The week of May 25-31, 2014 has been declared "National Hurricane Preparedness Week" by the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC). While a majority of hurricanes that typically impact Hancock County appear later in the hurricane season, which runs from June 1-November 30, early preparations can improve outcomes should you be affected by a storm. The Hancock County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), the Hancock Resource Center (HRC) and the American Red Cross, along with county and municipal offices, would like to take this opportunity to remind residents that now is the time to prepare for the season.
“Of utmost importance is making sure that every resident is registered for First Call, Hancock County’s emergency notification system,” said Brian “Hooty” Adam, EMA Director. First Call is a web-based notification service that keeps residents informed about weather-related emergencies and any evacuation orders in a timely fashion, directly to their phones. To register, call Jennifer Lacoste at the EMA at 255-0942 or visit https://alertregistration.com/hancockcoms/ and follow the simple online registration process. Residents of Bay St. Louis may also register for Blackboard, the city’s own emergency notification system, by visiting the City of Bay St. Louis website http://baystlouis-ms.gov/ and clicking Emergency Alert Network.
Those with smartphones may want to consider looking into the free apps created by the American Red Cross. In addition to the popular hurricane app, Red Cross also offers tornado and first aid apps that puts help right in your hand. Call **REDCROSS from your mobile phone and you will be sent a link to download the apps, or search the iTunes app store or Google Play for American Red Cross.
Signing up for these alerts and notifications are a good first step in becoming prepared for the upcoming hurricane season. Knowing your evacuation plan and what to take to a shelter, if needed, is equally important. American Red Cross hurricane safety checklists and guides for what to take to shelters, as well as Hancock County-specific preparedness information, will be sent home with Hancock County children enrolled in early education programs next week as part of South MS VOAD’s Week of Awareness projects. An additional event at the Bay St. Louis Splash Pad is tentatively set from 10-1 on Saturday, June 28th when hurricane season will be underway and plans are even more crucial. The City of Waveland’s flood simulator is planned to be on site, as well as the Red Cross ERV, with representation from Hancock County VOAD agencies and C-HOST. Look for more information about this upcoming event in coming weeks.
For additional information, refer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Ready.gov/hurricanes for comprehensive information on hurricane preparedness at home and in your community. Like their Facebook page, Ready, at https://www.facebook.com/readygov.
On April 30, 2014, high school juniors participating in the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy began their exploration of economic development in Hancock County. Their first visit was to Selex Galileo, Inc., recently named Industry of the Year in Hancock County, where state of the art technology is installed into aviation platforms. Students learned that right here in Hancock County this company provides a full service loop from design to technology insertion, upgrading aircraft with a new set of capabilities to enhance mission readiness and performance.
The young leaders then toured Port Bienville, a 3600-acre park home to 18 industries and employing 1200 workers in Hancock County. The park boasts a Short Line Railroad with CSX interchange, 15 miles of rail infrastructure, deep water access and close proximity to the interstate system. A tour of SABIC Innovative Plastics plant followed, where the students got an up-close look at the international company that produces plastic pellet material used in items such as car bumpers and electronics. Lunch was generously provided by SABIC.
The full day came to a close at Rolls-Royce Outdoor Jet Engine test facility at Stennis Space Center. Anthony Woodard, General Manager, discussed career opportunities with the students as well as why Stennis Space Center was a good home for their company. Students were taken on a tour of the facility and were able to see a jet engine actually being tested in the new $50 million outdoor jet engine test stand.
“Unless students this age happen to have a parent working at the Port or Stennis, they are often unaware that Hancock County is a hub for these technological and manufacturing industries which make up such an important part of our economy. If these young leaders are thinking about STEM or skilled manufacturing occupations, they now know they are available in their own back yard,” said Rhonda Rhodes, director of HYLA. The economic development tour was the fourth session for the high school juniors participating in the HYLA program, which concludes the program for the 2013-14 school year. Over the summer the students will work on summer projects that they plan and implement themselves related to courage, character, or service. The program will resume with the same group in the fall with community day.
Picture: HYLA students at Port Bienville -- Back Row (pictured from left to right): Evan Lundgren (SSC), Lexi York (Bay High), Sarah Rimmer (OLA), Trent Necaise (Hancock), Essie Harris (Bay High), Jenny Cuevas (Hancock), Presley Favre (Bay High), Noah Nicaud (SSC), Chase Rhodes (SSC), Mattie Huey (OLA), Georgia Williams (OLA)
Front Row: Emily McGinity (OLA), Megan Krynen (OLA), Chet Dastugue (Hancock), Maggie Stolz (Hanocck), Brittney Ladner (Hancock), Claire Ammentorp (Bay High), Megan Magee (Bay High), Morgan Cobb (Homeschool), Jim Liu (Bay High), Heath Sahuque (Bay High), Nick Bevis (Hancock)
Not pictured: Tyce Lawler (Bay High), Leona Cunningham (Hancock)
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) held a graduation ceremony for its third class of junior high students on Monday, April 28, 2014 at St. Clare’s Community Center. The graduation was the culmination of a four-month long program that began in January after a rigorous selection process yielded eighteen bright young students displaying strong leadership potential from all four area middle schools. Over the course of the last few months, HYLA students engaged in a series of sessions that developed and strengthened their self-awareness and leadership styles, exposed them to local government and county and municipal administration to promote civic engagement, increased their awareness of the importance of small business and industry to the health of the community, and demonstrated the role of the arts in sustaining a community’s culture.
The graduation ceremony was held immediately after the fourth and final session of the program wherein the young leaders performed service at three local locations: The King’s Kitchen (a ministry of Central Bible Church), Waveland Elementary School, and the Hancock County Animal Shelter. Groups of students folded, hung, and organized the donated clothing at King’s Kitchen, read to first-graders at Waveland Elementary, and cleaned kennels while providing affection to the animals housed at the shelter. Also during this session the students learned first-hand what services and resources were available in the community by meeting with agency representatives of local non-profits such as Hope Haven Children’s Services, Hancock Resource Center, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Gerard Community Outreach, CASA of Hancock County, Hancock County Human Resource Agency, and Coastal Family Health Center.
“Service learning is such an important aspect of leadership development, especially for this age group who are just beginning to integrate into the fabric of the larger community” said Rhonda Rhodes, President of the Hancock Resource Center, who founded the Hancock Youth Leadership Academy in 2012. These middle-schoolers not only performed service in the community, but learned the value of that service by engaging with the agencies to understand the complex situations faced by the many families who interact with the social service system. This session’s activities provided the springboard to launch the students from the program, as they are now set to enter high school as young leaders with cultural sensitivity and a firm understanding of their community’s assets and resources.
The Hancock Youth Leadership Academy is the first county-wide youth leadership program in Hancock County. HYLA extends sincere appreciation to the generous sponsors of the 2014 program: The First (A National Banking Association), Chuck Benvenutti CPA, Koenig Stainless, Inc., Waveland WalMart, Brehm T. Bell, Southern Printing, Bay Waveland Middle School, Hancock Middle School, Our Lady Academy, St. Stanislaus College Prep, and the HYLA Advisory Board.
The 2014 Junior High HYLA graduating class are pictured from left to right: Front row: Michael Raymond (SSC), Anna Grace Boxx (B/W Middle), Anna Peterson (Hancock Middle), Thomas McArthur (Hancock Middle), Cooper Grafe (Hancock Middle School), Makenzie Mack (Hancock Middle), Gabe Toepfer (SSC), Abby Guy (OLA)
Back Row: Cameron Oberlies (SSC), Jacob Wolfe (B/W Middle), Hannah D’Aunoy (OLA), Harrison Brewer (SSC), Reece Necaise (Hancock Middle), Thomas Weber (SSC), Payton Smith (Hancock Middle), Robert Williams III (B/W Middle), Kimberly Shiyou (Hancock Middle), Tylor Riels (Hancock Middle)