Huntington Ingalls Industries Announces Opening of New HII Family Vision Centers

vision_center21jun18 Huntington Ingalls Industries Announces Opening of New HII Family Vision Centers

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PASCAGOULA, Miss., June 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced that it has opened two HII Family Vision Centers for its employees and their families. The vision centers are an expansion of the services available at the HII Family Health Centers in Gautier and Newport News, Virginia.

“The addition of vision services to our health centers is another step toward ensuring the overall well-being of our workforce and their families,” Bill Ermatinger, HII’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, said. “We are committed to the belief that a healthy employee is an engaged employee, and this expansion highlights that commitment.”

The vision center in Mississippi opened on Tuesday, and the vision center in Virginia opened on May 1.

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://newsroom.huntingtoningalls.com/file?fid=5b2be69d2cfac24fa71b0f35.

The new vision centers, operated by Vision Services Plan (VSP), offer comprehensive eye care with an optometrist and opticians on-staff. The centers also house retail sections, complete with adult and children’s eyeglasses, safety glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses and more.

Other vision center services include:

  • Adult and pediatric annual eye exams
  • Correction exams
  • Diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism
  • Vision therapy
  • Lens prescriptions
  • Frame selection and fitting

The vision centers offer preventive and acute eye care to all HII employees and their dependents. In-network rates and discounts are available to employees enrolled in an HII or union vision plan. Employees are encouraged to contact their vision insurance provider for details and pricing.

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Pascagoula Run Paddle Battle this Saturday

Pascagoula-Paddle-Battle-2 Pascagoula Run Paddle Battle this Saturday
Pascagoula-Paddle-Battle-2 Pascagoula Run Paddle Battle this Saturday

Dip into one of the Mississippi’s Gulf Coast’s officially designated water trails and enjoy a uniquely adventurous perspective of the region’s abundant natural beauty and native wildlife with the Pascagoula Run Paddle Battle this Saturday, June 23. Online registration closes Thursday, June 21. Last minute registrations will be allowed at the meet and greet event at Brady’s Steak and Seafood on Friday, June 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. The second annual Pascagoula Run Paddle Battle is a 12.5 mile race down the Pascagoula River for all types of human powered paddle craft. The race will begin at Little River Marina in Moss Point and end at Lighthouse Park in Pascagoula. The paddle battle is for both competitive and leisure paddlers in the area as it is a race as well as a pleasure ride. “Paddle sports are extremely popular, especially where there are beautiful, accessible waterways like in Pascagoula,” said Lauri-Ellen Smith, the city’s director of community relations. Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place finishers in 17 categories. There are various categories for kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards. An awards ceremony will be held once all racers are off the course. “Paddling is a great way to get active and stay in shape but also allows you to slow down and take in all the natural beauty the Mississippi Gulf Coast has to offer,” Smith said. “We are becoming more widely known as a destination city for ecotourism. So, we are committed to providing sporting and recreational programming that accentuates the natural resources and beauty of our city while getting people outdoors and active.” The registration fee is $50 for American Canoe Association members and $55 for non-members. Register online at www.cityofpascagoula.com until close of business this Thursday. Kayak rentals are available through Nelson Outdoors and must be reserved in advance by contacting 228-769-6699. Shuttles from Lighthouse Park will be provided for race participants park. There are two pull out points along the course, and numerous safety boats will be on the water to assist in case of emergencies. The American Canoe Association is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling. They also provide support to help protect paddling environments and they sanction programming and events that promote paddle sport competition and recreation, and provide insurance for events such as this. This event was originally scheduled for April 14 but was rescheduled due to the weather.

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Business of the Week: Edd’s Drive-In

If you live in the Pascagoula-Moss Point area, you have likely enjoyed a meal (or 200) at Edd’s Drive-In. Since 1953, Edd’s has been serving up its famous chili cheeseburgers and handmade milkshakes to loyal patrons and newbies alike. The consistently good food and nostalgic atmosphere keeps people coming back for more.

The original location at 3834 Market Street has kept its retro vibe with the green-striped awning and neon ice cream cone signage. Customers place orders at the walk-up window and usually chat with one another while waiting for pickup.

In 2001, the Foster-Martin family purchased Edd’s and have maintained the quality that customers have come to expect for over 60 years. In 2012, a new location was opened at 19400 Highway 63 in Hurley offering the same menu favorites; plus a few new items, like chicken nuggets and catfish plates.

The next time you are in Pascagoula or Hurley, stop in at Edd’s Drive-In and enjoy a chili dog or chocolate malt.  You know you won’t be disappointed!

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Grand Bay NERR to offer Boater Education Classes this Summer

Do you own a boat or WANT to own a boat?  Do you have a child over age 10 who rides with you on a boat?  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you need to take advantage of one of two boater education classes being offered this summer.

The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) in cooperation with the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) will be offering a class on June 20th and July 25th to promote boater education to local citizens. Everyone knows that safety on our waters is an important issue, given the access to water and large number of boaters in our area.

The classes are free of charge and open to the public. A DMR Marine Patrol Officer will be instructing each class. These folks are your friends on and off the water.

You must be at least 10 years of age to receive a certificate of course completion.

Follow this link for more information on these classes and others across the region:
https://education.mdwfp.com/Web/Event/EventsByCounty

This is all classroom instruction at one of the Jewels of Jackson County: the Grand Bay NERR facility.  See below for address and class dates and times.   Get Salty Safely, Y’all!

Location:
Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
6005 Bayou Heron Road
Moss Point, MS 39562

Class Date and Time:
June 20, 2018 from 9:00AM to 4:00PM
July 25, 2018 From 9:00AM to 4:00PM

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National Dairy Goat Awareness Week… No Kidding!

Goats seem to be everywhere these days.  From funny commercials on TV to goat yoga (look it up, you’ll thank me later); goats have gone viral. In addition to the cuteness factor, goats have gained popularity for the milk they provide. Seven years ago, Ken and Brenda Goff of Vancleave embarked on a journey to raise and breed quality milk goats.

The Goffs wanted a self-sustainable lifestyle and spent six months researching what type of goats would be productive for Briarcrest Farm. There are two types of goats: dairy or meat. The Goffs chose to raise purebred Nubian dairy goats because they, “fell in love with the way they look,” according to Brenda. Nubians are a popular goat because of the high butter fat content of the milk. The milk is used not only for drinking, but in products like soap and hand lotion.

During the first year of raising goats, the Goffs found themselves with an abundance of goat milk. After drinking the milk and making cheese and yogurt, Brenda says, “we still had milk coming out of our ears.” Soon, Brenda began researching how to make soap from goat’s milk and was surprised by what she found.

 “It’s so good for your skin.  Soap from a store is like rubbing detergent on skin,” remarks Brenda.  “People come several times a week, by appointment, to buy soap. People with psoriasis and acne swear by it.” Briarcrest Farm soap is made from 100% goat’s milk and highest quality food grade ingredients. The soap is handmade through a cold process which maintains the quality of each ingredient. 

The Goffs are diligent about the care given to each of the 20 goats currently on the farm. The goats are milked twice daily, and once a month, a sample of the milk is sent to Langston University in Oklahoma for analysis. The results of the testing will be included in the goat’s permanent record, which is then sent to the Dairy Records Management System. The DRMS keeps track of a goat’s heritable traits for future breeding information.

Additionally, Briarcrest Farm goats have earned numerous awards throughout show competitions in the Southeast. With the rise in goat ownership, the Goffs and other owners have started a new dairy association called Southern Browsers. The purpose of the association is to give new or potential goat owners the information needed to properly raise goats.

You may visit Briarcrest Farm at 10401 Cherokee Rose Road in Vancleave to purchase soaps. Appointments are available during weekdays by calling 228. 366.0254 or email: brendagoff@briarcrestfarm.com.  The soaps are also available at the Second Saturday Farmer’s Market in Gautier City Park from 8am-12pm. You can also learn more at www.briarcrestfarm.com and follow their farm happenings on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BriarcrestFarm/

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Who are the Pascagoula Paradise Paddlers?

Surrounded by a couple of Pascagoula locals, Kristi Ducote and Eric Richards along with some Hurricane Shrimp Tacos from Brady’s, I found myself enchanted by the stories and opportunities a SaltLife person is looking for.  Pascagoula Paradise Paddlers (PPP) consists of a core group of about 7 members give or take a few. It all started a little over 6 years ago with the Gulf Coast Summerfest. GCS needed a kayak event or two and Paradise Paddlers was born when a few enthusiasts found each other at the Choctaw Marina launch and voila!  They all said, “Let’s do this again!” Since then they have been meeting nearly every month to explore another blueway beauty in Jackson County. Eric Richards, a founding member, says, “it allows newcomers to the sport to meet other enthusiasts, but also shows the great paradise we have here… all the attributes of our natural resources.” 

When I asked what some of the “standout” virtues and ventures are, he replied, “…camaraderie and the Cumbest Bayou Fish Fry Paddle” (my personal favorite).  Each Fall, one of the paddles is along the beautiful banks of Cumbest Bayou. Once the group arrives at an old Indian shell midden island, fresh speckled trout from the bayou are fried up and served with plenty of sides and snacks, by Fletcher Songe and Charlie McVea (more PPP founding members). All of the ventures are very family friendly and safety is always a number one priority. Most all floats utilize the services of local marine law enforcement escorts and/or a lead/follow safety kayaker. There are: Blood Moon, Super Moon, Sunset/Moon-rise, Fall/Spring, Day/Night, and event paddles year round.  You’ll enjoy some of the night paddles which employ some “MacGyver-like” decorated boats with lights and more. I asked Eric which venture is the most scenic. He replied, “the Franklin Creek paddle out of Presley’s Outing… the trees and canopy are incredible in both summer and winter… they have very different looks with and without foliage.”

The City of Pascagoula’s outdoor recreation specialist and PPP member, Kristi Ducote, shares about some of the partnering events that bring the Paradise Paddlers and city recreation together.  On June 23rd, the rescheduled Pascagoula Run Paddle Battle, which stretches 12.5 miles from Little River Marina to Lighthouse Park, will bring in some serious kayak talent from across the south; but it’s not a race for all.  For some, it’s a great chance to see a long stretch of bayou and river blueway along the Pascagoula River delta. “Even if you’re not up to the 12.5 mile paddle, we have two pullout points downstream for those who want less of a challenge,” said Ducote.  Online registration will last through Thursday, June 22nd, but you can still attend and register at the meetup on Friday June 23rd at Brady’s Steak and Seafood, 3801 Magnolia St. from 5:00-8:00PM. Go to the City of Pascagoula link (https://cityofpascagoula.com/467/Pascagoula-Run-Paddle-Battle) for more info on this event and others like the June 29th PaddlePalooza from River Park to Huck’s Cove, which is a Sunset/Moonrise adventure.  Also, Nelson Outdoors of Pascagoula is always happy to provide you with a rental, complete with all safety gear. And I’ll bet they’ll hook you up with your own rig, if you’re in the market!

So, if you are a beginner, an explorer, enthusiast, or just plain ole Salty Dog; come enjoy the paradise Jackson County has to offer.  You’ll meet some really cool folks and see some breathtaking beauty. The PPP doesn’t have an official website, but if you go the Mississippi Kayaking Meetup Group page, you can stay tuned for upcoming adventures: (https://www.meetup.com/Mississippi-Kayak-Meetup-Group/).  Also, the City of Pascagoula updates their recreation website with the latest on kayaking events in the area: (https://cityofpascagoula.com/327/Outdoor-Recreation)

Get SALTY Y’all!

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New Whispering Pines Clubhouse Scores Points with Customers

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The new clubhouse at Whispering Pines golf course has been bringing some new faces to the golf course since it opened four months ago, according to management.

Richie Diamond, facilities manager, said many of the newer faces are there to eat a good meal instead of swing a golf club.
The 3,400-square-foot clubhouse opened in February with an expanded menu at the grill, indoor and covered outdoor dining areas, lockers in each bathroom, and an updated pro shop.

“We see a lot of new faces these days. Surprisingly, as many at the grill as there is to play a round of golf,” Diamond said.

Diamond said that Jackson County Supervisors, along with state Sen. Manly Barton, were instrumental in budgeting funds for the $1.2 million project. The 18-hole, 72-par course is operated by the county and is managed by the county’s Recreation Department, and the funds for the project came from the county’s General Fund.

“It shows how committed the Supervisors are to providing quality recreational facilities to the residents of Jackson County. Our golf course is available to all High Schools and Community Colleges in Jackson County, at no cost and is considered the home course of some,” Diamond said.

Aside from this project, Jackson County has put more than $800,000 since 2013 into improving the course. This most recent project also included improvements to the parking lot. Diamond said the next big improvement likely will be a new pavilion to replace the one that was removed from the property when the new clubhouse was built.

The clubhouse and course open at 7 a.m. Sunday – Tuesday and Thursday – Saturday, and at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

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Iconic Restaurant in Gautier Changes Ownership

tiki-2 Iconic Restaurant in Gautier Changes Ownership
tiki-2 Iconic Restaurant in Gautier Changes Ownership

GAUTIER–Changes are coming to the iconic Tiki Restaurant in Gautier, but locals have nothing to be worried about. 
The seafood menu that made the restaurant on the Mary Walker Bayou a staple for decades isn’t going anywhere. It’s just that now barbeque is joining the crab legs and shrimp on the menu. 
“If there’s any change at all, what we want people to understand is that Tiki’s will always be a seafood restaurant,” said Darryl Jackson, a consultant for the Tiki’s new owners.
Those new owners, David and Deborah Lindsey, are just adding barbeque recipes they have perfected from working at their son’s restaurant, Hog Heaven BBQ in Laurel, Jackson said.
The Lindseys bought the restaurant after years of living near the restaurant and being customers, Jackson said, and they are working to improve the quality of the seafood fare that locals have come to expect from the Tiki.
Regulars will notice a few other changes designed to bring in more customers. 
The restaurant will expand its hours to be open all day on Sundays and Mondays, and the owners are trying to book new musicians and plan more weekend events, particularly ones that take advantage of the outdoor patio and deck. 
The Tiki has already started a weekly Thursday night karaoke contest. The year’s weekly winners will compete against each other in December for a chance to win $2,500.
“We’re just trying to get the crowd back over here like the old days,” Jackson said. 
Edward Thornton’s family bought the Tiki in May of 1969, and ownership eventually passed to Thornton. Selling the family’s iconic restaurant has been emotional at times, Thornton said, but he has no regrets about handing it over to the Lindseys.
“They’re wanting to keep things as they are,” Thornton said. “They realize that a place like this that has been around as long as it has, it’s created some deep roots.”
Not only that, but Thornton also gives his stamp of approval on the barbeque.
“I’ve eaten everything they got, and it’s well worth it,” Thornton said.

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Mississippi Export Railroad Investing in Rail Improvements

mer-shoot Mississippi Export Railroad Investing in Rail Improvements

Upgrades Will Yield New Growth, Increase Productivity in Region

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – June 13, 2018 – The Jackson County Board of Supervisors has approved a Freight Rail Service Revolving Loan provided by the Mississippi Development Authority to support new investment in rail upgrades by the Mississippi Export Railroad, a short line railroad with much of its service in Jackson County. Funds will be used to construct 3.2 miles of rail car storage, passing and field repair space, representing a total investment of approximately $4.7 million.

Randy Bosarge, President of the Board of Supervisors, stated, “We are proud to be able to assist in the growth of this important Jackson County-based industry and salute the Mississippi Export Railroad for investing to better serve its current and future customers.”

This project will allow existing businesses to expand their production capacity in the future and enable the railroad to better meet the needs of the numerous businesses served by the rail line. Construction should begin in July and be completed within 12 months.

“We are excited to kick off this project with our partners at the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation and the Mississippi Development Authority,” said Kate Luce, chief executive officer of the Export Railroad. “Mississippi Export’s unit train storage and interchange capabilities, combined with its full service car repair shop, make it a one-stop solution for car owners and rail shippers.”

The Mississippi Export Railroad is a short line Class III railroad with the primary mission of serving local industries. With connections to four Class I railroads, it links the Gulf of Mexico and foreign ports to all of North America. The railroad is a diversified company with a full-service maintenance and repair railcar and locomotive shop with AAR M-1003 & AAR M-1002 (C6) certifications, railcar storage facilities, track maintenance and repair and transloading terminals. It also partners with Aaron Oil Company to provide tank car cleaning and waste disposal services. Please visit http://mserr.com/ for more information.

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Smithsonian Water Exhibition Delights Local Audiences

Visitors-at-exhibit-1 Smithsonian Water Exhibition Delights Local Audiences

The Pascagoula River Audubon Center, in cooperation with the Mississippi Humanities Council, continues its exploration of water’s environmental and cultural impact as it hosts the local showing of “Water/Ways,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. “Water/Ways” will be on view through July 7, 2018.

The Pascagoula River Audubon Center and the surrounding community was expressly chosen by the Mississippi Humanities Council to host “Water/Ways” as part of the Museum on Main Street project—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. After it leaves Moss Point in early July, the exhibition will travel to five more communities in Mississippi before it returns to the Smithsonian.

“Water/Ways” explores the endless motion of the water cycle, water’s effect on landscape, settlement and migration, and its impact on culture and spirituality. It looks at how political and economic planning have long been affected by access to water and control of water resources. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.

Visitors-at-exhibit-1 Smithsonian Water Exhibition Delights Local Audiences

“We are thrilled with the attention Water/Ways is receiving,” said Erin Parker, Programs Manager. More than 130 people attended our opening event and the daily visitor count so far has been wonderful. Parker continued, “We’ve had visitors from as far away as Seattle, Washington to see the exhibition and visit our community. It’s great exposure for the Audubon Center and Moss Point. We’ve had a diversity of programs related to water from different perspectives that are attracting different audiences.”

Upcoming public Saturday programs include “Water/Ways Talk” with Dr. Jim Giesen, Mobile Baykeeper Talk, Writing on the River with Mary Ann O’Gorman, and a DIY Rain Barrel Workshop. Some programs require fees for materials. For a complete listing of related programs, visit the events calendar online at http://pascagoula.audubon.org/events or call 228-475-0825.

“Water/Ways” is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more visit www.museumonmainstreet.org, www.sites.si.edu, or http://mshumanities.org/. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress and the Mississippi Humanities council.

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