Gulfport police officers encounter random acts of kindness


The Gulfport Police Department is reporting a surprising increase in the number of cases of people showing kindness to its officers.

At a time when we're hearing more incidents of officer shootings and police departments under scrutiny, many Gulfport police officers seem to be getting a positive response from the public. Over the last couple of weeks, they've been on the receiving end of love and support from the community.

A Gulfport Police officer recently found a newspaper on his patrol car with this note attached: "Police lives matter. Thank you, and have a blessed day". Last Thursday, K-9 Sergeant Wayne Payne had a similar encounter while having lunch with a fellow officer at the "Jalapeno Grill" in Gulfport.

"This couple was sitting next to us and before they left, they came over and the guy shook our hand and the lady, she gave us a hug. She told us thank you for everything we did," said Payne.

The officers later learned that couple actually paid for their meals. What surprised them even more was the message written on the receipt.

"It said, "We want to thank you for what you do. God bless and may God protect you," said Payne.

These random acts of kindness seem to be happening a lot lately. Last Friday, the staff at "Associated Food Equipment and Supplies" delivered cookies and other goodies to Gulfport police headquarters. Sarah Strong also encouraged her co-workers to wear blue to show their appreciation.

"The law enforcement I think are getting a bad rap right now, and I just think we should support them," said Strong.

That support is also coming from their brothers in blue. Last week, Officer Christian Oatis was attending a funeral for a fallen officer in Texas, when he noticed a business card tucked under the windshield wiper of his patrol car.

"I saw that it was from one of the constables in Harris County and when I flipped it over, and he left me a message saying 'We have your back,'" said Oatis. "It made me feel nice to know that my brothers and sisters in law enforcement in Texas, they're looking out for me even though I'm far away from home."

The policemen also believe more citizens are realizing the dangers the officers face every day.That's why these expressions of "thanks" mean so much to them.

"Now that they see everything that law enforcement in general is going through, they want to come up and tell you 'Thank you'. They want to give you a hug, so you know they care about you," said Payne. "It makes us feel good to know there are still people that appreciate what we're here for, and that's why those people make us want to get up and put on the uniform every day." 

"I hope it helps them to know that we're behind them, that people are still behind them and still believe in them and are there for them," said Strong.

The acts of kindness kept coming. On Wednesday afternoon, two ladies from Orange Grove Church of Christ delivered a basket of food to the police station. They also presented the department with a framed prayer for police officers. Video:



The Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc. in conjunction with the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the One Coast Awards. The One Coast Awards are the rebranding of the former Roland Weeks Hall of Fame, The Sun Herald Top 10 Under 40 and Community Leader Awards.
“Volunteers are the lifeline of South Mississippi. So many individuals give tirelessly to ensure the prosperity of our region and the enhancement of our quality of life. These individuals need to be recognized and have their achievements spotlighted,” stated Kimberly Nastasi, Chief Executive Officer of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
The Roland Weeks Hall of Fame was established in 2002 by The Sun Herald. Recognizing the wealth of outstanding business and community leaders across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Top 10 Under 40 and Community Leader Awards were developed to recognize community leaders and strong, up-and-coming young business leaders, and to hold them up as examples in the Roland Weeks Leadership Hall of Fame, named for the long time publisher of the Sun Herald.
Roland Weeks, the man for whom the Leadership Hall of Fame is named, has been advocating the need for vision and community for more than four decades. Roland Weeks works tirelessly in the communities that make up the Mississippi Gulf Coast in an effort to bring everyone together. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we must have leaders with a broader vision, leaders with a South Mississippi perspective. It was Weeks’ leadership that inspired The Sun Herald’s South Mississippi Leaders Hall of Fame. Weeks continues to be an advocate for a regionalism approach in business and government to make the Mississippi Coast a stronger, more unified force.
The program and awards have been revitalized as the One Coast Awards to continue the ideal that One Coast is a regional belief that our common interests far outweigh any difference; an awareness that what benefits one, ultimately benefits all; a celebration of our unique communities and an attitude of no boundaries.
Nominations are now being accepted for the One Coast Community Leader and One Coast Top 10 Under 40 Awards. Applications can be downloaded at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc., Hancock County Chamber of Commerce and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s websites. The award ceremony to recognize nominees and award recipients will be held on November 17 at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. For more information contact 228-604-0014. or visit:




Dayton Scoggins is recognized as a world class chainsaw sculptor artist. His art is exhibited in both private and public collections in every state and in several other countries. He has attended many invitational only competitions all over the world and has won or placed in them. His most recent competition was May 2013 in Mulda, Germany for the World Cup Championship. 

Dayton was born and raised in Mississippi, he lives in Sandersville, MS with his wife and business partner Michelle. Dayton is a member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi and he is also a member of the Mississippi Arts Commission as a Roster Artist. This week he returned to Gulfport.

“Growing up in a rural area surrounded by nature and beauty I feel I have been blessed with a talent and it feels really nice when my work touches people. I have realized that in my work, the end result is the art and it’s for the people, while the process itself is my art and gives me great feeling of contentment.”

We can't wait to see the beautiful new sculpture transformation Dayton Scoggins and his company, Artistry In Wood / Dayton Scoggins makes of a this damaged oak tree in Jones Park!
Look for stories showcasing this Gulfport on WLOX-TV and WXXV 25!

Gulfport Connections First Responder Award Presentations

Gulfport Fire Department: District Chief Greg Griffin

Gulfport Police Department: Officer Joey Fore

Naval Construction Battalion Center: Builder 1st Class John Watters

AMR: Gregory Doyle, Manager of Operations 

Thank you to sponsors: Garden Park Medical Center, The Focus Group, Port of Gulfport, Gulfport Chamber of Commerce and Bayou Bluff Tennis Club!


Gulfport water, sewer and garbage rates to increase

Read more here: new water rates, which will be effective from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016, will be: $2.40 per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons; $2.50 per 1,000 gallons for the next 7,000 gallons; and $2.60 for every 1,000 gallons thereafter. The current rates are $2.30 per 1,000 for the first 3,000; $2.40 per 1,000 gallons for up to 10,000 gallons and $2.50 per 1,000 gallons for any over 10,000 gallons.

Funds from rate increase will go into an enterprise fund that will only be spent on future water and sewer projects 

On Oct. 1, 2016, the rate will increase again to $2.50 per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons; $2.60 per 1,000 gallons for the next 7,000 gallons; and $2.70 for every 1,000 gallons thereafter.

Then Oct. 1, 2018, the rates will increase again to $2.60 per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons; $2.70 per 1,000 gallons for the next 7,000 gallons; and $2.80 for every 1,000 gallons thereafter.

The rates will increase again by 10 cents at each level Oct. 1, 2019, Oct. 1, 2020, and Oct. 1, 2022, when they will peak at $2.90 per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons; $3 per 1,000 gallons for the next 7,000 gallons; and $3.10 for every 1,000 gallons thereafter.

A household that uses 3,000 gallons of water a month would see an increase of $1.80 a month in its water bills over the course of the rate plan. One that uses 10,000 would pay $6 per month more for water starting Oct. 1, 2022, the year of the final increase.

Sewer rates will also go up for each level of water used.

The new rates from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016, will be $4.35 per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons; $4.50 per 1,000 gallons for 4,000 to 10,000 gallons; and $4.70 per 1,000 gallons for any over 10,000 gallons.

On Oct. 1, 2016, the rates would go up to $4.50, $4.70 and $4.90; Oct. 1, 2018, to $4.70, $4.90 and $5; Oct. 1, 2019, to $4.90, $5.10 and $5.30; and Oct. 1, 2020, at $5.10, $5.30 and $5.50; before topping out starting Oct. 1, 2022, at $5.30, $5.50 and $5.70.

A household that uses 3,000 gallons of water would see a sewer-rate increase of $3.30 per month over the course of the plan. One that uses 10,000 gallons would see its sewer rate go up $11.35 in the same period. The total increase for water and sewer will be $5.10 for 3,000 gallons and $17.35 for 10,000 gallons.

Read more here:




Great teamwork, Gulfport Fire Department!

Gulfport firefighters aid in whale rehabilitation


Firefighters suited up to aid in the rescue of wildlife. Members of the Gulfport Fire Department's dive team are helping the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies care for the whales rescued from a Waveland beach. The team at IMMS says it needed additional assistance providing medical treatment for the animals and ensuring they are fed.

Dr. Moby Solangi, the president of IMMS, says the firefighters' specialty diving and swimming skills of the crew comes in handy for work with marine mammals.

"The firefighters are helping our staff provide the necessary assistance in rehabilitating these exotic species," said Solangi. "We are very thankful to the Gulfport Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt for allowing his crew to help."

Staff are providing the improving animals with antibiotics, fluids, and fish food. They are still in stable but guarded condition. Video:

USS Jackson  - Gulfport Commissioning ceremony

The commissioning ceremony for the USS Jackson is open to the public. Those wanting to attend are encouraged to contact Retired Navy Commander Robert Hawley of Madison for tickets.

When: 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 5

Where: Gulfport

Who: U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will be on hand to commission the USS Jackson, along with dignitaries from the Navy, U.S. government and Mississippi. University of Southern Mississippi professor Katherine Cochran is the ship's sponsor.



The 2nd Annual Anchor Fest - Pirate Costume Contest
Arrr matey… Don your hooks, peg legs and eye patches the Pirate Costume Contest! 
Last year was fun!  
This year it will be off the hook!! 

Saturday, September 26, in Jones Park, Gulfport Marina
Registration: 10am - 12pm
Judging & Prizes: 12:30pm

Little Matey’s Pirate Costume Contest:
Boys (0-6)/Girls (0-6)
Boys (7-13)/Girls (7-13)
Each buccaneer will be judged on creativity and authenticity
1st place in each division will win treasure

Adult Pirate Costume
Judges will judge every wench, buccaneer, captain and classic pirate on creativity and authenticity
Top 3 winners will receive prize

Yo-ho, Yo-ho, a Pirate’s Life for me – Family Costume Contest:
Judges will judge each family as a whole pirate crew so each crew member must be dressed up

Must be at least a family of 3
1st place family wins the treasure

More info: