Greater Belhaven


Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights 2010

Festival Facts

Attendance: over 2100

Entertainment: 6 stages of music with 19 bands

Children's Activities: mural painting, tattoo parlor, crafts projects and games

Shopping: 25 vendors sold handcrafted items

Food: 5 neighborhood restaurants offered paninis, pizza, burgers, corned beef and more...

Click here to read more about the 2010 Festival.


Belhaven Coin Laundry

Greater Belhaven's newest business celebrated their ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 25th.  For details about Belhaven Coin Laundry, go to


Celtic Kick Off

The Celtic Kick Off was on Friday, March 5th at 720 Gillespie Street.  Partygoers got a jump on the Jackson Irish Party Season at the wine, whiskey and beer tasting fundraiser organized by the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation.

Click here to see pictures from the party.

Diggin' and Donuts

The weather was perfect for a morning of landscaping at our soon to be urban oasis.  With the arrival of 100 volunteers on Saturday morning, the tremendous effort led by Laura Wofford, supported by the Belhaven Garden Club, the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation, Carroll's Nursery, the Mississippi Urban Forest Council, the City of Jackson, Hinds Community College and Overton Moore resulted in a hotbed of activity and the result is BEAUTIFUL!  Drive by the park on Poplar Boulevard to see all of the new plants that adorn the park.  Better yet - stop, park and stay a while... Click here to see photos of the work day.


Good, Better, Best!

Greater Belhaven captured 15 first place wins in Jackson Free Press’s “Best of Jackson 2010.” Congratulations to all our winners and finalists!

  • Best Local Live Theater: New Stage Theatre,
  • Best Stage Play of 2009: “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ”
  • Best Wedding Venue: The Fairview Inn
  • Best Place to Book a Party/Shower: The Fairview Inn
  • Best Place to Buy Antiques: Old House Depot
  • Best Liquor/Wine Store: Kats Wine Cellar
  • Best Playground: Laurel Street Park
  • Best Reason to Live in Jackson: Good showing: Belhaven
  • Best Pizza: Pizza Shack
  • Best Margaritas: La Cazuela Mexican Grill
  • Best Mexican Food: La Cazuela Mexican Grill
  • Best Bar: Fenian's Pub
  • Best Karaoke: Fenian's Pub
  • Best Bar Menu: Fenian’s Pub
  • Bar Where Everyone Knows Your Name: Fenian's Pub
  • Sexiest Bartender: Toni Jones, Fenian’s Pub
  • Best High School Band: Murrah High School

Get The Juice! February Program

Dr. Marlynn Martin, Assistant Principle of Power APAC speaks about the school and and its future

By: Bill Harvey


The Belhaven community is fortunate to have a state of the art educational facility in its neighborhood. It is the Power APAC School and Dr. Marlynn Martin, its Arts Coordinator and assistant principal recently explained its mission.


“The arts are part of a well-rounded, complete education for every student providing knowledge and skills that uniquely equip a young person for life”. Dr. Martin quoted U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, as saying,  “What’s more, combining music, art, dance, and theater with subjects such as math, reading and language can be highly effective; enhancing student engagement and increasing achievement”.


Dr. Martin sees Power APAC as a model for arts integration for Mississippi as well as for other states. Open to all Jackson students who qualify, it incorporates the arts in and through the curriculum, with students mentoring other students, and parents and community stakeholders being involved on a daily basis. It provides a sharing and teaching of the “real world” and an incentive for young minds to reach beyond the ordinary to create new means of achievement in both test scores and social interaction.  More can be learned about Power APAC by visiting its web site at

Click here to read the entire article.


Beignets and Blues Enjoyed by Faithful Marathon Supporters

With an Artic blast swooping down on the deep south, over 1300 hearty souls braved the cold and ran the Mississippi Blues Marathon.  Residents from the Greater Belhaven neighborhood bundled up and came to the fire station at the corner of Riverside Drive and North State Street to cheer on the half and full marathon runners.  Fortified with plenty of hot chocolate, coffee and the awesomely good Jammin' beignets from Ro'Chez, marathon fans enjoyed live music by Virgil Brawley and music  provided by DJ Big Al. The music and fan support really boosted the runners spirits as they entered into the final miles of the marathon.  Thanks to all who came out to support the Marathon and to the Beignets and Blues sponsors: John Lewis Real Estate Services, Capital Orthopaedic Clinic PLLC, McDade's Market, Henry LaRose, Realtors and the Greater Belhaven Market.  Click here for scenes from the party.

Power APAC Takes First Place

Check it out! First Prize for the fence decorating competition at the Jackson Medical Mall's Holiday Festival on December 18th was awarded to Pam Kinsey's Visual Arts classes at Power APAC.  They designed, created and erected a fabulous display entitled: Rejoice and Reuse! The Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation sponsored Ms. Kinsey's classes in the competition. Click here to see pictures of this imaginative and unique concept come to life using discarded plastic drink bottles, aluminum and lots of lights!

Greater Belhaven Market Moves to New Home

The weather was perfect on Saturday, October 24th for the first combined  Greater Belhaven Market and MS Farmers Market.  With 60 vendors, hundreds of shoppers celebrated Fall Harvest Day at the Market. Fresh Mississippi grown fruits and vegetables, fresh baked goods, specialty frozen food, and unique Mississippi handcrafted items were for sale at the inaugural event.  Come every Saturday to the High Street location from 8-2 to find a wide variety of Mississippi products.

Werewolves and Witches and Sponge Bob – Oh My!

Belhaven loves a neighborhood party!  Over 500 people, including the cutest gremlins and goblins in town, enjoyed the first ever neighborhood Halloween Block Party on Belvoir Place and Belvoir Circle Saturday night.  Belhaven Garden Club members Heather Bennett and Dana Lewis came up with the idea to block Belvoir Place to create a Trick or Treater’s dream.  Residents of Belvoir Place, Belvoir Circle, the Belhaven Garden Club, Belhaven Improvement Association, Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation and Greater Belhaven Security Association donated resources and volunteers to transform the street into a fun-filled festival.  There was live music by Johnny Bertram, finger food provided by the Garden Club, games and candy galore for party goers. Click here to view scenes from the party.

Get the Juice! November Meeting

Corinne Fox speaks about Jackson developments

 By Bill Harvey, Greater Belhaven Resident

Corinne Fox, newly appointed Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Jackson spoke at the November 3, 2009 “Get the Juice” information sharing meeting.


Corrine began her presentation by telling the group there had been four different planning directors or interim directors for the City of Jackson from December 2005 - July 2009.  There had also been a number of vacancies in the Planning Department so, in effect, the entire department is in the process of being restored. Two deputy directors have been hired:


Community Improvement & Code Services - Kenneth Taylor

Housing - Louis Armstrong

Fox also gave an overview of ongoing projects in the Downtown Jackson. Highlights include:

  • King Edward Hotel on Capitol Street will open December 17, 2009
  • Standard Life building is under renovation for condos and retail space and will tie into the King Edward. 
  • Efforts are underway to restore Capitol Street to two-way traffic.  The project requires removing parking garage ramps that were built to accommodate one-way traffic.  Reworking the ramps will cost about $4 million and the total project cost is about $10 million.
  • Sleep Inn Hotel is under construction on Gallatin across from the train station between Pearl and Pascagoula streets.
  • A ground-breaking ceremony was held recently for Jackson State University’s new mixed-use development, One University Place at the intersection of Lynch and Dalton streets.
  • The McCoy Federal Building is undergoing a $90 million renovation. - undergoing renovation

Greater Belhaven Community Group Kick Off Event

The newly formed Greater Belhaven Community Group (GBCG) got off to a great start at the Fairview Inn on Thursday, October 1st.   Over 70 of the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood’s 35 and under residents came to the kickoff party.  Partygoers enjoyed meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends and learning more about the organization.  Ruffin Lowry, one of the group organizers, started the program with a talk about the goals of the group.  Marsha Cannon, the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation Chair, welcomed the group and encouraged everyone to become active in neighborhood activities.  Virgi Lindsay, Executive Director of the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation, presented a short program on plans for the Neighborhood.  The GBCG is a social organization designed to give young professionals an opportunity to meet regularly and participate in civic projects that will enhance the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood.  If you are interested in being on the contact list for future events, please email Anna Williams at   Click here to view photographs from the party.

Baptist Medical Center’s Patient Outcomes Among Highest in the Nation, According to Independent Study

No hospital in Mississippi has more Five-Star Ratings than Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., as recognized by HealthGrades, America’s leading independent healthcare ratings organization. Baptist is among the top 10 percent in the nation for Vascular Surgery, Gastrointestinal Surgery and Gastrointestinal Care, according to a comprehensive annual study released today by HealthGrades. Baptist achieved five stars in carotid surgery, treatment of bowel obstruction, gallbladder surgery, prostatectomy and total knee replacement. Click here to read more.

Murrah High School News

Murrah’s Homecoming Parade travelled through the neighborhood starting at 5:30 on Friday, October 23rd.  The route was from Murrah drive, across Riverside onto Linden, down Linden to Greymont, right onto Pinehurst, right onto Peachtree to Riverside, and left on Riverside to Newell Field. Click here to view pictures from the parade.

Murrah students to attend residential arts academy

Two Murrah High students, who until recently were also enrolled in the Power APAC strings music program, have been accepted and are attending the Interlochen Arts Academy, a world premier fine arts residential high school in Interlochen, Michigan. They are  Daniel A. Parker, 16, son of Jeffery and Debra Parker, and William Garfield Walker, 17, son of Romaine Richards Walker and William Walker. Both students will study music at the academy.


"To have not one but two students in one year accepted into this prestigious residential school speaks highly of the arts education provided in the APAC program," said Dr. Cynthia Smith,  Power APAC principal.


To read more about Daniel, William and the Interlochen Arts Academy click here


Murrah students named National Merit Semifinalists

Eight Murrah seniors are Semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's National Merit and National Achievement program. Named National Merit Semifinalists were Kaitlyn Barnes, Lindsey Pittman, and Evan Turnage. Turnage also qualified for the National Achievement scholarship program. The other five National Achievement Semifinalists are Candace Coleman, Jeredith Jiles, Hope Owens-Wilson, Larry Travis, and Joshua Turner.

Shown in front of Murrah are (front, from left) Lindsey Pittman, Candace Coleman, and Kaitlyn Barnes; (back, from left) Evan Turnage, Jeredith Jiles, Joshua Turner, and Larry Travis. Not pictured is Hope Owens-Wilson.

Murrah High School Wins Award


Newsweek magazine has named Murrah High School to its 2009 America's Top Public High Schools list. The schools are ranked on the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students in a school in 2008 divided by the number of graduating seniors. 


The schools represent the top 6 percent of all public high schools ranked in this way. Only two schools from Mississippi earned rankings on the 2009 Newsweek list - Murrah High School at 1058 and Oxford High School at 1269. This is the fourth year in a row that Murrah has made Newsweek's list.


"We appreciate this honor," said Dr. Freddrick Murray, principal. "This recognition is a testament to the work done by our teachers and students.  Even when the national and state standards are increasing, Murrah teachers and students are stepping up to the bar and achieving success. The recognition by Newsweek and the recent College Board Inspiration Award that Murrah received - which went to only three high schools in the nation - reflect the high expectations being set here."


Murrah High School was honored with a 2009 College Board Inspiration Award and a check for $25,000 at a special celebratory assembly on May 14 at the school. College Board President Gaston Caperton visited the school to present the award. This annual award recognizes schools that have made great strides in improving the academic environment for all students while raising aspirations and preparedness for higher education. The College Board cited these reasons for Murrah's selection:

  • Implementation of vertical teams of teachers who create aligned curricula and share effective teaching strategies
  • Partnership with Education Services Foundation for student support services
  • Collaboration with the University Medical Center through the Base Pair program, which gives students access to university faculty researchers
  • The success of Murrah's AP program over the last five years-the number of AP students has increased by 54 percent, the number of AP Exams taken has increased by 74 percent, and the number of AP Exam scores of 3 or higher has increased by 36 percent
  • The creation of a college-going culture that helps low-income students go to college, including the raising of the level of student expectation; encouraging students to take a rigorous curriculum; helping students identify the benefits of college; and providing information and hands-on assistance in planning and paying for college.

Related Links:

America's Top Public High Schools list at


Other recent accomplishments include:

  • The Murrah 2009 graduating class received scholarship offers totalling $4,294,735 . 
  • 2009 graduates will be represented at all of the state colleges and universities as well as Yale, Georgetown, New York City University,Davidson, Morehouse, Spelman and Vanderbilt.
  • 1 National Merit Finalist : Earnest McFadden
  • 2 National Achievement Finalist: Earnest McFadden & Kristopher Harvey
  • Murrah was the recipient of a $10,000 Greenhouse Award from The College Board during the summer of 2008 to support efforts to create a college going culture for underserved populations.
  • Stacey Donaldson, 10th grade English teacher, was selected as the Mississippi Department of Education's Teacher of the Year.
  • Two Murrah students were  among  Mississippi 's  representatives at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this past May in Minneapolis,MN. 

Murrah High School teacher selected as Teacher of the Year

Stacey Donaldson, an English II teacher at Murrah High School, has been selected as the Jackson Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year for 2008-2009.


Dr. Lonnie Edwards, Sr., JPS superintendent, made a surprise visit to Donaldson’s classroom this morning to announce that she has been selected the JPS Teacher of the Year.  The surprise visit included the presentation of approximately $500 in gifts donated by the Jackson business and non-profit community. Donaldson’s name has been submitted to the Mississippi Department of Education for consideration as the Mississippi Teacher of the Year.


Donaldson earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in speech communications. After five years in the media profession and ”as a new mom,” Donaldson became a teacher through the alternate route educator program. She taught at Bassfield High School in Bassfield, Mississippi, and at Sumner Hill Junior High in Clinton before joining the Murrah High School faculty three years ago. During this time, she also earned a master of teaching degree from William Carey College, became a National Board Certified Teacher, and completed the Advanced Placement Institute at Millsaps College.

Her activities at Murrah and in her community include the following:

  • Member of Murrah’s Site Council
  • Education consultant with the South Mississippi World Class Teacher’s Initiative at Jackson State University
  • Sponsor of the Not Here Club at Murrah High School which promotes healthy lifestyles choices for teens and community service with non-profit organizations such as Stewpot Ministries
  • Service learning coordinator for the Seatbelt Safety Project at Murrah which includes the creation of a television public service announcement about the dangers of riding or driving without a seatbelt
  • Member of Greater New Jerusalem’s scholarship committee
  • Young Women’s Ministry volunteer which includes working with the Sims House at Stewpot Ministries


Donaldson says she attempts “to address the needs of the whole student, which is what makes teaching so challenging yet rewarding.” She believes the art of teaching is bigger than the subject one teaches. “I am determined to prepare students for life, equip them with social skills, and expose them to technological advances and strategies that empower them to master objectives that will prepare them for post-graduate and professional careers,” she said.


She also believes that educators, business leaders, parents, and lawmakers are the four essential blocks of a model education today. “The collaboration among these four can help seal any gaps students encounter,” she said.


Dr. Freddrick Murray, principal of Murrah, says Donaldson is “a tremendous teacher who goes beyond the call of duty. Her classroom is full of life, and her students love her as a result of her nurturing personality. She also takes time in the early morning and in the afternoon tutoring and mentoring students who need assistance. I don’t think anyone who works with Mrs. Donaldson can say that she has greeted them with anything less than a smile and a helping hand.”


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