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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Jackson County celebrates Memorial Day weekend

Every year, we observe Memorial Day in honor of those who have lost their lives serving this country. 

Several events across Jackson County were held over the weekend to honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Saturday, the families of those who lost someone in service were honored at the dedication for the new Gold Star Marker in front of the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs.

Gold Star families are the survivors of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They are the ones who will never see their spouse, sibling, or child ever again.


IMG_3750 Jackson County celebrates Memorial Day weekend

The Ocean Springs Garden Club, who previously secured the Blue Star Marker by the Civic Center, also helped secure the new Gold Star Marker.

The Ocean Springs Garden Club chose the Mary C. as the location for the Gold Star Marker because the center was already home to two other memorials, which allowed the event to be held in conjunction with the God and Country Memorial Concert inside the Mary C. 

Gold Star families who attended the event were able place a flower with the name of their lost loved one at the base of the marker. 

Sunday night, dozens of people gathered in Beach Park in Pascagoula for Sounds of the Sea.

The Singing River Chorale opened the free concert, and the then the Gulf Coast Symphony, directed by Peter Rubardt, performed songs honoring loccal military men and women, with performances of “God Bless America,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “1812 Overture.”

Frank Emond served as the evening’s guest conductor, and he shared his experiences in service with the crowd during the evening. 

At 99 years old, Emond was stationed on the USS Pennsylvania during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

“I joined the Navy in 1938 as a musician,” Emond recalled. “I remember that day hearing over the speakers, ‘General quarters, no drill. General quarters no drill.’ So we immediately had to go to our battle stations. At the end of the day, one of my jobs was to retrieve the dead and the wounded. We were given rifles and ammunition that night in case of an invasion. On Memorial Day, I remember everyone that was lost on that day.”

After hearing his story, the crowd gave Emond a standing ovation.

“I think it is extremely important to recognize our veterans, those that have served and those that are serving currently,” said Thomas Browning, who served with the Marine Corps and works with the Moss Point Honor Flight. “Being a Vietnam era veteran and never getting any kind of welcome home or thank you for your service to our great nation ,I feel that letting our veterans who have served know how much we appreciate them and the sacrifices that they have made. And to the families of the veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I say thank you, and I am extremely sorry for your loss. And I must tell you that the World War II veterans, I never really understood why they call them the greatest generation until I got involved with Honor Flight and met these wonderful men that sacrificed so much that you and I may have the freedom that we enjoy today. God bless them and God bless America.”

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PGSD offers free summer meals

In an effort to reduce childhood hunger in the community, the Pascagoula-Gautier School District Child Nutrition Department is offering free summer meals at three select locations in the district.

Through June and July, breakfast and lunch will be served to anyone under the age of 18 years at cost with no registration required.

Breakfast will be served from 7:30 until 8:30 a.m., and lunch from 11 a.m. until noon. 

The following locations will offer free summer meals through select dates:

  • Gautier Elementary
    • May 30- July 27 (Tuesday through Thursday only)
  • Jackson Elementary
    • May 30- July 27 (Tuesday through Thursday only)
  • Pascagoula Opportunity Center
    • June 1- June 30 (Monday through Friday )

For more information about summer feeding, click here.

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Jackson County celebrates high school graduates

The month of May means Mother’s Day, Memorial Day weekend, and graduations.

High schools across Jackson County are celebrating their graduating seniors and their achievements.

Resurrection Catholic School had 33 students graduate this May.

Gautier High School has 197 students graduating, with Gabrielle Humber selected as class valedictorian and Elizabeth Holliday as salutatorian.

Pascagoula High School’s class of 265 students has Amelia Lawrence as valedictorian and Caroline Ko as salutatorian.

Moss Point High School has 129 students graduating, with Kennadi Johnson selected as class valedictorian and Niya Cooper as salutatorian.

St. Martin High School’s class of 279 students has Alyssa Britton as valedictorian and Katlyn Scott as salutatorian. 

East Central High School has 180 students graduating, with Sarah Eyre as valedictorian and Jenna Broadus as salutatorian.

Vancleave High School’s class of 173 students has Brandon Jerrod Scott as valedictorian and Emily Chappell as salutatorian.

Ocean Springs High School has a class of 399 students, with Leah Dudte as valedictorian and Molly Harback as salutatorian.

Congratulations to all of the Jackson County high school graduates!

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Singing River Health System Auxiliary Volunteers award over $10,000 in scholarships

Hospital Auxiliary Volunteers at both Ocean Springs Hospital and Singing River Hospital have announced the winners of their annual scholarship awards for students pursuing a health-related field of study.

15 recipients were selected based upon their academic achievements, leadership and potential as future medical professionals, including a number of health system employees who are returning to school for advanced degrees.

Scholarships awarded by Ocean Springs Hospital Auxiliary

  • Melisa Goff
  • Katherine Schroeder
  • Cynthia Nhung Thi Le
  • Amy Crump
  • Elizabeth King
  • Morgan Ladner
  • Tammy Conner

Scholarships awarded by Singing River Hospital Auxiliary

  • Madison Poiroux
  • Marissa Anderson
  • Drew Sumrall
  • Bailey Clemens
  • Joshua Cao
  • Heather Herbst
  • Anna Grace Meeks
  • Virginia Mosley for Sharon Moody

“We congratulate these outstanding students on their awards, and are so very grateful to our hospital auxiliary volunteers for their generosity and support of our future health care professionals,” said system CEO Kevin Holland. “We wish these winners all the best as they pursue their studies and hope to welcome them back to Singing River to help care for our community.

OSH-2017-Scholarship-winners Singing River Health System Auxiliary Volunteers award over $10,000 in scholarships
OSH-2017-Scholarship-winners Singing River Health System Auxiliary Volunteers award over $10,000 in scholarships
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Summer camps offered sure to please all

School is out for the summer. What are you going to do with your kids until August? If you don’t want them staring at a screen all summer, various campus are being offered across Jackson County for children of all ages. Check out some of the campus listed below.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jackson County Campus

Summer camps offered at the Jackson County campus of MGCCC in Gautier cover topics such as robotics, chemistry, swimming, and outdoor adventures. 

Visit the website for details about prices and registration, or contact Terri Sasser at terri.sasser@mgccc.edu or at 228-497-7633.

Pascagoula River Audubon Center

The Pascagoula River Audubon Center is offering fun, nature-based summer camp programming for a variety of age groups.

Elementary, middle school, and mini-camps run from 9 a.m. until noon at the center. The high school junior naturalist program runs 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day, and is field-trip based.

Visit the Audubon Center’s website for more details and to download the registration forms.

Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center

The center is all about the arts, whether performing, visual or culinary. This mission is reflected in the selection for their 2017 summer camps. 

Weeklong summer camps for all ages at the Mary C. run from the first full week of June all the way until the end of July, so there is plenty opportunity to for the kids to get their hands dirty learning how to cook, write, paint, craft and so much more. 

Visit the website for camp dates, details and pricing.

University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab

The GCRL’s three summer camp programs focus on the beauty of the ocean and all that inhabit it. 

Sea Camp: This summer Sea Camp is 30 years old. It has been the Coast’s most popular marine science day camp for children in grades 1 through 6.Activities include live animal encounters with coastal wildlife and opportunities to fish, crab, seine and sieve. 

Shark Camp: Why watch shark week on TV when you can live it? Visit the top shark fishing hotspots around the Barrier Islands aboard a research vessel. Catch and tag sharks to contribute to ongoing scientific research.

Shaggy’s Angler Camp: Fish everyday. This program introduces young people in grades 7 through 12 to fishing in the diverse waters of coastal Mississippi. The five-day camp includes sessions on the water, in the lab, and in the kitchen, as students learn everything from tying a hook on a line to finding and catching fish to cleaning and cooking their catch.

If you know of any other summer camps happening in Jackson County, sign up to become a contributor and write something up to let everyone know. Summer is fast approaching!


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PGSD Athletics Gets An Overhaul

The Pascagoula-Gautier School District is making major improvements to War Memorial Stadium in Pascagoula and Vaughn-Wallace Stadium in Gautier in anticipation of the upcoming school year.

     The plans include new field turf at both stadiums as well as a track straight away at Gautier as part of the practice track. For Pascagoula, stadium restrooms are receiving a facelift as well as new track and remodeling a dressing room for the girls’ soccer team. Painting and sealing the bleachers, renovations underneath the visitors’ side of the stadium and a new press box on the home side are also part of the summer plans.

     Other projects include painting the exterior of the Panther baseball field house, refurbishing the tennis courts at South Field, painting the South Field house and new sidewalks, bleachers and concession stand at South Field. Renovations for both football fields is $3.4 million with other venue improvements valued at $1.8 million.

     “These projects are among some of goals of the district’s 2017-2021 five-year strategic plan,” said Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich. “This strategic plan was written by 250 community members and school district employees. Improvements at both stadiums was one of the goals for members of the athletic strategic planning committee.”

     Rodolfich said the improvements to the stadiums will benefit not only those who come to watch the various sporting events, but those who use the field including the football team, lacrosse, team, soccer teams, band and cheerleaders as well as the members of the track team.

     “The new turf will provide a consistently-level playing field which will dry quickly, and the improvements will give our stadiums a cleaner, high-quality appearance,” Rodolfich said. “We moved our high school graduations to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum this year so we could go ahead and begin work on these stadium improvements and be ready in time for football season. There’s been a great deal of excitement throughout the community about the projects.”

Gautier-HS-Football-Soccer-Drawing-skinny-both-blue-end-zone PGSD Athletics Gets An Overhaul Gautier-HS-Football-Soccer-Drawing-skinny-both-blue-end-zone PGSD Athletics Gets An Overhaul

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Chevron employee gives back to honor those who helped him

M.Seales Chevron employee gives back to honor those who helped him

We all know that there never seems to be enough time in the day. Between work, family, running to the grocery store to get dinner on the table and just everything that life throws at you, it can be hard just to enjoy a cup of coffee, let alone give back to the community. However, none of this stops Michael Seales.

A Chevron employee in Maintenance and Reliability, Michael is said to volunteer at every event that Chevron participates in.

“I’m just paying it forward. People have helped me out through my life in various ways growing up, so I want to give back and help others.”

Michael volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club of Jackson County, the Moss Point Baseball League and the Moss Point Recreation Department.

“When I was coming up as a kid, we had guys like me helping out in the recreation department teaching us different sporting skills, and it has led me to volunteer at things like sporting events. I also enjoy helping people in their homes, like installing smoke detectors. I want to do the things for others that people did for me.”

Michael enjoys volunteering with children’s organizations because he cherishes making an impact on children’s lives.

“I feel like you have to start with them young in teaching them the right things and things they need in life in general. My hope is that you teach them values now and they can hold on to that as they get older.”

M.Seales Chevron employee gives back to honor those who helped him


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 holds Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day

Earth Day marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement. It’s the day people around the country make an effort not only to celebrate nature, but preserve it as well.

On the morning of April 22, Chevron volunteers helped collect waste at Jackson County’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection event in Gautier. Hundreds of vehicles lined up to responsibly dispose of paint, cleaning supplies, motor oil and other types of household waste.

Old household cleaners like bleach and detergents can have a huge impact on the local environment when disposed of improperly. With Jackson County home to one of the largest free-flowing rivers in the country and numerous habitats stemming from that waterway, protecting the local environment is vital.

If you missed the event and want to know about properly disposing of household waste, click here.

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Vancleave students experience Fab Lab

Chevron, Jackson County School District and the Fab Foundation joined together to bring a $1.2 million Fab Lab project to the Gulf Coast.

Fab Lab, short for fabrication laboratory, and was born out of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. Fab Labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention and serve as a place for children to play, create, learn and invent. The Fab Lab will be another tool for children interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics. 

The unveiling was held in the Vancleave High School gymnasium, where students were able to experiences they will have in the Fab Lab when it is completed at the end of the year. The mobile Fab Lab is expected to be complete by the summer of 2017.

Some of the features in the Fab Lab include a laser cutter that makes 2D and 3D structures, a sign cutter that plots in copper to make antennas and flex circuits, a high-resolution NC milling machine that makes circuit boards and precision parts, a large wood router for building furniture and housing, and a suite of electronic components and programming tools for low-cost, high-speed microcontrollers for on-site rapid circuit prototyping.

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