Mary C. to host ‘Old-Fashioned Political Rally’

The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Arts Center will host a political rally for all Ocean Springs municipal candidates June 3, three days ahead of the June 6 general election.

“This event is planned to mirror an experience similar to the old-fashioned stump speeches similar to The Neshoba County Fair,” said Stacy Howell, executive director of the Mary C.

This event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Mary C. While the original plan was to have a fish fry with plates for sale for $10, the expected inclement weather has changed plans.

“Due to the weather, we have had to move it inside, and we are having pulled pork plates, as they are easier to work with,” Howell explained. 

There will also be live entertainment provided by The Tall Boys.

“It should be a lot of fun and a great afternoon to learn more about the candidates, while raising money for our beloved Mary C.,” said Vicki Applewhite, a member of the Mary C. O’Keefe board of directors and co-chairman of the event.

The event will run from 3-5 p.m. Candidates will each be given five minutes to “stump” for votes.

The event, billed as an “Old-Fashioned Political Rally & Fish Fry” will run from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the front lawn of the Mary C. During the event, candidates will each be given five minutes to “stump” for votes.

“The goal of this event is to raise funds for The Mary C. and to showcase all of the candidates to the community in a fun and positive way,” Howell said. “It brings us together as a community and it educates us on the issues of the day.”

 

Learn more »
Comments Off on Mary C. to host ‘Old-Fashioned Political Rally’

Ocean Springs woman works to end hunger in community

Hunger is a problem for Mississippians, with ore than 20 percent of residents do not have consistent access to nutritious food. 

Some people can’t afford food. Some people aren’t able to get to the store to purchase food. People facing food insecurities are grateful for places like The Lord Is My Help soup kitchen in downtown Ocean Springs, and its founder Kay Woods.

After working with the Peace Corps for three years, Woods was asked to assemble a group from many diversified occupations to create a project that would benefit local citizens in need as her final project.

“We had a lot of meetings to discuss what was needed, and we felt like the community needed a soup kitchen for the elderly and shut-ins and the homeless,” Woods explained. “At that time, fruit pickers went through town on their way to Florida with their whole families, so they also needed a place to eat while in town.”

In 1983, Woods brought together the first group of volunteers to establish The Lord Is My Help.

“Churches got involved and we had a local building donated to us to serve as the soup kitchen, ” Woods recalled. It was a definite need in the community. People on social security got so little that they couldn’t leave decently on what they received. Even in the early days, we served a lot more people than you could imagine.”

From the very beginning, The Lord Is My Help assisted many of those in need through multiple facets.

“We were only supposed to last three years because we got the building donated for temporary use,” Woods said. “The first day we opened we didn’t even have a stove. The local ladies brought crock pots full of food. That first day 20 people came for lunch, and we though that was a lot. Now we serve up to 250 meals a day. Through the years we also had a job bank through an employment agency in Biloxi to help find jobs for people. We also formed a clothing bank. St. Alphonsus Catholic Church donated the building for that, but it had to be torn down. It wasn’t restored because by that time the Salvation Army was established here. We used to be able to give gas money to help with travel but as more things came into place, we had to keep putting more effort into our pantry and soup kitchen. We used to actually help with doctor’s appointments, but we can’t do that anymore. We have too many people to feed now.”

With the volume of meals prepared daily by The Lord Is My Help, it may be heard to believe that out of everyone that puts in time with the organization, only people are actually paid for their work.

“We only have two paid employees, our cook and general manager,” Woods explained. “We pay them because they have to be there every day, and we have to count on them 100 percent. However, the rest of the organization is run by volunteers. We’ve never even paid the director. A lot of local churches donate money, but now we do have to pay rent and utilities on our building, so it takes a lot of money to keep everything running.”

A group of young adults in the community saw the need to financially assist The Lord Is My Help, so they came together to create Feed the Need.

“It’s made up people 18-38 years old that meet once a week all throughout the year just to plan one large event to raise money for our soup kitchen,” Woods said. ” They are their own group, but do have a liaison on our board. They are just young people that decided to help support us. In the first year they raised $8,000. Last year they raised $22,000, and we needed at that because expenses are so high, we do have collection jars in different businesses to help as well.”

Today, 30 years after Woods first established The Lord Is My Help, the overall goal of the organization has not waivered. 

“We just want to help people,” Woods said. “Besides feeding people through the soup kitchen or delivering meals, we also have an emergency pantry. It might help people who are on food stamps or a single woman with a large family. Many of the other facilities like ours are in Pascagoula, and that kind of commute can be difficult for some. We want to be here to help the community.”

For anyone in need, the doors to the soup kitchen open at 6a.m., offering cereal, donuts and coffee for breakfast. A hot lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

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.

Learn more »
Comments Off on Ocean Springs woman works to end hunger in community

Local shop a must-visit for Donut Day

The first Friday in June is annually observed as National Donut Day, and for residents of Jackson County, there is no better place for donuts than Tato-Nut Donut Shop.

Situated in a small yellow building on the corner of Government Street and Kotzum Avenue in downtown Ocean Springs is a business that has been open so long and become so iconic, it has practically reached landmark status. Today, Tato-Nut is lead by owners David and Theresa Mohler.

“My husband’s father [Robert] opened a donut shop back in 1960 called Spud Nut, ” Theresa recalled. “In the early 1970s that dissipated, so they kind of changed the recipe they had been working with and soon after opened Tato-Nut.”

Theresa has been involved with the business since 1988, and involved does not just simply mean as a co-owner.

“We are involved in every aspected of the business,” Theresa explained. “We mix every batch of dough, make all of the glaze and make all of the chocolate the goes on the donuts. We arrive every morning around 2 a.m. to get everything ready to open.”

While it may be a Jackson County original, Tato-Nut is becoming known far and wide throughout the Southeast, and even internationally.

“When we travel, like to Mobile, people know about Tato-Nut,” Theresa said. “We’ll be in Florida or we’ll be in some other place and people have heard of the shop. We actually went up to Ole Miss not too long ago to move our daughter in and people up there even knew about us. I think social media is kind of helping to spread the word. We’ll have people who are in the military that were stationed on the Gulf Coast for awhile and they got to visit and then they will be stationed in Japan and they still keep up with us on social media. We’ll put something and they will comment saying they wish they could get some donuts. People from out of town will come have a visit to our shop on their to-do list for their trip here.”

Being such a staple of the community is something the Mohlers do not take lightly.

“It’s a huge honor. It’s why we get up in the morning,” Theresa said. “We have become part of people’s traditions and, in a way, part of their families. It is a huge honor, but it is also a huge obligation to make sure we maintain that quality, so it is a double-edged sword.”

The Mohlers also make sure to give back to the community that has shown them so much appreciation through donations to the Ronald McDonald House as well as donating the day’s leftovers to the local soup kitchen The Lord is My Help, located just blocks away from the shop.

So what is behind the success of Tato-Nut? Some might say it’s the unique recipe for these particular donuts, but Theresa Mohler has a different idea.

“We do add potatoes to our donuts, but I like to say that they taste the love,” she said. “You taste that we had a hand in everything that goes out of our front door.”

In honor of National Donut Day, Tato-Nut will offer a free coffee with any purchase on June 2, 2017.

Learn more »
Comments Off on Local shop a must-visit for Donut Day

Developers hold condominium groundbreaking

The groundbreaking for a new mixed-used development was held Thursday afternoon in Ocean Springs.

Inlet will be located between Bienville Boulevard and the Old For Bayou Coastal Preserve, and is planned to house 95 condominiums and roughly 18,000 square feet of space for commercial or community amenities.

“The location [of Inlet] offers a great proximity to the great school system Ocean Springs has, downtown, and the hospital,” said Walker Thrash, one of the lead developers of Inlet.

Plans include having 34 one-bedroom, 48 two-bedroom, and 13 three-bedroom units, offering options for everyone from the young single professional to the family creating a home.

“Nationally, condominiums are a growing trend, so it’s taken a little bit to reach the Southeast,” Thrash explained. “But condo developments are on the rise, so this will be a great addition to Ocean Springs.”

With attendees such as Mayor Connie Moran, numerous alderman and representatives from the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, it is clear there is a lot of excitement surrounding this new addition to Jackson County. 

Learn more »
Comments Off on Developers hold condominium groundbreaking

OSMS teacher receives national recognition

The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese has recognized an Ocean Springs Middle School teacher for her outstanding work in the classroom.

According to The Greyhound Echo, Erica Scott will officially receive the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award: Elementary Level from the AATSP during the organization’s awards banquet on July 8 in Chicago.

The elementary level of the award covers teachers who teach students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Ocean Springs Middle School Principal Adelle Register said Scott’s contributions to OSMS and its students highlight the reasons Scott was nominated for and received this award.

“Mrs. Scott has been asset to our foreign language department,” Register said. “She always maintains a positive attitude and demonstrates superb qualities in the classroom to engage and challenge her students.”

Scott, who just completed her first year at OSMS, has taught Spanish for a total of 11 years.  This past school year, Scott taught Introduction to Foreign Language and Spanish 1.  As part of the award application process, Scott wrote as to how she loved seeing the lightbulb moments occur with her students, which can make teaching the introductory levels of a foreign language so exciting.

“My favorite is the introductory level because I love seeing kids going from only speaking English to becoming an emergent Spanish speaker,” Scott said.

The AATSP promotes the study and teaching of the Spanish and Portuguese languages and their corresponding Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian and other related literatures and cultures at all levels of education. The AATSP encourages, supports and directs programs and research projects involving the exchange of pedagogical and scholarly information. Through extensive collaboration with educators, professionals, and institutions in other countries, the AATSP contributes to a better and deeper understanding between the United States and the Spanish-and Portuguese-speaking nations of the world.

Learn more »
Comments Off on OSMS teacher receives national recognition

Annual fish fry to benefit local soup kitchen

The Lord is My Help is hosting its 4th annual Feed the Need Fish Fry on Sunday in downtown Ocean Springs. 

The Lord is My Help is a soup kitchen in Ocean Springs that feeds over 200 people a day and over 5,300 meals a month.

According to the organization’s website, Feed the Need began in the fall of 2013 when a group of concerned Ocean Springs citizens decided to band together and do a little something extra for the soup kitchen. The fundraising group decided to host a booth at the Peter Anderson Festival to sell T-shirts designed by local artist Chris Stebly and to raise awareness about the work done by The Lord Is My Help soup kitchen. The booth was so successful that the group decided to carry on and host a full fundraiser in the summer of 2014 titled Feed the Need.

This year’s Feed the Need will again be held at the Government Street Grocery on June 4 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Each ticket includes entry to the event and one fish plate.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Paul Kirkland & Friends, Blackwater Brass, Cary Hudson, and Grayson Capps, Hadley & the Hillfire, Skoobie, & Bambi & the $2 Beers. In addition to the music, food, and fun we will also have T-shirts for sale, a silent auction, and a cornhole tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a cornhole built and designed by Guice Woodworks.  

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and can be purchased at a number of local businesses including The Greenhouse on Porter, Hillyer House, The Government Street Grocery, The Office Bar and Lounge, Kwitzky’s Dugout, Paddles Up, The Office Bar and Lounge, Triple Threat Academy, and Eat Drink Love Catering.

For more information about The Lord is My Help, visit their website

Learn more »
Comments Off on Annual fish fry to benefit local soup kitchen

Taste of Ocean Springs winners announced

The Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners for the 9th annual Taste of Ocean Springs.

Every year, attendees to Taste of Ocean Springs vote for their favorite entry from the participating restaurants and wine brokers in the categories of Best Drink, Best Entree, and Best Dessert.

This year, Vestige on Best Entree for their Grilled Pork Loin topped with Chicken Cracklin.

French Kiss Pastries won Best Dessert for their Tuxedo Cake.

Coastal Pacific Wine & Spirits won Best Drink as well.

Congratulations again to this year’s winners.

Learn more »
Comments Off on Taste of Ocean Springs winners announced

Taste of Ocean Springs highlights best of city cuisine

Jackson County is home to many amazing local restaurants. Not only does the area obviously offer some incredible seafood, but there are so many different kinds of cuisines available just within the city limits of Ocean Springs. Downtown Ocean Springs is home to restaurants that offer steaks, seafood, pizza, barbecue, Mediterranean dishes, Southern favorites and so many more. Thanks to events like Taste of Ocean Springs, community members are able to sample all of that food in one place in one night. 

Featuring 20 different restaurants and 10 different wine brokers, the 9th Annual Taste of Ocean Springs Food and Wine Festival was sold out with everyone excited for this unique event. 

“We sold 500 tickets this year, so we have an amazing crowd and in addition to that we have a lot of fun stuff this year,” explained Cynthia Sutton, Executive Director with the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. “We’re featuring a master potter Anita Hughes, so we have her vases on all the tables. We partnered with Mercedes-Benz, and we’re showing some of their cars here. We’re doing some fun giveaways with our partners like Golden Nugget, so it’s just a lot of great things happening here.”

However, with all of the wonderful additions to the event, everyone gathered at the L & N Depot for the star of the night: the food. The evening breeze carried the enticing aromas through downtown. The crowd looked like something out of My Fair Lady with the dress code asking attendees to dress in red, white or black, adding to the elegant atmosphere of the outdoor festival. 

So many different dishes were available at Taste of Ocean Springs that anyone could have found a dish to enjoy. French Kiss Pastries offered a decadent Tuxedo Cake with chocolate and espresso. Greenhouse on the Porter had a light chocolate chip biscuit. Chefs from the Mary C. Cafe at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural center offered Chipotle Sweet Potato Biscuits with Beer and Bacon Jam. McElroy’s had shrimp and grits as well as seafood gumbo samples. Vestige allowed attendees to sample a grilled pork loin. Different pizzas were offered from Tom’s Extreme Pizzeria as well as Marco’s Pizza for anyone that wanted felt the need for some comfort food.

Anyone looking for something to wash all of this amazing food down did not have to look far, because it felt like every other booth offered a unique cocktail. Mango sangria made with tequila, Mississippi Mules based with honey suckle vodka distilled in the Magnolia State and so many more concoctions were available for sampling.

Not only did this event allow community members to sample different dishes from Ocean Springs restaurants, but it also served to benefit the local economy of downtown Ocean Springs.

“It brings a big economic impact to the Gulf Coast and Jackson County,” Cynthia explained. “We have people come from all over that will stay in our boutique hotels and spend the night just to be able to attend this event. Restaurants will get new customers out of this event, and it showcases the best that Jackson County has to offer.”

As for what’s in store next for Ocean Springs, Free Food Fridays is continuing through the month of May, and Ocean Springs Restaurant Week will begin May 13 to further celebrate the dining culture of Ocean Springs. 

Learn more »
Comments Off on Taste of Ocean Springs highlights best of city cuisine

Children display artwork at Walter Anderson museum

Click the gallery above to view larger.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast has been home to many visual artists, from George Ohr to the Anderson brothers: Walter, Peter and James.

Saturday, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art offered burgeoning local artists a chance to experience having their work on display. 

“Every year the Walter Anderson Museum of Art hosts a student art show featuring artwork from children living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Brandi Bryant Hoxie, an Ocean Springs resident and art teacher at Popp’s Ferry Elementary in Biloxi. Hoxie had 77 student entries in this year’s art show. 

This show in particular is rather unique because it is exclusive to artists under the age of 18.

“Every year the show has a new theme based on a children’s book. The artwork must be inspired by that year’s book/artist,” Hoxie explained.

This year’s theme was based on the works of Eric Carle, best known for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

“My students have participated in the show the last 3 years,” Hoxie said. “This is such an amazing opportunity for young children to have their art on display at an amazing museum. The Walter Anderson Museum of Art does a fabulous job of organizing and hosting this pop-up art show. I look forward to this art show every year with my students.”

Learn more »
Comments Off on Children display artwork at Walter Anderson museum

The Mary C presents Sugarcane Jane in August

The Mary C O’Keefe Cultural Center brings many wonderful musical performers, and this August they will have Sugarcane Jane.  

On Saturday, August 19, the Alabama husband and wife team will share their talents playing in Ocean Springs.  Anthony and Savana Lee Crawford write and perform their dynamic, homegrown, earthy kind of Americana.  Their shows will calm you while at the same time have you wanting to clap and jump up to dance.  

Anthony Crawford has played with some famous names in music business.  Over the course of the last 25 years, he has performed with Neil Young, Sonny James, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill, Rosanne Cash, and more.  Anthony has written and co-written songs recorded by Steve Winwood, Dwight Yoakam, Kenny Rogers and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  Sugarcane Jane will be releasing a new album later this year.

The Mary C O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs offers a wonderful chance to catch this duo play in a relaxing concert atmosphere.  Support our cultural center tickets are available now on-line www.themaryc.org.

Listen to a song from Sugarcane Jane’s soon to be released album.

 

Day/Date: Saturday, August 19th

Time: 7:00p.m.

Price: Members: $15.00/ Non Members: $20.00

Learn more »
Comments Off on The Mary C presents Sugarcane Jane in August