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Coffee Shop Stop – Lost & Found Coffee Company

Lost+Found Coffee Company @ 248 South Green Street, Tupelo,MS. inside Relics in Downtown Tupelo. Open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am till 6:00pm.

With most any restaurant or coffee house, it’s a balance between atmosphere, menu, and know how. For a coffee shop, Lost & Found has it going on!

You could spend the better part of a day just strolling through both floors of the antique building looking at all the treasures. When your ready for a coffee break, the knowledgeable baristas can help you choose the perfect pick me up!

They have everything from a classic cup of joe to the creamiest creation you could imagine! From pour overs to cold brews. From lattes, mochas, to cappuccino’s, Lost & Found Coffee Company has got ya covered!

So the next time you want to hunt for lost treasures, or find the perfect cup of coffee, Lost & Found Coffee Company has got ya covered! See y’all there!

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Food Truck Locations for Tuesday 9-8-20

Local Mobile is at TRI Realtors just east of Crosstown.

Gypsy Roadside Mobile is in Baldwyn at South Market.

Taqueria Ferris is on West Main between Computer Universe and Sully’s Pawn.

Magnolia Creamery is in the Old Navy parking lot.

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Stay tuned as we update this map if things change through out the day and be sure to share it.

Food Truck Locations for 9-1-20

Taqueria Ferris is on West Main between Computer Universe and Sully’s Pawn

Local Mobile is at a new location today, beside Sippi Sippin coffee shop at 1243 West Main St (see map below)

Gypsy Roadside Mobile is in Baldwyn at South Market

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Today’s Food Truck Locations

How to Slow Down and Enjoy the Scenic Route

Do you thrive on the unexpected? Are you waiting for the next fire to crop up?

Have you ever noticed that you can plan something so intricately and you are still going to catch the glitches when life throws you a curve ball? It is one of the beauties of life that we can never prepare for. The unexpected. The only difference is our response to the unexpected. Do we have a knee jerk reaction that finds us swerving to gain back control of our life? Or do we instead just go with the flow and decide to embrace the scenic route life decided to take us on? Our response to life can cause us more stress or we can just enjoy it for what it is in that moment of time. I used to thrive on the unexpected. It was part of my career for many years. The never knowing what “fire” was going to sprout up that day and how I was going to need to put it out. Even this week as we launched our newest book in my publishing company. I thought I had it all planned out only to run into major “hiccups” within 72 hours of the launch. I could either stress out or take it in stride. 

Slow and Steady

As my dad retired I watched him take a different approach to life than I had ever seen him take before. I mean, all you have to do is climb up in the cab of his king ranch Ford pick-up and see he is a changed man. He drives slower than anyone should even be allowed to drive out on the roads these days. He knows how to drive, so don’t go yelling at him next time you are stuck behind him. Trust me, my mom does enough yelling for all of us at him about that! He just takes life these days. His sentiments are that he lived in the fast lane his whole life. Rushing to be on time to work, rushing to come home to his family, the constant busy we get entangled with as adults…now, he doesn’t have to be busy and he is going to enjoy that. Truth is, I can’t even be mad at him for that. Now that I am an adult out here rushing from one thing to the next, I totally could use some driving twenty miles per hour in my life some days. Took me getting to nearly forty to even be able to say that though.

The lesson in his wisdom can be heard by all. Some things we lose it over won’t even amount to anything five years from now, yet we gave them so much energy in the moment. All the things we think are so important that we must do and do now. Most will not really matter years from now, yet we poured our soul into them. What would change if we took the time to just enjoy life? To just flow with things as they happened? When hit with something we didn’t expect, we embraced it instead of fighting it? What would happen? I dare say we might have more peace? I probably would be a lot calmer. I probably wouldn’t lose my temper near as much. I probably wouldn’t have anxiety or stress on the daily. I would probably take time to enjoy life more. I certainly wouldn’t yell at the slow driver in front of me.

What about you? Next time you get behind someone driving slowly…take back the name calling and curse words. Maybe take back all of the assumptions that they don’t know how to drive. Maybe use it as a reminder to take a moment, roll down your window, soak in the sunshine. I can promise you that wherever the heck you are going, you will still get there. Maybe that person figured out life and you can use their wisdom too. If they are driving a blue king ranch Ford truck, I can assure you that he is just enjoying his day and he would want you to enjoy yours too. Matter of fact, I wish I had listened to his wisdom a lot more in my earlier days instead of waiting until now. 

See you on down the road…take it easy my friend.

Looking for the Text from Tupelo’s New Mask Order? Here you go.

Here is a plain, searchable text version (most other versions we found were Images or PDF files) of City Of Tupelo Executive Order 20-018. Effective Monday June 29th at 6:00 PM

The following Local Executive Order further amends and supplements all previous Local Executive Orders and its Emergency Proclamation and Resolution adopted by the City of Tupelo, Mississippi, pertaining to COVID-19. All provisions of previous local orders and proclamations shall remain in full force and effect. 

LOCAL EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-018 

The White House and CDC guidelines state the criteria for reopening up America should be based on data driven conditions within each region or state before proceeding to the next phased opening. Data should be based on symptoms, cases, and hospitals. Based on cases alone, there must be a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period. There has been no such downward trajectory in the documented cases in Lee County since May 18, 2020. 

Hospital numbers are not always readily available to policymakers; however, from information that has been maintained and communicated to the City of Tupelo, the Northeast Mississippi Medical Center is near or at their capacity for treating COVID-19 inpatients over the past two weeks without reopening additional areas for treating COVID-19 patients. The City of Tupelo is experiencing an increase in the number of cases of COVID-19. The case count 45 days prior to the date of this executive order was 77 cases. That number increased within 15 days to 107, and today, the number is 429 cases. The City of Tupelo is experiencing increases of 11.7 cases a day. This is not in conformity with the guidelines provided of a downward trajectory of positive tests. By any metric available, the City of Tupelo may not continue to the next phase of reopening. 

Governor Tate Reeves in his Executive Order No. 1492(1)(i)(1) authorizes the City of Tupelo to implement more restrictive measures than currently in place for other Mississippians to facilitate preventative measures against COVID-19 thereby creating the downward trajectory necessary for reopening. 

That the Tupelo Economic Recovery Task Force and North Mississippi Medical Center have formally requested that the City of Tupelo adopt a face covering policy. 

In an effort to support the Northeast Mississippi Health System in their response to COVID-19 and to strive to keep the City of Tupelo’s economy remaining open for business, effective at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, June 29, 2020, all persons who are present within the jurisdiction of the City of Tupelo shall wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with other people in indoor public or business spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance. While wearing the face covering, it is essential to still maintain social distance being the best defense against the spread of COVID-19. The intent of this executive order is to encourage voluntary compliance with the requirements established herein by the businesses and persons within the jurisdiction of the City of Tupelo. 

It is recommended that all indoor public or business spaces require persons to wear a face covering for entry. Upon entry, social distancing and activities shall follow guidelines of the City of Tupelo and the Governor’s executive orders pertaining to particular businesses and business activity. 

Persons shall properly wear face coverings ensuring the face covering covers the mouth and nose, 

1. Signage should be posted by entrances to businesses stating the face covering requirement for entry.  (Available for download at www.tupeloms.gov).

2. A patron located inside an indoor public or business space without a face covering will be asked to  leave by the business owners if the patron is unwilling to come into compliance with wearing a face covering 

3. Face coverings are not required for: 

a. People whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering.
b. Those who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or behavioral condition.
c. Restaurant patrons while dining.
d. Private, individual offices or offices with fewer than ten (10) employees.
e. Other settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as receipt of dental services or swimming.
f. Banks, gyms, or spaces with physical barrier partitions which prohibit contact between the customer(s) and employee.
g. Small offices where the public does not interact with the employer. h. Children under twelve (12).
i. That upon the formulation of an articulable safety plan which meets the goals of this 

Executive Order businesses may seek an exemption by email at covid@tupeloms.gov 

FACE COVERINGS DO NOT HAVE TO BE MEDICAL MASKS OR N95 MASKS. A BANDANA, SCARF, TSHIRT, HOMEMADE MASKS, ETC. MAY BE USED. THEY MUST PROPERLY COVER BOTH A PERSONS MOUTH AND NOSE

Those businesses that are subject to regulatory oversight of a separate state or federal agency shall follow the guidelines of said agency or regulating body if there is a conflict with this Executive Order. 

Additional information can be found at www.tupeloms.gov COVID-19 information landing page. 

Pursuant to Miss. Code Anno. 833-15-17(d)(1972 as amended), this Local Executive Order shall remain in full effect under these terms until reviewed, approved or disapproved at the first regular meeting following such Local Executive Order or at a special meeting legally called for such a review. 

The City of Tupelo reserves its authority to respond to local conditions as necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. 

So ordered, this the 26th day of June, 2020. 

Jason L. Shelton, Mayor 

ATTEST: 

Kim Hanna, CFO/City Clerk 

Restaurants in Tupelo – Covid 19 Updates

Thanks to the folks at Tupelo.net (#MYTUPELO) for the list. We will be adding to it and updating it as well.

Restaurants
Business NameBusiness#Operating Status
Acapulco Mexican Restaurant662.260.5278To-go orders
Amsterdam Deli662.260.4423Curbside
Bar-B-Q by Jim662.840.8800Curbside
Brew-Ha’s Restaurant662.841.9989Curbside
Big Bad Wolf Food Truck662.401.9338Curbside
Bishops BBQ McCullough662.690.4077Curbside and Delivery
Blue Canoe662.269.2642Curbside and Carry Out Only
Brick & Spoon662.346.4922To-go orders
Buffalo Wild Wings662.840.0468Curbside and Tupelo2Go Delivery
Bulldog Burger662.844.8800Curbside, Online Ordering, Tupelo2Go
Butterbean662.510.7550Curbside and Pick-up Window
Café 212662.844.6323Temporarily Closed
Caramel Corn Shop662.844.1660Pick-up
Chick-fil-A Thompson Square662.844.1270Drive-thru or Curbside Only
Clay’s House of Pig662.840.7980Pick-up Window and Tupelo2Go Delivery
Connie’s Fried Chicken662.842.7260Drive-thru Only
Crave662.260.5024Curbside and Delivery
Creative Cakes662.844.3080Curbside
D’Cracked Egg662.346.2611Curbside and Tupelo2Go
Dairy Kream662.842.7838Pick Up Window
Danver’s662.842.3774Drive-thru and Call-in Orders
Downunder662.871.6881Curbside
Endville Bakery662.680.3332Curbside
Fairpark Grill662.680.3201Curbside, Online Ordering, Tupelo2Go
Forklift662.510.7001Curbside and Pick-up Window
Fox’s Pizza Den662.891.3697Curbside and Tupelo2Go
Gypsy Food Truck662.820.9940Curbside
Harvey’s662.842.6763Curbside, Online Ordering, Tupelo2Go
Hey Mama What’s For Supper662.346.4858Temporarily Closed
Holland’s Country Buffet662.690.1188
HOLLYPOPS662.844.3280Curbside
Homer’s Steaks and More662.260.5072Temporarily Closed
Honeybaked Ham of Tupelo662.844.4888Pick-up
Jimmy’s Seaside Burgers & Wings662.690.6600Regular Hours, Drive-thru, and Carry-out
Jimmy John’s662.269.3234Delivery & Drive Thru
Johnnie’s Drive-in662.842.6748Temporarily Closed
Kermits Outlaw Kitchen662.620.6622Take-out
King Chicken Fillin’ Station662.260.4417Curbside
Little Popper662.610.6744Temporarily Closed
Lone Star Schooner Bar & Grill662.269.2815
Local Mobile Food TruckCurbside
Lost Pizza Company662.841.7887Curbside and Delivery Only
McAlister’s Deli662.680.3354Curbside

Mi Michocana662.260.5244
Mike’s BBQ House662.269.3303Pick-up window only
Mugshots662.269.2907Closed until further notice
Nautical Whimsey662.842.7171Curbside
Neon Pig662.269.2533Curbside and Tupelo2Go
Noodle House662.205.4822Curbside or delivery
Old Venice Pizza Co.662.840.6872Temporarily Closed
Old West Fish & Steakhouse662.844.1994To-go
Outback Steakhouse662.842.1734Curbside
Papa V’s662.205.4060Pick-up Only
Park Heights662.842.5665Temporarily Closed
Pizza vs Tacos662.432.4918Curbside and Delivery Only
Pyro’s Pizza662.269.2073Delivery via GrubHub, Tupelo2go, DoorDash
PoPsy662.321.9394Temporarily Closed
Rita’s Grill & Bar662.841.2202Takeout
Romie’s Grocery662.842.8986Curbside, Delivery, and Grab and Go
Sao Thai662.840.1771Temporarily Closed
Sim’s Soul Cookin662.690.9189Curbside and Delivery
Southern Craft Stove + Tap662.584.2950Temporarily Closed
Stables662.840.1100Temporarily Closed
Steele’s Dive662.205.4345Curbside
Strange Brew Coffeehouse662.350.0215Drive-thru, To-go orders
Sugar Daddy Bake Shop662.269.3357Pick-up, and Tupelo2Go Delivery

Sweet Pepper’s Deli

662.840.4475
Pick-up Window, Online Ordering, and Tupelo2Go Delivery
Sweet Tea & Biscuits Farmhouse662.322.4053Curbside, Supper Boxes for Order
Sweet Tea & Biscuits McCullough662.322.7322Curbside, Supper Boxes for Order
Sweet Treats Bakery662.620.7918Curbside, Pick-up and Delivery
Taqueria Food TruckCurbside
Taziki’s Mediterranean Café662.553.4200Curbside
Thirsty DevilTemporarily closed due to new ownership
Tupelo River Co. at Indigo Cowork662.346.8800Temporarily Closed
Vanelli’s Bistro662.844.4410Temporarily Closed
Weezie’s Deli & Gift Shop662.841.5155
Woody’s662.840.0460Modified Hours and Curbside
SaltilloPhone NumberWhat’s Available
Skybox Sports Grill & Pizzeria (662) 269-2460Take Out
Restaurant & CityPhone NumberType of Service
Pyros Pizza 662.842.7171curbside and has delivery
Kent’s Catfish in Saltillo662.869.0703 curbside
Sydnei’s Grill & Catering in Pontotoc MS662-488-9442curbside
 Old Town Steakhouse & Eatery662.260.5111curbside
BBQ ON WHEELS  Crossover RD Tupelo662-369-5237curbside
Crossroad Ribshack662.840.1700drive thru Delivery 
 O’Charley’s662-840-4730Curbside and delivery
Chicken salad chick662-265-8130open for drive
Finney’s Sandwiches842-1746curbside pickup
Rock n Roll Sushi662-346-4266carry out and curbside
Don Tequilas Mexican Grill in Corinth(662)872-3105 drive thru pick up
Homer’s Steaks 662.260.5072curbside or delivery with tupelo to go
Adams Family Restaurant Smithville,Ms662.651.4477
Don Julio’s on S. Gloster 662.269.2640curbside and delivery
Tupelo River 662.346.8800walk up window
 El Veracruz662.844.3690 curbside
Pizza Dr.662.844.2600
Connie’s662.842.7260drive Thu only
Driskills fish and steak Plantersville662.840.0040curb side pick up

Honeyboy & Boots – Artist Spotlight

Band Name : Honeyboy and Boots

Genre: Americana

Honeyboy and Boots are a husband and wife, guitar and cello, duo with a unique style that is all their own. Their sound embodies Americana, traditional folk, alt country, and blues with harmonies and a hint of classical notes.

Drew Blackwell, a true Southerner raised in the heart of the black prairie in Mississippi. First picked up the guitar at fourteen, he was greatly influenced by his Uncle Doug who taught him old country standards and folk classics. Later on in high school, he was mentored and inspired to write (and feel) the blues by Alabama blues artist Willie King. (Willie King is credited for bringing together the band The Old Memphis Kings.)

Drew has placed 3rd in the 2019 Mississippi Songwriter of the Year contest with his song “Waiting on A Friend” and made it to the semi finalist round on the 2019 International Songwriting Competition with his song “Accidental Hipster.”

Honeyboy (Drew) can also be found belting out those blues notes as the lead vocalist for the Old Memphis Kings and begins everyday with a hot cup of black coffee!

Courtney Blackwell (Kinzer) grew up in Washington State and comes from a talented musical family. She began playing cello at the age of three taking lessons from the cello bass professor Bill Wharton at the University of Idaho. Her mother was most influential in her progression of technique, tone quality, and ear training. Since traveling around much of the South, she has enjoyed focusing on the variety of ways the cello is used in ensembles. When she plays, you will feel those groovy bass lines making way to soaring leads create an emotional and magical connection between you and her music.

Courtney enjoys working in the studio, collaborating with artists and continuing to challenge the way cello is expressed.

They have opened for such acts as Verlon Thompson, The Josh Abbott Band, Cary Hudson (of Blue Mountain), and Rising Appalachia. 

Honeyboy And Boots have performed at a variety of venues and festivals throughout the southeast, including the 2015 Pilgrimage Fest in Franklin, TN; Musicians Corner in Nashville; the Mississippi Songwriters Festival (2015-2018); and the Black Warrior Songwriting Fest in Tuscaloosa, AL (2018-2019). They also came in 2nd place at the 2015 Gulf Coast Songwriters Shootout in Orange Beach, FL.

They have two albums, Mississippi Duo and Waiting On a Song, which are available on their website, iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

The duo also just released their fourth recording: a seven-song EP called Picture On The Wall, which was recorded with Anthony Crawford (Williesugar Capps, Sugarcane Jane, Neil Young). It is now available on Spotify, Itunes, Google Music, and CD Baby.

Who or what would you say has been the greatest influence on your music?

My Uncle Doug, because he began to teach me guitar and introduced me to a lot of great older country music.

Favorite song you’ve composed or performed and why?

“We Played On” because it’s about our family reunions, where we would sit around and play guitar and share songs.

If you could meet any artist, living or dead, which would you choose and why?

Probably Willie Nelson. He’s my all time favorite.

Most embarrassing thing ever to happen at a gig?

A guy fell on top of me while I was performing. I was sitting down. He busted a big hole in my guitar.

What was the most significant thing to happen to you in the course of your music?

Getting to perform at Musicians Corner in downtown Nashville. Probably the biggest crowd we’ve ever been in front of.

If music were not part of your life, what else would you prefer to be doing?

I don’t know, maybe fishing or golf.

Is there another band or artist(s) you’d like to recommend to our readers who you feel deserves attention?

Our friends, Sugarcane Jane. They are a husband/wife duo from the Gulf Shores area. Great people and great artist.


Interested in seeing your own artist profile highlighted here on Our Tupelo?

Simply click HERE and fill out our form!

Pete Buttigieg and Bennie Thompson unveil $20 million investment in Jackson roadway

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson broke ground Friday on a $20 million renovation of Medgar Evers Boulevard in Jackson.

The boulevard, named for civil rights leader Medgar Evers, is in a state of disrepair. The roadway, which connects north Jackson to Interstate 220, is a mass of potholes and patched pavement flanked by shuttered businesses, largely due to lapses in maintenance.

“This is a project that is so important to rebuilding and reconnecting Jackson, Mississippi,” Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons said during remarks. “If you look at our interstate system, you’ll see a lot of disconnect. But here, this project is going to be one of those projects that is going to reconnect Jackson and create opportunity.”

Carolyn Wells grew up in the neighborhood along Medgar Evers Boulevard, and was neighbors with the Medgar and Myrlie Evers family. While she is happy to celebrate Evers’ legacy, she feels the street is in desperate need of repairs.

“Our street is horrible to me,” she said. 

Architect Hibbett Neel (second left) discusses a rendering of the future Medgar Evers Boulevard to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (left), Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons (center) and Reena Evers-Everette, daughter of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, Friday, June 21, 2024 in Jackson. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Wells and other residents frequently call the city for problems like sinkholes and uneven roads. She hopes the new street can bring much-needed improvements. Local residents and officials hope the improvements will bring the corridor back to life and drive economic prosperity in the area. 

In 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Jackson what Buttigieg called a ‘highly competitive’ $20 million grant to rebuild the boulevard. The money comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which President Joe Biden signed into law in 2021. 

Thompson, the Democratic 2nd District congressman and Republican Sen. Roger Wicker are the only members of Mississippi’s delegation to vote in favor of the legislation. 

Other active projects in Mississippi include modernization of an air traffic control tower at Golden Triangle Regional airport in Columbus and restoration of rail service between the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Alabama and Louisiana that was disrupted after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

On the 60th anniversary of the slayings of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia and just over 61 years after Medgar Evers was assassinated in his driveway, Thompson and Buttigieg connected the new roadway to the larger history of civil rights activism in Mississippi.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (second left) greets Reena Evers-Everette, daughter of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, at her former home, now the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument, Friday, June 21, 2024 in Jackson. Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons (left) and Congressman Benny Thompson (center), also toured the Evers National Monument. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

“As we bear the moral weight of our inheritance, it feels a little bit strange to be talking about street lights and ports and highway funding. And yet, part of why we’re doing this work is because we know that even the most superficial examination of the legacy of the civil rights movement reminds us of the relationship between transportation and equality…,” Buttigieg said. “Homer Plessy sat in the white car of the East Louisiana Railroad. Medgar Evers called for the boycott of gas stations that wouldn’t allow black customers to use their facilities. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, of course, to a white man on the Montgomery bus. Transportation is so elemental to all of our lives that disparities in access to transportation affect everything else.”

In addition to the ground-breaking ceremony at Myrlie’s Garden, named for Medgar Evers’ wife, Buttigieg and Thompson took a tour with Reena Evers, the couple’s daughter, of the Evers home. 

In a press conference, Thompson called the new project a “down payment.” He said that these improvements were part of repairing the years of neglect and inequality that created the community’s current issues. 

“We don’t plan to overburden the citizens who live on the street, but you’ve got to preserve that legacy,” Thompson told Mississippi Today. “As a person who felt Medgar Evers’ influence, I’d be heartbroken if we didn’t keep that legacy alive.”

The new roadway will reconnect the street with other parts of Jackson, along with several improvements. It will have more sidewalks and street lights, better sewer lines, and make travel in the area easier and safer. Officials were unable to provide an estimate for when the project would be complete. 

“Good transportation can lead directly to economic opportunity. In the same way that lack of transportation can cut people off from opportunity,” Buttigieg told Mississippi Today. “We’re here to make sure that transportation connects. That it doesn’t divide.” 

The visit marked Buttigieg’s first visit to Mississippi, and is part of a two-day tour of the state that included stops in places like Greenville, Rosedale and Jackson. 

The post Pete Buttigieg and Bennie Thompson unveil $20 million investment in Jackson roadway appeared first on Mississippi Today.

The day Willie Mays made two boys from Hattiesburg feel like a million bucks

This was the summer of 1962. We were in Texas to visit grandparents and to see our first Major League baseball game. I was 9, and brother Bobby was 8. Willie Mays, the best baseball player on the planet, was 31 and in his prime.

This was before the Astrodome and the Astros. The brand new Houston expansion team, then called the Colt 45s, played their games at Colt Stadium, adjacent to where the Astrodome was being built. Our maternal grandfather – Papa we called him – worked on the heavy machinery used to build the Dome. I remember him laughing and telling us, “Boys, can you believe they really think they are going to grow grass inside that place?”

Rick Cleveland

Back then, we couldn’t believe they were going to play baseball inside. But the Astrodome opening was still three years away. We were much more excited to see the likes of Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and our daddy’s pal, Jim Davenport, play in modest Colt Stadium. It was formerly a minor league facility, built on what was formerly a swamp, that held only about 25,000, but seemed like a baseball palace to us and like home to a million well-fed mosquitoes. We’ll get to that.

Dad and “Peanut” Davenport were friends from Davenport’s days at then-Mississippi Southern College. “Nuts,” as Dad called him, was from Siluria, Alabama, near Birmingham, but came to Southern when he wasn’t recruited by either Alabama or Auburn. At Southern, Davenport quarterbacked the football team to consecutive victories over Alabama and also to a victory over Georgia. For the Giants, he was a slick-fielding, clutch-hitting third baseman, who years later would be their manager. He and Mays, from the coal-mining community of Westfield, Alabama, also near Birmingham, had become close friends. They would remain so for life.

In retrospect, that summer trip to Houston also served as a study in race relations for us two young boys from then-strictly segregated Hattiesburg. Mays and Davenport were clearly close friends who ate together, played together and enjoyed one another’s company, something we did not see in our hometown back then. They made it seem as natural as it is.

Our experience began early that afternoon at the historic, old Rice Hotel in downtown Houston, where the Giants stayed. We got there just as most of the Giants were finishing lunch in the coffee shop. Dad re-introduced us to Davenport, who then introduced us to many of his teammates. The day is mostly a blissful blur, but some things I well remember from 62 years ago:

  • Shaking hands with Willie “Stretch” McCovey, the slugging first baseman, whose huge right hand swallowed not only my hand but also my arm nearly up to my elbow. McCovey was another Alabama guy, from Mobile. He could not have been nicer.
  • Meeting Mays, who was dwarfed by McCovey, and who told us, “Any friend of Nuts is a friend of mine.” He sat back down in his chair and lifted Bobby up on one knee and me on his other. “You fellas play ball?” he asked, and he seemed genuinely interested. We were dumbstruck. Mays told us he had played semi-pro ball in Hattiesburg and Laurel as a young teen. 
  • Going to the ballpark that night where Davenport had set us up with tickets just behind the Giants dugout on the first base side. That’s not all. He had us down on the field for batting practice before the game. Mays and Cepeda took turns hitting balls deep into left field seats. I had never heard the crack of a bat sound so loud, so violent. 
  • Going down into the visitors’ clubhouse before the game. Funny, what I remember most about that are the card games and the huge box of chewing tobacco that sat right by the door at the entrance to the dugout and the field. 
  • The mosquitoes. I have never seen mosquitoes that big before or since. In the stands, attendants with bug spray marched up and down the aisles just as the soft drink and peanut vendors did.
  • The game itself. The score is long forgotten, but Houston led for most of the game until the Giants came from behind. In the ninth inning, the Giants trailed by a run but loaded the bases against a rookie relief pitcher. Cepeda, nicknamed The Baby Bull, came to the plate and the count went to three balls and a strike. This was back before ballplayers seriously lifted weights, but Cepeda, from Puerto Rico, was broad-shouldered and barrel-chested with chiseled arms. My daddy pointed to the bleachers beyond the left field fence and said, “No place to put him. Boys, you see those pink seats out there in left? That’s where this next pitch is gonna land.”

Yes, and on the day Willie Mays made us feel like a million dollars and Jim Davenport provided us a memory for life, Cepeda made our dad look like a genius.

The post The day Willie Mays made two boys from Hattiesburg feel like a million bucks appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Podcast: A U.S. Open to remember.

For three rounds and 15 holes of the fourth round, Rory McIlroy made every single short putt he stood over. Then, he didn’t. And when McIlroy faltered, Bryson DeChambeau came through with one of the greatest sand saves in U.S. Open history. The Clevelands also discuss the SEC-dominated College World Series, the trials and tribulations of the Atlanta Braves and the NBA Champion Boston Celtics.

Stream all episodes here.


The post Podcast: A U.S. Open to remember. appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Rory McIlroy reminds us: ‘If you wish to hide your character, do not play golf’

Australian Bruce Crampton surely would be a prime contender for the dubious title of greatest golfer to never have won one of the sport’s major championships. He won 45 professional tournaments around the world, including 14 on the PGA Tour.

Crampton twice won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the tour. He finished second in four of the majors, once at the Masters, once in the U.S. Open and twice in the PGA Championship. If Jack Nicklaus did not exist, Crampton would have won those four majors.

Rick Cleveland

Crampton, a cerebral golfer, understood the sport as few men have. And he summed it up, perhaps, better than anyone ever has.

“Golf,” said Crampton, “is a compromise between what your ego wants you to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do.”

Rory McIlroy lost Sunday’s U.S. Open on all three levels: ego, experience and nerves. It was painful to watch.

This is to take nothing away from Bryson DeChambeau’s victory, his second U.S. Open championship. His par-4 on the 18th hole will be remembered as one of the greatest “up and downs” in golf history. Remarkable was all it was. When the tournament was on the line, McIlroy’s nerves failed him and DeChambeau’s were nerves of steel.

Hale Irwin, another golfer with steely nerve, won three U.S. Opens during his Hall of Fame career. He was at his best when it mattered most. He, as Crampton, understood golf at its essence. “Golf is the loneliest sport,” Irwin once said. “You are completely alone with every conceivable opportunity to defeat yourself. Golf brings out your assets and liabilities as a person. The longer you play, the more certain you are that a man’s performance is the outward manifestation of who, in his heart, he really thinks he is.”

You and I can only imagine how lonely McIlroy felt over the last three holes Sunday. We can only imagine all that was going through his mind. One of the most physically talented golfers in history of the sport, he had gone nearly a decade since winning a major. After winning four majors in four years, he has won none in nearly 10. It’s not like he hasn’t had his chances. Twenty-one times during the last decade, he has finished in the top 10 of a major. 

All that had to be going through his mind. In the end, it was too much.

Bobby Jones, probably the most universally beloved of all golf champions, may have said it best. “Golf,” Jones said, “is a game that is played on a five-inch course — the distance between your ears.”

That’s where McIlroy lost the U.S. Open — between his ears. The two missed short putts were strictly a case of nerves. He had made every short putt he encountered over the first 69 holes of the tournament. He had been perfect from five feet and closer. Then he missed the two that mattered most.

But nerves weren’t all that failed him. Ego factored in. Why else would he choose to hit driver on the 18th hole? His game plan all week had been to play it safe and hit 3-wood off the tee. He had made three pars the first three rounds. Instead, he hooked a driver into the rough. His ball stopped just inches ahead of a big tuff of wire grass, which made it impossible for him to strike his second shot cleanly. And even that wasn’t his last mistake. After his second shot, which was well done under the circumstances, he was left with a 90-foot uphill pitch to the hole.

Had he been thinking clearly, he would never have hit that chip shot past the hole. Any weekend golfer knows the difference in degree of difficulty between a short downhill putt and an uphill putt from the same distance. What’s more, McIlroy faced a downhill, sidehill knee-knocker that broke sharply to the right. He missed badly.

A few minutes later, DeChambeau made an uphill putt from about the same distance to win the tournament.

McIlroy did not distinguish himself in a good way afterward. He left the premises without doing interviews and without shaking the hand of the man who beat him. It was not a good look and brought to mind the words of Percey Boomer, one of the great early teachers of golf, who said, “If you wish to hide your character, do not play golf.”

It also brought to mind the words of the great champion Raymond Floyd who told us, “They call it golf because all the other four-letter words were taken.”

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Dolph’s Nail Salon & Spa is a dream born from heartbreak

Mary Moss was certain she was going to die. 

“I felt it deep inside, nagging. It wouldn’t let go,” said Moss, while tidying up after finishing a client’s nails at Dolph’s Nail Salon & Spa, located at 1041 Lake Village Circle in Brandon.

“I’m a 20-year respiratory therapist and I have great care for my patients. When COVID hit, I fell into a deep, deep depression. I just knew I would contract this disease and die because of it. So much so, I got all of my important papers in order. As much as I love what I do, I knew then, I needed a way out.”

Mary Moss, owner of Dolph’s Nail Salon in Brandon, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Moss named her business in honor of her nephew, who succumbed to an asthma attack. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Moss goes about her nail salon gathering the items she’ll need for her next client. She reflects for a moment.

A sign at Dolph’s Nail Spa brings a smile to customers. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

“I talked to my husband about options. I credit him with pushing me. I went to technical college, got the training it offered and…, honestly, there was YouTube,” Moss says with a chuckle. “I’m not kidding. YouTube is your friend.” 

Mary Moss preps a clients nails for a manicure at Dolph’s Nail Spa in Brandon, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

“So, I started doing nails in a private space my husband created for me. I scaled back my hospital hours and started doing nails for longer hours. But… COVID,” she said, shaking her head. “We were socially distancing, remember? In spite of my fear of contracting COVID and dying, I went back into the hospital. I needed the money. There were bills to pay, and I was making good money. It was hard to turn it down. I worked four, 12-hour shifts every two weeks.”

Artificial nails are applied, beginning the process of creating French nails. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today
A base coat is applied that will strengthen and protect the nails. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today
A variety of nail polishes and nail care products. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today
French tips are created. Time for a top coat to make the nails vibrant. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today
A client’s nails on one hand dry under UV light as Mary Moss, owner of Dolph’s Nail Spa in Brandon, completes the French nail manicure on the other hand, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

“And then, we lost my nephew to an asthma attack. Justin Dolph Clark. He was 23 years old. After that, I started working less and less at the hospital, and doing more nails. My salon is named after him.”

Mary Moss named her business in honor of her nephew, who succumbed to an asthma attack. Dolph’s Nail Salon & Spa is located at 1041 Lake Village Circle, Suite D, in Brandon. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

“I have to tell you, I love it. It’s therapeutic for me. The creativity, chatting with clients, the laughter we share, is so calming. This is the best job I’ve ever had and truthfully, it’s the only job I’ve ever really loved. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a therapist and I’m good at it, too. But this is my dream job. When you love, love, love what you’re doing, you find happiness.”

Nail products in a variety of colors. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Appointments can be made by contacting Moss by text at (601) 813-9755 or email at dolphsnailsalon.square.site. She takes appointments Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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Pandemic is just one factor in chronic absenteeism

Post-pandemic absenteeism is declining in Mississippi schools, but kids are still missing more school than the pre-COVID days. At many schools, more than a third of all students are missing 18 days a year or more. 

Nationwide, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to mark the point when absenteeism rates in public schools went from bad to worse. The numbers tell the same story in Mississippi. Though the pandemic is a causal factor, educators identified a myriad of reasons — from anxiety to socioeconomic struggles — as to why Mississippi’s public school students seem to be missing more school. 

The Mississippi Department of Education defines chronic absenteeism as missing 10% of the school year or more — this works out to roughly two days a month, or 18 days in a year. In the 2022-23 school year, at nearly half of all school districts in Mississippi, 25% or more of the student population was chronically absent. 

“Research says chronic absenteeism could impact students from reaching early learning milestones, can be a predictor for early dropout prior to graduation, and overall poor academic performance,” Armerita Tell, the Mississippi Department of Education’s director of the Office of Compulsory School Attendance and Dropout Prevention, said in an email. “The outcomes are not typical for all children, but the research points to the aforementioned top outcomes.” 

In Mississippi, statewide absenteeism levels peaked in the 2021-2022 school year at 28%. Those numbers fell to 23.9% the following school year, indicating progress. But despite this recovery, those numbers do not come close to pre-COVID years like the 2018-2019 school year, when 13.1% of students were chronically absent. 

Jasmine Thornton serves as managing director of Family and Community Engagement for RePublic Schools, which operates four charter schools in the Jackson area. After ReImagine Prep saw absenteeism rates near 40% after the 2022-23 school year, she spearheaded an effort to understand the reasons for such high rates of absenteeism and to find solutions to combat it. 

One thing that became apparent was the pandemic had exacerbated the challenges that working class families faced in making sure their kids were making it to school. 

“What I noticed is that coming out of COVID — because we serve working class families — a lot of kids became latchkey kids a little earlier,” she said. 

Latchkey kids is a colloquial term to describe students who enter or leave home unaccompanied, most commonly because their parents are at work. ReImagine Prep serves students between fifth and eighth grade. 

“Parents were going to work earlier than kids were going to school. So, we were entrusting that 10-year-olds are responsible enough to get themselves up and get themselves on the bus as well as younger siblings — that’s a lot of responsibility,” she said.

There is a well-established connection between socioeconomic status and chronic absenteeism. ReImagine primarily serves students from economically disadvantaged families. 

Thornton also cited other factors, like reduced enthusiasm among some children for attending school as a result of heightened social anxiety. Because of COVID-19, many students lost the caregivers who would usher them out the door in the morning. 

To address high rates of chronic absenteeism and to try to mitigate the outcomes associated with it, educators and administrators at ReImagine Prep are exploring a myriad of options, like Saturday school. 

“We’ve had to be very creative. We started this whole, ‘You missed instruction? You just don’t get to miss it — you got Saturday school’,” she said. “I’m conducting home visits on chronically absent kids.” 

In those home visits, Thonrnton often learns that food disparities or access to the right clothes can be what keeps kids at home. For kids who miss the bus in the morning, the school will run a second bus, when possible. Though official numbers have not been released, Thornton said ReImagine Prep has reduced chronic absenteeism by about 20%, to nearly 20% in the 2023-24 school year. 

Union Public School District in east central Mississippi served 965 students in the 2022-23 school year. The district saw increases in absenteeism after the pandemic but posted the lowest absenteeism rate in the state in the 2022-23 school year at 10.78%. 

While being a relatively small district helps, Superintendent Tyler Hansford pointed to other factors, like a large number of veteran teachers and strong community ties, that help make such numbers possible in his district.

“If we have a student that’s absent, most of the time, the parents will reach out to the teacher ahead of time and say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna be out for whatever reason.’ And the teachers make sure that they’re taken care of,” he said. “It’s really just about those relationships that I think our staff members have with our school community and community at large.”

Hansford noted that the district ties attendance to participation in extracurricular activities like sports and other school activities, as a means of incentivizing students to attend. The front offices call families to check in on students who have been absent — more often than not, absences are health related.

Though the pandemic had a significant impact on attendance at Union Public School District, he believes that open communication channels between the school and families was the key to bouncing back so quickly. 

Jerica Thames, principal of Union Middle School, which posted a 6.20% abseteeism rate in the 20-22-23 year, was a teacher during the pandemic. She says that the pandemic had a significant hand in reminding parents in her classroom why it’s important for kids to be in the classroom, after they had to shoulder some of the burden of teaching for a while. 

“That’s when they found a new respect for teachers, because they had to do a lot of teaching at home,” Thames said. “So they knew as well that the best place for their child to be was in the classroom.” 

Statewide, the Mississippi Department of Education is continuing its push for more awareness among both parents and educators regarding the role that absenteeism plays in the success of their students through regularly holding regional training and programming.

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Hinds County approves Raymond solar farm

Outside of the Hinds County Chancery Court building Monday morning, Raymond residents opposing a solar farm development walked up and down the sidewalk with signs saying “Say No To Big Solar.” Inside the building, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the project.

A few dozen of the residents against the solar farm made it inside the board’s meeting room, most of them wearing green shirts that said “Not in my backyard #NIMBY.” Many of the same faces at Monday’s meeting were also at the Hinds County Planning Commission meeting last month, where the commission voted not to recommend the project, titled “Soul City Solar,” to the Board of Supervisors.

The vote was 3 to 2 in favor of Soul City. Supervisors Robert Graham, Tony Smith and Wanda Evers, whose district is where the project will be, voted for the proposal, while Supervisors Deborah Butler-Dixon and Bobby “Bobcat” McGowan voted against.

The company in charge of the project, Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, said it plans to begin construction next year and have its panels operating by 2027. Since 2021, the company has worked with private landowners between Raymond and Bolton to enter into lease agreements to house the solar panels, which will take up just under 6,000 acres. The company says Soul City will produce 396 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 95,000 homes. That power production would make Soul City the largest solar development in Mississippi.

Apex also says the project will create about $150 million in county tax revenue over the initial 30-year lifespan of the facility, in addition to 10 full-time jobs and 400 construction jobs. Last November, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of an ad valorem tax agreement for the project. Brian O’Shea, director of Public Engagement for Apex, said the agreement saves the company money in the long-term, but didn’t have an exact percent. (Hinds County officials weren’t available Monday to provide the terms of the agreement).

Paulette Robinson voiced disapproval of the building of a solar farm near her residence during a meeting of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Jackson. The supervisors voted 3 -2 in approval of the solar farm. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Paulette Robinson, who said her home is adjacent to where the new panels will be, told the Board of Supervisors at Monday’s meeting that she and other neighbors of the project area only found out about the proposal last month when Apex held a local public meeting.

“I understand the need for those (tax) dollars in Hinds County,” Robinson said. “I also understand that solar is the energy of the future. But not at the expense of the residents that make up the county.”

Robinson and others, including Raymond Mayor Isla Tullos, asked the board to delay the approval to provide time to establish clearer rules and guidelines for solar developers to follow.

“Your no vote would be for the purpose of setting a one-year moratorium (on the project),” Tullos said. “During this one-year period, you will be leading our state in developing best practice guidance for solar development.”

At both Monday’s meeting and the Planning Commission meeting last month, a vast majority of Raymond residents attending were against the solar farm. Opponents to the project said there was a petition going around with over 1,100 signatures (an online version of the petition has close to 800 signatures).

Raymond Mayor Isla Tullos (left) joined others at the Hinds County Board of Supervisors meeting held at the Chancery Courthouse to voice their dissent in the building of a solar farm in their communities, Monday, June 17, 2024 in Jackson. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

And their concerns are far from just about the short notice they received about the proposal: A number of Raymond residents have talked about the potential for toxic chemicals to leach from the solar panels, as well as fears about increased heat near the facility and impacts to the local wildlife.

But experts, including those from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, have largely denounced theories that solar panels have any harmful impacts to humans.

“Photovoltaic (PV) technologies and solar inverters are not known to pose any significant health dangers to their neighbors,” the North Carolina center wrote in a 2017 paper. “The most important dangers posed are increased highway traffic during the relative short construction period and dangers posed to trespassers of contact with high voltage equipment.”

While research from 2016 supports the belief that solar panels increase nearby temperatures, an article about the study says the effect can’t be measured 100 feet from the power source. O’Shea, from Apex, said Soul City will be at least 300 feet from any neighboring occupied property.

At last month’s Planning Commission meeting, Apex representatives said Soul City would include a “nature corridor” to allow wildlife to move freely through the project area. Local opponents remained skeptical though, arguing that installments could disrupt habitats for nearby species like deer, black bears and birds.

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 in approving a solar farm owned by Apex Clean Energy, before a packed boardroom, Monday, June 17, 2024 in Jackson. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Another study from 2016 estimated that utility-scale solar farms kill tens of thousands of birds per year nationwide. The Audubon Society, though, says that photovoltaic panels, the ones Soul City would include, do not pose such a risk, and that the long-term benefits of using renewable energy outweigh any concerns for birds.

Smith, who represents District 2, said his research didn’t back up the concerns that opponents were relaying, and that the he supported something that was going to lower energy costs.

“I pay a lot of money for energy, and if this is something that can lower the cost of energy, I’m okay with it,” he said.

Apex said it plans to sell the energy it produces through the MISO power grid, which manages energy transmission through a regional marketplace.

Brent Bailey, the former Central District Public Service commissioner, spoke in favor of the project on Monday, saying it would increase access to clean and cost-effective energy, as well as add local revenue for infrastructure in schools.

Hinds County residents not in favor the building of a solar farm in their area packed the meeting of the Hinds County Baord of Supervisors, Monday, June 17, 2024 in Jackson. Supervisors voted 3 – 2 in favor of the solor farm. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

“Nearly 40 large utility-scale solar farms have been approved for construction and operation in Mississippi,” Bailey said to the board, before making a quip about the opposing attendees’ green shirts. “These communities did not say, ‘Not in my backyard,’ they said, ‘Yes, in my backyard.’”

After the meeting, one of those in the green shirts walked up to Bailey, pointing a finger and said, “You don’t live here. I do.”

McGowan, District 5 supervisor who was one of the two votes against the project, said the decision should come down to whether or not those in Raymond want it.

“Why do we want to put something in somebody’s area that they don’t want to be in the area?” he asked. “I don’t get that.”

Allison Lauderdale, a Raymond resident and organizer of the opposition to Soul City, recently set up a GoFundMe to raise money for legal funds to fight the project in case it was approved. Lauderdale told Mississippi Today after the vote that she plans to file an injunction and has 10 days to do so.

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