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Leaders issue advisories on shelters, storm prep

Sylvarena Baptist Church in Wesson has opened its doors as a shelter to evacuees, but there are currently no plans to open shelters in Lincoln County.

     Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey said emergency response officials are attempting to push evacuees farther north than Brookhaven. Galey said storm conditions are expected to be severe enough that Brookhaven is not an ideal site for evacuees.

     The shelter at Sylvarena Baptist, operated in conjunction with Zion Hill Baptist, is a private shelter and the Rev. Stuart Givens reported seven evacuees at the church as of Wednesday morning.

     Givens said most of the evacuees typically come from the Mississippi coast. Based on the numbers at the church’s shelter, Givens said most people apparently decided to ride out the storm.

     The Rev. Jerry Durr with Brookhaven Outreach Ministries said his ministry would be ready if the Red Cross decided to open Brookhaven shelters.

     “We don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks,” Durr said.

     Outreach Ministries has been making other preparations to provide any help that’s needed in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. Durr typically goes to Jackson on Wednesday to get supplies for his ministry’s food pantry, but this week he went on Tuesday.

     “Our pantries are stocked up and ready,” Durr said.

     Other supplies will be available at Outreach Ministries if needed, including clothing and toiletry and hygiene supplies.

     Federal and state aid will also be available to deal with local damage due to a declaration of emergency approved by county supervisors Monday and Brookhaven aldermen Tuesday.

     Even as they’re hoping evacuees keep moving north, local officials are urging Lincoln County residents to exercise caution to minimize the need for emergency aid in the area.

     “Stay home. Stay off the streets,” said Police Chief Pap Henderson.

     Galey concurred with this advice.

     “The less public we put on the roads, the better off we’ll be,” Galey said.

     Galey advised residents to secure anything that could become a projectile.

     “A garbage can will go through your front window, and it is not fun,” Galey said.

     Lincoln County Justice Court is rescheduling all hearings that were to occur this week, but current plans call for city and county offices to remain open Wednesday and Thursday with work crews ready.

     Grand jury proceeding for today and tomorrow have been canceled, but several circuit court proceedings were still proceeding as normal, said interim Circuit Clerk Sherry Jordan.