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Red Cross ends ticket distribution

No more appointments for Red Cross financial assistance arebeing scheduled and water, ice and food distribution activitieswill also be discontinued, officials said today.

After running out of tickets Thursday evening, Red Cross ReliefCoordinator Tim Connolly said those who come to the sports complexare only being given information about applying for help throughthe 1-800-975-7585 number. He said there is no need for people touse their time and gasoline to come to get that information.

“We’re not taking any more appointments,” Connolly said. “Therewill be other service centers opening, and we don’t want to lockanyone into an appointment.”

Connolly said more than 5,000 people have been processed so farand appointments have been made for another 15,000 through earlyOctober.

Six hundred people a day have been scheduled for appointments.Connolly said all people with tickets will be seen.

“Everyone who has a ticket does not have to worry,” Connollysaid.

Connolly did not say how much money has been allocated for theassistance effort.

“Whatever assistance is needed will be covered,” he said.

Red Cross officials will continue to see those with tickets atthe Multi-Use Facility on Belt Line Road. He reported greatimprovements in the check distribution process.

“It’s running as smooth as silk,” Connolly said.

Center hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Connolly said peoplewith tickets could come any time on their designated day and didnot all have to arrive at 9 a.m.

In other developments, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Civil DefenseDirector Clifford Galey said Saturday would be the last day forwater, ice and meal distribution at the Multi-Use Facility. Thedistribution will be today from 1 until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10a.m. to 3 p.m.

Galey cited the restoration of power in much of the county asone factor in discontinuing the service.

“It appears the need for it has diminished greatly,” Galeysaid.

Also, Galey said plans are being made to return the sportscomplex to the Brookhaven Recreation Department for use with itsactivities. The complex served as the site Tuesday and Wednesdayfor people to wait for Red Cross help.

“We’ve got a crew going out there today hopefully to leave itthe way we found it,” Galey said, referring to cleaning up foodcontainer and water bottle litter left by those waiting forassistance.

In a related note, Sheriff Wiley Calcote today responded tocriticism over how his department and National Guard soldiershandled the situation late Tuesday and Wednesday at thecomplex.

“We were just out there to assist the Red Cross,” Calcotesaid.

Calcote said traffic control was the primary function fordeputies and soldiers.

“It was something that got dumped in our laps that we had nocontrol over,” Calcote said. “We did the best we could withit.”