2005-09-22 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

Ed Booth returned home this week from the bayou

country. But his mission to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina goes on. Wayne Barnes of Portsmouth, a close friend of Ed, is in Pensacola and continuing the daily trips with Ed’s truck to the distribution centers in the devastated areas.

In addition to handing out individual and family aid, Wayne is setting up “kids’ connections” with a school or schools down there. Ed told us, “One school in New York is sending individual boxes of school supplies. The Jamestown kids are sending money, and that’s best. (The Jamestown School kindergartens sent Ed $718.) We can be sure it all goes to help kids in need. One comment I heard is that a community doesn’t really start to return to normal until the schools are up and running. We will find one for the Jamestown kids and hopefully they can communicate with each other over the Internet.”

We asked Ed if he could sum up his feelings and reactions to what he has witnessed during the past few weeks in Mississippi and Louisiana. He replied, “Ever since I got here, I’ve run into the same problem over and over. How do I take what is in front of me and put it into words for you? How do I take the sights and sound and smells . . . and people’s words and emotions . . . and fit them into little flat black words? I’ve mulled things over and tried to organize my thoughts during my interminable route I-10 cruises, and yet, every night, I go to sleep feeling like I’ve failed to convey.”

Ed went on to say, “There is an enormity here of colossal proportions. There is truly staggering loss. ‘I’ve lost everything’ is heard many times a day. People are sleeping in cars . . . asking us for tents. Literally millions of southern yellow pines are snapped in half or uprooted. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are gone . . . jobs for real people . . . the very people who are coming into the distribution areas.

“My sister Jude (Ed has been working out of her home in Pensacola) met a little girl yesterday. She was there with her mother and her grandparents. Jude gave her some toys that my grandneices Emily and Aly bought for them. They were living in one house that belonged to the grandmother’s sister. Altogether there were five families in the house. The house was damaged and leaning a bit. Most of them only had the clothes they had on. The grandfather said that their mobile home was completely destroyed. The grandmother said it was the first time in her life she had to say she was homeless. We gave the grandmother $300 and she cried and hugged Jude. These people have been dealt a terrible blow and they, collectively, are probably 10 years from having a Christmas.”

Ed continued to relate his observations, “Down here there are parishes . . . counties to us. Many of them have lost their entire fleet of police cars . . . all their schools . . . all their public works equipment . . . all their government buildings . . . most of their residents . . . and any hope of collecting any tax revenues from anyone. They can’t pay their employees. There’s no insurance to collect. There might not be many inhabitable buildings within their boundaries. It’s difficult to concieve of a plan to re-create these towns.

“Bay Saint Louis was clobbered. Much of its housing stock is gone . . . many business no longer exist. The million dollar houses on the water, built atop 30 foot tall piers, are gone, and there is not a stick of wood on the properties. These houses show up two blocks inland, in the form of boards and bathtubs, Sheetrock and baking sheets. Hurricane leftovers are everywhere.

“Brian Williams (NBC news anchor), et al, can’t convey this story either. Not in three minutes between 6:30 and 7. Not about Bay Saint Louis. It’s too far from New Orleans, too far from the cameras and the helicopter photo ops. Katrina has damaged 90,000 square miles . . . an area about the size of Missouri or 50 times the size of Rhode Island. Many are in need. Some may be being ignored. Some may not have been heard. But make no mistake, there are many hundreds of thousands of people who will be in need for a very long time. They are not insured. They are not politically significant. They do not speak in an organized and loud voice. They are, without doubt, completely disenfranchised.

“FEMA still has no real presence at Mr. Ed’s in the WinnDixie Shopping Center in Bay Saint Louis.”

Welcome back Ed, you’ve made a big difference to a lot of people.

If you’d like to help the Katrina victims directly, send your check made out to Ed Booth to Ed at 37 Lee Ave., Newport, 02840. If you prefer to use Paypal on the computer, Ed’s e-mail address is edbooth1@cox .net. Pictures and text of his activities can be seen on dbooth.net/ed.

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Many kudos to the more than 150 teenagers who gathered at the Portuguese American Citizens’ Club last Friday night and donated $2,006 for the victims of hurricane Katrina. The youngsters came from Jamestown, North Kingstown, and Newport to enjoy heavy metal music complete with a mosh pit and crowd surfing.

Also on hand were six of the relocated victims from New Orleans now living in Middletown. They were the guests of honor for the evening.

The evening was planned by Beth Weibust.

Two bands provided the music, Demassek with Ryan Weibust, Pete Booth, Antone Silvia, Logan Hilland, and Dods Stevenson, and Rhode Kill with Nolan McCaffrey, Nick Lane, Pat Tiernan, John Walker, and Ethan Flynn. The hall was provided gratis by the PAC and the music donated by the two bands. “It was something they wanted to do,” Beth said. She said that in addition area businesses provided prizes for a raffle. “The ones that generated the most excitement were a Volcom Pennywise Surfboard donated by Volcom and two electric guitars provided by Pete and Antone of Demassek. Jamestowners Tom Stacom won a guitar and KC Barret, the surfboard.

Beth said she spoke to one of the victim who’s name happens to be Katrina who seemed, along with the others, overwhelmed with the turnout and the generosity. “She said that she liked the area so much she would return every August. Some hoped to be back in New Orleans within a month,” Beth said.

Commenting on the evening generally, Beth said, “What struck me as being the best of the night was seeing so many of the youth in Jamestown together, with so many parents and adults all having a wonderful time. The night belonged to the kids and the bands and the guests from New Orleans and the adults let it happen watching closely, on alert but not needing to step in or interfere.

“There were many parents behind the scenes working the raffle table, cleaning up, etc., but it was really all about the kids and the donations.

“Like so many other times, I was proud to be a Jamestowner, proud of our kids, proud of the parents, and touched by the overwhelming care and generosity of all involved.” Great job, everybody!!!

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Doreen Dell sends many happy returns to David Verrier who was 50 on September 16. Friends and family surprised him with a birthday cookout. Lotsa hugs for David.

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Doreen also wishes good luck to Maegan and Michelle Anacko, who have started nursing classes at CCRI.

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Memo to the Jamestown Moonbathers: All American flags should be at full staff as of sundown last Tuesday.

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Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic asks us in his Pet Tip of the Week to help those others victims of Hurricane Katrina.

“We have seen the heartbreaking news coverage of people and animals suffering in the after effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf of Mexico. Many different organizations have set up relief funds and many are pledging to match donations from the public.

“A few good resources for those who want to specifically help the animals, pets and pet owners affected by the hurricane include the American Veterinary Medical Association Web site www.avma.org and the American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals Web site www.aspca.org.

“Also, do not forget about our local shelters and SPCA centers, many of which are taking in displaced pets from the Gulf Coast and would greatly appreciate your time and/or donations.” WOOF!!

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“Give me ? more, only ? more, let me stay, let me stay in your arms.”

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A 9-hole scramble format will be the feature of the 4th annual David Kearney memorial Golf Tournament Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Jamestown Country Club with registration at 10:30 and a shotgun start at 11 a.m.

The fee is $45 per person, which includes a 9-hole tournament and barbecue lunch following the competition.

Proceeds will benefit the Jamestown Medical Fund. If you need to talk to someone about it, call Kathleen Kearney, 423-2925. FORE!!

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The publicity committee for the Jamestown Community Theatre’s production of “Honk!” is: newspaper, radio and television, Carol Baldwin and Michael Larkin; local features and articles, Mary S. Wright; newspaper advertisements, Fred Glomb; poster, ad and ticket designs, Cynthia Antonelli; photographs, Kate Petrie.

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B.J. Whitehouse was birding at Sheffield Cove last Saturday morning when he noticed “a number of folks at Mackerel Cove hoisting trash bags.” It turned out upon closer investigation that employees of Amerprise Financial Company had volunteered their time through the R.I. Audubon Society to clean our beaches as part of a coastal cleanup day.

B.J. said that Deborah Tobey of the Audubon Society told him that its Coastal Cleanup Day is the third weekend in September. She added that Jamestowner Janet McGuire was part of the cleanup crew that day.

“It’s nice to know that folks are concerned about our environment and our beaches. Thanks to all who helped clean up the beach,” B.J. said.

Ditto!!

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Grand Knight David LeDoux of Jamestown’s Knights of Columbus Council #9197 tells us that James Wermuth, who has been restoring St. Mark’s “Our Lady of Fatima” statue this past summer, believes that the project is very special.

“Many of his restoration jobs are on museum and estate pieces that appreciative eyes may never fall upon,” David said. He added that Wermuth told him, “I have had a wonderful time working on this statue. Many people have approached me as I work and have expressed great enthusiasm for the renovation. I am proud to have been selected to perform this important job and to have my work on display in such a prominent location.”

David said that Wermuth has already spent more time than he was contracted for “and is gladly providing it ‘gratis.’”

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“If this isn’t ? than the whole world is ?

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Jamestown Boy Scout Troop 1 held a Patrol Leaders Council at the library Saturday afternoon. The troop members and Scoutmaster David Volpe discussed activities for the upcoming year, including troop meetings, camp-outs, games and competitions, skills to develop and merit badges to earn, plus the high adventure trip for next year.

Attending were: Senior Patrol Leader Brian Volpe; Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Drew Matley; Patrol Leaders Ross Bohensky, Tom Munro, Nathaniel Hopkins and Shane Farrelly; Quartermaster John Chase; Scribe Kyle Wright; Librarian Dylan Walsh; Historian Madison Hansen; Musician Quinn Earley; OA Representative Zach Volpe; Instructors Michael Brendlinger and Devon McMaster; Guides Matt Bernardo and Sal Morenzi; and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster Adam DiLuglio.

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Rhode Islanders 67 years ago today emerged from their homes on a beautiful day to gaze at the horrific destruction caused by the Great Hurricane of 1938 the day before.

Today is the autumnal equinox.

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We welcome your contributions — items such as birthdays, anniversaries and other good stuff.

Call in your news to 423-0383 or 829-2760, e-mail us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail. com, or drop the item off at the Jamestown Press, 42 Narragansett Ave.

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