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FOR MEMBERS OF PEARL RIVER VALLEY ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION

BISCUITS: A STATE FAIR TRADITION

LONGFELLOW HOUSE SKELETONS

UNDER AN ART GALLERY

PICTURE THIS:

OCTOBER 2020


on the menu

outdoo scene around the ‘sip co-op involvement southern gardening

2 TODAY | SEPTEMBER 2020

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

That time of year It’s that time of year. Sept. 16 landfall. The month of October brings cooler Electric cooperatives from as far away weather, football, the Mississippi State as Michigan and Nebraska offered their Fair, Halloween and the colors of autumn. linemen to help out if needed on the But in the world of electric cooperatives, Gulf Coast to help power up cooperative October is best known as National members following Hurricane Sally. Cooperative Month. “Cooperatives serve their members Electric cooperatives and all co-ops most effectively and strengthen their across the country are celebrating the cooperative movement by working benefits and values that cooperatives together through local, national, regional bring to their members and communities. and international structures.” That’s how Our mission is to we define the Codeliver affordable, operation Among reliable and safe Cooperatives energy to our principle. Our Cooperatives serve their members. linemen support in members most effectively While co-ops operSeptember is a clear and strengthen their ate in many indusexample of that cooperative movement by tries and sectors of principle in action. the economy, seven We are proud working together through cooperative printo energize the local, national, regional ciples set us apart and international structures. communities we from other busiserve and assist our nesses: voluntary and open membership; electric cooperative neighbors when they democratic member control; member’s need help serving their members. economic participation; autonomy and This October is important for another independence; education, training and reason. We would like for our readers to information; cooperation among cooper- tell us how we’re doing. atives; and concern for community. You may be receiving a phone call or August and September, the heart of email asking you questions about Today hurricane season, brought Hurricane in Mississippi. What do you like about Laura to neighboring Louisiana and our publication? What is it you don’t like? Hurricane Sally a little more than two Following a year of our new magazine weeks later to the Alabama coast near format, we are conducting a readership Gulf Shores. survey. As a result, the electric cooperatives We hope you take advantage of the of Mississippi had an opportunity to survey opportunity to help us make implement one of our seven cooperative Today in Mississippi even better. principles — Cooperation Among Happy National Co-op Month Cooperatives. everyone! We sent lineman to Louisiana to help restore power for thousands of Louisiana residents and businesses in the aftermath of Laura. There were approximately 150 Mississippi linemen sent to Louisiana from nine co-ops. by Michael After Hurricane Sally hit Alabama, Callahan close to 150 linemen and support workers Executive Vice President/CEO were sent to Alabama and Florida to Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi help restore power following Sally’s

Mississippi is... Mississippi is my home, has been for some time now. From the Louisiana lights to the beautiful country and starry nights. Out of the overcrowded places and city traffic, to riding my four-wheeler back in the woods with a lot less noise and a lot more target practice. Listening to the roosters before sunrise to the crickets chirping at night as I close my eyes. Katrina took everything in her path with violent devastation, yet helped all of our communities come together and made us much stronger. The years have gone by and here I’ll be longer. With that I’m okay, because I’ve found peace, happiness, and new friends too. Life is better in the country, out here in Mississippi, that is oh so true! Louisiana will always be a part of me, as I will carry you along in my heart. An unexpected tragedy, which led to a fresh new start. Here I will stay, for you are my home now until my last days. For anyone out there that has been through the same, in my prayers you all will remain. by Shantell Loar A resident of Pearl River County and a member of Pearl River Valley EPA.

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

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 3


in this issue

5 southern gardening Gardening during a pandemic

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

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11

outdoors today The beginning of hunting season

14 local news 20 feature

A longtime Mississippi State Fair tradition: Biscuits

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 73 No. 9

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 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 EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600

Acceptance of advertising by Today in Mississippi does not imply endorsement of the advertised product or services by the publisher or Mississippi’s electric power associations. Product satisfaction and delivery responsibility lie solely with the advertiser. • National advertising representative: American MainStreet Publications, 800-626-1181

Circulation of this issue: 449,805

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24 picture this Canine companions

26 31

on the menu Apples of October

31 mississippi seen After the storms

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

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On the cover Georgia Rae goes paddling in the Pascagoula River with her mom. Photo: Becky Stowe of Lucedale. Stowe is a member of Singing River Electric.

SURVEY NOTICE Today in Mississippi is conducting statewide readership surveys this month, so please be aware that you may receive a phone call or email requesting a few minutes of your time. It’s an opportunity for readers to give us feedback on the job we’re doing. It’s always our goal to deliver a quality publication filled with content that is timely, informative and — most of all — of interest to you!

4 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020


I’ve been thinking about the whole COVID-19 pandemic experience we’ve endured for the last several months — like social distancing and face masks — and the activities we look forward to enjoying once again. Consider all the summer vacations that weren’t taken, wonderful cuisine at outstanding restaurants that wasn’t eaten, and gatherings with friends that were missed. Katie and I had to cancel our 45th anniversary trip, where we planned to stay with friends at the Sunnyside B&B in Natchez. I think about our local businesses forced to shut down or operate at reduced capacity for a time while mega mart corporations were allowed to operate and take appropriate COVID precautions. My wife and I have supported our local restaurants throughout with take-out and limited dine-in opportunities with proper precautions. Today, I wonder how many will fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this column is not all about doom and gloom. One consequence of the pandemic has been a surge of interest in gardening. Since many people have been at home, lots of folks have developed a deeper enjoyment of the yard and garden. And why not? The landscape and garden are places of constant change and wonder. It was fortunate that our Mississippi independent garden centers were deemed essential and were able to stay open and

help many people. I periodically visited the garden centers throughout the shelter-in-place time, and I was heartened by the number of home gardeners I saw out buying plants. This spring, I received lots of questions about starting plants from seeds. Seeds are little miracles for those who have never gardened before. A tiny seed contains all the genetic information needed for the growth and development of an entire plant. I love the phrase from Chaucer, “mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.” One plant that has given me much enjoyment this summer is my Summerific Summer Storm hibiscus. This plant is a favorite, with deep-maroon leaves and huge and plentiful flowers, some of which are 9 inches across. The flowers are gorgeous, with red-center eyes and white petals streaked with red. I was happy to enjoy 25 flower buds this spring, but to my surprise, the plant started a second bloom cycle. After the plant flowered for several days, I counted the new buds and found 55 about to open over the next couple of weeks. I think my hibiscus has enjoyed the extra attention I have given it during the pandemic. Who knows what our futures are going to look like? I think everyone should continue working in and enjoying their garden and landscape. The garden and landscape are the perfect place to social distance. You get some fresh air and vitamin D, and you don’t have to wear a mask. We’ll get through this. Garden on.

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.

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 5


to our emergency linemen and support staff. This month still puts us in the thick of hurricane season but in August and September things got really dicey in the Gulf of Mexico. On August 27, Hurricane Laura roared into Louisiana in Cameron Parish as a Category 4 storm. Wind gusts of 100 to 135 MPH knocked out power to more than 800,000 homes and businesses in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. A little more than two weeks later, Hurricane Sally battered Alabama and Florida on Sept. 16 as a Category 2 storm. Sally wiped out power for more than 500,000 residents and businesses in both states. Our crews also powered up 12,000 meters here in Mississippi. The linemen of Mississippi’s electric cooperatives

were standing by and ready to respond to both storms. Following days of strategic planning, about 150 lineman and support workers were sent to hard hit Louisiana to restore power for the victims of Laura. Linemen, engineers, safety directors and other support members worked long hours and braved adverse conditions to power up storm victims. Mississippi also sent more than 200 lineworkers to Alabama and Florida to help restore power to homes and businesses in the aftermath of Sally. The brave men and women who make up our line worker force are the cooperatives’ first responders. We thank them for their hard work and dedication during times of crisis — for our members in Mississippi and our cooperative member friends in neighboring states. You are the heart of everything electric cooperatives do and represent.

Thank you for all you do!

6 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020


events

mississippi marketplace on the menu outdoors today scene around the ‘sip picture this my opinion

co-op involvement southern gardening

grin ‘n’ bare it

by Nancy Jo Maples Whether or not the legendary Longfellow House is haunted is less important than the fact it is inhabited. The grand antebellum mansion, a place where if walls could talk the tales would be endless, sits on the east end of Buffet Beach in Pascagoula overlooking the Mississippi Sound. In its 170 years, few families have actually lived in it. Today, its walls witness the ramblings of a busy family. For Drs. Randy and Tracy Roth and their six children, Longfellow House isn’t haunted, it’s home. Storms and stories, including the legend of its name, add romanticism to the majestic 9,000 square-foot, three level structure. At times it sat abandoned igniting tales of apparitions. At other times it set the scene for elite socializing. Its ghost stories include a baby falling from a third-story window and blood-stained floors. Yet the stories the Roths hear most often revolve around its time as a grand resort with cottages, elegant dining and lounging attended by white-coated waiters, a golf course, clay tennis courts and a celebrated swimming pool where local children splashed and teenagers sparked, sometimes leading to love, marriage and a baby carriage. “About once a week someone will see us on the front porch and stop to share a story. Sometimes they bring things from the restaurant like a menu or ashtray. Not having grown up here, we love hearing the stories,” Randy said. “Longfellow House means a lot to this city. People tell us they like seeing a swing hanging from a tree and children playing in the yard. They have thanked us for living here.” Even its name evolved through legend. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was believed to have drawn inspiration to pen “The Building of the Ship” while vacationing there. The poem mentions trees “Brought from regions far away, from Pascagoula’s sunny bay” leading to local lore. Although Pascagoula is known for shipbuilding, literature

scholars found Longfellow never visited Mississippi and the poetic reference merely identified the city as a source for ship-making lumber. Originally called Bellevue, French for “beautiful view,” the home was built circa 1850 by wealthy slave-trader Daniel Graham whose reputation for slave cruelty resulted in the blood stain story. The Roths never saw blood stains, yet admit renovations could have erased them, allowing story rights to anyone who wants to hold onto that tale. “The room that’s supposedly haunted is where the triplets were raised so if there was a ghost in there, he or she didn’t have a whole lot of room,” Randy said. The Roths moved in 14 years ago when the triplets were one. Prior, they lived in another historic Pascagoula beach home completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Greek Revival structure is powered by Singing River Electric. Gulf breezes make pleasant year-round sitting on the expansive front veranda accessible by a grand exterior staircase. The home features 14-foot ceilings, eight-inch crown molding and original Mahogany pocket doors on its center, living floor. The top floor houses four bedrooms. A grandmother suite occupies the lower level. In addition to the Roths and Grahams, other inhabitants were W.A. Pollock, 1902-1938, and former mayor Frank Canty who resold it in the early 1940s to Ingalls Shipbuilding. Ingalls converted it into the resort. Following the resort’s closure, it deteriorated until Dick and Dianne Scruggs bought it in 1993, restored its grandeur and donated it to the University of Mississippi as a special occasion venue. After Katrina dumped eight feet of water in it, Ole Miss sold it to the Roths. Award-winning journalist Nancy Jo Maples has written about Mississippi people and places for three decades. Contact her at nancyjomaples@aol.com. OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 7


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95 yr old Ohio man dodges nursing home

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“This little FastHelp device is my guardian angel. I’m so glad my daughter-in-law got it for me.” -Pete Shaw Decorated WWII Veteran first. But then Pete’s daughterin-law, Mar yanne, began to notice the shuffling steps, the difficulty with mundane tasks, but worst of all she found out about the falls, nothing serious yet but disturbing. Maryanne began to worry that something might happen when they weren’t around. That wasn’t a risk Maryanne was willing to take. “I started looking into medical alert devices. But they are like $50 to $100 a month.” said Maryanne, “We just didn’t have it plus all the other costs, equipment, installation, deposits, it never ends.” “Just when it seemed like Pete was headed for a nursing home, I saw an ar ticle about FastHelp™ in my newspaper,” continued Maryanne, “I found out it instantly connects you to unlimited help, nationwide, everywhere cell service is available.” “I also learned there are no contracts, no deposits, and no monthly bills ever,” Maryanne explained, “it was like all my prayers were answered, Pete

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So much learning, fun at

LYNN MEADOWS

DISCOVERY

by Elissa Fulton As soon as you drive up to Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, you are met with an immediate welcome. Just a quick check in at the registration center and you’re on your way down a path of learning and fun. The center is an arts and interactive educational children’s museum in Gulfport. The first stop down Kid’s Street, sponsored by The Home Builders of Mississippi, features companies like Coast Electric, who have built small houses to demonstrate building with energy efficiency products. The Home Builders Association, Coast Electric and other companies sponsor this kid-size neighborhood to promote construction education. Just across the street in the neighborhood there’s a free library where kids can take a book and leave a book. The museum is situated on just over seven acres which includes On The Green, a fantastic outdoor area beginning with a StoryWalk that displays a new story each month — fostering and supporting the importance of literacy. Once you’ve completed the StoryWalk, check out the fantastic views of the Gulf of Mexico with telescopes to view the barrier islands and local wildlife. A musical garden and weather station are also fun learning activities On The Green. Other outdoor activities include solar sunflowers for learning about sustainable energy sources, as well as a play-size bait shop and a tree house village built in the tops of 100-year-old oak trees. Inside the 15,000-square-foot, newly updated facility, you’ll find many exhibits promoting art, communications, literacy, culinary arts and science. A play-size veterinary clinic, a kid’s talk show, complete with its very own green screen, a grocery store,

train depot, space shuttle and many more exhibits emphasize the many future career opportunities available to kids. With just a little imagination, a day at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center can educate a child in so many ways. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center offers many activities for kids of all ages. The WINGS Performing Arts Program teaches acting, singing and dancing; as well as the Bear Cub Club for kids five and under. There’s so many classes and camps to take part in year-round. An interactive, educational experience has been the goal of Lynn Meadows Discovery Center since its opening in 1989. The nonprofit organization began when Carole Lynn Meadows lost her daughter, Lynn Meadows in a tragic accident. Lynn had been studying education at Ole Miss when she died in a automobile accident. Her mother, Carole Lynn Meadows and Rose Almond created this special place for children and named it Lynn Meadows Discovery Center as a tribute to Lynn who had a passion for children and education. The initial funding in 1991 came from the Gulfport Junior Auxiliary. Twenty-two years later, it has expanded from its humble beginnings in a 1915 schoolhouse to a recent renovation that added the WINGS Performing Arts Studio, the Viking Kitchen and the Café to the Stars. There are also other meeting rooms and pavilions, all available for event rental. “We’ve really worked hard to make this a fun and safe environment for all of our visitors,” said Sonja Gillis, director of marketing and public relations. “Learning is fundamental for young people and we strive to create a special learning atmosphere for them at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.”

CENTER

Visit lmdc.org to learn more about Lynn Meadows Discovery Center or for a list of upcoming events and COVID-19 precautions.

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 9


mississippi seen events

m

on the menu

scene around the ‘s co-op involvement

southern gardening


een

mississippi is...

mississippi marketplace u outdoors today d the ‘sip picture this my opinion ement

rdening

October and the beginning of hunting season grin ‘n’ bare it

often hunted with the assistance of beagles, rabbits can offer a For a great many Mississippians, October spells the beginsolid challenge and excellent meals. Not unlike squirrel hunting ning of a long-anticipated event. That event is hunting season. with a dog, rabbit hunting is often a process involving multiThis occurrence is rather broad and encompasses several ple hunters and is another outstanding activity by which to species of game. Among these are squirrels, rabbits and deer. encourage new hunters. Squirrel hunting is a southern tradition. Once was the time But do be careful. Always know where other when this game held the number one slot hunters — and the dogs — are. Always be sure that in popularity; that designation goes to the target is clear and know what lies beyond. whitetails now. Still, squirrel hunting is popNever cross fences or streams or negotiate ular. In fact, it appears to have seen a bump brush piles or downed timber with loaded firein interest over the past decade or so. And arms. And always wear hunter orange. this is particularly true for squirrel hunting October deer hunting is restricted to archery. with a dog. That, however, is little hindrance for the pracThere are few hunting endeavors more ticed shooter. Positions near mast-producing enjoyable than a squirrel hunt with dogs. trees, along the edges of agricultural crops or It can be a solitary affair or can just as locations beside a woods trail are favored for easily be something done in the company those hoping to encounter a whitetail during of others. A social gathering if you will. bow season. Dogs do the work; hunters trail along after Let the lessons begin. A father/son team waiting All the above activities are now, or will be the canines. If one pursuit is a sure bet for for beagles to head their way can be a time of very soon, open in October. These signal the training, developing and introducing new bonding and instruction. beginning of what many consider the finest time of year and hunters to hunting, it is that of going to squirrel woods with a most alluring hours the outdoors offers. And it is hard to argue proficient dog. with that conclusion. October brings these in abundance. But squirrel hunting is not limited to dogs. It can be practiced with success by slipping along quietly with an eye out for squirrel activity in the timber or on the ground and an ear tuned to the shaking of limbs, the grinding sound of acorns or hickory nuts being eaten or the scolding bark of bushytails. And listen as well for the pitter-patter of hulls from nuts raining by Tony Kinton onto the forest floor. Another approach is to enter a woodlot and sit motionless Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. in proximity to an oak or hickory. A short scouting trip He lives in Carthage and is a Central Electric member. prior to the hunt or even during the hunt will reveal those Visit www.tonykinton.com for more information. trees containing mast and being used by squirrels. The hunter stationed properly can expect squirrels to be along directly. Rabbits are another viable and generally abundant game animal available from some point in October on into the new year. Most

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 11


Rainwater Observatory in French Camp was recently selected by NASA to receive a full color banner featuring a spectacular new celestial portrait nicknamed, “Cosmic Reef.” The portrait was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The massive banner was created and released to commemorate Hubble’s 30 years of operation. There was a very limited number of these awarded and after a rigorous selection process, Rainwater was one of only 74 facilities across 50 states, and the only one here in Mississippi, to receive the banner. The banner is a major addition to the observatory’s lecture exhibits hall. In the Hubble portrait, the giant red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbor (NGC 2020) are part of a vast, star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way,

located 163,000 light-years away. The image is nicknamed “Cosmic Reef” because NGC 2014 resembles part of a coral reef floating in a vast sea of stars. Some of the stars in NGC 2014 are monsters. The nebula’s sparkling centerpiece is a grouping of bright, hefty stars, each 10 to 20 times more massive than the Sun. The seemingly isolated blue nebula at lower left (NGC 2020) has been created by a solitary mammoth star 200,000 times brighter than the Sun. The blue gas was ejected by the star through a series of eruptive events during which it lost part of its outer envelope of material. Although the observatory is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, private group visits can be scheduled. Visit rainwaterobservatory.org or call 662-547-7283 for more information.


released into the wild at Camp Shelby

The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi recently released 94 gopher tortoises into the wild at Camp Shelby as part of an initiative to restore populations of this threatened species. The tortoises have become a threatened species mainly due to the degradation of their habitat and the susceptibility that presents to predators. TNC collaborated with the Mississippi Military Department, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Mississippi Natural Heritage Program, and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. As part of the organization’s larger Longleaf Pine efforts across southern Mississippi and much of the southeast, TNC is utilizing prescribed fire techniques to help conserve and restore the gopher tortoise habitat. The tortoises are being released into those portions of the Longleaf pine forest that have been restored and already contain colonies of adult tortoises. The vast majority of these tortoises being released were reared in a controlled environment at Camp Shelby to encourage faster growth. When they reach a certain size, which is around two years of age they are less likely to be eaten by a predator and more likely to survive to adulthood. Jim Lee, a biologist with The Nature Conservancy said, “In the past, we’ve released those animals

at age two of being ‘head started’ and we’ve released so far 400 animals of that size class, and we’ve had relatively good success so far with 70% survivorship,” Lee said. “We’re going to release them with radio transmitters and see how well that they do. The thought is that we could potentially create a population which will be 250 adults if this is a successful method.” “This is one of the critical steps in fully restoring the longleaf pine forests in Mississippi. The role that this iconic species plays in the Longleaf forest cannot be over-stated, because the gopher tortoise burrows alone provide habitat for over 370 different other species native to this forest. Hence the reason gopher tortoise is called a ‘keystone’ species for the longleaf ecosystem,” said Alex Littlejohn, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi. The Nature Conservancy has released more than 400 gopher tortoises into the wild and is making real progress in restoring the species and its habitat. Since 1965, The Nature Conservancy has been working to conserve lands and waters in Mississippi that have provided a sense of place and connection to our natural heritage for many generations. TNC has played a key role in protecting and restoring some of our most iconic landscapes, totaling over 150,000 acres across the state. Together, we are making a measurable, lasting difference in Mississippi.

www.nature.org/mississippi FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 13


Columbia: 601-736-2666 Hattiesburg: 601-264-2458

Purvis: 601-794-8051 Wiggins: 601-928-7277

To pay bills or report outages:

855-2PRVEPA (855-277-8372) Visit us online at www.PRVEPA.com Member owned. Locally operated. That’s the cooperative difference.

Pandemic Exemplifies Cooperative Spirit Every October we celebrate National Cooperative Month and reflect on the set of principles and values that exemplify cooperative businesses. As an electric cooperative our mission is to enrich the lives of our members and serve the interests of the communities in our service area. One way we do this is through the seven cooperative principles, which guide all cooperative businesses (see box). While all of us at Pearl River Valley Electric work to exemplify each principle daily, I’d like to address one particular principle, “concern for community” and its importance in this unique period in our history. In March, who would have thought that COVID-19 would test us in every way possible. As an essential service we have worked to protect our employees from the coronavirus, because we know that your electric service is vital. We also quickly understood that more of our members would be working and attending school from home, so we immediately implemented a pandemic response plan to VOLUNTARY ensure uninterrupted service AND OPEN MEMBERSHIP and help limit transmission of the virus in our community. DEMOCRATIC To accomplish this, we had MEMBER CONTROL to address two key areas: the protection of our members and MEMBERS’ the public from the virus and ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION the implementation of safety measures within the compaAUTONOMY AND ny to shield employees from INDEPENDENCE COVID-19. As a major employer that serves 12 counties, we realized immediately that we needed to limit our interactions with our members and community. This challenged us to operate differently and pushed us to help our communities protect our most vulnerable members. We moved quickly to close lobbies and set up distancing procedures for our inside employees when dealing with the public. In addition, our workforce in the field were told to maintain social distancing of at least 6 to 10 feet from all members and the public. This first phase of our response was the most difficult since we 14 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020

cherish our relationships with our members. The second phase of our pandemic response plan involved protecting our employees from exposure. At Pearl River Valley Electric, we have 131 employees, each with a unique skill set and knowledge base. If we were to lose several to the coronavirus, it would cause significant disruption to our workplace. For this reason, we began having employees work in shifts to limit exposure to the virus. Also, some employees worked remotely. In the office, we limited and modified gatherings to allow for safe separation. These measures were implemented based on local and state health and safety guidelines and limited the spread of the virus throughout our local areas. While the virus has been difficult, the financial effects of COVID-19 on our members have been even greater. As members were laid off or furloughed, the Public Service Commission asked AND all utilitiesVOLUNTARY to MEMBERSHIP suspend collections OPEN for a period of 60 days. It quickly became apparent DEMOCRATIC that the virus EDUCATION, MEMBER CONTROL and its fi nancial devastation TRAINING AND INFORMATION would not end at 60 days, so MEMBERS’ ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION Pearl River Valley Electric took COOPERATION the suspended collections a step AMONG AUTONOMY AND COOPERATIVES further. We gave members a couINDEPENDENCE ple of additional weeks before CONCERN requiring payment of past due FOR COMMUNITY bills. In addition, we have worked with members to help pay their past due balances. While we have missed visiting with you in person, we have found new ways to stay connected. In July, we launched our Facebook and Twitter pages to help our members stay up to date. These new tools give us the ability to reach a large audience instantly. Through these platforms we provide updates during outages and will keep you informed about cooperative policy changes due to COVID-19. Please follow us on social media. In addition, we are in the process of developing a new website that will be easier to navigate. The site will still feature areas to pay your bill, view your electric use and offer an online

EDUCATION, TR AND INFORMA

COOPERATION AMONG COOPE

CONCERN FOR COMMUN


application and forms for bank draft and levelized billing. Look for this site to launch later this year. Since mid-March, concern for our community and our members has played a large role in every decision related to COVID-19 we have made at Pearl River Valley Electric. However, as we celebrate Cooperative Month in October, I challenge each of you to show the same concern for your community and your neighbors. This year has been difficult for our state and our nation with the pandemic, societal unrest and devastating natural disasters. As a cooperative our principles not only form the backbone of a great business model, but a standard of how society should function. Thank you for your commitment to our cooperative and we look forward to serving your needs in the future.

by Randy Wallace General Manager

Pearl River Valley Electric:

FAST FACTS • Organized in May 1938 • Governing body is a 10-member Board of Directors elected by members for staggered 3-year terms • Service area includes all or parts of 12 counties • Serves more than 50,000 meters consisting of residential, commercial, large power and industrial loads • Electric distribution system includes more than 6,100 miles of power lines and 25 substations • Headquarters is located in Columbia, with district offices in Hattiesburg, Wiggins and Purvis • Employs approximately 130 highly skilled, service-oriented professionals • In 1963, PRVEPA was the first cooperative in Mississippi to begin paying patronage refunds (a return on members’ equity

in the Association) … since that time, nearly $58 million has been returned to members over the course of 57 years • In 1988, PRVEPA began returning patronage credits to the estates of deceased members … more than $15.5 million has been returned through that program.

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 15


Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson recently announced the department’s Wild Hog Control Program (WHCP). “We are excited to launch the first-of-its-kind state agriculture department-led invasive feral hog trapping initiative,” Gipson said in a news release. “After a full year of public education, research and outreach through the Commissioner’s Wild Hog Challenge, MDAC is launching the Wild Hog Control Program, which will provide farmers, ranchers and landowners with the resources and training necessary to effectively combat the rise of destructive wild hogs in Mississippi.” During the 2020 Legislative session, MDAC was authorized to operate programs to fight nuisance wildlife species on private agricultural and forestry lands. The WHCP will involve the coordinated trapping and control of feral hogs on private farm and timber land throughout Mississippi. Working at the request of local farmers, this program will include training and technical assistance for farmers on the most effective methods to trap and control destructive wild hogs on their farm. Following training, one or more WHCP “smart” trapping systems may be set up on the farm, and farmers, or their designees, will be trained on the remote monitoring methods and best practices for effective trapping. “In Mississippi alone, wild hogs cause more than $60 million in damages annually. As I’ve said many times, we already know the problem and now we are taking meaningful action to curb the invasion of hogs on farmlands. The WHCP will fight the scourge of wild hogs on behalf of Mississippi farmers and ranchers. I want to thank Mike McCormick and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation for their indispensable support, and I want to thank Mississippi House of Representatives Agriculture Chairman Bill 16 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020

Pictured left to right: Mississippi Senate Agriculture Chairman Charles Younger, Mike McCormick, president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson and Mississippi House of Representatives Agriculture Chairman Bill Pigott.

Pigott, Mississippi State Senate Agriculture Chairman Charles Younger and the entire Mississippi legislature for their support in this endeavor,” Gipson said. MDAC acquired the first set of “smart” traps in August 2020, and currently these traps are being used in a 30-day test period in southwest Mississippi. The traps are powered by Mississippibased HogEye Camera Systems which allow for remote trapping capability wherever there is cellular signal. Once the test phase is completed, MDAC was slated to open an application period for farmers to submit trap-use applications. Submitted applications will be ranked based on number of acres available for trapping and historical agricultural losses caused by wild hogs on the property. Rotation of traps will occur approximately every 30-60 days, depending on use and success. MDAC will collect and analyze data including trap locations, program effectiveness and number of wild hogs harvested. The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation provided key support to the program with the acquisition of additional traps that will be deployed across the state. “Feral hogs continue to cause tremendous damage to ag land across all regions of Mississippi. We are proud to support MDAC’s effort to offer assistance to private landowners. I believe intensive trapping is necessary to truly suppress feral hog populations,” McCormick, president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, said in the release. Visit www.mdac.ms.gov/whcp for more information.


by Keri Collins Lewis and Michaela Parker Working with nature instead of against it can help make time spent in your yard more pleasurable. The team behind Smart Landscapes, a program from the Mississippi State University Extension Service and MSU Department of Landscape Architecture, offers practical information and instructions for enhancing the natural features around your home. A Smart Landscape is one that makes the best use of existing features, water resources, and energy while also reducing the amount of maintenance required. By selecting trees and plants best suited for the soil type, sun and shade in your yard, you best leverage the forces of nature to create a beautiful landscape. From ways to attract pollinators to information

about the best plants for shady spots, Smart Landscapes has a variety of publications and projects available online at http://extension.msstate.edu/ smartlandscapes. Tips on landscape design, how-to videos and presentations on subjects such as “Creating Biodiverse Landscapes for Mississippi Wildlife” can help you turn your property into a beautiful oasis for birds, bees, and other wild creatures. The Smart Landscapes team also shares inspiring examples of biodiverse habitats, successful plantings, and fun projects on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/smartlandscapesmsu/ Keri Collins Lewis is media relations manager and Michaela Parker is a marketing and communications coordinator for the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

How to install a shade sail Shade sails are an inexpensive way to block harmful UV rays from your patio space, and they help cool off the area. You can purchase a sail online or at a home improvement store. Most sails come in a variety of colors, so it’s an easy way to brighten up your yard. Before purchasing, measure the space you want to shade to ensure you have a sail that properly fits.

• • •

a drill turnbuckles 1/4 -inch chain

• posts • hook screws • concrete

Step 1: Determine your anchoring points. Shade sails are commonly in the shape of a triangle or rectangle. Keep in mind you will need an anchoring point for each corner of the sail. It’s smart to lay your sail where you want it to go and measure before installation. If you have a triangular sail, consider anchoring one end on the eaves of the house and the other two on posts in the ground. For a rectangle, add an additional hook on the eaves. Step 2: Install wooden, steel, or metal posts in the ground. Make sure the poles are sturdy enough to hold the sail and endure wind. Secure the posts with concrete to ensure they are sturdy. Install hooks on each anchoring point and lace a chain with turnbuckles on the shade sail grommets. Install the turnbuckles to all hooks and tighten until there is no slack in the sail. Sit back and enjoy the shade!

Visit http://extension.msstate.edu/blog/how-install-shade-sail to watch a video demonstrating shade sail construction.

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 17


by Derrill Holly and Steven Ward When major storms occur, electric cooperatives have always would load trucks at the beginning of the day. At the end of depended upon other co-ops in the network to help handle the day, cooperative employees do what needs to be done,” widespread outages. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t changed Gordon said. that — but does present logistical challenges for mutual “It is a major cornerstone in the sense of pride that linemen aid efforts. feel when they deploy to help our brothers and sisters in need. “There have been numerous discussions about transportaCOVID-19 is a hurdle but just one more thing that will be overtion, lodging, crew assignments, meal preparation and come when we, once again, bring the power.” distribution and increasing reliance upon crews from Pandemic precautions have had some impact on the general neighboring co-ops,” said Martha Duggan, NRECA’s senior pace of restoration following major outages. Work briefings are director of regulatory affairs. being conducted at jobsites, fueling and yard pickups are being Duggan said co-op officials from statewide associations scheduled to maintain social distancing, and box meal distribubegan working on approaches to mutual aid that addressed tions have replaced group feedings. public health concerns when the pandemic took hold earlier “When you have to disperse crews and handle most commuthis year. nications electronically, it can slow the “When feasible, visiting personnel pace of restoration, but it helps reduce are being housed in individual rooms, the risks,” Gordon said. and clean linens are distributed at a Co-ops in Mississippi took that into It is a major cornerstone in the central location in the hotel to reduce consideration when they worked to sense of pride that linemen feel the need for hotel staff to visit rooms,” complete restoration after more than when they deploy to help our Duggan said. 40 tornadoes strafed the state over Easter brothers and sisters in need. As Hurricane Laura approached the weekend in April. Louisiana coastline on August 26, the electric cooperative When remnants of Hurricane Isaias moved through Sussex family was in full preparation mode to respond to the needs Rural Electric Cooperative’s service territory, tropical stormof sister systems in that area. Cooperatives from around force winds knocked out power to about 4,600 of the New the country organized employees and equipment for Jersey co-op’s members, triggering a mutual aid response that deployment as soon as the Louisiana systems were prepared involved crews from five co-ops in Pennsylvania. to accommodate. “Our people stayed socially distant from mutual aid crews “The logistics of this process are frankly hard to overstate. brought in from other jurisdictions,” said Claudia Raffay, SREC’s Then, there is COVID-19. Our well-known nemesis did nothing director of marketing and member services. “Each crew was to simplify the process of mutual aid. It created even more assigned a point of contact who shadowed them on every work logistical hurdles that had to be addressed both in preparation assignment and helped guide them around our territory. for our arrival and in the sustainability of the ongoing effort, “That person might have been a staker, not involved in actual said Gerald Gordon, vice president of safety and loss control restoration work, who kept in communication with visiting for the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi. crews to make sure they had the equipment and materials “Mississippi provided 100-150 men with various types of they needed.” equipment. The normal calculation of housing needed went out Raffay said the social distancing and crew sequestration the window and had to be adjusted up to double the traditional measures that the co-op has employed throughout the size. Dealing with social distancing added modifications to the pandemic have been the basis for hosting its mutual aid way the men were housed, fed, and even the way they response crews. 18 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020


Voters to decide on new proposed

by Steven Ward When voters go to the polls Nov. 3, they will have an opportunity to decide whether a new proposed flag design will become Mississippi’s official state flag. The Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag selected the “New Magnolia Flag” to become the new state flag. The commissioners submitted the design to the governor and the legislature as instructed in House Bill 1796, which established the commission. The commission voted to brand the flag the “In God We Trust” flag. The flag was designed by Rocky Vaughan, with design support provided by Sue Anna Joe, Kara Giles, Dominique Pugh, Clay Moss and Micah Wilson, according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The design features a white magnolia on a blue banner with red and gold bars on each end. The magnolia is encircled by 20 five-point stars, plus a star representing all the Native American tribes of the state, and the words “In God We Trust.” “Our flag should reflect the beauty and good in all of us. It should represent a state that deserves a positive image,” Vaughan said in a MDAH news release. “The New Magnolia Flag represents the warmth and strength of the good people of Mississippi. Now is the time we show the world that we’re from Mississippi, the Magnolia State.” Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson chaired the commission. Anderson was the first African American justice to serve on the state’s high court. “No one worked harder to change Mississippi’s flag than

Governor William Winter,” said Anderson, who is also president of the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “I am thinking of him today as Mississippi takes this historic step toward selecting a state flag that will unify us and make us proud. I am grateful to our state leadership and my colleagues on the commission for their commitment to moving Mississippi forward.” Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann praised both the commission and process of finding a new proposed flag. “I’m very proud of the commission. They worked so hard. They reviewed thousands of flags and devoted hundreds of hours to the process. They did it so we all have the ability to adopt a flag as our own,” Hosemann told Today in Mississippi. Hosemann also said the commission’s decision to hold several public hearings and to give the public a chance to vote online on different flag designs was essential. “I’m pleased with the way it was all handled,” Hosemann said. Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said the new flag sends a message to the world. “While the rest of the world seems to be dividing over protests and political agendas, Mississippians are setting an example with the “In God We Trust” flag by pointing the rest of the world to the answer to all of our problems – In God We Trust,” Gunn said. On July 1, 2020, Mississippi retired the state’s 1894 flag — the last state flag in the nation to incorporate the Confederate battle flag. The legislature directed that the new design must include the words “In God We Trust.”

Members of The Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag Reuben Anderson - Former Mississippi Supreme Court justice Cyrus Ben - Choctaw Tribal chief Sherri Carr Bevis - Singing River Health System Frank Bordeaux - BXS Insurance property and casualty insurance vice president Mary Graham - Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College president

Betsey Hamilton - retired school teacher Robyn Tannehill - Oxford mayor T.J. Taylor - House Speaker Phillip Gunn’s policy director J. Mack Varner - Vicksburg attorney

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 19


MISSISSIPPI

BISCUITS A LONGTIME TR A DITION

20 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020


by Steven Ward What’s hot, flaky, tasty and free at the Mississippi State Fair? Buttermilk biscuits of course. This year’s fair will feature — as it has in some form since the 1950s — the biscuit booth, where visitors will be given a hot, homemade biscuit at no charge. Odds are, when you visit the biscuit booth this year, you will be greeted by Andy Gipson, Mississippi’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. You can’t miss him. He will be the guy wearing the big white cowboy hat. “It’s a trademark of the state fair. It’s part of people’s good memories from the fair. Getting that hot biscuit just puts a smile on people’s faces and that’s what we want to do,” Gipson said. The biscuit booth is sponsored by Kroger, Prairie Farms Dairy and Blackburn Made Syrup.

Gipson said COVID-19 has forced some changes this year at the 161st state fair including masks, social distancing and constant cleaning. “It will be the cleanest state fair in history for sure,” Gipson said. Usually there are two lines at the biscuit booth, Gipson said, but to accommodate social distancing and to get the biscuits out faster, there will be additional lines that will be shorter and more spread out. Each year it’s estimated that the employees of the state department of Agriculture and Commerce who volunteer at the booth make 100,000 biscuits over the 12 days of the fair. The pans the volunteers use hold 54 biscuits and six or seven of those are in the oven at one time. Gipson said hundreds of biscuits are coming out of the ovens at the same time providing hot and fresh biscuits for fairgoers. OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 21


It’s a trademark of the state fair. It’s part of people’s good memories from the fair.

22 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020


Legendary Mississippi State Fair Buttermilk Biscuits Preheat oven to 400 degrees. INGREDIENTS 4 cups self-rising Kroger flour 2 cups of cold Prairie Farms buttermilk ¾ cup shortening Blackburn Made Syrup

continued from page 21

Auguster Lewis, 52, has been making biscuits at the state fair for 24 years. An administrative assistant with the state’s Agriculture and Commerce Department’s Weights and Measures Division since 1995, Lewis loves making the biscuits. “It’s fun. I watched my mom make biscuits when I was young. We make the dough, roll and cut the biscuits out and bake them,” Lewis said. Lewis has been a biscuit booth supervisor since 2018. “I still help make them though. I can’t just sit there,” Lewis said laughing. When asked what the secret is to creating the perfect state fair biscuit, Lewis said it’s all based on feel. “You have to be very careful. Treat it carefully and take your time,” Lewis said.

1. Lightly coat a large baking dish or cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray. 2. In a large bowl, add flour. Dig a well in the middle and add the shortening. Using your hand or fork or pastry cutter cut shortening into flour until crumbly. 3. Dig a well, add buttermilk and stir until a soft ball of dough forms. 4. Lightly flour a flat surface, put soft ball of dough on floured surface and using your hands flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 2-inch tin can or biscuit cutter, flour can or cutter before each cut, do not twist when cutting; cut out round biscuits and place on baking sheet. 5. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Note: Remaining trim dough can be kneaded into more biscuits.

MORE INFORMATION:

IF YOU GO This year’s fair opens Oct. 7 and will go through Oct. 18. Gate admission is $5 and children under 6 are free. Parking is $5 a car. Ride tickets are sold on the fairgrounds. Visit msstatefair.com or call 601-961-4000 for more information.

At the Mississippi State Fair, each biscuit maker has their own recipe to make biscuits: the three main ingredients: self-rising flour, buttermilk and shortening. Don’t overwork the biscuit dough. Once dough is kneaded to a smooth texture; don’t mash the dough; justly gently flatten it out to a half-inch height and begin cutting out biscuits with a tin can. Flour the cutter before each cut so the dough won’t stick; do not twist it; just keep the wrist and cut biscuit out straight in a line cut up and down as close to each other to eliminate excess trim dough. Biscuit pans must be cold and each pan at the fair holds a total of 54 biscuits (6 across and 9 down). Things to avoid: Don’t add too much flour which will make biscuits hard and dry; overworking the dough will make dough tough; and twisting the cutter which can produce tough and small results of biscuits. OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 23


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

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5 1. Emma at Grenada Lake by Jeff Seznak of Grenada; Delta Electric member. 2. Cleitus by Andy McCluskey of Gautier; Singing River Electric member. 3. Nira by Angela Creel of Meridian; East Mississippi EPA member. 4. Koda by Melody Shoemaker of Lucedale; Singing River Electric member. 5. Chloe by Wendy Barnes of Columbia; Pearl River Valley EPA member. 6. Pam and her dog Annie Mae by Pam Metcalfe of Pontotoc; Pontotoc EPA member. 7. Robin and “Grand Duke” Nike by Robin Bush of Gulfport; Coast Electric member.

24 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020

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8. Copper and his orange ball by Judy Smith of Quitman; East Mississippi EPA member. 9. Hoot by Leanne Clark of Sandhill; Central EPA member. 10. Buddy by Don Fulton of Philadelphia; Central EPA member. 11. Three Great Pyrenees by Gwen Crittenden of Saucier; Coast Electric member. 12. Bellamy by Meagan Bond of Purvis; Pearl River Valley EPA member. 13. Raleigh Seal with her bird dog Blue and mixed dog Deauxde by Jennifer Seal of Hancock County; Coast Electric member.


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14. Lili by Cindy Walker of Starkville; 4-County Electric member.

19. Spirit by Paul and Sherry Barron of Hattiesburg; Pearl River Valley EPA member.

15. Hunter Brown and his dogs Dougie and Max by Marilyn Seymour of Vancleave; Singing River Electric member.

20. Jenny and Terry by Terry Likes of Starkville; 4-County Electric member.

16. Marlee and Whiskey by Terry Winn of Florence; Southern Pine Electric member. 17. Sugar Bear by Linda Alford of Brandon; Central EPA member.

21. Magoo by Tammy Garrison of Starkville; 4-County Electric member. 22. Yeti and Lewis in quarantine by Lewis Turner of Philadelphia; Central EPA member. 23. Bindi Sui by Jamie Hill of Ripley; Tippah EPA member.

18. Salsa and Stoli by Kay Cohen of Long Beach; Coast Electric member.

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 25


mississippi seen

mississippi is...

events

mississippi marketplace on the menu outdoors today scene around the ‘sip picture this my opinion co-op involvement southern gardening

grin ‘n’ bare it

with Rebecca Turner

Sweet, crisp and juicy: Mississippi’s own apple for the fall Unless you grew up with apple trees in your backyard, you might not think of apples as a native crop to Mississippi. Our great ancestors, living on homesteads from the Delta to the Gulf Coast, would have enjoyed apple varieties adapted to their specific climate. Your great-great-grandparents wouldn’t have ever seen or recognized today’s popular apples, such as Red Delicious or Granny Smith. Thanks to fruit explorers and orchardists, some of Mississippi’s heirloom apples are making a comeback. Move over Johnny Appleseed. We thank Captain Davis for bringing a sweet, crisp, and juicy apple variety to Mississippi and the South. Captain Davis of the Confederate army was discharged in North Carolina at the end of the Civil War and headed home to Kosciusko. While traveling back on foot, he found an apple tree, bearing the best apples he had ever eaten. He pocketed some of the seeds and planted them at his Mississippi home, where the trees proved to be resilient to our heat, productive, and fragrant. The Captain Davis apple is green with a red blush, with a sweet, crisp, and juicy taste. You don’t have to be an apple expert to enjoy this exceptionally healthy fruit. Apples are one of the most popular fruits and for a good reason. Children and adults enjoy snacking on raw apple slices, sometimes dipping them into peanut butter or paring them with cheddar cheese. Whole apples are durable with a reasonably long shelf life, making them

26 TODAY | OCTOBER 2020

perfect for backpacks, gym bags, and desk drawers. Whenever you need a quick snack or nutritious sweet ending to lunch, it’s there for you. Not to mention, in the fall season, a bowl of apples is as decorative as it is delicious. When apples are abundant in the market, it’s time to start cooking. Think past the traditional pie, and bake apple muffins, add diced apples to weeknight sautees, or make applesauce at home. Use applesauce in your favorite baking recipes, apple or not, to trim down the saturated fat calories linked to heart disease. Replace half the amount of butter in any baking recipe with store-bought or homemade applesauce. If a recipe calls for a cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of applesauce. Today, Mississippians might not have the same varieties of apples from long ago, but savoring a slice of warm apple pie stands the test of time.

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.


All you need is a bowl and a whisk to mix up the batter and bake. Use a tart, crisp apple that holds its shape, like a Granny Smith, Rome, or Honeycrisp apple. This makes a batch of 12 muffins, the perfect amount for a weekend breakfast without leftovers. You can easily double the recipe for up to 24 muffins. INGREDIENTS ½ cup butter (1 stick), melted ½ cup of sugar ¼ cup brown sugar, packed 1 egg, beaten ½ cup applesauce (unsweetened) 1 teaspoons cinnamon ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups self-rising flour + 1 tablespoon reserved 1 ½ cups of fresh apples, peeled and finely chopped* powdered sugar (for dusting, optional) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners and spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk well. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Then add in the melted butter and apple sauce. Whisk well. Fold in flour mixture slowing, mixing by hand till combined. Toss diced apples with reserved flour before adding to the batter. Gently fold apples into the batter. Spoon in about 1/4 cup of batter into muffin tins. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 15-20 minutes. You want your muffins golden brown or give it the ole toothpick test. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove the muffins to finish cooling on a wire rack or pan. *You can peel and cube your apples, add them to a food processor for 2-5 pulses if you prefer not to dice by hand.

INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts — cut into ½ -inch cubes 1 teaspoon salt - divided ½ teaspoon black pepper 4 slices thick-cut bacon – chopped 3 cups Brussels sprouts – trimmed and halved 1 medium onion - chopped 2 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and cut into ¾ inch cubes 2 teaspoons minced garlic ½ teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth - divided

Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over mediumhigh. Add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels. Reduce skillet heat to medium-low. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp and brown. Transfer the bacon to the same paper towel-lined plate as chicken. Drain the fat, but don’t wipe it clean. Increase skillet heat back to medium-high. Add Brussels sprouts, onion, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally. Slowly add in 1/2 cup chicken broth, as needed to keep vegetables from sticking (you may or may not use all the broth). Use your spatula to scrape up the bacon goodness off the pan for flavor. Brussel sprouts should become tender and the onions look translucent in about 10 minutes. If needed, place a lid on the pan and allow it to steam in 5-minute increments. Stir in the apples, thyme, and cinnamon. Cook 30 seconds, then pour in 1/2 cup of the broth. Bring to a boil and cook until evaporated. Add the reserved chicken and bacon. Cook until heated through. Serve warm. This dish pairs well with a baked sweet potato, over rice, or all by itself. OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 27


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brought unexpected opportunity in

broadband expansion

Before the 2020 Legislative Session convened in January, our office compiled a list of items we planned to tackle from increasing early education opportunities to reforming corrections to better training our workforce. Then, COVID-19 descended on Mississippi. Legislators’ and state leaders’ focus immediately shifted to responding to the crisis, both from a public health standpoint and in bracing for the economic consequences of the pandemic. The way we interact with one another as citizens in our schools, businesses and healthcare facilities also changed. With many unknowns about how to contain the spread of the virus, and its impact on those who contract it, we were no longer able to be in close quarters to carry out our daily life activities. Our schools ended classroom teaching and moved to distance learning. Many of our businesses temporarily closed or continued with work-from-home orders. Routine or preventive healthcare ceased and telehealth stepped in its place. In adjusting to this new normal, COVID shined a bright light on a significant obstacle standing in the way of a smooth transition: the lack of reliable, high-speed internet access in many areas of Mississippi. However, through the partnership of legislative leaders like Senator Joel Carter and Representative Scott Bounds, the electric cooperatives, Public Service Commission, and other telecommunications companies, we turned this challenge into an unexpected opportunity. Of the discretionary Coronavirus Relief Funds provided from the federal government, state legislators set aside $75 million for the infrastructure necessary to increase broadband availability in

unserved or underserved areas. As a dollar-for-dollar match program, this represents an $150 million investment in our state. Nineteen projects, including 15 from electric cooperatives, have already received the green light and another round is expected to be awarded soon. By the end of 2021, this program will result in 4,700 additional miles of fiber providing access to almost 46,000 citizens. In short, this is a game changer for our state. First and foremost, it allows us to respond to the current crisis caused by COVID by creating opportunities to better learn, work and receive necessary services remotely. Second, it is an investment in the future of our economy and the future of our children. Like any other utility in our communities, access to the rest of the world through high-speed, reliable internet is an absolute necessity for every Mississippian. As a body, the Senate is already exploring new ways to increase broadband availability. Unused fiber assets exist throughout Mississippi, ready to be tapped by providers, and new federal money is expected to come down the pike. With your help, we will be able to continue to build on the positive progress made this session, concerning internet access and the many other issues facing our state.

by Delbert Hosemann Delbert Hosemann is Mississippi’s lieutenant governor.

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 29


mississippi seen

mississippi is...

events

mississippi marketplace Barn Sale, Antiques and Collectables, PLAY GOSPEL MUSIC on16-17, the October Purvis.menu More than 70 outdoors today #1. PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR. Piano, Keyboard. collectors with trailer loads of antiques, Add chords to music. 10 easy lessons. $12.95 LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC! Chording, runs, fill-ins. signs, wagon wheels, anvils, tools, old scene around the ‘sip #2.$12.95. picture this Both $23. Guaranteed. DAVIDSONS MUSIC, windows and more. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4799 6727 M Metcalf, Shawnee Mission, KS 66204 www.davidsonsmusic.com. Free catalog available. Old Highway 11. $2 parking fee. Details: my opinion co-op involvement 601-818-5886 or 601-794-7462. southern gardening

Landrums Homestead Fall Festival, October 17, Laurel. Working homestead, wagon rides, ole tyme games, gem mining, woodcarver, blacksmith and gristmill demonstrations. Beautiful fall photo spots, homemade ice cream and smokehouse open. Admission is $10, children 3 and under are free. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1356 Hwy 15 South. Details: 601-649-2546 or landrums.com. Vancleave Arts and Crafts Fair and Book Sale, November 21, Vancleave. More than 35 arts and craft vendors will be present with hand-crafted items for Christmas gifts. Plus, book sale and kid crafts. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Conrad Mallette Multi-Purpose Arena. 5125 Ballpark Road. Details: 228-283-0576 or 228-826-4143. Many planned events were canceled because of the COVID-19 crisis, so we have had far fewer events to feature in this space as a result. As more areas of Mississippi open back up and groups and organizations feel comfortable about holding public events, we intend to include those details here. So, if you have an upcoming event for November or December, please email the details to news@ecm.coop.

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Camille Katrina Of all the other things that 2020 has become, it is also the 15th anniversary year of Hurricane Katrina. The eye of Katrina came on shore near Waveland as a Category 5 storm. And I say it “came on shore” as if the center of the storm was all there was to it. Actually, our gulf coast was destroyed by the winds and the tidal surge of Katrina from Pearlington, on the Pearl River to the west, all the way to Pascagoula, at the other end of our coast. And of course, all the flooding in New Orleans was a byproduct of the storm. Well, another byproduct of Katrina was to help finish up something started by Hurricane Camille in 1969. Camille, by the way, hit the coast as a Category 3 storm. It had been a 5 but weakened before making landfall. We lived for decades thinking no storm could ever be as bad as Camille until Katrina came along and dwarfed it. One example of the difference between the strength of the storms — the Moran Art Gallery was about a block off of the beach behind the Biloxi Lighthouse. The storm surge from Camille undermined its foundation by washing away sand and soil from beneath the building. Then, 36 years later, Katrina washed away the building. But as they were doing repairs after Camille, a few skeletons were found under the Moran building. Obviously, they had been there a long time and the storm surge washed away just enough dirt to reveal them. They became a curiosity when a section of the floor above them was removed and replaced with plexiglass so you could see them. And in the years between Camille and Katrina, the skeletons under Moran Art Gallery became an attraction. But then, along came Katrina, which washed away the whole building. As the coast began to become functional again, side

issues started being addressed. The skeletons under Moran Art Gallery were remembered and the Anthropology Department at the University of Southern Mississippi did some surveying and mounted an expedition to investigate them. Turns out there were more than just a couple of people who had been buried there. About 30 bodies were discovered. The remains were taken to the lab back at USM and determined to be of European origin — a few centuries in age and most of them males. So, it turns out that Moran’s skeletons were French colonists who came to “New Biloxi” between 1717 and 1722. It is the oldest French colonial cemetery in the South and the second oldest in the nation. What Camille started by unearthing the skeletons in 1969, Katrina finished in 2005 by removing the building covering them and giving access to the rest of the cemetery. There is a small park-like area beside the Biloxi Visitors Center at the Lighthouse where the bodies have been reburied — on the sight of the original cemetery. Maybe this time their final resting place will stay final.

by Walt Grayson Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at walt@waltgrayson.com.

OCTOBER 2020 | TODAY 31


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