Sunday, January 28, 2007

WP: Volunteers shoulder Katrina rebuilding - Highlights -

WP: Volunteers shoulder Katrina rebuilding - Highlights -
"In this small rural community, as in much of the hurricane-ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast, this kind of motley charity effort accounts for the vast bulk of what halting progress has been made in the immense task of rebuilding.

While the national debate over the recovery has focused on the billions expected in federal aid and insurance, those sources have so far provided little for places such as Pearlington, and charity efforts have constituted more than 80 percent of the home rebuilding completed so far, local and charity officials said.

Fewer than one in five families here are back in their homes, but nearly all of them have relied to some extent on charity groups. "

Some people get it, some people do not!

I prior engagement kept me from participating in a recent BonaResponds meeting, but Jerry et al did a wonderful job responding to a local sports writer in the Olean Times Herald. Here it their letter (I wish I could add my name to it!!)..

26 January 2007
Editor, Olean Times Herald
693 Norton Drive
Olean NY 14760

To the editor:
In regards to Tom Roof's article of 23 January, 2007 in which he stated “We won’t have to hear for the next two weeks about how needed this is for New Orleans. If you weren’t sick of the Saints and Katrina by now, you surely would have been by Feb 4.” The cruelty and insensitivity of this comment is unconscionable.

Yes, had the New Orleans Saints won the NFC championship we would have been subjected tocountless Katrina stories between now and the February 4th. I can understand why he might be glad that the Chicago Bears relieved him of the burden of hearing about this tragedy for a few weeks. Imagine then, how much happier the people of the Gulf Coast would be if they didn't have to LIVE with this tragedy day after day for the next decade. Mr. Roof could simply change the channel. They can not.

Mr. Roof could have used his position as a journalist to help the thousands who are living as "Prisoners of Katrina," but actively chose not to. Instead he his elevated discomfort, or even worse, his boredom, with the images of this tragedy above the suffering of those experiencing it."

Many in this community were sicked by the stories and images of Katrina. Unlike Mr. Roof, they treated the victims of this disaster as human beings, not as an inconvenience. They went to the Gulf Coast, listened to their stories, and helped them clean up and rebuild. They went back again and again.

I invite Mr. Roof to St. John's Church on Sunday February 11th where some of us that have recently returned from Mississippi will be sharing stories. If he can't wait that long, he can visit or ask any of us at St. Bonaventure.

Jerry T. Godbout
Department of Chemistry
St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778
The following St. Bonaventure students also signed this letter
Ryan Hasper
James Kane
Margaret Kubiak
Joshua Koszuta

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mississippi rebuilding expected to jump following agreement on Hurricane Katrina insurance claims - International Herald Tribune

WHAT GOOD NEWS FOR MISSISSIPPI! Not however for New Orleans residents.

Mississippi rebuilding expected to jump following agreement on Hurricane Katrina insurance claims - International Herald Tribune:
"In a move that is expected to jump- start rebuilding along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, State Farm Insurance says it has reached an agreement with state officials to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to owners of homes along the coast that were wrecked by Hurricane Katrina.

The agreement settles lawsuits filed by 640 homeowners and allows thousands of others to reopen damage claims that State Farm previously closed. Insurance executives said they expected the outlines of the deal to be adopted by other carriers.

The agreement, announced Tuesday, does not apply to New Orleans, where the failure of the levees left much of the city underwater for days. Lawyers and insurers say no similar settlement talks are in progress there"

Sunday, January 14, 2007

From HandsonNetwork

Hands On Gulf Coast is currently seeking AmeriCorps Members!

Through a grant from the Mississippi Commission on Volunteer Service, Hands On Gulf Coast is launching a large AmeriCorps program to help us address the ongoing recovery needs of the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. We are currently seeking volunteers interested in returning to Biloxi by February 15, 2007 and committing 9 months of service to the region. Positions are available in a variety of areas, including: construction, case management, education, public health, green space redevelopment, and community outreach. Positions are also available for later start dates with durations of 4.5 months, 3 months, and 1.5 months. All include a biweekly living allowance, and an Education Award upon completion of service term.

This is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a way to make a significant contribution to the recovery of the Gulf Coast! As a Hands On Gulf Coast volunteer, we're asking you to consider joining this exciting program, and to pass the word along to any of your like-minded friends and family members who may be interested in serving with us!

Please see attached file for detailed information, or visit our website at

Inquires and applications can be directed to Hands On Gulf Coast at:
Overview of trip:

Well we are back! Two long 1,222 mile drives sandwiched what was a very successful trip! We worked with Randy’s Rangers in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Pass Christian is a small town (pre Katrina population of about 6,000) that was near where the storm came ashore. The destruction was catastrophic: of about 2400 homes pre storm, only 429 were livable after the storm and even sixteen months later only about 800 homes are habitable. So there is much rebuilding to be done.

Randy and Deb are the leaders of Randy’s Rangers. They have been on the scene in some capacity from early September 2005. Both began their Pass Christian existence working at the life-saving distribution centers that gave food and water in the weeks after the storm. Their work, and lives, have evolved since when they joined forces (both at Randy’s Rangers and in life as they also married). As many volunteer agencies ran out of steam and volunteers Randy’s Rangers operated in and around Pass Christian out of a primitive tent camp on the site of the destroyed elementary school on Second Street.

As clean-up around the town evolved into rebuilding, the town decided it was time to rebuild their school grounds. This forced Randy’s Rangers to move from their Camp Commode to new larger grounds on the site of a former apartment building on Lak Bleu Street. Mainly using tents and lumber salvaged from a the former FEMA tent village on Espy Road, the Rangers had started the new facility but it was not really ready for a large group of volunteers when we arrived late on January 3.

For the next eight days BonaResponders along with smaller numbers of volunteers from various American Baptist groups and a handful of Americorps volunteers (for a day) helped build, roof, and finish a laundry building, built a building to house tools, painted a new dining facility, connected the kitchen and dining rooms, dug and filled ditches to lay sewer and electric lines across campus, helped lay out RV hook-ups, and cleaned debris from the site. As this was done, the site grew into a usable home for future volunteers.

In addition to this on site work, teams went out help local residents. This work included building shingling a roof, walking dogs for a woman who was too sick to do so herself, painting the interior of a home to allow a woman to move out of her FEMA trailer and back into a house, and building a porch for an gentleman whose house was destroyed.

Overall the trip was a huge success and laid out the beginnings of a new relationship between BonaResponds and Pass Christian and Randy’s Rangers. Many more details will be forthcoming! Stay Tuned!!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hi from Pass Christian MS

Hi from Pass Christian MS.

We are here working with RandysRangers in Pass Christian. We are building tool sheds, laundry facilities and much more. It is pretty hard work but everyone is having a great time and getting much great work done!

It is amazing how much more work still needs to be done. I HIGHLY recommend coming down.

Remember we will be back March 2-10. Why don't you join us?

Monday, January 01, 2007

BonaResponds will almost assuredly be working on this project this spring.

"Re-Tree WNY was established on November 3, 2006 by a group of about 40 Western New York residents who saw first-hand the devastation done to our beautiful Western New York living resource -- our trees -- and decided to take action to re-forest every public area that was destroyed by the freak October 12-13

Our mission is the same as our name, Re-Tree WNY. We are working on this project as a five-year plan with a goal to replace the approximately 30,000 trees in Western New York that were damaged or destroyed. Our first planting will be on Arbor Day, April 27, 2007 and we have set a minimum goal of 3,000 trees to be planted."