Mississippi Ocean Enthusiast Launches http://www.MSGulfSpill.com for Information, Resources about BP Gulf Coast Oil Disaster

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Residents and business people in the towns affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster can now visit the Unofficial Mississippi Deep Water Horizon Resource (http://www.msgulfspill.com) to get information on the latest news, learn how to file claims, seek jobs or government assistance or simply volunteer.

Disaster is very hard to deal with. The more you keep people informed, the more they feel like they're involved, and the better off everyone is. My main purpose in creating MSGulfSpill.com is to help people understand the magnitude of this disaster and how it is affecting all of us.

Residents and business people in the towns affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster can now visit the Unofficial Mississippi Deep Water Horizon Resource (http://www.msgulfspill.com) to get information on the latest news, learn how to file claims, seek jobs or government assistance or simply volunteer. Long-time Mississippi native Andrew Hinkebein created MSGulfSpill.com after seeing the damage on his beloved Mississippi coast when the BP drilling rig oil exploded.

Hinkebein is an employee of NVision Solutions, the creator of the free iPhone Oil Spill Response application for users to file mobile reports (including photos and location data) of oiled shorelines and wildlife to help in recovery efforts. Hinkebein has a personal and professional bird's eye view of how the catastrophe is affecting his home. Twenty days after the BP oil-drilling platform caught fire and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Hinkebein decided to create his online information portal.

"When you get a catastrophe of this size and proportion, it's hard to keep up with everything. In my job and from my vantage point as a resident, I see the best information out there and pull it together in one central hub," said Hinkebein.

Hinkebein was involved in search and rescue efforts following Hurricane Katrina, so he had first-hand knowledge about the importance of spreading the news in order to spur people to help out by volunteering.

"Disaster is very hard to deal with. The more you keep people informed, the more they feel like they're involved, and the better off everyone is. My main purpose in creating MSGulfSpill.com is to help people understand the magnitude of this disaster and how it is affecting all of us."

While the Mississippi Deep Water Horizon Resource is driven by Hinkebein's love and passion for his native Mississippi, it's not driven by sponsorship dollars or any outside funding. Hinkebein volunteers his free time and deploys easy-to-use and affordable website builder software from Wild Apricot - http://www.wildapricot.com.

The Mississippi Deep Water Horizon Resource offers a wealth of information relating to disaster-related activities and events in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana. On the home page, visitors will find a live streaming video capturing real-time images of the oil flowing from the undersea well.

The "Resources" tab is where visitors can download the free Oil Spill Response iPhone app. This page also informs residents and businesses on how to file claims against BP for loss and damage caused by the disaster. There's also phone numbers and links for residents to report wildlife and birds covered with oil, or to learn about marine-protected areas within proximity to BP's Deepwater Horizon fallen platform. The "Jobs" tab spells out employment opportunities related to oil spill clean up, and the "Volunteer" and "Donate" tabs provide links to the multitude of agencies aiding the protection, clean up and recovery effort.

Since Wild Apricot's web-building tools also let you manage your database of site users or site members, MSGulfSpill.com also encourages visitors to sign up for updates about events, news and any other information pertinent to the BP disaster.

Now that his web site up and running, Hinkebein says he spends his time following events and finding interesting developments to post to the site to keep it up-to-date. As he spreads the word about this valuable resource, he's invariably asked about the team of volunteers making the web site updates and managing the information. People are surprised to learn that only he is running the site.

"That's the greatest benefit of Wild Apricot's technology," said Hinkebein. "You only need one person to manage your web site. The membership software handles the jobs of database management, member and event registrations and content updates. It's a huge stress-reliever, and it helps me focus on the things that matter most, like how my community is going to recover after this horrible accident."

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Allen Sarafian
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