Olive Oil – Inside/Out

The latest study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

reveals why olive oil and greens are together so beneficial for the heart. In addition other research has shown, according to Olive Oil Times, that olive oil can lower the risks of the following medical conditions:


Oleocanthal, the phytonutrient in olive oil works like ibuprofen in reducing inflammation, thereby decreasing the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence. Studies are also being conducted on the squalene and lignans found in olive oil.

Heart Disease:

Olive oil lowers the levels of total blood cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and does not alter the levels of HDL-cholesterol.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Studies show that diets containing high levels of olive oil lessen the chances of rheumatoid arthritis.

Plus, studies by Maria-Isabel Covas,

at the Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, Spain on the genetic and clinical effects of olive oil, which were published in the Pharmacological Research journal, reported that people who regularly include olive oil in their daily diet are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Olive oil also helps to reduce inflammation, endothelial dysfunction (problems with the inner linings of blood vessels), thrombosis and carbohydrate metabolism, according to Medical News Today.


But olive oil benefits externally as well as internally.


Because olive oil is rich in antioxidants and is an emollient that penetrates the hair shaft, it adds moisture and shine while removing harmful free radicals from hair and scalp.


Wash and condition hair

Rinse thoroughly

Comb hair and work one to two tablespoons of olive oil through your hair and apply to every strand.


Comb dry hair

Work one teaspoon of olive oil to the ends of your hair.

Divide hair into sections

Work olive oil into your hair, stopping an inch from the scalp

Holding a hairdryer approximately eight inches from your head, blow dry for two to three minutes on medium heat.


A forty-five minute treatment is recommended for minor dryness and a two hour to overnight treatment is recommended for major dryness and damage. After the treatment, shampoo and rinse hair thoroughly to remove oil

Olive oil also helps thinning hair and your scalp because it can prevent DTH (dihydrotestosterone) hormone production, which can cause hair loss. Olive oil also fights dandruff, bacteria, fungi and head lice.

Always use a high-quality extra virgin oil.


Dry Skin

Use olive oil as a gentle moisturizer for dry skin. Apply it directly to your skin with a cotton ball or add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer to amp up its effectiveness. With the same healthy fats as avocado, olive moisturizes the skin with vitamin E and A.

Removing makeup

Olive oil is a gentle makeup remover, dissoliving makeup with no need of harsh scrubbing. To remove eye makeup and waterproof mascara, apply olive oil saturated cotton ball to the eye area for 30 seconds before gently removing the makeup.

Itchy Skin

Apply directly to skin irritations, including eczema and psoriasis. Also, use in warm bath water.


Apply olive oil directly to skin to reduce free radicals and regain and maintain a youthful appearance


Give yourself a relaxing olive oil massage with a mixture of olive oil  (8 ounces) and mint oil (1/4 ounce).

For the perfect foot massage, rub a mixture of 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 drop of chamomile essential oil into your feet for several minutes. Sleep in socks.massage


Good Olive Oil Resources:

Olive Oil Times

Live Strong

New Health Guide

Medical News Today


Chiquita Jones – Making Education a Community Effort

The way Becky Glover, the Parents for Public Schools (PPS) East Mississippi Director, tells it,

Chiquita Jones is the modern day Fannie Lou Hamer of education in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

“In the 2011 Parent Leadership Institute, which was the first class in East Mississippi, two people attended from the Philadelphia school district,” said Becky. That started something. The next year, Chiquita went through the PPS training and was the only person from that school district. “She went back and has been able to accomplish and start a variety of things all related to quality public education in Philadelphia.”


Parents for Public Schools meeting at Philadelphia High School

Chiquita saw the science test scores in Philadelphia the year she went through PPS training and it broke her heart.  State science tests are only given to 5th graders and 8th graders. The next time science related state testing is the high school biology test.  “You can see the weakness reflected in all those scores,” said Becky.

Chiquita knew that if that trend continued, her own children might not have a chance of going into a science related field or creating a science related career in their hometown like she had been able to do as a nurse. That was a very personal reason to want to improve education for the children in her community, explained Becky.  “She already had the drive to begin with, but looking at her two children really brought it home for her.”

That passion drove Chiquita to go back and do exactly what PPS wants people who go through our training to do.

“That is to go back into your community and share what you learned to try to spark that interest and movement in more people,” said Becky. And Chiquita did it so successfully she recruited 18 applicants just from Philadelphia for the PPS training.  “We could have had a class just for Philadelphia, but we ended up taking 14. Literally half the class was one school district,” said Becky. The numbers were awesome, but what was so amazing was the diversity. “There were black and white parents, younger, older, male, female, married couples. “Not only did she spark that kind of movement in her community, but she served as our first PEP (Parent Engagement Program) Graduate Assistant,” said Becky.  The PLI (Parent Leader Institute) was changed to PEP (Parent Engagement Program) and the curriculum changed according to feedback from parents and other things the organization saw needed change.

Southern Roots traveled to Philadelphia High School to see about this modern day Fannie Lou Hammer and what exactly was going on in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

“We wanted to have a parents meeting to let them know about the school district itself, how the school district is fairing as far as their state testing, how the state is scoring our school, just to give parents some information,” said Chiquita.

MCT scores are received in the mail and a lot of times parents or guardians don’t know how to read them or know what that data means. “It’s just like looking at foreign language,” said Chiquita. “We wanted to come here tonight, go over some of this data with them and help them understand and encourage them to bring their students’ MCT2 scores to the meeting if they had questions and we would help them go over that.”  The goal was to give parents a working knowledge to go back home and be able to decipher what’s going on with their children and find ways to help not only their children, but other children.

Our PPS leaders wanted to have a forum before our city elections which dealt specifically with education. At that forum the last question we asked of all the candidates was, “If you are elected, will you agree to participate in a short PPS training on student achievement and roles of the school board.”  Everyone unanimously said, “Yes.”


Becky Glover explaining stat chart.

That resounding “yes” was how this meeting came to be.  The PPS leaders had originally planned the meeting for only elected city officials, but decided to make it an opportunity for parents and other community members who needed to learn the same information.  Though only one member of the school board attended the meeting every member except one of the Board of Aldermen participated.

“We have four aldermen and one at-large alderman,” said Chiquita. “Each alderman appoints someone from their district to the school board.  Mayor James Young always participates in these events and tries to help us find ways to improve.”


Community Leaders Learn About Education from the Inside-Out

One of the ways the people of Philadelphia wanted to make change was by forming their own PPS chapter.

“We began to work a core group of parents that were interested,” said Chiquita.  “In 2012, Mr. Cecil Hooker and I had a meeting in the coliseum and we wanted to inform the people about the things that we learned in PPS leadership Institute.”  Through that meeting, the two gathered a core group of parents together that were interested in the educational issues being discussed. One of the parents, Joey Kilgore had shown interest in starting a PPS Chapter in Philadelphia so the group of parents worked together and went through the Parent Engagement Program. “One of our goals was to become a chapter.” The group filed the application and went through the normal back and forth with PPS regarding edits, goal specifications, etc. On Monday, April 21, 2014, the Philadelphia group received word that they had been accepted as a chapter.

“We have a core group of 15 and a larger list of people who have attended meetings. We have had from 30 to 40 people attend some of our meetings and every time we have a new meeting, we see new faces.”

The Philadelphia Parents for Public School Chapter wants to accomplish many goals for their school district, including better technology, more books, and tablets and laptops for the students  at school. Parent engagement is a big goal, so recruiting parents is a priority. Community involvement means more grant opportunities for the school system.

Why should parents of children attending private schools and even those who have no children at all be interested in public education?

“Our community is only as great as the students at the lowest level.  So we want to bring those students up to the higher level,” said Chiquita.  “We pay taxes for our public schools so we want that money to be used efficiently.” Also, businesses analyze prospective communities according to the success of the public school system.  Property values go up according to the school ratings. “Therefore, even if you don’t have children in public school or if you don’t have children at all, your community’s public school system affects your quality of life and quality of place. You want to focus on making your public school the strongest that it can be.”


Chiquita Jones shares her PPS story.


“I encourage everybody, whether a parent, community member, grandparent, aunt uncle, or community member to take time to visit your public schools, see what you can do to help.  The smallest thing can mean the most to a child.”


(See accompanying video on Chiquita Jones for her comments)




Buying Locally Builds Locally

Susan Grayson, the wife of Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson, opened her business Spectacular on August 1, 1986 in downtown Demopolis. The shop is as diverse as the city, with the front being an optical dispensary filling all your optical needs and the back filled with selections of fine wine, craft beer and gourmet foods.



“We also have giftware in our Eccentric Treasures Room,” said Susan. “In the front we repair your vision in the back we impair your vision.”

The greatest challenge as a local business, said Susan, is building the customer base and getting products the public is interested in.

“We cater to all of our customers and hopefully have the product they want,” she said. “We always ask is there something we can order for you.”


A Wine Tasting


Susan has learned how to cut every corner possible, while at the same time providing products that are worthwhile to her customer base. Being successful takes hard work and consistency.

According to Andersonville Study of Retail Economics,

local businesses generate 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. Plus, shopping locally helps cut down on the processing, packaging and transportation waste that leads to pollution. That’s not all.  Shopping locally also means encouraging and supporting our craftsmen and artists and the businesses selling their products. Another 2012 Study supported the conclusions of the 2004 Andersonville Study of Retail Economics confirming that  locally-owned businesses generate substantially more economic benefit to the local economy than chain businesses. For every $100 in consumer spending with a local firm, $68 remains in the local economy. For every $100 in consumer spending with a chain firm, only $43 remains in the local economy. For every square foot occupied by a local firm, local economic impact is $179. For every square foot occupied by a chain firm, local economic impact is $105. Find out more about the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, its findings, and methodology.

In “Buying into the Local Food Movement”, February 2013, A. T. Kearney said

grocery shoppers largely embrace the increase in local food options because they believe it helps local economies (66 percent), delivers a broader and better assortment of products (60 percent), provides healthier alternatives (45 percent), improves the carbon footprint (19 percent), and increases natural or organic production (19 percent). And

In the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast (December 2013)

Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s Research and Knowledge Group said that today’s consumers are more interested than ever in what they eat and where their food comes from, and that is reflected in our menu trends research as opposed to temporary fads. It also revealed the evolution of the wider shifts of our modern society over time, and focused on:

  • The provenance of various food and beverage items
  • Unique aspects of how they are prepared and presented
  • The dietary profiles of those meals

National Restaurant Association “What’s Hot” Chef Survey – Top 10 Menu Trends for 2014

  • Locally sourced meats and seafood
  • Locally grown produce
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Healthful kids’ meals
  • Gluten-free cuisine
  • Hyper-local sources (e.g., restaurant gardens)
  • Children’s nutrition
  • Non-wheat noodles/pasta
  • Sustainable seafood
  • Farm/estate branded items

See more statistics at the USDA

CustomMade is an online marketplace

for custom goods and a great resource for buying unique, handcrafted items that pump funds back into the American economy as well as local economies.  The Vision of CustomMade is simple: Buying custom from local Makers is a viable alternative to buying from big box retailers.

“We believe there is a better way to buy: Getting quality, one-of-a-kind goods directly from expert makers. We’re making custom furniture, jewelry and more an option for all: we help you get anything made.” Mike Salguero and Seth Rosen, CustomMade Co-Founders

According to the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), consumers choose to do business where they think they will get the best best value for their time and money.  However, Jeff Michen states in his AMIBA article that The disappearance of local businesses leaves a social and economic void that is palpable and real — even when it goes unmeasured, and a community’s quality of life changes in ways that macroeconomics is slow to measure (or ignores completely).  In addition, he said, a chain “superstore” may boast of creating 300 new jobs, but numerous studies indicate they displace as many jobs as they create. (Read the rest of Michen’s article here.)

With these statistics and findings, why do consumers still choose chains over locally owned and operated?  What can communities do to educate the population about the importance of supporting local businesses?  These are questions that should be asked and answered by every community, large and small. The truth is chain stores are and will always be clones.  Locally owned businesses are unique and individual and cater to the community in which they serve.  Local business owners develop relationships with their customers and stock their store according to the customer’s needs and wants.











What local consumers are saying:


I avoid Walmart as much as I can but I do shop there. It depends on what it is you’re looking for. In the locally owned stores you can pull up close to the door, get help, not wait in long lines and feel appreciated for your business. Supporting locals is critical for their survival as well as Meridian and Lauderdale County. You can just look at the cash registers in Walmart and see only so many people can work there. Community is constant; folks that live there. We all lose or gain by the activity of the group. That’s not to say we will all agree but you have to see the cause and effect. Get out and get involved in something or sit on the sideline. Both have a consequence. If you play music, paint, etc., it’s critical to have a local audience. Let’s face it, not many of us become famous. Having someone appreciate your talent by coming to see / hear you is the whole point. You remember or get to know those people by name and often develop a relationship you never would have otherwise. It’s not really any different than owning a business. When I walk into Mississippi Music for example, I know someone there is going to know my name and try to do whatever they can to earn my support while simultaneously supporting me. I don’t take people for granted that listen to me play and I don’t take a business for granted that goes out of their way to show their appreciation. In fact, I bought my son a guitar this past Christmas. I got it at Mississippi Music. A couple of weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from the President of Mississippi Music thanking me for my purchase. I won’t forget that. Locally focused…..Just pay attention to what’s going on around you. Make an effort to think about that cause and effect. Locally focused part 2….Go to the Meridian Little Theater, go to the Temple, go to the Riley Center, go to your church activities. Try something new. We can’t support everything, but at least support something. Otherwise, there is nothing out there.


It is important to keep in mind when buying local a significant amount of the money you spend finds its way back to local businesses, adding strength to our economy and tax base. Local organizations receive around 250% more support from small businesses than big box business. When you by local you are supporting community job creation. While places like Wal-Mart con be convenient on certain levels, buying there undermines the success of locally owned businesses, and in the long run coast tax payers more due to the fact employees need federal and state assistance due to low wages. Medicaid, food stamps etc. Small businesses employ more jobs nationally and locally and provide more jobs to residents. As we know cheaper is not always better. Our community is where we dwell, our family, friends support what we care about, and sense of place starts here. Our community is in large, our life line. As an artist I am sometimes over whelmed from the support my town and community have shown me. It has been local business that have provided a place to ply my trade and share my music. As I have stated throughout the years, my community has been very good to me. Think locally, buy locally, consider People, family, friends, and local prosperity.


Sustainable Connections

Institute for Local Self-Reliance



Parents Must Go Back to School!

Certain children get better grades, higher test scores, and have higher graduation rates.

These same children have better school attendance, are more motivated, feel better about themselves, have less trouble at school with fewer suspensions, less violent behavior and less drug use. They get promoted, earn credits, adapt well to school, and go on to college or technical school. The parents of these kids are involved in their education. Lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem facing public schools today. Some parents believe they don’t have time to run up to the school. Others believe teachers don’t want parents interfering with their classes. Still others believe their children don’t want them there. A child’s future must take precedence over excuses and inconveniences.

There are a number of failing schools in Mississippi.

Next fall, 30 or more Mississippi schools could see teachers, principals, janitors and cooks “let go” because of an “F” rating for the third consecutive  year in a row. Though some schools are exempt from the “F” status, all schools need parental involvement to set challenging academic standards to make education better.

It’s true, many parents don’t know how to help their children with their education because they had many difficulties with their own education. They don’t dare voluntarily darken the door of a school house. Yet, they conscientiously send their children off to school every day expecting them to do well without their regular input.

Most students want their parents to be more knowledgeable, more participatory and be willing to take active roles in making a connection between home and school. Research shows that the more parents participate in their children’s education in a sustained way at every level, the better their children do. Plus, parents get better and more effective as they go along.

When parents come to school regularly, it reinforces to the child that school and home are connected and that school is an important part of family life.

Parents may work with the school as volunteers, advocates, and boosters or participate in decision-making, fund raising, in field trips, and special projects. However, research studies found that the most effective forms of parent involvement are those in which parents work directly with their children on learning activities at home. For example, when schools encourage children to practice reading at home with parents, those children make significant gains in reading compared to those who only practice at school. Parents who have books available, who read to their children, limit TV watching, and provide stimulating experiences help their children to learn better.

When parents are involved in their children’s education they have the opportunity to interact with teachers, administrators, and other parents.

They learn first-hand about the daily activities and the social culture of the school; both help them understand what their child’s life is like. Parental involvement in a child’s education at home and in school brings great rewards and has a significant impact on a child’s life now and in the future.

Below are some steps to improve your child’s life at home and at school:

  • Be kind to your children to maintain a warm and supportive home.

  • Provide time and a quiet place to study

  • Assign responsibility for household chores

  • Be firm about bedtime

  • Have dinner together as a family.

  • Encourage reading, writing, and discussions among family members to promote sharing and critical thinking skills.

  • Let your kids catch you reading.

  • Set limits on screen time including TV, smart phones and video games

  • Check-up on children when you’re not home

  • Arrange for after-school activities and supervised care.

  • Show interest in children’s progress at school. Help with homework. Discuss the value of a good education and stay in touch with teachers and school staff.

  • Recognize and encourage your children’s talents. Tout them to friends and family.

  • Regularly interact with school personnel. They’ll keep you in the know and you’ll all learn from each other and make your child a better, more responsible and successful student.


Dr. Rachell Anderson


Beef Pepper and Pesto Kabobs

1  3 /4 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pkg. whole fresh mushrooms

3T olive oil

1 tsp. salt 8 oz dried linguine or fettuccine

1/3 cup prepared pesto

2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Thread meat, peppers and mushrooms onto skewers and brush with 2 T oil. Season with salt.

Cook pasta.

Meanwhile, heat grill to medium high; oil grill grates and cook kabobs, turning frequently, until the meat is done, 7 to 9 min for medium. Remove from grill. Using a clean brush or spoon, coat meat generously with pesto.

Toss drained pasta with Parmesan, 1 T oil and black pepper; serve with kabobs. Approximately 6 servings.


Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

2 yellow squash in chunks 2 zucchini in chunks

1 large onion cut into wedges

2 large bell peppers cut in squares 16 large fresh mushrooms

16 cherry tomatoes

Garden Herb Marinade:

1/ 4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/ 4 cup olive oil

2 T red wine vinegar

1 T dried basil or fresh

1 T Dijon mustard

1/ 2 tsp. dried thyme

2 tsp minced garlic

2 T chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

8 skewers

Blend all marinade ingredients and pour over vegetables.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.  After preparing grill, drain vegetables, reserve marinade.  Alternate vegetable pieces on skewers and grill until tender, basting frequently with marinade. Grill about 15 minutes.


Quick Shrimp Pasta

 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil or T of dried

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp freshly grated Romano cheese

sea salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 lb penne pasta, prepared

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Stir well, then set aside. Preheat your oven’s broiler for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange the shrimp on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Then, sprinkle with 2 tbsp Romano cheese.

Broil the shrimp for 4-5 minutes per side, until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. Add the cooked penne pasta to the tomato mixture and stir well. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Stir again. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Spoon the pasta into bowls and top with 1/4 of the shrimp. Serve immediately.




Bacon Tomato Bites

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2T of Mrs Dash garden herb seasoning

Real bacon bits

Small grape tomatoes,sliced in half

Package of phylo shells (freezer section)

Diced green onions for garnish

Perfect for Get Togethers

Perfect for Get Togethers

Combine soften cream cheese with seasoning.  Toast phylo shells briefly.  Fill each with cream cheese mixture.  Top with bacon bits, green onions, and top with tomato half.  Makes 16 appetizers.  Serve any leftover cream cheese as a spread for crackers.




Fresh Pico de Gallo

Fresh and Fast: Fresh Pico de Gallo

3 Roma tomatoes,diced

1/2 cup purple onion,diced

2 T diced jalapeño

1 diced avocado

Fiesta lime mrs dash to taste

Fresh cilantro to taste

Fresh lime juice to taste

Gently fold all together.  Serve with tortilla chips


Snack Time!