Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jackson Zoo is Open on Thanksgiving Day With Free Admission

Walk off some of that stuffing at the Jackson Zoo on Thanksgiving Day.  Admission is free.  The hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Master Plan Award Redux

Here is the photo of the PRVWSD receiving the previously mentioned awards.  Specifically, the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District won both the 2014 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations, and the Best Project Award from the Mississippi Chapter of American Planning Associations.  Pictured are, left to right, Gray Outz (Community and Economic Development Planner with CMPDD), Jack Winstead (President of PRVWSD Board of Directors), John Sigman (Executive Director of PRVWSD), Mike Monk (Director of Community and Economic Development for CMPDD), and David Wade (Principal Planner with CMPDD)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fit2Lead 5K and Kids Tri

The Rankin County Chamber of Commerce hosted their Glow Run last night at Shiloh Park.  My daughter and I ran together.  It's been a while since I ran a 5K, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  So, I started looking at area races coming up.  Lo and behold, the Fit2Lead 5K and Kids Tri is this weekend at the Flowood YMCA.  I've run this the last two years.  It's a nice out and back, flat race from the Flowood YMCA.

Open up some room for that turkey by running in the event.  Registration form below.

Chancery Clerk Larry Swales Fundraiser

Larry Swales has served as Chancery Clerk for Rankin County for two terms.  Seeking a third, he announced for reelection in 2015.  He has an opponent, Greg Wilcox.  Greg currently is Supervisor for District for Rankin County, and Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Flowood.  

Larry is hosting a fundraiser, the invitation below:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

City of Flowood Grand Lighting and Chili Cook Off Info

CMPDD Wins Awards for PRVWSD Master Plan Work

Today, at the PRVWSD Board of Directors' meeting, the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District announced CMPDD received two awards related to the PRVWSD Master Plan. 

CMPDD Plan Receives State and National Awards

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) Master Plan developed by the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District (CMPDD) has received two prestigious awards. 

The CMPDD received a 2014 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation for the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) Master Plan.  NADO is a Washington, DC-based association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies.  The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and partnering organizations for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. Award winners were showcased during NADO’s 2014 Annual Training Conference, held August 23 - 26 in Denver, Colorado. 

The CMPDD also received the Best Project Award from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-MS) for the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) Master Plan.  This award recognizes best practices, results, and state-of-the-art planning methods for an outstanding plan.  The award was presented to the CMPDD at the Mississippi and Alabama Chapters of the American Planning Association (APA) Joint Annual Conference, held November 12 – 14 in Tupelo, Mississippi.

The purpose of the Master Plan, which was adopted by the PRVWSD in December of 2013, is to serve as a policy guide for the physical and economic development of the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD).  Elements included in this plan are Land Use, Transportation, Public Facilities along with a Capital Improvements Program, an Analysis of the Regional Economic Impact of PRVWSD, and the development of a Web-Based GIS Mapping Viewer.  The Master Plan can be viewed at

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Lights on Old Fannin are Functional

I can positively report the traffic lights on Old Fannin Road are functioning as of noon today.  Be careful out there.  Likely, some motorists are not used to the lights.

This Week at the Rez

From the PRVWSD:

·        Hunter walks up on big buck
Kiel Higginbotham of Brandon saw his investment in a draw hunt at Barnett Reservoir pay big dividends when he killed a 255-pound, 8-point on the Madison County side of the spillway. How he killed it is hard to believe. Read the story here,
·        Catfish bite in the cold
Ever wonder why you see so many fishermen bundled up in seemingly every piece of clothes they can find, sitting on the banks of Barnett Reservoir with an array of long surf-casting rods standing in rod holders? It's simple. Some of the best bank-fishing opportunities of the year come on the coldest days. It's a result of shad being caught in the shallows and dying in the cold water. Catfish come in for the easy feast, and opportunistic — and hardy — fishermen come out hoping to get one, too.

·        Keep it Clean, Keep it Green & Keep it Safe!  Community Fair to be held November 22nd

      A Lowe’s Community Partners grant will provide funding for the Reservoir’s First Community Fair, “Keep it Green, Keep it Clean & Keep it Safe,” November 22 at the Reservoir’s Community Center on Spillway Road in Brandon from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair is a free event with information on horticultural tips, crime prevention, composting, a plant swap, a native plant walk through the Botanical Gardens, and E-Cycling (electronics recycling provided by Magnolia Data Solutions) and more. Focusing on beautification, Keep the Reservoir Beautiful will be providing free tulip and daffodil bulbs to neighborhoods and churches to help beautify the Reservoir area.   For more information visit:

Reservoir Community Fair

Details about Keep the Rez Beautiful's "Reservoir Community Fair" this weekend in the below press release:

October 31, 2014 – Keep The Reservoir Beautiful (KRB) today announced that Lowe’s has awarded a $10,000 grant to support KRB’s mission to engage individuals in building and sustaining vibrant communities.
   *       *       *
   The Lowe’s Community Partners grant will provide funding for the Reservoir’s First Community Fair, “Keep it Green, Keep it Clean & Keep it Safe,” November 22 at the Reservoir’s Community Center on Spillway Road in Brandon from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair is a free event with information on horticultural tips, crime prevention, composting, a plant swap, a native plant walk through the Botanical Gardens, and E-Cycling (electronics recycling provided by Magnolia Data Solutions) and more. Focusing on beautification, KRB will be providing free tulip and daffodil bulbs to neighborhoods and churches to help beautify the Reservoir area.
   The grant will also be utilized to help landscape a green space area on Spillway Road demonstrating Best Management Practices to help promote water quality in Turtle Creek and the Reservoir.
   *       *       *
   KRB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the Reservoir watershed and its shoreline communities and neighborhoods. KRB covers parts of Rankin and Madison counties and is staffed by solely unpaid volunteers. For more information, email KRB at, visit, follow us on Twitter at;TreasuretheRez or find our Keep the Rez Beautiful fan page on Facebook.
Read the rest of the release here.  I've said it once, and I'll say it again: if you want to see a true grassroots, community team doing good for the Reservoir, look no further than KRB.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Flowood Rotary Doing Good in the Rez Community

Above, members of the Flowood Rotary Club hand out dictionaries to the third graders of NW Rankin Elementary School.  As part of Rotary International's Dictionary Project, the local club was able to provide each third grader their very own dictionary.  

Today, they handed out dictionaries to the third graders of Flowood Elementary (pictured below):

Large Buck Taken During Rez Draw Hunt

Local resident Kiel Higginbotham took a large bodied buck from his Madison-Spillway draw hunt on Thursday, November 13. The deer, taken from the ground, with a bow, weighed in at 255 pounds. Mississippi Sportsman Magazine already has a story written by the Rez' own, Bobby Cleveland. From the article:  

So a little before 7 a.m., with the sun above the horizon, the two guys walked into the woods and right to an unsuspecting buck that was taking a morning stroll through the bottom.
“We definitely weren’t intending on hunting on foot, just simply easing through the woods to quietly find a place on the edge of one of the sloughs to climb,” Higginbotham said. “I looked up and saw this buck and I told Brandon, ‘Stop, buck!’”
“We froze, right there,” said Dewease, of Collinsville. “I was about five yards behind him and I stopped and sort of half crouched and was looking right over his shoulder.”
So, now. let’s review their predicament. They are fully loaded down with climbing stands and backpacks strapped to their bodies, their hands full of bows and other equipment. A buck, a fat one at that, was about 60 yards away and walking toward an otherwise perfect shooting situation.

Read the rest here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Rankin Glow Run

Only it's second year, and the Glow Run is already one of the biggest runs in Rankin County.  This race is organized by the hard working staff, and Membership Committee members, of the Rankin County Chamber of Commerce.  The race is Thursday, November 20 (less than a week), and is held at Shiloh Park in Brandon, Mississippi, at 6 p.m.  Over 350 have signed up for the race already. Register here, and visit the Facebook page here.  It's only $10 for children under 12, and they love the glow in the dark aspect.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This Week at the Rez

·               Barnett Reservoir Arts & Crafts Fair:
The Barnett Reservoir’s first Arts & Crafts Fair will take place Saturday, November 15th from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Lakeshore Park in Brandon. Free Admission and plenty of parking on the grounds. We have 45 vendors signed up which include such artists as: wood workers, photographers, oil and watercolor painters, potters, furniture makers, stained glass artists, up-cycle artistry, metal works and jewelry makers. This is the opportunity to shop local, for one of a kind gifts, with the beautiful park and reservoir as your backdrop.

·               Lucky 7 Run

The Lucky 7 Run will kick off at 3pm at Legend’s Bar & Grill on Lakeland Drive with a ceremonial lighting of the Special Olympics torch and take runners across the spillway to McB’s Grill in Ridgeland for an indoor/outdoor after-party.  Visit: for more information.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No Charges in Cat Throwing Incident

Recently, a woman was witnessed throwing a cat from the Northshore Causeway into the Reservoir. The authorities were called and the cat rescued. The cat is fine. The woman will not face charges. Here is the story from the Clarion Ledger explaining why:

A Rankin County woman who allegedly picked a cat up by its neck and tossed it into the Ross Barnett Reservoir on Friday will not be charged for the action.
Mississippi News Now reported that the 30-year-old woman is a mentally disabled Iraq War veteran. She is currently receiving treatment.

See the full article here (not much more to it).

Nick Trees is Setting Up Right Now

Nick Trees already began setting up for 2014.  Instead of the old Rapids on the Reservoir, this year, they are setting up in the empty lot in front of Dollar General on Spillway Road (in front of Fred's Dollar Store).  Here is the announcement.

Here is the meat:
Hours of operation for . . . NickTrees for Blair E. Batson are Monday through Saturday 9:00 A.M. - 9:00 P.M.; Sunday 1:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.
The second and largest location is at parking lot between Fred's Pharmacy and Dollar General (1900 Spillway Rd., Brandon, MS 39047). This location has:
  1. Fresh cut Fraser Fir, direct from our farm in Ashe County, North Carolina ranging in height from 3' to 14'.
  2. Fresh cut Noble Fir from Oregon in heights ranging from 6' to 9', and
  3. Leyland Cypress in limited numbers from the Rankin County, Mississippi farm with heights from 10' to 14'.

Thank a Veteran Today

Happy Veterans Day, and a heartfelt thank you to those who shouldered our freedom as members of the armed forces.  I get weepy thinking of the sacrifice of those like my grandfather (still doing great at 95), who was plucked off the Pontotoc County farm to fight in wild and strange places during World War II; or my father, who defended the line in Korea, and made a career of the military thereafter.  I understand, and appreciate.  Thank you.

You still have time to make the Veterans Day Ceremony at the War Memorial in Jackson.  See details in this prior post

Monday, November 10, 2014

Smokin' on the Rez BBQ Winners

Per the Barnett Reservoir Foundation, the following are the winners from the Smokin' on the Rez BBQ Competition:

2014 Smokin’ on The Rez BBQ Winners

MBN Pro Division
Grand Champion
Diamond D (Whole Hog)

Whole Hog
1. Diamond D
2. Victory Lane
3. Fireman John’s
4. Slap Jo Mama

1. Red Hot Smokers
2. Victory Lane
3. Slap Jo Mama
4. Fireman John’s

1. Red Hot Smokers
2. Slap Jo Mama
3. Ubon’s
4. Smoke Dawg BBQ

Challenger Division
Grand Champion
Rib-Ka-Teers (Ribs)

1. 3 Stacks
2. Moonlight Smokers
3. Rib-Ka-Teers

1. Rib-Ka-Teers
2. Phat Chance
3. Pork Plus

1. Victory Lane
2. Smokin’ Bandits

1. Budro’s BBQ
2. Pork Plus

1. High Comfort
2. Brandon Knights

Taste of The Rez
1. The Machine (Shuckers)
2. High Comfort

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

McCrory Resigns From School Board

Cecil McCrory resigned today from the Rankin County School Board, for reasons unknown to me, or to the Clarion Ledger.  See the C-L's article about it, here.  Kingfish has a bit more.

Election News

Senator Thad Cochran won statewide with healthy margins (75%+ in Rankin County).  Congressman Gregg Harper from Pearl won with 80%+ in Rankin County.  Grumpy Farmer fell behind by over 100 votes in early precincts, but rolled to victory with 53.8% of the vote over challenger John Waits. And 91% of Rankin Countians believe the right to hunt and fish should be a part of our State Constitution. See election totals here for yourself.  

Below is a picture from Ground Zero before precinct totals began rolling in. The County counted votes at the EOC/911 Building on Marquette Road rather than the Justice Courtroom.  Much better.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Arts and Crafts Fair Information

Below, see a Press Release from the PRVWSD concerning the upcoming Arts and Crafts Fair

BRANDON — An enhanced holiday shopping experience — a leisurely stroll through a beautiful park with unique products made by local artists and a lakeside view of Barnett Reservoir — will be available Nov. 15 at the first Arts & Crafts Fair at Lakeshore Park.
Over 40 exhibitors will have booths at the event, which is sponsored by the Barnett Reservoir Foundation and the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District. Admission is free to shoppers and plenty of free parking is available at the spacious 120 + acre park.
“The great thing is that we will only feature local artisans and there will be no mass-produced products,” said Cindy Ford, the event organizer. “These are vendors who will feature hand-crafted gifts. It is limited to products that are at least 50 percent homemade or recycled.
“Arts & Crafts at The Rez is a unique shopping experience with unique gifts in a beautiful setting overlooking the reservoir.”
Ford said the list of vendors already includes wood workers, jewelry makers, photographers, oil and watercolor painters, potters, furniture makers, stained glass artists, “up cycle” artistry, metal workers and doll makers.
“We still have plenty of room for more vendors, and the fee is just $25 for a single booth,” Ford said.
The park is pet-friendly, but a leash is required.
For more information on the event, including exhibitor registration applications, visit online at

Election Day

Today is election day 2014!  The only contested items on the ballot in the Reservoir are U.S. Senator (Thad Cochran vs. the Ghost of Chris McDaniel), and U.S. Congressman (Gregg Harper vs. Some Guy Who At Least Has a Famous Name Going For Him).  There is also a proposed amendment to the Mississippi Constitution on the ballot.  Said amendment would make the right to hunt and fish a Constitutional right in this state, rather than a privilege.

I will live tweet the Rankin County election results later tonight on the @reznewsblog twitter handle. Give me a follow if you haven't already.  Ballot boxes start trickling in to the EOC/911 Building on Marquette road around 7:15 p.m.

Not sure where you vote?  Check out this link.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Overlay Meeting -- One Year Later

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 18, 2014, at 6 p.m.  At that date and time, at the Northwest Rankin Middle School, there will be a community meeting concerning the Overlay District.  The purpose will be to review the Overlay in the year since passage, so that it can be more effectively utilized in the future.

The following are anticipated to present during the meeting:

State Reps., Mark Baker and Brent Powell.
State Sen., Josh Harkins
Supervisor (Dist. 2 - Interim) Rodney Keith
Rankin County Office of Community Development, Renee Lawrence
PRVWSD, Exec. Dir., John Sigman
Sheriff, Bryan Bailey
Justice Court Judge, John Shirley

There will be a time for questions and answers.  If you are concerned about the Overlay and curious about its effect, please plan to attend.

Veterans Day Meals

Veterans Day is Tuesday, November 11.  One reader graciously sent in a list of restaurants offering free meals or other deals for our nation's veterans.  Here are those in the Jackson Metro area:

Applebee’s -- Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu, on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11.

Golden Corral -- Golden Corral Restaurants' Military Appreciation Monday free dinner will be available on Monday, November 17, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.

Krispy Kreme – Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut and small coffee to all veterans on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

LongHorn Steakhouse – Veterans and current service members receive a complimentary Texas Tonion appetizer and non-alcoholic beverage from a select menu on Tuesday, November 11.

Olive Garden – On Tuesday, November 11, all veterans and current service members get a free meal from a limited menu.

Outback Steakhouse – All active and former service members receive a free Bloomin’ Onion and a beverage on November 11. Outback is also offering active and former service members 15% off their meals Nov. 12 through Dec. 31.

Red Lobster -- Veterans, retired and active-duty military personnel receive a complimentary appetizer from a limited menu from Monday, November 10 to Thursday, November 13.

Shoney's -- Shoney's will be offering a free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty service members on Tuesday, November 11.

Texas Roadhouse -- Texas Roadhouse locations nationwide will offer veterans a free lunch on Tuesday, November 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Offer is good for active duty, retired or former U.S. military.

Travel Centers of America -- On Tuesday, November 11, all CDL drivers who are military veterans eat free at participating full-service restaurants.