Archive for April, 2009

GYA Opening Regatta at BWYC

April 29, 2009

Commodre Judy Reeves 




Bay-Waveland Yacht Club and BWYC Commodore Michael J. Carron will be hosting the Gulf Yachting Association Opening Regatta at its beautiful new yacht club facility on the weekend of May 2nd and 3rd, 2009.

Malin Chamberlain (Mrs. Walter G. Chamberlain) is the General Regatta Chairman for this prestigious sailing event. Yacht Clubs and individuals from throughout the 5 state, 33 member yacht club Gulf Yachting Association (GYA) will be competing in sailboats on race courses all over the Bay of St. Louis on that Saturday and Sunday. Please see the attached flyer and the schedule of events.

It should be a spectacular sailing event. One of the highlights of the regatta is that former two term BWYC Commodore and the newly elected GYA Commodore Judy Reeves is being honored as the new Commodore of the Gulf Yachting Association. Judy is a second generation commodore of BWYC and her father the late Dr. Richard E. Reeves served two consecutive terms as commodore of BWYC in the years 1964 and 1965.

Judy is a very accomplished sailing competitor and a national sailing champion having won the Mrs. Francis D. Adams Cup for the United States Women’s Sailing Championship title at Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans in 1980. It should be obvious that she knows how to run a first class yacht club too and from all perspectives. As well as at Bay-Waveland Yacht Club, Judy has been active for some years in the administrative activities of the Gulf Yachting Association having served on committees, the board of directors and in the flag officer line up positions as Rear Commodore and as Vice Commodore.

There will be 4 race courses under the overall direction and supervision of BWYC Principal Race Officer Clinton T. Edwards. One Flying Scot entry from every GYA yacht club is eligible and expected to compete in the Commodore Auguste Capdevielle event. Eligibility will be open for the GYA Masters (50 years of age and older) event which will be sailed in Flying Scots and the winner will be awarded the Commodore John Dane Trophy. A fleet of Lightnings will compete in their Class District event. Other fleets expected to compete are Fish Class, Sunfish, Laser Radial, 420s, Laser, Finn, Optimists, Open Bics, Triamataran and PHRF. The first race Warning Signals are scheduled for 1330 hours on Saturday and at 1000 hours on Sunday. There will be a team racing demonstration on Saturday at the end of the days’ racing.

It should be noted that eight other members or former members of Bay- Waveland Yacht Club have previously served as Commodore of the Gulf Yachting Association. Judy will be our 9th GYA Commodore since the beginning in 1901. Those gentlemen are as follows: Commodore Walter G. Chamberlain 2002, Commodore Frank C. Alien, Jr.1997, Commodore Basil T. Kennedy 1992, Commodore Henry G. Chapman 1982, Commodore Henry B. Chapman 1967, Commodore J. Alvin Weinfurter 1957, Commodore E. J. Bowers 1909 and Commodore John A. Rawlins 1904.

Doors are closed at DeRussy Motors

April 29, 2009


Long-time GM dealership DeRussy Motors is apparently closed for business, for now, but company officials have declined comment.


The Associated Press reported Tuesday that General Motors Corp. has informed its dealers that it will force 1,000 to 1,200 underperforming dealerships to close their doors in an attempt to make remaining dealerships more profitable.

On Monday, the company announced it was cutting more than 2,600 dealers by 2010, the AP said.

It is as yet unknown if the recent developments at DeRussy Motors in Waveland are related to the announcements from General Motors on Monday and Tuesday.Last Friday, the Echo received information that DeRussy was closing.

An employee– who declined to be identified–said Friday afternoon that the information about the dealership closing was not true and “a vicious rumor.”

Over the past four days, the dealership has not been open to the public.

Several attempts to reach owner Mark DeRussy, including a phone call to his home, were not successful.

On Tuesday, the front door of the dealership was locked and both entrances to the business from Hwy. 603 were blocked.

A woman outside the dealership said that it was closed and requests to speak with DeRussy were once again denied.

“He is here, but he is not speaking to anyone,” the woman said.

GM’s plan was apparently laid out to dealership owners in a video conference on Tuesday, the AP said. The plan includes plans to reduce dealerships by 42 percent, cutting from 6,246 to 3,605.

State tax records show that new auto purchases have declined greatly amid the national recession.

Last week, the state tax commission announced the legislative tag credit was being reduced by nearly 50 percent.

Tax/Assessor Collector Jimmy Ladner said the action is a good indicator that nobody is purchasing new vehicles.

Last year, GM was the recipient of a federal auto bail-out. Many of the loans the company has with the federal government carry a June 1 deadline for restructuring moves, the AP said.

GM Spokeswoman Susan Garontakos was quoted as saying GM is in the process of deciding which dealers to keep based on their sales performance, capitalization, potential profitability, size, image, and customer satisfaction scores.

That church on Lower Bay Road

April 29, 2009

3.5 years and it is still across the road from where it was before the storm. Privately owned, a catholic church built in 1868 – and it lingers waiting for a solution.

As so much “lingers” still these 3.5 years after the storm. Long Term Recovery – non existent as that organization announced months ago it had morphed into a Housing Resource Center for affordable housing – one of many along the Coast these days as we try to address the critical need for “real”affordable housing. No one is “in charge”, there is no “lead” agency, there is no continuity from the trenches to the Governor’s office. Still a blended mix of philanthropic style organizations and non profits trying to pull together a solution for the critical housing needs of clients who still do not have grant funding.

There has been no funds at the round table of olde since May of 2008 and what little is promised, in Hancock County, is actually coming to a Housing Resource Center and will only address about 18 complete rebuilds to about $80,000 or about 100 “refurbish” homes. Its an either, or, or a mix – not a complete solution by any means. Although it is mentioned again, and again, and again, and again and the process is not started yet – not opened up for applications. Excuse: HUD is holding up the process with bureaucratic red tape and convoluted rules and requirements.

Miss. gov sets special session on eminent domain

April 28, 2009
Gov. Haley Barbour is calling a special session of the Legislature to deal with eminent domain.

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will call a special legislative session and ask the House and Senate to formally regulate the government’s use of eminent domain to take private property for economic development projects.

“It would be a very, very strict process would have to be accomplished before any private property could be taken,” Barbour said Tuesday at the Capitol.

Barbour told The Associated Press that the special session will take place next week during the regular session.

Lawmakers were being sent letters Tuesday telling them to return to the Capitol at 1 p.m. May 6 to wrap up their 90-day session, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant said.

Legislators met from early January to early April, and they’ve been in recess since. The biggest piece of unfinished business is writing a state budget for the year that begins July 1.

Eminent domain is the process government uses to take private land for projects ranging from road construction to industrial development.

Barbour vetoed a bill in March that would’ve almost eliminated the use of eminent domain to take land for private development projects. He said it was too broad and would’ve put Mississippi at a “catastrophic disadvantage in creating jobs and expanding our economy.”

Property-rights groups, including the politically powerful Mississippi Farm Bureau, are pressuring lawmakers and the governors to tighten restrictions on eminent domain in response to a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed a Connecticut town to condemn private property and take it for a private development.

Since the ruling, at least 43 states have enacted laws to restrict eminent domain, said Scott Bullock, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. The institute, based in Washington, has represented private property owners in fighting the land-taking process.

Barbour said Tuesday that he’ll ask legislators to consider a more narrowly focused plan that would put into state law the process his administration already uses to take private land for job creation. Any project would have to be approved by the state’s economic agency, the Mississippi Development Authority. It also would be approved by local authorities, the state House and Senate and the governor.

Barbour said his proposal would not limit the use of eminent domain to take private land for public use such as highway construction or installation of utility lines.

Bryant said the governor’s proposal is “not ideal” because it’s not as broad as the bill Barbour vetoed. Still, Bryant said he believes the new plan will pass.

“We think at this point this is probably the best we can do,” Bryant said as he left Barbour’s office after some ceremonial signings of other bills.

Only a governor can call a special session, and only he can set the agenda. In this case, calling a special session for eminent domain is logistically simpler than asking lawmakers to file a new bill to consider during the remaining days of the regular session. Filing a new bill during the regular session would require a two-thirds vote of both chambers.

Calling a special session during a regular session is an unusual move, but Barbour did it in 2005 for the Medicaid budget.

Barbour said Tuesday there are other subjects he’s considering adding to the upcoming special session agenda, but there is “nothing earthshaking.”


Out on the Bayou this weekend

April 28, 2009

Left over from Katrina way out in the Bayou just a little west of the Silver Slipper.

on old Highway 90 in Louisianna just the other side of the Mississippi state line

And pollution in the streams where ever you look

Up on stilts in a major flood zone

April 28, 2009

New, in place, and legal. And how long do you give this setup in a Category 3 to 5 hurricane? The dirt brought in is not compacted, the bricks sit loose on top of the soil with no internal grout or re-bar. Many are not sitting “square”. And the entire system is tied down with screw in ties in untested soil.

Picture taken in Hancock County out in Ansley.

The housing program

April 28, 2009

Just announced states they are flooded with calls. A good indication that we have a critical need for affordable housing. Unfortunately this program is also tied to “good credit” and that is a tough commodity to come by when your in the lower echelon wage bracket and have been thru Katrina.

MEMA cottage auction, Louisianna this weekend

April 28, 2009

Hot off the Press from the Gustav damaged MEMA auction

The auction of the flooded MEMA cottages was this weekend in Louisianna – and the prices went off the board of expectations:

Highest three bedroom was $34,000

Lowest three bedroom was $18,500

Highest two bedroom was $27,000

Lowest two bedroom was $16,500

Highest one bedroom was $19,500

Lowest one bedroom was $7,500

These are extremely hot and popular housing options and are fast becoming a “fad” outside the Katrina impacted zone. So many of these units were in very bad shape with extensive mold damage. But still the prices were sky high.

Biloxi cottage dwellers may get an extension to secure their homes

April 28, 2009

By Brad Kessie

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – A snag may force Biloxi to extend its deadline for MEMA cottages to be set on permanent foundations.  The snag has to do with the paperwork about 70 MEMA cottage dwellers must fill out to make their cottages permanent homes.

Right now, Biloxi’s MEMA cottage ordinance requires those people to finish their foundations by Friday.  But city building officials are quickly realizing the May 1 deadline is not realistic.

Lillian David lives in a MEMA cottage. 

“I love it,” the 90 year old Biloxian said.  “It’s just exactly what I planned on building.” 

David’s building plans changed when Biloxi changed its rules.  She no longer had to build a shotgun style home, because the Biloxi City Council was no longer forcing her out of her temporary MEMA cottage.

“It’s all about putting people in homes,” Bill Stallworth said. 

Stallworth’s ward is where a large percentage of Biloxi’s MEMA cottages will become a permanent part of the city. 

“The importance is to allow people the opportunity to really make these cottages a permanent home,” he said.

The only catch was that Biloxi’s MEMA cottage dwellers had to go through a planning commission public hearing.  And then they had to complete a permanent engineered foundation on their properties.  Both of those had to be done by May 1.  However, for a variety of reasons, community development director Jerry Creel said the May 1 deadline became impossible to meet. 

“We were trying to make sure that everything was in place before hurricane season started,” said Creel.  “I think it was an unrealistic deadline.”

So on Tuesday, the city council will consider an amendment to the cottage ordinance.  Up to 70 cottage dwellers may get another two months to get a letter from MEMA, fill out city paperwork, have a public hearing, and then build their permanent foundations.

“I wasn’t worried about the deadline,” David said.  “I felt like they were going to extend it.  I knew they weren’t going to just throw me out.  At least that’s what I thought.”‘

Six cottages in commercial parks have received the proper permits to become permanent fixtures in the city. 

However, at the moment, Biloxi has just four private property cases that are scheduled to be presented to the city’s planning commission.  And according to the community development office, seven other requests to make the cottages permanent homes are in the early stages of the approval process.

Missing high school student’s body found

April 28, 2009

John D. Stephens, a Bay St. Louis student who drowned while surfing in Pensacola, Florida.