Katrina Networking

I am using my networking and marketing skills to pass along vital information to organizations, volunteers and survivors of the 2005 hurricane season. Grants, networking, advocating, assistance resources, articles and more. Updated regularly to better assist you.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sent From Gulf Residents

The following "stuff" is from residents who have been SO kind to share a part of their lives with me. All are posted with their permission and are copyrighted to THEM. It's a very touching insight into the affect The Storm had/has on them...

Robb's New Home.

A business in September or October of 2006

Robb's Old Home - Now.

An October Boat in BSL, MS

A Skeleton of Pop Culture - Sonic No More

Another Skeleton At Sunset - Taco Bell

Resurrection of McDonald's

A Poem

Spring in BSL, 2006 (Ben Moore)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Water Supply Proposal

Water plan draws a crowd, pro and con
ORANGE GROVE - Those familiar water tanks that dot the landscape are set to become much more common in South Mississippi as a state plan to build regional water systems moves forward.
So too are the underground pipes that carry drinking water, stormwater and wastewater, according to the draft Mississippi Gulf Region Water and Wastewater Plan unveiled at the first of three public meetings in the area on Monday.
Only a few of the 120 residents and elected officials attending made comments. They ranged from complete support to flat opposition to the $500 million project being spearheaded by the state's environmental quality agency.
Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr was for the plan, which would pump almost $188 million into Harrison County alone to build water supply systems and waste treatment plants.
"Unincorporated parts of Harrison County are clearly growth areas," Warr said. "What an incredible opportunity to take advantage of this effort."
Michael Edwards, a resident of Saucier, said the regional plan would be the foundation that changes the face of his rural community.
"We oppose this because it might bring unbridled, uncontrolled growth to our area," he said. "I can see how people would like to have this so they can develop. We would like to stay rural."
Steve Spengler, the state's project manager for the regional plan, said there is still a lot of tweaking to do to the plan. He said it would be sent to federal authorities for approval after comments from the region are incorporated.
"Acceptance of the plan is an evolving process," Spengler said. "If municipalities don't want to take advantage of the benefits of it, that is up to them."
Becky Montgomery, a Coast resident who moved north after her home was destroyed by Katrina, said it is smart for people and for the environment to develop in a planned way.
"Communities need to have the capacity to handle these people moving," she said. "It would be better to have planned systems as opposed to unplanned, which are hazardous to human life as well as animals and plants."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Letters Needed

This is for everyone who has worked with Bryan Rutkosky in Hancock County, MS. I've not, so I can't write a letter, but I know many of you have...

Dear friends,
As you may have heard I was in the hospital for food poising last week.
Im the alternative health kind of guy who has placed little faith in our
medical system but when I reached the point of dire emergency because
I could no longer handle the kind of pain I was in or think clearly for myself...
I put it off as long as I could and I knew I could not afford a hospital visit,
but after being up all night in pain, this was my breaking point.
I was treated for 4 days ($$) at Winter Park Hospital. I am much better now
and working to rebuild my digestive track and get clean of all the antibiotics
I was given through IV. So, what do I want from you????
Im not writing you to beg for money, you've probably never heard me ask
for anything, I usually roll with the punches. But today I need something.
A liver....... to be specific, your liver.
Na, just kidding ... (ok...you can breathe now) I just need your help to complete
a huge financial miracle. One of the staff had been so moved by my mom telling
them what I had been doing in Mississippi for the last year, that word got to a
financial officer that in turn came and talked to me.
She has informed me that the hospital may be able to cover 100% of my bill
because of my efforts in disaster response. BUT this is what she needs in order
to plead my case to the financial assistance board. THIS is where YOU are needed.
I need 'letter(s) of support' from anyone who can substantiate who I am and the
fact that I put my life and job on hold for the last year to volunteer my time and
resources in Hancock county Mississippi. The letter does not have to be long.
Yes I have a nice looking $3000 Mercedes that runs on vegetable oil, and yes I
went on staff with ACTS for a couple months only after running the well dry by
volunteering for 5 months straight. However, as I told them, I AM currently unemployed
because I chose to stay in Mississippi when ACTS pulled out to re-stage their
equipment some 4 months ago.

If you were forwarded this message or need to know more about me please visit
If you are a local resident and have been helped by the 4000+ college kids that
were housed at Morrell Foundation or at the ACTS Camp at the Kiln Ballfield
(Projects I was heavily involved in ground volunteer coordination and as
camp director) or by the ACTS Distribution Point at 'Fred's Market' in
Waveland.. then please take a moment to write something.
This will greatly help me as I am continuing my efforts in Hancock county even
now as I am finishing the process of relocating to the Kiln ( I was in Orlando
arranging the transport of $80,000 in donated trucks and equipment to be used
by ministries in the Hancock area when I went into the hospital.)
WRITE A LETTER OR EMAIL ME @ the address below.
Bryan Rutkosky
5398 Endicott Place
Oviedo, FL 32765
FAX: 866-773-0563 (it should still be up)
Keep me in your prayers,
and thank you soooo much,
B r y a n R u t k o s k y
4 0 7 - 3 1 2 - 0 2 6 2
...when you really listen, love is what they will hear.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Meijer Grocery Offers Free Antibiotics

(From Jenni through Laura)

The Press Release:

Their 176 stores are in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan

Leading Antibiotics are now FREE at your Meijer Pharmacy - No Strings Attached!
"Rising health care costs are having a dramatic impact on families across the country, especially here in the Midwest. Our free antibiotic program is the next step Meijer is taking to lead the industry toward improving the health of our customers. It is all about delivering higher standards."
-Mark Murray, Meijer president

Mark Murray, President of Meijer, speaks Monday, Oct. 23, 2006, during a news conference at their Southfield, Mich., location. Murray announced a new prescription drug program in which any customer, regardless of insurance or co-pay, can take prescriptions for certain antibiotics to any of their 176 stores and have them filled for free. Included are Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, SMZ-TMP, Ciprofloxacin, Penicillin VK, Ampicillin and Erthromycin. There is no card required, no membership, no special forms to fill out and no fees.

The program covers leading, oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on the prescriptions most often filled for children. The following are FREE with your doctor's prescription, regardless of insurance or co-pay:

Penicillin VK

Prescription must be picked up at store in person. Maximum 14 day supply at normal dosage. List may be subject to change. Not valid with any other offer.

What the Experts Say...National health experts say that 40 percent of children who see a physician leave with a prescription. 'When appropriately prescribed, antibiotics are the leading tools to treat sick kids," said Dr. Herman Gray, fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics and president, Children's Hospital of Michigan.

Also in the official press release it basically states that if you have insurance, they'll except what hte insurance pays - you don't pay the copay. If you don't have insurance, you still pay nothing.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

FEMA Information

3/1 - Standing Dead Tree Removal Deadline Extended to June 30
The deadline for debris removal from the street curb and demolitions remains February 28.
FEMA will continue to fund marine debris removal at 100 percent until May 15, 2007.

2/28 FEMA Trailer Extension Formally BeginsResidents Have Until August 31 to Find New Homes
In January, FEMA officials told Governor Haley Barbour that an extension to the housing deadline that was to expire at the end of February would be extended until August 31

2/20 FEMA Mobile Homes Buy Out Option - from Terra
Hello All,
I spoke with MHOPS (Mobile Home Operations) this morning and here is what I learned:
· The first round has ended and those who were eligible to purchase their FEMA Mobile home were notified by letter.
· There is a “Hold” on purchasing and people who were not notified during the first round may be contacted when the next phase opens.
· NO TRAVEL TRAILERS WILL BE SOLD. This is only for people in mobile homes.
· It will not help an applicant to call and ask to be put on a list as there is not a list being generated at this time.
· The hope is that the next phase will open in the next 6 weeks. Please ask applicants to be patient. There should be a press release when this happens. If after 6 weeks (which by my calculation puts us in April) an applicant has not heard anything, it would be appropriate to call the call center and ask if the next phase has been opened.
Have a wonderful Day!
Tammy Martin
FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaison

2/11 Spending Spree On Trailers - from Jenni
Excerpt http://www.theadvocate.com/
BATON ROUGE, La.-- Although hurricane evacuees are being pushed to find permanent housing, the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to buy more trailers. FEMA has spent nearly $30 million since July on 2,000 new travel trailers and mobile homes that are handicapped-accessible. The agency is also seeking proposals for another 1,500. But fewer than half of the 2,000 trailers already delivered were occupied as of last week. Of the 10,000 or so handicapped-accessible travel trailers and mobile homes in FEMA's inventory, just over half house people, with the rest in storage.

1/26 Through ReliefWeb.int
BILOXI, Miss. -- The recovery effort remains strong throughout Mississippi as families rebuild their homes, communities and lives.
In partnership with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated more than $9.4 billion in disaster aid to Mississippi as of Jan. 12, 2007.
Approximately $1.1 billion has been approved in the following Public Assistance (PA) categories (not including debris removal). To date, more than $990 million has been disbursed to PA applicants for rebuilding projects including bridges, public buildings and utilities. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency administers the funds.
The $1.1 billion approved for PA includes:
- $326 million for emergency protective measures;
- $415 million to repair public buildings;
- $301 million to restore public utilities;
- $58 million to restore public recreational facilities such as state parks;
- $30 million to repair roads and bridges;
- $1.6 million to repair water control devices such as reservoirs and irrigation channels.
Approximately $1.16 billion to individuals and families:
- 216,448 individuals and families have been approved for Housing Assistance totaling more than $845 million;
- 134,097 Mississippi Hurricane Katrina survivors have been approved for more than $318 million in Other Needs Assistance.
More than $1.3 billion has been approved for debris removal including nearly $222 million for marine debris and $790 million for land-based debris.
- Approximately 45 million cubic yards of eligible land-based debris has been removed from public and private property throughout the state. In addition, nearly 26 million cubic yards of debris have been removed in the lower three counties.
- The six-month extension for the removal of land-based debris in the inundated areas of the three coastal counties ends February 28, 2007.
- The U.S. Coast Guard has cleared nearly 47,000 cubic yards of marine debris, and has completed four of 16 marine debris removal contracts. Marine debris removal will be 100 percent federally funded until May 15, 2007.
Other assistance:
- FEMA paid nearly $2.5 billion through its National Flood Insurance Program to 17,170 policy holders;
- FEMA paid nearly $3 billion to other federal agencies to complete specific tasks or mission assignments during response and recovery, such as emergency medical assistance and debris removal;
- As of Jan. 16, 2007, there were 30,141 temporary housing units (travel trailers and mobile homes) in service. These units are being returned to FEMA at an average of 250 units per week.
In addition, more than $2.6 billion in U.S. Small Business Administration loans have been approved for Mississippians.
- Nearly $2.1 billion in loans to 31,086 homeowners and renters;
- More than $534 million to 4,334 businesses;
- More than $19 million to 328 small businesses for working capital.
The above figures were compiled as of Jan. 12, 2007.
The Hurricane Katrina Mississippi Recovery Update will be released on a monthly basis.
1/20 - Through Biloxi City's Site
At the state’s request, FEMA has approved the cutting of standing dead trees on property outside of the surge area in the three Coastal counties.
“This program is an expansion of the FEMA dead-tree program that had been limited to the surge inundation areas of the Coast,” said Jonathan Kiser, Biloxi’s debris-removal coordinator. “However, the dead trees must be ‘pre-validated’ by FEMA after receipt of a valid tree removal ROE form by the owner of the property.”
Tree Removal ROE forms can be obtained weekdays from the Community Development, 676 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; from Neel-Schaffer, 772 Howard Ave. or on the city’s web site at biloxi.ms.us. To see a form now, click here.
With a Feb. 28 deadline looming for debris removal, property owners are encouraged to file the ROEs as soon as possible.

1/19 FEMA Restates it's Dedication to MS (uh huh) - From Janet

1/19 Housing Extension
NEW ORLEANS — The Federal Emergency Management Agency intends to extend by at least six months its transitional housing assistance program for Gulf Coast residents displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The program was scheduled to expire next month, potentially displacing more than 100,000 households from FEMA-funded trailers, mobile homes and rental units, Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office said.
Aaron Walker, a spokesman for FEMA, confirmed the extension this afternoon, soon after Landrieu, D-New Orleans, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour announced it in separate news releases.“We have always recognized the overwhelming burden that this (storm) has placed on disaster victims,” Walker said. “We’re committed to the recovery of the Gulf Coast region, and we recognize that housing is one of the region’s greatest challenges. We felt like a six-month extension was certainly appropriate in this situation.”
Housing advocates had been pushing for the extension. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now had scheduled a Monday news conference to urge the extension. ACORN officials were not immediately available for comment.
Source: The Jackson, MS Clarion-Ledger.

1/16 New MS Director

1/12 From a Fellow Volunteer

I went to the FEMA web site trying to figure out who might be in charge of FEMA trailers. The site sucks. It has lots of links on how to go about filing for assistance (I started to say getting assistance but realized how wrong that was). Anyway at the bottom of the page is a link to their No FEAR (Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation record.

Antidiscrimination complaints have dramatically jumped in 2006 in almost every category. http://www.fema.gov/oer/eeo_data_excel.shtm I’m not an EEO type person but to have this many complaints tells me something is very wrong.


I’m thinking that the advocacy group might be able to challenge the deplorable conditions of FEMA trailers and housing including the black mold and other fungi growing in some of these places. You can put the link up on your sites for FEMA disability assistance but its way too long for you to read or post the whole thing which is in PDF anyway.

Also included in the agreement is every major newspaper and television station name, address and contact including web sites and e-mail. If someone had the ability to blow the lid about the deplorable conditions this would give them the place to take it to.


1/4 - From Gary (First 2 paragraphs only)
Latest FEMA reimbursement to Mississippi totals $18M
Reimbursement funds for Hurricane Katrina related recovery services ranging from tree removal to water system restoration are included in $18 million in federal funds approved for Mississippi.
Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, both R-Miss., said Wednesday the grants administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are going to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the cities of Gulfport and Bay St. Louis for costs associated with hurricane recovery.
1/3 - From Marlene
Excerpt only
Audit says FEMA squandering Katrina aid By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - One year after Katrina, the government is still squanderingtens of millions of dollars in wasted disaster aid, including $17 million inbogus rental payments to people who had already received free trailers andapartments, federal investigators said Wednesday.

12/28 from Gary
trailers' may give way to more livable shelters
Hoping to respond more effectively after the next natural disaster to the needs of those made homeless, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is eying five proposed types of temporary housing that would replace so-called FEMA trailers with "high quality, more livable quarters," the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., reports today.
According to the newspaper, FEMA has $400 million to spend on a pilot program aimed at developing such housing. About $275 million is headed for two proposals from firms in Mississippi.
One of those two proposals calls for "shotgun-styled modular houses" with "eight-foot ceilings ... storage, porches, a sense of safety, energy efficiency, conventional bedrooms and normal-sized appliances and closets," the Sun Herald says. The other Mississippi proposal is "based on portable structures used by the National Park Service to house employees working in remote areas. They can be wheeled in like a trailer and deployed quickly."
According to the Sun Herald, some people who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina 16 months ago and are still living in FEMA trailers may be moved into versions of the pilots homes in coming months. "But FEMA could not project how many who are still living in FEMA trailers will get new homes as a result of the program," it added. "There are still 84,000 such people in Mississippi."
FEMA To Restart Katrina Housing Program
POSTED: 4:44 pm CST December 18, 2006
UPDATED: 5:18 pm CST December 18, 2006
WASHINGTON -- Under a court order, the Bush administration will restart a housing program for Hurricane Katrina victims early this week and begin explaining to thousands of evacuees in Texas why their aid was cut off this summer.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled last month that the Federal Emergency Management Agency violated the Constitution when it eliminated short-term housing assistance and provided victims only confusing computer-generated codes to explain its decision.
FEMA officials testified in federal court Monday in Washington that the agency could restore the system this week -- but they didn't say how soon Texas families could begin receiving monthly checks of about $750.
Officials also said they are working to produce easily understandable letters from an outdated computer system to explain why the aid was eliminated and how to appeal the decision.
Leon also has ordered FEMA to make three months of retroactive housing payments, which would amount to checks of about $2,250 for each eligible family. FEMA estimated 4,200 Texas families are covered by Leon's order.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge called the Bush administration's handling of a Hurricane Katrina housing program "a legal disaster" Wednesday and ordered officials to explain a computer system that can neither precisely count evacuees nor provide reasons why they were denied aid.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who ruled last month that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had violated evacuees' constitutional rights by eliminating their housing payments without notice, admonished the government for not moving fast enough to restart the program for between 3,600 and 5,500 storm victims.
"Let me make this clear," Leon told government attorney Michael Sitcov. "Tell FEMA that I'm expecting them to get going on this. Like immediately."
Leon ruled that FEMA mishandled the transition from a short-term housing program to a longer-term program this spring and summer. Instead of explaining why funding was being cut, FEMA provided only computer-generated and sometimes conflicting program codes, Leon said.
The judge ordered FEMA to explain those decisions so thousands of evacuees can understand the reasoning and decide whether to appeal.
"I'm not looking for a doctoral dissertation," Leon said. "I'm looking for a couple of paragraphs in plain English."
Sitcov said that FEMA's computer system cannot do what the judge wants. The eight-year-old system is set up only to produce program codes, he said. The program also cannot say for certain how many evacuees in Texas were covered by Leon's order or how many people appealed the denial of their aid, Sitcov said.
"It's not as adept at doing these kinds of machinations," said Sitcov, who said the best estimate of evacuees covered by the order was 5,479.
Leon appeared bewildered and ordered FEMA officials to testify Monday about the program. He said he didn't understand why the letters couldn't be written by hand. He said 10 employees, working overtime and on weekends could translate program codes into 5,000 understandable letters in two weeks -- nearly the amount of time that has passed since his ruling.
"This is a legal disaster. People's rights are being denied," Leon said. "I don't want us to get so mired in the minutiae and the law while, in the meantime, people who need help are not getting help."
FEMA has appealed Leon's order and is hoping a higher court will block its enforcement until the appeal plays out. That ruling is unlikely before next week, and Leon said he wants the agency to start working on the problem immediately.
"Two weeks have been lost and I don't want another day to be lost," Leon said. "We've got to get moving."
Sitcov said FEMA could not comply with the order to restart the housing program because the agreements to reimburse Texas cities for rental payments have expired. Leon said he's sure local governments would be willing to make those same agreements again and said he might order Texas officials to testify Monday.
Leon also scheduled a telephone conference Friday between FEMA and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of hurricane victims.
From Dane
12/6 - Only 1/4 of 1% will max FEMA Assistance Money.

FEMA ordered to resume Katrina payments
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer Wed Nov 29, 6:49 PM ET
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration must immediately resume housing payments for thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, a federal judge said Wednesday, heaping more criticism on the government's handling of the 2005 disaster.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon's ruling sharply criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency for illegally cutting housing funding and subjecting storm victims to a convoluted application process he called "Kafkaesque."
It is the second court victory for Katrina victims this week. A federal judge in Louisiana said Monday that many homeowners might be entitled to more insurance money for flood damage.
Full Story:

The South Mississippi Sun Herald June 30, 2006
Call center opens for trailer questions
A new Mississippi Maintenance/Applicant Support Call Center (866)877-6075 in Jackson will open Monday and operate 24 hours daily including holidays.
This line is for Mississippi residents with mobile home and travel trailers and a wide range of applicant issues.
Applicants who have not received a mobile home or trailer should still contact FEMA by calling (800) 621-FEMA (3362) or online at www.FEMA.gov. The TTY number for the speech- or hearing-impaired is (800) 462-7585.
The assistance call centers are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Callers can still check the status of their applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week by using the automated response system when they call the help line.

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MS Army Corps Number

601-631-5065. Live hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday thru Friday.
If you are one of the 20,000 Katrina victims who have requested FEMA debris removal assistance from your private property, the Army Corps of Engineers has opened a 24-hour customer service phone line to allow you to report concerns about any aspect of the work.
"Our debris clients need a very clear, quick path to report problems with their debris removal," said Michael Logue, public affairs officer for Task Force Hope, Mississippi.
The phone line will allow private property debris clients to file a trouble ticket with a live technician, or voice mail if the phone lines are busy or the calls are received after hours.
The voice mail message will be given the same priority as a live message.
"We don't want folks to feel like they have to keep calling until they get the live person to get action. The voice mail and live technician work exactly the same way. We just need your information to generate a trouble ticket."
Logue said the live technician will not be able to forecast work or resolve debris or other recovery issues.Trouble tickets will be given to debris management specialists twice daily.
"Our goal is a follow up to the caller within 24 hours," Logue said.
The Corps asks callers to be prepared to provide name, phone number, ROE number, property address, and a very brief description of the issue.
The phone line is 601-631-5065. Live hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Elderly Still in Storm's Eye

Aged still in storm's eye
By Ellen Ann Frentress
Special to The Clarion-Ledger
Aging isn't for sissies, they say. In turn, the post-storm Coast isn't for the aging, not if the usual expectations for those senior years are what Katrina survivors have in mind.
The standard list of factors important to the elderly - familiar surroundings, loved ones nearby and financial stability - are exactly what a community recovering from disaster cannot provide to its oldest members. Not only have conditions generated stress and moves from the area, but deaths as well. A Columbia University scientist is tracking continuing Katrina-linked deaths in the elderly.
The most striking impact the storm has had on Coast seniors is how it's caused a lack of them. Thousands are gone. "They're not here," said Hancock County Coroner Norma Stiglett. "Most of the elderly people that were incapacitated have been shipped out of here."
Dr. William Safley, minister of Michael Memorial Baptist Church in Gulfport, estimates that a quarter of his church's elderly have moved away. Some churches have lost as much as 75 percent of their elderly, he reports. "Reconstruction costs are so high. With insurance and the construction environment so difficult - there are so many charlatans, and the waiting list for a reputable contractor is a year long - it's simpler for them to pack up and move," he said. "The emotional burden is too much for them to handle."
A Hancock County program reflects that post-storm change. Pre-Katrina, 425 took part in RSVP, a county senior-volunteer program. Five weeks after Katrina, eight participants were found. At this point, 129 have returned, said RSVP director JoAnn Lagasse.
Many Coast elderly have left because of a lack of housing, due to destroyed or damaged houses and rental space. Estimates are that 133,000 Mississippi homes were affected, as well as more than 10,000 apartments, according to a recent study by the Mississippi Center for Justice
Elderly homeowners are more likely to accept an insurance company's settlement offer rather than refute it, said Gulfport attorney Ben Galloway, who represents numerous homeowners suing their insurance companies. "Some of them have got it in them to fight, but others don't. They're not willing to go through the whole lawsuit fight, and the insurance companies know it. They get 10 cents on the dollar."
Not only has the elderly's housing disappeared, but nursing home beds as well. According to the Department of Health, 14 licensed nursing homes existed before the storm; 11 now. Available beds on the Coast have gone from 1,624 to 1,336.
More beds, however, won't be enough to bring back some transplanted patients. Rates are increasing. Some former patients, now out of the area, are unable to return due to the new higher rates, observers report.
No Coast nursing home returned calls about rate increases, but an informed observer reported, as an example, that a Biloxi facility has increased its daily charge from $131 to $146, a $450 monthly increase.
Nursing home owner Chris Cheek hopes to reopen his Bay St. Louis facility, Dunbar Village, by the summer of 2007. He confirms that rates will be higher due to post-Katrina insurance and construction costs. Dunbar Village, which had about 100 residents, evacuated its patients to Pine Lake Baptist Church in Brandon. While Cheek sees pent-up demand for nursing home beds, only about 20 former Dunbar Village patients want to return when it reopens. "It's not going to be a slam-dunk because so many folks have relocated," he said.
Assisted-living facility owner Prasant Desai is building a new facility inland near I-10 in Biloxi after his 60-bed Twin Oaks property, a block off the beach in Pass Christian, was destroyed. Twin Oaks patients were evacuated to Perkinston. Some have died since, and some are depressed by the stress, he said. He expects rates to be higher when his new Biloxi facility, Lemoyne Place, opens. Costs will increase not only from stronger construction - the walls will be solid concrete - but from the higher post-storm expense for insurance and salaries, Desai said.
Moves - some seniors experience repeated ones - were difficult on the elderly, particularly Alzheimer's patients, whose dementia increases away from familiar surrounding. "Once an elderly person gets situated somewhere else, a move is not necessarily good," Cheek said. Edmund Fahey Funeral Home office manager Jeanne Sampognaro says "so many of the elderly have the beginnings of Alzheimer's, and you take them out of their environment, and that's a big no." She heard of a recently-deceased woman who had been scheduled to go to Mobile to her fifth nursing home a few days before she died in Meridian.
That leads to the story told in newspaper obituaries. Sadly, when the aged do return to the area, it is often to be buried.
Families had to move their elders out of the storm area because beleaguered families couldn't manage their care while navigating recovery themselves. Mrs. Sampognaro, of the Bay St. Louis funeral home, has heard the story frequently: "Whenever a transported elderly person dies, a family will say, 'Mama just wanted to come home, and we couldn't.' "
Katrina's continuing death toll, including that of the elderly, is the focus of work by Columbia University scientist John Mutter. He is conducting a count of deaths attributable to Katrina, yet occurring after Aug. 29, 2005. He believes the death toll - 1,697 overall, 238 in Mississippi - will be far higher when deaths due to post-storm stress, construction accidents, suicide and other Katrina-linked causes are included in the total. Mutter, deputy director of Columbia's Earth Institute, has set up a web site (http://www.earth.columbia.edu/~mutterj/katrina_victims.php).
"It's pretty clear the elderly were the most vulnerable. It cuts across race. It's sort of the great equalizer," Mutter said. "In the first wave, many people are writing to us about elderly parents. They are talking about parents, not strong before the storm, who declined rapidly in the aftermath."
"There are many stories of elderly couples who seem to have died a lot sooner than people believe they should have,' he said.
One spouse dies, and, to the family's surprise, the other spouse soon follows, he said.
Mutter's findings concur with those of Coast coroners. "We've had a lot of heart-related, stress-related deaths, people realizing they would never get back what they had," said Vicki Broadus, Jackson County coroner. "I have seen some death certificates come through with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome as the cause of death.
The doctors say that's really what happened. All their memories are washed away. Their hearts couldn't take it."
"The conditions they are living in have added to the stress," Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said. "There are a lot of people who are heartbroken and depressed."
At Gulf Coast Mental Health Center, psychologist Steve Barrilleaux frequently sees depressed storm survivors.
For the elderly, having children and grandchildren move away can be more devastating than home damage. He thought of one senior patient in particular. "She lost a tremendous amount of meaning in her life because her grandkids moved."
Mutter wants to publicize his project through the media and local organizations to encourage more Mississippians to give accounts of relatives whose deaths are Katrina-linked, elderly and others as well.
"It's important to have their stories known. People seem grateful we've made the site available. It gives them closure."

Monday, November 20, 2006

American Salvage - Architectural Reclimation

American Salvage buys and sells new and used liquidation items, including building materials, office furniture and supplies, restaurant furniture, household goods, and warehouse supplies. (No food or clothing is accepted.)
American Salvage is a for-profit company (although it does donate some goods to charity) that works primarily east of the Mississippi; however, the company does some work on the west coast and is happy to provide referrals to other salvage companies if American Salvage cannot meet callers' needs.
Contact: Terry Waldron,
9200NW. 27th Avenue,
Miami, FL 33147.
Phone: 305 691-2455.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

MS Thanksgivings

Send information on free Thanksgiving meals in South Mississippi to mynews@sunherald.com or fax to 896-2104.
All dinners are open to the public.
Thanksgiving meals, sponsored by the Kelly family of Gulfport, will be served at the American Legion Post 139 hall off U.S. 90 on Green Meadow Road in Bay St. Louis from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 23. The dinner will include sliced turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetable, salad, dessert, iced tea, coffee and milk. Volunteers are needed to help serve and donations are being accepted. Details: Sally Kelly, 326-7560.
Gulf Coast Rescue Mission, 2750 Mission Lane, will serve Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings from noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 23. The menu includes roast turkey with giblet gravy, baked ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, mixed vegetables, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, tea and desserts. Take-out meals will be available. Details: 388-3884 or 388-6364.
Grace Fellowship Church, 1400 Stewart Ave., will have a Thanksgiving feast from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 22. Details: 868-8687.
The Harrison County Volunteers to Feed the Needy will deliver hot meals to those in need on Thanksgiving Day. Names of anyone in need of a meal on Thanksgiving should be called into the Harrison County Sheriff's Department at 865-7092, Biloxi Police Department at 435-6124 and Gulfport Police Department at 868-5824. Meals also can be picked up for needy families in Harrison County. Volunteers who wish to help should report to the Air National Guard Base, Hewes Avenue, Building 160, on Nov. 23; gates open at 9 a.m.
Abundance of Blessings Church, 4031 Washington Blvd., will hold a Thanksgiving Community Feast from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 23. Details: 475-3058.
Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church, 322 Davis Ave., Pass Christian, will hold a community Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Details: 452-9993 or 239-1644.
Pilgrim Bound Baptist Church, 921 Baylous St., will have a Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. or until the food is gone Nov. 23. Details: church (601) 798-5457, or Pastor Delbert Hall, 864-5160.

One Time Tax Credit

I looked on Snopes to see if this is a joke or urban myth - found nothing. Double check anyway.

Overturning of Spanish American War Luxury Phone Tax
http://money.CNN.Com/2006/05/25/news/telephonetax_refund/index.htm http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161506,00.html

When it comes time to prepare and file your 2006 tax return, make sure you don't overlook the "federal excise tax refund credit." You claim the credit on line 71 of your form 1040. A similar line will be available if you file the short form 1040A. If you have family or friends who no longer file a tax return AND they have their own land phone in their home and have been paying a phone bill for years, make sure they know about this form 1040EZ-T.

What is this all about? Well the federal excise tax has been charge to you on your phone bill for years. It is an old tax that was assessed on your toll calls based on how far the call was being made and how much time you talked on that call. When phone companies began to offer flat fee phone service, challenges to the excise tax ended up in federal courts in several districts of the country. The challenges pointed out that flat fee/rate phone service had nothing to do with the distance and the length of the phone call. Therefore, the excise tax should/could not be assessed.

The IRS has now conceded this argument. Phone companies have been given notice to stop assessing the federal excise tax as of Aug 30, 2006. You will most likely see the tax on your Septembercutoff statement, but it should NOT be on your October bill.

But the challengers of the old law also demanded restitution. So the IRS has announced that a one time credit will be available when you and I file our 2006 tax return as I explained above. However, the IRS also established limits on how BIG a credit you can get. Here's how it works.

If you file your return as a single person with just you as a dependent, you get to claim a $30 credit on line 71 of your 1040.

If you file with a child or a parent as your dependent, you claim $40.

If you file your return as a married couple with no children ,you claim $40.

If you file as married with children, you claim $50 if one child, $60 if two children.

In all cases, the most you get to claim is $60 - UNLESS you have all your phone bills starting AFTER Feb 28, 2003 through July 31, 2006 (do not use any bills starting Aug 1, 2006.), then you can add up the ACTUAL TAX AS IT APPEARS ON YOUR BILLS AND CLAIM THAT FOR A CREDIT.

Now if you have your actual phone bills and come up with an ACTUAL TAX AMOUNT, you cannot use line 71 on your tax return. You have to complete a special form number 8913 and attach it to your tax return.

Individuals using the special from 1040EZ-T will have to attach this form 8913 also.

One final point - this credit is a refundable credit. That means you get this money, no matter how your tax return works out. If you would end up owing the IRS a balance, the refund will reduce that balance you owe. If you end up getting a refund, the credit will be added and you get a bigger refund by that $30 to $60, depending on how many dependents are on your return.

Feel free to pass this on or make copies for family and friends who don't have computers.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

National Shared Housing Resource Center

More than just a place to live...
For a growing number of persons faced with losing their independence and struggling to keep housing costs within their budget, shared housing is an affordable and viable alternative.
A home sharer might be a senior citizen, a person with disabilities, a working professional, someone at-risk of homelessness, a single parent, an AIDS patient, or simply a person wishing to share his or her life and home with others. For these people, shared housing offers companionship, affordable housing, security, mutual support and much more.
Shared living has been known to enhance the health and well-being of all people and allows people to remain independent in their home. Home Sharing also preserves neighborhoods, creates an affordable housing and saves housing and healthcare dollars.
Shared housing programs fall into one of two categories: Match-up programs, which help home providers find a compatible home seeker to pay rent or possibly provide services in exchange for a reduction in rent; and shared living residences, which involve a number of people living cooperatively as an unrelated family in a large dwelling.

MS Information:
Mississippi Department of Human Service
- Division of Aging & Adult Services
Type: Information Only - will not do referrals
Address: 750 N. State Street, Jackson MS 39202
Contact: Henry Griffith
Phone: 601-359-4366
Fax: 601-359-4370
Notes: Will also do Mortgage Counseling

LA Information
Office of Elderly Affairs
Type: Information Only
Address: PO Box 80374, Baton Rouge LA 70898-0374
Contact: Ron Blereau
Phone: 225-342-7100

Shared Housing of New Orleans
Type: Match Up Program
Address: 234 Loyola Avenue #804, New Orleans LA 70158-8
Contact: Marion Strauss
Phone: 504-523-1099
Notes: 18+ years. Services operated on volunteer basis through hospital

Resources for Independent Living
Type: Information Only - will not match up
Address: 1555 Poydras Street #1500, New Orleans LA 70112
Phone: 504-522-1955

AL Information

Episcopal Place
Type: Group Residence
Address: 1112 S. 26th Street, Birmingham, AL 3520
Contact: Jill Hoogstra
Phone: 205-939-0085
Notes: Federally subsidized apartments (140 units) for low-income Elderly and physically challenged. Coordinates supportive services to help residents remain self-sufficient as long as health permits. On-site library, beauty parlor, ceramics room, pastoral care and worship opportunities, noon meals and subsidized housekeeping. Adults 62 or older, or 18 and older with physical impairment who meet income criteria.

Council on Aging of Etowah County
Type: Information Only
Address: PO Box 8623 Gadsden, AL 35902
Contact: Judy A. Glavaris
Phone: 256-543-3616

Alabama Commission on Aging
Type: Information Only
Address: PO Box 301851 Montgomery, AL 36130-1851
Contact:Melissa Galvin, Executive Director
Phone: 334-242-5743 or 1-800-AGELINE
Notes: Through the Area Agencies on Aging, seniors 60+ have access to legal, ombudsman, nutrition, in-home and health promotion services.

Regional Information for AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN, TX
Rita Zadoff
MJCC/Home But Not Alone
(770) 395-2546
Email: rita.zadoff@atlantajcc.org

Friday, November 17, 2006

Toyota Teacher Grants

From Marlene
National Center for Family Literacy Invites Nominations for
Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year
Deadline: December 1, 2006
The Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year Award nomination process is now open.Presented by the National Center for Family Literacy ( http://www.famlit.org/) and Toyota, the award is given to educators who demonstrate exemplary efforts in family literacy to help parents and children achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals.
The nominated teacher must have worked for at least three years in a literacy program that provides children's education, adult education, parenting education (Parent Time), and interactive literacy activities between parents and children (Parent and Child Together Time).
The 2007 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 award for his or her program, courtesy of Toyota. He or she also will receive a trip to the 16th Annual National Conference on Family Literacy in Orlando, Florida, March 2007, where he or she will be recognized as the "Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year."
Several finalists also will be selected and will receive free registration to the 16th Annual National Conference on Family Literacy plus hotel and travel expenses.
To view the complete nomination guidelines and/or to download the application form, visit the NFCL Web site.
RFP Link: http://www.famlit.org/site/c.gtJWJdMQIsE/b.1335479/apps/nl/content2.asp?content_id={DE86ABC5-5BCA-4A4E-A35B-72905681C96F}&notoc=1

InvenTeams Grants - Schools

Applications Available for Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Grants for High School Invention ProjectsLemelson-MIT InvenTeams ( http://web.mit.edu/inventeams/ ) is a national grants initiative of the Lemelson-MIT Program that works to foster inventiveness among high school students. InvenTeams composed of high school students, teachers, and mentors are asked to collaboratively identify a problem that they want to solve, research the problem, and then develop a prototype invention as an in-class or extracurricular project.
InvenTeams projects have spanned many fields, from assistive devices to environmental technologies and consumer goods. Applicants are encouraged to consider the problems or needs of the world's poorest people (those earning $2/day) in brainstorming project ideas.
Up to twenty-three grants of up to $10,000 each will be awarded to selected teams. Grant funding is intended for research, materials, and learning experiences related to developing the team's invention.
High school science, mathematics, and technology teachers -- or teams of teachers -- at public, private, and vocational schools are eligible to apply. Intra- and inter-school collaborations are welcome to apply. Teams range in size from a small extracur- ricular club of five members to entire classes of thirty or more students; there are no team size requirements.
In recognition of their dedication, teachers who facilitate extracurricular invention projects can designate up to $2,000 of their grant toward a teacher's stipend.
Applying for an InvenTeams grant is a two-tiered process: the initial application is available online each fall (for grants awarded the following academic year) and is due the following spring. Selected finalists are notified in the summer and asked to complete a final application due in September.
Small project development grants (up to $500 each) are available to help develop final applications.
Visit the program's Web site for complete program information and application procedures.
RFP Link: http://web.mit.edu/inventeams/apply.html


From Marlene
National Association of Service and Conservation Corps Offers Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Mini-Grants
The National Association of Service and Conservation Corps ( http://www.nascc.org/ ), in cooperation with the Corporation for National and Community Service, is offering mini-grants to support service projects as part of the 21st anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday (January 15, 2007).
These mini-grants will support service activities designed to alleviate conditions of poverty in communities and engage dis- advantaged youth.
NASCC encourages its members and outside organizations to apply for a mini-grant. NASCC will fund organizations that mobilize volunteers, especially disadvantaged youth, to undertake service activities to benefit impoverished communities.NASCC service projects will:
1) Provide relief to a condition of poverty through a service project;
2) Mobilize a diverse group of volunteers with an emphasis on disadvantaged youth;
3) Develop new and existing partnerships with community organizations who will participate in the project; and
4) Provide educational and recruitment materials to project volunteers and the community at large.NASCC will provide grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 each.

Grants can be used to plan and carry out service activities directly related to the proposed project.
NASCC will accept applications on a rolling basis. Applications will be considered and approved on a first-come, first-served basis. NASCC's ability to provide mini-grants to applicants is contingent upon funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Visit the NASCC Web site for complete program information and application procedures.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Snail Mail Scam

I had seen this on the national news, but hadn't heard about it associated with the hurricane. Here's what one of my families sent me:

Something I forgot to mention earlier, too. I got an anonymous letter not long back, with no return address. Inside the letter were four money orders for $850 each, for a total of $3400, all made out to me. I thought perhaps they might be somebody's way of trying to help, but I was suspicious, so I took them down to my bank and had them check them before depositing them.
The bank determined that they were indeed fakes, and told me that if I had deposited them and spent ANY of the money, I would have had to replace it - and would have possibly been investigated for fraud myself. They were very good fakes, and the teller said she would have deposited them with no questions if I hadn't questioned them myself and requested the investigation.
I don't know what kind of twisted soul would do something like that, particularly when people are trying to recover from a disaster, but I thought it was something to mention to you. I want to make sure people know that while we should be grateful for any help, it's always best to be cautious as well. The world has some pretty sick people in it, and I'd hate to see someone have additional problems because of something like this.
We still don't know why they were sent. Best we can figure, it was either somebody playing a sick joke, or they were trying to pull a scam and forgot to include the letter. (The second is my favorite - Can you imagine a criminal sending the drafts but forgetting the letter explaining what they're for?)

Social Innovators Grants Over 60 only Need Apply

Civic Ventures Invites Nominations of Older Social Innovators for Purpose Prize
Deadline: February 1, 2007
A program of Civic Ventures ( http://www.civicventures.org), the Purpose Prize is a three-year initiative to invest in older social innovators by recognizing outstanding achievements, creating a network of people wanting to use their retirement years for the greater good, and channeling funds and assistance to these new pioneers.
In its second year, the program will make five $100,000 investments and ten $10,000 investments in entrepreneurs in the second half of life who are combining their passion, creativity, and experience to address issues of social significance.
The winners will be effective and action-oriented innovators who have launched this work after their 50th birthday.
They may be working in nonprofits, government, or for-profit organizations devoted to tackling the hardest challenges of our time: homelessness, social justice and human rights, violence, poverty and hunger, health, education, the environment, and more.
The winners may be social entrepreneurs who have started new organizations; change-makers whose innovative approaches to leadership have transformed existing organizations; or grassroots activists playing a leadership role in improving communities or advancing a cause.

To be eligible, nominees must be at least 60 years old, a U.S. resident, and currently active in a leadership capacity in an organization or institution (public, private, nonprofit, or for- profit) that is working to address a major social problem.

Self-nominations are welcome.

Visit the prize program's Web site for complete program information, eligibility restrictions, and nomination materials.

Football Fun That Helps

Campbell's Chunky - Click For Cans

You can vote once a day and itwill help those who are in need in our area. It is free and could help so many.


Campbell's® Chunky™ is pleased to announce its Click for Cans promotion – the easy way to help your favorite NFL team in Tackling Hunger! Now through December 15, 2006, visit Chunky.com every day to click on your favorite team and cast your vote. A donation of Campbell's® soup will be made to a hunger relief charity on behalf of the team with the most clicks! Don't be discouraged if your team didn't win last year, because the team that improves the most in the number of clicks from last year will also receive a donation! Remember, you can vote once every day, so come back daily to support your team!

MIC- Represents the Most Improved Clicks (MIC) category. One team cannot receive both donations. The Saints are currently in the top five of this!!

Stone Soup Thanksgiving

In Case you've not heard the story:
by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown
Many years ago three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meager harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat.
The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders. "Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have: the secret of how to make soup from stones."
Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town's greatest kettle as the soldiers dropped in three smooth stones. "Now this will be a fine soup", said the second soldier; "but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!" Up jumped a villager, crying "What luck! I've just remembered where some's been left!" And off she ran, returning with an apronful of parsley and a turnip.

As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream had found their way into the great pot, and a cask of wine was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast.
They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends. In the morning the three soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village's best breads and cheese. "You have given us the greatest of gifts: the secret of how to make soup from stones", said an elder, "and we shall never forget."

The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: "There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast". And off the soldiers wandered, down the road.

Now - this is coming from someone who is NOT cooking more than 2 turkeys at once, and I realize this. OK?

Has anyone considered taking the turkey carcasses and making broth with them for a second meal of soup?

Roast turkey/chicken bones/skin makes THE best broth EVER. Throw in tidbits of stuffing, carrots, a tomato or two, celery, scraps of meat, seasoning, red or white beans and rice or pasta and you've got an incredibly complete meal for virtually no cost. It's more work when you might not want anything to do with a kitchen, but it does give you 2 meals out of 1, making the donations stretch that much further... That's the only reason I bring it up. NOT because I expect it to be done. It's only a thought for if you have the energy and want/need to serve more people.

I've even been known to take left over tossed salad (no dressing on it) and throw that in. Iceberg lettuce gives a great buttery flavor to anything it's cooked in. The stuffing gives the soup a slightly creamy texture AND seasons it with little effort. Beans and rice cheaply fill in the cracks. Tomatos just *add* to the flavor, without it becoming minestrone. Celery because there's usually some in the fridge. Carrots - ditto. Potatoes maybe, but they can overwhelm a soup easily.

Make the broth with the bones, the tomato and the stuffing. Cover all with cold water, bring to a slow boil, simmer for a couple of hours. Done. Strain. Add the other ingredients and simmer for about an hour and it's done. And it does 90% of the work. It can be frozen for later or served right then. (curry is what Campbell's smell so good - so you can add it if you like the Campbell's nostalgia)

A small amount of tomato paste or sauce can double for the whole raw tomatoes. Celery salt really doesn't take the place of celery, but if you have more stuffing, just use that - it has bits of celery in it.

The broth also makes a great base for cream soups, in case someone wants to take the carcasses themselves...

If you have leftover gravy, mix that in last minute to make the broth a little more full-bodied. This is truly a stone soup kind of thing. Just about anything can go in and it'll taste great. Plus it uses leftovers that would normally get thrown out.

I grew up in a family of farmers and post depression grandparents where you used EVERYTHING to make your food stretch as far as possible. Then, I found out it tasted BETTER *and* is better for you. Broth made like this is actually quite high in protein, calcium and other minerals.

Share with whomever you think might be interested. I honestly don't know who is cooking Thanksgiving en masse. I do know that CitiImpact has just shipped *800* turkeys to the Gulf Coast for Thankgsiving. WOW

Thanks for tolerating me and my bright ideas.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Biloxi Needs Artisans

If you don't here from me again...it is because I am short. I have been working on the Christmas in the City thing and I wanted to be finished with it...but I did not hit 100 and that is what I have advertised. Now it is past the deadline so don't have much time. I am at 80 vendors so need 20 more. I really had thought we would hit 100 easy because it has been advertised in a bunch more spots. My next meeting is the 15th. I tried to hand off all my stuff yesterday to Kay and she says don't you want to keep it and I said no..why? am I doing this next year. She is sitting smiling nodding her head.

contact Val at

Local Construction Company Story

William Yates discusses company's role during, after Katrina
Managing Editor
The president of W. G. Yates and Sons Construction Co., discussed the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the company's ongoing role in the Mississippi Gulf Coast recovery effort Monday at the Philadelphia Rotary Club.
Philadelphia native William Gully Yates 3rd, now of Biloxi, predicted that the rebuilding effort would take another eight to 10 years and said the true test would be how the region handles such things as workforce development and housing.
While many of the casinos have reopened, he said, many of the restaurants and retail and mid-level establishments were still struggling.
Many of the concerns center around the fact that insurance rates in some cases have skyrocketed 400 percent, he said.
"How we handle workforce development, how we provide housing when those jobs get back will be the true test of how successful we are as a resort community," he said.
He praised the Philadelphia headquarters for enormous logistical support immediately after the storm that enabled Yates Construction to be a huge force in the initial rescue and recovery.
Yates used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate the wrath of the hurricane which totally destroyed the homes and possessions of 60 Yates employees.
One employee died in the August 2005 storm.
The first floor of the Yates office, just more than a mile west of the Biloxi lighthouse on U.S. 90 and within site the water, was destroyed, but it was one of the first to reopen.
Yates' Biloxi employees, which now total 1,200, along with others from Philadelphia and other southeastern offices pulled together to help get the city of Biloxi back up and running in the days after the hurricane, Yates said.
"So many people came back to work not knowing what they were going to do with their own lives as they didn't have homes," Yates said. "They came back and said: 'What's the plan, what are we going to do.'"
Much of the credit, Yates said, went to the support from the company's Philadelphia operations which provided logistics under the direction of his father, W. G. "Bill" Yates, chairman of Yates Construction and president of the parent company, The Yates Companies Inc.
Yates Construction is one of the largest contractors in the United States and the third largest in Florida. It's rated by Engineering News-Record as number 25 in the nation, and has between 8,000 and 9,000 employees.
The company had between 25 and 35 ongoing major projects that were shut down prior to Hurricane Katrina making landfall, Yates said.
After riding out the storm in Philadelphia with his wife, the former Tara Duett of Philadelphia, and children, Abby and Gully, Yates said his company was like most others, left without a means of communication in the wake of the storm.
With no cellular service, Yates said he learned from an employee over a cellular telephone walkie-talkie that the first floor of the Biloxi office had been destroyed.
He and his father soon obtained special permission from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to actually fly back to the coast.
"We were the only two fixed wing planes on the Gulf Coast that day," Yates said. "There were helicopters everywhere, but no other jets, no other planes. We could barely get in because of all the debris."
Company officials first did a damage assessment, leaning heavily on its Philadelphia operations.
"We brought down constructional engineers and made a place where it was safe to bring people back in and start back to work," he said.
Yates officials first discussed relocating its Biloxi office off the water.
"We came to the conclusion for more reasons than just Yates Construction that we needed to be back on Main Street with our flag up and our sign out and say: 'Hey, we are open for business and we are going to build our community back.'"
The office was back in full operation in less than three months.
Yates pointed out the numerous infrastructure problems encountered, noting that the Ocean Springs-Biloxi bridge was destroyed. Special permits had to be obtained before accessing Highway 90 for months after the storm.
While Yates was working alongside employees on the ground, his father ran logistics out of the Philadelphia operation.
"He was running trucks constantly with fuel, ice, water and food. They were basically a logistical support center for the Biloxi office," Yates said.
One of the company's first charges, Yates said, was to try to get the city of Biloxi back in operation.
"The city is a Biloxi is a client of ours. We did construction management work for them before the storm, helping them build roads and infrastructure," he said.
Yates assisted the mayor's office by providing cellular phones and setting up generators.
Yates Construction was immediately engaged to help clear roads, a project that continued for the first 70 hours.
"Our guys were right there with the search and rescue teams going through and trying to find bodies as we cleared the roads," Yates said.
Later, the company concentrated on taking care of its existing clients, helping rebuild casinos and hotels including the Beau Rivage which opened one year to the day of Katrina's landfall. The company had constructed the original casino as well.
"This project, from a cost per month basis, was the largest project we've ever done, over $300 million of work in 10 months," Yates said.
When the Beau Rivage reopened in August, its chief executive officer pointed out that Yates construction had 450 people on the job within three days where most places in the community didn't have anybody for months.
"The way we did that was in large extent because of the support of the Philadelphia office and the support we had here. We shut down some operations in other offices like Dallas, Memphis and Jackson and we sent a lot of people down to the coast from other locations in the southeast but it was really spearheaded from the Philadelphia office," he said.
Two Yates' projects under way prior to the hurricane were also affected indirectly by the hurricane.
The Grand Casino floated across Highway 90 to the west landing on the construction site of the new Ohr-O'Keefe Museum.
"That's a very, very prestigious project for us and the community, and this barge actually came and sat down on our project," Yates said.
The President's Casino floated one half mile and landed on a condo project under construction by Yates.
In all, Yates said more than 70,000 homes were lost on the Gulf Coast in a market that produced about 1,500 to 2,000 a year.
"So at that pace, it's going to take 35 years to get back to where we were before," he said.
About 35,000 people remain in FEMA trailers on the Gulf Coast.
"It's those people that we really need to worry about. They still need a lot of help," he said.
Yates is a graduate of Philadelphia High School and the University of Mississippi. He received a CPA in 1995 and went on to earn a master's degree in construction management at Arizona State University.
He was the guest of his mother, Nancy, and was introduced by his father.

PBS Series Beyond Katrina For Sale

We do offer these DVDs for sale for $24.95 each. 9 so far and 2 more in the works.

Phyllis Allen
Audience Services
Mississippi Public Broadcasting
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211
601-432-6565 (tel)
601-432-6654 (fax)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Christmas Resources

From Momnick (Nancy) WOW!
I've not checked these yet, but will and will let you know about them as I do....

From http://chatboards.ebay.com/chat.jsp?forum=1&thread=59 (you must be an ebay member to participate in this one)
ACTR (A Christmas to Remember).
There has been quite a discussion about the above forum for assistance. Until things are straightened out amongst themselves (those on that board), don't refer to them - I'm not sure what's going on, because I'm not an e-bay member, but this is just what I've been told by both members and non-members.

11/20 Links from Jenni!


Other links for Christmas help: (11/20 Thank Jenni for checking how active these groups are!)

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/FreeXmasStuffInMiami/ - No longer active
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/freechristmasgiftsOhio/ - No Longer Active
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pensacolafreechristmashelp/ - No longer Active
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Warrenholidayhelp/ - No Longer Active
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/santaswatchingallyear/ - No Longer Active
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OperationHope/ - No Longer Active
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frugalmomsnews/ - No Longer Active
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/inspire2interact/ - No Longer Active

And general assistance
The members of Ebay's Giving Board have spent years compiling this huge resource list. I once spent about a week getting information for the list. I am not sure how updated it is.


I looked at it - it appears very thorough and very good. Will let you know more as I research...

FEMA Class Action in NOLA

11/16 More FEMA BS
FEMA housing storage criticized
WASHINGTON - FEMA has been subjected to a good deal of criticism since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, but this time the complaints come from the inside.
According to a recent report issued by Homeland Security Inspector General Richard L. Skinner, between $3 million and $4 million worth of the modular housing units stored in Texarkana, Texas, were left exposed to the elements and rendered irreparable. The report was sent to FEMA Director R. David Paulison before being made public last week.
"FEMA officials said that the disorderliness was due to the manufacturer's packaging," Skinner said in the report. "They said that neither a manufacturer's representative nor a FEMA contracting official was present during the delivery of the components."
The prefabricated units are designed to be assembled completely when they arrive at their destination, at which point, all components are protected from the elements, Skinner said. The FEMA units were stored unassembled, many merely covered with tarps and some with no protection at all, the report said.
"FEMA officials advised us that the tarps have been replaced several times because... sunrays and rain had destroyed the tarps," the report said. "However, the damage has already been done."
The report recommends that FEMA inventory all its modular homes, formally write off units damaged beyond repair and ensure remaining units are properly stored.

Dear Friends and Allies:
We at the Public Interest Law Project need your brief assistance in our interviewing of evacuees for a new class action against FEMA in New Orleans this week. Alejandra Almonte, an attorney with the Weil firm whose family lives in New Orleans, will be there this week to interview evacuees who are (1) subject to recoupment, (2) not been recertified or have been wrongfully discontinued and are filing appeals, and/or (3) have mental disabilities.
We would greatly appreciate your assistance in connecting Alejandra with evacuees or organizations or individuals who can assist in making those contacts. We have prepared major litigation to protect these evacuees but will not file in without many evacuee stories to make their case effectively.
FEMA has consistently provided housing assistance to most all evacuees who have presented their stories through declarations made for similar cases. Making the effort to refer them or enable our contact is therefore well worth it for theindividual evacuees as well as the many evacuees who are similarly situated.
Please let me know if you might assist us in this effort.
Please contact Common Ground Legal Advocacy at 504-717-7324 to assist residents in connecting with this opportunity.
Thanks, Steve
The Public Interest Law Project 449 15th Street, Suite 301 Oakland, CA 94707

Monday, November 06, 2006

Recycling Building Supplies

THE LOADING DOCK (TLD): The Loading Dock is a self-sufficient non-profit organization for the reuse of building materials.Through the partnerships The Loading Dock has established withnonprofit housing groups, environmental organizations, local governments, building contractors, manufacturers, and distributors, TLD facilitates and coordinates the reuse ofbuilding materials for low income housing production in the Mid-Atlantic region and across the country.
Materials handled include lumber, toilets, nails, paints, carpeting, and more.
Contact: John Lambertson,
2523 Gwynns Falls Parkway,
Baltimore,MD 21216.
Phone: 410 728-3625.
Fax: 410 728-3633.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Insurance Hearing Precedent

12/28 Judge moves AG's Katrina suit to state court
Insurers wanted it in federal court
GULFPORT - A federal judge agreed Tuesday to transfer Attorney General Jim Hood's lawsuit against insurance companies over Hurricane Katrina damage from federal to state court.
U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled Hood's lawsuit belongs in state court because interpreting the terms of private insurance policies is traditionally a function of state law.
Senter rejected arguments by insurers that Hood's suit should be heard in federal court because the companies write flood insurance policies that are funded and administered by the federal government

LA. Judge Rules Differently than MS

Judge refuses to kill lawsuit against insurers
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge refused to throw out a lawsuit for damages from Hurricane Katrina's floods, saying the language excluding water damage from some policies is ambiguous.
The 85-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. covered several cases that had been consolidated because they were similar. He immediately sent the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for review.
There is no timetable for that review, plaintiffs' attorney Joseph Bruno said. Still, he was optimistic.
"Right now, we're on the verge of an opportunity to get a recovery for people who have lost everything and who didn't have flood insurance or didn't have enough flood insurance," he said.
Under Louisiana law and precedent, Duval ruled, insurance companies must prove that a clause excluding coverage applies _ and, without such an exclusion, provisions are generally construed in favor of coverage.
"The law says that when you write an exclusion, it has to be strictly construed. If it's ambiguous, it doesn't apply," Bruno said.
He said Duval found that language used by most insurance companies doesn't differentiate between a flood caused by an act of God, such as excessive rainfall, and a flood caused by an act of man, which would include the levee breaches.
Allstate Insurance Co., one of the companies named in the suit, plans to appeal Duval's decision to the 5th Circuit, said Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for Allstate Insurance Co.
"Allstate disagrees with the judge's conclusion that its policy exclusions do not apply to water damage resulting from the flooding in the New Orleans area," he said.
Although the ruling covers several cases, Duval has not decided to certify it as a class-action suit yet. A decision on whether to do that probably won't come until the appellate court rules on Duval's decision, Bruno said.
If the suit becomes a class action, it could grow exponentially, he said, because it could include everyone whose home sustained storm-related water damage.
Duval was appointed to the federal bench by President Clinton in 1994.
Duval's ruling contrasts sharply with an August decision by a federal judge in Gulfport, Miss., who ruled that a couple could not collect from their insurer because their policy doesn't cover damages from floodwaters or storm surges.
"Almost all the damage ... is attributable to incursion of water," U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. wrote in the Mississippi suit.
Senter did say that the policy the couple's insurer used to deny coverage was ambiguous because it covers wind damage but not damage caused by wind and water.
"The reading of the policy would mean that an insured whose dwelling lost its roof in high winds and at the same time suffered an incursion of even an inch of water could recover nothing," he wrote.
At the time, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner said the decision probably would not affect Louisiana litigation because Senter sits in a different district.
But Allan Kanner, chairman of the Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association, said insurance companies probably would use it in litigation.
And, since Mississippi also is part of the 5th Circuit, any appellate court ruling in the Mississippi case would apply to Louisiana.

New insurance trial rejected
GULFPORT - A federal judge says he won't order a new trial for a Pascagoula couple whose lawsuit against their insurance company was the first case to be tried here after Hurricane Katrina spawned hundreds of similar lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. last week refused to change his ruling in August that Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.'s policies do not cover damage from a hurricane's storm surge, or wind-driven water.
Senter, who heard the landmark case without a jury, also said he sees no reason to order a new trial for Paul and Julie Leonard, who sued Nationwide after the company paid them only $1,661 for more than $130,000 worth of damage to their home.
Zach Scruggs, one of the Leonards' attorneys, said he might appeal Senter's decision.
Attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs had asked Senter to reconsider his ruling, which also held that insurers must pay for any damage from hurricane-force winds.
The Leonards' lawyers argued that Nationwide's policies are ambiguous and therefore can't be enforced because "storm surge," or wind-driven water, isn't specifically excluded from coverage.
Senter rejected that argument, however. The judge said the flood exclusion in the company's policies applies to rising water from a hurricane.
"Substantially identical policy exclusions were considered and applied during litigation following Hurricane Camille, and none of the courts who considered this language found it to be ambiguous or otherwise unenforceable," Senter wrote, referring to the major storm that hit the Gulf Coast in 1969.
In August, Senter ordered Nationwide to pay the Leonards about $1,228 more than what the Columbus, Ohio-based company already had paid them for wind damage. That money, which Nationwide paid on Monday, will be held by the court pending the outcome of any appeal.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November NIOSH News

Reducing Drywall Installation Injuries
"Workplace Solutions: Preventing Injuries from Installing Drywall" A new NIOSH workplace solutions document offers recommendations for preventing and reducing injuries to workers who install drywall. The report, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-147, provides a description of the types of injuries workers have reported and offers three cases reports detailing how the injuries occurred. The report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2006-147.

Working Long Hours - The Affects
The November issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine features a special section on various aspects of research on long work hours, health, and safety. This collection of articles is a response to the "2004 Long Work Hour Conference," sponsored by NIOSH and the University of Maryland School of Nursing. Article abstracts are available through the journal’s Web site, http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/34471.

Workplace Violence Report
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released findings from a survey conducted for NIOSH on workplace violence prevention. Nearly five percent of the 7.1 million U.S. private industry business establishments had an incident of workplace violence in the 12 months preceding the survey. The majority of those establishments did not change their workplace violence prevention procedures after the incident. Results from the survey will provide researchers with information to develop educational interventions to improve workplace safety. Findings from the survey are available in detail on the BLS Web site, http://www.bls.gov/iif/osh_wpvs.htm. More information on NIOSH research and recommendations for preventing and reducing workplace violence can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/injury/traumaviolence.html.

"Workplace Violence Prevention Strategies and Research Needs"NIOSH has released a summary document from the November 2004 conference, "Partnering in Workplace Violence Prevention: Translating Research to Practice." The report, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-144, provides a useful framework on the current state of workplace violence research, prevention and communication activities in the U.S. The report can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2006-144.

Worksite Fatality Costs
NIOSH Fatal Occupational Injury Cost Fact SheetsA new series of fact sheets estimate the cost to society of a workplace fatality using the cost-of-illness approach. This approach combines the direct and indirect costs to produce an overall cost of an occupational fatal injury. Fact sheets are available for ten industry groupings, including agriculture, forestry and fishing; mining; construction; services; manufacturing; transportation, communications, electric, gas and sanitary services; wholesale trade; retail trade; finance, insurance, and real estate; and public administration. The fact sheets can be found through the NIOSH Traumatic Occupational Injury Web page, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/injury/traumapubs02-04.html.