Tag Archive: Bolivar County

FEMA deadline draws near


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The deadline is near for residents displaced  from their homes in Bolivar County from the Mississippi River flood of 2011 to  apply for assistance from the federal government’s Emergency Management Agency  (FEMA).

“On May 11, 2011, President Barrack Obama signed the order  declaring the areas affected by the flood waters as natural disaster areas,” said Michael Skeels, public information officer for FEMA, who is currently  residing in Bolivar County. “By FEMA regulations, those affected by the flood  have 60 days to have their applications for assistance turned in.”

Since  the presidential declaration was signed and went into effect on May 11, home and  land owners have until 11:59 p.m. on July 10 to have their assistance  applications in.

FEMA’s mission is to support the citizens of the United  States and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to  build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against,  respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

On March 1,  2003, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became part of the U.S.  Department of Homeland Security.

“At this point in the application  process,” James Marquez, manager of FEMA’s Bolivar County Disaster Center, said, “It appears that a lot of people displaced or negatively affected from the flood  have taken the initial steps necessary to receive financial  assistance.”

However, there are still some questions concerning FEMA’s  wording or policies that are a little confusing.

The first and foremost  question that has been asked is, what does FEMA consider as primary and  secondary residences?

“Primary residences are homes where the owner lives  the majority of the time,” said Marquez. “There are some necessary documents  needed to prove that the resident is a primary one.

Some of the documents  include utility bills for the address in question, voter’s registration  paperwork and tax papers.

Another common question has been, what are the  requirements needed to qualify for renters assistance?

“When claims are  filed on a location, inspectors will travel out and look at the structure,” continued Marquez. “Renters of course would not receive the benefits from the  residence, but if the inspector considers that the property was not in livable  condition then renter’s assistance may be available.

In other words, it  is the responsibility of the applicant to verify that it was their ‘primary’ residence and inspectors must verify that the home was  uninhabitable.

“Again, we want to express the importance of coming to the  office, located on South Street behind the Cleveland Police Department, and  filing the necessary paperwork. We are here to help with each individual case  and assure applicants that their paperwork is complete and done correctly.”

Read more:  The Bolivar Commercial – FEMA deadline draws near



No Bolivar County burn ban yet


Not only here in Bolivar County but across the Mississippi Delta over the past  several weeks, dark clouds of rising smoke have cluttered the horizon in every  direction.

The voices of many a concerned citizen ring loudly in boards  of aldermen and supervisors meetings in the towns that litter the landscape of  the Mississippi Delta, but they are, more often than not, ringing on deaf  ears.

“I am concerned. I am concerned for the private properties that  surround many of the burning fields, but I am more concerned with the  potentially devastating effect that the smoke will likely have on the  environment. Only living in the Delta for a few years, I cannot believe that the  EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has not stepped in and put an end to these  senseless burnings,” said one citizen at one of these small town Delta  meetings.

“There is some legitimate concern there,” said a representative  from the Mississippi Forestry Commission. “But the simple truth is that by law  we cannot step in until we are asked by the individual county board of  supervisors.

Last year, Gov. Haley Barbour, passed a law banning any  burns within the boarders of the state of Mississippi.

This was because  of the drought affecting much of the state and the fear that these ‘wildfires’ would ultimately burn out of control causing severe damages to adjoining  properties.

However, there are some that benefit from these  burnings.

Farmers have a tough job. Every year they are fighting the odds — Mother Nature, new machinery, higher fuel prices and lower commodity prices  just to name a few.

In their minds, burning fields is a simple, cost  effective way of removing crop stubble from the fields that have been harvested  in preparation of planting the new crops.

Area farmers have been burning  fields for years. Their fathers did it and now they are simply following in the  process.

However, this year has been undeniably worse than others of  recent memory due to the fact that the county has had more wheat planted this  year than in years passed.

The high winds that often torment this area of  the U.S. during the spring and early summer months makes the process of burning  that much more of a sensitive and dangerous topic.

Again, burn bans are  requested by the county board of supervisors before being approved by the  Mississippi Forestry Commission.

Several Mississippi Counties currently  find themselves under burn bans, such as Amite, Copiah, George, Hancock,  Harrison, Jackson, Jones, Lincoln, Marion, Pike and Stone.

Read more:  The Bolivar Commercial – No Bolivar County burn ban yet



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