Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Camp Coast Care - Stories

Another friend pointed out that the Camp Coast Care Stories reminded him of my essays. I would agree, except the Stories have been better proof-read :)

WP: Two-thirds of Katrina donations exhausted - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com

WP: Two-thirds of Katrina donations exhausted - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com:
"'Even if we doubled, tripled or quadrupled what we have, we still wouldn't be able to meet the need,' said Gary Lundstrom, director of projects for Samaritan's Purse, which is rebuilding homes along the Mississippi coast and in Louisiana's ravaged St. Bernard Parish with much of its $34 million.

Despite the charitable outpouring, some victims feel shortchanged. And there is often a disconnect between the realities of how much has been contributed and the vastness of the need...."
This link was sent to me by someone who will remain nameless, but (s)he had a very good point. Imagine if the large relief agencies had the same level of efficiency/productivity of the smaller volunteer operations.

I know it will be hard the next time a disaster strikes, but I for one will be sure to change my giving habits based off of what I have learned from Katrina. I hope many more do too!

(This is by no means a cut on Samaritan's Purse who I have had VERY limited dealings with and the limited experience was very satisfactory.)

An update from New Orleans and St. Bernard's Parish

Mike McNeil (AKA "MAC") send the following. It is well worth your time! (note particularly how important it is to measure success in tiny bits. His email is full of much good information. (and he did approve my posting it).

The Metro area is not a nice place these days- "New Orleans, The Big Easy" is now referred to locally as "New Orleans, it ain't easy"- the devastation here is hard to describe- on top of that, there is no getting away from it- it has a way of over powering you gradually-
The depression and heaviness sort of sneaks up on you- people who have come here to work and help out have reported having some Mental Health issues long after they leave- we recommend debriefing a few times after you get back-
You can work here and not feel as though you are accomplishing anything- success here is measured in small steps- do what you can and be OK with that-
The area of St. Bernard was particularly hard hit- it is a working class and middle class environment populated by people who left New Orleans in the 50's and 60's looking for space and freedom- they passed these values to their children and their grandchildren- friends of mine who still live their have aged 10 or 15 years in the past 6 months-it is hard to see and deal with-
Bring sunscreen as the sun here is different from upstate NY- drinks lots of water (only bottled water)- mail and phone service is more 3rd world - you won't find a lot of amenities in St. Bernard- not a lot of electricity, water, gas, heat, a/c- the French Quarter and CBD are up and running and look good-
People here still want and need to tell their story- people here will dig through muck and mire to find a few possessions that might seem trivial to someone else-I think it is their way of saying that I'm not defeated and IT didn't take everything-
Some helpful Web sites to go to get a feel for the area-WWLTV.com (a local TV station); NOLA.com (the site for the daily paper); these sites will also give you links to other sites pertaining to the area

Monday, February 27, 2006

Democrat & Chronicle: Local News

Democrat & Chronicle: Local News: "The 200 or so St. Bonaventure students will be divided among three areas of Mississippi and two in Louisiana.

'Maybe in the tiniest way I'm upset I'm not doing a (traditional) spring break with my friends,' Francis said, adding that she originally was nervous that students would want to go to beaches rather than volunteer for work in hurricane rebuilding. 'I was just amazed at ... how many people signed up to go.'"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Don't miss the CNN presents piece on Bay ST. Louis.

I just saw it. VERY good!

CNN.com - Saving my town: The fight for Bay St. Louis - Feb 22, 2006: "CNN Student News) -- Set your VCR to record CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Saving my town: The fight for Bay St. Louis when it airs commercial-free on Monday, February 27, 2006, from 4:00-5:00 a.m. on CNN.

Camp Coast Care - Katrina Relief

Camp Coast Care - Katrina Relief This will be our largest site. It is located in Long Beach and we will have 100 people here.

Pictures of the site

And a comment that shows why we should volunteers should try to donate some if they can:

"What does it cost to house a volunteer at Camp Coast Care?
When you consider the whole enterprise of setting up and operating a volunteer center to answer a need after a crisis, the accumulated costs are staggering. Our best figuring, is that it costs roughly $20.00 per day, per volunteer to run a center like this....Of course, we are not in the inn-keeping business, and no one will be turned away for lack of funding."

State of the City 2005

State of the City 2005: "Mayor A.J. Holloway delivered his annual State of the City delivered Feb. 23, 2006 during a Biloxi Bay Chamber-sponsored luncheon at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi"

Yes you can listen to it!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Some stats from Biloxi

Some interesting stats from the City of Biloxi:
  1. " 3,167 – number of students in Biloxi public schools when classes resumed Sept. 26 (compared to 6,125 enrolled pre-storm). Five months after the storm, enrollment was at 4,321.
  2. $54,795 – amount of gaming tax city would be collecting per day if casinos were operating ($20 million a year; 35 percent of city’s annual operating revenue)
  3. $92,000 – amount city agreed to pay in July 2005 for a $10 million business interruption insurance policy in the event casinos were shut down by a storm
  4. $500,000 – amount of gaming tax state lost each day Biloxi casinos after Katrina.
  5. More than 2.08 million cubic yards – amount of storm debris that had been removed from city streets and public rights-of-way since the storm. This amount of debris would cover a football field with and stand more than 97 stories high. City leaders estimate that about 75 percent of the debris had been removed six months after the storm."

10 Day Local Weather Forecast - weather.com

10 Day Local Weather Forecast For Biloxi MS - weather.com

Long range forecasts are notoriously inaccurate, but with the trip now within the ten day window you can get a glimpse:

For the Biloxi region they are calling for temps in the upper 60s with a better than average chance of showers.

For New Orleans it is pretty similar with maybe a few degrees warmer.

CNN.com - Saving my town: The fight for Bay St. Louis - Feb 22, 2006

This looks good!!

CNN.com - Saving my town: The fight for Bay St. Louis - Feb 22, 2006: "CNN Student News) -- Set your VCR to record CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Saving my town: The fight for Bay St. Louis when it airs commercial-free on Monday, February 27, 2006, from 4:00-5:00 a.m. on CNN.
Program Overview

What does it take to rebuild a community---physically and psychologically---from the ground up? Will residents return to rebuild? Will insurance companies honor their commitment to their customers? The residents of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, have asked these questions for six months since Hurricane Katrina leveled much of their town. To help find the answers, CNN taps Kathleen Koch. For Koch, this isn't just a story of death, destruction and loss. It's the story of her hometown, where the house she grew up in, along with hundreds of others, has been reduced to a concrete slab. Join her and the residents of Bay St. Louis as one small community comes together."

A new feature for those interested in our trip

This will be useful for those who would like to keep abreast of how our trip is going and also longer run for keeping up to date with the future of the "BonaServes" efforts.

Click here to join BonaServes
Click to join BonaServes

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Daily News - News - 02/21/2006 - PSM honors 1 students for their Katrina cleanup efforts

Ok, so the article needs some editing, but that said, it is still a great honor to some great people!

The Daily News - News - 02/21/2006 - PSM honors 1 students for their Katrina cleanup efforts: "It's something everyone can participate in and everybody should,' Edward Constantine said Monday about the trip made on behalf of Hands On USA Gulf Coast Recovery Project.....Before they go, however, those students may be off to Harrisburg to receive a resolution passed by the state House of Representatives."

"Porter presented certificates of achievement to Raja, Ely-Denberg, Constantine, Stover, Brittney N. Hays, Kendra Jennette, T.J. O'Malley, Ashley Porter and Eric Wood, as well as absent classmates George Kopko and Susanne Tindall."

I was unable to confirm the rumor that George was absent because he was out getting in shape to chase down any dogs that escape the Humane Society. ;)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The tragedy of the Tivoli: Katrina claimed at least 9

Just read them. I can not add any more.

The Sun Herald | 02/19/2006 | The tragedy of the Tivoli: Katrina claimed at least 9:

a few look-ins

"For months, the Tivoli stayed on the back burner of attention, lost among so many Katrina stories. But as Sun Herald staffers wrote 'We Remember' features on each of 169 known Katrina victims, they realized the Tivoli played a role in at least nine deaths, the most in one location."
""The Aug. 29 storm used a Grand Casino barge as the battering ram to assault the old hotel, but much of its brick tower still stands, which allowed at least four to take refuge there."
and elsewhere in the article:
"The dead can't talk. The living disappear, or rarely speak publicly if they remain in the region. Sometimes survivor memories are conflicting. That is the way of tragedy retellings, but their stories are no less real, no less poignant.

'The only point that I'm trying to make is that if they tell you to evacuate, you do it,' said Porter. 'That's the only reason I'm talking - if it will help one person, if it will save one life.'

The Sun Herald | 02/19/2006 | HOW DID THEY DIE?

The next in the series. These should win some prize. They are that good. Everyone should read to understand what the people have gone through. Harrowing.

The Sun Herald | 02/19/2006 | HOW DID THEY DIE?:
"Every time E.J. would slip under the water, Cody would reach down and pull her up and ask what time it was. To this day, E.J. said, Cody tells people he saved his mommy and his mommy saved him."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

City of Biloxi

City of Biloxi: "Biloxi’s debris-removal teams crossed the 2 million cubic-yard mark Wednesday, and Mayor A.J. Holloway says it appears that about 75 percent of the storm debris has been hauled from city streets and neighborhoods.

“It has been and continues to be an arduous and time-consuming process,” Holloway said, “but residents throughout our city are seeing a dramatic difference. My goal is to get as much of this debris hauled off as soon as possible and not let up until the job is done.”

The city has had as many as 300 debris-removal teams working initially seven days a week for 12 hours a day. The more than 2 million cubic yards of debris would cover a football field and stand 93 stories high."

Biloxi's real estate market soaring - The Clarion-Ledger

Biloxi's real estate market soaring - The Clarion-Ledger:
"Areas near the Back Bay of Biloxi, including east Biloxi and D'Iberville, are expected to see the most growth, said Len Blackwell, a former Mississippi Gaming Commission chairman. But Bay St. Louis and Waveland also will thrive, he said.

"You're not going to see casinos on every corner,' Blackwell said. 'You're not going to see a great expansion. You'll see development in places where you could legally have casinos anyway, especially on the Back Bay.'"
This is creating quite a decision for residents.

Do you?

a. rebuild
b. wait and hope casino buys you out
c. wait and see

Adding to the decision is what you do, may be dependent on what your neighbors do.

FEMA: Mississippi Recovery Update For Hurricane Katrina: Week 24

FEMA: Mississippi Recovery Update For Hurricane Katrina: Week 24:
"Approximately 32.8 million cubic yards of debris has been removed from public and private property so far. FEMA continues to reimburse Mississippi 100 percent for this expense and will do so until March 15, 2006."
I did not know that! We may have a financial incentive to remove as much trash as possible when we are back in MS over spring break! Right after we leave, FEMA stops paying for debris removal.

Cadillac News

Cadillac News: "The Harrison County Library System jumped at the chance to receive help from libraries in Michigan, asking them to collect books as soon as they had a place to put them.

“We are the only ones doing a book drive,” explained Holly Mercer, the administrative assistant for the MMLL. “Everyone else is taking monetary donations through the American Library Association. But they do need the books because now they are getting temporary locations set up.”"

The Sun Herald | 02/18/2006 | Police issued life-or-death directives

The Sun Herald's look back atthe storm. Wow.

The Sun Herald | 02/18/2006 | Police issued life-or-death directives:

Just one small piece:
"Biloxi police dispatchers received 242 calls for help after police and emergency workers had been pulled off the streets. A similar scene was playing out in nearly every Coast town.

'We were inundated with phone calls from people who wanted help, but by then it was too late.' Gulfport Police Chief Steve Barnes said.

Most of the gut-wrenching cries for help in Biloxi were from desperate residents on Point Cadet, in a city where police personnel were spread too thin before the storm with evacuation-traffic concerns to conduct door-to-door checks.

Around 9 a.m., a few police officers had heard enough of the frantic calls. They used an old two-and-a-half-ton military truck to drive through the Point.

'In a lot of the calls for help, people were just screaming,' Dunagan said. 'Our officers brought back about 75 people, and one small dog; after that it was too bad to go back out.'

Local officials seem to agree convincing people to leave in the near future won't be nearly as difficult."

USATODAY.com - Hurricane-ravaged Biloxi gets an 'Extreme Makeover'

USATODAY.com - Hurricane-ravaged Biloxi gets an 'Extreme Makeover':

"...l adorn a memorial to the storm's victims being built under the direction of the ABC reality show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

"So many residents lost homes in Biloxi that 'Extreme Makeover' producers settled on projects that would benefit the public. Said show construction consultant Adam Helfman: 'Instead of fixing one house, we're helping the whole community.'

The show featuring the Biloxi projects is tentatively set to air March 30."

WLOX-TV - The News for South Mississippi: IP Casino Helps Fund Habitat Homes In Biloxi

Good news! Much more is needed, but it is a start.

WLOX-TV - The News for South Mississippi: IP Casino Helps Fund Habitat Homes In Biloxi: "Habitat for Humanity in Biloxi received a boost Friday from a local casino.

Imperial Palace presented Mayor A.J. Holloway with a check for $200,000. The money will go toward building Habitat for Humanity homes in Biloxi.

General Manager Jon Lucas says his casino is dedicated to helping build the coast back."

Update on Spring Break Trip and email

Updates on several things

*We are now full! We sold out 4 buses! :) It looks like we will ahve about 270+ people in MS and LA to help over spring break! For more details check out

*I had been holding off on allowing email updaets of this page since I feared people would think they were signing up for the trip and not just emails, but now that sign-ups are done, email updates of this blog will be allowed. Just sign up and once a day you will get any changes to the site emailed you. Easier than RSS software! if you can use email, you can do this.

Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz

USATODAY.com - After Katrina, insurance tops family's list of tough battles

USATODAY.com - After Katrina, insurance tops family's list of tough battles:
"The raw numbers are staggering: More than half a million people in Mississippi have applied for assistance from FEMA. In a state with just 2.9 million residents, that means more than one in six Mississippians have sought help. More than 97,000 people are still living in FEMA trailers and mobile homes. Another 5,000 to 6,000 are still waiting for FEMA trailers.

Despite a massive cleanup, many neighborhoods are still piled high with storm debris."

" decimated Waveland...."When you find something, like a bowl or a cup, you set it on the slab because somebody's going to claim it," she explains....Before Katrina, Penrose's hometown was a comfortable community of 7,100 with a slightly cosmopolitan flair that managed to capture the flavor of both Gulfport-Biloxi, 35 miles to the east, and New Orleans, 60 miles to the west. Now, the city is virtually gone....But Katrina is still ever-present here."

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Sun Herald | 02/17/2006 | KATRINA'S DEAD


The Sun Herald | 02/17/2006 | KATRINA'S DEAD: "Biloxi was the site of the most deaths, with about half of its 53 victims perishing within a four-block radius of Yankie Stadium. Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis had 24 victims each, despite having a fraction of Biloxi's population.

Most storm victims appeared to have died in or near their homes. The Sun Herald found that only 11 victims on the Coast were not at or near their home addresses"

"Katrina's victims came from a host of professions, even though a majority were of retirement age. There was a handful of casino workers, and there were also oceanographers, custodians, chefs, restaurateurs, fishermen, and one known artist, Paul Phillips of Gulfport."

CNN.com - Katrina, time take their toll on Mississippi town - Feb 17, 2006

CNN.com - Katrina, time take their toll on Mississippi town - Feb 17, 2006: "The more fortunate residents had from 2-to 12-feet of water in their homes. The unlucky ones had nothing left but empty slabs. Even 'hurricane-proof' homes like the one I'd grown up in, on South Beach Boulevard, were reduced to rubble."

"Eventually, FEMA-provided trailers did come. Still, as in most places on the Gulf Coast, Bay St. Louis residents say there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to who got them or when they arrived. Nearly six months after the storm, I have friends who applied for a trailer in September who are still waiting."

"Residents have waged their hardest, most frustrating battles with insurance companies. Even though most people had homeowners' insurance, wind policies and even hurricane coverage, few have received significant post-Katrina payments."

"Our concern is that we're being forgotten," says Mayor Favre. "Katrina's no longer the topic of conversation, and it needs to be. "The devastation is here and its obvious. So our plea is, please help us."

Volunteers in college

cantonrep.com: "In its annual “The American Freshman” survey released recently, UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute reported that first-year undergraduates’ interest in performing community service and assisting the needy has surged.

The survey — based on polls last fall of 263,710 freshmen at 385 of the nation’s four-year schools — found that 66.3 percent believe it is very important or essential to help others in difficulty. That figure, up from 62.4 percent in 2004, is the highest percentage in 25 years.

In addition, 26.3 percent said there was a “very good” chance they would participate in volunteer or community service while in college, up from 24.1 percent a year earlier and the highest since researchers began asking that question in 1990. In all, 67.3 percent of freshmen said there was at least “some” chance they would do such work."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Post-Katrina stress still weighs on New Orleans - Yahoo! News

Post-Katrina stress still weighs on New Orleans - Yahoo! News:
"Up to a third of those who lived through the death and destruction of Hurricane Katrina may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and cannot find treatment, mental health professionals said on Wednesday.

Symptoms of the syndrome, known as PTSD during the Vietnam War but first recorded during the Civil War, include insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, estrangement and attempted suicide"

US unprepared for Katrina: report - Yahoo! News

This just in...
US unprepared for Katrina: report - Yahoo! News: "Federal emergency agencies were unprepared for Hurricane Katrina and quicker White House involvement might have improved their response, said a harsh report by congressional Republicans released on Wednesday"

gee, do you think? lol

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Monkey Mike Interview

What a great guy--one of those people you can talk to for hours about pretty much anything.

In this "interview" he talks a bit about his time in Biloxi and what volunteers should expect. Good stuff!

MP3 File

If it does not play, try here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Hands On Disaster Response :: Rebuilding Communities. Rebuilding Lives.

I'll change the links on the Main page soon, but for now, I will post it here. The "new" Handson-Disaster Response page.

Hands On Disaster Response :: Rebuilding Communities. Rebuilding Lives.

HandsOnUSA: Thank You: Volunteers, Donors, and Biloxi !

From David Campbell: HandsOnUSA: Thank You: Volunteers, Donors, and Biloxi !: "Our HandsOnUSA project came to a successful conclusion on January 31st, 2006 - heartfelt thanks to our 1,500 wonderful volunteers, and the generous donors who made our efforts possible. "

Darius Monsef's class lecture

I have had several people say that they have had problems listening to the audio of Darius' class. I guess it is a browser issue....but this should help. It is a direct link to my new podcast site. You canb then go to it and listen as you would to any other podcast. (I think)

MP3 file

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sun-Herald editorial calling for higher standards

The Sun Herald has thrown their weight into the discussion as to whether new building codes should be made more strict.

Two quick "look-ins" that capture the article:
"While there is still considerable uncertainty about how far the Legislature will go toward requiring new homes in Mississippi to be built to a higher standard, there is little doubt that, across the Coast, new homes will have to withstand stronger winds and higher water than before Hurricane Katrina."

"While we cannot prevent another storm, we can certainly better prepare for it.

That is why we should all appreciate public officials wise enough to require their constituents to build safer and stronger houses. Because if we don't get it right this time, we can forget about getting billions of federal dollars to get it right next time."

One more try

Hurricane relief meeting and then a 30 minute talk by Darius Monsef. This works great for me and in firefox, but for some reason several people have said they can not get it to work in IE. Sorry

Saturday, February 11, 2006

BonaResponds meeting 2/8/2006--audio

The Audio of the first 45 minutes of the Feb 8th BonaResponds meeting. We provide a trip update and then Darius Monsef speaks for about 30 minutes.
Selected Audio

Darius Monsef's class lecture

Selected Audio

This is great. It is the recording of Darius' lecture to business students and faculty on Feb 8, 2006.

(for whatever reason, it starts at about 1 min and 13 seconds into the presentation--I was not miked for the introduction)...

From the City of Biloxi

From the City of Biloxi:

Holloway to appear on C-SPAN Sunday evening

Mayor A.J. Holloway will discuss the challenges of a post-Katrina Biloxi Sunday night during an hour-long interview on C-SPAN, cable's public affairs network with about 34.5 million viewers across the country.

Holloway appears on the weekly series "Q&A," which airs at 7 and 10 p.m. CT and is hosted by C-SPAN's Brian Lamb.

The program, which was taped during Holloway's recent visit to Washington to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will include excerpts from the city-commissioned documentary "Katrina & Biloxi," Lamb questioning Holloway about the history of Biloxi, and even references to the mayor's gridiron days at Ole Miss.

Read C-SPAN's online promo for the show by click here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Coverage of BonaResponds and Darius Monsef's talk

Hands On USA gets a big hand from local volunteers
By KATIE WARD, The Times Herald

(all quotes, click above to go to the article)

....Darius Monsef ....told some 265 members of the St. Bonaventure
BonaResponds team, which plans to join the Hands On’s
efforts on March 4, to expect chaos, but promised them
that one week of service would make a bigger
difference in the lives of Katrina victims then they
could imagine."

Volunteers will work out of at least three different
locations — Biloxi, New Orleans, La., and Long Beach,
Miss. — gutting houses and removing debris, working
with humane societies, delivering food and performing
a multitude of other tasks.

St. Bonaventure students already have organized two
initiatives, one to provide the area Little League
with donated baseball supplies and another to collect
books for libraries damaged by the hurricane.

According to education student Becky Kessler, who’s
running the book collection at Allegany Elementary,
where she interns, the response from the elementary
students has been better than expected.
‘We’re not taking 265 followers with us to
Mississippi,” said Todd Palmer, assistant professor of
management sciences and a Students in Free Enterprise
(SIFE) advisor. “We need 265 leaders. This is going to
be extraordinary.”
"Christine Francis, student leader for the
BonaResponds, has made the trip twice already and said
she doesn’t want to stop helping in Mississippi and
“I absolutely loved it,” she said. “It was the most
satisfying work I’ve ever done. It’s definitely been
something I’ve been eating, breathing and sleeping
since October."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

From Richard Smith

(quote begins here)




Non perishable foods (please try to include enough of one item to feed
atleast a Family of 4)



UTENSILS (knives, forks)
plastic Pillow and mattress covers !


Sunday, February 05, 2006

CNN.com - Tornadoes hit hurricane-ravaged areas - Feb 2, 2006

They just can't buy a break!

CNN.com - Tornadoes hit hurricane-ravaged areas - Feb 2, 2006: "Two tornadoes ripped through neighborhoods already hit hard by Katrina just five months earlier, battering the airport and knocking down utility poles and a radio tower. No serious injuries were reported, but weary residents couldn't help but ask what else they would have to endure. "

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Feb 12 at the Olean Public Library

Sunday, February 12: 2:00 - 3:30
Red Cross Volunteer Kryn Palmquist will present a slideshow and speak about her time spent in New Orleans helping out after Hurricane Katrina