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Whenever I am visiting a new town, for business or pleasure, I always go down to the front desk of the hotel in the early morning and ask, “Where is the best local breakfast joint? I want to go to the place where the old guys are reading the newspaper and arguing over politics and sports.” I…

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With the holiday season gone, many of us are taken aback looking at our waist line or stepping on the bathroom scale. And we make the annual vow to go on a diet. The question is which one.

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In my 40-year restaurant career, I have been a part of 22 new restaurant openings. Three of those were at the beginning of my career and were for other people’s restaurants. The other 19 have been restaurants I currently own or have owned.

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In a year in which it seems the headlines are filled with endless negative and controversial news stories, I thought it might be a nice break in the action to report on a few positive activities that occurred in 2020.

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I was staring into space one day and got to wondering about the preacher who baptized me and my brother Frank on the same day nearly 53 years ago at Eastview Baptist Church. I haven’t heard from Brother Richard Martin and his wife Barbara in decades.

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Around this time of year, newspapers are filled with end-of-the-year wrap-up stories about what has happened over the past 12 months. This year, there seems to be no lack of articles chronicling how bad 2020 was. The preceding 10 months were certainly among the worst — on many levels — in al…

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This time last year, I was very uncertain how 2020 would turn out. I remember being so nervous about having another baby and how that would affect KJ’s life. I remember mourning the first Christmas without my dad. I remember worrying about how to handle everything once Bradley Kate arrived. 

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Aren’t we happy to live here in the Free State of Jones County, Mississippi? 

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Members of the Laurel Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police gathered Thursday morning at Walmart in Laurel to participate in the annual "Shop With A Cop" event. Personnel from the Laurel Police Department and the Jones County Sheriff’s Department joined to purchase gifts with funding provid…

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The Sandersville Police Department set up its first “Christmas With a Cop” and eight families will benefit from the community’s generosity, SPD Chief Curt Pitts said. 

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For the 15th consecutive year, state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, above, his family and a small army of volunteers handed out turkeys on the Friday before Christmas. Below, McDaniel's younger son Chamberlain provides a turkey to a motorist. To get a turkey, those in the vehicles had to…

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Due to the novel coronavirus, donations to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign this year are different, with less of the iconic red kettles and bell-ringers outside of local stores and more online options to give instead. 

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The Ellisville Garden Club had no question about the brightest spot in town this December. On Dec. 6, Community Bank Park earned that honor, hands down, thanks to the Ellis Club, which sponsored Drivin’ Through a Winter Wonderland in partnership with the City of Ellisville, Community Bank, d…

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The Ellisville Garden Club’s November meeting was in the Ellisville First United Methodist Church fellowship hall with plenty of room for social distancing.

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In a few days, I will enter my 40th year in the restaurant business. Just over 33 of those years have been as a restaurant owner. I fell backward into this business. though from the first moment of the first shift of the first day I worked in a restaurant, I knew I wanted to own my own resta…

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Among words like “joyful,” “magical” and “heartwarming” used to describe a young family’s Christmas morning, there may be one other appropriate description — “pandemonium.” As the whirlwind of wrapping paper shredding and delighted squeals subsides, it’s altogether tempting to shoo the kids …

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Over the course of my 38-year restaurant career, I have been a part of 21 restaurant/bar openings. Three of those openings — the first three — were while working in other people’s restaurants. The remaining 18 openings were restaurants that were my concepts.

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Christmas at Landrum’s kicked off for the 37th consecutive year on Saturday. The homestead and village drew crowds from all over the region, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with candles being lit at 4:30 p.m. Music entertainment, a Civil War reenactment, food, wagon rides and more are featured each ye…

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It seems that nothing ever changes when it comes to hawking insurance to fill the gaps in Medicare coverage for seniors. The fervent sales pitches, the misinformation, and the incomplete and deceptive information continue to proliferate.

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Caroline Ellzey of Laurel sends a letter to St. Nick in a special mailbox in front of the Leader-Call office at 318 North Magnolia Street in downtown Laurel. Get your Letters to Santa in by Friday!

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Jay Scoggin’s business Jones County Drugs has been selected for “Yard of the Month” by the Ellisville Garden Club. The storefront of the owner/pharmacist is a longtime favorite of shoppers in the community, offering a beautiful setting on Hill Street as motorists head to downtown Ellisville.…

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Mr. and Mrs. Bob Billingsley will serve as chairman and chairwoman of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s upcoming fundraiser, The Bronze Gala MMXX. Instead of an in-person event this year, an online auction will be from 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3 through 8 p.m. Dec. 5. The online auction of fabu…

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This is the season of giving. We give gifts, we give of our time and we give food. For decades, when Thanksgiving rolled around, I would volunteer my time at a soup kitchen, dishing up turkey and dressing for those less fortunate. Sometimes I’d donate a can or two from my home pantry for my …

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Jay Scoggin’s business Jones County Drugs has been selected for “Yard of the Month” by the Ellisville Garden Club. The storefront of the owner/pharmacist is a longtime favorite of shoppers in the community, offering a beautiful setting on Hill Street as motorists head to downtown Ellisville.…

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These alley cats were spotted across the street from Gecko’s on North Magnolia Street in downtown Laurel, playing what looked like their own version of hide-and-seek. They retreated into a hole in the wall as the photographer approached — but they didn’t appear to feel overly threatened. At …

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Pastor who beat cancer advises men to take care of their health

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As men reach 40 years old, they may start thinking about how to keep their hair or lose weight, but many may not think about seeing a urologist. To take charge of their health, men should begin regular appointments with urologists at age 40. 

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Christmas is without a doubt my favorite time of the year, and I hope that I pass that on to KJ and Bradley as they get older. Although Christmas has been on my mind the last two months, it is hard to truly start Christmas traditions (aside from the tree) before the beginning of December. Ho…

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If a guest at your table told you she thanked her clothes everyday after wearing them, I hope you wouldn’t trust her with a knife to cut the sweet potato pie. There is a lady who has now made millions advocating for this and for throwing out anything that doesn’t bring you joy.

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It’s the season of gratitude. Despite all of the problems and challenges the year 2020 has thrown in our paths, there are so many things for which to still be grateful. If you are reading this, you are alive and have survived the last eight months in various states of business and personal s…

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Each year, the Rho Sigma chapter of Jones College’s Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society takes on a project to assist the college’s administration, as well as the campus and the surrounding community. 

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The Mississippi Main Street Association board of directors has established an endowment with the CREATE Foundation of Tupelo. The Mississippi Main Street Endowment Fund will be used to provide support for the general operations of the association. The mission of MMSA is to be a catalyst for …

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The ladies of the Ellisville Garden Club gathered in the spacious Family Life Center of First Baptist in Ellisville for the October meeting. 

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All food is regional — whether it is an entrée such as deep-dish pizza from Chicago, a lobster roll from Maine or a plate of jambalaya from Louisiana. Soups are also regional — clam chowder, gumbo, cioppino and Frogmore stew.

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The corporate vision statement of the New South Restaurant Group states, “We exist to support our co-workers, delight our guests, and serve our community.” That is the vein that runs through the core of our business. All of the decisions we make are based within that context. Will it be bene…

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Park Place Garden Club joined the merchants of downtown Laurel for the tradition of displaying Loblolly Fall Festival scarecrows. The theme for 2020 is “Famous Mississippians.” Park Place has projects in two downtown locations which allowed two entries. 

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In a first for its usual breast cancer awareness event at Brown Circle, the Laurel Housing Authority launched a parade through the neighborhood loop on Thursday, Oct. 15, and included Mayor Johnny Magee, Laurel first-responders and more.