Tornado relief drive Saturday in Flowood

Tornado relief efforts continue, and here’s a local event accepting items for the children.


Local authors plan book signing in Olde Towne Clinton


Four local authors have been brought together in a special Christmas novella collection from Barbour Publishing. The authors  will be signing copies of Plantation Christmas Weddings at Pentimento Books (302 Jefferson St.) in Olde Town Clinton this Saturday from 9-11 a.m. All four of the novellas are set in Natchez and each involves one of the historic homes of the area.

Author Biographies:

Sylvia Barnes resides in Pelahatchie, Mississippi with her husband of 45 years. She is the mother of two daughters and grandmother of three. Sylvia is a retired manager of BellSouth, and the author of “A Proper Christmas” in the best-selling novella collection, “A Biltmore Christmas.”

Cynthia Leavelle lives in Clinton, MS and teaches English and ESL at Belhaven University. A native of New Mexico, she has two degrees from the University of North Texas. She has published one book with Crossbooks, The Cord: The Love Story of Salmon and Rahab, and has written numerous devotionals and short stories. She is married and has three grown sons.

Virginia Vaughan is a multi-published author of Romantic Suspense for Love Inspired books. A single mom of two grown boys, she resides in Byram, where she is a teacher and leader in the women’s ministry of her church. Her book Jamison Family Values was a Genesis finalist in the ACFW Women’s Fiction category in 2007.

Lorraine Beatty is a multi-published, best-selling author currently working on her eighth novel for Love Inspired Books. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, she lives in Brandon, Mississippi with her husband of forty-six years. Lorraine is a member of RWA, ACFW and is a charter member and former President of Magnolia State Romance Writers.

Upcoming Book signings:

November 16 – Barnes and Nobles, Ridgeland, 1-3 pm

November 23  – Walmart, Flowood, 1-3pm

December 7 – Turning Pages Books, Natchez, 1-3 pm

Veterans, military personnel have free entry to Ridgeland High football game




Tomorrow, Ridgeland High School has a Military Appreciation Night at the football game against Neshoba Central. The game starts at 7 p.m. and veterans will be recognized on the field during the playing of the National Anthem. For families, there will be inflatable jumps for children and the Mississippi National Guard will have giveaways. To guarantee free entry, veterans need to bring proof of service and stop by the National Guard tent located outside the gate and pick up their pass. Also, military vehicles will be on site at Ridgeland High and the football team will wear special uniforms.

Mississippi photographers’ work featured at Mississippi College

See various images of some of Mississippi’s renowned photographers at a newly curated exhibit at Mississippi College’s Gore Art Galleries, which debuted on Sept. 12 and lasts through Sept. 27.  The “J” exhibit features the news photographs of  Michael and Dianne Barrett, Chris Todd, Barbara Gauntt and Melanie Thortis. All are former award-winning photographers with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson.

For decades The Rev. H.D. Dennis of Vicksburg had made the home he shared with his wife into an ever-changing work of folk art. Throughout the tour of his home, yard and the transformed bus from which he preached, tidbits of his life were intertwined with lessons from scripture. Rev. Dennis passed in 2012.

For decades The Rev. H.D. Dennis of Vicksburg had made the home he shared with his wife into an ever-changing work of folk art. Throughout the tour of his home, yard and the transformed bus from which he preached, tidbits of his life were intertwined with lessons from scripture. Rev. Dennis passed in 2012. By Barbara Gauntt

MC held a reception for the photographers followed by a brown bag luncheon where they talked about their adventures taking pictures and their careers. The exhibit features 40 photographs and admission is free to the exhibit at the Gore Galleries at 199 Monroe Street.

“The show is terrific,” said Randy Jolly, the Gore Galleries director. “There is a varied selection of photos, sports, human interest and current events. There is a mix of dynamic black and white and strong powerful color images,” he said. “I can’t imagine anyone leaving the show without being touched by these images.”

The five Mississippi photographers selected, Jolly said, “have captured the human feelings of happiness, wonder, excitement and despair.”

One of the photos in the exhibit captures the mood of a man, his fiancée and friend who can do nothing but helplessly watch as the couple’s home is burned to the ground in 2005. Another photo depicts the unusual residence of the Rev. H.D. Dennis that he shares with his wife. The structure is really an ever-changing piece of folk art in Vicksburg. Both were shot by former Clarion-Ledger photographer Barbara Gauntt.

Gauntt, a New Jersey native, said the gallery exhibit “is a wonderful example of the vast diversity of subject and environments in which they work, often under extreme deadline pressures and less than optimal circumstances. The adrenaline rush is worth every moment!”

Photographers Michael & Dianne Barrett, Gore Galleries Director Randy Jolly, sculptor Sam Gore, & photographers Barbara Gauntt, Joe Ellis and Chris Todd.  At MC through September 27, the exhibit will feature the news photographs of  the Barretts, Todd, Gauntt and Melanie Thortis. All are former award-winning photographers with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. Admission is free to the exhibit at the Gore Galleries at 199 Monroe Street.

Photographers at the brown bag lunch (l to r)- Michael & Dianne Barrett, Gore Galleries Director Randy Jolly, sculptor Sam Gore, & photographers Barbara Gauntt, CL photographer Joe Ellis and Chris Todd.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Parking is provided behind the First Baptist Church Clinton Activities Building. For more information, contact Randy Jolly at 601.925.3880 or

Photos and information submitted by MC.

Dear @ShoemakerHomes, can I have one please?

Last Thursday I attended a ribbon cutting by Shoemaker Homes at The Enclave at Towne Center, one of the newest subdivisions in the city of Ridgeland. It’s down the street from where I live (of course I’m not disclosing my address, lol) so I had to check out some of the new homes. I covered the ground breaking over a year ago and I always looked at the building progress whenever I drove by.

Honey, these homes are FABULOUS! High-end, unique floor plans and the materials are top notch. You know how some builders install those super cheap appliances and closet rods and such? Shoemaker Homes wasn’t lying when they said “an affordable convenient community with efficient upscale living.” Here’s a photo gallery of a few of the lots currently on sale. Maybe in four or five years me and hubby could have one of these homes. To learn more and see better photos, check out the Facebook page.

Here's another wide-open living room and kitchen area.

Here’s another wide-open living room and kitchen area.

Another bathroom/shower combo.

A bathtub/shower combo.

This one master can see outside in the courtyard.

This one master bedroom…you can see outside in the courtyard.


The showers have two shower heads.

The showers have two shower heads.

One floor plan has a bathroom INSIDE the shower. Cool!

Another bathtub/shower combo.

I love the natural light in this floor plan.

I love the natural light in this floor plan.

029 030

Mayor Gene McGee

Mayor Gene McGee

Builder Scott Shoemaker

Builder Scott Shoemaker

011 012 013 014 015

Lovely courtyard.

Lovely courtyard.

The living room and kitchen areas are open!

The living room and kitchen areas are open!

The bedrooms are split by a shared bathroom.

The bedrooms are split by a shared bathroom.

Killer closet space!

Killer closet space!



Nice tub.

Nice tub.

Recycling in Ridgeland goes to the next level

RidgelandBig Belly IMG_9082


To enhance recycling efforts, the city of Ridgeland purchased five solar-powered recycling compactors. You can find them at the concession stands at Freedom Ridge Park and at the trailhead pavilion of the multiuse trail (off Rice Road). You may recycle cans, plastic and paper. If the light is green, the compactor has room for recyclables. If it’s yellow, the compactor is full and red means it’s overflowing.

Each compactor can hold up to five times more than regular garbage cans. Since the compactors do not have open tops, the recyclables will stay inside and not blow out. The compactors come with a solar grid in the top, providing the energy source for compacting and the alert system. An interior wireless chip and antenna sends a signal to a main server, providing data that can then be accessed from a web app. The app allows designated city employees to see a map of which of the compactors are full and which are empty.

The city is committed to staying clean in an energy efficient way, proving a model for other Mississippi cities to follow. The city has earned awards for efforts in recycling and green living, such as – 2013 First Place Local Government Award from Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Steward in the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s enHance Program since 2011, 2011 Local Government Recycler of the Year from the Mississippi Recycling Coalition, Tree City USA certification since 2009, Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for the Ridgeland Area Master Plan and the Mississippi Municipal League’s Planning and Development Award for the Ridgeland Area Master Plan.

Submitted by the city of Ridgeland

Clinton High tailgate

I can’t say if I ever attended a high school tailgate. At my alma mater, Cleveland Heights High School, I never attended a tailgate. In fact, I don’t remember us having any while I was a student. What I always looked forward to was attending games just to hear our great marching band and dance (in the stands, of course) during halftime. It wasn’t until college in Atlanta where I realized the importance of tailgating events. Food, copious amounts of beverages (alcoholic and non), people for miles it seemed, and hanging out with friends.

When I was assigned to cover the tailgate at Clinton High School yesterday, I was kind of excited! I parked in the visitor lot where only five cars sat because it was less than two hours until kickoff and over 100 Arrows fans were in process of tailgating. As I walked around, so many people offered food! I had to get my reporting out of the way before I enjoyed a little home-cooking. Here are some of the best parts of the tailgate in this photo gallery. Enjoy.

Clarion-Ledger article with video:

Is new kitchen equipment helping lower obesity rates?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that obesity rates among low-income preschoolers in Mississippi are going down, some good news my colleague LaReeca Rucker shared today on her Mississippi Style Blog. Obesity rates declined between 2008 and 2011 in 19 of 43 states and territories studied, including Mississippi.

What I believe is helping decrease those rates is improving the access low-income families have to healthier food options like community gardens, farmers markets and co-ops. Another example is various school districts using grant funds to replace kitchen equipment with appliances that prepare healthier meals for students. The Clinton and Hinds County school districts come to mind.

Last academic year, the Clinton district added new kitchen equipment to schools, including the new Northside and Eastside elementary schools that were featured on the Rachael Ray cooking contest episode featuring First Lady Michelle Obama. During the episode, cafeteria cooks whipped up steamed veggies, hummus and other light, healthy fare.

In Hinds County, Utica and Carver elementary schools are serving healthy, popular meals thanks to a Nutrition Integrity 2012-13 grant from the Mississippi Department of Education. The schools removed existing deep fat fryers and replaced them with state-of-the-art oven steamers that cook foods with less fat. The baked and steamed foods are crisp on the outside, moist on the inside, and school nutrition directors say the children enjoy them just as much.

This initiative only influences more physical education activities like walking clubs or fitness challenges, and I’ve seen these programs at schools all over the Jackson metro area. You know the saying that this generation will have a lower life expectancy than its parents? This news could change your outlook.

Traffic alerts from the city of Madison Police Department

(From the PD’s Facebook page, too much to fit in Tweets.)

Tomorrow (Saturday) at approximately 8 a.m. the newly paved area of Madison Avenue from Saint Catherine’s Village to Cotten Hill Road will be open for traffic. Proceed with caution in this area as traffic flow may be altered.


Tomorrow morning (Saturday) beginning at 1 a.m. AND until approximately 8 a.m., the left lane of the northbound side of Interstate 55 between Madison Avenue to just past the Highway 463 (Madison) exit will be closed. The right lane will be accessible during this time. Beginning at approximately 9 a.m., the right lane will be closed from Madison Avenue to just past the Highway 463 (Madison) exit. The left lane will be open at this time. ALSO AT APPROXIMATELY 9 A.M. THE NORTHBOUND EXIT AT 463 (MADISON) WILL BE CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC UNTIL APPROXIMATELY 6 P.M.

Plan your trips accordingly and be safe!