1699 Weekend of Discovery: Celebrating Our Heritage

Click the gallery above to view larger.

Ocean Springs – In 1971, a group of dedicated citizens formed the 1699 Historical Society in order to preserve and celebrate the unique culture and history of Ocean Springs and the surrounding Gulf Coast.

Every spring, the Society stages a dramatic reenactment as the showcase of its annual “Weekend of Discovery.” The event brings to life the April 1699 story of Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d’Iberville and his armada of ships sailing into Biloxi Bay. Commissioned by King Louis XIV to explore the shores of the upper Gulf of Mexico, he and his expedition crew first discovered Ship Island before stumbling upon a high, defendable bluff, known today as Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Stopher Haug, chairman of the event this year, believes it’s important to help the public realize the significance of the landing. “I think that the culture and the heritage and influence that the d’Iberville landing had on the Gulf South in 1699 is essentially equivalent to the Jamestown landing in the Northeast back in 1603,” said Stopher. “So we’ve worked hard to try to get that message out and bring the history to life.”

The weekend kicks off Friday night with the Mary C. House Party featuring the Mardi Gras Indian Collective from New Orleans. Admission to the event is free, but donation opportunities abound with a full bar, art auction, and a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament. Festivities resume Saturday morning and include a 5K race, kids fun-run, paddleboard races, pet parade, a regatta at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club and will wrap up with the 1699 d’Iberville reenactment. Haug says he hopes everyone goes back home having had a great time at the event, but also with a greater knowledge and appreciation for the significance of the 1699 landing. “One thing that we would like folks to be aware of is that we’ve partnered with the Vancleave Live Oak Choctaw, who descend from original native Americans that were here in 1699. We’ve been working with them to try and bring more authenticity and historical accuracy to the reenactment this year and to recognize their culture and contributions as well.”

Everyone is invited to join in this exciting time and become a part of this commemorative celebration!

Learn more by visiting www.1699landing.com

Learn more »
Comments Off on 1699 Weekend of Discovery: Celebrating Our Heritage

Business of the Week: The HannaBerry Workshop

Click the image above to view larger.

Ocean Springs – The HannaBerry Workshop is a multi-disciplinary design and fabrication studio, founded in Jackson, MS by collaborative artisan team – Sarah Qarqish and Morgan Welch. Since first opening their doors in 2013, the two artists have focused on creating fine art and furniture by blending fresh new ideas and technology with traditional design and fabrication practices. The Workshop also dabbles in graphic design, architecture, cabinetry, interiors and signage; all of which can be customized to suit your need or preferences.

Recently adding “husband and wife” to their list of partnerships, the design duo says the success of their business is a direct result of teamwork and good communication. “Everything that comes out of our studio has been created by the both of us,” says Morgan. “Usually our best work is a result of Sarah having a crazy idea that I have to engineer; and then we work together to make it a reality.” Depending on the scale of the project, the team will spend anywhere from several days to several weeks in the shop; researching, sketching, and gathering the materials needed in order to begin fabrication. Any number of techniques may be used during the production of a HannaBerry design – utilizing new, cutting-edge technology, as well as century-old techniques in order to perfect their heirloom quality works of art. As with most artists – and married couples – Sarah and Morgan approach their work and design processes from very different perspectives.

Not always see eye-to-eye, the pair says they have had to learn to embrace each other’s passions when collaborating on a new piece together. “We both know utilizing each other’s strengths and being aware of each other’s weaknesses is essential in keeping things running smoothly,” said Sarah. “Where we end up when we meet in the middle; that’s when we know we’ve created something special.”

As frequent visitors of Ocean Springs, Sarah and Morgan have always felt a pull to the area; a “calling from the coast” one may say. When it could no longer be ignored, they finally decided to answer that call and relocated to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to expand their studio/workshop. The couple has been beyond grateful for the wonderful reception they’ve received from both the creative community and the public. It didn’t take long for the pair to connect with other local artists and designers, providing them the opportunity to collaborate on several projects designed for the public here on the coast.

“The organic designs and patterns we create within our art and furniture seem to really fit the coastal atmosphere here. Our work has often been described as having a shell-like design, so we have had fun exploring the idea of our furniture being out in public places here in town,” said Sarah. “We’re excited about the impact living on the coast could have on our life and work… we’re just getting started here!”

Learn more about The HannaBerry Workshop here!

Remember to support your local artists and businesses! We are proud they call Jackson County Home!

Learn more »
Comments Off on Business of the Week: The HannaBerry Workshop

Donate Stuffed Animals Friday in Ocean Springs

Click the image above to view larger.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA has partnered with Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Inc. to collect toys for children who have been adopted from the local foster care system. CASA will be collecting large stuffed animals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Blossman Family Branch YMCA on Friday, April 20.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and YMCAs across the country are participating in Five Days of Action from April 16 to 20 to raise awareness about how to prevent child sexual abuse. The local five-day awareness event concludes Friday with the toy drive.

“April is a perfect time to share with our community what everyday citizens can do to help,” said Frances L. Allsup, executive director of CASA, an agency of United Way for Jackson & George Counties. “The number of children in Jackson County coming into care continues to grow and we aim to meet that need. Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent, trained adult to help them find a safe, loving home where they can heal and thrive.”



Allsup continued that they collect stuffed animals as a way to help these children simply be children and to provide them comfort with something familiar, such as a teddy bear. The stuffed animals and toys collected will go to the children that CASA serves.

Theresa Haynes, youth services director for the Blossman Family YMCA, said that they have a goal in mind for the number of stuffed animals they hope to collect during Friday’s event. “We would be very happy if we could get 100,” she said.

The Youth Services Department has displayed child abuse prevention boards at the Blossman Family YMCA this week during the Five Days of Action. Throughout the month of April, CASA is calling on members of the community to help their program serve more of Jackson County’s most vulnerable children.

Learn more »
Comments Off on Donate Stuffed Animals Friday in Ocean Springs

Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA Wants Kids to “Charge into Summer” During Annual Healthy Kids Day®

Event encourages kids to stay active and keep learning all summer long.

On Saturday, April 28, the Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA is holding a community event in conjunction with the Junior Auxiliary of Biloxi/Ocean Springs to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active at the annual YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families. The day will consist of a 5K Run starting at 8:00am, and a FREE 1-Mile Fun Run for children ages 12 and under starting at 8:45am. The cost for the 5K is $16 for Gulf Coast Running Club members and $17 for the general public (non-running club members).

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, celebrated at over 1,600 Ys across the country by over 1.2 million participants, works to get more kids moving and learning, creating habits that they continue all summer long. When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Research shows that without access to out-of-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically – this summer learning loss is more pronounced among students from low-income families. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year. As spring turns to summer, Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days. Instead, the Y wants families to focus on “charging” kids up with enthusiasm for themselves and their potential.

“When a child is healthy, happy, motivated, and excited something amazing is inevitably going to result,” said Joey Conwill, Wellness Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA. “We see the potential of all children, and we strive to help kids find that potential within themselves. A child’s development is never on vacation and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer,” said Jodi Ryder, Community Impact Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA.

In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:

• High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood
• development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
• Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.
• Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs, bike rides, etc.
• Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.
• Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day takes place at Fort Maurepas from 8:00am-11:00am and features fun, active play, and educational activities.

All kids deserve the best summer ever, and Delta is proud to be the national sponsor of Healthy Kids Day, which kicks off a healthy, active, and engaged summer for kids throughout the country.

For more information, contact Joey Conwill, Wellness Coordinator, at 228.875.5050 or jconwill@mgcymca.org; or contact Jodi Ryder, Community Impact Director, at 228.875.5050 or jryder@mgcymca.org.

Learn more »
Comments Off on Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA Wants Kids to “Charge into Summer” During Annual Healthy Kids Day®

March of Dimes to Hold Biggest Annual Fundraiser

Thousands of families and local business leaders will join together on April 21, 2018 at Point Cadet in Biloxi for March for Babies, which bands communities together to fight for the health of all moms and babies.

This year’s South Mississippi Ambassador Family is the Broome Family. In 2017, Muffy and Robby were starting their family. But their baby Asher arrived at 35 weeks, weighing less than 5 pounds. He suffered from sepsis and had brain damage and spent his first weeks fighting for life in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). Today, the Broome family is dedicated to fighting for the health of all moms and babies and believes that every baby deserves the best possible start.

Tyler Sexton, M.D., Chair of Pediatrics at Singing River Hospital, serves as the South Mississippi March for Babies chair. He was a premature infant born with cerebral palsy and is a champion for babies born with complications and the critically important work of the March of Dimes in treating them. Recently featured on ABC News 20/20, Dr. Sexton was one of a handful of physicians across the country who inspired the hit television series “The Good Doctor.”

On-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the 3-mile walk kicking off shortly after. You can sign up today at http://www.marchforbabies.org/event/southmississippi. Start a team with your company, family or friends. You can also donate directly because every baby deserves the best possible start.

“When you March for Babies, you make a statement about the world you want to live in-one in which healthy moms and strong babies are a priority for us all,” says Bridget Turan, Development Manager March of Dimes. “It is a day for everyone. Together we hope for the day when all moms and babies are healthy. We remember those babies we lost. We celebrate every baby.”


Click the image above to view larger.

Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributor to infant death in the U.S. and pregnancy-related death has more than doubled over the past 25 years. From advocacy to education to research, we’re working to level the playing field so that all moms and babies are healthy.

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family. Visit marchofdimes.orq or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on lnstagram and Twitter.


The 2018 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by Kmart, Famous Footwear, Macy’s, HCA, Cigna, Pampers and regional sponsor Publix Super Markets, Inc. In our community, March for Babies is sponsored by Singing River Health System, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Keesler Federal Credit Union, IP Casino Resort Spa, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Garden Park, Chemours, Merit Health Biloxi, Raising Canes Chicken Fingers, BancorpSouth, Allstate Insurance, Mississippi Power, WLOX, Gulf Coast Woman Magazine, and Venture South Magazine.

Learn more »
Comments Off on March of Dimes to Hold Biggest Annual Fundraiser

East Central Men’s Club Works to Give Back to Community

Click the image above to view larger.

The East Central Men’s Club was formed in 2012 by a group of approximately 15 men in the East Central area of Jackson County as a way to bring local men together to improve the community through service and financial contributions. Since its inception, the ECMC has given back more than $50,000 to the community.

According to Eddie Anderson, current president of the club, one of the charter members, Lamar Gordon, had received help from the community during a time of need, and he wanted to use the club to return the favor.


“Our main purpose in this club is to give back all of the funds that we raise to those in need and the children of our community,” Anderson said.

The club’s primary fundraising events include a drawdown in March and a golf tournament in September.

“These have become popular events in our community that help to raise much-needed funds and to provide a great time for all the participants,” Anderson said. “Our fundraising goes far and wide in our community.”

Through this fundraising, the club is able to provide four scholarships to graduates from East Central High School each year as well as adopt up to five families during the holidays to shop and buy gifts for. Anderson said they also provide financial assistance on a monthly and emergency basis to those who may have a loss in the family or an illness.

Club members also provide service at a variety of annual events including cooking for the Sheriff’s Rodeo in Vancleave in May, cooking for the Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner, and hosting a Veteran’s Day recognition dinner in November, which Anderson said has grown into a “great tribute to our local veterans.” The group also provides physical labor for those in need.

“We are constantly in touch with the needs of the community,” he said.

The East Central Men’s Club currently has 20 active members and meets once a month to discuss opportunities. They occasionally have speakers as well.

Learn more »
Comments Off on East Central Men’s Club Works to Give Back to Community

YMCA Offers Chronic Disease Prevention Programs

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA has expanded its mission to include chronic disease prevention and management. We are launching several programs to help reduce and manage health needs in our community including diabetes, hypertension, youth obesity, and Parkinson’s Disease.


Diabetes Prevention Program
The Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long class for adults at risk for developing type two diabetes based on glucose levels or a risk factor survey. The program focuses on increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes a week and a 5-7% weight loss through healthy lifestyle changes.  Self-monitoring food and activity, accountability, education, and group support are the basis of this program.

National Institutes of Health research has shown that programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program reduces the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes by 58% overall and by 71% in people over 60 years of age.


Healthy Weight and Your Child
Healthy Weight and Your Child is a family-based approach to support children ages 7-13 who are in the 95th percentile or higher for weight. The program is designed with the whole family in mind. The program engages the child and adult in nutrition education and physical activity to encourage health habits and provide skills to live a healthier lifestyle long-term.

The Healthy Weight and Your Child’s curriculum is adapted from the most widely disseminated and extensively evaluated child weight management program in the world. The program is effective in reducing a child’s body mass index and waist circumference, reducing sedentary behaviors, increasing physical activity and improving self-esteem.


Blood Pressure Management Program
High blood pressure, which makes the heart work harder than it should with each beat, is especially dangerous because it often has no warning signs and usually lasts a lifetime once it develops.

The simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a period of four months has been shown to lower blood pressure in many people with high blood pressure. This forms the basis for the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program, an evidence-based program that features personalized support as you develop the habit of routinely self-monitoring your blood pressure, tips for maintaining your cardiovascular health, and nutrition education.

Fitness for Parkinson’s Patients

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA along with Encore Rehabilitation and Singing River Health System has developed a specialized group fitness class for anyone with Parkinson’s.  The class is developed by healthcare professionals to empower people with Parkinson’s Disease by optimizing their physical function and helping to delay the progression of symptoms.

For more information on these programs, please contact Jodi Ryder, Community Impact Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA, at 228-875-5050 or jryder@mgcymca.org.

Learn more »
Comments Off on YMCA Offers Chronic Disease Prevention Programs

Singing River Health System Congratulates Keesler Medical Center on USAF Hospital of the Year Award

Singing River Health System leadership group salutes Keesler Medical Center for their USAF Hospital of the Year Award.

Ocean Springs, MS –   With a keen appreciation for their dedication and skill, caregivers at Singing River Health System are sending kudos to their neighbors and colleagues at Keesler Medical Center for their recent award as Hospital of the Year for the US Air Force.

 “We commend our colleagues at Keesler for this outstanding achievement and are proud to partner with them on a number of clinical initiatives,” said Chief Operating Officer Lee Bond. “We work hand in hand with the Keesler Team to deliver care to area veterans, and have recruited a number of outstanding clinicians to join our team after completing their Air Force service at Keesler Medical Center.”

Physicians and staff at Singing River have posted a banner at their hospitals recognizing Keesler’s award. “We’ve known for a long time that Keesler shares our commitment to the highest quality care, and are thrilled for them to be recognized as this year’s top USAF Hospital,” said Bond.

Learn more »
Comments Off on Singing River Health System Congratulates Keesler Medical Center on USAF Hospital of the Year Award

JaxCoHome Turns One: Celebrating Birthdays Across Jackson County

To celebrate JaxCoHome’s first birthday, we decided to honor the people who make birthdays happen in Jackson County. We visited both Singing River Hospital in Ocean Springs and Pascagoula with birthday cake for the labor and delivery staff, as well as baby-friendly gifts for expecting mothers. JaxCoHome team members Tessa and Lina, along with helper and Lina’s stepdaughter, Brielle, met with the SRHS Marketing Team and Chief Nursing Officer to pull off the surprise. The birthday cakes came from Rouses Market in Ocean Springs and the gifts from Marina Cottage Soap Co.
“We are honored JaxCoHome chose to celebrate its first birthday with us! It’s amazing what they have accomplished in one year, giving a voice to the positive things happening in our area. Recently, we have shared the publication with recruits and new staff members from other regions. It has become such a great resource to everyone on the coast and we’re excited to partner with them more in the future,” said Sarah Duffey, Singing River Health System Marketing Manager.
Singing River Health System is vital to our community. We cannot thank the staff members enough for the wonderful work they do each and every day, and can’t imagine a better way to have celebrated JaxCoHome’s first birthday. We are proud that the men and women of SRHS call Jackson County Home!
Learn more »
Comments Off on JaxCoHome Turns One: Celebrating Birthdays Across Jackson County

YMCA Healthy Kids Day to be held on April 28th

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA is holding a free community event, in conjunction with the Junior Auxillary of Biloxi/Ocean Springs, to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active all summer long. Healthy Kids Day® is the YMCA’s national initiative to improve families health and well-being.  Games and activities will demonstrate, motivate, and teach families how to develop healthy routines at home.

Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 8:00 -11:00 a.m.

Ft. Maurepas Park, Front Beach, Ocean Springs, MS

Joey Conwill, Wellness Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA–Blossman Family Branch, 228-875-5050


Learn more »
Comments Off on YMCA Healthy Kids Day to be held on April 28th