons 1 onion, cut into wedges 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon olive oil ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional) 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 6 (8-inch) flour or corn tortillas
Homemade Pico de Gallo
Mississippi Inspired Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
SOON Church/Government uniting, suppressing ADVERTISE WITH mississippi marketplace RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, enforcing NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW. Be informed! Events open to the public will be published free TBS, Pob 374, Ellijay, GAtoday 30540. on the menu outdoors of charge as space allows. Submit details at least email@example.com two months prior to the event date. Submissions Mississippi’s largest circulated publication. must include a phone number with area code for scene the ‘sip 1-888-211-1715 picture this publication. Email toaround firstname.lastname@example.org. Events are subject to change or cancelation due to COVID-19. Please confirm details before traveling. my opinion co-op involvement Calhoun County Sacred Harp Singing Convention. Aug 7. Bruce. Bethel Primitive Baptist Church, located 1 mile north of Bruce on Highway 9. Singing begins at 10: a.m. with potluck in the fellowship hall. Singing will continue after lunch. The adopted songbook is The Sacred Harp, published in 1844. Details: Mark S. Davis at 601-940-1612. Text or leave voicemail. Email: email@example.com.
Magnolia Square Market. August 14. Water Valley. Every second Saturday of the month through October. 8 a.m. to noon. Local produce, crafts, plants and baked goods. Live music and kid activities. 207 N. Main St. Details: 662-832-1528. Mississippi Sacred Harp Singing Convention. Aug 21-22. Forest. Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, located on Highway 21, six miles north of Forest. Singing begins at 10: a.m. each day. Dinner at noon in the fellowship hall. Singing will continue each afternoon. Details: Mark S. Davis 601-940-1612. Text or leave voicemail. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. 3rd Gospel Music Hymn Sing. Aug. 21. Lucedale. Agricola Baptist Church. 6 p.m. An evening of singing the great hymns of our faith. Details: 601-770-1447. Gospel Singing Jubilee. Aug 28. Magee. Concert featuring The Hinsons, Tim Frith and the Gospel Echoes, Revelations and Danny Bishop. Magee High School auditorium. 501 Choctaw St. Details: 601-720-8870.
grin ‘n’ bare it @PrairieArtsFestival or visit: www.prairieartsfestival.org
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Most people have never explored south of Highway 6 at Oxford unless they were looking specifically for a catfish dinner at Taylor Grocery. Or wanting to find a piece of original art from one of the fine artists who have taken up residence in the tiny village
of Taylor. But now, nearly 100 new families have moved to Taylor into Plein Air, one of the most interesting concept neighborhoods in Mississippi. Plein Air is a French art term that refers to a 19th century style of painting denoting a strong sense of open air made popular in French impressionism. (I Googled it.) So, the artsy name “Plein Air” for the neighborhood is a nod to the artists who live in Taylor. But you don’t have to be an artist to live at Plein Air. Most residents aren’t. But most people living there have at least one thing in common. They desire a simpler lifestyle. At least when they get home after work. That’s what Plein Air’s original resident, Campbell McCool, had in mind when he moved back to Mississippi and put shovel to dirt and built his house there. And the one accoutrement he mandated that his and all other houses at Plein Air must have is a front porch. Front porches invite neighborliness, hospitality and relaxation. Front porches used to be automatic on Southern houses prior to the 1940s, according to Campbell. It was because it gets so hot here. The porch was a place to escape the heat. Plus, it added livable square footage to a house. And a lot of living happened on the front porch. Campbell reminded me of all the scenes from
“The Andy Griffith Show” in Mayberry that took place on the front porch. Serious talks with Opie happened on the front porch. When Barney courted Thelma Lou, it was on Andy’s front porch. Air conditioning and television sent people inside and made front porches old fashion in the 50s, 60s and into the 70s. Decks popped up in back yards instead. People no longer knew their neighbors. Sociologists tell us the character of our neighborhoods changed as well. And not for the better. My favorite childhood memory of a front porch was my grandmother’s. It was used a good bit, especially during family reunions. It caught the overflow from inside the house. Her house was not air conditioned and The one accoutrement she didn’t have a telehe mandated that his and vision. So especially in all other houses at Plein summertime after supper, Air must have is a front the grown-ups, particuporch. Front porches invite larly the smokers, hit the porch while us kids hit the neighborliness, hospitality yard and chased lightenand relaxation. ing bugs. I still see in my mind a glowing red ember of light making a slow ark as a smoker sat on a swing on the porch at night. It was family. When I built my house, it had to have a front porch like grandma’s. The porch had to have a swing at either end, just like her’s. That’s as close as I ever got. I never have time to sit on it.
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 email@example.com.
AUGUST 2021 | TODAY 27
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