• signature Q&A: Brandilyne Magnum-Dear

    BRANDIILYNE MANGUM-DEAR (Bb), is the pastor and founder of Joshua Generation Community Church, a radically inclusive and all affirming church in Hattiesburg. She and her wife, Susan Mangum, also own The Red Jasper, a metaphysical crystal shop. Bb and Susan believe that everyone should have a place to express their spirituality without fear or shame. Whether it be in a church or a metaphysical shop, everyone's spiritual walk is valid and important.

    What is your idea of happiness?
    Loving what I do and doing what I love.

  • Signature Q&A: Jim Prout

    JIM PROUT, executive director and CEO of Christian Services Inc., is a licensed and ordained minister who has grown up with a passion for helping hungry, hurt and lost people. He attended The University of Southern Mississippi and has a background in business and restaurant management. Returning to Christian Services Inc. in the ‘90s as director of operations, he has been fully devoted to the vision of reaching the community for Jesus. Prior to accompanying Jim in full-time ministry, his wife, Maggie, also worked in the food industry.

  • Signature Q&A: Demaris Lee

    DEMARIS LEE is a 1972 graduate of Petal High School. She and her husband, David, started ServiceMaster in Petal in 1988. The following year, Lee and Jesse Rowell started the Petal Children’s Task Force when two families needed help with Christmas and food. This year it is celebrating its 30th year. Today, Lee serves as executive director for the nonprofit where she oversees the daily operations at their center. She and David have been married for 42 years and they have two children, Anthony and Brian Lee, and five granddaughters.

  • Signature Q&A: Jay Ladner

    Jay Ladner is a Hattiesburg native (Oak Grove High School Class of 1984), and he played baseball and basketball at The University of Southern Mississippi. He enjoyed a few years of pharmaceutical sales after college, but being the son of a coach, he knew that was his calling. He spent two decades coaching at St. Stanislaus on the Gulf Coast, then a few years later he had the opportunity to coach Division I basketball at Southeastern Louisiana. He’s excited to be back where it all started, at Southern Miss.­

  • Signature Q&A: Mary Margaret Hyer

    MARY MARGARET HYER is a native of Hattiesburg and is a cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi. She is a 2014 graduate of Oak Grove High School, where she was a member of the Hall of Fame. She represented the Pine Belt as Lamar County’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2014 and now represents the state as Miss Mississippi 2019. She was an employee of Phi Mu fraternity from 2018-2019 where she served as a chapter consultant.

  • Signature Q & A: Elijah Jones

    ELIJAH JONES is a Hattiesburg native and graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi. He lived in Los Angeles for 12 years, where he worked as manager for fitness expert Richard Simmons. From Hattiesburg, he was a writer for Simmons’ website. Now in a state of semi-retirement, Elijah spends part of his free time writing a bi-weekly column for ThePineBeltNEWS.  

    What is your idea of happiness? 
    Being with friends I love.

  • Signature Q&A: Frank Caliendo


    FRANK CALIENDO, 45, is returning to the Hub City a second time for this year’s Laughs4Life fundraising event Aug. 2 at The Saenger Theater. A comedian, actor, and impressionist, Caliendo has been making people laugh his entire life. He is well known for his impressions of famous personal-ities – Donald Trump, Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino and Robin Williams, to name a few. On stage, his high energy act is a blend of observations, impressions, characters and anecdotal stories that start at a frenetic pace and never let up. 


  • Signature Q&A: Linda Eder

    LINDA EDER, 58, will be featured as this year’s FestivalSouthFinale performer along with the FestivalSouth Orchestra. Showcasing one of the greatest voices of our time, Eder’s diverse repertoire spans Broadway, standards, pop, country and jazz. Eder began her career right out of high school, eventually landing a gig at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. But it was her appearance on the 1987 season of “Star Search,” during which she won for an unprecedented 12 straight weeks, which attracted the attention of audiences and record companies alike. 

  • Womanly Wisdom

    Chances are if you’ve been given advice at some point in your life – whether you’re a man or a woman – it came from your mother, a grandmother, a favorite aunt, a bossy sister, a respected teacher, a best friend or some other woman who has made a lasting impression on you. The Pine Belt has a plethora of women who enrich the lives of many of its residents day in and day out. It’s this advice or wisdom they’ve cultivated through their many experiences in life.

  • Signature Q&A: Ginger Maddox Lowrey

    GINGER MADDOX LOWREY, 32, a proud Southern Miss alum who majored in Geography and minored in Sociology, originally hails from the Delta. After living in New Orleans while earning her masters in Urban and Regional Planning, she moved back to Hattiesburg for her job as an Urban Planner for the City of Hattiesburg in 2013. She lives downtown with her husband, Shawn, dog, Boggie, and two cats, Sanchez and Morty. She enjoys her daily commute, a two-block walk to City Hall.

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