New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is giving residents the go-ahead to return to the Big Easy on Thursday, but with several warnings. Nagin says many homes are without power or working toilets and a dusk-to-dawn curfew will still be in effect. While some people report good treatment at shelters, they cannot wait to get back home. It is a similar story around much of Louisiana. Across the state, more than eight-hundred-thousand people are still without power, including more than seventy-thousand in New Orleans. About two million people evacuated the Mississippi and Louisiana gulf coast when Gustav was heading that way. Early estimates put the damage total from Gustav between two and ten billion dollars. In contrast, Katrina did more than forty-one billion dollars in damage.
Animal Shelters Need Help Accommodating Evacuated Pets
Area animal shelters are also trying to help the pets brought in by evacuees. Pets from the Louisiana and Mississippi gulf coasts are being cared for by the greater Birmingham Humane Society. Volunteers are planning a trip to rescue more animals abandoned because of the storm. They are also working around the clock to comfort the pets that have already arrived. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society needs your help. They are asking for items like hand sanitizer, towels, laundry detergent, and bleach as well as food and water for volunteers. You can drop off donations at the humane society which is located on Snow Drive off West Oxmoor drive.
Hanna Rolls Toward U.S.
Tropical Storm Hanna has killed up to 23 people in Haiti, where thousands have run to shelters. U.N. soldiers are still unable to reach one badly flooded city. The storm could become a hurricane again by tomorrow as it moves toward the southeastern U.S.
Closing Arguments in Sue Schmitz Case
Closing arguments have begun in the fraud trial of State Representative Sue Schmitz. Attorneys rested their cases Tuesday after Schmitz told the judge she would not testify. Schmitz is accused of taking money for a government job without doing the work.
Police Arrest 2 on Murder Charge in Leeds
A new lead arises in a homicide investigation in Leeds. Police have charged two men, 25-year-old Floyd Wesley Thomas and 22-year-old Unique Hutchison with murder. Police say the men took part in a double homicide at the Cedar Grove Apartments back on May 8th. Investigators tell us they have also arrested two juveniles in this case and have charged them with robbery in the first degree.
Jeffco Commissioners Look at New Sewer Debt Solution
Jefferson County Commissioners are still waiting on their solution for the sewer bond crisis. The county presented a solution plan to New York investment banks and bond insurers last week. The new plan will not include fee or tax increases. Commissioner Jim Carns says the proposal calls for insurers to assume about a billion dollars worth debt while raising sewer rates moderately. Commissioner Shelia Smoot says the county is not shelling out any more cash. The creditors are expected to respond to Jefferson County’s proposal by the end of the week.
Langford Greenlights Domed Stadium
Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford gives a greenlight to building a domed stadium. This is after an independent study indicates where it should go. The Birmingham Business Leadership Group commissioned the report. It recommends the dome be built downtown by the BJCC. Langford hopes to sit down with members of the city council and the civic center board to get the project moving. It could take five years to build the domed stadium.