Archive for May, 2009

Meteorologist warns about hurricane season safety

May 31, 2009

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS – According to National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Graham, predicting hurricanes is an evolving science.

“I think we’re doing a pretty good job of where the hurricane is going to go,” said Graham, who is the Meteorologist in Charge in the National Weather Service’s Slidell office. “The challenge is intensity. It’s very, very difficult.”

It’s a simple message about hurricanes that could have a huge impact on your survival.

“Subtle changes in the hurricane movement, strength and path can make massive changes in the impact of the hurricane,” Graham said.

Graham said the effects are so dramatic, a shift of even five miles or a tiny change in a storm’s speed could be the difference between light rain and devastating flooding.

Take Hurricane Ivan for example. Graham said the orginal prediction had the storm destroying much of Mobile. He said the storm changed its path by only a few miles just before landfall.

“In Pensacola, [they said] “Hey I’m safe.” Well guess what?,” asked Graham. “That little bit of a move, they got a lot of water.”

He said those tiny shifts are difficult to predict.

“Can we forecast that last minute jog? Maybe, but it will be at the last minute,” Graham said.

Shifts in storms may be out of our control, but Graham said it’s still critical for coastal residents to understand it. One of the reasons he said it’s so important to know is technology is because he believes certain websites could give people a premature sense of security.

“You can go online; you can find websites where you can get down to the block whether you’re going to flood or not,” Graham said. “The problem is the science isn’t there yet. So, small movements in the hurricane or intensity could change things completely. So the decision made to stay could be fatal.”

He says the best way for South Mississippians to weather hurricane season is to listen to emergency officials instead of assuming they’re safe. He said it’s also important to pay attention to the margin of error in forecasts as the storm approaches. You may know it as the cone of probability or uncertainty.

“It’s so critical that everybody doesn’t pay attention to that exact hurricane forecast, that line,” Graham said. “You have to pay attention to the entire cone, because with that kind of error if you’re in that cone, you’re in danger.”

Pearlington church wants to be testament of faith over adversity

May 31, 2009

PEARLINGTON, MS – Members of a Hancock County church says they want their story of triumph over adversity to be a testament to the power of prayer. Hurricane Katrina damaged First Missionary Baptist Church beyond repair. On Sunday, the congregation dedicated a brand new building.

At the start of the service, church members walked together into their brand new sanctuary.

“Coming in together as one big family. That’s unity,” said Robert Preston, a church member. “We’re together. It’s just starting all over again, new beginning.”

The Pearlington church joined friends to celebrate a new beginning after Katrina’s devastation and thanked the people who made it possible. With the help of countless volunteers, First Missionary Baptist was rebuilt without the church having to take on any debt.

Reverend Willie Rawls said, “We’ve made a friendship with people from around the world, God’s sweet missionaries and angels. It’s just amazing what God has done in rebuilding this church.”

The congregation says the nearly four year journey has been difficult, but one that has taught them what it truly means to have faith.

Preston said, “It’s been a tremendous test of faith and will with up days, down days. I guess if I had a quote it would be like the late, great Sam Cooke ‘It’s been a long time coming.’ But I knew a change was going to come. Today we’re walking in that change. ”

“Knowing that prayer changes things,”said Church member Ed Clark, Sr. “When you pray, the Bible says let God have His way, and He’ll fix it for you.”

Members say in its 141 year history, First Missionary Baptist Church in Pearlington has had 15 pastors.

WHAT’S HAPPENING FOR MAY 31

May 31, 2009

SUNDAY

Gulf Islands National Seashore program, 2 p.m., William M. Colmer Visitor Center, program on sustainable lifestyles, ways to “go green.” Details: 875-9057, ext. 4100.

Auditions for “Sleeping Beauty and the Beast,” 2:30 p.m. May 31 and 7 p.m. June 1 and 2:30 p.m. June 6, Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, Government Street, Ocean Springs. Walter Anderson Players seeks 6 males and 11 females and some extras, 8-20 years old. Details: 475-4568 or 818-2878.

Calendar tea, 3-5 p.m., 10395 Automall Parkway, D’Iberville. Hosted by Order of Eastern Star Watch Tower Chapter #356, Biloxi. $5 donation. Details: 374-4556.

Lecture on exploring artistic creativity via the unconscious, 3-5:30 p.m., Earthpath Yoga, Bay St. Louis. Speaker: Jungian analyst David Schoen. Details: earthpathyoga.com or 424-8705.

Words & Music, Sunday, 4-6 p.m., Oak Crest Mansion, 5267 Menge Ave., Pass Christian. Annual fundraiser for the Pass Christian Public Library features classical guitarist Giovanni John DiChiaro. Cost: $30 in advance and $40 at door. Details: Renee Brooks, 452-9152 or greenthepass@aol.com.

Harrison Central Class of 1989 reunion, 7-10 p.m., The Dock, Gulfport; August 1, 7-until, Gulfport Yacht Club. Details and registration: hchs1989.myevent.com.

Cottage proposal going to aldermen

May 31, 2009

The Moss Point Board of Aldermen is slated Tuesday to make a decision about whether to approve a special exception permit that would allow a 64-unit Mississippi Cottage park to be built on Raby Street.

The Planning Commission denied a request May 7 for a zoning change from residential to planned unit de velopment, and now the issue goes to the aldermen, who are required to approve or deny all Planning Commission decisions.

The proposal is for 64 tenant-occupied cottages on about 7 acres on Raby Street in west Moss Point.

Donovan Scruggs, a plan ner and developer who represents Katrina Cottage Group LLC and Mercy Housing, originally pitched the idea to the board in January, although the land had not been purchased at the time.

Some residents in the area, however, protested the development at the Planning Commission meeting, saying the plan places too many cottages in one area.

At the Planning Commission meeting, Scruggs requested 84 cottages, although the city’s paperwork indicated only 64. Scruggs said the mix-up was part of a “miscommunication” and that he has since dropped the request back down to 64.

Samuel Mitchell, a local pastor, said he is preparing to build two houses on Raby Street within sight of the proposed development.

Mitchell said he’s on board with affordable housing, but he sees it turning into something more like the crime-ridden Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer parks that grew to have a poor reputation after Hurricane Katrina, and nothing like a nice neighborhood.

“If we’re going to do this in Moss Point and do some affordable housing, let’s do some nice homes,” Mitchell said.

Scruggs said he’s seeing the same thing happen in Moss Point that typically occurs when any new development is proposed. Neighbors to any development, Scruggs said, bring up concerns about space as a smokescreen for their true feelings.

“Oftentimes, when you propose anything in a neighborhood, anything is too much,” Scruggs said.

The location, Scruggs said, is close to Miss. 613 and would create a “walkable” neighborhood.

Mayor Xavier Bishop, who gave his approval to the plan in January, said he still thinks the development would be a positive step toward affordable housing in Moss Point. He said he imagines neighbors there sitting out on their porches, waving to each other as they come and go.

The units “don’t have much value” when they’re placed in a typical residential neighborhood, Bishop said, but they “create something quite nice” when they become their own neighborhood.

“The development is intended to create a sense of community, and that comes from density, and that comes from having the units close together,” Bishop said.

Bishop pointed to the Ocean Springs Cottage Square on Government Street also one of Scruggs’ projects as an example of a well-designed project, and of the quality of Scruggs’ work.

Scruggs recently was denied the opportunity to create a similar project in Gautier. The Gautier City Council earlier this month rejected a plan by Hickory Hill LLC, also represented by Scruggs, to build an 85-cottage development in Hickory Hill.

The decision in Moss Point, however, could be delayed if the board fails to reach a quorum of at least four members Tuesday, which falls on the night of municipal general elections. The board failed to reach a quorum at its last regularly scheduled meeting during the primary runoffs.

The Board of Aldermen is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Citizens get skills to save lives after hurricane until responders arrive

May 31, 2009

LONG BEACH, MS – With hurricane season to kick off Monday some people in South Mississippi are training to better care for themselves and neighbors until professional help arrives in the event of a major storm. The program called Community Emergency Response Team or CERT teaches every day people the basics of first aid, search and rescue, among other things.

The widespread devastation of Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed South Mississippi’s first responders. So many people needed help, and there was no way to get to them all immediately.

“We would receive calls, 911 calls to get into an area or a neighborhood,” said CERT Instructor Carlos Redmon. “You try to drive there in an ambulance, and there is a complete house lying in the middle of the road. You’re not going to get there. It may take you a while to get there. Some areas it took several days to get into those areas.”

The CERT training took place at USM Gulf Coast in Long Beach. CERT gives the average person basic life saving skills like how to safely move an injured person, treating fractures and rescuing a trapped victim.

Bruce Roberts enrolled in the class.

“It’s not that you have to be a professional EMT or firefighter,” Roberts said. “It’s giving the average person some ability to make a positive difference and to respond. It’s a self help thing. Help your neighbor kind of thing.”

Participants say what they learn here they plan to share with their neighbors.

“I am going to get a flyer and put it out in my neighborhood. And get their out of town contact if there is an emergency, so we can notify kin,” said Magdelena Holland, a trainee. “If somebody comes up missing, and we’re not sure where they’re at. We want the out-of-town contact. Also let them know that I’m there if they should need anything, should an emergency arise until first responders get there.”

After a natural disaster when lives hang in the balance, first responders say communities need to know how to make every second count until help can arrive.

Redmon said, “That’s the point we’re trying to make. That’s what the government has said from the president on down. Citizens are going to have to take responsibility for themselves and their neighborhood and their community. They’re going to have to realize that in those types of situations, the local responding agency is going to be overwhelmed. They’re not going to be able to get to you.”

People who complete the CERT program will receive a certificate. The training was free and sponsored by Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, Harrison County Emergency Management and the University of Southern Mississippi Project Planning Library.

Food bank launches summer food program

May 31, 2009

PASS CHRISTIAN

The Bay Area Food Bank will kick off its Summer Food Service Program on Monday at three locations throughout South Mississippi. The food bank’s program, sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, will have feeding sites available for children to receive nutritious lunches for free.

The Boys & Girls Club of Pass Christian, 220 Church Ave., will have lunches available from 3-4 p.m. weekdays, June 1 to July 31. The Rivers of Living Waters Church, 4312 Ohio Ave., Gulfport, will have lunches available from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. weekdays, June 1 to July 31. Also, the H.A. Brown Memorial United Methodist Church, 220 N. Azalea Drive, Wiggins, will have breakfast available from 6 to 6:40 a.m. and lunches available from noon-1 p.m. weekdays, June 1-July 17.

Details: 251-653-1617.

Woman fails to appear, held without bond

May 31, 2009

A Saucier woman released from jail on her own recognizance after a felony arrest in March 2008 is held without bond, accused of failing to appear in court on that charge.

Sheriff’s officials said Joan Darlene Ferguson, 62, of Turan Road, is charged with accessory after the fact to burglary. Deputies arrested her at her home last week.

Saucier man held on fugitive warrant

May 31, 2009

HARRISON COUNTY

Norris Dewayne Necaise, 32, is held on a fugitive warrant pending extradition on a fugitive charge from Louisiana.

Sheriff’s officials said Necaise, of McGhee Drive, Saucier, is wanted in Lafourche Parish on a charge a felony domestic violence. Deputies served the warrant at Necaise’s home last week. While in custody, he’s serving time for failing to pay old fines, the Harrison County jail docket shows.

Intersection wil be closed for work

May 31, 2009

OCEAN SPRINGS

Automall Parkway, at the intersection of D’Iberville Boulevard, will be closed to through traffic beginning at 8 a.m. Monday. Traffic will be diverted to Ginger Drive. The closure is due to construction crews installing sanitary sewer lines. The road should be re-opened by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

’09 Shrimp Queen contestants

May 31, 2009

The culmination of Saturday’s Fais Do-Do during the 80th annual Biloxi Blessing of the Fleet and Shrimp Festival is the coronation of the Shrimp King and Queen. This year’s king is Nicolas Rosario Hire, aka “Corky,” and the queen will be chosen from 11 contestants listed below.

n Alyssa Bradley, 18; Parents: Terry and Carolyn Bradley; Sponsor: D’Iberville Cold Storage/C.F. Gollott & Son Seafood; School: St. Martin High School

n Stevie Cantrell, 17; Parents: Steve and Donna Cantrell; Sponsor: Desporte & Sons Seafood; School: St. Patrick Catholic High School

n Mary “Beth” Cox, 17; Parents: Frank and Molly Cox; Sponsor: St. Michael’s Fuel and Ice Co.; School: Biloxi High School

n Meagan Emile, 18; Parents: Ronnie & Darlene Emile; Sponsor: Gulf Pride Enterprises; School: Ocean Springs High School

n CaVosany Gray-Mack, 16; Parents: Stephanie Gray and Johnny Singleton; Sponsor: M & M Processing; School: Ocean Springs High School

n Brandy Jarvis, 17; Parents: Devin and Shelley Jarvis; Sponsor: Seymour & Sons Seafood; School: St. Patrick Catholic High School

n Brooke Kuluz, 16; Parents: Kurt & Laurie Kuluz; Sponsor: “Last Time” (Mississippi Shrimp Boat); School: St. Patrick Catholic High School

n Jennifer Le, 17; Parents: Thi Le and Hue Nguyen; Sponsor: Jennifer Le’s Seafood; School: Biloxi High School

n Jerika Seymour, 18; Parents: Scott and Sherri Seymour; Sponsor: C.F. Gollott & Son Seafood; School: St. Martin High School

n Chelsea Strege, 17; Parents: Tim and Susan Strege; Sponsor: Ocean Springs Seafood; School: Ocean Springs High School

n Lacee Williams, 16; Parents: Danny and Amy Williams; Sponsor: North Bay Seafood; School: Biloxi High School