Curtain rises on Christmas events; other news and notes

Christmas in the City takes over parts of downtown Saturday and Christmas on the Water will dominate the channel between the Biloxi Lighthouse and Point Cadet on Saturday evening, as the two events usher in the holiday season.

The city’s celebration actually begins this evening at 6, with the Children’s Christmas walking parade in and around the Vieux Marche.

For details on the lineup of events, click here.

Ohr-O’Keefe seeks pod-nahs Saturday morning

The public will get its first chance to see the new pods at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art on Saturday morning from 10 to noon, when the museum hosts a celebration, “The Dance Begins,” at its east beach site.

Visitors to the silver pods – officially known as the George Ohr Gallery Pavilion – will be able to take tours inside the pods, which are the “skeleton” of the building.

The celebration will feature servings of shrimp and grits, pusharatas by the Slavonian ladies and pastries from the Vietnamese-American Le Bakery. The Gulf Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform, and potters will be on hand to demonstrate their craft.

Also expected to be on hand to help mark the occasion will be Congressman Gene Taylor; Mayor A.J. Holloway; and Harold Closter, director of the Smithsonian Affiliates Program.

To see a model of the overall site and the pre-Katrina pods, click here.

Ohr video: Katrina volunteer Anne Kotleba has created a five-minute video tribute chronicling the Ohr work. Those with YouTube access can see it by clicking here.

Council to eye flood maps Tuesday morning

Members of the Biloxi City Council will gather Tuesday morning at 10:30 at City Hall for a briefing from state and federal authorities about the preliminary flood elevation maps. The meeting is open to the public.

The maps, another step toward FEMA finalizing the flood-elevation maps, were released last week so that state and federal leaders could receive feedback from local communities.

To learn more about the mapping process and see the maps themselves, click here.

Incidentally, a FEMA representative explains the agency’s methodology in determining flood elevation levels in a City Desk program recorded in April 27, 2006. To listen, click here.

Mayor proposes comphrensive plan funding for budget

The council’s agenda for its 1:30 meeting Tuesday afternoon includes a budget amendment that moves the city one step closer to beginning work on an update of the city’s comprehensive plan, a document that represents a detailed policy statement about future growth in the city.

The measure on the agenda proposes to amend the city budget by $265,000, which reflects the federal share of funding to update the zoning ordinance and map, and new Architectural Design and Review Standards, key elements of the comphrehensive plan. The city, meantime, continues to work on a contract with a consulting firm to undertake the update of the comprehensive plan.

The funding measure is one of 14 issues – all on the consent agenda – facing the council.

Among the other resolutions on Tuesday’s agenda: expenditures to the Gulf Coast Carnival Association, the Coastwide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, the Mississippi Coast Historical and Genealogical Society, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.

To read the complete agenda and available resolutions, click here.

News and notes

U.S. 90 lighting: The Louisiana contractor working on the final stages of the U.S. 90 lighting project in west Biloxi has faced $400 a day in fines since Nov. 20, when the project was scheduled to be complete. The city’s project manager reports that the final stretch of the work – the three quarters of a mile between Ocean Club condominiums and Beauvoir Road – should be electrified within a week.

Santa’s helpers: The Biloxi Police Department continues to collect new and unopened toys for its Santa Wears a Badge program. Those interested should drop off toys at the front desk of the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center. Deadline: Dec. 15.

City Desking: Sgt. Jackie Rhodes speaks about Santa Wears a Badge and other issues of interest in this week’s City Desk webcast. To listen to the program, click here.

Contract awards: Among the contracts recently awarded by the city were $164,300 for Millerco for street and walkway lighting repairs; $1.4 million to Suncoast Infrastructure for cured-in-place piping; $72,000 to JEM Inc. for construction of a Quonset hut to be used by the Police Department; and $1.87 million to Kappa Development and General Contracting for Sunkist drainage, Phase III.

Book sale: The Biloxi Library will be conducting a book sale — $1 a book or less – Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at its former Lameuse Street location across from City Hall. The sale coincides with the Christmas in the City arts and crafts street fair.