Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Moody's Court - a beautiful past.

Still in Katrina daze. Entrance to St. Michael's. This face expresses best my feelings about the recovery/rebuilding issues that have not been dealt with in a timely, respectful, and caring manner by the powers that be.

Well, well, well, what else did we really expect from FEMA? It's been 2 years and 5 months since Katrina obliterated the Gulf Coast and less than 1/4th. of the 10,833 public rebuilding projects are finished. Given the fact that FEMA was initially headed up by an idiot who was given the job by another idiot who moved the agency into the so-called "homeland security" department, what else, indeed, should we expect? It's all a joke, and a very bad one. It's a bad dream I wish we all could wake up from.

For one thing, FEMA's little penny counters are haggling with Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie about paying for the overtime that the fire and police departments had to work in those initial days and weeks after Katrina hit. Pathetic! FEMA isn't "satisfied" with the first responders' time sheets. Now let me see. . . umm, there's someone over there in a tree waiting for help and there is a body on a rooftop which is smashed on the ground and we have no communications, or food, or water, and the offices were gutted and filled with someone else's debris. . . umm where did I put my time sheet? And I can't find a pencil. Ahh, FEMA.

On top of that, many people are in limbo. People are still in trailers . . . with formaldehyde !!! For Pete's sake! Now that's a real pretty picture of America and what we are "supposed" to stand for. Seems to me most of the people running this country, and those who vote them in again and again just don't give a flying rat's ass about anything but themselves, money, and Iraq.

Then you have our illustrious Gov. Barbour who diverts $600 million from the HUD grant monies for AFFORDABLE HOUSING to expand the port at Gulfport! WHAT???

This expansion will encompass 210-acres which will include a new shipping terminal and channel (to be expected I imagine), BUT it will also include "three new casinos and as many as 3,000 hotel rooms." Now it seems to me, since there was separate money to rebuild the lost bridges, there should have been money in a separate package for repairing the port. And especially so if it included, of all things, casinos and hotels! You tell me why HUD money should pay for casinos and hotels?? I'm waiting . . .

To no avail, Maxine Waters, D-Calif., urged HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson to oppose the diversion plan (thank you Rep. Waters). However, Jackson said there was "specific congressional language" that kept him from denying Barbour's request. Word is, that ain't especially true. Waters stated her concern: "I am suspicious that Barbour receives favored treatment with this administration. He kind of gets his way." Duh! NSS!!

In my humble opinion, this is an outrage! But then again, "what's good for business ___" you fill in the blanks, I'm too ill over it all. I need to clear my head of this debacle so I'm going to the coast to Mardi Gras and . . . laissez bon temps roulez . . . until I return to blog again. Oh, and I won't be staying in a condo or casino!
Some Tiny FEMA Stats to mull over –
Rebuilding on the Mississippi Gulf Coast:

Total large projects: 2,564

Total large projects closed: 731

Total small projects: 8,269

Total small projects closed: 1,693

Total projects: 10,833

Total closed: 2,424

Source: FEMA

Clarion Ledger - FEMA Slowing Coast Building

$600 Million Dollar Port Deal

Clarion Ledger

St. Michael's Catholic Church, gutted by Katrina. Beach Blvd., Biloxi – Nov. 2007.

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Friday, January 18, 2008


Wiggins Town Hall Meeting

Mon., Feb. 11, 2008
6:00-7:30 p.m.
Wiggins Senior Citizens Center (So. Magnolia St.)
Wiggins, MS
1-800-273-4363 for more information

This is an open forum for South Mississippians to bring their concerns, suggestions, opinions, and complaints to Gene's attention.
Caseworkers from Gene's local offices will be there to help constituents with any problems they may be having with federal agencies, including the VA, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Social Security Administration.

click map for larger, printable image.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

LIST OF NEEDS IN WAVELAND - Recovery has critical needs

Waveland -
FEMA trailers still around - Nov. 2007

Infrastructure - Nov. 2007

The question from the student at Penn State was "What do the residents need"? And, more importantly, what is it that they can transport?

1. Used tools for the Disaster Relief Organizations on the ground. We have more tools lost and broken in a day than we can afford to replace. If the donating home owners would go thru their garages and send every "extra" tool they have - it would help. Extra hammers, screw drivers, drills, drill bits, chisels, scrapers, brooms, shovels, sledge hammers, and that extra $88.00 dollar crimping tool (both 1/2" and 3/4") for that new fangled plumbing that works so well down here. And all those extra "fittings" you bought but never worked and you threw them in the garage - we can use each and every one of them.

2. Along with that the extra box of nails, screws, and odds nuts and bolts. We are always scrounging for that special nut or bolt and do not want to run to the hardware store.

3. Paint supplies - desperate need. Paint brushes , rollers, tarps, extender handles. Used or new - we can use them.

4. Paint - I am starting to run short of paint. I either need another donation or someone to pay for $50.00 per pallet shipping fee so I can get more down here. We have given away hundreds of gallons of paint over the last year. It is a desperate need.

5. Ladders - always a critical need for more ladders

6. Saw horses - never enough of them onsite.

7. Cleaning supplies - desperate need for chlorox always.

8. Drinking water - desperate need for bottled water

9. Tarps - because of the rain and supplies being delivered to new home sites we never have enough tarps to cover the loads. Critical need.

10. Rope. No matter how much rope I buy - I always seem to be sending it down the road with a client when they stop to pick up something we have donated to them. I never seem to get the ropes ! back - and I never push the issue. But I could sure use a box load of that yellow rope you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot.

11. #2 Phillips driving bits - we use them for sheetrock. We never have enough and wear them out faster than we can replace them. Not only the #2's but a few sets of driving bits. It is something that wears out because of the extreme use here.

12. Nails: 16d, 8d both cement coated and galvanized. And nails for our air guns - both coil type and the regular. We use Passload and Bostich. They are expensive and we never seem to have enough.

13. Utility knives - it does not matter how many dozen I buy they wear out or are lost in transport somewhere to and from the warehouse to the home. We buy them by the dozen.

14. Extension cords - never enough.

15. Canvas tote bags - we use them to pack our extension cords in. WE desperately need more. It can be the tote bags or used backpacks the kids discarded from last year?

16. Big pots and pans for the kit! chen. We never seem to have enough "big" pots and pans in our kitchen when cooking for the volunteers. Could use a half dozen more.

17. Newspaper - yes plain old newspaper. We need it for starting the fire here at the volunteer house. Never have enough. We also use it for covering up and picking up paint and other spills on the job and in the warehouse.

18. Home Depot Cards, Lowes Card, Gas Cards - always welcome for those unexpected expenses when out on the job. No matter how hard you plan - there is always that "one more thing".

19. Bar oil for the chain saw. Oil for the trucks and cars. If you have extra in your garage your not using - we can use it.

20. Laundry soap - its expensive and we are always in need of it.

21. Toilet paper and paper towels - never enough.

22. Tie down straps - we need heavy duty tie down straps.

23. Ink cartridges for our printers. Every ! DRO in town needs printer cartridges for their printers. If you have e xtra in your drawers that were the "wrong" type - send them here and we will find someone with that printer.

24. Copy paper - never enough

25. File folders - we never have enough

26. Hanging file folders - never enough

27. Pens - I can never find a pen in this office. With the client load we have they disapear at a rapid rate. The clients fill out the forms and accidently put the pen in their pocket. Its just one of those inventory items we can not control.

28. 4 x 4 index cards, sticky notes, and three ring file folders

29. Dish washing detergent. We use it for washing dishes and for mold abatement out in the field.

30. Used lap tops - this environment is tough on computers.

31. Light bulbs - never enough. Everytime we work on a house - we have to round up a light bulb supply.

32. Used lawnmowers and weed whips - we wear out our lawn mowers and wee! d whips. In the spring and summer we mow an extraordinary amount of peoples yards here. If you updated to a bigger and spiffier lawnmower we would be thrilled to take your working used lawnmower. If we can not use it at the time - we have a mile of people we can donate them to.

33. Rakes, shovels, picks, and sledgehammers - we just plain wear them out or the handles break. It costs more to replace the handle than to buy a new one.

34. Parts to repair our wheel barrows - handles and tires.

33. And we need you - the volunteer. This relief effort can not function without more volunteers coming down here. We are in desperate need of both skilled and unskilled volunteers. Both short term and long term. If you are retired and would like to work here in the office or in the field - we would be thrilled to have you come stay with us. We have housing available (albeit primitive) or RV spots. Just give us a call and we would be glad t! o answer any questions.

We need you come to answer the phone - give the office staff a break
We need you to come and assist us in the field hauling material
We need you to run errands in the field
We need you to come and frame up that house
We need you to come and move that sheetrock up to the first floor now a house nine feet in the air
We need you to come and put a roof on that house and the next one
We need you to come tape and texture
We need you to come help us pour the concrete for the pilons
We need you to wash out the wheel barrow when its done
We need you to put the wheelbarrow back in the truck and take it back to the warehouse
We need you to sweep the floor in the warehouse
We need you to help fix the meals for the volunteers
We need you to help mow that yard for the 86 year old that lost her house and now all she has is a slab and all those weeds and she lives in Texas somewhere, or New Hampshire - but she loves that y! ard and remembers it as it was
We need you to come and help the long term volunteers who are worn and and tired after two years plus
We just need you - we have so far to go and 400,000 home were destroyed or damaged and we are barely 20% completed
And, if you come, could you please bring some supplies - wisdom and all that energy we so desperately need.

Sincerely thanking you Penn State for asking!

Kathleen Johnson
Katrina Relief

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