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PRIME TIME... Pearl and Brandon renewed their rivalry dating back to Thanksgiving Day 1949 on August 27, 2010 and the game lived up to the billing as the Pirates beat Brandon 27-24. The game was fueled by two Brandon students who thought it would be fun to vandalize Pearl’s $750,000 artificial turf field. Pearl QB Davontae Nichols rushed for 101 yards and scored 2 touchdowns and threw for two more TD’s including the game winner in overtime. The game was a part of CellularSouth’s Y’all vs. Us broadcast. Photo by Greg Pevey Pevey Publishing, LLC




BACK ON TRACK After years of nothing but the parking lot, along side Lakeland Drive, construction has finally begun on the new location of Word of Life Church. The land was bought in 1999 by Pastor Ronnie Simms with visions of a new home for his 1300 member congregation. Pastor Simms passed away in 2001 and his son (now pastor) Joel Simms has continued his father’s dream by beginning construction in August. Plans are for the new building to be operational by the Summer of 2011. Photo by Greg Pevey Pevey Publishing, LLC




SHOW YOUR PRIDE The pre-game festivities of the Y’all vs. Us match-up between Brandon and Pearl began with a patriotic performance by the Pearl High School Band. Senior drum-major Jayce O’Shields was pictured here during the performance with a salute during the playing of “America the Beautiful”. Photo by Greg Pevey Pevey Publishing, LLC



from the publishers

rankin LIVING

It’s all about Us!

Volume 1, Issue 1 November/December 2010


elcome to the debut issue of Rankin Living Magazine. The areas only publication dedicated to the people, businesses, communities and lifestyle

Published by Pevey Publishing, LLC

of Rankin County.

Mendy and I have been in the publishing business full-time going on three years now with our first publication Mississippi Sports Magazine. Although that publication covers topics that are important

Publishers Greg & Mendy Pevey

to Mississippi sports fans, we wanted to do something to promote the area we call home, and that is Rankin County. I grew up in Hinds County, Clinton to be exact, and Mendy grew up in Pearl, I know what you’re saying “how

Guest Columnist B.K. Sanchez

in the heck did that happen?” Well, not only am I glad it happened but I’m also glad to say we have called Rankin

Contributing Writers

County our home for over 18 years now and are proud to

Natalie Winnigham, Gunter Pevey, Mendy Pevey

raise our family here in such a great and prosperous area of our State.

Rankin County has such a unique quality about it that we thought we should put

Contributing Photographers

together a magazine that will not only showcase what there is to offer here, but also to

Greg Pevey, Atlanta Falcons, Mississippi State

help promote the area to potential residents and businesses that may be considering

University Sports Information, Karen Streit

making Rankin County their new home. The people of Rankin County are a proud group of people and we wanted to give something back to the community and let them have something to “show off ” to their friends and family outside the area.

Advertising Sales Greg Pevey, Mendy Pevey

We hope you enjoy the debut issue as we will showcase local communities, businesses, and most importantly, the people who live here. Rankin County is growing at an amazing rate and we look forward to producing a publication with substance that the people here can be proud of and dang it, brag about! Greg & Mendy Pevey Publishers

Join us on Facebook.

Philippians 4:13

To Contact Rankin Living > LETTERS, STORY IDEAS AND PHOTO SUBMISSIONS • Email Rankin Living at or mail to Rankin Living Magazine, 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, Mississippi 39047. Letters should include writer’s full name, address and home phone number and may be edited for clarity and space.

Tell our advertisers you saw their ad in Rankin Living Magazine. 8 - RANKIN LIVING

Rankin Living™ is published bi-monthly by Pevey Publishing, LLC to promote Rankin County, it’s residents and businesses in an informative and positive manner. We welcome contributions of articles and photos; however, they will be subject to editing and availability of space and subject matter. Photographs, comments, questions, subscription requests and ad placement inquiries are invited! Return envelopes and postage must accompany all labeled materials submitted if a return is requested. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Rankin Living Magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement. Pevey Publishing, LLC is not affiliated with any community organization. Subscriptions are $24 (1 year, 6 issues). Make checks payable to Pevey Publishing, LLC and mail to: 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, MS 39047 or subscribe online at

Pevey Publishing, LLC Rankin Living Magazine 405 Knights Cove West • Brandon, MS 39047 Phone: 601-503-7205 • Fax: 601-992-2885 email:

16 18 24

Contents Features 16 The World’s A Stage

Northwest Rankin High School Theatre Group

18 It’s All Here

Rankin County has everything any one person could possibly need. Natalie

Winningham gives us some history of

the County with some help of a few local

38 Jerious Norwood Atlanta with the Falcons.

Departments 10 You Gotta See This!

Mark your calenders for these local events.

11 Shop Rankin

24 The Benevolent Baker

14 Talk of the Town

bake cupcakes. She is also a supporter of local charities.

28 As Unique as His Antiques Robert Childress, Sr. is known across the country for his unique antiques.


Former Brandon Bulldog is flying high in


Carolyn Grant does so much more than just


Childrens’ Snowman Shirt available at Apple Annies - 106 Autumn Ridge Place #6 - Brandon

Local Holiday Gift Ideas

We asked a few residents and local

business owners why they enjoy working and living in Rankin County.

28 On My Mind...

A commentary by B.K. Sanchez

On the Cover: The Clocktower at Dogwood Mall is quickly becoming a landmark for growth not only in Flowood but Rankin County as a whole - Photo by Greg Pevey RANKIN LIVING - 9

you gotta see this - November/December 2010 black rose theatre - brandon Nov 12-14 and Nov 19-21 Directed By: Lydie Vick A church Christmas program spins hilariously out of control in this Southern farce about squabbling sisters, family secrets, a surly Santa, a vengeful sheep and a reluctant Elvis impersonator. It’s Christmas-time in the small town of Fayro, Texas, and the Futrelle Sisters—Frankie, Twink and Honey Raye—are not exactly in a festive mood. A cranky Frankie is weeks overdue with her second set of twins. Twink, recently jilted and bitter about it, is in jail for inadvertently burning down half the town. And hot-flash-suffering Honey Raye is desperately trying to keep the Tabernacle of the Lamb’s Christmas Program from spiraling into chaos. But things are not looking too promising: Miss Geneva, the ousted director of the previous twenty-seven productions, is ruthless in her attempts to take over the show. The celebrity guest Santa Claus—played by Frankie’s long-suffering husband, Dub—is passing a kidney stone. One of the shepherds refuses to watch over his flock by night without pulling his little red wagon behind him. And the entire cast is dropping like flies due to food poisoning from the Band Boosters’ Pancake Supper. And when Frankie lets slip a family secret that has been carefully guarded for decades, all hope for a successful Christmas program seems lost, even with an Elvis impersonator at the manger. But in true Futrelle fashion, the feuding sisters find a way to pull together in order to present a Christmas program the citizens of Fayro will never forget. Their hilarious holiday journey through a misadventure-filled Christmas Eve is guaranteed to bring joy to your world!

ACTOR’S PLAYHOUSE - PEARL Directed by: Renee Lovett & Paula McLemore Performance Dates: Dec 3-5 and 10-12 HONK!, Jr. is the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale of The Ugly Duckling, transformed into a moving, funny and highly entertaining musical. Written by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, HONK! Jr tells the story of Ugly, whose odd, gawky looks instantly incite prejudice from his family and neighbors. Separated from the farm and pursued by a hungry Cat, Ugly must find his way, while his loving mother, Ida, searches for him. Along his journey he not only discovers his true beauty and glorious destiny, but he also finds love and acceptance.

CITY OF BRANDON CHRISTMAS PARADE Brandon’s Christmas parade will be held Friday, December 7th. The parade begins at 7:00pm. The parade route starts at the corner of S. College and Jasper and goes North to Hwy. 80. The parade then turns East on Hwy 80 to Louis Wilson Dr. At Louis Wilson Dr. the parade will head South back to Jasper St. and then West to end at the corner of Jasper and S. College. Past themes have included “A Christmas Vacation”, “Holiday Lights”, “Hometown Christmas”, “A Birthday Celebration” (in honor of Brandon’s 175th anniversary), “A Dr. Seuss Christmas” and more. Cash prizes are awarded to float winners and a coloring contest is held for the students in K-2nd grades. SUBMIT YOUR EVENTS TO RANKIN LIVING MAGAZINE: If you have an event you would like to showcase in Rankin Living Magazine please feel free to submit to us the name of said event, a brief description with dates, times, cost (if any), contact information and a photo if possible. You can submit these to Rankin Living Magazine by emailing us at 10 - RANKIN LIVING

new to the area? Here are some important phone numbers and information you need to know to help you get settled in. UTILITY HOOK UP Anyone establishing residency in Rankin County must contact E911 at 601-825-1499 prior to getting any utilities connected. Once this procedure is completed and your address is certified, you will be given a form and then you contact utility companies for service.

CABLE TELEVISION Comcast Cable.............................. 800-266-2278

ELECTRIC Central Electric................................ 601-829-1201 Entergy...........................................800-368-3749 Southern Pine Electric.................... 601-824-7070

GAS Atmos Energy Services....................601-961-6900 CenterPoint Energy........................ 601-936-0222 Willmut Gas & Oil Co...................... 601-939-3275

TELEPHONE AT&T..............................................888-757-6500 Windstream Mississippi................ 866-445-3402

GARBAGE COLLECTION If you establish residence within a municipality, you will need to contact city hall for garbage collection dates. If you are located outside a municipality call: Rankin County Waste Management..... 601-825-9213

DRIVER’S LICENSE Motorists must obtain a Mississippi driver’s license within 60 days of moving to the state. You will be required to surrender your out-ofstate license in order to obtain your new MS license. If you have an unexpired out-of-state license, only the written and eye test are required and may be taken at the following Rankin County locations: Pearl - Troop C Building 3158 Hwy 468 Pearl, Mississippi........................... 601-420-6342 Richland Examining Station 442 Highway 49 South Richland, Mississippi......................601-939-4217 For additional information, contact: Mississippi Department of Public Safety 601-987-1212 or

AUTO, TAG & STICKERS New residents must purchase Mississippi auto tags within 30 days of establishing residency. Rankin County Tax Collector Office Rankin County Court House Annex

Brandon, Mississippi.......................601-825-1467 A tag must be purchased for a new car within five (5) WORKING DAYS of purchase. These tags must be renewed each year on the anniversary date. If you move to Rankin County from within the state, keep your old tag until it expires.

AUTOMOBILE INSPECTION STICKERS An inspection sticker is required on all automobiles. There are many inspection stations (garages and service stations)throughout the county. The yearly cost for this inspection is $5.00.

VOTING QUALIFICATIONS A person must be registered 30 DAYS prior to an election in order to vote in Mississippi or Rankin County and must: • be a citizen of the United States • be 18 years of age on or before election • be a resident of the election precinct for 30 days

VOTER REGISTRATION A person can either register within the city of his residence or at the following location: Rankin County Courthouse Circuit Clerk’s Office Brandon, Mississippi Phone: 601-825-1466 Registration at either location will ensure dual registration for municipal and countywide election.

MAIL-IN VOTER REGISTRATION Applications may be obtained from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, 601-359-6357, local post offices or local libraries. Following completion of the application, it must be mailed to: Rankin County Circuit Clerk P.O. Box 1599 Brandon, Mississippi 39043

MARRIAGE LICENSE License issued after a 3 DAY waiting period for receipt of blood test results from an approved Mississippi lab. Proof of birth date and results of blood test must be made within 30 days of application. No license issued for party under 21 years of age except with parental consent. For more information, contact: Rankin County Courthouse Circuit Clerk’s Office Brandon, Mississippi 39042 Phone: 601-825-1466

SOCIAL SECURITY Social Security Administration McCoy Federal Building 100 West Capitol Street Jackson, Mississippi 1-800-772-1213 General information call: ................601-965-5731

RANKIN COUNTY HOSPITALS Crossgates Rivers Oaks Hospital.......................................... 601-825-2811 River Oaks Hospital.........................601-932-1030 Woman’s Hospital at River Oaks.......................................601-932-1000

RANKIN COUNTY LIBRARIES Brandon Public Library................... 601-825-2672 Florence Public Library................... 601-845-6032 G. Chastain Flynt Memorial Library.............................. 601-919-1911 Pearl Public Library........................ 601-932-2562 Pelahatchie Public Library.............. 601-845-6032 Puckett Public Library.....................601-825-6801 Reservoir Public Library................. 601-992-2539 Richland Public Library....................601-932-1846 Sandhill Public Library....................601-829-1653

CITY HALLS Brandon City Hall............................601-825-5021 Florence City Hall........................... 601-845-2462 Flowood City Hall........................... 601-939-4243 Pearl City Hall................................ .601-932-3500 Pelahatchie City Hall...................... 601-854-5224 Puckett City Hall............................. 601-825-8074 Richland City Hall........................... 601-932-3000

EMERGNCY In case of emergency......................... ...... Dial 911

LAW ENFORCEMENT Brandon Police............................... 601-825-7225 Florence Police............................... 601-845-7508 Flowood Police............................... 601-932-5400 Pearl Police.................................... 601-939-7000 Puckett Police................................ 601-825-8074 Rankin County Sheriff.....................601-825-1480 Richland Police................................601-932-3100

CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE Rankin County................................ 601-825-2268 Flowood......................................... 601-932-8007 Pearl............................................... 601-939-5883



GREAT GIFT IDEAS Christmas is just around the corner. Rankin County stores have everything you could possibly need this Holiday season. Here’s a selection of some popular items from across the area.


Ceramic Bowl & Mugs Cupcake Corner 5490 Castlewoods Ct., Suite A

Ceramic Serving Plate Cupcake Corner 5490 Castlewoods Ct., Suite A



Ceramic Serving Plate Cupcake Corner 5490 Castlewoods Ct., Suite A

FINE JEWELRY Left: 25 year diamond ring, 14K White Gold with 1 ct. Diamonds, Right: .75 Oval Cut Diamond Ring Crown Jewelers Hwy 80 - Pearl




Forget-Me-Nots of Brandon 8 Overby Street Brandon, MS


Safari China Forget-Me-Nots of Brandon 8 Overby Street Brandon, MS


Ladies Seiko Watch with Diamond Dial Crown Jewelers Hwy 80 - Pearl


Chapman’s Florist at Colony Crossing 3823 Hwy. 80 E. Pearl

TAILGATING CHAIR Logo of your favorite school on back Hangin’ Out Flags & Fun Stuff 1139 Old Fannin Road Reservoir


12.5” X 18” Garden Flags Hangin’ Out Flags & Fun Stuff 1139 Old Fannin Road Reservoir

Chapman’s Florist at Colony Crossing 3823 Hwy. 80 E. Pearl




Electric Ultrasonic Jewelry CleanerCrown Jewelers Hwy 80 - Pearl


Hangin’ Out Flags & Fun Stuff 1139 Old Fannin Road RANKIN LIVING - 13

talk of the town In our debut issue of Rankin Living Magazine we asked local residents and business owners to tell us why they choose to live and work in Rankin County. Here’s what they had to say! In each issue we’ll ask new questions to people on the street about current news and topics related to our area.

Robert Childress, Sr. - Brandon

Robert’s Antiques, 1187 Hwy. 471 “First of all I would tell these new people or businesses ‘Welcome to God’s Country’”. I grew up in Rankin County and I continued to live here most of my life and I could not think of a better place to call home. The City of Brandon’s Police Department as well as the Rankin County Sheriffs department are the best there is in our State. If we ever have an issue they are here on the spot and take care of it in a timely manner. We feel very safe here. I also love the fact that we still have that country down-home feel here in the county, but also have the modern things that people want and need here like quality medical facilities, grocery stores, shopping and schools. We absolutely love it here.”

Jeff Wall - Reservoir

Tire Depot, 1191 Old Fannin Rd “I don’t know where to begin. My wife and I moved to Rankin County in 2005 from Madison and it is as different as night and day. As a business owner I really enjoy being a part of the Flowood and Rankin County Chambers. These two groups do so much more to help promote it’s local businesses than any other Chamber that I have been associated with in the past. They have such a probusiness attitude that it’s a refreshing change for us here at Tire Depot. This area is such a phenomenon how it has grown from next to nothing to what it is today. There are so many “positive”, “get it done” type people here. We are proud to be a part of Rankin County.”

Brenda Horn - Pearl

I like living here because it is convenient to anything I might need. Other than work, I have no other reason to leave Rankin County. We have some of the best medical facilities in the tri-county area as well as beautiful neighborhoods and parks here for families to enjoy. I don’t know why someone would want to live anywhere else. I can go shopping at Dogwood Mall, see a movie, go to a sporting event, go out to eat, all within a 5 mile radius of my home. My children all went to school in Pearl and received a great education as well. We love this area and are proud to call Pearl and Rankin County our home. I look forward to seeing what is coming our way in the future.”

“Talk of the Town” on Facebook. We want your feedback! Follow us on Facebook as we will be positing discussion topics on our page. We want you to tell us your thoughts and opinions regarding current events and other topics relating to Rankin County. We will post these replies in each issue of Rankin Living Magazine. You can also email your thoughts to Please include first name and town.



Winter Wonderland week


for more information call:



A Great Place to Call Home!


rankin arts

the worLd’s A


The Northwest Rankin High School theatre program offers numerous benefits to those who partake in the experience STORY B Y GUNTER P EVEY • PHOTOS B Y G REG PE V E Y & K AREN STRE IT


n English class, students are introduced to a marvelous playwright who goes by the name of William Shakespeare. This, however, does not even scratch the surface on the plethora of knowledge imbedded in his works. To delve deeper into the mind of such a deep, romantic, and intellectual historical figure; one must do what the man had written his works for: acting! Experiencing his works through the view of his characters is the best possible learning experience a person can have. The students at Northwest Rankin High School know all-too-well the benefits that acting out plays has for an expansive mind. They not only learn about Shakespeare, but also the fundamentals of acting and other playwrights like, famous Mississippi local, Tennessee Williams; who has a festival about all of his plays in Clarksdale where the Northwest Rankin thespian troupe went to compete in acting competitions involving his plays. Two students, Zach Burton and T.J. Green, won first prize in the scene competition with a piece from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The trip was quite an experience for everyone involved and the knowledge they obtained from this experience will be invaluable throughout their lives. The troupe director, Karen Streit, is a loving woman who is so playful and energetic about theatre and all that goes on with it. She tries to get all of her students involved and gives them all that she can so that they will walk away from her classroom with a better understanding of theatre and how it relates to life. Her students love her and know how much she tries to help them and have got a lot of things to say about how they feel about it. Andrea Partridge, a senior at Northwest, says, “I think its terrific, we’re all family and no one feels left out because of how welcoming it is.” Everyone in theatre agrees with Andrea, even those who have just joined the program who have really only experienced a limited amount. Baylee Goley, a freshman, states, “This is only my first year, but it leaves a great


impression on people even if they aren’t involved.” Baylee sees that theatre is meant for everyone to enjoy, actors and audience alike, and anyone who has an interest in theatre has the opportunity to join the Northwest Rankin branch of the International Thespian Society. Sadly, with the recent budget cuts to the arts programs at school, the school’s theatre department has been seriously lacking in necessary funds and often seeks the help of businesses in the community for sponsorship money. Brianna Wells, another senior at Northwest, is saddened by the neglect that the arts department is facing. “I love it and more should be done to preserve and improve it!”, she exclaims. Mrs. Streit is doing everything in her power to keep the theatre program alive and well at rave about the theatre program and all it has given me. No where else have I ever felt so accepted and happy to be a part of something. Not only do we learn about ourselves and the world around us with the plays we perform and study, but we also help out the community with various fund raisers and the annual Trick-or-Treat So Kids Can Eat canned food benefit on Halloween. Theatre at Northwest Rankin High School has been exponentially influential on everyone who has had the pleasure of participating in the classes, events, and performances that are frequent within the school. The benefits offered by the theatre program have students quoting a specific line from Shakespeare simply because of the truth held within the words: “The world’s mine oyster!” - RLM Northwest, and as long as blood pumps through her veins she will continue to encourage students’ interest in the art of theatre. The latest play that is under production is You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown showing November 2, 4, 6 & 7th. Mrs. Streit puts this play on only once every five years and it has always been a pleasure to put on. Many students have been recruited into the cast of this wonderful rendition of a day in the life of lovable comic strip character: Charlie Brown. So far rehearsals have been hectic as they always have, but the show is coming along nicely and should be perfect by the time the public can come and view it. As an involved member of the International Thespian Society myself, I have to RANKIN LIVING - 17

cover story

It’s All Here From shopping, dining, entertainment and residential areas, Rankin County has everything you could possibly need




s one of the three main counties comprising the Jackson metro area, Rankin County is bordered by national forests, a 30,000+ acre man-made reservoir, and the Pearl River. As a result, Rankin County offers a multitude of outdoor and recreational activities. But changes have been taking place over the last two decades, making Rankin County one of the fastest growing regions

in the state of Mississippi. For the last 20 years, Rankin County has been experiencing a “rural renaissance.” Properties that were once acres of rural grasslands, fields of livestock and rolling hills have become sprawling shopping centers, a busy entertainment district, thriving business communities, well-appointed subdivisions, state-of-the-art medical complexes, new schools and more. The result is an explosive population growth from 115,327 in 2000 to approximately 143,124 as of 2009. Rankin County’s half rural, half urban status has garnered attention, too. Five years ago, The Progressive Farmer Magazine, a farm and country living publication, recognized Rankin County as one of the Top Ten Best Places to Live in Rural America “based on quality schools, low crime, good health care, and a clean environment, and intangible qualities such as community neighborliness, the way residents manage growth, and general aesthetics.” Rankin County’s top private and public schools as well as its unusually high healthcare index, which is higher than any other rural county in the country due to the three major hospitals located in the area, helped it earn this distinction. Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads believes

Dogwood Festival Market, Flowood.


feature story Highway 80 in Brandon is turning into an economic Mecca in Rankin County.

that Flowood’s ability to secure hospitals and health care facilities has done much to contribute to the county’s outstanding health care index. “About 15 or 20 years ago, all there was on the Lakeland section of Highway 25 was the Blue Cross/Blue Shield building, Jackson Prep, and several industrial complexes,” Mayor Rhoads recalls. “Now, that section of Lakeland is largely dominated by healthcare facilities. “As a matter of fact, hospitals were the key factor in Flowood’s transition from an industrial community to one based on health care services. There are fewer and fewer reasons to go to Jackson for medical care,” Mayor Rhoads observes. “As a matter of fact, there are a lot of people in Jackson who are coming to Flowood for medical care now. “This city loves the medical industry. It is almost recession proof,” he says. “Even during these tough economic times, Flowood saw an increase of 3% over last year’s sales tax revenue.” That means that people 20 - RANKIN LIVING

who are living, working and coming to Flowood for services like medical care are also spending their money in Flowood. And there are plenty of places to spend money in Flowood. Within the last six years, the Four Corners at Dogwood—located at the intersection of Lakeland and Old Fannin Road—was transformed from rabbit hunting grounds to retail Mecca. “Dogwood got started when some executives from McRae’s came down, walked out into a middle of a field, and said, ‘We are going to build a McRaes right here,’” Rhoads explains. “Once they were on board, the rest happened like dominoes. “Believe it or not, with all this growth and with so many people coming in from other areas to shop, we do not have a big problem with crime in the area,” he continues. “I believe that is another reason that Dogwood has been so successful. And it is one reason people are moving here.” The city of Brandon has experienced similar growth. “There have been lot of changes, almost

Trustmark Park in Pearl is the home to the Mississippi Braves.

Bass Pro Shops in Pearl was a huge coup for the City of Pearl.

Lakeland Drive has become a Mecca for shoppers not only from Rankin County, but across the state.

too many to list,” explains Brandon Mayor Tim Coulter. “Twenty years ago, we were still a rural area. You had to venture out of Rankin County to buy most of the essentials and luxury items. The towns didn’t run together like they do now.” The only indication to a driver crossing into Brandon from Pearl is a sign an-

nouncing the city’s corporate limit. “Even so, we all have our own unique niche in Rankin County,” Coulter continues. “And we’re more self-sustaining with growth off the charts. It’s great the way we’ve been able to grow in the area but still kept the charm which defines us as communities.” Coulter believes that the rapid growth

Brandon has been experiencing can be attributed to the quality of the school system and, he says, “people wanting a small town feel with the convenience of being close to Jackson and employment opportunities.” Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers agrees. “People like the small town charm of Pearl with the larger city characteristics and conveniences.” As a result of the city’s welcoming attitude toward business and the support of residents, the city now boasts an entertainment and retail district unlike anything else currently available in the state. Trustmark Park, which hosts the Mississippi Braves Minor League Baseball, was once a cattle field dotted with old homesteads. Within just the last five years, the area has seen the addition of the state’s only Bass Pro Shop—which many will agree is equal parts entertainment and retail shopping—as well as many hotels, restaurants and combination retail/entertainment/restaurant facilities like Bass Pro Shops, and Mack and Bones, an 18-hole miniature golf course and grill. Furniture retail stores are another huge RANKIN LIVING - 21

boon to Pearl’s local economy. “Pearl ought to be at the top of a furniture-buyers list of places to shop,” says Mayor Rogers. “It’s great when a city’s residents are frequenting and supporting local businesses within the community,” Rogers explains. “But now we see people coming in from other counties from the metro area and all over the state. And that influx of sales tax money helps us expand and support Pearl’s growing infrastructure needs.” Maintaining infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges that rapidly growing communities experience, and it is one of the key factors contributing to a city’s growth. “For a long time, we grew at too fast a pace and it’s taken us a while to catch up to our infrastructure needs,” Brandon Mayor Coulter says. “We have four roadways in various stages of development: East Brandon Bypass connecting MS Highway 18 to US Highway 80, Grants Ferry Parkway which will be a multiuse road for commercial and residential traffic, the East Metro Parkway which will connect Interstate 20 at Crossgates Boulevard to Dogwood in Flowood, and the widening of Highway 471,” Coulter explains. “These roads will absolutely change the landscape of Brandon. I imagine that once these are built and developed, we would have an additional 10,000 residents by 2020 and a number of new retail venues.” “One of our biggest challenges is figuring out how we are going to build three additional fire stations with staff and equipment and how we are going to resurface roads, drill wells, and maintain water sewer lines when the expense far exceeds the fees and taxes coming in to offset,” says Coulter. Mayor Rogers of Pearl agrees, “Infrastructure is the City of Pearl’s largest expense, and we’ve made many capital improvements, including water and sewer upgrades and improvements to roads. One of the many major road improvements currently in progress is the extension of Pearson Road to Treetops/Lakeland.” Traffic congestion is another problem that the city of Richland hopes to alleviate with new road construction and improvement. “Both Richland and Rankin County has changed drastically over the past 20 years,” Richland Mayor Mark Scarborough explains. “The increase in population, new businesses, subdivisions has brought new demands on our infrastructure. Traffic 22 - RANKIN LIVING

Rogers-Dabbs Chevrolet has been a staple in Brandon for decades.

The City of Richland’s new Community Center and Sports Complex brings in revenue to the area by hosting tournaments and other events.

and congestion continue to be a major issue. “Roads are an important part of Richland’s economy and we are all looking forward to the completion of the improvements to Highway 49 South.” Mayor Scarborough continues. “The transportation industry has been a large component of Richland’s growth. With that growth, we

have seen retail sales growth in the consumer market.” “Infrastructure maintenance, such as water, sewer, our streets and drainage are a work in progress that never ends. The more we grow, the greater the use of our systems. We are constantly upgrading to meet new federal and state requirements. US Hwy 49 South expansion will help drastically. It

will change the face of Richland.” And that is not all that is happening in Richland. “We are excited that the old Jitney Store building located on Highway 49 is undergoing a new facelift and will be serving our community with a state of the art medical facility: Richland Medical Plaza.” “Additionally, we are in the planning and design state for a new Police Station. Our goal is to build a new building that will house our entire department and to pay for the new station through our drug seizure funds,” Scarborough enthuses. “We are also designing a new fire station to be located at Harper Street and Richland Circle. This will finally allow us to have a fire station on each side of Highway 49.” Pearl is experiencing many new changes as well. “We recently received a $600,000 grant from the Mississippi Development Authority to build a 10,000 square foot community center for senior citizens in Pearl,” Mayor Rogers explains. “We have a lot of seniors in Pearl, and this facility will provide opportunities like luncheons, game day, educational programs, dances, movies and trips for our seniors.” Within the next six to eight months,

Pearl residents will see the addition of several new retail venues, restaurants and hotels. Residents will also have new opportunities in education when Hinds Community College’s Rankin County campus, located in Pearl, completes its expansion. Other improvements that will enhance the quality of life in Rankin County are projects and expansions within park systems all over the county. According to Richland Mayor Scarborough, “Richland’s park systems, with our community center, are second to none in Rankin County,” Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads feels the same way about his city’s parks and recreation. “We just finished Liberty Park and this year, we’ve purchased 43 acres to build a nature center. We’ll also be upgrading Winner’s Circle Park. All this should be complete in less than two years,” he says. With the growing trend of more people choosing to live in rural areas and small towns instead of urban communities, Rankin County and its seven incorporated cities will continue to benefit. And residents who want to stay healthy, work, play, shop, dine and entertain close to home will, too. It’s all here in Rankin County. -RLM

New retail outlets and restaurants are popping up all across the City of Pearl.



The Benevolent Baker Carolyn Grant of Brandon, a grandmother, a baker and a giver written By Gunter Pevey Photos by Greg Pevey



he Cupcake craze has not only hit America, but also right here in Rankin County. There are TV shows now that pit cupcake chefs from all across the country vying for the title “King of the Cupcake Wars”. Several stores have popped up across the area all stating their sweet delicacies are the best. One store in particular, Cupcake Corner on Grants Ferry Road, is doing more than providing just a fix for your sweet tooth. As I walked into the quaint, little store called Cupcake Corner I was immediately transported back to my childhood with the smells of grandma’s baking. There was seemingly no one in the store, but then I looked behind the counter and I saw the owner, Carolyn Grant, a sweet woman who was busy stirring away at a bowl of cupcake mix. She asked me to wait a moment because she needed to put the mix in the oven so that the cupcakes would be ready for a little girl’s birthday. I sat down at a small table and awaited her completion so that we could start our interview.

She came out a short while later and we began our very informative discussion. Carolyn has only been in business since May of 2009, but has been making cupcakes for years for her friends and family. She has spent a long time trying to perfect her recipes and is still trying to make them even better than they already are. “Opening the door was the easy part,� she says with a hearty laugh. One of the things that make her store so special is that she uses no artificial ingredients and uses only organic materials for her made-fromscratch cupcakes. Carolyn feels that people and children especially need a healthier diet and she feels that she is doing her part in giving people better health with her delectable creations. Cupcakes are not the only thing that Carolyn displays paintings created by local artists and allows them to sell their work in her shop.


Carolyn’s shop offers more than just delicious desserts. She also carries unique gift ideas as well as pottery from local artists.

she makes for her hungry customers. She also has a variety of sandwiches and cakes that are sure to delight anyone with an appetite and fine eye for healthy cuisine. Carolyn wants her customers to know that she cares about them and she does so with flying colors, especially with all of her charitable community work. So far she has given people with sweet tooth problems a safe place to snack, but this is not even half of what else she does to give back to her community She has also written three children’s books called Maggie’s Neighborhood, Cooking With Maggie and Christmas In Maggie’s Neighborhood. These books came to exist 26 - RANKIN LIVING

because of one of Carolyn’s old dogs that she used to have. Named, none other than, Maggie. She would regularly get calls from her grand children asking her how Maggie was doing and so she would tell them about the great adventures that Maggie would have around the neighborhood. This stockpile of stories in her head lead her to write and publish these wonderful books that actively engage the reader by asking questions like “what do you see when you go for a walk in your neighborhood?” and “what does your family do for Christmas?” This is to get the reader to get involved in their neighborhood and communities. The cookbook is a way to get children

into cooking and learn some better eating habits with the help of their parents and good ol’ Maggie. One of the best parts about her books is that ten percent of the profit is donated to C.A.R.A., a local no-kill animal shelter. This is not all that she donates; she also gives any unsold food to Gleaners; which is an organization that goes around to various stores and restaurants and collects unused food that is still good and edible and then gives that food to people who do not have anything to eat. These organizations are just little ways that Carolyn feels will make the community much better. On October twenty-eighth she also donated her time at a benefit at Highland Village for breast cancer awareness. She also promoted her cupcakes and offered free samples to anyone out there who wished to have a nice treat along with their charity. Another project that Carolyn generously takes on is the walk for Alzheimer’s so that she may show her support for finding a cure. Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so this is a disease that touches quite close to home for this benevolent baker. One of my final questions to Carolyn was if she had any expectations to write any more books to which she replied, “no I don’t think so, the store keeps me pretty busy,” and she chuckled again. She has

actually written about twelve or so, but with the amount of time her cupcake business takes she could not shirk her duties to her customers at the front counter to go through any more publishing processes. With the amount of cupcake orders she must get every day and all those charities that she graciously gives to, I cannot say that I blame her for not wanting much more on her plate. With a smile and a wave I said goodbye to Mrs. Grant and assured her that I

would write her the best article possible to accurately portray her generosity and caring disposition towards the community. For anyone out there who wants a sweet treat that’s good to eat Cupcake Corner is the place to go and it is certainly not off the beaten path, it is right by Castlewoods behind Dominoes in Flowood. From all of us at Rankin Living Magazine: Thanks Carolyn, you have done so much for everyone, and are a prime example for us all. - RLM

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off the beaten path

As Unique as his

Antiques Robert Childress, Sr. is a man who is just as unique as the antiques and collectibles he sells in his shop on Highway 471 in Brandon. written By MENDY Pevey Photos by Greg Pevey

The giant rooster out front has become an icon along the roadside.



e’ve all seen it. Hundreds of times actually. It’s one of the most unusual things in the county. If you drive along Highway 471 in Brandon, you will recognize the picture on the left. It’s the huge 15 foot rooster on the side of the road at Robert’s Antiques. It’s quite an unusual place filled with everything an antique lover could wish for. It’s owned by Robert Childress, Sr., a long time Rankin county resident, who has a passion for unique antiques and collectibles. “I started back in 1960, when I got married. My beautiful wife Dianne got me started in it. She was from the country, right around Pisgah. I got interested in the old stuff so I took off work for about six weeks and hit every old house in that area and brought things home by the truckload. I fell in love and knew one day I wanted to be in the antique business.” says Childress. So he did, shortly after he retired. For 15 years he was a member of a travel trailer club that paid him to travel the country three months out of the year. In 1970 he was the President of the club and was paid to travel the entire year. So during these trips around the country he and his wife found numerous places to buy antiques. Which came in handy after he opened his own antique shop.


Mr. Childress has items from all over the country most from the late 1800’s. He has customers come from all over the U.S. to buy pieces for their homes or businesses. The Cracker Barrel restaurant chain has sent people to him on many occasions to buy authentic pieces for their restaurants. You will find all sorts of unique things when you stop by, from classic antique furniture to unusual collectibles. “I try to 30 - RANKIN LIVING

buy the odd, rare stuff, that’s what people want.” says Childress. When I have visited his shop, I have seen authentic civil war artifacts, postal boxes from the early 1920’s, unique ironworks and old trail wagons. My favorite thing is the poker game set up in his shop. “I saw the arrangement in an antiques warehouse in Texas 30 years ago, fell in love with it, and said one day I will have a

set up like that of my own,” says Childress. Mr. Childress has a friend in Marshall, Texas that makes mannequins so he had him make three cowboys and a saloon girl to go along with it. He found a 100 year old table, a rare 50-60 year old porcelain Indian and set up his own poker game display. He added old spurs, drinks, poker chips and a 1863 U.S. Springfield pre-civil war rifle. You can almost see them cutting their eyes at each other to see who’s bluffing. Mr. Childress and his wife are not the only ones in the family that love the antique business. They have a 16 year old grandchild, Reed Wade, a student at University Christian School, who helps in the business and plans on taking over for his grandfather one day. Mr. Childress is a fascinating man to talk with, he is very knowledgeable not only in his trade but in life. He loves his wife, his family, his work and his customers. Over the years he has had many people give him things that he could sale but chooses not to because he says, “People gave me things for a reason, sometimes because they know I will appreciate the beauty and history of whatever it is more than most would, so I don’t sale these things. They are special to me and I enjoy them.” So the next time you are driving on Highway 471 take some time to stop by and say hello to Mr. Childress, you never know what you might find, but more importantly, you just might come away with a new friend. - RLM

There are many unique items at Robert’s Antiques from unusual ironworks to classic furniture. The next time you pass by, make sure to stop and take a look. Not only will you find a great addition to your home, you just might make a new friend as well.


rankin sports

Jerious Norwood

Brandon’s two time Bulldog flies as a Falcon - BY TONYA HUFFMAN


erious Norwood is happy to be a Falcon, for he advanced to this status after being a Bulldog, twice. Jerious is a running back for the Atlanta Falcons. Before flying high with the team as a Falcon, he proudly walked and graduated a Bulldog in high school and in college. But before playing like a beast on the football field, this individual rose from humble beginnings. Jerious Montreal Norwood was born on July 29, 1983. The Brandon, Mississippi native had a knack for sports at an early age. He developed his competitive edge early as he played many sports including football, little league baseball, and basketball. If you had asked Jerious when he was younger, he would have told you he was going to be a professional basketball player. “I like baseball and football, but I was very fond of basketball. My dream was to go to the NBA,” Jerious reflected with a smile. “but, I was better at football than basketball, so I kept advancing in football.” It is essential to have strong legs to advance in football, and the amount of running the sport requires builds speed. Jerious actually became a better runner from playing football, and in addition to this sport, he ran track. In 1998, this duel athlete made his debut at Brandon High School. He joined the track team, and was a third string running back on the Bulldogs’ football roster. Once Jerious graced the football field, he took the ball running, literally. He played tough but fair. As a junior, Jerious totaled 3,229 all-purpose yards and 38 touchdowns, having a standout season in which he led Brandon to the state 5A semifinals.



As a senior, he stood out in track and football. As a track star, the upper classman lettered in the sport and won the Class 5A 110 meter high hurdles. As a senior football star, he rushed for 2,152 yards and scored 32 touchdowns. He also recorded 9 receptions for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns, while averaging 46.9 yards on 6 kickoff returns with one touchdown. Jerious also rushed for a school record 367 yards during a playoff game. While at Brandon High, Jerious recorded 92 career touchdowns to rank 4th all-time on the state career-scoring list and accounted for more than 8,000 all-purpose yards, leading to a three year, 33-8 record and three consecutive playoff appearances. For turning out one stellar performance after another, Jerious received a trove of accolades. He was a high school All-American, was Mississippi’s “Mr. Football,” an honor given to the state’s most outstanding high school football player, was selected to the Parade magazine All-America High School Football Team, ranked #21 in the Sporting News listing of the nation’s top 25 recruits, listed as the 5th best running back in the country by the Sporting News, picked to the PrepStar magazine/CBSSportsline. com Dream Team, was listed the number eight running back in the country, the number two running back in the southeast, was among one of 12 players on the Orlando Sentinel’s all southern Dandy Dozen, named to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen, and on the list of the nation’s top 100 players. Jerious was also named Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year for 2001, earned “Offensive Player of the Year” and firstteam all-state at running back on the Mississippi Association of Coaches’ Class 5A all-state-team, he ranked number two on Metro Jackson’s listing of the state’s most sought after prospects, and was selected to play in the Mississippi/Alabama High School All-Star game. Following high school, more football accolades followed Jerious. Right after his senior season, he ranked number one on SuperPrep’s list of the top players in Mississippi, and he earned Metro Jackson and the state of Mississippi Player of the Year honors. Jerious was happy to be at the top of his game, humbled to receive the collection of accolades, and knows that his competitive edge rendered these achievements. “I’ve always been a humble person, and it was great to receive those awards. Those 34 - RANKIN LIVING

GIVING BACK: NORWOOD comes back to his hometown of Brandon on a regular basis to not only give back to the kids by holding an annual football camp, but to the community. Jerious took part in a special episode of ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover helping a local family get back on their feet in 2007.

awards were a blessing from God, but I’m also competitive, regardless of the activity. If I am, for example, competing in a sunflower spitting contest, I plan on covering the surface with the most shells and beating out my competitor,” Jerious joked.  Clay Weeks, Jerious’ longtime friend, believes that the football star’s modesty makes him such a great person. “Jerious is so humble. He does not look for accolades or pats on the back,” Weeks said. Jerious was introduced to Weeks by his high school football coach. As they got to know each other, Weeks and Jerious participated in many outdoor activities including turkey hunting. Jerious often spent the night at the Weeks’ home and for a while, even lived with the Weeks. Weeks and his family even helped Jerious obtain his first jobs such as cleaning up lots and cutting grass. Although grateful for his rookie years of employment, Jerious knew that manual labor was not his forte and that greener pastures were ahead. So he definitely honed his skills and played as if this was his bread and butter until it actually became just that. Leaving behind a top notch sports record while gaining a diploma, it was time for this Bulldog to attend college. Jerious’ top choices were LSU where he would have

been a Tiger, Ole Miss where he would have been a Rebel, Florida where he would have been a Gator, Mississippi State where he would have continued being a Bulldog, or Oregon State where he admired their green and yellow colors and would have been a Duck. In attending college, Jerious would be creating a new beginning, but history would repeat itself. On July 8, 2002, he committed to Mississippi State to begin in the fall, again as a Bulldog. “Upon visiting Mississippi State, I knew this was the college for me. I liked the personalities of the players and the coaches and in general I was pleased with the whole environment of the school. I felt comfortable around everyone and felt like these people were my type of people to be around and socialize with. They were down to earth and real. My grandmother always said to me, ‘Follow your heart.’ And in choosing to attend Mississippi State, this is exactly  what I did,” Jerious said. Jerious believed that he had what it took to help the struggling Bulldogs. The name “Jerious” rhymes with “various”, which represents the different positions he played in college football to aid a team that was at its lowest ebb. Sporting a #12 jersey, he proved himself almost instantly.

Jerious was named to the Knoxville News Sentinel all-freshman team as a kick and punt returner. He played in all 12 games during his freshman season and finished second in the club with 66 rushes for 394 yards, a 6.0-yard per carry average, the

Jerious started all 11 games as he became the sixth player in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, rushing for 1,050 yards on 195 carries, a 5.4-yard per carry average, and he had 7 touchdowns. He recorded 5 games of 100-plus rushing

best average on the team among players with more than 5 carries. He also caught 5 passes for 47 yards, a 9.4-yard mean, and returned 14 kickoffs for 292 yards, a 20.9yard average. As a sophomore in 2003, Jerious played in all 12 games and started eight times as a tailback. He rushed 121 times for 642 yards, a 5.3-yard average, and 2 touchdowns. He caught 8 passes for 6 yards and returned 1 kickoff. In 2004 as a junior halfback and tailback,

yards, including one 200-yard performance. For posting such impressive numbers, Jerious was recognized by being named second-team All-Southeastern Conference, which is voted on by the league’s coaches. He was awarded honorable mention AllSEC status by the Associated Press, and was named one of three finalists for the Conerly Trophy, an award named after NFL great and former Ole Miss Rebel Charles Albert Conerly, Jr. and given an-

nually to Mississippi’s premier college football player by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. As a senior halfback in 2005, he ranked second on the team with 19 receptions for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. He registered 4 punt returns for 43 yards. His 1,275 allpurpose yards on 214 plays ranked 8th in school history. After leading the team rushing with 191 carries for 1,136 yards, with 6 touchdowns and no fumbles, Jerious won the Conerly Award. Sylvester Croom, the St. Louis Rams running back coach and former head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, coached Jerious during his last two years at State. Croom knew that the running back was both a great football player and a great recipient of the Conerly award. “Jerious is exceptionally fast. He can see the whole field. He catches the ball well, is a good pass protector, has good running instincts, and is very smart. He was a good student and  did an outstanding job playing football,” Croom said. “He was the best running back in the country and he held a true spot on the football field. Jerious was all the things that epitomized what one would expect of a top notch football player,” said Croom.  Clay Weeks also knew that Jerious was deserving of the award. “Jerious was a great recipient for the award because although he could have chosen any school, he stayed at  home in his hometown and played at Mississippi State, a team that didn’t necessarily have a renowned football record. Jerious never complained about anything. He  worked hard, played hard, went to all of his football practices on time, completed his academic school work, and stayed positive. To this day, Jerious says that he would not  do anything different in terms of  attending a different college,” Weeks said. “The Conerly Trophy is so much more than a football award. It is an award that exemplifies a great football player who sets a great example, and this is why Jerious was deserving of the award,” said Weeks. Jerious was truly humbled to receive such an honorable award. In his emotional heartfelt  acceptance speech, he cried tears of joy as he thanked former teachers, coaches, supporters, and  family. Jerious mentioned that just as he did, all of his teammates deserved the award.  He credited the Lord God for always giving him strength to make it and perform, and paid homage to his grandmother whom he RANKIN LIVING - 35

wished could have attended the ceremony, as he thanked her for reminding him that in life, he should always follow his heart. “I was thankful to receive the award. I reflected back on the wise words my grandmother taught me. She was in Chicago at the time, and couldn’t attend the ceremony. I wish she could have been there,” Jerious said. With Jerious’ deep love and appreciation for his grandmother, it’s no doubt that she was there with him in spirit. He remembers his grandmother taking him to church, the time he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal savior, and his grandmother introducing him to the Holy Bible. In fact,  Jerious’ motto is Bible verse Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Jerious definitely stays strengthened mentally and physically. While leaving behind impressive football stats and earning his degree in Criminal Justice, this Bulldog was ready to graduate to his next opportunity and soar. As his game performance improved, he impressed the coaches at the NFL combine and what came to  Jerious was a NFL opportunity. Jerious was drafted 79th overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2006 NFL draft. Jerious was happy to graduate twice from Bulldog status to be a Falcon. “Going pro was a big time blessing. It was difficult to believe that I had arrived at this status. It was a dream come true. A lot of emotions were going on with me and with my family members, but we all had each other for support. We definitely celebrated the joyous occasion. I never thought I would play NFL football, but since I received the opportunity, I was going to be the best at it,” Jerious said.  Croom knew that Jerious’ best could yield him NFL status. “I knew Jerious was a good college football player, his work ethic was unbelievable, and he had distinct bird legs,” Croom joked. “He asked me what it would take to make it in the NFL. I told him that he would have to outwork everybody else. NFL scouts came to me mentioning his good game and bird legs and I told them, ‘Forget what his legs look like, just watch where they are going,’” Croom stated.   Weeks knew that as soon as he saw the football star in action, he was well on his way to the top. “When I first met Jerious, I didn’t know that he could play football. When I first saw Jerious play football when he was in the tenth grade, I thought to myself, ‘He is incredible!’ From that point on, 36 - RANKIN LIVING

I knew that Jerious had a chance to make it in the NFL, provided he could stay healthy and injury free,” Weeks said. If you replace the first letter of Jerious’ name with the letter “s”, it spells “serious”, and this is exactly how he plays on the football field. The 5’11”, 202  pound running back began playing with the Atlanta Falcons at the beginning of the 2006 season and was ready to make history. Sporting a #32 jersey, Jerious had a remarkable rookie season. In his NFL debut at the Carolina Panthers, he rushed 10 times for 66 yards. He recorded his first career reception for 12 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the same game, he also had another 9 carries for 45 yards with the longest being a 23 yard run. In the fourth game of the season, against the Arizona Cardinals, Jerious ran for 106 rushing yards on 6 carries, including a career  long 78 yard touchdown run. In this game, he and ex-teammate Michael Vick both ran for over 100 yards. That game made the Falcons the only NFL team to ever record two games in franchise history where both the quarterback and a running

back surpassed the 100-yard mark in the same game. His 78 yard touchdown run marked the second longest in Falcons history. As the season progressed, so did Jerious’ stats. He recorded 64 rushing yards, 1 reception for 5 yards, and 1 kickoff return for 27 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He recorded a career-high 107 yards on 9 carries with 1 touchdown against the Washington Redskins. Against Tampa Bay, Jerious ran the ball seven times for 32 yards and recorded 1 reception for 4 yards before leaving in the third quarter with a knee injury. Against the Philadelphia Eagles, he recorded 63 rushing yards on 10 carries along with 3 catches for 28 yards. Jerious was the first player in NFL history to have his first two career touchdown runs each go over 69 yards or more. Throughout the 2006 season, Jerious played in 14 games and ranked 3rd on the team. He finished the season with 2 touchdowns, 12 receptions for 102 yards, 13 kickoffs for 320 yards, and tallied three special teams tackles. He also finished 6th among all rookie running backs with 633 rushing yards on

99 carries, and his 6.4-average yards per carry ranked 2nd highest in the NFL. During the 2007 season, Jerious continued the trend. He started the season off by rushing 5 times for 33 yards with 2 receptions for 24 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jerious ran the ball 9 times for 30 yards along with 1 reception for 13 yards. In the Atlanta Falcons’ home opener, Jerious carried the ball 6 times for 32 yards, adding on 3 receptions for 34 yards. In a game against the New York Giants, Jerious recorded his first offensive touchdown of the season, along with 6 rushes for 87 yards, one touchdown, and 4 receptions for 51 yards. In the season finale against the Seattle Seahawks, Jerious ran the ball a season high 11 times for 46 yards along with 2 receptions for 41 yards. Playing in 15 regular season games, Jerious finished the 2007 football season with 613 rushing yards on 103 carries, a 6.0-yard per carry average, 1 touchdown, and 28 receptions for 277 yards. Jerious’ incredible speed and ferociousness earned him the nickname, “The Fast and Furious” and every season,

he continues to live up to his name. Playing hard in 16 games during the 2008 season, Jerious finished with 489 rushing yards on 95 carries, a 5.1-yard per carry average, a career high 4 touchdowns, and 36 receptions for a career high 338 yards. During the 2009 season, Jerious experienced a recurring hip injury, but nevertheless, did his best  given the circumstances. He finished the 2009 season playing in 10 games and finished with 252 rushing yards on 76 carries, a 3.3-yards per carry average, and 19 receptions for 186 yards. In 2006, Jerious signed an initial four-year contract through the 2009 season with a lucrative $1.985 million salary  and a generous signing bonus. Jerious knows he has been blessed and wants to use what he had been given to give back to others. Jerious has learned much from the two people he considers family, both Clay Weeks and Sylvester Croom. If he could pinpoint one piece of good advice he learned from them both, these words both start with the letter “L”.  “I have known Clay for over twelve years. We go way back, and he has been with me since day one. He

has taught me loyalty. Coach Croom always told me to give my all in everything I do, no matter what it is. If I am sweeping floors, I plan to be the best floor sweeper and have that floor spotless.  He taught me leadership,” Jerious said. And this loyal leader was happy to pay it forward. In 2007, Jerious appeared on the fourth season of ABC’s Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition in his hometown of Brandon to aid the featured Jones family. Sabrena Jones, a practicing nurse at a local hospital, was a single mother raising three children: then an 18 year old, a 17 year old, and a 9 year old. She opened a medical apparel shop, which after financial setbacks, was run out of her living room. Moreover, she ran her own clothing donation center, which led to her being selected to serve on a Hurricane Katrina relief committee at her church. As Sabrena and family put serving their community first, their house fell apart and without financial means, the Jones family had been unable to make necessary repairs needed to bring the house up to par. While being sent on vacation in Florida, in seven days, the Jones family would have the home of their dreams rebuilt, and Jerious was a featured volunteer on the show. Along with the experts, he volunteered to help build the house, and he donated jerseys, helmets, and Atlanta Falcons tickets to the Jones family. “It was great to help a deserving family,” Jerious said. Jerious also established the Jerious Norwood Foundation in 2007. Clay Weeks serves as Executive Director. “I have been blessed to be living my dream as a professional football player, and I am also blessed to be in a position to give back to young people through this foundation,” Norwood said. Jerious’ Foundation site is located online at  The goal of the foundation is to provide support for various philanthropic organizations and to provide Mississippi’s terminally ill, or disadvantaged children with outdoor experiences in a Christian environment. Alongside Jerious’ foundation logo reads “Philippians 4:13,” reminding people to explore a Bible and learn the wise words he patterns his life from. Bringing a parent or guardian, when a child benefits from the foundation and is scheduled to spend the day with Jerious, together they all participate in an outdoor activity of the child’s choice. Children also receive autographed RANKIN LIVING - 37

Falcons gear from Jerious, such as T-shirts, caps, and bags. Jerious also hosts an annual one day free of charge football camp in the summer where males ages 9-17 have a true field day, literally. Campers receive a camp Tshirt, lunch, autographed picture of Jerious, and instruction from Jerious and some of the best coaches in the area. The boys participate in performance enhancement drills, emphasizing speed and agility work. They also learn and practice the basic fundamentals of football including blocking, tackling, passing, and catching. Guest speakers discuss a variety of subjects aside from football, but paramount to enjoying sports, such as the importance of education, making the correct decisions in life, and drug and gang awareness issues. This past July marked the 4th year of the event. Those interested in participating in the future sessions can log onto Jerious’ website for more information. Jerious is happy to help students stay focused and introduce them to outdoor sports such as hunting and fishing, activities many participants have never been exposed to. “Because someone took an interest in me when I was a child and helped me develop an appreciation for the outdoors, it kept me

out of trouble and on the right path,” Jerious said. “So I’m thankful for the opportunity to share those outdoor experiences with a new generation of children.” Jerious also shares a love for communicating with people. On his website, there is a column entitled Jerious’ Journal where he answers questions from fans of all ages offering a unique glimpse into the daily life of a professional football player. The Jerious Norwood Foundation offers something for everyone, and  has hosted a variety of activities to raise money, including golf tournaments. The foundation also accepts donations from the public. To this date, the foundation has raised thousands of dollars and counting. Jerious became a restricted free agent in 2010, and other teams took an interest in him.  “When Jerious became a restricted free agent, it would have been nice for the St. Louis Rams to acquire him, but the Atlanta Falcons didn’t want to let him go. A combination of things make Jerious a great person and in demand. Jerious is humble, his Christian faith has a tremendous impact on his decision making, and his accolades  never effected who he was,” Croom said. “Jerious improved his weaknesses but

stayed true to his strengths. He remained true to who he was and continued to be himself regardless of anything or anyone, or how many teams touted him,” said Croom. On April 22, 2010, the Atlanta Falcons resigned Jerious to a one year, $1.759 million contract. No matter what disappointments or setbacks he experiences, Jerious can survive and perform well in various situations. He is fast and plays ferocious, and is serious about stepping up to the plate to continue flying high as a Falcon as he approaches his fifth NFL season. “My goal is to stay healthy, be consistent, and win a Super Bowl. And speaking on behalf of the team, these are also team goals. With good health and everyone on the same page, winning a Super Bowl can be accomplished,” Jerious said. With determination and the competitive skills Jerious has developed, this Bulldog turned Falcon continues to make towering glides, so these goals are his for the taking, and are definitely in season. With Jerious’ philanthropic efforts and his achievements on the football field, it is obvious that whatever this falcon touches will prosper. Who knows, his Super Bowl dream could be even closer. - RLM

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{ON MY MIND...} Why don’t we “talk” anymore?


MG u r soooooooo cute!” “Gurl we need 2 HaNg sometime!” Do these look familiar? If you have texted, e-mailed, or IM’ed in the past decade or so then you are well acquainted with these and similar statements. The world has become a faceless electronic playground where no one has to deal with trivial things like emotions or expressions because they have been reduced to simple keystrokes and predictive text mishaps. Cell phones are becoming less “phone” and more “hey lets make a conversation last two times longer than it has to with words that we have such little time to spell so we shorten it as much as possible” devices. The average texting speed of a teenager is about quadruple that of their parents’ and their grandparents can barely work a television let alone a miniature computer. The lack of emotional connection with other people with, at the very least, the sound of a human voice has become something classical and only practiced by the most “old-fashioned” members of society. It has gotten so bad that parents are actually able to use the punishment of having the cell phone taken away to get their kids to behave. This little speed bump in life can be avoided by, hmm I don’t know, maybe writing down friends’ numbers and calling them on a house phone? Oh wait, I forgot, those can only be found at grandma’s house. Society today has become so scared of human interaction that they even have a game on the internet where all you do is live life in a virtual world and talk to other people about how your virtual day was. People somehow do not realize that that is basically just real life but your real face is not seen. Meeting people is not that difficult and it is so much more satisfying to get a real smile than one of those smiley face facades. I bet that if you went out and said “Hi” to a random person you could


B.K. Sanchez meet a new potential friend and, if you are feeling really daring, try calling them on the phone! I am not saying everything about modern day electronic communication is bad, it has its plus sides to it. For starters it is a great way to talk to someone when a phone call cannot be made, such as: during a meeting or during class, talking to a cute girl/guy around your friends, or at a crowded event of some sort where the noise level rules out verbally talking. Talking electronically also allows for added time to think about the perfect thing to say to that person so that the entire point is clear to both parties. Unfortunately, with the lack of inflection or a wrong word in a message can lead to a misunderstanding and possibly a complete and utter disaster. Personally, I kind of enjoy texting, but that is because I am a writer and I like to use a lot of flowery language and know what I am doing. I like talking to people more, though, because it is a lot more personal and feels so much better to have that sense of closeness with another person and not just a brightly lit screen of letters and symbols. I can understand if talking is not really your thing, but like all things, practice makes perfect and this is one thing that needs to be practiced! If this has somehow tugged at your heartstrings and you find yourself staring at your list of contacts in your phone, looking for someone to call, then I can sleep soundly tonight knowing that I have put a little humanity in this world full of technology. So the next time you think about e-mailing your friend some really funny video you saw on the internet, why don’t you call them and ask them to hang out so you can show them yourself and maybe make some crazy video yourself to put on there. I don’t care what you do just get outside and go hang out with friends you potential social butterfly! - RLM

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Rankin Living Nov/Dec 2010  
Rankin Living Nov/Dec 2010  

Debut Issue