Olympians sailing for gold off Biloxi shoreline

While the world watches the London Olympics wind down this weekend and Gulfport awaits the return of gold medalist Brittney Reese, Biloxi has its own share of Olympians in town.

Fifty athletes and families from four states are in Biloxi through the weekend to compete in the Special Oympics Mississippi Southeastern Regatta.

Opening ceremonies were conducted Thursday at the Biloxi Yacht Club, and athletes and their partners began sailing this morning in the Biloxi channel south of the yacht club pier. More sailing is expected Saturday, with an awards banquet planned for Saturday evening.

“This is the 12th Special Olympics regatta that we’ve had here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Biloxi Assistant Police Chief Rodney McGilvary, who is also one of the directors of Special Olympics Mississippi. “Only Katrina and the BP oil spill sidelined us, but other than that we’re proud to say that this regatta is considered to be the top sailing event in Special Olympics nationwide.”

Added McGilvary: “These athletes and families enjoy this time, and Biloxi couldn’t do this without the help of the men and women of Keesler Air Force Base, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, D’Iberville Police, the Department of Marine Resources, and, of course, the folks at the Biloxi Yacht Club. We thank everyone.”

To see dozens of photographs from the opening ceremonies Thursday afternoon and evening, and from preparations for sailing this morning, click here.

Weekend preview: Rasslin,’ music, dancing with the local stars and more

The Mississippi Coast Coliseum, which has had its share of firsts and pro wrestling events since it opened in 1977, will mark another milestone this weekend when it hosts its first of professional rasslin’s’ most-hyped events, “WWE Raw Smack Down Supershow.”

The Saturday evening program – which features a galaxy of WWE stars – is one of highlights of this weekend’s entertainment lineup.

Elsewhere, City Hall’s David Staehling joins other local notables for a local version of “Dancing with the Stars” during the Red Cross gala “Moonlight & Magnolias” at the Hard Rock, Vicki Lawrence and Kris Kristofferson have shows at the IP, you’ll find Five for Fighting at the Hard Rock, and Fata Morgana continues its run at the Beau.

For details on these events and others, click here.

Excel by 5 health fair is Saturday at Lopez school

Biloxi Excel By 5 will conduct its annual Ready Set GO Children’s Health Fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Biloxi Resource Center, located at Lopez School, 140 St. John Ave.

This event is designed for children from birth to 5 years old and will offer free health screenings that are age appropriate. Among the screenings offered will be eye/vision, physical growth, hearing, speech, and language.

Other activities will be a health and fitness obstacle course, proper hand washing techniques demonstrated by “Mr. Germ Glow,” and families will be able to assemble their own home first-aid kits.

Details: Susan Hunt 228-297-6808, susan.hunt@biloxischools.net; or Emily Burke 228-436-1644, emily.burke@hma.com.

Biloxi celebrates Week 1 of new school year

“There’s a lot of excitement,” Biloxi Public Schools Superintendent Arthur McMillan says as the first week of school in Biloxi winds down. There’s anticipation about the announcement of results from state testing as well as excitement about the launch of a football season that will follow a year when Biloxi fielded a 10-3 squad, one of its best high school football teams in decades.

To read more about McMillan’s take on the first week of school, click here.

Shrimp Queen to rule over a big weekend of sports in Biloxi

Biloxi High School senior Emily Fountain was crowned as queen of the Shrimp Bowl during this week’s meeting of the Biloxi City Council, and the Biloxi High School senior will have a weekend chockful of sporting events next weekend.

Besides Fountain, school and city leaders recognized maids Mary Ashley Garteiser and Courtney Ballew during the City Council meeting.

To see photographs from the meeting, click here.

To print a flyer about next weekend’s Shrimp Bowl festivities — which include a downtown parade, pep rally and football doubleheader — click here.

News and notes

Budget meeting: The City Council will begin reviewing budgets for city departments when councilmembers meet Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

Budget background: This week’s “City Desk” webcast provides some background as Mayor A.J. Holloway and the City Council will be discussing the FY 2013 municipal budget over the next several weeks. To hear this week’s program, click here.

Traffic update: For a look at the major public construction projects now underway throughout the city and how they may impact traffic, click here.

Katrina memorial: The city will host its annual Katrina memorial observance at the usual time and usual place, on Aug. 29 at 8 a.m. at the Katrina memorial, on the Town Green. To see video of last year’s presentation,click here.

Top 20 beaches: The beaches in Biloxi and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are among the Top 20 in the country, according to a new compliation by USA Today. It’s one of the stories now being touted by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. To read the list, which also includes sites in Florida, Hawaii, and California, click here.

More awards: “Where to Retire” magazine has selected Biloxi as one of the country’s most affordable towns, and the AAA Southern Traveleer has selected the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the best casino-gaming destination in the South. To read more about these awards and what they mean, click here.