Red Cross and business as usual

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Schools thorughout the countyopened Wednesday and the Red Cross is in the area setting up a shelter and assessing dmages.

Also, most area businesses, including all banks and major grocery stores opened for business yesterday.

“We are here to help,” said Bill Carrington of the American Red Cross. Carrington is a member of one of the many National Red Cross teams deployed to service Southwest Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana following Hurricane Gustav.

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Carrington, of Kentucky, said he is traveling with two other team members, Shirley Patterson, also from Kentucky, and local volunteer Earline Parker. Carrington said Parker received her training through the Red Cross to handle disasters and provide assistance following the incident.

The group arrived the first day following Hurricane Gustav and they hit the ground running. The three-person team will service Pearl River County. Yesterday they were spotted riding around in “ERV” — The Emergency Response Vehicle — handing out snacks and water.

Carrington said part of the initial mission is damage assessment. The group will take an inventory of the local damage and inform headquarters of the needs of the area. Carrington’s group is reporting to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chapter located in Biloxi.

Carrington said he hoped to get the word out about the shelter for Pearl River County located at Pearl River Resources, 140 Street A, in Picayune. He said Biloxi also has a shelter available at 2520 Pass Road.

For more information on shelters or services, call 866-472-8265, or 228-896-4511.

Phone calls on Tuesday confirmed that at least the larger local grocery stores: Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie and Claiborne Hill, were open as well as all banks and their branches. This includes the Poplarville branches.

The Mississippi State Deparment of Health reopened all of their facilities in Pearl River, Stone, George, Hancock, Harrison and Jackson) counties, with the exception of the Hancock County Health Deparment and WIC Distribution Center. No official word was given as to when the Hancock facility will reopen.

Calls to Picayune, Pearl River Central and Poplarville school districts confirmed classes would resume today. Hancock County schools could not be reached.

Pearl River Community College will not resume classes at the Poplarville and Forrest County campuses until Thursday. School officials expect Hancock County classes to resume on Monday, Sept. 8. Employees of PRCC will be expected to report to work starting Wednesday. Residence halls will reopen at 4 p.m. Wednesday.