Vancleave Library To Host Fourth Annual Library-Con

Vancleave-Library-Con-2018 Vancleave Library To Host Fourth Annual Library-Con
The Vancleave Public Library will host the Fourth Annual Vancleave Library-Con on Saturday, July 21, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the library meeting room. There is no charge for admission. 
Everyone is invited to come celebrate the heroes and villains of movies, Sci-Fi, fantasy, comics, games, graphic novels, and gaming. Join in role-playing game demos; Cosplay; card game demos; chess lessons; Magical and Mythical Miniature painting; introduction to Anime; Manga and Manya drawing demonstrations, and so much more.
Scheduled presenters include members of The Wayward Kraken; Game Master Catherine Redmond with RPG; Stephen Gill for light sabers/miniature painting demos; cosplay expert Audra Thompson, and many others.
Vendor booth spaces are available for a fee from the Friends of the Library. Limited availability of tables, power strips and indoor space. For more information, call the library at 228-826-5857. The library is located at 12604 Highway 57. For more information about programs, visit the website at
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Autism Fundraiser Kicks off at Shell Landing

shell-landing Autism Fundraiser Kicks off at Shell Landing

GAUTIER— A charity tournament to benefit children with autism will bring golfers from across the Mississippi Gulf Coast—and beyond–to Shell Landing Golf Club in Gautier later this month.

The Swing Into Autism Awareness 2018 Golf Tournament on July 28 kicks off the largest annual fundraising event for the Mississippi Centers For Autism And Related Developmental Disabilities.
The nonprofit organization in D’Iberville provides treatment programs for children with autism spectrum disorder and their families at its facility.

Ganece Darden, coordinator for the golf tournament volunteers, said that Shell Landing is an ideal venue because of its size, location, and inviting atmosphere. With other weekend events taking place in Harrison County, having an event in Jackson County brings the fundraiser to a wider audience.

“They’ve always been very cooperative and supporting, so we’ve partnered with them,” Darden said of Shell Landing’s participation in the event over the years.

Darden said the golf tournament draws locals as well as those from outside Mississippi. Special guests of this year’s tournament include NFL sporting agents and retired NFL players. Refreshments and lunch will be provided, and volunteers will be running golf carts for participants.

Those interested in swinging a golf club for a good cause can register with others as a team or as individuals to be placed on a team.

After the Saturday morning golf tournament, the fun continues that evening with an All White Affair at the Scarlet Pearl. On the following Sunday afternoon, author and actor T.C. Stallings will be the guest speaker at the Living Life With a Purpose event at the Biloxi Civic Center.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This means if you don’t have it, you probably know someone who does, Darden said.

“Autism is very prevalent in this day and age, and I think it kind of has an effect on everybody,” Darden said. 

For more information or to register for any of the fundraising events, visit The website also includes a link for visitors to make a donation to MCARDD.

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Ocean Springs named “Coolest Small Town in America”

Ocean-Springs-MS-The-Shed-by-Fred-Salinas Ocean Springs named “Coolest Small Town in America”

OCEAN SRINGS—Word is spreading across the nation that Ocean Springs is a small town full of big fun.

Locals already know that Ocean Springs is a destination for good food and good times, and now Budget Travel has named it one of its “10 Coolest Small Towns in America.”  The website’s annual competition highlights hidden gems of less than 20,000 people that offer quality cuisine, natural beauty, and unique cultural experiences without breaking the bank.
The article recognizes Ocean Springs—dubbed the “Gulf Coast foodie magnet” —primarily for its variety of eateries that dish up everything from seafood to barbeque to artisan cheeses, but the town also earns kudos from the publication for its night life, convenient access to the Gulf waters, and eclectic art scene.

As Robert Firpo-Cappiello, the site’s editor in chief, wrote, “When you’re not chilling on the beach or paddling on the Gulf and its inlets, Ocean Springs will feed you well,”
Other notable towns joining Ocean Springs on the publication’s 13th annual list include Gatlinburg, TN, Jackson Hole, WY, and Sonoma, CA.

“To be showcased with towns in California, Tennessee and others, it is a real honor for us,” said Cynthia Sutton, executive director of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce – Main Street – Tourism Bureau. “Ocean Springs is a unique town whose character from the art, night life, nature and people make it a top place to eat, shop and stay.”

Ocean Springs is no stranger to national recognition. In 2017, travel and arts website Culture Trip named Ocean Springs the Most Beautiful City in Mississippi, and in 2016, it made the Smithsonian’s list of “20 Best Small Towns to Visit.”
To read the full Budget Travel article, visit

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Bethesda Free Health Clinic in Jackson County Offers Completely Free Services to Those in Need

bethesda Bethesda Free Health Clinic in Jackson County Offers Completely Free Services to Those in Need

Bethesda Free Health Care Clinic is a non-profit organization that offers basic primary medical care, critical dental care, diabetes and hypertension lifestyle management, and breast cancer exams. The clinic is located at 6912 N. Washington Avenue, Ocean Springs, MS 39564. Days and hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. and 12:30 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. The clinic operates on a first-come, first-served basis. As we never know how many people will be requesting service on any given day, patients needing to be treated should be at the clinic at either 9:00 A.M. or 12:30 P.M. for the best opportunity to be seen. We do require that all patients bring any medications that they are currently taking and their next doctor appointment card showing the date and time.

Services are absolutely free of charge to patients of Bethesda. Since opening its doors in 2011, Bethesda Free Health Clinic has provided services to over 14,000 patients. Those seeking services are primarily the uninsured and under-insured of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. All of our funding derives from members of the community, both in the form of monetary contributions and in services donated by medical, dental and support staff. We do not receive any state or federal government monies.

Those wishing to help Bethesda Free Health Clinic may do so in many ways. The clinic is always seeking monetary funding to cover operational costs. Volunteers on both the medical and administrative sides of the clinic are needed as well. We also accept donations of items such as paper towels, disinfectant spray cleaners and wipes, toilet paper, and office supplies and equipment. For a full list of all items needed at the clinic, or for further information on how members of the public can help, please call Bethesda Free Health Clinic at 228-818-9191.

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Honor the American Flag – History Lesson!

With the holiday of Memorial Day and the celebration of Flag Day in the rear view mirror of our Summer schedules, we are now looking forward to celebrating our country’s official birthday, July 4th!  If your family is like mine, we take pride in displaying our love for country, patriotism, and respect for those who have sacrificed for this country with a flag either on the front of our home or, for some, on a flag pole in their yard.  Many businesses also proudly display the symbol of our country that stands for freedom, liberty, and human rights.


There have been approximately 28 designs for the flag over the course of its history to bring us to the design that we have today.  The “union” section or blue rectangle of the flag contains the 50 stars that represent the 50 states.  The 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies that sought out independence from Great Britain and are colored red and white alternatively.  White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice. 


Now, many of you reading this will remember much of this information from your school days or a scouting program or even the military.  However, I was surprised to find that many people don’t know what to do with “Old Glory” when she becomes tattered, worn, and torn.   On June 22, 1942, the Flag Code became Public Law 77-623; chapter 435.  Little was changed from the original flag code but as of 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1st Amendment provides certain rights that make it unconstitutional to enforce the penalty for breaking the Flag Code.  Therefore, it has become mostly a respect and etiquette issue but one that certainly bears highlighting.  Below is a summary of the current Flag Code as taken from


  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing, unless it is the ensign responding to a salute from a ship of a foreign nation. This is sometimes misreported as a tradition that comes from the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, where countries were asked to dip their flag to King Edward VII; American team flag bearer Ralph Rose did not follow this protocol, and teammate Martin Sheridan is often, though apocryphally, quoted as proclaiming that “this flag dips before no earthly king.”[2]
  • When a flag is so tattered that it no longer fits to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, the military and other organizations regularly conduct dignified flag-burning ceremonies. [3]
  • No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart. [4]
  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it.
  • The flag should always be permitted to fall rarely. (An exception was made during the Apollo moon landings when the flag hung from a vertical pole designed with an extensible horizontal bar, allowing full display even in the absence of an atmosphere.) [5]
  • The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. [6]

So, as we reflect on our nations birthday, other recent patriotic holidays, and display our flags proudly, keep in mind the meanings within that Flag you fly.  And when Old Glory becomes worn, retire it in a proper manner by either having a flag retirement ceremony (a proper flag retirement ceremony), or you can drop the folded flag (how to fold the American Flag) off at a local VFW, American Legion, or Boy/Girl Scout troop,  where they will conduct routine Flag retirement ceremonies.  The American Legion at 1019 Market St, Pascagoula, has a receptacle just inside the Parsely St. foyer that you can drop off your worn flags.  Other locations in the area are:

  • Vfw Post 5699 Mark Seymour 612 VFW Road Ocean Springs, MS 39564
  • American Legion Post 1992 Gautier-Vancleave 3824 Old Spanish Trl Gautier, MS 39553
  • Vfw Post 2132 Harold E Jones 3801 Old Spanish Trl Gautier, MS 39553
  • Vfw Post 3373 Elmer Joseph Grant 4724 Vega St Pascagoula, MS 39581
  • Vfw Post 10024 Arnett Garland Jennings Pascagoula, MS 39569

Happy Birthday America!


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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 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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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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Gautier to host art show, reception June 14 at City Hall for plein air competition

plein-air Gautier to host art show, reception June 14 at City Hall for plein air competition

The City of Gautier is inviting the public to witness the beauty of nature’s playground through an art show and reception June 14 at Gautier City Hall. 

“Gautier through the Eyes of an Artist” will run 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the City Council meeting chambers and feature drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and art showcasing the City of Gautier.  

The event will display the entries from last month’s Paint the Town Plein Air Art Competition, a three-day event that drew artists from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Mobile, Diamondhead, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, and other locations. 

City officials will award prizes to winning artists, and the public can visit with artists about their special creations. 

“A lot of times when you live in a place and see it every day, you can take it for granted,” City Manager Paula Yancey said. 

“It’s fascinating to see what these artists can paint and the quality they produce within just a few hours,” she said. “This event really shows you the beauty of your city through their eyes.”

“Plein Air” is a term used for artists who paint outdoors in the elements. The second-annual Paint the Town Plein Air hosted by Gautier was expanded into a three-day event this year. 

It began with an opening reception May 3, and it included optional Plein Air and nature photography workshops on May 4. The main event was May 5, as artists headed outdoors to locations such as Huck’s Cove, the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, and Pitalo’s Marine to paint Gautier. 

They started with stamped blank canvases and returned several hours with one or two complete pieces. After framing the art, the art was judged and curated. 

“This is an exciting event that we hope will grow each year and shine a light on just how beautiful our city, nature’s playground, is,” Mayor Phil Torjusen said. “We appreciate all of those  who have attended and who are helping us to grow.” 

Thursday’s event is free and open to all ages.

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Local Girl First on Coast to Receive Distinguished Award

IMG_E9040 Local Girl First on Coast to Receive Distinguished Award

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Gulfport – Samantha Schwartz, 17, of Gautier has earned the highest recognition the American Heritage Girls offers to Girl Members, the Stars & Stripes Award. American Heritage Girls, a Christian scouting program, reserves this honor for members who have epitomized AHG’s Creed, Oath, and completed a number of daunting requirements, including earning 16 required badges, serving in a troop leadership position, and passing a board of review. The ultimate challenge Stars & Stripes recipients must accomplish is the service project. Honorees must develop and implement a service project of 100+ hours in their community. Schwartz chose to serve Sue’s Home, a women’s transitional housing program run by Community Care Network of Jackson County. Schwartz’s project involved refurbishing a cabin with freshly-sewn linens, exterior paint, and indoor organization. To pay for supplies, Schwartz organized a charity garage sale and church supper fundraiser. She supervised teams of volunteers for the sewing project and cabin-painting. Schwartz spent a total of 284 hours on her project. Diane Easley, CCN Executive Director, described Schwartz as a “real leader” who “was there from beginning to end”.

As a member of Michael Memorial Baptist Church Troop #MS0408, Schwartz is the first Stars & Stripes recipient on the MS Gulf Coast, fifth in the state and 390th in the United States since the organization’s founding in 1995. The award is the equivalent to becoming an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. She was recognized in a Court of Honor Ceremony on April 23 at Michael Memorial Baptist Church in Gulfport. Miss Schwartz has been a member of AHG since 2011 and currently serves as troop historian. Schwartz is a homeschooled eleventh grader, active in several extracurricular activities including Beta Club, Mu Eta Sigma National Math Honor Society, piano and community volunteerism. She is the daughter of Keith and Jennifer Schwartz of Gautier. American Heritage Girls, Inc., is the premier national character development organization for young women, ages 5-18, that embraces Christian values and encourages family involvement. For more information on AHG, visit

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YMCA and Gulf Coast Running Club to Host 38th Annual Wesson Memorial Run/Walk and Children’s Run

2014-06-23_AOF_6731_RGB YMCA and Gulf Coast Running Club to Host 38th Annual Wesson Memorial Run/Walk and Children's Run

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA’s Blossman Family Branch along with the Gulf Coast Running Club will be hosting the 38th Annual Wesson Memorial Run on July 4, 2018.  Events for the day include a 2-mile Health Run/Walk at 8:00am and a 1/4-mile Children’s Run at 8:30am.  The starting and ending location will be at the YMCA on Government St., and the running course is a beautiful and scenic one as well as being USTAF Certified.  The cost is $17 for GCRC and YMCA members, $18 for non-members, and $10 for children 12 years and under participating in the 1/4 mile Children’s Run.  Race entries should be postmarked by June 29.  Late registration will be on race day from 7:00-7:45am.  Awards will be given to participants dressing in their best patriotic outfit!  Registration forms are available at the YMCA, and for more information about the event, please contact the YMCA at 228-875-5050, or Leonard of the Gulf Coast Running Club at 228-380-7037, or visit the Y’s website at  See you at the run! 

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