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Fairground Street Bridge by Marcus Allen



Marcus Allen of Allen Photography has provided us with this new photo.

Click through to see the large version of this incredible new photograph of an old thing.


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No. 6 Hinds knocks off Co-Lin, 35-21



The No. 6 ranked Hinds Community College Eagles won their fourth straight game as they defeated the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolves 35-21 Thursday night to up their record to 6-1 in front of a massive home crowd.

The Eagles kicked off the scoring when quarterback Elijah Walker found Javon Antonio for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 10:02 left in the first quarter.

Hinds added another score after running back Don Ragsdale leapt into the end zone from a yard out. The one-yard touchdown run capped off a 12-play, 78-yard drive which gave the Eagles a 14-0 lead at the start of the second quarter.

CLCC quickly responded with a five-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 15-yard touchdown pass, which cut the Hinds lead to 14-7 with 13:01 left in the second quarter.

With under a minute to go in the first half, Hinds pushed their lead to two scores after Walker connected with Tabashi Thomas for a 21-yard touchdown pass. Walker’s second passing touchdown of the night gave Hinds a 21-7 lead at the half.

The third quarter proved to be a back-and-forth affair. Co-Lin started off the second half with an eight-play, 84-yard drive that was completed with a two-yard touchdown run.

Hinds followed that up with a seven-play 70-yard drive capped off by a four-yard touchdown run by Ragsdale.

Co-Lin would answer right back with a four-play, 49-yard drive that was finished off with a 12-yard touchdown pass.

Hinds, however, had the final say when Walker linked up with Traveyon Craig for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Walker’s third touchdown pass of the night gave Hinds a 35-21 lead with 3:28 remaining on the clock in the third quarter.

The Eagles’ defense was able to hold the Wolves at bay the remainder of the game and secure the 35-21 victory.

With the win, the Eagles improve to 6-1 overall on the season and 3-1 in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges South Division. They are ranked sixth nationally by the National Junior College Athletic Association.

On offense,  Walker was 20 for 28 passing and threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Ragsdale led the way in the backfield with 22 rushes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. On the receiving end, Craig, Thomas, and Antonio all finished with four catches and a touchdown each.

On defense, Jonathan Jordan led the way with six tackles. Additionally, Amos Robinson, Jaylen Heffner and Chris Blair caused havoc in the backfield all night, as each collected two sacks of their own.

The Eagles hold their destiny in their hands with two games remaining in the season. If they win their final two games, they will secure a first-place finish and the MACJC South Division Championship. Furthermore, they would have home field advantage in the playoffs.

Hinds (6-1, 3-1) will hit the road next week to take on the East Central Community College Warriors (4-3, 3-1) in Decatur. Kickoff for the MACJC South Division matchup is slated for 6:30 p.m.

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Hinds defeats Coahoma 54-26 on homecoming night



football player

RAYMOND – The Hinds Community College Eagles defeated the Coahoma Community College Tigers 54-26 in front of another max-capacity crowd Thursday.

The matchup served as Hinds’ homecoming game, and the Eagles, ranked 11th in the most recent Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges poll, did not disappoint. They scored all 54 points in the first two quarters of the game and led 54-12 at halftime. The sizable lead implemented the MACJC’s mercy rule, which enables the clock to run the entire second half without stopping.

Hinds kicked off the action when quarterback Elijah Walker, of Amite, La., completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Javon Antonio, of Reserve, La., with 11:10 remaining in the first quarter.

Hinds then blocked the Tiger punt on the ensuing drive and recovered it on the CCC 25-yard line. Coahoma responded as they recovered a Hinds fumble on the very next play and returned it 75-yards for a touchdown of their own. Their two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, so Hinds led 7-6 with 9:57 left in the first quarter.

The Eagles then went on a scoring spree. Don Ragsdale, of Pisgah, started off the spree with a 33-yard touchdown run. Following a Tiger fumble Derrick Turner, of Raymond, punched in his first touchdown of the game with a seven-yard run which increased the Hinds lead to 21-6. Sophomore defensive back Rodrevious Harris, of Lexington, quickly got the ball back for the Hinds offense when he intercepted the Tiger pass.

Walker then found Antonio in the end zone again as the duo connected for the four-yard touchdown. Antonio’s second touchdown reception of the evening increased Hinds’ lead to 28-6 with 12:09 on the clock in the second quarter.

Running back Zhadarian Haywood, of Terry, then got in on the action himself as he ran for two touchdowns. Haywood’s first touchdown came when he found the end zone with a 38-yard touchdown run.

Then, in the span of one minute, Hinds and Coahoma combined to fumble the ball three times. First, Hinds recovered a Tiger fumble before fumbling the ball back to Coahoma on the very next play. On Coahoma’s very next play they fumbled the ball back to Hinds.

Following the game of “hot potato,” Haywood then barreled his way through CCC defenders and into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night on a 28-yard run, which gave Hinds a 40-6 lead with 6:53 left in the second quarter.

After former Warren Central Viking player Joe’Vontae Shorter recovered CCC’s fourth fumble of the game, Turner scored his second touchdown on a six-yard run that increased the Hinds lead to 47-6 with 3:22 left in the first half.

The play of the game then came when quarterback Jack Garrad, of Madison, rifled a pass 61-yards into the end zone that wide receiver Tabashi Thomas, of Douglasville, Ga., hauled in over his shoulder for the touchdown. The highlight reel play gave the Eagles a 54-6 lead with 50 seconds left in the half.

Coahoma went on to close out the first half with a nice drive capped off by a 22-yard touchdown pass as time expired on the clock.

The Tigers would score the only points of the second half as they completed two touchdown passes of 33 and 52 yards to cut Hinds lead to 54-26 with just 5:48 left in the fourth quarter.

With the clock unable to be stopped, Hinds went on to close out the game and secure the 54-26 win.

The Eagles’ offense ran 53 plays for a total of 438 yards. Turner led the way as he finished with 18 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Ragsdale tallied nine carries for 79 yards and one touchdown, while Haywood finished with three carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Walker completed six of his 10 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Garrad completed his only pass for 61 yards and a touchdown. On the receiving end, Thomas hauled in two catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, while Antonio tallied two receptions for 17 yards and two touchdowns.

On defense, the Eagles allowed just 10 first downs, 224 yards of Tiger offense, and forced/secured five turnovers (four fumbles and one interception). The victory improves the Eagles overall record to 5-1 on the season.

No. 11 Hinds (5-1, 2-1) will be back at home next week as they take on the No. 15 ranked Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolves (3-3, 1-2) in a crucial MACJC South Division matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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The long Mississippi River trip of Leon Pantenburg



Leon Pantenburg, from his website.

“This is Leon Pantenburg,” Karen Chaney said, introducing the young man standing next to her. “He’s the canoeist of the week.”

Leon’s face broke into a big grin, so I knew he didn’t take himself too seriously.

The date was Saturday, Oct. 24, 1980, about four in the afternoon. Karen, then city editor of The Vicksburg Post, had brought Leon to the Old Court House Museum where I was director. I had once worked for the Post, and canoeists on the Mississippi River were not unusual, though most seemed to think the feat had not been accomplished by anyone since La Salle.

After a few pleasantries, Karen told me Leon probably wouldn’t be in Vicksburg but about four hours. Did I have time to take him through the park?

After a tour of the Vicksburg National Military Park—I took with us a Danish journalist sent to America to cover the election between Reagan and Carter—we went to Goldies for some good barbecue. By then it was dark. The Dane had to catch a plane in Jackson, so I suggested to Leon that it was too late to pitch a tent on a sandbar, so why not go to my house for the night?

It was the beginning of a long-time friendship.

Leon was from Ames, Iowa, where he grew up on a farm along with six sisters and a brother. He had the typical part-time jobs most high-school boys had along with tending to farm chores. After high school, he graduated from Iowa State with a double major, journalism and English, and later earned graduate credits at Wayne State.

Leon Pantenburg. Photo courtesy Mr. Pantenburg.

Leon began his canoe trip at Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the headwaters of the Mississippi River, planning not to stop until he reached the Gulf of Mexico, but at Port Sulphur, La., he was told by the Coast Guard he could go no farther because of safety concerns. He called me, and I headed south in my pickup and brought him and his canoe back to Campbell Swamp (which is where I live near Yokena, south of Vicksburg).

Leon visited the newspapers along the way, looking for interesting people. Having his name in a local paper, telling about his trip, would give him credibility, “and showed that I was not just a vagrant, that I was socially acceptable.” he said.

Plying the Mississippi wasn’t his first such adventure. He had walked the John Muir Trail—225 miles of rough terrain in the Sierra Nevada—had traversed the Thorofare Loop in Yellowstone and had hiked Death Valley.

A river trip would be different, with unusual sights and people each day. Besides, he said, if he wrote about hiking a mountain trail, “what would I see all day—the same thing over and over—and what would I write except, ‘My feet hurt today’?”

He remembers seeing the river a few times when he was a youth, but it was Mark Twain’s book about Huck Finn that grabbed his interest. Leon was in the sixth grade, and when he pulled the book from off the shelf, it wasn’t required reading, but he was so enthralled with it that he skipped recess to see how it ended. A teacher discovered him reading instead of being outside playing ball. His punishment would have been for him to stay in where he would read more books—and his teacher suggested additional books he might enjoy.

Mark Twain’s writings about the Mississippi River were seeds planted in Leon’s mind. They matured to the point that years later, at age 27, he was on his way down the Father of Waters.

He did meet a lot of interesting people along the way, wrote the book and “saw it rejected by 13 publishers, some of them very prestigious.”

Back in Vicksburg, Leon kept postponing his departure. He wrote in his journal, “I like these people!” and then, paraphrasing John Denver, he added, “I feel like I’ve come home to a place I’ve never been before.”

With his winning smile and gregarious nature, Leon made friends instantly and soon he was part of the community, not just “the Yankee who came to supper.” He did some substitute teaching before landing a job with The Vicksburg Post.

Leon Pantenburg, from his website.

At the newspaper, he did what all reporters are expected to do: He wrote crime stories, obituaries and features. He got lucky and won an award “that impressed some people” and went to Washington, D.C., for the presentation. That led to a job in the capital where he became editor of the Pentagram newspaper.

A friend from Vicksburg, George Halford, was also living in Washington, and he was invited to attend a picnic and a Statler Brothers concert with Leon and his staff. When George showed up, he was helping carry a cooler. Holding on to the other handle was a pretty girl: Debbie Pickens from Vicksburg.

Debbie’s mother, Ethel, knew Leon and told him to contact her daughter, but he had not had time. Debbie was director of classifieds for USA Today.

Leon and Debbie married and later moved to Idaho and then to Oregon where Leon was on the staff of the Bend, Ore., newspaper, The Bulletin, and also on the faculty at Central Oregon Community College.

A few years ago they decided to move back to Mississippi. They chose Brandon because Debbie’s parents lived there. Oregon was a very expensive place to live, plus 50 inches of snow in the winter made the heat of the South more inviting. And the nest was empty: son Daniel lives in Portland, Ore., daughter Mary is in Los Angeles and son Jimmy is deceased.

Back in the state, Leon would not only be close to the river, but he felt at home for another reason: Mississippi is the birthplace of American music, and Leon plays the fiddle and especially likes old-time country.

He plays his great-grandfather’s fiddle (his great-great-grandfather was also a fiddler). Before he took up the fiddle, when he was a child, his mother bought him a harmonica. He got his first guitar when he was 17 and the next year purchased a Yamaha FG300. He wanted to play the banjo like Grandpa Jones, but when he picked up that century-old fiddle, “It just felt right,” he said.

Leon wanted to start a wilderness survival school in Mississippi. He was disgusted with the so-called reality TV shows, and he began a web site, Survival Common Sense, which he thought about 30 people might read, but it has gone international. He also works with the Quapaw Canoe Company, which provides guided canoe trips for people from all over the world.

Of the many people Leon met on his trip down the river, there was one in particular he’ll never forget, for she was a prophet. She was Mildred Rushing from Lake Providence, La. She was also a reporter; it was she who told him to look up Charlie Faulk in Vicksburg at the Post, which is where he met Karen Chaney.

“I knew nothing about the South,” Leon said. Mildred quizzed him about his life, and then told him the South was a land of the most beautiful women and he’d never get out of the South single. He thought of that when he met Debbie Pickens who had been Miss Vicksburg and was in the finals for Miss Mississippi. Soon she became Mrs. Pantenburg.

Vicksburg felt like home, and now it is home. Leon teaches a class in communications for a home school group, is a member of the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society, attends Yokena Presbyterian Church and plays music with his friends. Whenever he gets a chance, he likes to walk in the woods of Campbell Swamp.

When life comes to an end, Leon wants his ashes placed in Malena’s Creek by the cabin Elvadee, which he helped build. The waters from the creek flow into Jim Bayou, which merges with Price Bayou just before it enters the Big Black River—and then into the Mississippi River.

Finally, Leon will reach the Gulf of Mexico!

This story is by Gordon Cotton. Cotton is the curator emeritus at the Old Court House Museum. He’s the author of several books and is a renowned historian.

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