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Welcome to Pearl River County Library System’s Picayune Item Blog! Here, library staff highlights memorable articles and provides commentary for various Picayune Item articles throughout the years. Just use the navigation menu to the left of the webpage to cycle through blog posts by month and year.

January 2023 – June 2023

June 20, 2023


Picayune Item, Sunday, April 5, 1992, Page 5B. SSC Software Program inducted into Space Hall of Fame 

This past Monday, millions of people watched as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its annual Academy Awards presentation. A few days later, the U.S. Space Foundation held its annual awards ceremony, often referred to as “The Academy Awards of Space Technology Spinoffs,” and NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center received a very high honor. A powerful software program developed by SSC’s Science and Technology Laboratory, called ELAS (Earth Resources Laboratory Applications Software) was inducted by the U.S. Space Foundation into its Space Technology by the U.S. Space Foundation into its Space Technology Hall of Fame for 1992.  

Only 10 space spinoffs – experiments and products – which have made a significant contribution to the benefit of people were nominated for the Space Technology Hall of Fame. Only two were selected to be recognized this year. In addition to ELAS from Stennis Space Center, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was recognized for developing the technology that provides early detection of severe storms and monitors the storm’s movement. This brings the total number of space spinoffs honored since the inception of the Hall of Fame in 1988 to 14.  

“One of the most important aspects of any technology development, not just technology, is how it relates to the rest of the world,” said Richard MacLeod, President of the U.S. Space Foundation.  

ELAS has been important in the medical community to enhance MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Other significant uses of ELAS software have included producing images of Egyptian tomb paintings and other antiquities, developing soil and elevation maps, and processing submarine sonar images to name a few.  

What a great accomplishment and honor for John C. Stennis Space Center.  

Lanett Hawthorne  

Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator 

May 22, 2023

Picayune Item, Sunday, February 23, 1992, Page 8C, Crosby Arboretum offers a variety of programs for 1992

The Crosby Arboretum will have events to please just about everyone this year-whether your interest is botany, gardening, natural history, conservation, or just plain fishing. Programs offered will continue popular programs initiated last year, such as Twilight Talks and Garden Tours. The Arboretum will continue the popular evening lecture and dinner series, known as Twilight Talks, with the first program scheduled for Friday, March 27, Dr. Emily Vokes, professor of geology at Tulane University, will present the program, “Wildflowers of Australia.” Scheduled in the spring is a wildflower field trip on Saturday, March 28, Arboretum botanist, Chris Wells will lead tours to several nearby natural areas.

On April 3, a special day-long seminar concerning wetlands will be sponsored by the Arboretum at Hide-A-Way Lake Lodge, with guest speakers. On April 11, the Arboretum will hold its second annual fundraiser event, ‘Treasure Hunt.” The second Twilight Talk, on April 24, features Jane McKinnon, professor emeritus of horticulture from the University of Minnesota. May 2 is the date of the annual Arboretum membership party, “Strawberries and Cream VII.” The Arboretum will host meetings of several organizations in May, including the American Society of 1andscape Architects and the Mississippi Native Plant Society, a third Twilight Talk will be held on May 29, as Arboretum director Edward L Blake. Jr. presents “Garden History.” On June 5, Baton Rouge, LA will be visited to tour several gardens. On July 11, the Arboretum will open Pinecote’s Piney Woods Lake to public fishing from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for one day only. The second Garden Tour trip will be on Saturday, Sept 5 and will visit the unique gardens of Avery Island and Jefferson Island, in south Louisiana. The final Garden Tour is scheduled with a horticultural emphasis for October 3. A teacher’s workshop will take place on Oct. 10 at Pinecote Pavilion. On Oct. 24, the Arboretum will hold its fall plant sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pinecote Pavilion. On Nov 14, Gail Barton will present “Programming Native Plants” at Pinecote Pavilion at 10 a.m. The Arboretum’s annual Memorial and Honor Tree Planting will be held on Nov 21 at Pinecote Pavilion. The Arboretum’s Open House will take place on Wednesday, Dec 2 at the Administrative Center. A Christmas wreath workshop will be presented by X, Earl McCoy, instructor of horticulture ai Gulf Coast Community College on Dec 5. The workshop will take place at Pinecote Pavilion and will begin at 10 a.m. On Dec 6, Arboretum director Edward Blake Jr. will host the Winter Walk, an opportunity to glimpse the future of the Crosby Arboretum.

For further information regarding programs, call the Arboretum’s Administrative Center at 601-799-2311 or 798-6961.

Additional information about the Arboretum Website

With increasing value being placed on our natural heritage, The Crosby Arboretum is the premier native plant conservatory in the Southeast.

The Arboretum was established as a living memorial to L.O. Crosby, Jr. (1907- 1978) and has expanded to become a resource for education in the region and the world.

Today, it provides for the protection of the region’s biological diversity as well as a place for the public’s enjoyment of plant species native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin of south-central Mississippi and Louisiana.

It allows us to study and learn about plants and plant products so that we may use them to their best advantage and ensure their continuous propagation in the future. Aesthetic, agricultural, scientific, and industrial contributions of native plant species and ecosystems can be examined in a real-life setting at the Arboretum, and much more. The 104-acre Native Plant Center of the Crosby Arboretum serves as the focus of Arboretum activities and development.

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

April 20, 2023

Picayune Item, Thursday, May 23, 1991, Volume 86, Number 255, 1 Section, Veterans’ wreath laying ceremony planned today

The Career Women’s Club of Picayune will observe Memorial Day this afternoon with a wreath lying ceremony at the Veterans’ Monument in front of city hall on Goodyear Boulevard beginning at 5:30 p.m., weather permitting.

The ceremony will open with a welcome by a Career Women’s Club officer and an invocation by Dr. Raymond Leake, pastor of First Baptist Church of Picayune.

The patriotic salute begins when Boy Scout Troop No. 87 leads guests in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Following this, Picayune Mayor Woody Spiers will share remarks with the crowd.

A special song written and recorded by Doug, Diane, and Jarrad Lee will be song. The song
“Freedom Isn’t Free” was written especially for the veterans of Pearl River County.

The ceremony highlight will be laying of a red, white, and blue wreath at the monument by the
Career Women’s Club officers. Matty Jo Fox, president of the group, said this is the fourth year
that the club has sponsored the event to honor veterans.

Fox said the public is invited and encouraged to attend the event. Fox wanted to particularly
invite veterans to attend. The ceremony will not be held, if there is rain.

Picayune Item, Friday, May 24, 1991, Volume 86, Number 256, 1 Section, A Memorial Day Tribute

Lucia Terry, Mildred Dossett and Betty Munro, officers of the Picayune Career Women’s Club, laid a wreath at the bottom of the Picayune Veterans’ Memorial in observance of Memorial Day. Matty Jo Fox, president of the club, hosted the events. Mayor Woody Spiers spoke of the importance of the event and Doug, Diane, and Jarrad Lee sang “Freedom Isn’t Free.” The event drew a crowd that included veterans and local government leaders.

2023 Update:

Lisa Albritton (Special Projects Director & Grants Administrator/ Retirement Community Director/Mayor’s Youth Council Director/ Public Information Officer for Picayune) informed me that the Veterans’ Wreath Ceremony is now a part of the annual Veterans’ Day Celebration. Should anyone be interested in the upcoming event, the contact person is Ronald Stogner, phone # 601-569-9456.

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

March 20, 2023

Picayune Item, Friday, April 19, 1991, Welcome Centers offer new service.

Visitors entering Mississippi will be greeted with a new service at the Pearl River County Welcome Center and other state welcome centers beginning today.

Travelers now can make hotel and motel reservations and get accommodation information free of charge at the Pearl River County Welcome Center, said Horhn, associate director of the Division of Tourism Development.

Horhn said the statewide service will be offered in other counties in addition to the Pearl River County Center. Those other counties are Adams near Natchez, Washington near Greenville, Desoto near Hermando, Lauderdale near Meridian, Hancock near the John C. Stennis Space Center, Jackson inside the Mississippi Alabama state line, Pike near McComb and Warren near Vicksburg. He said during the mid-summer, a 10th welcome center will be opened on U.S. Hwy. 78 in Itawamba County near Fulton.

Horhn said the service is aimed at out-of-state travelers passing through Mississippi. The service will provide reservation service to 170 hotels, motels, and resorts, both privately and state owned. He said those businesses agreed to install 1-800 telephone numbers or accept collect calls from the welcome centers. There will be a sign inside each of the welcome centers to inform the traveling public about the reservation service. The welcome centers are open from 8 am until 5 p.m.

Horhn said 202,487 people signed the registers inside Pearl River County Welcome Center during 1990. He said an estimated 10 percent of the people who use the facility sign the register. He guessed that the Pearl County Center served about two million travelers during 1990. So far this year, 42,000 visitors have signed the registers.

“By offering this service, we hope to make travelers stay in Mississippi more pleasant and possibly encourage them to visit additional areas of the state,” Horhn said. He said it also is an effort to improve tourism within the state.

In addition to reservation service, the Mississippi Welcome Centers are implementing two other projects that deal with data collection. One project is collecting extended visitor surveys. Another new data collection form attempts to gauge how people view the welcome centers and the state.

Horhn encourages all welcome center personnel to stress that Mississippi is the hospitality state.

2023 Update:

Speaking to Michelle Jordan (a 30-year Mississippi Welcome Center Supervisor) acknowledged that there are now thirteen welcome centers in Mississippi. They offer an abundance of information about attractions throughout the state. They not only have an abundance of information about attractions, but they offer information on lodging, restaurants, state and national parks, historical sites, and so much more.

They are great attractions all on their own. Like mini museums, each is designed to resemble the antebellum structures for which our state is famous. Each is beautifully decorated with fine antique furnishings from the period.

Their neatly manicured grounds feature picnic table and grills, RV waste disposal facilities, 24-hour security, restrooms, and weather information. Motor coach parking is also available. The Welcome Center Staff stands ready to answer any questions you have. Regular hours at all welcome centers are 8a.m. to 5p.m., seven days a week.

Today, although people have use of modern technology, there are still so many people who prefer one on one interaction.

Our welcome centers still serve as wonderful attributes to our beautiful state.

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

February 21, 2023

Picayune Item April 9, 1991, Vol 86, No.223-Operatoin honors Desert Storm, other vets.

A South Mississippi springtime thunderstorm delivered an early finale at the rally in Picayune to honor veterans of Operation Desert Storm and other wars fought in the United States. A severe thunderstorm blasted into the rally at Picayune Memorial High School stadium at about 4:45 p.m. as the stage was being set for the cajun/country star Joe El Sonnier was to be ethe first of musical headlines that had donated their time to entertain the approximately 10,000 people, including veterans, who drifted in and out of the stadium as the event rocked along mostly patriotic and country music. The event finally came to a soggy end at about 5:30 p.m.

Among the cancelled acts were Sonnier, country singer Earl Thomas Conley, and jazz pianist Ronnie Kole. A gospel concert and religious service was to have followed the headliners, but they too were washed out.

But the event was far from a total loss. Thousands packed Picayune city streets to cheer as a parade containing veterans, patriotic floats, marching bands, and other units made their way from Mississippi Mall to the high school stadium.

The event, a part of the national Operation Homefront as established by Congress was organized by the Pearl River County Desert Storm Support Group, whose president, Barbara Spooner thanked everyone for assistance, attendance and generosity in her address to the gathering.

Prior to the parade, hundreds of people had packed the mall parking lot as the parade was put together to enjoy entertainment placed a the site. Prior to the thunderstorm, parade grand marshals and masters of ceremony Mary Ann Mobley and Gary Collins entertained the crowd and introduced various acts along with disc jockey Dan Diamond of radio station WBSL in Waveland.

Conley, Sonnier volunteered time from appreciation for troops

Thunderstorms and lightening prevented singers Earl Thomas Conley and El Sonnier from entertaining at Operation Home Front Sunday, but their hearts were in the right place. Sonnier explained his participation to show his support for Operation Desert Storm troops. Conley said he was inspired to participate at Operation Homefront for many reasons, among them was the military heritage of his own family. Conley was in the Army, his brother in Vietnam and a grandfather who was in the military.

Along with music were messages to remind the crowd that not all the wars fought by the United States have not ended on such a high note ad did the Persian Gulf War, alias Operation Desert Storm, This celebration was a remarkable success!

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

January 20, 2023

Picayune Item, Sunday, December 2, 1990, Volume 86, Number 132, 4 Sections. Centennial draws massive crowd.

One thing is certain, the population of Millard, MS reached an all-time high – at least for a few hours – Saturday afternoon as thousands of Pearl River Countians and others gathered there to celebrate the country’s 100th birthday.

Cloudy skies and sprinkles of rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the massive crowd at the centennial celebration at the county’s new central facility at Millard. There wasn’t enough parking space to hold them all, as vehicles clogged the roadsides for up to a mile away.

The celebration began Saturday morning with separate parades in Poplarville and Picayune. Bands, floats, dance groups, government officials, and horses all led the way for Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Picayune parade, sponsored by the Civic Women’s Club of Picayune.

The Picayune parade winners included: most inspiring – category A, Carriere School – Pest decorated car, Friendship Newcomers Club – most original, USM Alumni – most beautiful – category B, Children’s Christmas Tree Forest – most beautiful – category A, Miss Sarah’s Stocking Stuffers, best decorated truck – Church of the Way, most original – Kristen’s Carousel Dance Centre, president’s award – Billy Jo Fleming’s School of Dance, and best overall – Solid Rock Church and best equestrian group – Farm Bureau.

The two parades met at the county barn where thousands of citizens, young & old gathered for an afternoon of food, festivities, and shopping at craft stands.

The Centennial Celebration began with a formal opening. Anthony hale (Poplarville’s alderman) sang the national Anthem, while Boy Scout Troop NO. 28 raised the flag. The invocation was given by Rev. A. W. Lambert of Pine Grove Baptist Church. Next Ezell Lee read the Centennial Resolution and Tommy Pearson (President of the Board of Supervisors) read the proclamation and letters.

For many of the people at the celebration, it was if they were in the year 1890. Some of the woman wore long dresses, aprons, and bonnets, while some of the men sported suspenders, cowboy boots and hats. Other old-time activities sparked the curiosity of many 1990 onlookers.

In addition to all the activities, continuous entertainment was provided by school bands, cloggers, dancers, gospel groups, choruses, instrumentalists, and vocalists. It was obvious by expressions on the faces of those present that everyone found something to enjoy during the Centennial Celebration.

Topping off the day’s event was fireworks display and a barn dance.

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator


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