Ocean Springs & Hurricane Katrina

Nina, my girlfriend, lives in Ocean Springs, Mississippi and has done so for several years. When you decide to live in the Gulf Coast of the USA you know the risk of hurricanes is high, but nothing could prepare anyone for the sheer destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina on Monday August 29th 2005.

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The Hurricane Katrina Aftermath

Image: Hurricane Katrina

Technology and wealth are no match for the forces of nature. I had originally decided against writing anything about the Katrina hurricane disaster that hammered the US Gulf coast. I tend to write and put a satirical or humorous twist on things, but I find nothing at all humorous about the disaster or the events as they have played out during the past few weeks.

And even if this is devoid of things mirth worthy, there is plenty of irony and “funny hows.”? Funny as in sad, tragic.

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A Nation Of Sissies

Image: Memorials

We are fast becoming a nation of sissies! It isn’t enough that bad things happen, we now have to celebrate, commemorate and venerate every last detail of any bad thing no matter how big or small that bad thing was — just so long as the media can film it!

Where is the courage and fortitude folk used to have in the face of heartbreak or misfortune? Where is the stiff upper lip shown by previous generations through comparable pains?

Strangers who feel compelled to lay flowers at the site of someone’s death — a someone they never knew — are filling a void in their lives that has nothing to do with the tragedy, the dead person or the media sensationalism.

We need to get a grip and get a hold of ourselves!

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Ely Parking Charges Demonstration

Image: Ely Parking Charges

A massive demonstration of shoppers and shop owners marched through the streets of Ely today to protest at ECDC’s moot proposal to introduce car parking charges.

The demonstration was well supported by the media with BBC’s ‘Look East’ regional news programme showing coverage at peak time.

Elaine Griffin-Singh, ETA chairman, said: ‘This is a chance for the people of Ely to show how they feel about parking charges.

We feel a one-off charge to Council Tax payers would be preferable to solve the city’s current parking issues.’

Mrs Griffin-Singh is proposing the council pay for a park and ride scheme on Angel Drove – as outlined in their current plans – and for them to ask taxpayers to contribute rather than implement parking charges.

Mrs Griffin-Singh continued: ‘If charges are introduced, we will all be paying forever and a day. Ely is busy and parking can sometimes be a problem, but we don’t think it is as big a problem as the council is trying to make out. A new park and ride would ease congestion and satisfy everyone.’

If ECDC ratify the proposal people visiting Ely could pay up to 50p an hour to park their car.

ECDC are due to vote on this controversial on Tuesday 27th September.

Lester Pete … from America – Chapter 3

Image: Drive-thru liquor stores

We don’t give a lot of thought to the idea of being homeless nor the possible causes. I hate to admit it, but most of us are callous when we see someone begging for money. There are documented cases of people who beg as a form of ‘non-taxable’ income and after hours of standing on the street corner, they typically get into their cars and stop at a liquor store drive thru on their way home (Yes, we actually have drive-through booze counters over here – usually with a giant ‘Drive-Thru’ painted on the side by someone too inebriated to spell ‘through’. Conversely, we also have strict laws prohibiting unsealed alcohol containers inside a vehicle. This certainly overrides all temptation to drink and drive, don’t you think?). I believe this desensitizes many people who would be otherwise sympathetic to the plight of those less fortunate. I have recently heard that in England, begging from and care for the poor is monitored and regulated in order to help prevent such fraud and possible associated criminal activity.

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Ely Parking Charge Decision Deferred

Image: Ely Parking Charges

The much anticipated decision by East Cambs District Councillors whether Ely shoppers and visitors will soon have to pay to pay to park has been deferred. No doubt the 10,000 strong petition and mass protest in the High Street on Saturday 24th September aroused the councillors vexation but it seems inevitable that ECDC will push ahead with the unpopular proposal.
William Burton, of Ely Trader’s Association, said disenchantingly: ‘In their minds the committee have made their decision. They can see the revenue that will follow and this alone will inform their decision.”

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