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Looking in our own backyard
Mississippi is the state we call home, the state we take pride in and the state we love. Most of us know about the state’s landmarks and attractions because, in many cases, we’ve been around them all our lives. But this month, we visited a special place in our state that you may not know existed. Right outside of Belzoni in the Mississippi Delta — the “Catfish Capital of the World” — sits a true wonder of the ages. Sky Lake Wildlife Management Area is the definition of a hidden gem. The more than 4,000-acre wildlife habitat is the home of giant cypress trees. The trees are some of the oldest on the planet. The trees are massive in width at the base with some towering over the habitat for more than 1,000 years. The main area is owned and operated by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks with a portion owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The habitat is home to exotic birds, turtles, waterfoul and alligators. Guest can visit the area by walking a 1,700-foot boardwalk or by traveling via kayak or canoe. Travel websites have routinely included Sky Lake as one of the top 10 places to visit in Mississippi. Some of those web-
sites call the trees the “Living Dinosaurs of Mississippi” because of their age. Sky Lake is a good reminder that sometimes, we have to stop and look at what’s in our own backyard. We hope you enjoy the story and the amazing photos. On another note, April was Thank a Lineman month. We always love to take space in the magazine to salute our heroes in hardhats for braving dangerous conditions to restore our power in a safe, efficient and timely manner. We received a short note this month from reader Ray Blanchard thanking our cooperative linemen for their service. “In an age when we too often applaud celebrity and fame over hard work and sacrifice, you stand with all other members of your group that are there to assist us. You are true heroes of our time.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself Ray.
by Michael Callahan Executive Vice President/CEO Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi
Mississippi is... Mississippi is blessed by a dad like Michael Callahan We’ve read so many reasons why Mississippi is a treasure, and why it is we love our life so many reasons hard to measure! But today as I was reading the advice this man was giving, my heart filled once again with joy for my Mississippi living! His words were filled with love and care, his love for this daughter shone bright, the advice he gave this loved one was so beautiful and so right! This young daughter is a fighter her many struggles made me cry, but she is a brave survivor who will surely find her “why”! To Mr. Michael Callahan Your love and care came shining through, And so I write this day to say Mississippi is blessed by you! Thanks for the beautiful sharing of “Advice to a graduating daughter”! You truly are another reason why I treasure my life in Mississippi!
by Kathleen Busch, a resident of Poplarville and a member of Coast Electric
Happy Father’s Day to all the Mississippi dads out there! What’s Mississippi to you? What do you treasure most about life in our state? Send your brief thoughts to Today in Mississippi, firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158
JUNE 2021 | TODAY 3
in this issue
5 southern gardening Rosemary and thyme make the garden shine
8 scene around the ‘sip A look at special people and places in Mississippi
11 outdoors today Take time to listen
12 local news 18 feature
Visit the Sky Lake WMA to see aging, massive trees tower over a wetlands habitat
on the menu Power bowl combinations are endless
The Official Publication of the Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi
Vol. 74 No. 6
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: 465,814
Non-member subscription price: $9.50 per year. Today in Mississippi (ISSN 1052-2433) is published 12 times a year by Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi Inc., P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300, or 665 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Phone 601-605-8600. Periodical postage paid at Ridgeland, MS, and additional office. The publisher (and/or its agent) reserves the right to refuse or edit all advertising. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2) NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to: Today in Mississippi, P.O. Box 3300, Ridgeland, MS 39158-3300
27 mississippi seen
Rocks of ages
On the cover Grand and ancient cypress trees stand out in the Sky Lake Wildlife Management Area near Belzoni. Photo by Chad Calcote.
And we think you’re going to love ours. So let’s work together: As electric cooperatives, we were built by the communities we serve—and by members just like you. 4 TODAY | JUNE 2021
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Thyme adds a savory flavor note to many dishes. For example, I love fresh thyme with my morning eggs. Use thyme to enhance pork, beef and fish dishes. It’s also delicious to add to roasted root vegetables like turnips, rutabagas, and carrots. Both rosemary and thyme thrive in similar growing conditions, beginning with full sun. They can be grown with the best success, in my opinion, in raised beds; even better, in containers. This ensures the proper drainage these plants need. Growing in droughty conditions — the drier the better — concentrates the aromatic essential oils. Both rosemary and thyme can be grown from seed, but that requires real patience. For these herbs, I always suggest buying transplants from your favorite independent garden center or nursery. Then you can create your own rosemary and thyme combinations.
Thyme is a savory herb when added to dishes.
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.
JUNE 2021 | TODAY 5
A garden story that I recently enjoyed was the British TV show, “Rosemary & Thyme.” Rosemary Boxer (a university lecturer) and Laura Thyme (a former police officer) were a dynamic duo in the garden. They solved mysteries — mostly murders — while working as gardeners in beautiful landscapes all across Europe. And like the TV characters, the plants rosemary and thyme make a great duo in my home herb garden. Rosemary has needle-like leaves that typically are a dark green with silvery undersides. The leaves are very aromatic. When used in a freshly prepared dinner, that sweet aroma warms the entire kitchen. Try adding fresh rosemary to hearty chicken and lamb recipes. Rosemary can be finicky to The herb rosemary thrives best on neglect, grow in the garden, especially and it is a useful herb for cooking. when given too much attention, such as watering and fertilizing. I’ve found that rosemary is one of those garden plants that thrives on neglect. This means I try not to even look at it as I walk by, but I can’t help touching the plants and releasing their sweet scent. Typically, rosemary has a more upright, spreading growth habit. I love the selection Prostrata, which is perfect for growing in hanging baskets. Rosemary was named a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2016. Thyme is a great culinary herb that smells like summer to me. Thyme has a low and spreading growth habit. The small, fragrant leaves are produced on thin, woody stems. There is a wide selection of aromas and flavors available, like lemon or variegated thyme, but my go-to favorite is the common green variety, English thyme. It’s amazing how the pollinators are attracted to the pinkish flowers when thyme begins to bloom. Be sure to encourage the plants to produce more growth by pruning the plants back by a third after flowering.
When looking at all the plants growing in landscapes, I’m reminded that each plant has a role in the story of that garden. And most garden stories have plants with sidekicks that you always find side by side.
Pollinators are attracted to the blooms of thyme, but pinch the flowers back to encourage the plant to produce more growth.
in home gardens, containers
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6 TODAY | JUNE 2021
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JUNE 2021 | TODAY 7
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(Continued from previous page)
scene around the ‘sip
by Steven Ward American Legion Post 90 Commander Bill Harris and his fellow veteran members wanted to do something special to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the creation of the post. Formed in 1920, Harris had hoped to have their special project open to the public by July 4, 2020. Then COVID-19 hit and pushed the project back a year. If construction stays on schedule, a new monument honoring Mississippi veterans in Marion County will be open to the public next month. Legion Square, a 44,000-pound gray granite monument, will be erected and then dedicated in Friendship Park in Columbia on July 3 at 10 a.m., Harris said. The monument will feature 5 columns to represent all five branches of the military — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Coast Guard. The monument will be 12 feet tall and 20 feet long in a plaza featuring a walkway and red bricks surrounding the monument. The families of Mississippi veterans — alive or dead — can have the veteran’s name carved on a red brick for $100. Active duty members currently serving can also have their name on one of the bricks. Right now, the monument has about 600 names that will be displayed on the bricks, Harris said. He said he hopes to get more names. “We looked at two different monument concepts and picked this one out,” Harris, 76, said. Harris went to the curator of the Marion County Museum and 8 TODAY | JUNE 2021
Archives, Carol Durham, and asked her to draw up a rendering of the concept. “Mr. Harris had this amazing vision. And I think it’s turned out beyond what we already thought it may be,” Durham said. Harris said he thought it was important to create the monument for the community — and the entire state — to celebrate the sacrifice of men and women serving their country. “It will be in the park and when you have young people playing in that park, they will see it and it will hopefully remind them about the people who volunteered to serve and defend this country,” Harris said. He also said the monument is a reminder of the families that are left behind when mothers and fathers go off to serve in the armed forces. Durham said the names on the bricks are what makes the monument special. “It’s one thing to have memorials and statues. But when you have names on there, that makes it very personal for people,” Durham said.
For more information about the monument or how to purchase a brick, visit the Post 90 American Legion Facebook page or call Bill Harris at 601-441-1638.
by Steven Ward “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” Those were the first words uttered on a brand new cable television channel that debuted on Aug 1, 1981. Then the channel broadcast a video for the British pop song, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. The channel was MTV, the brainchild of a Mississippian. Now, nearly 40 years later, Grammy Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, is marking this pivotal moment in music history with a special exhibit, “MTV Turns Forty: I Still Want My MTV.” The exhibit opened in mid May and will run through summer 2022. “MTV Turns Forty” explores the history of the iconic music brand — from the role of native Mississippian, Bob Pittman, in the concept and execution of an idea that revolutionized the music industry, to why, nearly four decades later, people across the world still scream, “I want my MTV.” “MTV Turns Forty” is sponsored in part by the Maddox Foundation. Exhibit partners include MTV and Hard Rock International. Additional support is provided by corporate sponsors DittyTV, Entergy and Millsaps College in Mississippi. “I’m pleased and proud that my home state of Mississippi is hosting an exhibition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of MTV,” said Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc., who led the team that created and launched MTV in 1981. “Mississippi and MTV are two of the great formative influences in my life, and I’m delighted that they’re coming together for this anniversary celebration.” “We are so thrilled to be marking this special moment in music history with an exhibit at our Museum,” said Emily Havens, executive director for Grammy Museum Mississippi, in a news release. “What many may not know is MTV has deep roots here in Mississippi as one of its creators, Bob Pittman, is a native of Jackson. In addition, this exhibit wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for our late dear friend, and first Chair of the Grammy Museum Mississippi Board, Lucy Janoush. Prior to her passing in 2017, Lucy was sketching out her idea for an exhibit that would celebrate 40 years of MTV.”
For the exhibit, Grammy Museum Mississippi captured interviews with and artifacts from the four remaining original MTV VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter (a graduate of Millsaps College), and Martha Quinn. Original MTV VJ, J.J. Jackson, passed away in 2004.
Some of the artifacts provided on loan from Hard Rock include: • The silky dress briefly worn by Madonna in her music video for “Vogue” • The leather suit worn by Michael Jackson in the music video for “Dirty Diana,” plus contracts from other shoots, including the making of the “Thriller” music video • Dire Straits’ 1986 MTV VMA Award for Video of the Year for “Money for Nothing”
Additionally, “MTV Turns Forty” features artifacts such as: • Memorabilia from Aerosmith and Run-DMC • Interview footage, notes, sketches and more about the idea for MTV from Bob Pittman and John Sykes • Spotlights on the many pivotal moments in MTV’s history, from Nirvana and “MTV Unplugged” to “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “The Real World”
WHAT: “MTV Turns 40: I Still want My MTV”
WHEN: Wednesday through Saturday — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday — 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
TICKETS FROM NOW UNTIL JUNE 2022: Adults - $14 College students and youth - $8 Seniors - $12 Members and children under 5 - free JUNE 2021 | TODAY 9
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mississippi marketplace u outdoors today out d the ‘sip picture this my opinion ement
grin ‘n’ bare it a strange and wild announcement made Unless one can effectively and by a grand and handsome bird. significantly improve upon quiet, Don’t forget the mockingbird. Should perhaps that one should consciously this one be encountered, the hearer and methodically refrain from creating must be somewhat versed in identifying noise. This intrusion — noise — presbird calls or that hearer will mistake this ents in a broad assortment of forms, vocal virtuoso for some other avian speand very few are necessary. Mindless cies. He is, after all, a mockingbird. chatter, obnoxious machines, non-esTwilight and following, sounds likely sential devices. All are capable of change. A purely grand and peaceful disturbing the peace, of fencing one symphony is often generated by an out, or in, from healthful quiet. array of frogs. One that is particularly Quiet, however, is not specifically pleasing is the spring peeper, a little silence. There can be sounds, and a guy that peeps merrily in concert with great many of these can still qualify others of the kind. I often stand for long as quiet. It is this category of quiet periods and listen to them. The sound to which I refer here. This quiet is a is restful. Be advised, however; peeping healing, refreshing, and life-enhancing intensity and occurrence will decline as collection of sounds. June is filled spring ages and mating season wanes. with them. Regardless of season, a woods trail is delightful. There is another frog capable of Take a walk. Proper attire is espleasant sound. This one is the true basso profundo of any sential. Ear buds and cell phones and any device that may frog choir — the bull frog. Wonderful rumblings come from interrupt are an anathema. Just walk. And listen. this gentleman. And his call will rarely be mistaken. Depending upon time of day, sounds — proper sounds — Keep an ear out for coyotes. Their hair-raising but almost will vary. Early mornings can produce a cacophony of bird giddy yapping as they begin a night’s hunt is strangely calls as the callers stir with daylight. There can be rasping enchanting. and singing and chirping and cooing and hammering and So, take a walk. Silence the cell. The walk and listening will miniscule clucks and peeps from cardinals, doves, blue jays, be more productive. Eastern Towhees, Carolina Wrens, red-bellied woodpeckers. The Tufted Titmouse. The raucous crow. And there may be, especially a little later in the morning, those high-pitched screeches of hawks as these raptors call and circle in newly-lit skies or perch elevated and whisby Tony Kinton per-gentle in limber treetops. There may be the haunting cry and snappy cluck of a yellow-billed coo-coo, locally known Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in as the rain crow. Fortunate sojourners may encounter the Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit www.tonykinton.com chilling and perhaps alarming call of the pileated woodpecker, for more information.
Sunsets are a good time to stop and listen to the wild.
JUNE MAY 2021 | TODAY 11
We’d like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads! Here’s a group of PEPA fathers who celebrate the holiday right along with you! PONTOTOC 662-489-3211 • Fax: 662-489-5156
BRUCE 662-983-2727 • Fax: 662-983-1335
P.O. Drawer 718 • 12 South Main Street, Pontotoc, MS 38863
P.O. Box 415 • 129 South Newberger Street, Bruce, MS 38915
1 – Bruce District Foreman Phillip Brackett with Brice, Brylon, Brandon, Keeton, Willa Rose, Christina, David, Glennis, Zion, and Tristan (Phillip’s wife Ruth is also pictured.) 2 – Apprentice Lineman Erik Gentry with Sadie Grace and Maisie Jo 3 – Lineman Jahew Harrelson with Jaton 4 – Meterman/Member Services Representative Jimmy Williamson with Maggie and Lane 5 – Bruce Staking Technician Richard Morgan and Elliott (Not pictured is son Eli) 6 – Journeyman Lineman John Fleming with Noah and Jonah 7 – Assistant Foreman Robert Mitchell with Sawyer, Zeke, Sutton, and Rhett (Robert’s wife Leah is also pictured.)
12 TODAY | JUNE 2021
8 – Right-of-Way Trimmer/Laborer Larry Martin with Lathe 9 – Right-of-Way Trimmer/Laborer Daniel Robinson with Liddy, Jayley, Banner, and Indy. (Daniel’s wife Ashley is also pictured.) 10 – Manager of Technical Services Nathan White with Margie Grace and Lilly Anna 11 – Right-of-Way Trimmer/Laborer Chad Phillips with Caylee, Quade Parker, and Haylee 12 – Right-of-Way Trimmer/Laborer Sam Stewart with Jace 13 – Bruce District Manager Ben Hogan with Wyatt, Hailey, and Blake 14 – Apprentice Lineman Stewart Owen with Ivy Claire 15 – General Manager Frankie Moorman with Bailey and Garrett (Frankie’s wife Angie is also pictured.)
14 RON Date_____
12 STEVEN Date_____
Celebrating the Class of 2021 Celeste Clayton is the daughter of Neil Clayton (PEPA electrical engineer) and Ericka Miller. Celeste has been a member of the Pontotoc City Schools band system since sixth grade. She played the mellophone in the marching band, French horn in the symphonic band, and trumpet in the jazz band. She was a section leader during her junior and senior years, and she was a member of the State 4A Championship Band during her freshman year. Celeste plans to attend Itawamba Community College this fall and study nursing.
Maggie Williamson is the daughter of Jimmy and Lisa Williamson. (Jimmy is the Meterman/Member Services Representative at Pontotoc Electric.) Maggie has been part of the marching band at South Pontotoc School, the National Honor Society at UMHS, had a role in the play “A Family Reunion to Die For” at Pontotoc Community Theater, and had a role in “Elf, the Musical” and “Mama Mia” at Tupelo Community Theater. She also had a role in “Frozen” with the Pied Piper community theater group. Maggie plans to attend Blue Mountain College this fall, and her career plan is to become a doctor.
No. 6 of the seven Cooperative principles
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
A group from our PEPA line crew headed to Yazoo City, Miss., on Wednesday, May 5, to assist the members of Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association. Severe weather took down lines and caused power losses. They returned on Friday, May 7. Pictured left to right: Erik Gentry, Cody Laster, Brandon Jenkins, Robert Mitchell, John Ivy, Jimmy Moore, Wes Hillhouse, and Stewart Owen.
J U LY 4 T H
Pontotoc Electric Power Association will be closed Monday, July 5, 2021, in observance of the Independence Day holiday. To report power outages or emergencies, please call 662-489-6711 (Pontotoc) or 662-983-2727 (Bruce). A Pontotoc Electric dispatcher is on duty 24 hours per day, seven days per week. 14 TODAY | JUNE 2021
This month, we’re starting a new quarterly feature we hope you’ll enjoy. If you’re looking for great cooking tips and quick and easy recipes to feed your family, look no further than COOKING WITH BONNIE!
Open-Faced Stroganoff Burgers
Cheesy Chicken Mac and Cheese
1 lb. ground beef 1 medium onion 8 oz. sour cream Cheddar cheese slices, or shredded cheese Garlic powder (to taste)
1 box macaroni and cheese (prepared as to directions on box) 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 cup shredded cheese
Salt and pepper (to taste) Texas toast, hamburger buns, or loaf of French bread (whichever you have on hand)
Brown and drain ground beef with chopped onion. Add sour cream to mixture, along with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Cook until mixture is hot and bubbly. Cover bread with meat mixture (if using French bread, cut in half lengthwise before adding meat), top with cheese. Bake for about five to 10 minutes (to crisp bottom of bread), then broil until cheese is bubbly.
1 can chunk white chicken or about two boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (about one cup)
Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to directions on the box. Add one can cream of chicken soup, canned or cooked chicken, top with shredded cheese and bake at about 325 to 350 degrees until hot and bubbly. (Note: You can easily substitute one pound of cooked and drained ground beef and use cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of chicken.)
Bonnie’s Helpful Tip: Oreo Dessert 1 box instant Jell-O vanilla pudding (large size) 1 box instant Jell-O chocolate pudding (large size)
16 oz. tub Cool Whip 1 package chocolate Oreo sandwich cookies
Crumble the Oreos in a zip-top bag, then pour crumbs into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Prepare vanilla Jello-O pudding according to package directions. Pour on top of Oreos. Allow to sit in refrigerator until set (maybe five to 10 minutes). Prepare chocolate pudding and then allow to sit in refrigerator until set (again, maybe five to 10 minutes). Once chocolate pudding is set, cover with cool whip. (Note: This is a good summertime dessert or for children’s activities at church. This recipe can easily be halved by using the smaller boxes of pudding and an eight-ounce tub of cool whip.)
Shred your own cheese instead of purchasing the product pre-shredded. Invest in a good food processor or box grater, buy a two-pound block, and shred your own! You can shred it, measure it into one or two cup amounts, and freeze it in zip-top bags. It doesn’t stick together, and you can take out what you need. It thaws almost instantly! It will also keep much longer in the freezer than store-bought shredded cheese.
by Bonnie Heatherly Bonnie Heatherly is a service clerk at Pontotoc Electric, who enjoys cooking great food, feeding folks on a budget, and spending lots of time with her four grandkids. JUNE 2021 | TODAY 15
10 ways to save energy in the laundry room by Abby Berry Your clothes washer and dryer account for a significant portion of energy consumption from major appliances, and let’s face it — laundry is no one’s favorite chore. Make the most of your laundry energy use! There are several easy ways you can save energy (and money) in the laundry room. The Department of Energy recommends the following tips for saving on suds:
3. Use the high-speed or extended spin cycle in the washer. This setting will remove more moisture before drying, reducing your drying time and the extra wear on clothing.
4. Dry heavier cottons separately. Loads will dry faster and more evenly if you separate heavier cottons like linens and towels from your lightweight clothing.
5. Make use of the “cool down” cycle. If your dryer has this cycle option, you can save energy because the clothes will finish drying with the remaining heat in the dryer. 6. Use lower heat settings to dry clothing. Regardless of drying time, you’ll still use less energy.
7. Use dryer balls. Dryer balls, usually wool or rubber, will help keep clothes separated for faster drying, and they can help reduce static, so you can eliminate dryer sheets.
8. Switch loads while the dryer is warm. This allows you to take advantage of the remaining heat from the previous cycle.
9. Clean the lint filter after each drying cycle. If you use dryer sheets, remember to scrub the filter once a month with a toothbrush to remove excess buildup.
10. Purchase ENERGY STAR-rated washers and dryers. When it’s time to purchase a new washer or dryer, look for the ENERGY STAR label. New washers and dryers that receive the ENERGY STAR rating use about 20% less energy than conventional models.
1. Wash with cold water. Switching from warm water to cold water can cut one load’s energy use by more than half, and by using a cold-water detergent, you can still achieve that brilliant clean you’d normally get from washing in warm water.
2. Wash full loads when possible. Your washing machine will use the same amount of energy no matter the size of the clothes load, so fill it up if you can.
16 TODAY | JUNE 2021
Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives.
broadband service provides. Broadband service providers include Mississippi took its first big step toward expanding internet both telecommunication companies and electric cooperatives. availability during the 2019 legislative session through Broadband service providers can now lease existing dark fiber the Broadband Enabling Act. The act authorized electric from rate-regulated electric utility companies to provide internet cooperatives to become broadband service providers and to service, allowing a faster approach to broadband expansion. better connect rural Mississippi. Since the bill’s passage, more Dark fiber leases will offset lengthy infrastructure build-out times than half of Mississippi’s electric cooperatives have joined in in locations where dark fiber currently the effort. Working together has been exits and will provide another mechanism pivotal to rural broadband expansion. for overall connectivity across the state. When COVID-19 became a daily Together, we will continue to In order to prioritize Mississippi citizens, part of life in 2020, access to the move Mississippi forward by energy companies are required to return internet became vital for education and the workforce. Although 2020 connecting its citizens, businesses, profits from the lease agreements to their presented a year of challenges, it also schools, and healthcare providers energy customers. The Senate remains committed to presented many new opportunities for to each other and to the world. expanding broadband infrastructure and Mississippi. The state received $1.25 access to high-speed, reliable internet. The state is slated to billion in discretionary Coronavirus Relief Funds from the federal receive $1.8 billion in additional discretionary funds and $166 government. Expanding Mississippi’s broadband infrastructure million in infrastructure funds from the federal government once again became a top priority for the Legislature. through the American Rescue Plan, the latest federal relief During the 2020 legislative session, the Legislature package. Continuing to invest in broadband expansion is not appropriated the $1.25 billion and identified an opportunity to only a good investment for now but a great investment for take another big step in broadband expansion. Seventy-five future generations. million dollars of Coronavirus Relief Funds were appropriated Together, we will continue to move Mississippi forward by to the Mississippi Electric Cooperatives Broadband COVID-19 connecting its citizens, businesses, schools, and healthcare Grant Program Fund and the COVID-19 Broadband Provider providers to each other and to the world. Grant Program Fund. As a result of the dollar-for-dollar match requirement, the total investment was about $150 million. Nineteen broadband service providers participated in the grant programs. To date, almost all projects funded through the grant programs have been completed. The 2021 legislative session presented a new approach to broadband expansion. Senate Bill 2798, authored by Sen. Joel by Delbert Hosemann Carter, and signed into law on April 22, 2021, authorizes rateMississippi’s lieutenant governor. regulated electric utility companies to lease “dark fiber” to JUNE 2021 | TODAY 17
18 TODAY | JUNE 2021
by Steven Ward Look up at the sky and the green leaves hanging off the trees shoot up like a summit that goes on forever. Some of the tree trunks in the water are as big as a subcompact car. The 1,700-foot boardwalk that snakes through a portion of the Sky Lake Wildlife Management Area near Belzoni provides a humbling view to visitors. Nature and all its living and breathing beauty inhabits Sky Lake full throttle — all there to hear, smell and see up close. A hidden gem in the Mississippi Delta, Sky Lake is one of those captivating destinations on internet travel websites but a place some locals might not even realize exists. Owned by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 4,306-acre area provides outdoor recreation and wetland habitat.
Mississippi has plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities across the state, and many are often overlooked. Whether it is a MDWFP state park, state lake or wildlife management area.
Restrooms, a pavilion and an amphitheater are available on a first come, first serve basis for the public while an education building is used for MDWFP events and training courses. Although the habitat is filled with wildlife — birds, waterfowl, frogs, turtles and alligators — the main attraction are the giant bald cypress trees. Some of the trees at Sky Lake are over a 1,000-years old, said Roger Tankesly, a MDWFP regional biologist for the Delta Region wildlife management areas. “Accurate age estimation is difficult due to trees being hollow. The largest tree is 47 feet in circumference at breast height and around 85 feet high,” he said. “Another large cypress in the vicinity measures 40 feet in circumference.” The trees are some of the largest in the country and oldest on the planet, Tankesly said. “Mississippi has plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities across the state, and many are often overlooked. Whether it is a MDWFP state park, state lake or wildlife management area,” Tankesly said.
JUNE 2021 | TODAY 19
The 1,700-foot Sky Lake boardwalk allows visitors to get an eye full of the WMA’s gigantic trees and habitat wildlife.
“The Sky Lake boardwalk area is unique because it is easy to get to, you can drive right up to a very nice and well-maintained facility, any day of the week, during daylight hours. Large cypress trees can be seen once the boardwalk begins, so if you don’t think you can make the entire 1,700-foot trek, you can check out the first tree and head back to the pavilion.” Around 800 acres make up the boardwalk area as well as waterfowl habitat around the lake of the more than 4,000-acre site. Around 3,500 acres serve as a wetland mitigation area for the Yazoo Backwater Project. Construction of the site was completed in 2010 and the total cost was around $715,000 which was paid for by MDWFP and grants from the Federal Highway Administration Outdoor Recreation Trails Program. The boardwalk has informational signs along the way to educate visitors on the unique habitat. There are also benches for sitting along the way, with a larger seating area at the end of the boardwalk right next to the largest tree. The MDWFP hold training sessions at the area’s education building.
20 TODAY | JUNE 2021
From left, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks regional biologists for the Delta Region Weston Thompson and Roger Tankesly.
No permit is required to use the boardwalk, pavilion, amphitheater or kayak trail. A Wildlife Management Area User permit is required for using the rest of the Sky Lake area including for hunting. Guests can visit Sky Lake during daylight hours only. The public can use the area’s amphitheater near the front of the WMA during daylight hours.
For more information, visit www.mdwfp.com.
Photos by Chad Calcote
The site also features a 2.6-mile kayak/canoe trail beginning at the parking lot near the education building and meanders through the wooded portion of the lake, around the boardwalk, and to the big trees. Water is usually absent in summer/fall months. Sky Lake is a place that’s hard to forget after spending some time there. “There are not many places, anywhere you go, that have ancient trees that you can easily access. My entire family, especially my two young daughters, Brylee and Bristol, enjoy seeing the big trees, turtles, snakes, frogs, and even the alligators,” Tankesly said. JUNE 2021 | TODAY 21
Now, THIS is a Knife! This 16" full tang stainless steel blade is not for the faint of heart —now ONLY $99!
n the blockbuster film, when a strapping Australian crocodile hunter and a lovely American journalist were getting robbed at knife point by a couple of young thugs in New York, the tough Aussie pulls out his dagger and says “That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife!” Of course, the thugs scattered and he continued on to win the reporter’s heart. Our Aussie friend would approve of our rendition of his “knife.” Forged of high grade 420 surgical stainless steel, this knife is an impressive 16" from pommel to point. And, the blade is full tang, meaning it runs the entirety of the knife, even though part of it is under wraps in the natural bone and wood handle. Secured in a tooled leather sheath, this is one impressive knife, with an equally impressive price. 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 Down Under Bowie Knife. 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 Down Under Bowie Knifes for this ad only. Don’t let this beauty slip BONUS! Call today and through your fingers at a price that won’t drag you’ll also receive this you under. Call today! genuine leather sheath!
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22 TODAY | JUNE 2021
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LuterSupply.com JUNE 2021 | TODAY 23
Bowls are a piece of kitchenware you can use for every meal, including dessert. If all you’ve ever used bowls for are cereal, soups, salads and ice cream you’re in for a treat. There are plenty of one-bowl meals beyond the norm that provide an opportunity to tumble together various food combinations. The flavor combinations for a power bowl are endless, but it starts with four primary food groups: grains, produce, protein, and fats. No matter how you mix and match, you’ll create a personalized, well-balanced meal every time. Start by choosing a fiber-rich foundation with grains. Begin with a familiar favorite like rice and add ancient protein-rich grains for more complex flavors and nutrients. You can use whole grain pasta, ramen noodles, or soba noodles, too.
Don’t forget to pile on the vegetables. Use raw vegetables like radishes, carrots, cucumbers, or tomatoes, or go sauteed with zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, mushrooms, and peppers in your bowl — frozen or canned varieties of corn, beans, or shredded fresh vegetables like cabbage for slaw. You can also use fruit. Toss in cubed watermelon, berries, or peach slices.
Creates 4-6 bowls
Crockpot Mexican Chicken INGREDIENTS 2 to 2 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast 16 ounces chunky salsa ¾ cup chicken broth ½ texaspoon chili powder ½ teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
For the bowl INGREDIENTS 4 cups cooked rice 1 can Mexican sweet corn (or fresh corn off the cob) 1 (16-ounce) can black beans, low sodium 3 small avocados ¼ cup chopped cilantro 1 lime 24 TODAY | JUNE 2021
1. Add all “Crockpot Mexican Chicken” ingredients to the slow cooker. Set on high and cook for 4 hours. 2. When the chicken has reached 165 degrees internally, remove and shred the chicken and let it cook/sit for 10 more minutes. 3. Prepare the other ingredients — cook rice, drain corn and black beans and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 30-second increments so not to over heat. Chop cilantro, dice avocados and cut lime into wedges. 4. Assemble rice bowls by adding rice, chicken, corn, black beans, and diced avocados to each bowl. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges for squeezing over before eating. 5. Optional: Drizzle with store-bought cilantro lime dressing or top with one to two tablespoons of salsa.
Creates 2 bowls
Creates 4-5 bowls INGREDIENTS 1 small bag of baby spinach 1 pint cherry tomatoes 1 (15-ounce) can Chickpeas 1 cup hummus (store bought or homemade) 2 cucumbers, diced 1/2 red onion, sliced 1 cup olives, pitted 1 cup feta cheese 2 cups quinoa, cooked Optional: extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemons 1. Cook quinoa per instructions, or purchase in a microwave pouch. 2. Prepare the vegetables — halve cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, sliced onion, and drain and rinse chickpeas. 3. Assemble bowls by adding a cup of fresh spinach, about a 1/4 cup of quinoa, hummus, feta cheese, olives, and then add in as many vegetables as you wish. 4. Optional: Garnish with a fresh lemon wedge for squeezing before eating and drizzle with a teaspoon or less extra virgin olive oil. 5. Optional: Top with grilled chicken or seafood of choice.
For the fish
For the vegetables
INGREDIENTS 2-4 catfish fillets (or crappie) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon butter Italian herbs Salt and pepper Juice of 1 lemon
INGREDIENTS 2 cups cooked wild rice 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 onion, diced 1 summer squash, cut into half-moons 1 zucchini squash, cut into half-moons 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 black pepper 1/4 teaspoon Italian herbs
1. Prepare the vegetables into half-moons and set aside. 2. Prepare the rice per directions and set it aside. 3. Pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel then heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter and let it melt. 4. Season both sides of the fish with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Carefully place the fillets into the skillet. Let them cook for 4 minutes on the first side, then flip. 5. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon onto the fish as it cooks on the second side. Let it cook for another 4 minutes, or until fish is flakey when cut with a small knife. 6.
Remove the fish from the skillet and set it aside on a plate with paper towels. Turn the skillet off. Scrape out leftover fish tidbits to avoid them burning while cooking the vegetables. You can leave a little essence of fish for flavor. Make sure your pan is not too hot, it will scorch when you add the butter for the vegetables.
7. With a skillet warm but not too hot, add butter and allow it to melt at a moderate pace. You can slowly increase the heat again to medium heat. 8. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent burning. If vegetables start to stick, splash with water, or a little lemon juice. 9. Add the zucchini and squash to the pan and season with salt, pepper, and herbs.
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.
Sautee until softened and brown, about 8-10 minutes. If vegetables start to stick, splash with water, or a little lemon juice (do not add more oil). Please turn off the skillet and set it aside.
11. Assemble the bowls by adding a cup of rice and topping with fish fillet and vegetables. Garnish with a lemon wedge for squeezing over the top and parsley for looks.
JUNE 2021 | TODAY 25
mississippi marketplace on the menu outdoors today Fireworks at conclusion on Saturday night. Highway 15 Yard Sale. June 3 to June 6. Semi-annual Street at 7 p.m. South Mississippi Freewill Details: firstname.lastname@example.org. yard sale from Newton to Ackerman along Highway Baptist Campground, 1400 Pine Grove Road. scene around the ‘sip picture 15. Details: Call Timmy at 601-575-9091. Bring lawn chairs. Love offering will be received. this 150th Old Methodist Camp Meeting. July 24 to 30. Details: 601-735-9083 or 601-270-1543. Oxford. Services daily at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Eight Mile Garage Sale. June 5. Black Hawk. Starts Special events will be held during the week. at the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 430 Sawmill Festival. July 9 and 10.my Bruce. Entertainment, opinion co-op involvement The camp is at 18 County Road 238 at the Dollar General and ends at Acy’s Grocery and food, arts and crafts. Friday night entertainment will 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 email@example.com. Events are subject to change or cancelation due to COVID-19. Please confirm details before traveling.
Deli at the intersection of Highway 430 and Highway 23. From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Details: 662-453-5298.
be Hannah and Karly and the Spunk Monkees. Saturday will be Vinnie Cheney and The Bonfire Orchestra.
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Brandon’s 9th Interactive Civil War Relic Show. June 12 and 13. Brandon City Hall. Vendors, living history, antiques, reenactors, prints, weapons, World War I and II militaria, Native American artifacts, free genealogy research and Mississippi authors, artists and musicians. Admission proceeds benefit the Wounded Warriors of Mississippi. Details: 769-234-2966. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iron Horse Festival. June 12. McComb. Arts and crafts, food, live music with headliners the Bluz Boys Band and Category 6. A 5K race, car and motorbike show, a kid’s zone and fireworks. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Details: 601-248-5428 or email broadwaydelicakes@ hotmail.com.
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All Breed Dog Shows. June 25, 26 and 27. Tunica. Kennel Club of North Mississippi and Greater Shelby County Kennel Club. Shows start at 8 a.m. at the Tunica Arena and Exposition Center at 3873 U.S. Highway 61 North. Details: 901-482-2922. Annual July 3 Gospel Singing Event. July 3. Waynesboro. Corinth Freewill Baptist Church hosts The Inspirations, Ricky Atkinson and Compassion and Sound
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26 TODAY | JUNE 2021
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The evidence of two ice ages: The loess bluffs soil in the brown layer on top from the last ice age. The red layer beneath it is river gravel and sand from the ice age before. The layer of brown soil is about as hundred feet deep.
We took a tour of the canyons out west a few years ago. Most of the time we were in southern Utah. It is a beautiful part of the nation. The exposed layers of nature fascinated me. If you ever get the chance to go see it, go. Plus, with all of the red rock and the vegetation-less terrain, it will save you from ever having to go to Mars. We don’t have those kinds of exposed layers of creation here in Mississippi. Well, with a few exceptions. Red Bluff in Marion County is about the best we have. Its alternating strata of Rock with one side shaved flat because of river graves and glacier ice grinding against it. clays and sands make up an exposed eroded hillside. A geologist can read the rocks and tell the story of how they got here. James Starnes is a geologist with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. I follow him on Facebook. In addition to being a talented and creative photographer, he has also been posting some interesting finds he has made in some gravel pits in west central Mississippi under the loess bluffs of Warren, Hinds and Yazoo counties. The multiple layers of ancient rocks and sands are exposed here because of the digging. Since we don’t have thousands of feet of mountain side to display it, if you want to see the onion layers of the earth here, you have to dig for it. And a rock quarry is a great place. The topsoil in the bluffs, maybe up to a few hundred feet deep, was blown in after the last ice age from dust and dirt picked up from melting glaciers out west. Under that are layers of gravel deposited during the ice age before it, as melting ice sheets up north created the ancestor of the Mississippi River, meandering all over the place leaving deep layers of sand and gravel over a wide area. The rocks left here came from glacier-cracked bedrock as far away as Canada. James says a geologist can trace the gravel
back to its origin by rock type. The rarest rocks they find are those that have had one side shaved flat as it sat under moving glacier ice. Recently, they have found pieces of petrified wood that have been glacier-shaved, too. Prior to this, the thinking was the wood became petrified in the gravel deposits about the time the rocks were laid down. But the flat surface on some of the wood means it was already stone before the time of the glaciers. This may cause a re-assessment of the age of the gravel deposits. Sometimes, we tend to think of history beginning with maybe the Civil War. Or perhaps the colonial period. And ancient history going back to when the Native Americans got here. But if you want to study our real ancient history, dig a little deeper. A hundred feet or so deeper. And you will find fascinating stories carved in stones.
Some of the rocks tell a story of ancient oceans- like this seashell fossil.
by Walt Grayson Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” Walt is also a reporter and 4 p.m. news anchor at WJTV in Jackson. He lives in Brandon and is a Central Electric member. Contact him at email@example.com.
JUNE 2021 | TODAY 27
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