Adult Summer Library programs continue at area libraries

The free, weekly programs provide a way for adults to participate in summer events and hear about familiar topics with professionals and specialists in health, crafts, self-help, food, and much more.  Local businesses and organizations as well as Friends of the Library groups have donated refreshments and door prizes.

  • Ina Thompson Moss Point Library
    • June 27, 6 p.m.  – Chevron-Building our Community: Amy Brandenstein, Chevron community affairs, will speak on the efforts made by the Chevron Refinery to build our community. Call for details: 228-475-7462.
  • East Central Public Library
    • June 29, 2 p.m. – Pollinators and Butterflies: Study butterflies and how important pollinators are to our lives with Lynn and Paula McMahn, Jackson County Master Gardeners. Call for details: 228-588-6263.
  • Gautier Public Library
    • June 29, 6 p.m.  – Build Your Own Smoothie: It’s time for a smoothie throw-down! Fresh or frozen, come learn how to prepare healthy smoothies Supplies furnished by the Friends. Seating is limited – call 228-497-4531 to reserve a seat.
  • Vancleave Public Library
    • June 29, 4 p.m.  – Essential Oils for Summertime: Learn how to use essential oils for sunscreen, sunburn, insect repellent, and much more. Anyone interested may create a make-and-take sample for $5 (optional). Call for details: 228-826-5857.
  • St. Martin Public Library
    • June 29, 5:30 p.m.  – Build a Better Flower Pot with Nail Polish: Nail polish is not just for nails. Join us as we use it to create unique and colorfully marbled flower pots for your home or garden. Supplies furnished – must pre-register. Call for details: 228-826-5857.
  • Pascagoula Public Library
    • June 29, 6 p.m. – Build Your Family Tree, presented by genealogy library assistant Sherry Owens. Sherry will show how to build a family tree. Call for details: 228-769-3078.
  • Ocean Springs Municipal Library
    • June 29, 6 p.m. – Make a T-shirt tent for your cat (or small dog): T-shirt tent- Bring a t-shirt, size medium or larger, and make a tent for your pet. Other supplies will be provided by the library. Sign up is required. Call 228-875-1193.
  • Lucedale/George County Public Library
    • June 29, 2 p.m. – Build Your Understanding of the World! Learn about Naturalism and what kind of plants are in our area with Bethany Carlisle, Master Naturalist. Call for details: 601-947-2123.


For more information and events, visit your local Jackson County library or online at

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Volunteers Prep for Racquets for Ronald

ronald-mcdonald-tennis-banner Volunteers Prep for Racquets for Ronald

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Thanks to the Chevron volunteers who recently helped prepare for Racquets for Ronald, a tennis tournament fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House.

The event is held annually at Treasure Oak Country Club in Ocean Springs, and proceeds directly benefit the Share-A-Night Fund, which helps to cover expenses for Ronald McDonald House. The House offers 38 guest rooms, which are available cost-free for families with hospitalized children and helps support families seeking respite at two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms located inside USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile.

Louis Henry, Refinery Strategy and Business Planning Manager, serves on the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House.

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Chevron, Red Cross Partner for Fire Safety

ARC-group Chevron, Red Cross Partner for Fire Safety
ARC-group Chevron, Red Cross Partner for Fire Safety

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Chevron Pascagoula Refinery recently partnered with the American Red Cross, Pascagoula Fire Department and U.S. Navy volunteers to educate local residents about fire safety. More than 50 volunteers gathered on Feb. 3 to go door-to-door in east Pascagoula to pass out educational material and install free smoke alarms in homes where there were no working smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, or alarms that were not installed correctly.

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Director dedicates life to service

image001 Director dedicates life to service

Life isn’t always easy. Everyone could end up falling on hard times at some point, and people might not always know where to go for help. At least for residents of Jackson County, there is the Jackson County Civic Action Committee, working under the direction of Diann Payne.

“We serve 637 people in Jackson County, with centers in Vancleave, Moss Point, Gautier and Taconi,” said Executive Director Payne. “Our main focus is to help people become self sufficient. Our motto is ‘Helping people, Changing lives.’ We deal with a lot of low to moderate income people who, for various reasons, can’t be self sufficient. For whatever reason, a 40-hour work week is not enough to take care of their living expenses. We assist them thorough case management to assess the household and everyone in it. We see if any non-contributors can become contributors.

“If anyone needs a GED or any specialized training, we’ll arrange that through the community college or GED program. We have our Head Start program as well. I think education is so critical to what we do here. I think if children get a quality education, they will be better citizens. They will be contributing members of our community, our state, and ultimately our country, so I really believe in education.”

Other services the center offers are income tax preparation, a senior center and summer day care.

The path that led Payne to the position of executive director was not a direct one, even commenting that she didn’t expect to be here with her educational background.

“I have a background in accounting, a masters in business, so I was the finance person here,” she said. “My husband and I moved from Memphis 32 years ago, so now I consider Jackson County home. So I was the fiscal officer, then when this job became open, I applied. I think it fits well for my passion for service. That’s probably more aligned with my natural inclination. I was raised by my grandparents, and my grandmother was always helping someone. I think you get that early on; you can build an ethnic of service in children when you teach them to help others. I worked in banking, so I probably thought I’d end up in banking, but this path i think it has suited me well.”

While Payne is in charge of everything under the JCCAC, she also stays heavily involved by volunteering in her local community.

“This job lends itself well to volunteerism because we rely a lot on volunteers, but even as fiscal officer I was a board member of local Red Cross and did family support with local Habitat for Humanity,” Payne said. “I worked with families in the process of receiving home. I track equity and help them with a budget and continued to work with them a year after getting home. I served on the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service. I served on the Governor’s Commission for Recovery and Renewal and worked in both the health and human services subcommittee and the education subcommittee. I’m the treasurer for the Pascagoula Rotary Club, and they believe Service above Self. If I didn’t know better I would say they created it for people like me. I do wear many different hats, but it’s easy to wear them when you enjoy what you’re doing.”

While the JCCAC and Payne are dedicated to helping residents of Jackson County, the goal is for people to be self sufficient. 

“Some people are in a situation where they are a flat tire away from missing a day’s work, so we try to remove barriers for them; they don’t want a hand out, but a hand up,” she said. ” It is a basic human responsibility, barring a disability or illness, to be self sufficient. I think most people want to. I don’t think anybody would choose not to be. Hard work does pay. Honest work is good. With hard work, determination and initiative you can be self sufficient. Some people do get discouraged, but that’s why we’re here to encourage them, they don’t have any type of safety net or social support so we do that.”

After living in Jackson County for over three decades with her husband, Payne is happy to live in such a supportive community.

“Jackson County is unique in that while you have four municipalities, I think the county is so cohesive, and to some extent it’s all for one and for all, and you don’t see that a lot of places,” she said. “It’s not 100 percent true, but it’s more evident than in some other places. I think they really support and really help each other, the leadership does. While it’s a large county, I can see if you engage in the community you get what you give. I’ve been so blessed to be able to serve, and feel very comfortable in that no matter where I am, I’m going to know a lot of people there. We all have that opportunity here.”

Pay it Forward Fridays:

JaxCoHome would love to hear about people doing good in our community. If you know someone that is a champion for our community, the environment, education or local business, fill out the nomination form by clicking here.


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Jackson County 4-Her’s Win State Awards

52208c8e-5c84-40d8-b707-a7a84e25cfba-300x200 Jackson County 4-Her's Win State AwardsOn May 31 through June 2, the Jackson County 4-H Club participated in State 4-H Congress at Mississippi State University in Starkville.  The team was made up of:  Jackson Callahan, Patriona Cannon, Ny’Kqwria Crear, Kia Dickerson, Ayana Dread, Jerrick Dubose, Sabrina Gonzalez, Danielle Hunn, Bionca Johnson, J’Lexus Johnson, Sydney Kendrick, Todd Kendrick, Aaron Lett, Shannon Lewis, Garrett Madison, Nicholas Paro, Kaylee Ramsey, Alysia Rester, Thomas Salter, Emilee Smith, and Calisto Wells.  The team was accompanied by Volunteer Leaders Billy J. Carroll and Robin Pate and Jackson County Extension Agents Caitlyn McLeod and Terri Thompson.

State 4–H Congress is an annual state event designed to supplement county 4–H programs. This event provides positive leadership and educational opportunities for senior 4–H members from across the state in an effort to develop these young people to their full potential to become productive citizens and catalysts for positive change to meet the needs of a diverse and changing society.  During State 4-H Congress, club members participate in social events, recreational activities, workshops, and competitions. 

During the competitive events: 

  • Jackson County 4-H Club won first place in the male volleyball tournament.
  • Jackson Callahan won 1st place in the Computer Contest. The Computer Contest was hosted by Dr. Mariah Morgan.  Jackson was tasked with creating an app for the android phone.  Jackson created a game called Super Deadpool.
  • Ny’Kqwria Crear won 1st place in the Personal Development Contest. Ny’Kqwria created 3 virtual and balsa wood bridge models to determine “Which Balsa Wood Bridge is the Most Efficient”.
  • Shannon Lewis, Jerrick Dubose, Ny’Kqwria Crear, and Alysia Rester won 3rd place in the Robotics Contest. The Robotics Contest was hosted by Dr. Mariah Morgan. The robotics team was tasked with building and programming a robot to achieve specific tasks. 


In addition to competing, the Jackson County 4-H Club enjoyed an athletics tour of Mississippi State University.  The team also enjoyed taking part in workshops and recreational activities at the Sanderson Center and Union Hall.

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JCC offers help during Small Business Summer

Small-Business-Summer- JCC offers help during Small Business Summer

The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce is using the season to offer help to growing businesses during Small Business Summer.
As part of Small Business Summer, the chamber is offering a free Summer Learning Series. Held the third Thursday of June, July, and August at 720 Krebs Avenue, the series will cover different topics, such as accounting, employment law, and website development. The sessions are from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Attendees should bring their own lunch. 
 The chamber is also offering an application for a $2,500 Small Business Grant for all Jackson County Chamber of Commerce members with 50 or less employees. Applications are due Sept. 15 at 5.p.m.
For more information about the Summer Learning Series or the Small Business Grant, contact the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. 

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Jackson County cities all elect new mayors

In a rare occurrence, new mayors have been elected in all four Jackson County municipalities in 2017.

In another unique turn of events, all cities have varying dates for their swearing-in ceremonies. The new term for elected officials begins on July 1, but the first day of July begins on a Saturday and is followed by the Fourth of July holiday.


phil-torjusen Jackson County cities all elect new mayors

Gautier residents elected the city’s new mayor during the primaries in early May, as no Democratic candidates challenged incumbent Gordon Gollot or newcomer Phil Torjusen.

Torjusen garnered 997 votes over Gollot’s 468.

Torjusen’s swearing-in ceremony will be June 29 inside the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College cafeteria.

Moss Point

phil-torjusen Jackson County cities all elect new mayors

Five candidates sought the mayoral mantle in Moss Point, including Republican John Mosley Jr., Democrat Mario King, and independents Billy Broomfield, Timothy “Mr. Dubs” Dubose, and Wanda Williams. 

King won the election with 1,686 votes, followed by Mosley’s 630 votes. Incumbent candidate Broomfield garnered 274 votes over Dubose’s 124 votes and Williams’s 42 votes.

King’s inauguration is scheduled for June 27.

Ocean Springs

phil-torjusen Jackson County cities all elect new mayors

In what many are calling a shocking upset, newcomer Shea Dobson was elected over incumbent Connie Moran. 

Republican Dobson earned 1,951 votes over Democrat Moran’s 1,574. 

Dobson will take his oath of office on June 30 at the Ocean Springs Community Center on Washington Avenue.


phil-torjusen Jackson County cities all elect new mayors

Incumbent Jim Blevins did not seek reelection in 2017, allowing Republican Dane Maxwell, Democrat Jenafer Gurley and independent Lazaro J. Rovira to seek mayoral office.

Maxwell was elected with 2,263 votes over Gurley’s 186 votes and Rovira’s 493.

Pascagoula will wait until offices reopen after the July 4 holiday, holding its ceremony July 3. Maxwell will be sworn in at 9 a.m. inside the Pascagoula Senior Center at 1912 Live Oak Ave. 

Keep up with JaxCoHome for future individual profiles on each of the mayor-elects. 
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Bull terrier seeking forever home

Randy-crop Bull terrier seeking forever home

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Randy is a male Black Mouth Cur and Pit Bull Terrier mix. He was surrendered to the shelter in October 2016 and is estimated to be two years and seven months old.

Randy has heartworms, but someone has volunteered to sponsor all of his necessary medical treatments upon adoption.


For more information about Randy or other adoptable pets, visit the Jackson County Animal Shelter or call (228) 497-6350.


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2017 hurricane season begins

Hurricane season begins June 1, and that means stocking up on supplies and being ready for anything that could happen. 

This year marks the 12 years since Hurricane Katrina struck Mississippi, and as many learned that year, it only takes one storm to destroy everything. 

According to MEMA, the state is better prepared than ever to respond to a hurricane, but they advise Mississippians to take an active role in improving their ability to prepare for, survive and recover from the impacts of hurricanes by developing a family emergency plan, learning evacuation routes and assembling a three to five-day disaster supply kit.

Before a storm is even on the horizon, a lot of preparations need to be made. Checking homeowner’s insurance policies is a must, because they don’t always cover flooding. Talking with family members about an evacuation plan is helpful to make sure everyone is on the same page long before disaster strikes. 

The list of supplies to have for a disaster is long, but a few important things to have on hand are:

  • Batteries
  • Canned and non-perishable foods
  • Battery operated fans and flashlights
  • Clean water
  • Cash
  • Medicine
  • Copies of important documents

The Red Cross offers a more detailed list here.

Pet owners should also keep in mind extra steps that must be made in preparing for a hurricane. Not only should pets have extra food kept in the family’s emergency kit, but also make sure to ID your pet. Not only should the pet’s tag have a cell phone number, but the pet should also be microchipped to better ensure a safe return in case the tag is lost. 

When evacuating, pet owners should also make sure to have a safe place to go. Not all shelters or hotels will allow pets, so calling ahead to make sure pets are allowed is best. If you do decide to stay, bring all pets inside and make sure to keep areas safe for pets. More tips for specific pet safety during hurricanes can be found here.

As always, keep up with the weather through a weather radio to know exactly when a storm is imminent. 

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