Racers Roll In 25th Annual Soap Box Derby

racers Racers Roll In 25th Annual Soap Box DerbyThe 25th annual Deborah Washington Memorial Soap Box Derby was a success, with more than 30 competitors speeding across the finish line during the daylong event.

The race, held April 29 in Moss Point, was sponsored by the Chevron Black Employee Network (BEN) and Moss Point Active Citizens (MPAC). The Chevron Enabled and PRIDE Networks also supported the event.

Originally known as the Magnolia State Soap Box Derby, the event’s name was changed to honor Deborah Washington after she lost her battle with breast cancer. Washington started the event in 1992, and was a beloved Refinery employee known for her active community involvement.

The Derby draws participants from across the Southeast and is open to children between the ages of 7 and 21 who build their cars from kits. There are four divisions, which also includes the Super Kids division for special needs children.

Winners of all four Moss Point divisions advance to the compete in the All- American Soap Box Championship in Akron, Ohio.

More than 30 Refinery volunteers contributed to the success of the event by keeping the official heat times, hauling the derby cars from the finish line back to the start, swapping car wheels after each race, positioning the cars in the staging area, and even handing out bottled water.


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Refinery Offers Training for Volunteer Firefighters

More than 50 local volunteer firefighters from (17) different fire departments attended the free annual training event hosted by the Pascagoula Refinery Plant Protection Department in April.

Firefighters who attended were able to practice dowsing flames at several of the fire training ground’s props, including the tanker truck and pump props. They also honed their search and rescue skills by navigating the smokehouse, which simulates conditions in a house fire, and received hands-on training using the Jaws of Life for rescuing victims from vehicles. There was also a presentation put on by Blossman Gas on how to properly take care of propane tank leaks and fires. The firefighters also received training on the use of firefighting foam.

Several vendors supported the training event, including ABC Recycle, Emergency Equipment Professionals, ORR Safety, Blossman Gas, Sunbelt Fire, Akron Brass, and Forts Lake Fire Department.

Also, a special thanks goes to training organizer Teddy Riley, and all of the Plant Protection and Emergency Response Team members who assisted with the event.

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Chevron Honored For Diversity Practices

MS-Honors Chevron Honored For Diversity PracticesRefinery employee Allison Cook (right) accepts Chevron’s award from ourMississippi publisher Wesley Wells.

For the second year in a row, Chevron was honored for the company’s diversity efforts at the annual ourMississippi Honors Gala in Tupelo, Miss. Over 300 people attended the fourth annual event, which was hosted by ourMississippi Magazine to recognize Mississippi corporations for their efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion. Famed actor John Amos was the keynote speaker for the evening. “We should certainly take pride in the Pascagoula Refinery’s culture of inclusion and diversity,” said Anne Marie Hensley, CIS manager and management sponsor of the refinery’s Inclusion and Diversity Council. “This award is recognition of years of focused effort to build a culture where every individual is valued, empowered and engaged. “We should also view this honor as a reminder that we still have work to do,” Hensley continued. “Clearly, we are on the right track.” For more information about the event, visit www.ourmississippimag.com.

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Senator Addresses Retirees At Luncheon

Wicker-at-CRA-mtg Senator Addresses Retirees At Luncheon

The Singing River Chapter of the Chevron Retirees Association (CRA) welcomed Senator Roger Wicker as the keynote speaker at the June 1 meeting.

More than 80 people attended the luncheon at Grand Magnolia Ballroom in Pascagoula. Sen. Wicker gave an overview of his work and priorities in Washington, including serving on the Armed Services Committee. He also took questions from the audience.

The Chevron Retirees Association holds a bi-monthly luncheon at the Grand Magnolia Ballroom in Pascagoula. The Pascagoula Refinery will host a holiday dinner for retirees in the fourth quarter. Membership in the CRA is open to retirees of Chevron or one of its predecessor companies, or companies that have become part of Chevron. Dues are $3 per year. For more information, or to join, contact any of the CRA leaders:

Judi Lipscomb, president: attn.crasrc@gmail.com or 228-297-0993

Gary Stevens: stevensgdbs@cableone.net

Anne Williams: williamsamwtsw@bellsouth.net

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Look out, downtown Pascagoula. A new bar, The Jury Room, is coming soon.

18198980_1907950516149362_2709481092288564062_n-225x300 Look out, downtown Pascagoula. A new bar, The Jury Room, is coming soon.The Jury Room, Deliberations and Libations, is taking on the nightlife crowd of downtown Pascagoula and intends to also make a developmental impact in the area.

It will be open after hours as a distinctive bar — unique to Pascagoula — offering more than 100 bourbons and whiskies, along with reasonably priced beer, wine, and craft beers, owners say. Additionally, the Jury Room will have competitively priced drinks and happy hour specials, but will also offer high-end liquors.

Owners Ramsay Taylor of Moss Point and Parker Pugh of Pascagoula both have experience in the industry. Taylor has three ‘Tay’s Barbeque’ stores based in Pascagoula and ‘Drinx Wine and Liquor Warehouse’ in D’Iberville. Pugh owns the Dairy Queen in Pascagoula, along with three other locations in Mobile.

The two owners plan to advocate for the revitalization of downtown Pascagoula with the new bar, in hopes that it will bring business to local shops and eateries.  “It will not only offer somewhere else where people can go after work or meet up for a sports game, but it will also help keep people here in Pascagoula to shop and dine at the nearby stores and restaurants”, says Pugh.

The Jury Room plans to offer some unique features in the former Fretz building. It will have a fenced-in outdoor patio, along with available leasing space. The owners took the building, put a wall up down the center and gutted the kitchen-making it three separate spaces for lease.  The former kitchen will be a small apartment, the east side will serve as The Jury Room, and the west side will be available for an office/retail location.

Owners state the building “had more potential than the other locations”. “Many folks, including us, want to see the downtown area thrive and offer something different and all in a central area. Our plan just happens to fit perfectly”, says Pugh.

The name and logo have yet to go up on the building, but The Jury Room’s Facebook page already has more than 500 likes.

Plan to spend your football game days and after business hours at The Jury Room, opening mid-to late August.


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Honoring Small Businesses

The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s 9th Annual ANCHOR Awards will be held on August 9th, 2017.  The ANCHOR Awards was created to honor, reward and celebrate the achievements of outstanding small businesses and non-profit organizations in the community. The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber’s Small Business Issue Manager Group recognize that small businesses and non-profit organizations are the “anchors” that make the community successful.  Sponsorship opportunities and tickets are still available.

This year’s nominees are the following:

Small Business Category 1

Audiowave Car Stereo

Aztecas Restaurant & Cantina

Belk of Gautier

Cable One, Inc.

Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty, Inc. – Pascagoula “CBAR”

Compton Engineering, Inc.

Floor Trader

Gibson Electric Motor Sales & Service, Inc.

Gulf Coast Marine Supply

Island Winds Title Company, LLC

Perkins Tire & Polaris, Inc.

Southern Belles Like Big Bows


Small Business Category 2

Community Bank

Hancock Bank

Keesler Federal Credit Union

Team Waste Gulf Coast


Rookie Category

Nura Juice

QuadMed, Ingalls Family Health Center

State Farm Insurance – Brenda Thompson

Whimsy Books & Toys, LLC


Non-Profit Category

Dream Program, Inc.

Feeding the Gulf Coast

Jackson County Civic Action Committee

Jackson County Literacy Council, Inc.

Jackson-George Regional Library System

Kiwanis Club of Pascagoula

Mississippi Power Community Connection Jackson/George Chapter

Pascagoula River Audubon Center

Second Baptist Christian Academy


The ANCHOR Awards program will be held on Wednesday, August 9th, at 7:30 a.m. at Pelican Landing Conference Center in Moss Point.  Tickets are $30 each, and Gold Sponsorships ($700, includes a table of eight) and Silver Sponsorships ($300, two tickets) are available.  Contact Linda Johnson at JohnsonL@jcchamber.com or 228-762-3391 about sponsorship.

The Chamber is here to support community and business development within Jackson County.  Opportunities such as this are available exclusively to members of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.  Small businesses make up nearly 85 percent of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce membership. The Chamber is always here to support community and small business development within Jackson County.

Anyone interested in learning more about the ANCHOR Awards and Small Business Summer (free Summer Learning Series seminars and $2,500 Small Business Grants) or joining the Chamber should contact the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce at 228-762-3391 or membership@jcchamber.com.  More information is available on www.jcchamber.com and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce business page on Facebook.


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Old School Learning Depot Equips Educators & Students

17636995_232403870562388_7502716450457121223_o-e1499301394373 Old School Learning Depot Equips Educators & StudentsOld School Learning Depot in Pascagoula is essentially a tutoring boutique for students, a classroom inspiration for teachers, and a lifesaver for parents. This summer they are offering workshops focused in math and language to help build foundational skills for students. To prepare for this upcoming school year Old School Learning Depot has stylish classroom decorations and resources for teachers. They also offer prepackaged school supply bags that will help parents save time, eliminate fighting the crowds, and cut down on the headaches.

In addition to the prepackaged school supply bags, they offer FREE summer homework help, during the month of July. To encourage parents to sign up for tutoring services for the 2017-2018 school year Old School Learning Depot is offering bundled tutoring services to ensure that their students starts the school year off with a success. The 9 Weeks Ultimate Package includes 4 scheduled sessions (2 Individual & 2 Group), Unlimited Homework Help Tuesday – Thursday, 15 % off additional services, and 10 % off merchandise. This package is currently priced at $235 until August 1st.

“My advice for parents is to find the opportunities to turn a “normal” event into an educational experience. Don’t wait until August to get your student thinking critically,” says Christina Bates from Old School Learning Depot. Bates goes on to say, “Old School Learning Depot offers a supplemental learning environment for students to help enhance what our local schools are doing. We want to support our local schools and help students be the best they can be.”

To check out more about Old School Learning Depot, visit them at the Anchor Square shopping village or give them a call at (228) 202-9691.

Also check them out on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oldschoollearningdepot/

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Anchor Square offers help to burgeoning businesses

Starting a new business can be a daunting task. It may seem like all it takes is an idea and some capital, but there is a lot of planning and resources that go into such an endeavor. One of the most surprising expenses can be just how much it costs to rent a space. Well, there is help in downtown Pascagoula thanks to Anchor Square.

“Anchor Square is a small business incubator for the city of Pascagoula,” said LaLinda Grace, Economic Development Specialist for the city. “It is a group of 15 MEMA cottages that have been repurposed for retail and restaurant use. The goal is to offer low overhead for new, or new to Pascagoula, businesses. Anchor Square allows them to come in, establish their business, grow, and then move out to vacant properties in town.”

To date, Anchor Square has seen the transition of several businesses, including Zeal Boutique, Alan Hinklel Photography, Gourmet Gurl, and Whimsy Books & Toys.  

“It gives an opportunity for someone who wants to open a business and a place to start off with low cost, so that they’re not having to put in a lot of their own personal money,” Grace said. “It’s easier to start a business here than somewhere that maybe has a higher rent or things like that.”

The main purpose of Anchor Square is to serve as a starting-off point for small businesses. There are plans in place to make sure the businesses eventually move out of that location.

“Rent on our cottages increases by 10 percent each year for our tenants,” Grace explained. “We have two different cottage options: a single with a $235 per month rent and a double with a $291 per month rent, with tenants signing a one-year lease. We also have a transition policy in place where we do an evaluation of each business each year to help them move out. Businesses are usually able to stay for three years before they need to transition out.” 

For more information about Anchor Square, including a list of current businesses, visit their website or call Grace at (228) 938-2352. Anyone interested in getting advice on opening a small business can also visit the Anchor Square office or talk to the present tenants. 


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Refinery Walkers Raise Awareness, Funds for Multiple Sclerosis

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Pascagoula Refinery employees and family members joined more than 200 other participants for Walk MS on March 11 at Fort Maurepas Park in Ocean Springs.

The one-mile walk, organized by the MS Society, connects people living with multiple sclerosis and those who care about them. This year’s event raised more than $30,000, benefitting more than 2,300 people living with MS in Mississippi.

Thanks to refinery walkers (back row, from left) Alun Phillips (M&R), Paul Meline (C/A/A), Sean Campbell (M&R), (middle row, from left) Vicky Phillips, Kristen Meline, Cayden Campbell, Margaret Campbell, Anthony Hinkel (LPS), Marissa Badenhorst (M&R), (front row, from left), Elin and Alys Phillips, and Crystal and Nathan Hinkel.

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Black History Awareness Celebration

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The Pascagoula Refinery Black Employee Network hosted its annual Black History Awareness Celebration on February 21.

The celebration featured local Moss Point historian, Franzetta Sanders, and Chevron’s Fredrick Walker (Americas Regional Manager – Manufacturing and Supply). Both speakers addressed education from their perspectives. Sanders described her instrumental role in desegregating Moss Point’s school system. Walker discussed how race and education influenced his career and offered insight on how to approach the education of current youth.

The celebration also honored three scholarship winners from Moss Point High School who were selected based on their demonstration of leadership, ability to forge positive relationships with others and academic achievement.

This year’s celebration included a new interactive activity, The Hidden Figures Game. This activity was designed to highlight the contributions of various employees at the Pascagoula Refinery – our “Hidden Figures.” Similar to the characters in the feature film, these Chevron employees likely encountered different barriers throughout their careers, and their accomplishments may have otherwise gone unrecognized. The Hidden Figures Game was a fun way to showcase these accomplishments and to show all employees the benefits the Pascagoula refinery has received from employing a diverse group.

Overall, the 2017 Pascagoula BHAC was a huge success. Thank you to the the BHAC planning committee, BEN Leadership team, and all the BHAC participants.

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