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Thomas says that the first year's installment was used to purchase a state-of-the-art audio/visual system for the Waveland library meeting room. Digital literacy classes haven’t been offered in Waveland before due to lack of equipment. Now the program is gearing up to start in the near future.
“Apparently, Mr. Tracey grew up in Waveland,” says Thomas. “It shows how much libraries mean to people throughout their lives.”
Each year, the Hancock Chamber honors top local businesses and ten Outstanding Citizens. One of the citizens will be selected as Citizen of the Year at the Chamber's annual gala in August. In the meantime, celebrate the best of Hancock County!
Hancock Chamber President Cathy Wilson announced today that four businesses have been elected by the membership from a field of 15 nominees as 2017 Businesses of the Year:
The individuals to be honored as Outstanding Citizens were selected from a field of 18 nominees. The Chamber membership will select one of the top ten citizens to be announced during the Gala as Citizen of the Year. They are:
Businesses of the Year and Outstanding Citizens will be recognized for their contributions to improving quality of life and the business environment in Hancock County during the Chamber’s Annual Salute to Business & Industry Awards Gala on Thursday, August 24th from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Hollywood Casino – Gulf Coast in Bay St. Louis.
“Small business is the backbone of the nation’s economy building the tax base, creating jobs and making our county a better place to live,” said Wilson. “Congratulations to all the nominees.”
Other businesses nominated were:
Bay St. Louis: Coastal Therapy Services / Hollywood Casino – Gulf Coast/ Purple Banana / Smith & Lens Gallery / The Shoofly Magazine
Waveland: Infinity - Architectural Products / Rum Kitchen
Diamondhead: Diaz Brothers Printing / NVision Solutions, Inc.
Hancock County/Kiln: American Medical Response / Farm Bureau Insurance
Businesses of the Year
Making the most of the new location on the bottom floor of the French Settlement building, the family has expanded its offerings to serve frozen drinks and gourmet Pop Brothers popsicles. In addition to the dining room tables and booths, seating is available in the shaded courtyard. (228) 467-3707
Beacon Theatres brought movies back to the community in December 2015 when owner Charles Watzke debuted his revamped theater at 310 U.S. 90.
Fans can now enjoy first-run movies shown daily in two all-digital theaters while enjoying popcorn, nachos, hot dogs and other treats served in their full concession stand. Within a short time now, The Beacon is opening a third theater furnished with tables and chairs where you can enjoy a movie and a meal from Beacon's Wacky Wings N' Things restaurant directly across the street from the theatre.
The Beacon also hosts corporate events, school field trips, birthday parties as well as several premiers for movies created by local playwrights, film makers, directors and talent. www.beacontheatres.net
Memorial Diagnostic Center
The Memorial Diagnostic Center, Family Medicine & Walk-In Clinic, located at 4300 Leisure Time Drive in Diamondhead, has been serving patients in the community since it opened in October 2012.
The clinic offers a wide range of services including family medicine and a walk in clinic that is open Monday through Saturday. In addition there are several specialty clinics including cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, general surgery, medical oncology, nephrology, neurology, neurosurgery, sports medicine, urology, and vascular surgery.
Also, the Diagnostic Center offers laboratory services; diagnostic imaging, including CT, digital mammography, bone density, ultrasound, and X-ray; cardiovascular diagnostic imaging including EKG, and vascular ultrasound as well as EEG, EMG and nerve conduction studies. www.gulfportmemorial.com
INFINITY Science Center
INFINITY Science Center welcomes 60,000 visitors a year for an informative and unforgettable journey to space and beneath the ocean surface.
INFINITY is the official NASA visitor center for nearby Stennis Space Center, the nation’s largest rocket engine test facility and one of just a few NASA centers in the U.S. A guided bus tour of Stennis is included in the admission.
With 72,000 square feet of exhibit space, INFINITY houses several galleries highlighting science, space and the Earth through simulators and artifacts, an Immersion Theater and a life-sized replica of the International Space Station module.
Outdoor exhibits showcase an F-1 rocket engine, a weather buoy and a Navy SEAL riverine training boat. The center, located in an integrated natural resources area, showcases the area’s scenic beauty along with Hancock County’s prominent place in U.S. space exploration. www.visitinfinity.com
Raymunda Barnes is assistant vice president of Pearl River Community College’s Hancock Center. He is a member of the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club and serves as chairman of the Hancock Chamber Education Committee.
Barnes and the committee members focus on the issues that affect community education as well as promote educational outcomes in a variety of ways. Committee projects include the annual Chamber Senior Appreciation Breakfast, the Excel by 5 early learning program, Bookworms Reading Program and the annual Teacher Appreciation Dinner. Each May, scholarships are awarded to one high school senior at each of the four high schools in the county.
Barnes believes the committee’s programs are critical to making sure our teachers and students have the resources, support and encouragement they need to reach their highest potential.
Barnes was recently recognized as a One Coast Community Leader for his passion and commitment to the continuous improvement ofteaching and learning, and was described as a true professional with a big vision for providing quality higher education and services to Hancock County citizens.
David Bassett is a certified public accountant who has volunteered his time and expertise serving as treasurer of the Hancock Community Development Foundation (HCDF) for 10 years.
The Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 public charity that sponsors and supports community projects to stimulate job creation, foster small business growth and support workforce development. HCDF acts as an umbrella organization for 20 non-profit causes ranging from education to historic preservation.
The Foundation’s Job Generation Fund has worked with 44 companies where 39 jobs were created or retained.
Bassett also oversees programs that promote business growth through grant research, development and administration, and coordinates charitable fundraising for educational and community programs.
He also is a member of the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club.
Elise Deano, Hancock County Youth Court Judge, is chairman of Foster the Cause, a fund sponsored by the Hancock Community Development Foundation.
Recognizing the importance of social activities for youth she sees in Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts, she has made it a priority to find community and enrichment activities for them to get involved in.
She recently adopted the idea from a Michigan adult court of having the youth establish and maintain a community garden. Launched in 2016, Ruth's Roots was established on Court Street on property where the late Ruth Thompson and her husband operated Ruth’s Cakery.
The garden project is opening up a world of positive activities for the youth as they learn how to building, marketing, economics, farm-to-table food preparation, socializing, and spending time with adults who enjoy sharing their knowledge with them.
Judge Deano feels the garden has helped the kids learn about themselves and their potential.
Susan Duffy is the Concierge at the Hancock County Visitors Center. Her broad knowledge of the area and genuine enthusiasm for the job represent the county well as she greets every visitor at the Historic Depot.
Susan was recognized among the top 50 travel and tourism professionals nominated by their peers during the 2017 National Travel and Tourism Week observation for going above and beyond in service to travelers visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
She takes to heart the importance of tourism to the local economy and shares with visitors information and insight into local attractions, sights, businesses and destinations. She continues to get high marks from those she comes in contact with in the local tourism industry as well as the tourists who benefit from her experience and hospitality.
Craig Foster is a financial advisor with Edward Jones who opened his investment business 30 years ago.
During those three decades, in addition to growing his business, Foster has dedicated himself to taking an active role in the Hancock Chamber and the Rotary Club as well as community Carnival clubs and the newly formed Lions Club. He was a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow and is an advocate and sponsor of CASA of Hancock County activities as well as many high school and youth league baseball, soccer and volleyball teams.
Foster is a tireless fundraiser and community supporter who remains committed to making Hancock County a better place for its residents for generations to come.
Madella and Blu Jordan are known for working tirelessly and with great passion in numerous organizations in the county. The Jordans lost their son Christian in 2011 and since then they have made the commitment to honor his life and memory through service to the children of Hancock County by establishing the Christian Blu Jordan Foundation, working with The Hancock Hawk Foundation.
The Foundation donates $4,000 in athletic scholarships ($2,000 for a male student and $2,000 for a female student) annually. The Hancock Hawk Foundation provides monetary support through fundraising efforts to all athletic programs under the guidance of the Hancock County School District.
Madella serves on the Hancock County Fair Board and has led board work for breast cancer awareness. She volunteers at Hancock High School, and the couple spearheads the Hawk Foundation’s main annual fundraiser, Blitzen on the Bayou. The Jordans also participate in the planning and coordination of the Bay St. Louis Conquer Chiari (a neurological disorder) Walk Across America .
Paul Montjoy is chairman of Keep Diamondhead Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and the Hancock Chamber Beautification Committee. Through a variety of programs and initiatives with volunteers, and community partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals, Keep Diamondhead Beautiful efforts are beautifying Diamondhead. The result makes the city more desirable to potential businesses and homeowners and makes residents proud to live in Diamondhead.
Among the many beautification projects Montjoy has overseen are the Avenue of Oaks, where more than 50 oaks were planted, and the landscaped entrance to the city as well as welcome signs.
Diamondhead has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. And students from the Camp Shelby Youth Challenge Academy in Hattiesburg have partnered with the Keep Diamondhead Beautiful Committee to assist with pruning trees and shrubs around City Hall. They were also given the task of adding a fresh layer of mulch around trees planted near the gateway to the city, the I-10 Interchange.
Christina Richardson, PhD, is a management consultant for non-profit organizations and a writer and she is primarily involved in volunteer work. Her goal is to stay busy, enjoy life and to be useful in her new hometown of Bay St. Louis.
She volunteers with the Bay-Waveland Garden Club, the Bay St. Louis Little Theatre, Friends of the Hancock Animal Shelter as president, the Master Gardeners of Mississippi program and the Hancock County Historical Society. Richardson also is an artist, is a member of The Arts of Hancock County and is a freelance writer for the The Shoofly Magazine.
She recently added St. Vincent de Paul to her volunteer list and she is the chair of the Hancock County Advisory Board for the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Nonviolence.
Susan Stevens is retired from the health care industry and is a dedicated volunteer with several organizations. She is a member of the board of directors of the Hancock Community Development Foundation, serves on the Hancock County Leadership Steering Committee and is vice president of the Hancock Medical Center Board of Trustees. She also is active in Christ Episcopal Church.
For the past two years, Stevens has been a volunteer at the Hancock County Food Pantry where she conducts interviews with families.
She handles certification, which is an annual process and involves looking at the client’s documents and verifying their information. She interviews about 20 to 30 families per day and says she finds the volunteer work very rewarding and humbling.
Chuck Underwood is co-owner of Treasures of the Bay/Breezy Porches Guesthouse in Waveland. For the past two years, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Hancock Chamber. He is coordinator of the annual Waveland Christmas Bazaar at the Ground Zero Hurricane Museum. Underwood has served on the city of Waveland’s sign ordinance task force and is a past member of the Waveland Community Coalition.
Underwood’s community involvement shows that he is truly dedicated to the City of Waveland and its residents. He believes in the importance of joining Waveland’s businesses together to promote each other and encourage the growth of more businesses.
As Underwood said, “We support our locals because our locals support us."
Meet your Bay St. Louis representatives for the next four years. Although the race results have yet to be certified (meaning there's always the possibility of a change in close races), acknowledged winners of city races celebrated with friends and family on Tuesday night at the Bay St. Louis Community Hall.
Only two incumbents won reelection - Jeff Reed (Ward 3) and Doug Seal (Ward 1). Former At-Large councilman Mike Farve gave up his seat to run for mayor, a gamble that paid off. All elected officials will start their new terms of office on July 3rd.
- by Ellis Anderson
Popular Hancock Farmer's market vendor Susan Sayavong and her brother, chef Soupha Sayavong, are opening a new restaurant in Waveland: Sushilicious & Thai.
- story by Lisa Monti
If you’ve been missing Thai food or craving sushi, here’s great news:
Sushilicious & Thai is having their soft opening on Friday, June 2nd at 315 Highway 90 in Waveland. (The spot used to house Thai Sakura.) Click here to see the menu on Lisa Monti's blog.
Owner Susan Sayavong is a popular vendor at the Hancock County Farmers Market, where she cooks and sells spring rolls, fried rice and other dishes every Saturday. She’ll continue to come to the market after the restaurant opens.
Soupha Sayavong, Susan’s brother and business partner, will be the executive chef at the family business. He specializes in sushi and has more than 20 years experience. He said most of his training was done in New York with Japanese head chef Tanaka San.
The family has had restaurants in Florida and Atlanta. They now live in Slidell.
The new menu is still being finalized but will feature Thai and hibachi dishes in addition to sushi.
Chef Sayavong creates “modern sushi with a mix of Thai and Korean flavors.” Diners can sit at his sushi bar and order “omakase,” the chef’s choice menu made from the freshest ingredients available. He also will prepare custom sushi orders.
Sushilicious & Thai will offer catering and delivery. The bar will serve beer and wine.
Sushilicious & Thai
315 U.S. 90, Waveland
Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, 4:30 to 9 p.m. for dinner.
Saturday & Sunday noon to 9 p.m.
Click here for the blog Lisa Monti's Notebook - you can subscribe for free!
Hancock County supergroup "BlueShift," featuring Tommy and Gene Moran, joins Delta blues artist Vasti Jackson the Bay St. Louis Depot on June 3rd celebrate three centuries of history in Hancock County. And that's just the music line-up. The Shoolfly's got all the details!
- story by Ellis Anderson
The day starts at 10am with a ribbon-cutting that will launch a new Hancock County bicentennial exhibit in the Depot.
The special exhibit was created with the help of the Hancock County Historical Society. It takes a sweeping look back through time to 1699, when French explorers first built a fort overlooking the Bay of St. Louis.
The exhibit, which consists of several moveable cases, will be permanently on display in the lobby of the Depot, sharing space with the Visitor Center and the Mardi Gras Museum.
The second attraction of the day is the Alice Moseley Festival, named in honor of the feisty Mississippi folk artist who passed away in 2004. A museum dedicated to her work occupies the second floor of the historic depot building.
Moseley is known best for her whimsical renditions of commonplace scenes from the past, so the festival will feature exhibitors and performances geared to bring history to life.
Local actress Cheryl Grace will be appearing throughout the day as Alice Moseley herself, known for her red beret and humorous stories. Other performers during the day will recreate other colorful characters from Hancock County’s past.
A retired school teacher, Alice Moseley moved to Bay St Louis later in life and became a nationally recognized painter. During the past several years, the Alice Moseley Museum has grown into one of the most popular heritage attractions on the coast.
With the new Hancock History exhibit joining the Alice Moseley and Mardi Gras Museums, the board of Hancock County Tourism expects the Visitor Center to be busier than ever. Last year, more than 20,000 people were greeted at the center.
Traditional crafts like black-smithing and pottery will be demonstrated during the festival, while several booths will be offering made-in-Mississippi crafts for sale.
Only work that best fits the theme of the festival will be accepted to show. Fifteen booth spaces will be available and the cost is $50. Those interested can call 228-463-9222 to reserve a space.
The family-friendly event will also offer miniature train rides and old-fashioned carnival rides, as well as local food vendors and live music.
The Hancock History exhibit was funded in part by grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council through support of the Mississippi Development Authority.
A popular Italian bistro is moving from Gulfport onto the first block of Main Street in Bay St. Louis and is slated to open in June. Lisa Monti has the details.
Can I vote? Most likely you can and should. It's a race that may well decide who'll be serving as BSL mayor for the next four years.
- by Ellis Anderson
A group of Hancock County volunteers partnering with Audubon Mississippi is working to get protection for the new Hancock County Least Terns colony. The 2016 nesting site didn't make it.
A new website, www.LeastTerns.com - hopes to consolidate community support for a happier ending this year.
- by Ellis Anderson
The "rural lifestyle" chain operates more than 1600 stores in 49 states. Soon, there'll be one in Bay St. Louis, close to the post office.
- by Lisa Monti
On Saturday, April 1st, superheroes unite for the cause of CASA during a 5k and Fun Run in Bay St. Louis. Read how you can participate — and volunteer!
- by Ana Balka and Lisa Monti
Will Bay St. Louis soon join the 73% of communities in the U.S. with curbside recycling service? Take a short survey that can help determine that!
- by Ellis Anderson
An astonishing pop-up art show at the Bay St. Louis Shoofly features the works of 450 Waveland Elementary School students! Details: Saturday, March 11th from 1 - 4pm, next to the historic Bay St. Louis City Hall, 300 S. Second Street.
Some eleventh hour jockeying left four candidates for mayor and 22 candidates for city council after the 5pm deadline on March 3rd. Each will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and answer questions from citizens on Serve BSL, the first bi-partisan online forum in the state of Mississippi. Things are just getting interesting!
- story by Ellis Anderson
A workshop with Hancock County Supervisors and library advocates on February 13th will help determine the fate of five local libraries. Find out meeting details in this Big Buzz story.
- by Ellis Anderson
Local realtor/broker Holly Lemoine-Raymond guides her clients - and HGTV viewers - though Bay St. Louis in an episode of "Beachfront Bargain Hunt."
- by Ellis Anderson
A new article in Country Living Magazine ranks Bay St. Louis first on the list of 26 "Under-the-Radar Southern Cities for Girlfriend Getaways."
- photograph by Ellis Anderson
Get the scoop - and the menu - for a second location of Gulfport's popular Tamale Shak opening on Second Saturday (1/14), thanks to local writer/blogger, Lisa Monti!
Get the scoop - and the menu - for a new Mexican restaurant slated to open on Highway 90 in Bay St. Louis, thanks to local writer/blogger, Lisa Monti
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