Today in Mississippi November 2022 Northcentral

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My Opinion

Looking up at the stars The cover story in our November issue shows off one of Mississippi’s hidden gems. That’s something we see as part of our mission at Today in Mississippi. We like to remind our members of the wonderful places to visit and experience right in our own backyards. The Rainwater Observatory at French Camp Academy in Choctaw County houses one of the largest collections of powerful telescopes in the Southeast. The facility also houses a planetarium used to teach lunar, stellar, and planetary motion, constellations, and mythology. The exhibits at Rainwater include a meteorite collection featuring a meteorite from Mars and a piece of the Chelyabinsk meteorite that hit Russia in 2013. Rainwater also hosts a free monthly program every second Friday of the month. That program is sponsored by the 4-County Foundation. The 4-County Foundation was created by 4-County Electric Power Association in 2015 to improve the lives of their co-op members. The foundation money comes from the generosity of 4-County members. The 4-County Foundation is a perfect example of the one of the seven core

Cooperative Principles our co-ops utilize to put the needs of its members first — Concern for Community. Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by membership. Another way of saying that? Mississippi’s electric cooperatives give back to the communities they are part of because, unlike traditional utilities, cooperatives want to enrich the lives of their members. So, whether you are an amateur stargazer or someone who just wants to look up at the stars on a dark night and contemplate the wonders of the world, go visit the Rainwater Observatory and tell them you read about it in Today in Mississippi, your electric cooperative’s monthly magazine. We hope you enjoy the November issue.

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

Mississippi is... Working in my yard Colorful flowers for each season of the year, sharpening my hoe and oiling my shears, trimming the hedge all these years. Watching my cat chase butterflies, as I hoe grass from all outside. Picking up leaves from the Magnolia tree, while the sweet smell still lingers in the breeze. Sitting on the porch and sipping my tea, the cool summer breeze puts me to sleep. Sunday arrives, going to church, makes everything right and heals all the hurts.

by Lexie Montgomery, a resident of Stringer and a member of Southern Pine.

What’s Mississippi to you?

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

Submit your beautiful digital photo of life in Mississippi to Today in Mississippi,

Photos by Chad Calcote

2022 | NOVEMBER 3

In This Issue

7 Southern Gardening All about fall pumpkins

8 Outdoors Today Tony Kinton looks back

10 Scene Around the ‘Sip A look at special people and places in Mississippi


15 Local News 20


The Rainwater Observatory at French Camp Academy offers a window into the heavens



For the Love of the Game


On the Menu

A Biloxi baseball story

Pork steaks and sweet potatoes

The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

Vol. 75 No. 11

OFFICERS Randy Carroll - President Ron Barnes - First Vice President Tim Perkins - Second Vice President Brian Hughey - Secretary/Treasurer Michael Callahan - Executive Vice President/CEO EDITORIAL STAFF Lydia Walters - VP, Communications Steven Ward - Editor Chad Calcote - Creative Director/ Manager Kevin Wood - Graphic Designer Alan Burnitt - Graphic Designer Courtney Warren - Graphic Designer Chris Alexander - Member Services Coordinator Steve Temple - Social Media Director Mickey Jones - Administrative Assistant EDITORIAL OFFICE & ADVERTISING 601-605-8600

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

Circulation of this issue: 480,961

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

31 Mississippi Seen

Walt Grayson finds his family’s magic box


On the cover

Rainwater Observatory at French Camp Academy on a Saturday in October 2022. Photo by Chad Calcote.

Central Electric Power Association, Coahoma Electric Power Association, Coast Electric Power Association, Delta Electric Power Association, Dixie Electric Power Association, East Mississippi Electric Power Association, 4-County Electric Power Association, Magnolia Electric Power, Monroe County Electric Power Association, Natchez Trace Electric Power Association, North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, Northcentral Electric Cooperative, Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association, Pontotoc Electric Power Association, Singing River Electric, Southern Pine Electric, Southwest Electric, Tippah Electric Power Association, Twin County Electric Power Association, and Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association.



News and Notes

Co-ops top 100,000 high-speed internet subscribers Since 2020, 100,000 rural Mississippi residents have subscribed to and received reliable high-speed internet from 17 wholly owned subsidiaries of electric cooperatives across the state. In addition to surpassing the 100,000subscriber milestone, the 17 electric cooperative subsidiaries have collectively built nearly 25,000 miles of fiber optical cable and invested more than $760 million for high-speed internet infrastructure. “The collective efforts of our electric cooperatives’ subsidiaries will combine to be one of the largest economic development investments in our state’s history. The benefits of this infrastructure investment will impact Mississippians for decades to come,” Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi’s CEO Michael Callahan said. ECM is the statewide organization and the voice of electric cooperatives in Mississippi.

These 17 electric cooperatives began offering high-speed internet in 2020, so in just a short two-year time span, the cooperatives have created subsidiary organizations, secured funding, completed engineering design plans, constructed fiber lines, and are serving 100,000 rural residents with quality high-speed internet service. The number of subscribers continues to grow every day. “The work that our cooperatives and their subsidiaries has accomplished over the past couple of years is remarkable. Reaching 100,000 subscribers collectively is an incredible milestone and a testament to the hard work of our employees across the state,” Callahan said. “As the build out for highspeed internet continues across our state, many more rural families will soon have access to reliable and fast internet service.”

Mississippi sends linemen to power up Florida after Hurricane Ian Five of the state’s distribution electric cooperatives sent 83 linemen to Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian to help power up the communities who were devastated after the storm. The crews went to offer support to Peace River Electric Cooperative in Wauchula, Florida following Ian’s landfall on Sept. 28. Coast Electric sent 29 linemen; Yazoo Valley sent

11; Dixie Electric sent 18; Delta Electric sent nine, and North East Mississippi Electric sent 16. “Mississippi responded to Peace River’s request by sending all the equipment and personnel that they had the capacity to manage. Almost double that amount was on standby, if needed,” said Gerald Gordon, Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi’s vice president of safety and loss control.

Cooperative Energy biologist becomes USFW agent Wes Graham, a Cooperative Energy transmission field biologist, recently received the designation of “Agent” from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This designation comes with the responsibility to protect the gopher tortoise through means only allowed by designated agents. The gopher tortoise is a federally threatened species, meaning there are numerous restrictions on respecting and preserving the species and its habitat. Graham has proved himself as a trusted conservationist on previous projects, leading the Service to grant him agent status. Graham’s new designation allows him to scope burrows and provide aid to the gopher tortoise on Cooperative Energymanaged properties. Graham said, “This

designation comes with a big responsibility, and I’m so humbled to have received it. We have worked hard over the years to establish pristine habitats along our rightsof-way for species like pollinators and the threatened gopher tortoise. I’m proud of the ‘environmentally responsible’ tagline in our mission statement, and I do my best to uphold that every day.” Cooperative Energy employees and contractors who work in the proximity of gopher tortoise habitats are required to attend annual training to learn how to spot and protect the species. Graham and his team should be notified of any projects occurring on Cooperative Energy rightsof-way so that proper precautions may be implemented. 2022 | NOVEMBER 5

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Southern Gardening

There are more than 150 different pumpkin species grown around the world, but primarily only four species are grown for autumn display.

As we move further into the fall, I wonder if there is a more fitting and fun fruit than a pumpkin? Pumpkins have become a major part of any autumnal or Halloween decoration. And who can resist a fresh pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving dinner? I know I can’t! The standard pumpkin color for fall decorating has always been brilliant orange. But why limit yourself to just orange? Pumpkin colors include bright and bold red, yellow, white, blue, and multicolored stripes. I’m even seeing bright-yellow pumpkins this year. They can be miniature, flattened, necked, smooth, winged, and warty. More and more independent garden centers are offering a wide array of decoraPumpkins have become a tive pumpkins (and major part of any autumnal gourds) for autumnal displays. or Halloween decoration. Besides their aesAnd who can resist a thetic qualities, there are some interesting fresh pumpkin pie with facts about pumpkins Thanksgiving dinner? you may not know. While there are more I know I can’t! than 150 different pumpkin species grown around the world, there primarily are only four species grown for autumn display. These four species have a multitude of selections, according to the University of Illinois Extension, which is my go-to source for pumpkin information. First are Cucurbita moschata pumpkins, which generally weigh 5 to 10 pounds and are often grown for processing. I’ll talk more about canned pumpkin in a bit. The Cucurbita mixta species shows tolerance for growing in the Southeast, which is good news for growers and pie bakers in Mississippi. Cucurbita pepo pumpkins are used for carving scary faces and decorating. This species also includes summer squash and zucchini. Have you ever thought of carving that huge zucchini that didn’t get picked in time? Last is Cucurbita maxima, which includes pumpkins grown for size like the ones entered in giant pumpkin contests. I promised more on canned pumpkins earlier. When I lived in Illinois, I was amazed at the amount of processing pumpkins being grown there. In fact, Illinois grows more than 95% of the nation’s processing pumpkins. Processing pumpkins are tough and aren’t picked by hand. Most growers use mechanical harvesters resembling bulldozers that quickly

move through the production fields pushing the pumpkins. Canned pumpkin is an essential ingredient for making any pumpkin pastry, including pumpkin pie. But unless the can says 100% pumpkin, it’s likely a mixture of various pumpkin-like squash that have shorter fibers than many pumpkins, resulting in a smoother product.

The different varieties of pumpkins are primarily grown for eating, decorating or size.

A Bachman family favorite are homemade, roasted pumpkin seeds. After carving your scary jack-o-lantern, save and thoroughly wash away the stringy tissue from the seeds. It doesn’t matter the type of pumpkin you use, as the seeds of all pumpkins are edible. Toss the cleaned seeds with melted real butter — this recipe does not work with any make-believe butter substitutes — sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 300 degrees. Keep a close watch until the seeds are slightly toasty in color.

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.

2022 | NOVEMBER 7

Outdoors Today

That title — Swan Song — is an ancient metaphor referencing a common assumption that swans are most often mute throughout their lives. But when a swan nears death, that one sings a beautiful song during its last minutes of life. The metaphor is used to point out a last performance, speech, sermon, or other presentation given by an individual before they die or retire. And since I have no specific notice of imminent death and since I don’t plan to retire, that metaphor may seem out of place. Still, a change in editorial needs in this publication does necessitate a Swan Song for my work herein.



I sold my first feature story to a magazine in 1979. That is a great many years in this mysterious and frantic business of writing. Throughout those years I have been privileged to provide materials to 53 different publications, some of those using only a few of my contributions, others among them using one or more a month for years. Just for curiosity, I tried to keep up with numbers of how many pieces were published, but I have done a poor job of it. After all, I am a writer and not an accountant. Maybe 2,000. I can’t be sure. And honestly that number is of no importance.

And there were eight books in that mix. I set a goal to write 10 and might yet reach that. But goal setting and writing books, other than those books that fall into academic and instructional/ informational arenas in their myriad forms, are less than fruitful. Some muse or imagination or deep sentiment (and other guides) are needed for story-telling. And these guides sometimes hide and fail to show up on schedule. So, setting timetables within those goals can make one grumpy. I do have book number nine finished but not yet published: “God’s Fingerprints: A Wanderer’s Journey.” Stories birthed in the mountains of British Columbia, the woodcock haunts of Vermont, the tumbleweeds of Kansas, the tipi rings of Montana, the mud-between-the-toes of country lads in Mississippi, and the sickle bush and wait-abit thorns of South Africa. All, at least this was my intent, bring honor to the Creator, God. Among those magazines mentioned above, Today in Mississippi stands out. I have done the outdoor column in it for almost 20 years. And never once was I disappointed to have my byline in there. This publication was and is a jewel.

Among those magazines mentioned above, Today in Mississippi stands out. I have done the outdoor column in it for almost 20 years. And never once was I disappointed to have my byline in there. This publication was and is a jewel. And you readers: kind, gracious, enthusiastic. I shall miss you. You have invited me into your churches and libraries and civic clubs. Please continue to do so. Contact me at My deep appreciation to you all. And farewell.

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



Scene Around the ‘Sip

by Steven Ward

Emmie Perkins discovered her love of music and the arts when she was in the 4th-grade. “I auditioned and landed a part in a local production of ‘Annie: The Musical.’ When my mom heard me sing for the first time, she thought I was adopted. My gift of music and singing came out of nowhere,” Perkins said. 10


The role in “Annie” helped pave the way for Hattiesburg native Perkins to be crowned Miss Mississippi 2022 in June and an opportunity to represent the state in the Miss America pageant this December. Perkins took vocal lessons from the age of 12 to 18 and was encouraged by teachers and coaches throughout the years to pursue a career in music and the arts. “I would always tell my mom that I felt different from other kids. I told her I had this feeling that my path would be different than some of my peers. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but I stuck with acting, music and singing and it led me to become Miss Mississippi.” Perkins, 21, is a student at Mississippi State University working on a major in biological science and a minor in music. When Perkins was growing up, she said the word “pageant” never crossed her mind. “I never longed to be Miss Mississippi or Miss America. I would watch on TV every year to watch the talent competition, but I never saw myself as one of the high achieving young women on TV.” But Perkins had a goal of graduating from college debt free and investigated Miss America scholarships. “Many great mentors in my life encouraged me to compete for the title of Miss Hattiesburg my freshman year of college. I showed up in an evening gown that was too big for me, with no idea what to expect from the experience. Needless to say, I was blessed with the title that night,” Perkins said. During her junior year of college, Perkins competed for Miss Mississippi State University and won a full tuition scholarship to school for a year. Perkins’ platform as Miss Mississippi involves the healing power of music — Music is Medicine. “I noticed the incredible correlation between the healing power of music and the effect it had on the human body. People of all ages, races, and backgrounds were moved by the healing power of the arts and music. Through Music is Medicine, I have brought the arts and music to school systems, hospitals, and nursing homes,” Perkins said. Perkins said she remembers an encounter with a man in a dementia specific assisted living facility. She gave a presentation called “Memories with Maracas,” and a man in the back never interacted during the program. At the end of the session, Perkins played “Ave Maria” and then the man sat up in his chair and began singing opera. Perkins later found out the man used to be an opera singer when he was younger, and the music had awakened his memories.

When asked about the toughest part of the Miss Mississippi competition, Perkins said she had concerns about her height. “The night before the preliminary Red Carpet Evening Wear portion of the competition, I told my mom that girls who are 5’1 could never win an evening gown award. Not only did I win the award that night, but I won the overall Red Carpet award for the entire competition. That award was a reminder to more than just me that true beauty is exuded through confidence and light from within,” Perkins said. Perkins said she wants to inspire young girls across the state and the nation to celebrate who they are and love the things that make them different.

I’m glad I never gave up. I believe God gave me the opportunity to represent Mississippi to be a voice for our state. “I want to be the Miss Mississippi who spreads authenticity and honesty about my struggles to all who will listen with hopes that they too will find the confidence from within.” A vocal trainer in New York City who worked with singers aiming for careers on Broadway once told Perkins she would never make it as a Broadway singer and performer. “I’m glad I never gave up. I believe God gave me the opportunity to represent Mississippi to be a voice for our state. My dream may not be Broadway anymore, but it might be because God had bigger plans for my life. He knew exactly where I needed to be when he placed the crown on my head,” Perkins said.



Football Season

Send us photos of you or your family having fun at a high school or college football game. Or send us action photos of the players on the field. The photos must be high-resolution JPG files of at least 1 MB in size. Please attach the photo to your email, and send it to Each entry must be accompanied by photographer’s name, address, and co-op.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: November 30. Select photos will appear in the January 2023 issue.

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I often to refer to my favorite quote from the famous Mississippi author, William Faulkner. To paraphrase, he stated that man will not merely endure, he will prevail. The previous year hasn’t been too bad, but it’s certainly been a challenge. There is still much work to be done on the road to actually prevailing. Inflation is currently wreaking havoc on Northcentral’s ability to conduct business as normal. Every item we use in the course of business: wire, poles, transformers, and heavy equipment have not only risen drastically in price but are very difficult to procure. Even though the availability of electricity isn’t a major concern, the costs of generating fuels almost doubled over the summer and have only come down slightly this fall. Despite these challenges I remain optimistic that these spikes in costs and limited availabilities will plateau. I’m not sure when, but in the meantime Northcentral will do it’s best to serve our community with the essential services needed.

Also enduring are those that served in the military defending our country. Armistice Day was created at the conclusion of World War I to honor those who served and created an opportunity to resume peaceful relations with others. At that point, World War I had been the most destructive conflict to date. After the war, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor those from all conflicts. November 11 is indeed a special day. Let’s make sure we honor those on that day, and other days as well, with the respect and reverence they have earned and deserve. Stay safe

by Kevin Doddridge General Manager/CEO

BROADBAND NOTICE Northcentral Electric Cooperative (NEC) requested authorization from its regulator, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), to invest electric system revenues in its commercial broadband entity, Northcentral Connect, Inc. This Notice is being provided to NEC’s customers pursuant to TVA’s regulatory transparency requirements. Previously, NEC filed an application with TVA requesting authorization to invest electric system revenues in its broadband entity. Specifically, Northcentral Connect will use electric system revenues to finance the deployment of broadband equipment and start-up its commercial broadband business in its service territory over multiple years. The total combined fiber investment for electric and commercial broadband purposes is projected to be $128,000,000. Of this amount, NEC plans to loan $6,000,000 to Northcentral Connect for commercial broadband purposes. Per TVA requirements and conditions of TVA’s authorization, Northcentral Connect is required to repay NEC this amount, plus interest at a rate of not less than 2.25% per annum for five years and thereafter 4% per annum for fifteen years. It is estimated that the total investment for both electric and commercial broadband will not have any rate impacts. Any questions regarding this broadband investment should be directed to NEC’s Customer Service Representatives at Post Office Box 405, Byhalia, MS 38611, 662.895.2151, or




VETERANS “Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” ~ Douglas MacArthur Out of the nearly 120 individuals that Northcentral Electric Cooperative employs, seven have proudly served their country in the United States military. As we approach Veterans Day, we would like to salute those employees. Whether home or abroad, we appreciate the service these men have done for their country. “It’s an honor to be able to work alongside these veterans,” says Kevin Doddridge, general manager and CEO of Northcentral Electric Cooperative. “They have served their country, and each bring a special set of skills, talents, and disciplines to our workforce.” Some of our linemen, technicians, IT team, and communicators have been enlisted and some of have even toured Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. While each of these employees were hired through conventional recruitment, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association offers a program that helps veterans find employment in the cooperative world. Vets Power Us is an initiative that works to raise national awareness among military veterans about employment opportunities at electric co-ops and provides coops with resources to attract, hire, onboard, and retain veteran employees. If you are a veteran looking for employment or know someone who is, please visit for more information. After these brave men and women finish their military career, electric cooperatives hope to help them better transition into civilian life. Thank you, to ours and to all veterans, for your service.


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by Miranda Boutelle The holidays are a magical time when we come together with our loved ones to share food, gifts, and quality time. It’s also the most expensive time of year for many of us. Along with the expense of gifts, meals, and travel comes colder weather and darker nights that lead to more electricity use and higher bills. One way to reduce the financial burden of the most wonderful time of year is by implementing efficiency tips to use less energy at home and lower your monthly bills.

Home Practices

If you are hosting guests, your household will consume more electricity than normal. Be prepared with efficiency basics: • Have your thermostat programmed at 68 degrees when you are home and dialed back 8 to 10 degrees when you leave the house or go to sleep. • Run the clothes washer on cold with full loads. • When not in use, turn off lights and the TV; fully shut down computers and gaming systems instead of putting them in sleep or standby mode. • Lower the thermostat when guests are over or cooking food. Most gatherings happen in the center of the home, so save energy by turning the heat down in areas you are not using.

Holiday Lighting

This year, make the switch to LEDs for all your holiday lighting. LED holiday lights consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. For example, it costs 27 cents to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights. Pick up a few light timers so you don’t have to remember to unplug your lights every evening. You can also choose to upgrade to smart holiday lights that offer a wide range of app-controlled options, including time, colors, music, and modes.

Cooking Efficiency

Whether you are making holiday treats or a feast, here are a few tips to help lower energy use in the kitchen. Use the oven light to check food. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by up to 25 degrees, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). When possible, make use of a slow cooker, microwave, toaster oven, or warming plate, which use less energy than an oven and stovetop. According to DOE, a toaster oven can use up to half the energy of the average electric stove over the same cooking time. Let hot food cool to room temperature before placing it inside the refrigerator. This ensures you don’t increase the temperature inside your fridge and cause it to use more energy to cool down. You can also take some of the stress and expense out of your holiday cooking by asking guests to bring a dish.

Out-of-Town Efficiency

If you’re visiting family and friends during the holidays, prepare your home to use less energy while you’re away. Water heating is the second-largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% of your utility bill, according to DOE. Switching your water heater to vacation mode will reduce wasted energy by keeping the water at a lower temperature. If your water heater does not have vacation mode on the dial, you can adjust it to the lowest setting. Set your thermostat to around 55 degrees so you’re not wasting energy to heat the home while you’re away. Instead of leaving lights on all day, consider upgrading a lamp or fixture to a smart lightbulb. This allows you to control lights from afar and set a schedule for the light to go on and off. Another option is to repurpose your holiday light timer for one of your living room lamps. Lower your energy bills this holiday season with these simple efficiency tips. Happy Holidays! Miranda Boutelle is the vice president of operations and customer engagement at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon.

18 NOVEMBER | 2022

10-point buck emblazoned on the back features Al Agnew’s art in a custom camouflage design

A Custom Apparel Design from The Bradford Exchange

Get Ready for Your Next Wilderness Adventure A one-on-one encounter with the regal woodland king known as the American Whitetail is an experience that avid sportsmen never forget. Now, you can wrap yourself in that wilderness adventure wherever you go with our “10-Point Buck” Men’s Camo Hoodie, featuring the work of acclaimed wildlife artist Al Agnew. Crafted in a black cotton-blend knit, our hoodie features a custom camo-print created from the work of Al Agnew on both the sleeves and the hood lining. A dramatic close-up portrait of a 10-point buck with the same camouflage artwork is captured on the back in appliqué, and the front of the hoodie showcases an embroidered 10-point buck. This versatile hoodie has ©Agnew 2022. Al Agnew® is a registered trademark of The Al Agnew Collection Trust.

two front pockets, rib knit cuffs and hem, and metal toggles on the cords so it's perfect for year-round comfort. Imported.

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Mrs. Mr. Ms.

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Although the 35 or so telescopes at

Photo by Jon Talbot

The Rainwater Observatory are the big by Steven Ward

draw, visitors also have access to the

planetarium, indoor exhibits including Faughn sat in the middle of the Halfway between Jackson and chairs that surround the domeTupelo and just off the Natchez a meteorite collection, collections of shaped theater and asked everyone Trace, sits one of the largest to be as quiet as possible. collections of powerful telescopes rocks and minerals, asteroid models, Before long, the scouts looked in the Southeast. up at the Big Dipper after Faughn The spot used to be a and a space science art exhibit. asked them if they could spot the cow pasture. constellation. Today, the cows are gone, and Later in the evening, when the the public has access to telesky over French Camp grew dark, the scouts manned the telescopes scopes that allow them to eye planets, the moon, stars, and galaxies to look at the real thing. close up and clear. Although the 35 or so telescopes at The Rainwater Observatory During a recent Saturday in October, members of a Florence-based are the big draw, visitors also have access to the planetarium, indoor Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack crowded the planetarium at the exhibits including a meteorite collection, collections of rocks and Rainwater Observatory at French Camp Academy to watch a presenminerals, asteroid models, and a space science art exhibit. tation by Edwin Faughn, the observatory’s director. Different workshops and programs are held throughout the year The observatory, an educational outreach support ministry of including a free monthly program sponsored by the 4-County FounFrench Camp Academy, uses its planetarium to teach lunar, stellar dation every second Friday of the month at 7 p.m. The event includes and planetary motion, constellations, and mythology. a main astronomy related presentation, a tour through the exhibits, Just after the scouts and some of their parents sat in their seats, and telescope observing weather permitting. a dark, crimson light illuminated around them before it slowly transformed into complete pitch black. 20


“It is an exciting time of fun, The observatory is powered by fellowship, telescope observing, 4-County Electric. astrophotography and fascinat“4-County believes in helping ing presentations by amateur the communities it serves,” said and professional astronomers,” 4-County CEO Brian Clark. “We can Faughn said. make a difference in our communiFaughn said he is truly amazed ties through the 4-County Foundaat the diversity of people that visit tion. Organizations like the French the observatory each year from Camp Observatory can reap the around the world. benefits of our members’ generosity “We had a group here one time through the Foundation. This is with 13 countries represented in what the Foundation is all about.” a single audience here in central Observatory funding is generated Mississippi. Professional research through fees collected for programRainwater Observatory Director Edwin Faughn. astronomers have frequently ming, donations from individuals, visited Rainwater such as, Dr. and grants from foundations Michael A’Hearn, principal investigator for NASA’s Deep Impact and corporations. comet mission; galaxy researcher Dr. William Keel from the University During the spring, the annual Midsouth Stargaze and Astronomy of Alabama; and Dr. Meagan Urrey, a black hole researcher and dean Conference attracts amateur and professional astronomers from of the astrophysics department at Yale University,” Faughn said. around the country. 2022 | NOVEMBER 21

Rainwater Observatory Director Edwin Faughn prepares to give a presentation to members of Boy Scout Troop 85 and Cub Scout Pack 85 out of Florence.

“Hill, assisted by teachers Terry Beutin and Terry Roberts, students Ed Hill and Jerry Thompson, and alumnus Steve Garcia, armed themselves with saws and hammers and caravanned to claim the prize. In addition to the telescope, they brought back a 10’x10’ building with a roll-off roof, along with many books and accessories,” Faughn said. The building was placed atop of an open ridge on French Camp Academy’s Rainwater farm property about a mile east of the main campus on Highway 413. Far from ambient city lights, the site was an excellent place for an observatory. Since that time, telescopes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to the observatory, Faughn said.

Photos by Chad Calcote

The origins of Rainwater were an outgrowth of the desire to appreciate that “the Heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1), Faughn said. In the summer of 1985, a 16-inch reflector telescope was offered to the Jackson Astronomical Association based in the state capital. At the time, they did not have the room or money for it. So, a member of the association asked Stuart Irby, Jr., French Camp Academy’s board chairman at the time, if the school would be interested in it. Jim Hill, a French Camp Academy teacher, was an amateur astronomer and became excited about the project.



Our minds cannot even begin to fathom the unimaginably vast and beautiful universe we live in. We often take these things for granted and don’t realize we are a part of something far greater than any one of us can even begin to comprehend! The fact that we even exist on this tiny Earth is humbling.

Rainwater Observatory at French Camp Academy 662-547-7283 Faughn, 58, has been the director of the observatory since 2009. An Arkansas-native, Faughn is a space science artist and illustrator as well as a lecturer. His original artwork has also been featured in and on the covers of leading international space science magazines, books, exhibitions, and planetariums. Before taking over at Rainwater, Faughn worked for nearly 20 years as artist-photographer for the Sharpe Planetarium in Memphis where he produced original traditional media and digital artwork, cartoon characters, and animation for numerous space science, laser light and children’s planetarium productions. Faughn said his interest in astronomy began at the age of 8 after his parents purchased a small reflector telescope. He said observing the lunar craters and mountains for the first time was a life changing experience. “I remember a recurring childhood dream of walking outside in

the twilight just before dawn and seeing the planets Jupiter and Saturn looming above the surrounding homes at nearly 20 times the diameter of a full moon. Spectacular galaxies and nebulae would also be strewn throughout the starry night sky,” Faughn said. Faughn said stargazing has been a strong motivating interest in his life. “When we look up at the stars at night, we are not just seeing points of light, but physical places in the universe. Astronomers have now confirmed over 5,000 other planets orbiting other stars and that number will be in the trillions in years to come. Our minds cannot even begin to fathom the unimaginably vast and beautiful universe we live in. We often take these things for granted and don’t realize we are a part of something far greater than any one of us can even begin to comprehend. The fact that we even exist on this tiny Earth is humbling,” he said.

2022 | NOVEMBER 23

Sacred Stone of the Southwest is on the Brink of Extinction


enturies ago, Persians, Tibetans and Mayans considered turquoise a gemstone of the heavens, believing the striking blue stones were sacred pieces of sky. Today, the rarest and most valuable turquoise is found in the American Southwest–– but the future of the blue beauty is unclear.


26 carats of genuine Arizona turquoise

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On a recent trip to Tucson, we spoke with fourth generation turquoise traders who explained that less than five percent of turquoise mined worldwide can be set into jewelry and only about twenty mines in the Southwest supply gem-quality turquoise. Once a thriving industry, many Southwest mines have run dry and are now closed. We found a limited supply of turquoise from Arizona and purchased it for our Sedona Turquoise Collection. Inspired by the work of those ancient craftsmen and designed to showcase the exceptional blue stone, each stabilized vibrant cabochon features a unique, one-of-a-kind matrix surrounded in Bali metalwork. You could drop over $1,200 on a turquoise pendant, or you could secure 26 carats of genuine Arizona turquoise for just $99. C.

Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. If you aren’t completely happy with your purchase, send it back within 30 days for a complete refund of the item price.


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Sedona Turquoise Collection A. Pendant (26 cts) $299 * B. 18" Bali Naga woven sterling silver chain C. 1 1/2" Earrings (10 ctw) $299 * Complete Set** $747 *

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League All-Star team, and was second in the MVP voting. He was named the Mets Minor League Player of the Year in both 1984 and 1985. Barry headed to New York and made the Mets’ opening day roster. He made his major league debut on April 19, 1986, against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Lyons name in Biloxi was synonymous with He was the backup to future Hall of Famer Gary baseball in the 1960s and 1970s. The Lyons brothers Carter that season. Later that season, Barry was sent were all great athletes starting with the oldest, Kendown to Triple A where his season ended in August ny, and ending with the youngest, Barry. when he broke his right forearm. Meanwhile, back in Barry had a lot to live up to based on his older New York, the Mets were on their way to winning the brothers’ sports accomplishments. Kenny was 1986 World Series over Boston. Lyons attended game the starting quarterback at Ole Miss in 1971, six and witnessed one of the greatest highlights succeeding Archie Manning. The next oldest brother, in World Series lore when he saw Mookie Wilson’s Tommy, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians but ground ball go through Bill Buckner’s legs. “I would went to Ole Miss on a baseball scholarship. The third much rather have been down on the field in uniform, brother, Pat, played but I was seated directly both football and behind home plate baseball on the junior and don’t think I could My childhood dream was to be a major have had a better seat,” college level. “I was the youngleague player and my adulthood dream Lyons said. est, and all of my Barry was named was to bring minor league baseball to my the Mets’ opening day brothers were great hometown and honor my parents and catcher in 1990, but athletes. I enjoyed being the youngest family. I was glad to accomplish both. later that season after an and looked up to them 8-year career with the and wanted to be like them,” said Barry Lyons. team, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After Barry’s dad Kenneth Sr. worked for the postal the conclusion of the 1995 season with the Chicago service for 35 years and was involved with all his White Sox, Barry retired from baseball, concluding sons’ youth sports. His mom, Germaine, was a nurse his 14-year baseball career. (RN), and both parents were well respected in Today, Barry can be spotted back in his hometown the community. at MGM Park in Biloxi where he is the Shuckers’ Barry excelled on both the football and baseball Team Ambassador. The culmination of his 20 plus fields throughout high school. Delta State University years of work was the arrival of minor league baseball baseball coach Boo Ferris visited him his senior year in his hometown. at Biloxi High School, and that visit was life changing “My childhood dream was to be a major league for Barry. “He made a lasting impression on me,” said player and my adulthood dream was to bring minor Lyons, who was offered both a baseball and a football league baseball to my hometown and honor my scholarship with Delta State but opted to concentrate parents and family. I was glad to accomplish both,” on baseball. said Lyons. Lyons led Delta State to the Division II College World Series where they finished third in 1982. He was a four-time All-Gulf South Conference and fourtime NCAA All-Region selection for DSU. Barry left Cleveland as the career leader in home runs (36) and RBIs (185). In his All-American senior season, he was named the Mississippi Baseball Player of the Year. by Dale McKee Barry had early success in pro ball as he was named the Carolina League MVP in his second year. Dale McKee is a Waynesboro native who has been In 1985 he set the all-time Jackson Mets regular seawriting sports in Mississippi since 1973. He is a member son record for RBIs with 108, was named the Texas of Dixie Electric. Contact him at

Barry Lyons MAJOR LEAGUE Stats: • Born: 6/03/1960 in Biloxi • Draft: 1982, New York Mets, Round: 15, Overall Pick: 370 • College: Delta State • Debut: 4/19/1986

Career regular season: At Bats: 628 Runs: 53 Hits: 150 Home Runs: 15 Runs Batted In: 89 Batting Average: .239 On-Base Percentage: .275 Source:

2022 | NOVEMBER 25

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Bad to the Bone Full tang stainless steel blade with natural bone handle —now ONLY $79!


he very best hunting knives possess a perfect balance of form and function. They’re carefully constructed from fine materials, but also have that little something extra to connect the owner with nature. If you’re on the hunt for a knife that combines impeccable craftsmanship with a sense of wonder, the $79 Huntsman Blade is the trophy you’re looking for. The blade is full tang, meaning it doesn’t stop at the handle but extends to the length of the grip for the ultimate in strength. The blade is made from 420 surgical steel, famed for its sharpness and its resistance to corrosion. The handle is made from genuine natural bone, and features decorative wood spacers and a hand-carved motif of two overlapping feathers— a reminder for you to respect and connect with the natural world. This fusion of substance and style can garner a high price tag out in the marketplace. In fact, we found full tang, stainless steel blades with bone handles in excess of $2,000. Well, that won’t cut it around here. We have mastered the hunt for the best deal, and in turn pass the spoils on to our customers. But we don’t stop there. While supplies last, we’ll include a pair of $99 8x21 power compact binoculars and a genuine leather sheath FREE when you purchase the Huntsman Blade. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Feel the knife in your hands, wear it on your hip, inspect the impeccable craftsmanship. If you don’t feel like we cut you a fair deal, send it back within 30 days for a complete refund of the item price. Limited Reserves. A deal like this won’t last long. We have only 1120 Huntsman Blades for this ad only. Don’t let this BONUS! Call today and beauty slip through your fingers. Call today! you’ll also receive this

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2022 | NOVEMBER 27

On the Menu

with Martha Hall Foose

Savory, smoky, sweet flavors of fall These grilled pork blade steaks and twice baked sweet potatoes are easy to prepare and easy on the wallet. Pork blade steaks are cut from the shoulder, also known as the “Boston butt.” These thin cut steaks grill-up nice and juicy and take well to a variety of seasonings. I like a simple treatment of Worcestershire sauce, granulated garlic, and paprika. I like to throw a couple of Vidalia onions drizzled in oil and sprinkled with the same seasonings on the grill as a savory side. Sweet potato season kicked off in the early fall. To optimize sweetness and allow the skins to harden, the tubers are cured for six or more weeks after harvest. Using this method for baking these sweet potatoes also enhances their sweetness and yields a fluffy, silky texture. An array of spices and topping make these a hit for a variety of diners and occasions.

Grilled Pork Steaks with Vidalia Onions Serves 6


6 (¼-inch thick) pork blade steaks 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon granulated garlic plus an extra sprinkle of the onion ½ teaspoon paprika (I like to use smoked paprika) plus an extra sprinkle for the onion 1 large Vidalia onion cut in half lengthwise, paper skin removed and each half cut into third 1 tablespoon olive oil In a shallow dish or zip-top bag, combine the steaks and seasoning. Cover or close and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Remove steaks from marinade and pat dry. Discard remaining marinade. Prepare an oiled grill rack 6 to 8 inches above medium flame for gas grill or 6 inches above medium coals. Allow grill rack to heat thoroughly. Grill the steaks and the onion pieces 5 minutes on each side turning once until internal temperature of the steaks is at least 145 degrees. Remove steaks and onions to a platter and let rest 5 to 7 minutes lightly draped with foil. 28


Twice Baked Spiced Sweet Potatoes INGREDIENTS

4 plump sweet potatoes Olive oil for coating sweet potatoes 1 tablespoon kosher salt 8 tablespoons salted butter, melted ½ teaspoon ground allspice ½ teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon Pinch of cayenne 1 tablespoon molasses or cane syrup

Serves 6


Crushed ginger snaps mixed with a little melted butter Pecan pieces Mini marshmallows drizzled with melted butter Crushed oatmeal raisin cookies mixed with a little melted butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Wash and dry sweet potatoes. Lightly coat sweet potatoes with oil and sprinkle all over with salt. Wrap each with foil and place on tray. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool 20 minutes. Unwrap the potatoes and, using a serrated knife, cut each potato lengthwise.

Scoop the soft flesh of the sweet potatoes reserving the potato skin “boats” intact. Mash the melted butter and spice with the sweet potatoes and spoon into 6 of the potato skin shells. Cover with your choice of toppings. Heat broiler. Keeping a close eye on them, broil for 2 minutes or until toppings are browned.

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

2022 | NOVEMBER 29

Events Events open to the public will be published free of charge as space allows. Submit details at least two months prior to the event date. Submissions must include a phone number with area code for publication. Email to Events are subject to change. Soule Live Steam Festival. Nov. 4 and 5. Meridian. America’s last intact steam engine factory. Belt-driven machine shop in operation. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum, 1808 4th St. Admission is $10. Students free on Friday and $5 on Saturday. Details: 601-693-9905 or Missions Market Place. Nov. 5. Puckett. Put on by Puckett Methodist Women. Proceeds to go to help children on the autism spectrum attend the Center Ridge Outpost summer camp. Funds will also go to our Friends in Need campaign to help those with cancer and other medical expenses. Our day will include vendors with handmade items, rummage sale, raffle items, and a soup lunch café for $5. We will be selling our frozen casseroles to help you get through the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Puckett United Methodist Church, 6412 Highway 18 in downtown Puckett. Table space is available for $25. Details: 601-214-7834. Levee Beats and Eats. Nov. 5. Rosedale. Downtown on Court Street 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Arts and crafts, food, kids area, and live music all day. Annual fundraiser for Friends of Rosedale. Free admission. Details: 662-379-6867, Magnolia State Gem, Mineral, and Jewelry Show. Nov.11 and 13. Pascagoula. Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jackson County Fairground Civic Center. Exhibits, demonstrations, and educational resources. Fossils, gemstones, jewelry, and supplies will be on sale. Details: 601-947-7245 or Gingham Tree Arts and Crafts Festival. Nov. 12. Lucedale. Celebrating 50 years. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. George County Fair Grounds. 9162 Old Highway 63 South. Details: 601-508-7272. Turkey shoots: Nov. 12 and Dec. 17. Jackson County. Shoots begin at 9 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Daisy Masonic Lodge No. 421, 25700 School House Road. Vestry. Drive 14 miles north of Vancleave off Hwy 57. Details: 228-383-2669.

Purvis Street Festival. Nov. 12. Purvis. Crafts, food, entertainment, car and truck show. Main Street. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details: 601-543-9815. The 68th Pre-Thanksgiving Gospel Singing Show. Nov. 12. Magee. The show begins at 6:30 pm at the Magee High School auditorium at 501 Choctaw St. The artists performing are The Old Paths Quartet, The Revelations, Tim Frith and the Gospel Echoes, and Big Blessing. Details: 601-906-0677.

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The 20th Annual Piney Woods Heritage Festival. Nov. 19. Picayune. Celebrate the early days of the Piney Woods region at this event. Enjoy exhibits and demonstrations of traditional skills such as blacksmithing, quilting, spinning, basket-making, and more. Scout and homeschool groups are welcome. Live music performances will take place on the Pinecote Pavilion. Admission for adults is $6 and $3 for children. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crosby Arboretum, 370 Ridge Rd. Details: 601-799-2311 or visit Holy Land Trip. Nov. 25 to Dec. 4. Ronnie and Beverly Cottingham are hosting a trip to the Holy Land. This will be their 20th time to host trips to “the land of the Bible.” If you’ve ever dreamed of literally walking where our Lord walked, this trip is for you. Sponsored by Jus’ Jesus Ministries, Incorporated of Lucedale. Space is limited. Details: 601-770-1447. Harvest Christmas Market. Dec. 10. Gulfport. Harvest Church of Gulfport is hosting the event featuring crafters, food trucks, face painters, and activities for the kids. Harvest Church is located across from Sam’s Club on Landon Road. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free to the public. Vendors can obtain an application by emailing Details: 228-365-0487.

SOON Church/Government uniting, suppressing RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, enforcing NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW. Be informed! TBS, Pob 374, Ellijay, GA 30540.


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October 2022

a. Total Number of Copies (Net press run) Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541. (Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet (1) requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.)









b. Legitimate Paid and/or In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541. Requested (Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet Distribution (2) requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, (By mail employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.) and outside Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter the mail) (3) Sales, and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS® (4)

c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Sum of 15b (1), (2), (3), and (4))


d. Nonrequested (2) Distribution (By mail and outside the mail) (3)






Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS (e.g., First-Class Mail®)

Outside County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, bulk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources)



In-County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, bulk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources)



Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail (e.g., First-Class Mail, nonrequestor copies mailed in excess of 10% limit mailed at Standard Mail ® or Package Services rates)



Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include pickup stands, trade shows, showrooms, and other sources)








Total Nonrequested Distribution [Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3) and (4)]


Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and e)


Copies not Distributed (See Instructions to Publishers #4, (page #3))


Total (Sum of 15f and g)


Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c divided by 15f times 100)







* If you are claiming electronic copies, go to line 16 on page 3. If you are not claiming electronic copies, skip to line 17 on page 3.

Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (Requester Publications Only) 16. Electronic Copy Circulation

Average No. Copies Each Issue During Previous 12 Months

No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date


a. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies


b. Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15c) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a)

469,614and Circulation 470,086 Statement of Ownership, Management, (Requester Publications Only) 471,179 471,624

c. Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a) 16. Electronic Copy Circulation PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 2 of 4) d. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c Í 100)

Average No. Copies Each Issue During 99.7% Previous 12 Months

a. Requested Paid Copies copies (electronic and print) are legitimate requests or paid copies. 50% of Electronic all my distributed x I certify thatand b. Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15c) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a) 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the c. Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies issue of this publication. (Line 16a) 18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner d. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c Í 100)

No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to99.7% Filing Date


469,614 November 2022 471,179 Date


0 470,086 471,624 99.7%

Lydia Walters,Vice President

x I certify that 50% of all my distributed copies (electronic and print) are legitimate requests or paid copies. October 7, 2022 I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the November 2022 issue of this publication.

18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner

Lydia Walters,Vice President


October 7, 2022

I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties).



PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 3 of 4)

PRIVACY NOTICE: See our privacy policy on

PS Form 3526-R, July 2014 (Page 3 of 4)

PRIVACY NOTICE: See our privacy policy on

Mississippi Seen

It isn’t a magic book. Not like a fairytale. But the minute I opened it, it transported me back through time to my childhood. To Grandmother Cummings’ house in Fulton. It seems like I have written a lot about Fulton lately. If so, it’s because we have been there so many times this year because of funerals. And it was while attending the latest of these funerals that I got the book. I had not seen it since I was a kid. My niece, Salem Macknee from North Carolina, brought it with her to this same funeral. It was in a cardboard box along with several of Granddaddy Cummings’ old ledgers. She is donating them to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and wanted me to take the box back to Jackson with me. She got the ledgers because mama had them. And after mom passed away, my sister (Salem’s mother) got them. And now that my sister is gone, as is her husband (Salem’s dad — he was one of the recent funerals), it’s up to Salem to go through things and sort them. Granddaddy’s ledgers are part of that sorting. Now, most of the books Now I realize my life-long in the box were just old curiosity about all sorts of ledgers — lists of names and things came to me naturally. numbers. But at the bottom of the stack was the “magic” Therefore, I couldn’t help book. Actually, It was just another ledger. But grandcollecting stuff. daddy had converted it into one of his scrap books. Over the pages of names and numbers he had pasted articles and pictures about things he thought were odd, interesting, or important. He had glued-up several books like this in which to archive his interests. When we were kids, we’d pull the books out and flip through them. Grandmother didn’t have a television, so they were fascinating entertainment — pictures of the Taj Mahal, articles about World War II, and photos of people who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. According to the subjects collected, there was very little grandaddy didn’t find worthy of preserving. The book contained clippings, articles, photographs, and handwritten stories he had saved and pasted. The oldest article I found was from 1924 about the anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh. A lot of the material is from the 1930s. The bulk is from the 1940s. The subjects range from obituaries to photos from the Rotogravure (rotary press) section of the Memphis and Birmingham newspapers. Oddities of nature, strange acts of God, a handwritten poem worded like the Ralph Stanley’s song, “Oh Death” were included. Re-watch the George Clooney film, “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” if you don’t remember the song. Now I realize my lifelong curiosity about all sorts of things came to me naturally. Therefore, I couldn’t help collecting stuff. I am somewhat reluctant to pass this particular book on to Archives and History where it may never be seen again. So, Miz Jo wants to know what I intend to do with it. I figure I’ll let that be the next generation’s problem. Passing “stuff” down to the kids seems like another family tradition, just like collecting it to begin with.

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

2022 | NOVEMBER 31

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