[StBernard] Christian Contractors
westley at da-parish.com
Tue Jun 20 22:33:56 EDT 2006
I WONDER......WHO STANDS TO PROFIT FROM THIS? AND WHO GETS SCREWED IN THE
END.......ONCE AGAIN.........IT'S THOSE OF US WHO SUFFERED THE BIGGEST
LOSSES.......JUST THE LITTLE OLD PROPERTY OWNERS.....
I WONDER IF THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH MAKING SURE THAT WE ALL NEED TO
HAVE OUR FORMER HOMES GUTTED AND THEN MAKE US PUT DOORS AND WINDOWS IN THE
SHELLS OR FACE LIENS BEING PLACED AGAINST THE PROPERTY (OR MAYBE WE CAN JUST
GIVE IT TO THE GOVERNMENT).
HEY GUYS (LOCAL AND STATE POLITICIANS) JUST BECAUSE THERE ARE EMPTY HOUSES
STILL STANDING, DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE POPULACE WILL COME BACK.
YOU ARE GIVING US NO REASON TO.
MAYBE I'M JUST BEING PARANOID BUT I SEE A SKUNK. IF IT LOOKS LIKE A SKUNK
AND SMELLS LIKE ONE, MAYBE, JUST MAYBE IT IS A SKUNK!!!!!!!
Demolition group threatens pullout
Red tape blamed for St. Bernard delays
Saturday, June 17, 2006
By Karen Turni Bazile
St. Bernard/Plaquemines bureau
A national volunteer group that has knocked down about 60 homes for free in
St. Bernard Parish is considering pulling out of the parish, saying red tape
is preventing its work and tying up about $6 million in equipment loaned for
Robert McKee, who is coordinating demolitions for the national nonprofit
Christian Contractors Association, said the group's volunteers basically
have been at a standstill while they try to get the green light from
regulatory agencies so that the debris can be collected and parish
government can receive reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, as it has for other storm-related debris collection.
More than 4,400 homeowners have requested that Christian Contractors
demolish their homes.
The latest delay came this week, as the state Department of Environmental
Quality gave McKee a deadline to submit a written demolition plan promising
to remove hazardous household waste, such as paints, before his crews knock
the homes to the curb.
Under DEQ rules, homeowners don't have to submit written demolition plans.
McKee said that because Christian Contractors is a volunteer group working
for free for individual homeowners, he believed he could be required to
submit a plan. Even so, he said he has been taking hazardous items out of
homes before demolition.
But in a heated verbal exchange during the a Parish Council committee
meeting Thursday, DEQ environmental scientist Wayne Desselle said Christian
Contractors would be served with a cease-and-desist order if McKee didn't
comply. Desselle said DEQ had requested the plan two weeks ago.
McKee turned in the one-page report of his scheduled demolitions on
Thursday, but his group now will have to wait for DEQ to approve the report
before it can resume demolitions.
Desselle said the Christian group would not be facing a delay if it had
turned over the report when the agency first sought it.
Some Parish Council members said they were frustrated about the new delay
and also about the slow pace of home demolitions in general in a parish
where an estimated 10,000 homes need to meet the wrecking ball after
Katrina's surge flooded most with more than 6 feet of water for nearly two
"When does this defy logic?" Councilman Mark Madary said. "Whoever is in the
way, they have to get out of the way. The process is being stymied because
too many (regulatory) people with white (construction) hats have been in the
Unified Recovery Group, the parish's contractor in charge of the cleanup
effort, told the council it had demolished 486 homes as of June 14.
On Friday, McKee said he canceled his scheduled demolitions because he heard
from Desselle that he wouldn't have clearance from DEQ to continue working
in St. Bernard. Instead, McKee sent his crews to Plaquemines Parish, where
he said they knocked down seven homes with no interference from DEQ.
Council Vice Chairman Joey DiFatta, Madary and Councilwoman Judy Hoffmeister
met with McKee late Friday to encourage him to stay in St. Bernard a little
"It appears that DEQ requested a demolition plan from the Christian
Contractors group, and that request was fulfilled Thursday," DiFatta said.
The delay "is costing the people of St. Bernard precious demolition ability
and we hope that the DEQ in Baton Rouge will have an answer for us Monday so
this gentleman and his group of volunteers can tear down as many homes as
Parish officials are trying to complete as many demolitions as possible
before June 30, the date FEMA has said it will quit paying for 100 percent
of the demolition bills. After that, the federal agency will cover 90
percent of expenses, with the parish required to put up the remaining 10
. . . . . . .
To request a demolition by McKee's group or to volunteer to help, send an
e-mail to him at robertm at ccaministry.org or call the national office at
Karen Turni Bazile can be reached at kturni at timespicayune.com or (504)
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