Mayors gather to break bread, discuss issues

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich brought together mayors of several Mississippi Gulf Coast cities today to discuss several issues of mutual importance and suggest a united front when pursuing state or federal support.

“I’ve been on the job slightly more than two months now,” Gilich said, “but one thing I’ve known for much longer than that is that some issues  are bigger than Biloxi. It was great for us to sit down, have a few pusharatas, discuss the challenges we face and break bread.

“We’re not ready to make any announcements yet as a group, but I’m confident that this first gathering has laid the groundwork for us to move forward.”

Among other issues Gilich and his colleagues from Diamondhead to Pascagoula discussed were BP settlement money, ultra-high speed internet expansion across the Coast, insurance costs, the Kemper Plant and passenger rail service.

Those attending the forum were Mayor Les Fillingame of Bay St. Louis; Mayor Rusty Quave and City Manager Bobby Eleuterius of D’Iberville; Mayor Thomas Schafer of Diamondhead; Mayor Gordon Gollott of Gautier; Chief Administrative Officer John Kelly of Gulfport; Mayor Connie Moran of Ocean Springs; Mayor Jim Blevins of Pascagoula, and Mayor Mike Smith of Waveland.

Representing Biloxi, besides Gilich, were Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols, City Attorney Gerald Blessey, and F. Cliff Kirkland, the city’s Chief of Civic Innovation and Development.

“We had a productive meeting at the Ohr-O’Keefe museum this morning,” said Mayor Blevins of Pascagoula. “These opportunities to come together as mayors are vital, as we share our work and discuss issues that affect us as individual cities and as a region.  Coming together regularly and conducting Coast business as a united front will undoubtedly move all of our communities forward in the future.  I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Mayor Gilich and the City of Biloxi for hosting us.”

The mayors agreed to look at coordinated efforts on all matters, and pledged to continue working in unison to build a stronger voice for Coast issues.

Said Gilich: “We’re all committed to working together for what’s best for our communities and the Coast.”
See photos from the gathering


Weekend preview: Community theater, Tanya Ticker Air Supply 

You’ll find two productions hitting the boards this weekend: “Fiddler on the Roof” at Center Stage and “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 1” at Biloxi Little Theater, plus Tanya Tucker is at the Golden Nugget, and Air Supply rides in on a “Horse with No Name” at the Hard Rock. Meantime, “Katrina +10,” the multi-media story of our Katrina experience, continues rolling along at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art.
See the complete weekend lineup


Council OKs vacation of Anglada near IP

By Jerry Creel, Community Development Director

This week in community development, the city council voted to approve the vacation of the northern 500’ of Anglada Street. This approval will allow the IP Casino Resort to move forward with their plans for a new and improved parking lot. The proposed parking lot will be fully landscaped and will provide 627 spaces.

In other news, construction continues on MGM Park, Casino Magic Hotel and Water Park, Hyatt Place Hotel, Arbor Landing Apartments, Tulane University, Memorial Hospital, Boomtown Casino RV Park, Saint Michael’s New Life Parish Center, First Pentecostal Church, Baja Beach Biloxi Restaurant, Beach Bums Restaurant (new name for Kelly’s Bar & Grill), new  construction offices for D.R. Horton, Butler Homes and Orocon, and a number of other commercial and residential developments. Building Permits for this week totaled $1.3 Million, and plans were received for 4 new single family homes.


News and notes

Our diamond gem: Barry Lyons, the original driving force behind today’s minor league baseball in Biloxi, dropped by this week’s City Desk podcast to discuss his emotional week. To listen to the 12-minute program, which also featured Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, click here.

Hargrove on Katrina: Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove spoke to dealing with death among the post-Katrina destruction in today’s Hancock Bank Katrina CafĂ© presentation. To see photos from Hargrove’s presentation, “Katrina, RIP,” click here.

Council agenda: The City Council has more than a dozen issues on the agenda for its Tuesday afternoon meeting, including Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich’s appointment of William “Gig” Tisdale to replace retiring Municipal Court Judge Eugene Henry, and a measure by Councilmember Robert L. Deming III that would see the city withdraw from the Motor Vehicle for Hire Authority. To see the complete agenda and available resolutions, click here.