Restoring services still a top priority

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 2, 2005

Emergency officials continued to ask for residents’ patiencetoday as they seek to restore power and other services in the cityand county.

Mayor Bob Massengill said Waste Management will have a garbagetruck in the South Railroad parking lot from 8 a.m. until 3, Saturday and Sunday for residents to drop off their garbage.He said the truck will come and go as needed to pick up and carryoff garbage.

“They’re doing this as an emergency measure,” Massengillsaid.

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Officials said Waste Management is shooting for Monday to resumeits regular pickup services in the city and county.

Also, Massengill said the state Department of EnvironmentalQuality has agreed to allow the city to collect debris and store itin a separate section of the landfill.

Officials stressed, however, that only limbs, branches and otherwood items should be placed in curbside piles for pickup. Any otheritems should be placed in separate piles as garbage.

“What we’re trying to do is not going to work (if trash pilesare contaminated),” said Steve Moreton, director of public works.”If they contaminate it, they’re going to be skipped.”

Massengill said city crews would be working as usual on Monday,which is Labor Day.

Regarding electricity, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Civil DefenseDirector Clifford Galey said Southwest EPA still had about 3,000 of9,0000 Lincoln County customers without power and 21,000 members inMagnolia EPA’s service area were without power.

Kenny Goza, Entergy customer accounts manager, said 58,000customers south of Jackson were without power. Of the approximately12,000 in Lincoln County, about half have had power restored, hesaid.

Goza continued to urge residents to be careful around downedpower lines and when using generators.

Galey said truckloads of meals, ice and water continue to berequested for the area. He said those are being distributed atpredetermined sites as it arrives in the county.

Galey said additional law enforcement officers have beenrequested to assist with security. He said today that some wildlifeconservation officers may have to be released to assist in Lawrenceand Amite counties.

“They’re actually in worse shape than we are,” Galey said ofthose counties.

Approximately 25 percent of the officers of the MississippiHighway Safety Patrol’s Troop M have been sent to the coast toassist in disaster relief efforts, said Staff Sgt. Rod Crawford,MHP public affairs officer.

Officers remaining in the area have been assisting in reliefefforts here by providing security at distribution points for iceand water, he said.

“We’ve actually had to shut down distribution at times becauseof flared tempers and the potential for violence,” Crawford said.”There’s a feeling of desperation.”

In those instances, he said, troopers locked up the trucks andescorted them out of the area. They returned later to continue thedistribution.

In one case Thursday, Galey said a FEMA ice truck driver toreout a GPS locator, left it at Easthaven Baptist Church and departedfor California. Galey said the GPS device is now at his office.

District Three Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamson urged that iceand water trucks be made available farther out in the county. Hesaid some people can’t get out due to no power and gasshortages.

Galey said FEMA and MEMA assessment teams would be in the areasoon.

“Hopefully, we’ll have them in here today or tomorrow,” Galeysaid.

Galey said people should not try to stop the teams, as they willbe traveling through areas quickly to compile data for a disasterdeclaration.

Between 1,000 and 1,500 evacuees continue to be housed inAmerican Red Cross shelters in Lincoln County, Galey said. He saidefforts are being made to house evacuees in Lincoln, Lawrence andPike county for the long-term.

“We’re attempting to consolidate them into one,” said Galey, whowas hopeful of developments on that front today.

Williamson commended emergency officials, employees andvolunteers on their efforts to clear roads and address a wide rangeof storm-related concerns. He said the magnitude of the situationis still being realized.

“I don’t think it’s dawned on everybody the job people are doingand what’s going on out there,” Williamson said.