Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Honoring Kathleen Koch

Also highlighted at:
Our Lady Academy - Updated 10/29 (both)

OLA event honors Koch
More than 300 turn out for CNN reporter
BAY ST. LOUIS - When Kathleen Koch was here covering Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, she was always too busy chasing down the next headline to relax.
But on Saturday night, Koch, a native of Bay St. Louis, had a glass of white wine in her hand instead of a microphone. She could finally relax. Well, at least for a little bit.
Held at Hollywood Casino, Our Lady Academy, Mississippi's only all-girls school, honored their former student - and now White House correspondent for CNN. More than 300 guests showed for cocktails, dinner and music from New Orleans' own The Molly Ringwalds. The event, called Hooray for the Bay!, helped raise awareness for OLA, which suffered heavy damage from Katrina.
The school, according to OLA Director of Development Anna Kalom, was "virtually destroyed." Seven feet of water flooded several buildings, one of which had to be torn down. "A school bus washed into the front of another building," she said. "(The school) was unusable."
After Katrina hit, the guest of honor returned to the Coast to do two documentaries on the damage of her hometown. "I know my reports made a big difference," Koch said, a wide smile on her face. She said that the Coast was suffering the worst from Katrina and that "too much attention was on New Orleans."
She wanted to scream to everyone: "Hello! This is the real story right here."
Koch said she wanted to attend Saturday's event because OLA and the Coast still needed help. She wanted to help the school she spent her eighth and ninth grade years at in the 1970s, and the school in which her mother taught. And perhaps more importantly, she wanted to help the city she still calls home.
"Because she is from here, she helped keep the national focus on us," Kalom said, adding she helped the city more than any other journalist. "She did wonderful documentaries on Bay St. Louis. That kind of national coverage is so important."
Before Saturday night's event, Koch spent the morning and afternoon building a playground for a school at The Kiln. (10/22 Charles B Murphy Needs and Update)She will now spend some more time with friends and family before heading back to Washington and covering the November elections.

Friday, October 27, 2006

BSL Ferry Back

11/3 Schedule

BSL ------ Henderson Point
6:30 a.m.--- 6:52 a.m.
7:15 a.m. --- 7:37 a.m.
8 a.m. ------ 8:22 a.m.
8:45 a.m. --- 9:07 a.m.
9:30 a.m. --- 9:52 a.m.
10:15 a.m. -- 10:37 a.m.
11 a.m. ----- 11:22 a.m.
11:45 a.m. -- 12:07 p.m.
12:30 p.m. -- 12:52 p.m.
1:15 p.m. --- 1:37 p.m.
2 p.m. ------ 2:22 p.m.
2:45 p.m. --- 3:07 p.m.
3:30 p.m. --- 3:52 p.m.
4:15 p.m. --- 4:37 p.m.
5 p.m. ------ 5:22 p.m.
5:45 p.m. --- 6:07 p.m.

At Henderson Point, take U.S. 90 until it ends before the new bridge construction. Turn left on Old U.S. 90 and follow the signs to Third Street and the beach south of there.
In Bay St. Louis, the landing is at the Washington Street Pier.

Ferry do's and don'ts
• Form an orderly line at the ferry landings, stopping behind the chain blocking the launch and wait for the embarked cars to get off.
• Follow instructions from the crew members to let them get the maximum number of cars aboard.
• Walk-on passengers embark last.
• Stay away from safety equipment onboard.
• There is no smoking.
• Vehicles are subject to search based on the Maritime Security Act in an effort to keep explosives and hazardous materials.

Piling fails, halts ferry
The new ferry service across the Bay of St. Louis had a hiccup on its third day of operation.
A piling failed at the Bay St. Louis terminal on a windy day Friday, perhaps exposing a material flaw.
"The direction of wind and severity put too much pressure on the pile," said Dietrich Giles, the ferry general manager for Hornblower Marine Services. "Normally what was put out there would have been adequate for what we're doing."
Giles said they were bringing a barge in Friday afternoon to help shore up the mooring. Hornblower expects to be back in operation this morning.
He said they expect to be able to operate in most normal wind conditions here. If it gets up to 35 or 40 knots, it would create problems.
The wind's direction may also play a part in determining when the ferry can operate in the future.
"We're a little concerned about the water depth once we have a good northerly wind," Giles said. "Everybody knows how much water flows out of here. We feel that we'll be able to manage with that, but not having done it we can't say for certain."

11/1 Ferry expected this afternoon
Free service to start Wednesday
The U.S. Transportation secretary will check in on final preparations for free ferry service across the Bay of St. Louis, slated to start Wednesday.
Mary Peters should get to see the boat, which was expected to leave Bayou La Batre, Ala., Monday at midnight for the commute to its new 1.6-mile route and the Mississippi Department of Transportation-constructed landing sites this afternoon.
Workers at a shipyard across the state line were finishing painting the ship, dubbed the Marissa Mae Nicole after three children of staff members of Hornblower Marine Services, the ferry company that will operate the service.
"Everything was going fine," said Greg Brown, vice president of operations for Hornblower.
The Coast Guard had been conducting inspections in the shipyard and another inspector will visit today, one day before the service starts.
Peters will take the tour with U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Butch Brown and Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator Andy Hughes.
MDOT was placing wooden pilings that the ferry will tie up to.
"Everything else is pretty much done," said MDOT engineer David Seyfarth.
The ferry contract is estimated to be worth $5 million for its seven-month duration. Service will end when two lanes of the new U.S. 90 bridge of the bay are complete.
Granite Archer Western has a May 16 deadline to meet that milestone.
The request for proposals sketched out a service that would operate from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., although the schedule for Wednesday's first day has not been released.
"Twelve hours is the magic number," Brown said. "It's the amount of time one crew can operate a vessel."
MDOT also asked for two vessels capable of carrying 35 cars to run on a 45-minute schedule. That would give a total daily capacity of 1,120 vehicles.
The Marissa Mae Nicole can carry only 22 to 25 cars, Brown said, and will be a single ferry. He said the schedule is still untested but they hope to be able to get the departures down to 30 minutes, which would allow the boat to carry a maximum of 600 cars.
By comparison, the Gulf Regional Planning Commission's last traffic count on the U.S. 90 bridge in 2005 showed that 19,000 cars used it daily.

Ferry on schedule - Company says it's on target to open Wednesday
MDOT says it will be finished with the infrastructure construction necessary to support the Bay of St. Louis ferry service by Wednesday, its scheduled start date.
"It's coming along great," said engineer David Seyfarth, who's been overseeing maintenance crews pressed into construction duties. "Right now we're a little held up with the weather; there's a lot of wind down there... . We've just got a few things we've got to get ironed out before we get finished."
The ferry will be paid for by the Federal Highway Administration until the new U.S. 90 bridge is complete. Two lanes are scheduled to open in May.
The service is expected to transport fewer than 1,000 vehicles per day. The Gulf Regional Planning Commission's 2005 traffic count on the U.S. 90 bridge showed 19,000 cars used it daily.
MDOT says the locations of dolphins, structures in the water used to tie up the ferries, are one of the obstacles. The dolphins are clusters of wooden piles banded together with cable.
Work crews have traffic signs and gates left to install, and were pouring the concrete slabs for the Henderson Point landing on Thursday.
"We've got a few things left and I think we've probably got some details on where our new dolphins are going to go on the water. It's looking good."
Hornblower Marine Services won a seven-month contract that will be worth an estimated $5 million to provide the service. A company official said Thursday it remains on target to start service on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Traffic Planning Meeting

Kiln hot over traffic
Transit study in Gautier tonight

KILN - Barbara Kaiser lives about 6 miles north of the Kiln Library, where a transportation planning meeting was held Tuesday night.
She'd like to pull a Rip Van Winkle and snooze for a few years until the area's transportation problems get cleaned up.
"I see old roads that have been good for a long time, since I moved here, but now the population growth is overburdening them," Kaiser said. "The one traffic light we have in Kiln is definitely overburdened."
The Hancock County meeting for discussion of the Gulf Coast Area Transportation Study is the second of three this week. Tonight's finale will be in Gautier.
Kaiser could single-handedly talk about many facets of the picture in Hancock County. The meeting, which features stations with maps, displays, surveys and comment cards, let people walk between them after the introductory welcome.
A question-and-answer session erupted at the start of the meeting, which had 30 people attending. The questions mainly focused on the road that runs in front of the library and through Kiln's single traffic light. An MDOT representative took some venting from folks frustrated with the backed-up traffic on Mississippi 603, which is also the southern part of Mississippi 43 that goes to Picayune and connects Interstate 10 to I-59.
He said he'd go back to Jackson and relay their frustrations, saying that fixes like better traffic signals or turn lanes could help traffic flow better.
Kaiser, 55, has lived in the area for 20 years and spends much of her time in the community. She expressed interest in a Diamondhead-to-Bay St. Louis connector and wants an easier way to get to Gulfport.
Bicycle-pedestrian paths are part of the planning, as well. Until about 10 years ago, she liked to ride her bike to get around locally. An accident forced her to stop temporarily.
"Then I didn't have anywhere safe to bike after my accident," she said.

Housing Challenge in Hancock County

From Gary - From GCN

Updated 10/23/06 11:28 AM

Just over a year has gone by since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Coast destroying almost everything along the Beach highway. But construction of new high rise condominiums is moving rapidly, changing forever the look and feel of the area.
All along the beach in Biloxi there are towers rising. The huge concrete structures will easily take the most powerful storms. (More Here)
One of the unfolding tragedies of post-Katrina life includes people that lost their mobile homes in cities within hard hit Hancock County. New flood regulations say that mobile homes that once provided houses to hundreds of residents cannot be replaced. The regulations require more substantial homes, often that are too expensive for property owners to afford. While many of these people are living in FEMA provided trailers, eventually they must move to more permanent homes.
Officials in Bay St. Louis and Waveland are trying to find a solution, as are charity groups, but the challenge is great.
In Waveland, the city has set up an office to provide help for residents with housing problems at the Waveland Long Term Recovery Office. The office is located in Trailer #8 in the city's Government Complex on Coleman Avenue. Residents having trouble rebuilding are encouraged to fill out the necessary paperwork to receive help. Yes, there is some irony that the help office is in a trailer within a flood zone. But that is the situation as all of Waveland's government offices are in trailers.

Friday, October 20, 2006

MS Development Authority Office Opening

11/23 Change of Leaders at MDA
Governor Barbour Announces Leadership Change at the MDA COO Gray Swoope To Take Over
From Director Leland Speed
From: Office of the Governor Filed 11/21/06 GCN
Governor Haley Barbour announced today that Leland Speed, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority since the beginning of the Barbour Administration, is returning to the private sector and will be replaced by Gray Swoope, MDA's chief operating officer.
The change will become effective at the end of the year. Governor Barbour characterized the change as a seamless transition in the leadership ranks of the state agency tasked with creating new and higher paying jobs through economic development and business enhancement.
"Leland Speed is one of this state's most outstanding business leaders and came into government from the private sector so he could be of service to the people. He has done a fabulous job as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority and I am grateful for his service. State government needs more people like him," Governor Barbour said.
The Governor also praised the leadership that Swoope has demonstrated over the past three years in his position as MDA's Chief Operating Officer."
Gray Swoope has been the man behind the details of all of the important initiatives undertaken by MDA since the beginning of my Administration," Governor Barbour said.
"He is thoroughly immersed in all aspects of Mississippi's economic development program and initiatives, and I am delighted to say that with his elevation to the top spot we won't miss a beat."
SpeedIn a 2003 interview with Real Estate Portfolio, a national magazine, Speed described himself as a "good ole boy" from Jackson, who left to attend Harvard University. He returned with a graduate degree from the business school and set to work in his father's securities firm. On the side, he dabbled in real estate and started building Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, in 1978. Speed grew his businesses to national proportions, founding and becoming chairman of two Jackson-based companies that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Parkway Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PKY) and EastGroup Properties, Inc. (NYSE: EGP).
In the private sector, Speed's strategy has been to maximize shareholder value and retain a strong customer base by focusing on the customer. At the Mississippi Development Authority, that strategy has translated into helping Mississippi's existing businesses grow and expand while attracting new companies to the state by showcasing how Mississippi can best help them improve their returns.
In 1998 Speed was named to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.Active in civic affairs, Speed has served as chairman of the Downtown Jackson Partners. He is past chairman of the Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Goodwill Industries and the United Way of the Capital Area. Currently, Speed serves as chairman of the Jackson State University Development Foundation, and as a member and past chairman of the Board of Trustees of Mississippi College.
A native of Jackson, Speed received his bachelor of science degree in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Mr. Speed is married to the former Bessie Sarphie. They have three adult sons and nine grandchildren.
Swoope Swoope joined MDA as Chief Operating Officer in March 2004. The West Point, Mississippi, native has more than 20 years of economic development experience including work on the local, regional and state levels. Gray is passionate about his work and focused on moving his home state forward.Prior to joining MDA Gray served as president of the Area Development Partnership (ADP), a three-county economic development agency based in Hattiesburg. He has served on the board of directors of the Southern Economic Development Council and as president of the Mississippi Economic Development Council. Prior to joining the ADP in 1997, Gray worked for the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC). He first joined AIDC in 1991 as an international project manager and in 1993 was promoted to director of the Community and Industrial Development Division.
Swoope received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration from Mississippi State University. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute. In 1990, Site Selection magazine recognized him as one of the nation's Top Ten Outstanding Young Economic Developers.Gray and his wife, Mary, have two daughters.

10/25 Thanks Kathleen!

The Mississippi Development Authority Homeowner Assistance Program (MDA/HAP) has clarified the grant application procedure for eligible homeowners who have sold their homes since August 29, 2005. MDA has also opened a new service center in Hancock County to provide more efficient service to homeowners in the area. With the clarified procedures, MDA is attempting to provide eligible homeowners with a means to meet the requirements necessary to receive an HAP grant, even if they have sold their homes. HAP grant eligibility requires that all homeowners attach a covenant to their damaged property. These covenants are to be attached permanently to the property in order to reduce the chances of severe flood damage in the event of another major hurricane and to ensure that the property has ample flood insurance coverage in the future.
These covenants require homeowners to:
• Obtain and maintain flood insurance on their property;
• Rebuild or repair their homes in accordance with all applicable building codes and localordinances; and
• If rebuilding, do so in accordance with FEMA advisory flood elevations.
The newly outlined HAP procedures provide homeowners who have sold their homes with a way to meet these requirements. Specifically, if an eligible homeowner who sold his or her home obtains a voluntary covenant agreement from the current property owner, the original homeowner may thereby meet the grant requirement that a covenant be attached to the damaged property. MDA has sent notification letters to known homeowners who sold their homes and are eligible for the grant program informing them of these procedures.
However, MDA encourages all homeowners who sold their homes after Hurricane Katrina and who believe they are eligible for HAP to go to their nearest service center, regardless of whether they have previously applied for a HAP grant. The service centers will provide these homeowners with the necessary documents and instructions to enable them to obtain the required covenant agreement from the current owner and any current lien holders and lenders with a legal interest in the property.
In addition, any homeowners who are eligible for an HAP grant but have not applied previously because they had sold their homes may apply for the grant at the service center. In addition, MDA has established special booths within each service center where MDA representatives, including notaries, will provide support to applicants in understanding this process.
There are now three service centers located on the coast, including a new center in Hancock County.

Locations are as follows:
Hancock County Service Center

3068 Longfellow DriveBuilding 6A
(Hancock County Gov’t Complex)
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Monday – Friday
8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Jackson County Service Center
Singing River Mall
2800 US Highway 90
Suite 1382
Gautier, MS 39553
Monday - Friday
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Harrison County Service Center
Prime Outlets – Gulfport
10000 Factory Shops Blvd
Gulfport, MS 39505
Monday - Friday
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday and Thursday
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Staff at the service centers can answer any questions regarding HAP eligibility requirements, including those pertaining to homeowners who have sold their homes. In addition, more information about the HAP can be found online at www.mshomehelp.gov.

New local office will help homeowners with MDA Katrina grant questions
Oct 18, 2006, 09:06
With offices to help process state homeowners grants already open in both Jackson and Harrison counties, Speaker Pro-Temp J.P. Compretta took it upon himself to urge the Mississippi Development Authority to open one in Hancock County. The office will open today or tomorrow in a Quonset hut located next to Jimmy Gouras Consultants at the Hancock County Government Complex. The huts are in a line in the front section of the complex. Compretta said the office should open either today or tomorrow.
Help will basically be given on a first come, first served basis, said Compretta, and will hopefully be a tremendous help for local property owners who find themselves hopelessly ensnared in red tape.
"People can't find out anything," said Compretta. "Paperwork is put on a desk when a problem could be solved with a phone call. Hopefully this office will help with the process."
The office should be manned with ten to twelve people, Compretta said, who can help with common problems experienced by grant applicants, such as insurance, mortgage and homestead conformations which are slowing down the award process. People who applied for the first round of funding and have not received a packet indicating an award should also seek help. Property owners who applied for a second round of funding may not find the help they are looking for just yet, said Compretta. The logistics and funding for the second round of grants have not been completed, he said.
© 2006 Bay St. Louis Newspapers, Inc.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Blog Being Established

9 Families from Hancock County So Far

Terry and Hamilton
Schonda and Family
Richard and Barb
Robb and Rod
Debbie and Family
Lee Ann and Family

Bay St Louis

Questionnaire For Inclusion On Real People Relief

Information Posted on Your Page
- I would like first and last, but please note what you feel comfortable having posted for all to see.

Email: - only contact information public will have about you. You will decide if you want them to know your full information by emailing them.

Location: - where you were; where you are; where you plan to be in a year.

Number in Household
: - Please include pets. First names, sex and age of each person.

Situation: – brief paragraph of what you’ve been through, who you’ve applied for help with, what has happened in the last year.

Current Living Arrangements:
- FEMA Trailer, Apartment, House, Tent?

Help: - what help, if any, have you received thus far?

Photos: - Up to current photos – can be rotated through as new images are sent.

Needs: Please list preferences; if you’re going to want, you might as well want what you want! Below are examples and in the categories to be listed under.
Foods – non-perishable only
Paper Products – Napkins, Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, etc.
School Supplies – notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, etc.
Computer Supplies – paper, ink (give specific cartridges)
Clothing – list sizes and style color preference
Cleaning Supplies – Windex, Dishwashing liquid, Laundry detergent, etc.
Household Supplies – light bulbs, kitchen supplies (pans, pots, etc.)
Stores you shop at – for possible gift cards or gift registry

Information Not Posted
Full Name
Mailing Address
Phone Number

What I Need from you
Twice monthly updates: - The more often I can update your information, the more frequently your information will be reviewed. People view blogs like an ongoing story. They get hooked on new little tidbits. If I don’t receive regular updates, the information will be pulled after 8 weeks.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Pickin Up The Pieces - GA

You can contact us at linda@pickinupthepieces.org
Pickin' Up the Pieces Relief Corp
P.O. Box 9634
Savannah, Georgia 31412

1.12 - They ended up having more donors than Angels to adopt! How wonderful! 240 children taken care of. Woohoo!
It was great. We ended up servicing 280 with the help of the Stennis Rotary Club. All of our Angels got adopted out and we also had 6 families. We ran out of Angels to adopt:-)

Hi Again...
Some of you have asked about whether we were planning a trip over the holidays...the answer is YES!
December 26 - 30. Anyone wishing to finish out the 2006 year making a difference in the lives of those affected by Katrina are welcome to join us. Please visit our website under "How You Can Help" at http://www.pickinupthepieces.org/ for more information.
Linda Edwards

Volunteers Wanted to Help Rebuild a Town
Pickin' Up the Pieces (PUP) is working in conjunction withWalton County Florida's Habitat for Humanity and New Hope Construction (NHC) to help rebuild the Town of Pearlington, MS and other areas of Hancock Co. Hancock County is ground zero of Hurricane Katrina. Both organizations are currently working to provide for the citizens of that county. Pickin' Up the Pieces is assisting Walton Co. Florida Habitat for Humanity and New Hope Construction by organizing groups of volunteers to travel to the devastated area to help in this effort.
We are currently seeking both skilled and unskilled volunteers that are interested in participating in one week rotations. It has been a meaningful experience to those who have come to the area and served in the many different capacities. It is very humbling to work along side with someone who has lost their homes. People who have been involved with Katrina disaster relief say that their lives will forever be changed. We are committed to giving our brothers and sisters hope. We plan to continue working in this area to help these precious people rebuild their lives.
If you are interested in serving in Hancock County, please contact us. In the weeks and months ahead we are going to need skilled people in almost every area.
You can contact us at linda@pickinupthepieces.org .

Our Spring Basket Project netted 79 Baskets!!!
We had 9 volunteers participate in our May trip. While there we worked at the volunteer center in Kiln, MS (http://www.campcoastaloutpost.org/ ) dismantling a hardware store next to the camp and salvaging materials to be re-used in reconstruction, finishing off the construction of a "pole barn" used to house donated goods that were previously covered only by tarps, helping the camp with "kitchen duty" in preparing meals to be served to other volunteers and gutting a home in Pearlington, Ms. In addition to our volunteer work, we also delivered 79 Spring Baskets filled with hand held vacuums, tool kits, gift cards, toys, pamper products, cookbooks, utensils, etc. to the staff and families of Charles B. Murphy Elementary school in Pearlington. The recipients of our baskets were very grateful, and it was truly a blessing to see their faces as they were picking up their goodies. I want to extend A HUGE THANK YOU for all that participated and donated items to make this project the success that it was.

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Hancock County Volunteer Resources Site

Volunteer Resources in Hancock County
Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks forward

Comment found scrawled on a wall at the Fortier High School in New Orleans during restoration

Adult Screenings Offered:

Blood Pressure
Glucose(for those adults who have fasted)
Adult screening are offered once a month for Foot Sensation and Stroke screening


Hepatitis B
Pediatric DT
Influenza (seasonal)

* We administer the Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine at the hospital due to the necessity of refrigeration limitations.



Case Coordinator

Their leader, Kathleen, is writing a series of articles regarding the needs of the recovery community and very pragmatic ways to achieve successful recovery.

Their Events Calendar

I hope, as a volunteer, that you find this site helpful for your work here in Hancock County.
I have been working here, in Mississippi, since the onset of the storm. Initially, the work was "online" and very soon thereafter, I headed to Waveland for my first stint as a volunteer and returned shortly thereafter as a fulltime volunteer. I work as the Director for Katrina Relief at Waveland City Hall overseeing Case Management, doing assessments, recruiting volunteers, and cordinating construction.
If you would like to volunteer in Hancock County or need assistance with your home re-construction project - please feel free to contact me at anytime. Contact Information
Kathleen Johnson
(228) 209-8822

Kathleen Johnson is a long term volunteer who has been working in Mississippi since just after the storm. Currently Kathleen is working at the City of Waveland City Hall under the umbrella of the Waveland Citizens Fund a 501 ( c ) 3 as the Director of Katrina Relief.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Leadership Needed

Posted by: "wavelandcitizensfund" wavelandcitizensfund@yahoo.com wavelandcitizensfund
Thu Nov 2, 2006 5:15 am (PST)
Developing The Katrina Workforce – a new phase in recovery
Kathleen Johnson
In order to continue to meet thedemands of housing we need to move away from some of the tradition waysof delivering services and develop a new model for disaster recovery inthe reconstruction phase.
A number of factors are influencing the rate of reconstruction in this area – enormity of the volume of damaged or destroyed homes, falling numbers of volunteers, lack of planned orchestrated national marketing on area needs, new building codes, shortage of materials, recent large annexations, workforce housing issues, staffing retention issues, politics, and equipment shortages at local government offices, difficulties in recruiting and retention of both skilled trades workforce and volunteers, and integration of free enterprise and a volunteer workforce.
With up to 80,000 homes to refurbish or rebuild in Gulf Coast Region– residents are now facing the reality that contractors are short in supply as are volunteers. There is now an even more urgent need to develop a work force in the face of 15,000 Phase I grant recipients coming down the pike with enough funds for materials and, in some cases, enough to hire contractors. Traditionally this area has built only 1500 new homes per year. We now need to think outside the box to meet the areas critical needs – housing not only for residents but for workers needed to construct that housing.
No home at the Inn
The issue facing contractors, employees, and volunteers alike is that there is no home at the Inn. Housing is critically short in supply for people wanting to move to the area to work for local contractors. Many of the contractors have complained about the need for more employees to increase output. With the only alternative being a long commute from outlying areas – the time benefit of cost versus travel time makes it a long term retention problem. Employees tire of the travel and theturn over of employees is high.
With many volunteer organizations exhausting their funds – housingoptions are becoming increasingly short in supply for volunteers wanting to come down to assist in the construction effort. The latest phase in volunteer housing is that the free accommodation for volunteers is rare anymore. Instead you will find a $10 - $25 a day charge from organizations willing to accommodate volunteers. This charge is necessary to cover the utility and maintenance costs of these facilities as donations wither on the vine from a public whose interests have waned due to lack of news coverage on the continuing urgent need.
Goals to aid in development of an effective diverse workforce
* Fundamental to recovery is a flexible appropriate-skilled workforce which is able to deliver effective solutions to a diverse set of construction requirements.
* Identify the factors influencing recruitment and retention problems for volunteers, contractors and subcontractors.
* Ensure the skill mix accurately meets the needs of the residents
* Improve the quality of workmanship delivered by contractors and volunteer contributors through training of staff to work differently, in new ways and in new settings.
* Develop new and different rolls within the Disaster Response community to provide more effective integration of licensed contractors, subcontractors and volunteers
* Volunteer organizations need to support a balanced shift of skills and services into the contractor arena in order to not to interfere in the free enterprise system
* Develop training avenues for residents who are currently in a role redesign mode as they become the contractor on their own homes.
* Develop a region wide marketing plan to attract an appropriately trained volunteers and skilled workforce.
The analysis of the workforce requirements needs to be fully understood in order to develop a sound solution for recruitment and retention.
Documenting exact current needs would fall on a comprehensive and accurate needs assessment – which we currently do not have completed. Hancock County, at last report, only had 1,400 assessments in an area where there are 46,000 residents. This data should be developed quickly in order to realize accurate predictions on needs for recruitment, housing needs, and allow for accurate predictions on recovery timelines.
If a comprehensive plan for workforce development is not addressed in short order – we are going to find residents waiting on long lists lasting months to years for assistance to start rebuilding their home seven with funds in hand from Phase I grants and ultimately Phase IIgrants.

Resource Brokering - A Katrina Enigma
(written and) Posted by: "Kathleen Johnson" grannywyo@yahoo.com
Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:30 am (PST)
Kathleen Johnson is a long term volunteer who has been working inMississippi since just after the storm. Currently Kathleen is working at the City of Waveland City Hall under the umbrella of the WavelandCitizens Fund a 501 ( c ) 3 as the Director of Katrina Relief.
Disaster Relief Organizations, in long term recovery, often speak different languages. This is because their mission statements are gaps in an effective bridge to recovery when the focus is on the differences and not the ultimate goal – recovery for the client impacted by this disaster. These gaps affect the ability of long term recovery entities and case managers to provide services when providers of resources fail to understand the implications of the practice of information and resource brokering.
What is Information Brokering?
Information brokering, the business of buying and selling information as a commodity, has been around for a long time. The common practices seen here on the ground, in the aftermath of Katrina, shows a need for professional accountability and other issues that surround questions that have been raised about the ongoing issue of the lack of resource lists and true accountability for "where is the beef". Where arethe 2x4's, the sheetrock, the insulation, the wiring, thevolunteers, and the available grants.
Who is responsible for managing this information and how do you get on those lists? There is a great need for effective information and resource dissemination for those working in long term recovery in the aftermath of Katrina. Teamwork should be the goal with their sights set firmly on building a network among themselves and their colleagues and on aiding struggling homeowners. Unfortunately, what I am seeing is "Information Brokering" and"Resource Brokering" in a struggle for "power and control" in an arena where ego has become the driving engine.
Information on manpower, money and materials is shared sparingly or on a need to know basis.
Professional Accountability
We must require professional accountability to improve the accessibility of relevant materials and information to all Case Managers, Resource Managers, and those working directly in re-construction. Decision maker's actions affect the availability of long-term care services and the ways in which they are organized and delivered. The current standard is that you must show up to the numerous and multiple meetings of the various committees where information is verbally given with minimal handouts. Minutes are not provided for these meetings on the resources discussed, training available, and votes taken on policy and practices.
At the last General Meeting of the Hancock Long Term RecoveryCommittee - the attendees were told to call the office of Long Term Recovery every time they missed a meeting so they could be told, verbally, of everything that transpired at the meeting they missed. Someof these meetings can be two hours long. Given the number of volunteers and Case Mangers can number into the hundreds at any given time - this is not a solution at all but problematic.
This limiting data sharing technique is typical of a pattern that is evolving out of the HancockCounty Long Term Recovery Committee
There needs to be minutes of meetings, held under the umbrella of theHancock County Long Term Recovery Committee, to share relevant data that is not privy by privacy issues related to personal information. This should include all available training, resources, grants, and updated information on the status of grants the Long Term Committee has pending for operating expenses, funds for clients, and new employees such as the proposed Construction Coordinator. These minutes need to be delivered to all of the Case Mangers and DRO's known to the Hancock Long Term Recovery Committee that are operation, or have operated, in HancockCounty. The information needs to be published on the official website of the Long Term Recovery Committee DRO's who have resources meant to be "shared" need to become part of the recovery team and deliver their information in the same manner.
The circle of "favorites" needs to be expanded to include "all" and not "some". Current information practices are akin to information and resource brokering and it is creating a disjointed delivery of services due to lack of information, misinformation due to word of mouth dissemination of information, and lack of service to those most in need – those affected by Katrina.
Recovery is paramount on teamwork. We have 15,000 plus grants coming down the pike here in the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We need to fine tune our engine sooner than later. Now would be a good time.

In Hancock County: After The Vines Of Summer – The Need For A Master Plan
Kathleen Johnson 10/10/06 Special to GCN Filed 10/12/06
Kathleen Johnson is a long term volunteer who has been working in Mississippi since just after the storm. Currently Kathleen is working at the City of Waveland City Hall under the umbrella of the Waveland Citizens Fund a 501 ( c ) 3 as the Director of Katrina Relief.
The reality in the Gulf Coast of Mississippi can be seen in the building permits in the front window of almost every home fading fast due to the hot summers sun analogous to the hopes of the occupants battling insurance companies, waiting on long promised grants, and waiting on volunteers to complete work when materials become available.
It is impossible to reconcile the incongruity between volunteers helping the people of Waveland and developers seeking to profit from reconstruction. And added to that dilemma is the reality that neither money nor an updated building code is going to save the area from the next devastating storm with a 20 foot tidal surge. It happened before in 1969, it happened in 2005, and it will happen again. The rest of the world believes this is all “fixed” and have moved to other endeavors and interests.
We, as volunteers, toil on as this is all part of the long term recovery plan for those that have chosen to stay. Owners of 80,000 homes in Mississippi want to get their homes built in the next six months. Reality dictates it will take up to five years. Someone will be first, someone will be last. All are on one waiting list or another. All believe they are at the top of the list somewhere and no one wants to burst their bubble and suggest that we might have to go to a lottery for volunteer assistance in order to make this equitable.
Summer has hidden a lot of the remaining debris in the vegetation. Winter approaches fast and nature will reveal all that long lost debris from under the vines of summer. FEMA is left to track down and haul off the dwindling elusive debris one piece at a time and note the spiraling unit cost of cleanup. Now it’s down to “hunt and peck” whereas before it was everywhere and within easy reach.
The Long Term Recovery Committees battle politics – both internal and external brought on by the lack of true leadership, funds, the never ending grant writing saga and a critical shortage of Case Mangers – paid or volunteer. Post traumatic stress is showing clearly on the long term volunteers who have remained steadfast despite the overwhelming demands on their time and dwindling volunteer resources due to lack of preemptive marketing. No one allowed a budget for a marketing plan to recruit volunteers. No one is truly marketing on a National scale as there is no entity in charge of that part of the equation. Nor has any organization stepped in to take on that task although many have suggested it would be a “good idea” at the never ending meetings coordinators and case managers attend on a weekly basis. The Hancock Long Term Recovery Committee can not even agree to give its participating members a list of the homes they have accepted into the program – the net result some organizations find themselves working on a home that is on the LTRC list by accident and not by design thus complicating the LTRC response. Of the 46 projects the LTRC have accepted that fit their stringent guidelines – only one has been completed and it has been weeks since any of the Case Mangers have been given an update. Any complaints are ignored and emails remained unanswered with the committee leaders believing the problems will go away if they avoid the issues.
And the success is measured one house at a time – and events are truly a joyous. No one really knows how many – no one entity is collecting the data. Prior to the storm Waveland had 10,000 residents. At the anniversary of Katrina in 2006 it was estimated that 2,500 had come back home. No one really knows – the needs assessment for Hancock County has only returned 1400 complete responses for the entire County. By design the method of data collection for the Needs Assessment was going to reveal a hit and miss response as there was no follow up on the non responsive addresses. Paperwork is so overwhelming that most have long tired of requests to fill in forms – so a non responsive address does not reveal a true result.
Nor do we know how many volunteers are on the ground, the organizations they represent, or their long term plans on continued assistance. There never was a mandate to register the volunteers or the organizations. The structure of assistance is a conglomerate that forces the home owners to go from church to church, disaster relief organization to disaster relief organization – registering on each and every list they can find.
The lack of an overall plan for reconstruction is clearly showing in the end result – slow return of the region to its former population levels, and the fact that only 12,000 trailers have been returned in Mississippi alone in over a year since the storm.
It is time for a Volunteer Summit with all participating Volunteer Organizations invited in order to develop a comprehensive plan and elect a panel to oversee the volunteer response and develop a marketing plan to attract more volunteers. This panel needs a true leader; consisting of members with a comprehensive vision and the patience and wisdom of Job who truly have worked in the trenches on the ground and know the nuts of bolts of what it takes to get the job done. They must be able to separate themselves from ego, overwhelming personalities, personal agendas and individual mission statements of the participating organizations and work towards an end result that benefits all the victims equitably despite their varying fiscal abilities to recover. It is time to develop a comprehensive recovery Master Plan.

Kathleen Johnson
Hancock County Long Term Volunteer
Director Katrina Relief / Board Member Waveland Citizens Fund
Waveland City Hall #8, 335 Colemane Ave., Waveland, Ms. 39576
Office (228) 467-3425

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Gulf Coast Recovery Corp

From the great folks at WQRZ

Contact: Patrick Fitzgerald
(202) 737-6272


Additional Crews to Deploy from Utah, Vermont and Florida Next Week

Kiln, MS, October 3, 2006 – Corpsmembers and staff from the Minnesota Conservation Corps (MCC) arrived last night at the Kiln ballpark volunteer camp, where they will be based during their four week deployment to Hancock County, MS.

The crew of ten will join other volunteers to restore the William H. Kelley Retreat Center on the grounds of the St. Augustine Seminary in downtown Bay St. Louis. The rehabilitated Retreat Center will later be used to house other volunteers to the region. The MCC crew will also work on projects identified by the Hancock County EOC Long-Term Recovery Committee.

This crew from Minnesota is the first of about 30 crews from the nation’s Service and Conservation Corps that will be deploying to Hancock County over the next 6-9 months as part of the NASCC Gulf Coast Recovery Corps. The National Association of Service and Conservation Corps (NASCC) is operating the Gulf Coast Recovery Corps thanks to an AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Crews from Utah, Florida and Vermont will be deploying to the region on October 9th, bringing the total Gulf Coast Recovery Corps number to 33 Corpsmembers and staff on the ground. These additional crews will complete a variety of projects, including restoration work at Buccaneer State Park near Waveland, MS, and Big Branch Marsh federal wildlife refuge in Lacombe, LA. Over the next year, the Gulf Coast Recovery Corps will send nearly 300 young people to the region to help residents in the recovery efforts. NASCC also seeks to create a permanent Corps program in the region.

According to Sally Prouty, President of NASCC, “Corps have a long and proud history of working with communities on disaster preparedness and quickly responding to natural disasters when they do occur. This new Gulf Coast Recovery Corps initiative will create an infrastructure for NASCC Corps to expand upon their successes in providing relief to the region by bringing experienced, skilled crews to Mississippi to assist in the long-term recovery efforts.”

About the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps (NASCC)

NASCC is the voice of the nation’s 108 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in 40 states and the District of Columbia, Corps annually enroll more than 23,000 young men and women who contribute about 13 million hours of service per year. In 2004, Corps mobilized 124,000 community volunteers who contributed over 2.4 million additional hours of service.

Established in 1985, NASCC was at the forefront of the national service movement and remains so today. Corps are state and local programs engaging primarily young adults (ages 16-25) in service. The majority of Corpsmembers come to Corps looking for a second chance to succeed in life. In return for their efforts, Corpsmembers receive guidance by adult leaders who serve as mentors and role models, a modest stipend and a wide range of member development services including significant educational opportunities, employment and training, life skill development, and the opportunity to invest in their communities.

For more information, visit www.nascc.org or contact: Patrick Fitzgerald, National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, at pfitzgerald@nascc.org or at 202-737-6272.


Patrick Fitzgerald
National Association of Service and Conservation Corps (NASCC)
Government Relations Coordinator
666 Eleventh St., NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20001
(P) 202.737.6272
(F) 202.737.6277
NASCC: Strengthening the Fabric of America
“…by revitalizing communities, preserving and restoring the environment, preparing youth for responsible productive lives and building civic spirit through service.”

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sheriff's Raise Disputed

Supers reconsider raises
By DWAYNE BREMEROct 4, 2006, 09:03

Employees of the Hancock County Sheriff's department will have to continue to wait for raises requested by Sheriff Steve Garber, because for the second time in three weeks the board of supervisors delayed a vote on the issue on Monday.
The board cited concerns about other departments not receiving raises, and the possible long-term financial effects of the raises, as reasons for the delay.
"I'm not going to single out one department," Supervisor Steve Seymour said. "We need to sit down and look at the rest of the county.
"Several months ago, the sheriff's department received a grant of $2.549 million from the federal government. The Bay St. Louis and Waveland police departments also received money from the grant.The money is to be divided up over a three-year period. Some of the money was earmarked for overtime pay, and for salary supplements to allow local law enforcement agencies to recruit new officers and keep old ones.
Last month, the sheriff's department's administrator Ronnie Cuevas, asked the board to consider a $1 per hour raise for each employee of the sheriff's department. Cuevas said the money would be paid directly out of the grant for the next two years. He said the raises were necessary because other local agencies have used their grant money to give raises, and the sheriff's department needed to keep its qualified people. Currently, Waveland is paying $2 per hour more than the county and Bay St. Louis is paying $1 per hour more, he said.
He said the sheriff's department has $560,000 in grant money at its disposal. The raises would cost about $130,000 and there is additional money allocated for overtime. Several months ago, the board approved a raise for building official Mickey Lagasse. One of the reasons the board agreed to the raise is because the building department received a $500,000 grant, and the grant will pay for the raise, as well as new employees over the next two years.
"Mine is coming out of money that is available," Cuevas said. "If you don't use it, you lose it."
The board did not vote on the sheriff's raises at the September meeting, because board members Jay Cuevas and Steve Seymour had taken a trip to Green Bay, Wi. to attend a football game.
It did, however, approve the 2006-2007 budget at that meeting, with Jay Cuevas and Seymour voting by telephone.
The 2006-2007 budget featured a 12-percent cut across the board for all departments. Several departments, such as the building and sheriff's departments, have its grants added on to the money which was budgeted from the general fund.
The budget has no raises for county employees this year; however, several employees received raises prior to the budget, because they worked in departments in which the board had no control over the finances.
The raises caused a widespread uproar among county employees and supervisors alike, who felt it was unfair for some to get raises and not all. Board President Rocky Pullman said even though the requested raises are on a grant now, the grant will eventually run out.
The county comptroller told supers it would cost the county an estimated $300,000 to give all county employees a raise.The board agreed to look at the issue again at the Oct. 18 meeting.
Currently, Mississippi State University is conducting a salary analysis with the current job market in Hancock County.
"I would like to have a decision by next meeting," Seymour said.
© 2005 Bay St. Louis Newspapers, Inc.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

MS County Relief Estimates

You can put multiple projects (claims) on one worksheet (Lost equipment from same department, but different areas) Supposedly large projects were reviewed more quickly and more reliably than small projects - so having a FEMA person make the project worksheet as pricey as possible was a good thing.

My apologies for the way the counties are laid out. The table didn't translate well. #'s are accurate, just not in alpha order. Eyes aren't up to fixing it today.

It's also interesting to note that you don't have to know the lay of the land to see where the most damage occured and roughly where they are in relation to the coast, just by the numbers.

Number of Projects and Total Public Assistance Funding Obligated by County as of 09/27/06

County Name # of Claimants # of PW's (claim sheets) Money Promised

Hancock 33 781 $287,566,110

Adams 5 24 $309,825
Marshall 3 4 $47,398
Alcorn 3 4 $259,173
Monroe 7 9 $74,079
Amite 5 25 $181,097
Montgomery 5 10 $66,916
Attala 7 13 $194,721
Neshoba 8 58 $1,574,980
Bolivar 8 9 $198,877
Newton 13 73 $671,341
Calhoun 5 10 $36,319
Noxubee 5 17 $162,949
Carroll 2 4 $20,745
Otibbeha 4 13 $293,803
Chickasaw 6 19 $119,296
Panola 5 17 $183,511
Choctaw 6 14 $125,044
Pearl River 12 258 $108,916,804
Claiborne 6 27 $766,545
Perry 13 143 $654,111
Clarke 11 64 $979,911
Pike 17 98 $3,236,861
Clay 4 16 $214,882
Pontotoc 4 5 $25,439
Coahoma 2 5 $111,222
Prentiss 3 2 $7,682
Copia 10 59 $793,659
Quitman 3 3 $23,363
Covington 18 117 $3,393,180
Rankin 17 106 $4,658,235
DeSoto 14 12 $466,850
Scott 7 39 $838,801
Forrest 20 649 $14,332,252
Sharkey 3 7 $52,410
Franklin 6 15 $70,567
Simpson 14 69 $5,386,740
George 6 138 $2,392,433
Smith 9 42 $1,159,754
Greene 14 207 $14,151,729
Statewide 136 2,692 $456,304,521
Grenada 2 6 $111,781
Stone 7 87 $31,733,183
Hancock 33 781 $287,566,110
Sunflower 9 16 $154,402
Harrison 41 1,714 $476,665,767
Tallahatchie 8 16 $59,285
Hinds 19 146 $9,503,192
Tate 1 1 $8,059
Holmes 8 37 $397,952
Tippah 3 3 $23,073
Humphreys 5 23 $439,258
Tishomingo 3 3 $16,171
Issaquena 2 2 $0
Tunica 3 3 $38,647
Itawamba 2 5 $21,213
Union 1 0 $0
Jackson 19 1,019 $148,694,915
Walthall 7 78 $2,327,025
Jasper 11 85 $9,799,785
Warren 7 33 $572,482
Jefferson 4 7 $64,605
Washington 8 11 $146,620
Jefferson Davis 9 74 $4,706,511
Wayne 11 147 $29,273,024
Jones 31 373 $37,892,690
Webster 5 9 $146,973
Kemper 7 28 $182,204
Wilkinson 6 16 $238,151
Lafayette 5 6 $251,582
Winston 6 16 $327,250
Lamar 10 245 $1,848,048
Yalobusha 2 2 $35,410
Lauderdale 17 123 $7,563,333
Yazoo 6 13 $348,236
Lawrence 8 49 $3,736,531
Leake 11 20 $176,959
Lee 11 24 $220,961
Leflore 5 10 $333,617
Lincoln 7 25 $651,703
Lowndes 8 19 $559,654
Madison 6 46 $3,409,637
Marion 15 76 $16,698,234
Grand Total 835 10,493 $1,700,402,258

Monday, October 02, 2006

Evacuation Registration

Officials take evacuation transportation registration
Emergency operations officials in all three coastal counties are asking people with transportation problems that would prevent them from evacuating to preregister for their planning efforts.
A prior survey by MEMA did not retain information from its respondents. To register, call:
Harrison County: Coast Transit Authority, 896-8080;
Hancock County: Emergency Operations Center, 228-466-8200 or 228-463-1035;
Jackson County: Erin Lee, 762-2455