Coffee Central will keep you fueled and refreshed

On a cold Saturday morning in November, I made my first visit to Coffee Central in Southaven, accompanied by my wife. We are frequent patrons of Starbucks, but have been searching for a good local option to visit on the weekends.

The cozy cafe has a relaxing, lounge-type atmosphere with friendly staff ready to get your caffeine fix.

Coffee Central has been in operation in Southaven since early 2017, located on Getwell Rd., just a block or so from DeSoto Central High School.

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The menu features your standard coffeehouse staples such as flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos. Cold and frozen drinks are on the menu in addition to hot teas.

I spotted a Simonelli espresso maker behind the counter, a high quality, Italian engineered espresso machine.

For being a little over a year old, the team at Coffee Central does a lot things right– which is hard to do when you are a young small business. It’s why they have a near perfect rating on Facebook: 4.9 out of 5 stars out of 89 reviews as of this writing.

They have an inviting and cozy atmosphere. The espresso was was robust and flavorful, which is hard to master. If not done properly, your espresso will have sort of a “burnt” taste to it.

The staff is very friendly and inviting, too. It was nice to see some pastries in a little bakers box beside the register. The shiplap wooden bench gave an inspired and cozy feel to the entire cafe.

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My cappuccino was made just wright. My wife’s peppermint mocha was tasty and sweet! Just the right amount of mocha and peppermint flavor.

I tried a pumpkin streusel muffin and my wife tried a sausage gravy and biscuit. The muffin was tasty– who doesn’t love streusel? The sausage gravy was a little salty, a little creamy and paired perfectly with my wife’s peppermint mocha latte.

Coffee Central is a great addition to our community. It’s a safe, family-friendly space to gather and fellowship over a great cup of coffee or espresso.

Keep an eye on their Facebook page, they frequently post about special menu items and encourage reservations for parties and showers.

Once you’ve visited Coffee Central, you’ll wish they were open 24/7!

Operating Hours

Monday-Friday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Coffee Central on Facebook
https://www.coffeecentral.cc/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: OB Pizza Co.

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The recently opened OB Pizza Co., located in the same building as the Mississippi Ale House, is perhaps some of the best pizza in the area.

From the mind of Chef Jonathan Mah, creator of Side Street Burgers, OB Pizza Co. is a delicious pizzeria which features traditional and imaginative creations.

But even the traditional pizzas have Chef Mah’s signature all over them.

The pizzas are topped with his signature pizza sauce, which combines San Marzano tomatoes, fresh garlic and oregano, plus Bacio mozzarella cheese.

Your pizza can be made three different ways: thin crust (6 slices), original crust (8 slices) or cauliflower crust (6 slices).

You also have options for getting your pizza. You can call in an order and pick it up, eat in the restaurant or through local delivery service Bite Squad and have it brought straight to your door.

My wife and I ordered The Hungry Man with original crust. It came out in just a few minutes time. We waited in the Mississippi Ale House and ordered a coffee stout beer and a cider while we waited. It was lunchtime on a Saturday, so college football was playing on the screens on both sides of the bar.

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Our pizza, which came topped with spicy Atlanta Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon and Bacio mozzarella cheese, smelled just as good as it looked. It came out piping hot and fresh.

Each slice was juicy, cheesy and salty. The salt from the various meats on this particular pizza paired very nicely with the spicy Italian Atlanta sausage and Chef Mah’s signature sauce.

I’m looking forward to a return visit where I’ll likely try a pizza with the cauliflower crust and order some of Chef Mah’s Kung Fu chicken wings.

The wings are prepared in hot chili oil, buffalo wing sauce and topped with red onions and parsley.

The food, paired with some nice cold beer from the taps of Mississippi make for a great lunch, dinner or game day.

Check the restaurant’s Facebook page for new menu items, limited run menu items and other special announcements.

Review: 9 out of 10

Operating Hours
Wednesday & Thursday: 4-9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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OB Pizza Co. menu (photo via OB Pizza Co. Facebook page)

 

Hidden Gems: NBA G-League games in Southaven

If you’re looking for something fun to do close to home, the NBA’s G-League is a great option for a cheap night out.

The G-League (formally the D-League/Developmental League) is the official minor league of the NBA. NBA teams are assigned a G-League affiliate where they can staff a team with young prospective NBA talent to develop their skills in hopes of getting a call-up to the NBA.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has a successful minor league system and the NBA is doing its best to mirror their model. The NBA has placed affiliate teams in nearby markets to serve as a launchpad for many players looking to join the professional basketball ranks. Unlike in baseball where you have Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A ball, the G-League has just one tier of teams.

The Hustle are affiliated with the Memphis Grizzlies, which makes all the sense in the world, considering they are just a short trip over the state line.

Lower-level tickets start out at $12 and the most expensive ticket is about $25– much more palatable than the prices you pay at the NBA level in the FedEx Forum.

The Hustle have a great roster this season, featuring a mix of players with regional ties and ties to the Grizzlies. The team is coached by Brad Jones, who played and coached at Lambuth University in nearby Jackson, Tenn. and later served as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Utah Jazz.

Former Arkansas Razorback sharpshooter Dusty Hannahs and former Memphis Tiger rimrocker D.J. Stephens are two players on the roster that will appeal to local collegiate fans.

The Grizzlies’ 2018 second round draft pick JeVon Carter (point guard, West Virginia University) and Japanese-born Yuta Watanabe (forward, George Washington University) both anchor the Hustle.

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I recently attended the Hustle’s opening night on Nov. 9 at the Landers Center in Southaven and had a great time.

Some things to keep in mind if you decide to attend a Hustle game:

  • Bring at least $5 in cash to pay to park (cash only)
  • You will go through metal detectors when you enter, so leave your pocket knives, pepper spray, etc. in the car

Opening night for the Hustle happened to also coincide with the season’s first Kids Club, which is an area on the floor with interactive inflatables for the kids, a team store and more. You can sign up for the Kids Club for free and you receive a free ticket to a Hustle game, a kids lanyard and your kid gets to shoot some layups after Friday night games.

The game is action packed, physical and uptempo.

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The in-game experience is on-par with an NBA game. The players are highly skilled and don’t take any plays off. They are all fighting for the right to be on an NBA roster. This game featured all the action you would expect from an NBA game: breakaway dunks, alley-oops, put-back dunks, crazy three pointers and show-stopping blocks.

The pep squad, for lack of a better name, throws out t-shirts during time outs, interacts with fans with trivia during the game and more. The usual in-game music and chant music is pumped into the arena during the game as well.

There was even a halftime performance from a world-record holding juggler who could juggle everything from bowling pins, to flying discs to tennis racquets. It was impressive.

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Besides the great game play and great ticket prices, the concession prices were price conscious, too.

Much of the menu was no more than $6 bucks, which featured pizza, chicken wings, hot dogs, nachos– the standard concession food. Plus plenty of snacks, soda, candy and beer. A refillable soda cup is $6, which is good for unlimited soda refills.

Since this was my first game, I cannot say for certain if this happens regularly, but Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace was in attendance for opening night, sporting a crimson sports jacket and sitting under the basket near the Hustle’s bench.

Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff also made an appearance at the game later in the first half, sitting on the other side of the goal as Wallace. Former NBA champion (with the 2004 “bad boy” Detroit Pistons squad) and 2008 gold medalist Tayshaun Prince was also spotted at the game court-side. Prince is now a front office executive with the Grizzlies.

After you’ve been to one game, if you’re like me, you’ll be looking forward to the next Hustle game. If it happens to be a game you can’t make or a road game, some Hustle games are broadcast on Facebook Watch and on ESPN’s new premium streaming service, ESPN+. You can check out the team’s full schedule and broadcast schedule here. At least two Hustle games will be broadcast on traditional television on NBATV and on ESPNU later this season.

The bottom line is the Hustle provide great entertainment value. Cheap parking, cheap food and cheap seats, but a great on-court product.

 

The North Mississippi Guide to the 2018 Midterm Elections

No matter your party affiliation, Election Day is a day in which we see our democracy in action. We, the people, cast a ballot to either retain or replace those who represent us in Washington. They’ll also be a few local races on the ballot as well.

For those of us who live in the Tip of the ‘Sip, election season can be a confusing time, namely because we live in the Memphis, Tenn. media market. This means if you turn on your television or listen to most radio stations, you’re likely to hear an ad for a candidate running in Tennessee– someone we cannot vote for.

This is the definitive guide for the midterms for those of us who live in DeSoto County.  This is meant as an exploratory guide to help you learn more about the candidates.

Before we get too far along– are you registered to vote? You can check the rolls and make sure your name and address appear in the database by clicking here. Once you see your name in the database, click “display” and you can see the address and a map of your polling place. Important note: you can only vote at your precinct.

If you live in DeSoto County, this is what your ballot will look like (see photo below). If you’ve never voted in Mississippi, you may be surprised to learn we do not vote electronically. Our ballots look similar to one of those standardized fill-in-the-bubble sheets you might’ve used in high school or college.

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Sample Ballot in DeSoto County in Mississippi

You’ll notice there are 10 elections in North Mississippi, but many are races in which there is only one candidate on the ballot, meaning you will have to vote for the only candidate listed, write in your own choice or skip that box.

Let’s take a closer look at the contested races.

United States Senate (six-year term)

The incumbent in this seat is Roger Wicker, a Republican from Pontotoc. He was appointed to the office Dec 31, 2007 to replace former Senator Trent Lott. Wicker successfully ran to retain Lott’s seat in Nov. 2008 and won re-election for the seat in Nov. 2012. Wicker served in the United States Air Force and Air Force Reserves. Wicker is married, has three children and six grandchildren.

As U.S. Senator, Wicker serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on Rules & Administration and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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Roger Wicker and family

On June 5, 2018 Roger Wicker was endorsed by President Donald Trump via Twitter.

According to FEC reports, as of Oct. 17, Wicker has raised $5,369,249.28 and spent $4,876,820.50 in the 2018 election cycle.

Learn more about Roger Wicker: 
Roger Wicker’s Campaign Website
Roger Wicker on Facebook / Roger Wicker on Twitter
Roger Wicker’s Campaign Financials 

Wicker’s main opposition comes from Democrat David Baria. Currently, Baria serves as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives. The Pascagoula native is an attorney and former contractor. He is the senior partner in the Baria-Jones law firm and operated a company that removed rubble and debris from Hurricane Katrina. Baria is married and has three children.

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David Baria and family

According to the FEC reports, as of Oct. 17, 2018, Baria has raised: $953,051.50 and spent $941,076.13 in the 2018 election cycle.

Learn more about David Baria: 

David Baria’s Campaign Website
David Baria on Facebook / David Baria on Twitter
David Baria’s Campaign Financials 

In addition to Wicker and Baria, two others are running for this seat: Libertarian Danny Bedwell and Shawn O’Hara of the Reform Party.

United States Senate Special Election (two years remain on the term)

This special election is to fill the vacancy left by Thad Cochran, who retired due to health issues after serving in the United States Senate for 40 years. After Cochran vacated his seat, Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith to serve as the interim Senator. In doing so, Hyde-Smith became the Mississippi’s first ever female Senator.

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Cindy Hyde-Smith at a campaign event

Prior to being appointed to the U.S. Senate, Hyde-Smith served as Mississippi’s Agriculture Commissioner– a post she held since 2012. One of her major accomplishments as the Agriculture Commissioner was helping reopen the markets in China for American beef exports.

Hyde-Smith, a Brookhaven native, is married and has one child. Hyde-Smith received an endorsement from President Trump and attended a rally with him in Southaven in October 2018.

According to FEC reports, as of Oct. 17, 2018 Hyde-Smith has raised $2,768,835.20 and spent $2,194,121.87 in the 2018 election cycle.

Learn more about Cindy Hyde-Smith: 
Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Campaign Website
Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Facebook / Cindy Hyde-Smith on Twitter
Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Campaign Financials

Hyde-Smith is facing a tough challenge from Mississippi State Senator and Republican Chris McDaniel and Democrat Mike Espy. Tobey Bartee is also in the race, but is not considered to be a contender in this race.

McDaniel ran against Cochran for the seat in the 2014 Republican Primary, nearly defeating Cochran, loosing in a run-off. McDaniel is a former federal law clerk and attorney. He currently represents the 42nd district of Mississippi’s State Senate.

McDaniel is married and has two children. He’s a native of Ellisville, Mississippi.

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Chris McDaniel and family

According to FEC reports, as of Oct. 17, 2018 McDaniel has raised $527,847.92 and spent $507,816.74 in the 2018 election cycle.

Learn more about Chris McDaniel: 
Chris McDaniel’s Campaign Website
Chris McDaniel’s Facebook / Chris McDaniel on Twitter
Chris McDaniel’s Campaign Financials

Mike Espy, a former United States Secretary of Agriculture under President Bill Clinton, is the Democrat’s contender for this seat.

Mike Espy served as a Congressman for Mississippi’s 2nd District from 1987-1993 and as the 25th United States Secretary of Agriculture from 1993-1994.

He resigned from his position as Secretary of Agriculture due to allegations that he used his position to receive perks and gifts. He was acquitted of all 30 corruption charges.

President Clinton, upon learning of Espy’s acquittal, released a statement through the White House encouraging him to continue his public service.

“I am heartened that he has, as he said, emerged from this ordeal stronger. I hope that as he moves forward he will continue his notable record of service to the country,” President Clinton said in the 1998 release.

Espy has noted on the campaign trail that he endorsed Republican Haley Barbour for re-election in 2007, citing his leadership and momentum gained from dealing with Hurricane Katrina.

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Mike Espy was a former Secretary of Agriculture under President Bill Clinton

Espy is married and has three children. One of his children played for Ole Miss as a wide receiver with Eli Manning.

According to FEC reports, as of Oct. 17, 2018 Espy has raised $1,867,166.42 and spent $1,240,181.42 in the 2018 election cycle.

Learn more about Mike Espy:
Mike Espy’s Campaign Website
Mike Espy’s Facebook / Mike Espy on Twitter
Mike Espy’s Campaign Financials

In this special election, the candidates will be listed as “non partisan.” If you look at the sample ballot, you’ll notice the Republican and Democrat labels are missing on this election. Additionally, in order to win this seat, the winner must accumulate more than 50% of the vote. If none of the candidates get at least 50% of the vote, a run-off election will be held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27), featuring the top two candidates.

Whoever wins this seat will serve out the remainder of Cochran’s term, which was slated to end in 2020.

U.S. Congress – District 01 (two-year term)

Trent Kelly, a Republican from Union, Mississippi, is the incumbent Congressman for District 1. Prior to becoming a Congressman, Kelly served a District Attorney in the 1st Judicial District of Mississippi from 2012-2015.

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Kelly has served in the United States National Guard since 1985, where he currently serves as a Brigadier General with the Joint Force Headquarters in Mississippi. Kelly has received numerous awards for his military service, including two Bronze Stars.

Kelly is married and has 3 children. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture Committee and Small Business Committee. Additionally, Kelly serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations.

According to FEC reports, as of Oct. 17, 2018 Kelly has raised $866,801.90 and spent $580,571.80 in the 2018 election cycle.

Learn more about Trent Kelly: 
Trent Kelly’s Campaign Website
Trent Kelly’s Facebook / Trent Kelly on Twitter
Trent Kelly’s Campaign Financials 

Randy Wadkins is the Democrat candidate running against incumbent Trent Kelly. Wadkins is a Chemistry Professor at the University of Mississippi, where he has taught there for the past 14 years. Prior to that, he analyzed policy for Memphis-area Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09). He also worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

When he’s not teaching, he’s working on research that focuses on developing improved anti-tumor drugs to treat cancer.

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According to FEC reports, as of Oct. 17, 2018 Wadkins has raised $152,519.05 and spent $101,858.45 in the 2018 election cycle.

Learn more about Randy Wadkins: 
Randy Wadkins’ Campaign Website
Randy Wadkins’ Facebook / Randy Wadkins on Twitter
Randy Wadkins’ Campaign Financials

Tracella Lou O’Hara Hill is also on the ticket, running as a member of the Reform Party.

Circuit Court – District 17 (four-year term)

Celeste Embrey Wilson was appointed to the 17th District Circuit Court Judge in February 2017 by Gov. Phil Bryant. Prior to that, she served as an Assistant District Attorney and was later elected County Judge.

Judge Wilson is a life-long DeSoto County resident and volunteers her time working for various organizations and courts in the area.  She worked her way through law school as the Membership Director for the Southaven Chamber of Commerce.

Judge Wilson is married and has two children. She and her family are members of the Getwell Church in Southaven.

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Learn more about Celeste Embrey Wilson: 
Celeste Embrey Wilson’s Campaign Website
Celeste Embrey Wilson’s FacebookCeleste Embrey Wilson on Twitter

Stan Little is a businessman, entrepreneur and attorney, based in Hernando. While a student in law school, Little started his own restaurant and employed nearly 50 students. Little lists broadcaster, magazine publisher, newspaper columnist and cotton merchant as some of his ventures.

Little’s most successful venture is Southern Airways, a regional airline that has turned into the third-largest commuter airline in the country with more than 100 daily departures.

Little has practiced law for 15 years now and runs a small solo law firm, located on the square in Hernando.

Little is married and has one child.

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Learn more about Stan Little: 
Stan Little’s Campaign Website
Stan Little’s Facebook

Things to Remember on Election Day

  • Make sure you have proof of ID. Some common and acceptable proof of identity are a drivers license, Voter ID card, military ID or passport
  • Need a ride? Pull up the Uber app– they are offering free rides to your polling place (you’ll have to pay to get home or wherever you need to be after you vote)
  • Remember the polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Today is the only day you can vote– Mississippi does not participate in Early Voting.