Gilich touts initiatives to Congressional delegation

Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich led a four-man contingent of city leaders on a whirlwind tour of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Gilich was joined by City Council President Felix Gines, City Attorney Gerald Blessey and Biloxi’s chief development officer, F. Cliff Kirkland. The group, along with Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes and several local business leaders, met yesterday with Mississippi senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and Congressmen Steven Palazzo and Greg Harper. A meeting with Congressman Benny Thompson had to be postponed.

“We believed it was important to meet personally with our congressional leaders and their key staff members to discuss several vital issues,” Gilich said. “We talked about funding for a new Division Street entrance gate to Keesler Air Force Base, our efforts to bring ultra high-speed internet access to the Coast, and the need for reforms in the National Flood Insurance program.”

Gilich said the state’s congressional leaders and staffs assured him of their continued support for his initiatives. He also said he and Mayor Hewes were in the nation’s capital representing all of the Coast.

“Billy and I are in Washington to speak on behalf of the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Gilich added. “We’re presenting a unified voice on matters important to all Coast citizens.”

Gilich, Hewes and the rest of the Coastal delegation have another round of meetings today before returning home late Friday.


Keesler’s Katrina commander to speak to K10 audience

Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Capasso, who became commander of Keesler Air Force Base a few months after Hurricane Katrina, returns to the Mississippi Coast Friday for a special presentation, “Keesler: Rebuilt and Renewed,” at the Ohr-O’Keefe’s “Katrina +10” exhibition.

Capasso, who now lives in Virginia, led Keesler from 2005 to 2007. He became commander of the base in November 2005, shortly after Katrina caused a staggering $950 million in damage to the base. Capasso will tell the story of “Operation Dragon Comeback,” where Keesler leaders and airmen continued on their mission, forging ahead with rebuilding, renewing the commitment and reloading the military with well-trained airmen.  A few years later, the base was named the best in the Air Force.

The presentation begins at noon on Friday. Tickets are $10, which includes a meal and a pass into the multi-media exhibits. Reservations required by 5 p.m. today. Call 374-5547 or reserve online at


News and notes

Baptism by Katrina: A group of leaders who had just taken office when Katirna struck 10 years ago shared their recollections Wednesday night during “Baptism by Katrina,” a roundtable discussion at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art’s Katrina +10 series. The evening featured Gen. Joe Spraggins, whose first day as Harrison County’s emergency manager was Aug. 29, 2005; and Mayors Brent Warr of Gulfport, Connie Moran of Ocean Springs, Chipper McDermott of Pass Christian, and Billy Skellie of Long Beach. To see photos from the presentation, click here.

Biloxi registration: More than a thousand parents have taken advantage of the online school registration now underway at Biloxi Public Schools. More than 5,200 registration notices were sent to parents for the district’s first online registration, which began Monday and runs through July 24. See the registration link by clicking here.

Red, White & Blue Dance: The city’s Parks & Recreation Department hosts a Special Needs Red, White & Blue Dance Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Donal Snyder Community Center on Pass Road. Hamburgers, hot dogs and soft drinks will be served at the dance, which is open to all ages and tailored to those with physical and mental disabilities. To see a flier, click here.

Farmers market festival: The farmers market festival is taking place now at the Charles R. Hegwood Biloxi Farmers Market, on Howard Avenue at I-110. To see photos, click here.

Picture this: Tens of thousands of images from hundreds of city events are just a click away, in the city’s online Photo and Video Gallery. To go there now, click here.