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Silent Salute: Bay efforts to honor police officers go viral
Bay St. Louis homeowner Samantha McRaney’s grassroots effort to honor local police officers with a “Silent Salute” has been picked up and emulated in several different cities around the country in only a few days.

A Bay St. Louis homeowner's efforts to honor and support local police officers with a "silent salute" in the wake of cop shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge have echoed across the country.
"It's everywhere," Samantha McRaney said Friday. "NPR interviewed (my husband) Bob and I at our home, and it's played repeatedly. ... It's been picked up in areas all over the place."
Aside from National Public Radio, the story has also been picked up by media outlets in cities as diverse as Richmond, Va. and St. Louis, Mo.
Samantha started the effort here in Bay St. Louis earlier this week, inviting everyone in Bay St. Louis to buy $10 gift cards from local restaurants and merchants and give them to police officers.

Jul 22, 2016, 22:33

Another local man gunned down in New Orleans
Henry Varnado

For the second time in three weeks, a local man with ties to the Simon City Royals was murdered in New Orleans.
According to the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office, Henry Lee Varnado, 36, from Carriere was found dead inside a residence on Teche Street in Algiers. Varnado had apparently been doing construction work at the house. He was shot several times, officials said. Police said someone dressed in black was seen running from the area after the shooting.
No arrests have been made in the shooting.
Varnado was convicted of sexual battery in Hancock County in 2000, records show. He also has an extensive criminal record in Pearl River County.

Jul 22, 2016, 22:32

Bay council questions new audit report
After three years in a row of negative performance audits, the Bay St. Louis City Council on Thursday heard a mostly glowing report on the recently-completed 2014-2015 audit.
"You're – in essence – healthy," Bobby Culumber, of Gulfport-based CPA firm Culumber, Harvey & Associates, told council members at a workshop meeting on Thursday. "You aren't over-leveraged, you're under-leveraged.
"The city has expanded in size from 2005 and you're working with 10 percent less staff (than you had then) for a much larger-sized city, so you're doing okay."
Culumber said that the administration's internal controls "were definitely improving," and that several negative findings from earlier audit reports had been cleared up.

Jul 22, 2016, 22:32

Legislators want tougher laws on violence against the police
Two Gulf Coast state senators want to see stronger penalties for criminals who assault police officers.
District 46 State Sen. Philip Moran (R) and District 49 (R) State Sen. Sean Tindell said this week that they will be co-authoring a bill in advance of next year's legislative session to enhance penalties for assaults on police officers, and making targeted attacks on officers a hate crimes.
"Enough is enough," Moran said Thursday. "It has been heartbreaking the past few weeks seeing what has happened in Dallas and Baton Rouge. We need to send a message that if you assault an officer in Mississippi, you are going to pay a steep price."

Jul 22, 2016, 22:31

Hancock Youth Court Task Force issues final report
The Hancock County Youth Court Building on Court Street in Bay St. Louis.

The Hancock County Youth Court Task Force this week issued its report after nearly 18 months of investigation into both the youth court and the Department of Human Services.
The task force was led by Dist. 122 State Rep. David Baria.
The report comes to many of the same conclusions as the state legislature's Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) did to last year; however, there were several differences.
The task force was organized in January 2015. It's goal was to determine whey so many children were in state DHS custody and what could be done about it.
When the task force began its work, 459 children from Hancock County were in DHS custody, the highest per capita rate in the state.

Jul 22, 2016, 22:30

Former gang members aim to help community
ichael “SIR Bling” Dossett and Chance “SiR Able” Bilbo, former members of the Simon City Royals and officers of the new Sip City Royals organization.

As police continue their investigation into the recent deadly shootings of two Hancock County natives, friends give a rare look into their world.
Former gang members Matthew “SIR Twig” Spooner and Jeremy “Huggies” Fountain were recently found dead, both with gunshots to the back of the head. Close friends confirm that the two were former gang members of the largest street gang on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. the Simon City Royals.
Spooner, better known as “SIR Twig,” was at one time one of the highest ranking officials in the SCR street gang; however friends say he was the driving force to change the gang's fate by ditching the violence and drugs and immersing in an entirely different culture.
“Twig gave us a way out of the ‘gang’ lifestyle,” Spooner’s nephew Chance “SiR Able” Bilbo, said. “He gave us the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. He implemented the changes we needed to continue to move forward in a positive direction. With those changes Chapter 13, the Sip City Royals, was born.”

Jul 22, 2016, 22:29

Bay residents ask council for new noise ordinance
Bay St Louis residents approached city leaders at Tuesday night's city council meeting, urging council to enact a city noise ordinance. They say they’re fed up with loud music at all hours of the night that is disturbing their peace – but business owners say it's simply entertainment.
Old Town resident Ann Hager read aloud a Mississippi state law pertaining to the issue: “I'm here to present MS state law 97-35-15, Disturbance of the public peace or the peace of others,” Hager said.
“I don't know about you all, she said, but I've always heard we don't have a noise ordinance in Bay St. Louis, but we do have a state law that talks about any person who disturbs the public peace or the peace of others by loud or boisterous conduct or language.”

Jul 22, 2016, 22:28

Chamber honors former Echo Publisher Ellis C. Cuevas for a lifetime of 'Keeping Hancock Beautiful'
he Hancock Chamber of Commerce this week surprised former long-time Sea Coast Echo Publisher Ellis C. Cuevas by honoring him for his more than 40 years’ service to the Chamber and leadership of the Chamber Beautification Committee. Pictured above are Gary Knoblock, Bay St. Louis Rotary Club president; Tish Williams, executive director of the Hancock Chamber; Katharine Ohman, Cuevas’ successor as leader of the Beautification Committee; Ellis C. Cuevas; Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame; and Don Siebenkittel, who serves on the committee and oversees beautification efforts for the city of Waveland.

During the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club meeting this week members and representatives from the Hancock Chamber of Commerce Beautification Committee surprised Ellis Cuevas with well-deserved recognition for his leadership.
Known for his wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts, many of the members wore similar garb in honor of his more than 40 years of service to the business community as a leader for the Hancock Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Beautification Committee.
“Ellis has perfect attendance at the weekly Rotary Club meetings,” said Chamber Executive Director, Tish Williams. “So, we knew we could get him the recognition he deserves during one of these meetings!”

Jul 22, 2016, 22:27

Man jailed for threats against Waveland P.D.
Jason Pugh

'Waveland Police on Monday arrested a homeless man who allegedly threatened to kill members of the Waveland Police Department.
Waveland Police Chief David Allen said Monday that Jason Pugh, 49, was arrested Monday and charged with abusive calls to 911, assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication.
According to Allen, Hancock County Central Dispatch began receiving calls about 5:30 p.m. Monday from a man who was threatening police.
"The caller said he was coming to Waveland from out of town and he was going to kill several of our officers," Allen said.
Police began investigating the calls and were eventually able to determine who was making the calls and the general area where the calls were coming from, Allen said.

Jul 19, 2016, 19:07

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