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Community gets ready to welcome legislators

Mississippi School of Arts supporters, community officials andvolunteers will roll out the red carpet today — literally — for acampus visit by state legislators.

Legislators are scheduled to be picked up in Jackson thisafternoon and transported to the campus for an informative visit tothe Whitworth College campus. Events are scheduled to kick off at4:30 p.m.

Jennifer Jackson, Mississippi School of the Arts marketingdirector, praised the level of community cooperation andparticipation to assist with today’s event.

“The community has come together,” Jackson said. “A lot ofdifferent clubs, organizations and individuals have come togetherto make this possible.”

Jackson mentioned the Brookhaven Exchange Club’s placing flagsthis morning along the walkway to Lampton Auditorium, and thepolice department’s plans to block Jackson Street for legislators’arrival. Local scout troops will be on hand this afternoon to rollout the red carpet in welcoming lawmakers.

In preparation for a Mardi Gras-themed reception at Belle Rosen,Jackson said Jimminette Phillips and Becky Corkern spent Wednesdaycooking chicken and sausage for jambalaya. Dr. Wade Ditcharo isclosing his office this afternoon to prepare the meal, Jacksonsaid.

“He’s an expert mass-quantity jambalaya cooker,” Jackson said.”He’s lending his services and doing that for us.”

Major sponsors for today’s event are Bank of Brookhaven, StateBank and Trust and Trustmark National Bank. Others providingin-kind products or services include: Becker and Associates, theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, Brookhaven Music,the Brookhaven Trust, Flower Tree, Janie’s Pastry Shop, MageeGraphics, Mississippi Cheese Straw Factory, Power APAC JazzEnsemble, Southwest Distributors Inc., Wal-Mart Supercenter, WandSeed Store, We Frame and many community volunteers.

“Through our major sponsors and in-kind donation of products andservices, the whole endeavor is not costing the Mississippi Schoolof the Arts anything,” Jackson said. “It could not be done with allthe volunteers.”

All members of the House and Senate have been invited toBrookhaven, but Jackson did not have a number on those planning toattend.

“There’s always something going on,” Jackson said, mentioning areception this evening for a retiring senator. “You’re always goingto conflict with something.”

Jackson said the visit is a chance for MSA officials to thankstate lawmakers and local officials for support of the artsschool.

“We hope they realize what a jewel this campus already is andwhat opportunities there will be for the children of Mississippi,”Jackson said.