Pascagoula native finally tells the tale of amazing close encounter

For 45 years, Calvin Parker kept his mouth shut about the Pascagoula alien abduction that captured America’s attention. But now he’s ready to tell his story.

Parker, who claims he was abducted and examined by alien beings while fishing on the Pascagoula River with Charles Hickson in 1973, will hold a book signing event at Main Street Pascagoula on Oct. 11, 2018, on the 45th anniversary of the alleged abduction.  

“I never really told my story,” Parker said. “Nobody has ever talked to my family about it, never talked to my friends about it. I’ve always kept it quiet.”

A few months ago, however, Parker decided to share his story through a book titled Pascagoula – The Closest Encounter: My Story.

The idea came to him after attending a funeral. Visitors saw his name on the registry and began asking questions.

“They was coming up asking a lot of questions, wanting pictures,” he said. “We left the funeral because it was taking attention away from the family, but on the way home (me and my wife) talked about writing a book.”

As fate would have it, when they returned home a publisher had left a message about a book deal.  

“He told me, ‘It’s your legacy. People need to know. People want to know,’” Parker said. “He said the media always changes things. They make it a little spicier. I wanted to document this and put it in a book where it can’t be changed.”

Parker said he’s eager to kick off his book signings in Pascagoula because he owes the people of Jackson County an explanation of what happened.

“I don’t know if they believe it or not,” he said. “It don’t matter to me if you believe it or not (because) I know it happened.”

The book, should help readers make up their minds, he said.

“At least read the book and get the facts, like the polygraph test, the voice stress test, the eye witnesses, the hypnosis sessions,” he said.

UFO-MAINSTREET-232x300 Pascagoula native finally tells the tale of amazing close encounterThe book is available for purchase for $30 through Main Street Pascagoula by emailing mainstreetpascagoula@gmail.com. The book will be available for pick-up at the book signing event.

The book signing will be held at 618 Delmas Ave. from 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 11.

The book reveals all, Parker said.

“I remember everything about it,” Parker said, recounting that night in 1973.  

He and Hickson, who has since died, were fishing on private property on the east bank of the Pascagoula River.

“We had seen some blue, hazy lights, and I had figured that maybe the law was coming,” he said. “We stood up and turned around, and then a real bright light appeared about the time we stood up. It was really blinding for a minute.”

He believes the blinding light was the craft’s door opening.

“We saw three figures coming toward us,” Parker recounted. “You couldn’t make it out much because of the lights, but when they got closer, you could kinda make out that they weren’t human. They were more like robotic looking.”

Two of them approached Hickson, he said, and one grabbed Parker.  

“When they got a hold of me, it was like an injection,” he said. “It just took the fear and life right out of you. You couldn’t do nothing. You couldn’t talk; you couldn’t do anything but look. I couldn’t turn my head to see what was going on.”

Parker said once on board, he was put on an examination table at about a 45-degree angle.

That’s when something resembling a deck of cards with a silver bottom came out if the ceiling, he said.

“It came and hovered around my head just little bit (and) clicked four times,” he said. “I figure it was something close to an MRI.”

Then the “big ugly one” left the room, he said, and “the little feminine looking one” came inside to examine Parker.

“She pulled at my skin,” he said. “She put her fingers in my throat, nose and ears and just gave me an examination. She left the room, and the big ugly one came back in, the one I call the soldier. He came back and set us back at the river.”

Parker said he and Hickson sat on the riverbank and talked about what happened for a few minutes.

“I didn’t want to tell anyone,” he said. “But the next day, it was a media frenzy. It was national news and it still is.”

Parker believes social media has kept the abduction story alive and helped fan the flames of its popularity.

He’s been contacted by television stations and has a forthcoming radio broadcast, he said, and he wouldn’t be surprised if some movie deals come out of the book’s release.

“We’re just taking it slow and easy, not jumping into anything,” he said. “It’s been 45 years and I’ve kept my mouth shut. I kinda want to lift the cloud and lift the doubt. I just want to bring everybody together on the real facts of what happened.”

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Female Kickers from Ocean Springs will Blow Your Mind

IMG_2334-300x225 Female Kickers from Ocean Springs will Blow Your MindOthers might think having two female kickers on the football team is strange, but to Ocean Springs coaches and teammates, its just not a big deal. The two soccer-players-turned-football-kickers are Kaylee Foster, a senior, and Sydney Johnson, a freshman.  To the outside world, having female kickers makes a statement that “our ladies take athletics seriously,” Coach Ryan Ross said.

But to the team, “they’re just part of us, and we don’t look at them any differently,” he said.  “We look at them like athletes who contribute to our team.”

Both ladies have been kicking since the seventh grade and say the community has been overwhelmingly supportive of their time on the field. Foster, who plans to play soccer for Mississippi College, said it’s going to be hard to leave her teammates. “I’ve been doing this for so long and to think it’s going to be over in a few months is sad,” she said. “It was a little scary at first, but all of the guys have been welcoming. I don’t have a brother, but now I have 99 brothers.”

When she’s gone, “I just want them to remember that I worked really hard,” Foster said. “I got this spot not because I’m a girl, but because I worked really hard.” Johnson said she enjoys kicking because she gets to make new friends, and she’s thankful for the path Kaylee has helped pave for female kickers. “Now I get the same respect she did,” said Johnson, who has a brother on the team. “There’s a few people who think, ‘Oh my God! It’s a girl kicker!’ but really it’s pretty normal. It’s great.” Johnson appreciates good competition, she said, “and obviously Kaylee is a very good kicker.”IMG_2334-300x225 Female Kickers from Ocean Springs will Blow Your Mind

Coach Ross said having a stellar soccer program helps groom the girls for kicking. “Kicking is in their blood,” he said.  “They go above and beyond. It’s good for them, and it’s good for us.” Even though Johnson and Foster aren’t viewed as a novelty by the team, Ross admits, “it’s a big deal when you sit back and look at it.”

Cheerleader Chloe Kirby said having female kickers helps get the crowd pumped up, but the ladies represent much more than that. “The fact that there are two female kickers is an empowerment to women in general,” Kirby said.  “It sets an idea in other little girls’ heads that maybe I want to be a kicker when I grow up. I think it’s a hard task to find female kickers in general, but if you have them it sets you apart as a school that embraces females in athletics.” The cheerleaders even have a special cheer for Kaylee that uses her name, Kirby said. For any females considering a spot in a male-dominated sport, Johnson has some advice: “Just do you. Do what you want to do, and people will respect that.”



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Qu’est Que C’est Nature: Let the Good Times Roll!

Rolly-Polly-300x300 Qu’est Que C’est Nature: Let the Good Times Roll!

Rolly Polly – A Child’s First Wild Pet

For any child that plays outdoors, the Rolly Polly is surely on their list of first pets. How could you not say “cool” when these creatures go from running across your arm to rolling into a ball. The ball posture gives them the name Pill Bug, but Doodle Bug or Potato Bug are also names used for what is a cosmopolitan species – found throughout the world. Originally from the Mediterranean, this and other soil-dwelling creatures arrived in foreign shores through European migration. Their scientific name, Armadillidium vulgare, refers to their similarity to armadillos (first name or genus) that roll into a ball and a Latin word for “common” (species name).

So, let’s start with what these creatures are not – they are not insects. By definition, insects have six legs and three body parts (a head, thorax, and abdomen). Rolly Pollies are isopods (meaning same size legs), a group of crustaceans. As with all crustaceans, they have a fused front end, called the cephalothorax (short head with most of the body being the thorax), to which the seven pairs of legs are attached, and a short abdomen.

As for rolling into a ball, this is a defense mechanism for this group of woodlice that protects their underside from predators, but also from drying out. Like all crustaceans, they need a certain amount of moisture to keep their gills/lungs moist. This explains why pollies  are most often seen under logs and pots where there is more moisture. Although not as common as rolly pollies, we do have other species of woodlice in the south that cannot roll into a ball. These species are usually lighter in color and flatter than pollies.

I have enjoyed watching my kids and now grandkids go on “Polly Hunts” – rolling over logs and pots in the yard – but being careful to put the logs and pots back in place once we “find” our prices. One of my grandsons is nicknamed “Polly Man” for this very reason. Whether kept in a bug box, a cup, or just on your arm, they can supply lots of fun and a teaching moment about nature.

But, just because you can, they are not to be stuffed into ears and noses! As one of my nephews learned as a small child, a dozen or so pollies, once stuffed into an ear, start to hurt, right David?

So, take a child on a Rolly Polly hunt today – and regain a part of your own childhood.

Hope to see you in our great outdoors!!!

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Most Popular Classic Car Show in America Looking for Volunteers

More than 5,100 classic car enthusiasts from 44 states and Canada are pre-registered for the 22nd annual Cruisin’ the Coast, and Jackson County is revving up for a greater showing this year.

“Those are good numbers for us,” Cruisin’ the Coast Executive Director Woody Bailey said. “We’re on track with last year.” Moss Point, Pascagoula, Gautier and Ocean Springs are all bringing back their Cruisin’ events, with a few changes. “Pascagoula is going to be moving to Beach Park for their event, and we think that’s going to be a terrific venue for Cruisin’ the Coast,” Bailey said. “It’s so neat to see the other cities and the county come aboard,” he said. “Moss Point’s event is called Cruisin’ the River City, and it’s become very popular.” Gautier’s event is on Sept. 30, the first Sunday of Cruisin’ the Coast. That event, in its second year, is called Cruisin’ Through the Decades.

“We had a great turnout there last year, and we’re expecting a good turnout this year,” Bailey said of the Gautier event, which takes place on U.S. 90 adjacent to Belk. Pascagoula not only gets a new venue this year, but it also gets an expanded event.“Pascagoula is now going to a three-day stamping venue,” Bailey said. “That’s going to be even more impact for Jackson County.”

The Cruisin’ organization completes an economic impact study every five years. In 2016, it was estimated that the event generated a $26.5 million economic impact in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties. “A lot of people over here in Jackson County are spending money,” Bailey said.

While the overall Cruisin’ schedule will look very similar to last year’s event, “we’re working to improve it any way we can, and hoping for a good turnout, hopefully good weather,” Bailey said. “It should be a super event for this year,’ he said.

One of the event’s biggest needs is volunteers, Bailey said. Historically, Cruisin’ has relied on car clubs from state line to state line, he said, but the need for volunteers grows each year. “We’re launching a volunteer group called the Cruisin’ Krewe to help direct traffic, help with registration, and do computer work,” he said, noting volunteer information and applications are available online at www.cruisinthecoast.com.

“We’ll try to work with you and place you in a good spot,” he said. “The people of the Gulf Coast are tremendous ambassadors for this event. We want people to come out and support the event and enjoy the event. Bring your kids out, and help us with the event however you think you can.”

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You’ll Never Guess What This App Does and SRHS Has It!

Singing River Health System is the first on the Mississippi Coast to adopt new mobile technology that dramatically speeds up communication with first responders and subsequent hospital treatment for emergencies.

The health system has partnered with Pulsara, a communication platform that provides real-time, seamless communication among all providers from first responders to hospital ER staff, physicians and surgeons. During an emergency, clinicians can dynamically create a dedicated patient channel, build and alert their clinical teams, and communicate via messaging, audio clips, images, as well as phone or video calls through their mobile devices, all before the patient even arrives at the hospital.
Pulsara helps reduce time to treatment by sending patient information that normally can’t be relayed over the telephone or radio from the field to the hospital ahead of the patient’s arrival. David Higdon, Emergency Department Manager for Singing River Health System, is already impressed. “Pulsara puts all of us on the same page. For stroke or heart attack patients in the field, first responders can activate the app and give us critical information to get the ball rolling much faster than before. They can transfer EKG images to us in an encrypted format so we can see that info and begin directing treatment” he said.

Pulsara Stop STEMI Case Demonstration from Pulsara on Vimeo.

Higdon notes that the system has already made a tremendous difference: “Just recently one of our patients suffered a heart attack at home and called 911. Before the patient even arrived at Ocean Springs Hospital we had him registered and our Cath Lab team was activated and waiting for him. EMS bypassed the Emergency Room altogether and our Heart Team was able to begin a lifesaving intervention within just 8 minutes.” Patrick Phillips with Acadian Ambulance says that he and his team are excited to use the new technology. “We’re partnering well with Singing River in launching Pulsara. We can begin transmitting information and images from inside a patient’s home, and the more information we can give the hospital team, the sooner we can do that, the better it is for the patient.” Both Acadian and American Medical Response are using Pulsara technology in partnership with Singing River Health System.

To date, Pulsara is in use in 20 states and Australia and is rapidly growing. Since adoption of Pulsara, hospitals are seeing between a 20%-46% decrease in patient treatment times. For more information on Singing River Health System’s Emergency Services Team, see their website at
https://www.singingriverhealthsystem.com/services/emergency-care/. For information on Pulsara, see

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East Central Football Foundation Improves Facilities

IMG_1999 East Central Football Foundation Improves Facilities

The East Central Football Foundation has been working for the past three months to improve facilities for the football program. In that time, they’ve provided a new 800-pound capacity ice machine and 20 lockers for the program – ahead of their intended scheduled.

According to Lenn Wall, President of the East Central Football Foundation, the group’s mission is to ensure the coaches and student athletes have the resources they need to compete at the highest level.

Coming off of the success of last year’s football season, the group got together to form a foundation to ensure that the football program is an attractive coaching destination through facility improvements and coaching supplements.

Wall said they work in conjunction with the booster club and have seen support from the EC athletic director. With the addition of community support, things have taken off a little bit quicker than they anticipated. He credited this to the football team’s trip to the state championship last season.

“It’s the perfect time to do something like this,” he said. “People are very interested in getting involved and supporting the foundation financially too.”

To continue to raise funds, the group plans to host a couple of large fundraisers and pursue corporate sponsorships. Being a part of the Jackson County School District also allows the school to benefit from some matching programs, helping them do more with less.

“We’re not asking for people’s time so much as just for them to get the word out and to sign up as members and allow those funds to really go to the facilities and the coaches,” Wall said.

Since the group has marked off some initial items from Head Coach Seth Smith’s list, they are now looking to future projects. They have a few ideas in mind including possibly air conditioning the field house, getting new weights, or updating the football field fencing.

Wall said that the group is focused on improvements for the program in large part because of the coach and coaching staff. “I think everybody would agree we have a coach, a leader, who is a once in a lifetime find for a school,” he said. “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity, so we want to do our best to keep that.”

Wall said that the group is focused on football – rather than being an athletic foundation – so that they can concentrate their efforts on their largest revenue producing program. In turn, they hope this will allow for the football team to be even more successful, which will then benefit all other EC athletic programs long-term. 

The East Central Football Foundation is a nonprofit 501c3, so donations are tax deductible. You can find more information about them on their Facebook page.

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Qu’est Que C’est Nature: Banana Spider

Nephila-Female-July-25-2018-e1532702782508 Qu’est Que C’est Nature: Banana Spider

Qu’est Que C’est Nature is the name of a regular series of short notes about commonly seen plants and animals that people encounter but may know little about, and authored by locally known naturalist, Mark W. LaSalle. The name of the series is a nod to Mark’s Cajun heritage: the phrase meaning “What is that?” Qu’est Que C’est Nature celebrates the simple natural wonders around us and hopefully encourages us all to take the time to enjoy our rich natural heritage.

Banana Spider Time of Year, Oh Nooooo!!!

For those of us that love the great outdoors, we know what to expect this time of the year – big, sticky spider webs everywhere you turn, with a Banana Spider hanging smack in the middle. Nephila clavipes is more properly known as the Golden Silk Spider, and although the females of this species are one of the largest of our North American web spinning spiders, and a bit scary, they are really push overs when you get to know them. So here are few myths and fun facts about this maligned denizen of our woodlands.

No, Banana Spiders did not come in on banana boats: they are true native species of the eastern U.S. and a large portion of South America. Its common name is more likely a reflection of the long, yellow abdomen that helps this spider stand out.

Yes, Banana Spiders can bite, as all spiders can, but only if provoked. You would bite too if you were squished between your web and an “arm-waving frantic human, screaming at the top of their lungs.” At worst their bites cause minor discomfort, and perhaps some reaction to the venom that the spider may inject, but not serious injury.

No, spiders do not want to bite us, including those whose venom is harmful to humans.  Despite your worst fears, spiders are not waiting for the chance to jump on you and bite you in the face. And yet, arachnophobia is serious for many people. For those of you that fear spiders, keep the “they don’t want to bite you” in the back of your minds, and hopefully it will help.

Nephila-Female-July-25-2018-e1532702782508 Qu’est Que C’est Nature: Banana Spider

And where are the male Banana Spiders? They are a fraction of the size of females, all brown in color, and lurking on the edges of the female’s web. Each web may have multiple males hoping to mate with the resident female.

And what of the “golden silk?” Its function is not clearly understood, but the color of the web, along with the “messy” system of random strands of silk that are spun in front and back of the web are believed to help larger animals like birds “see” and avoid the web before they hit and damage it.

For those brave enough to take a closer look, there are any number of smaller spiders of several shapes and sizes that share the web with Banana Spiders. But that is for another installment of “Qu’est Que C’est.”

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Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival is accepting online applications

IMG_8228 Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival is accepting online applications

(Ocean Springs, MS) – The 40th Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival presented by Blue Moon, known as the largest fine arts festival in Mississippi, is currently accepting online applications for consideration to the fall festival. Applications and all required information must be uploaded via ZAPP by August 1, 2018 or late fees will apply. The show application process closes August 15.

The annual festival showcasing more than 400 national artists, crafters, food vendors and musicians has made a transition from paper applications to online applications through ZAPP. ZAPP is an online site seen by more than 70,000 artists nation-wide. The program allows artists to directly upload images, bios and more.

To be more competitive with other national award winning festivals and to allow artists ample time to set their schedules for the festival, the application deadline is August 1. Artists will be notified following that deadline of their application status.

The 40th Annual Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival will be held in downtown Ocean Springs, Mississippi on November 3 and 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information or application assistance, please give festival coordinators a call at the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau at 228-875-4424. Applications can be found at www.peterandersonfestival.com by clicking on the link under the “Vendor Info” tab.

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Jackson County’s Newest Waterfront Seafood Restaurant is in Moss Point!

Click the gallery above to view larger.

Nestled at the foot of the Highway 613 in Moss Point is a new restaurant offering fresh seafood and gorgeous water views. Brackish Waters is a family-friendly counter service restaurant located at the convergence of the Pascagoula and Escatawpa rivers. General Manager and an Owner, Darin Matthews, hopes to reinvigorate the Moss Point waterfront with the restaurant.

Since opening on June 15th, Manager Emily Roberts says, “business has been good. Figuring out all the kinks; working everything out. It gets better every day.” The menu includes local favorites like poboys, fish tacos and crawfish, along with a variety of appetizers. The menu, along with the spectacular view of the river, makes for a winning combination. “It’s the perfect location for the kind of food we have. We have a dock, boat access, seafood… coastal food in a coastal place,” says Roberts.

The elevated building allows for plenty of outdoor seating on the dock below, which is also the venue for live music on the weekends. The dock is also available for private party rentals. For those who wish to come by boat, there are eight boat slips available for use on a first-come, first-serve basis.  

Mr. Matthews insists on using local vendors for supplies. From Bozo’s and Family Frozen Foods to Four Seasons Produce; Matthews buys locally to support to other businesses. Another interesting aspect is that all Brackish Waters employees live close by. According to Ms. Roberts, “Everyone lives within 5 to 15 minutes (of the restaurant)…we’ve become a family now.”

Roberts says opening the business in Moss Point has been a good decision. “It’s nice. We feel welcome. Everyone has been super supportive as we’re trying to work out the (logistical) problems we face.”

By next summer Roberts says the crawfish hut will open downstairs, and possibly a tiki bar offering up frozen beverages such as, daiquiris and bushwhackers.

Brackish Waters is located at 5542 Main Street in Moss Point. Check out the Facebook page for more information on weekend music acts.

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Beginning of school year often reveals child abuse, neglect

1 Beginning of school year often reveals child abuse, neglect

The end of summer and the start of a new school year is an exciting time for most children. But for some, the beginning of school could reveal a dark secret when signs of abuse and neglect these children have suffered over the summer are noticed by teachers, staff and other parents.

“Because children are subject to less adult supervision over the summer, it’s not uncommon for reports of suspected abuse and neglect to spike at the start of the school year,” said Frances Allsup, Executive Director for Jackson County CASA, Inc.

Many of the children who are confirmed as victims are removed from their homes and placed into foster care—often far from their friends, families and schools. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers from Jackson County CASA are specially screened and trained to speak up for abused and neglected children who, through no fault of their own, end up in the foster care system.

“Being uprooted from their homes and families is scary for these children. We at Jackson County CASA want to make sure that they do not get lost in the overburdened foster care system,” Frances Allsup said. “For that reason, we need more people in our community to speak up and make sure these children’s voices are heard. We want to help ensure that their stay in foster care is as short as possible and that they are placed in safe, loving homes quickly so they can begin to heal.”

There are 275 children in the child protection system in Jackson County, and only 120 CASA volunteers to advocate for their best interests.

“Too many children are forced to go through the chaos of moving through the child protection system alone,” Frances Allsup said. “Jackson County CASA needs more volunteers to step up and be a voice for children who desperately need them.”

Julia Noble has been a CASA volunteer for 4 years. As a CASA volunteer, she advocates for children’s needs in court and in the child welfare system. She helps them through their struggles in foster care. Julia’s number one goal is to help the children find a safe, loving family.

“We need more dedicated CASA volunteers like Julia to walk with children every step of the way and ensure that they are placed into safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible,” Allsup said.

This school year, become a CASA volunteer and help children in need find safe, permanent homes. For more information, visit www.jccasa.net or give us a call at 228-762-7370. The next training is scheduled to begin August 13, 2018. Contact us today to find out how you can become a voice for a child in foster care.

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