MS-RecoveryGrants 09-27 0435

HINDS COUNTY

Grants totaling $18M announced by Katrina recovery fund

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) The board of the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund has announced $18 million in grants to organizations in George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River and Stone counties.

The fund, established by Gov. Haley Barbour soon after Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast, has received more than $18 million from more than 8,500 contributors worldwide. It has benefited from the “Mississippi Rising” concert held in Oxford, and other fundraising events. The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, led by the two former presidents, also has pledged $12.4 million to the Mississippi fund.

“My intention in creating this special fund was to attract private moneys to help victims of the hurricane with recovery costs that exceeded coverage from other sources, such as insurance, government grants, and immediate relief programs,” Barbour said in a statement. “Due to the generosity of people and companies from all around the world, the fund’s outstanding board of directors has allocated this $18 million to help individuals with needs unmet by federal funds.”

Board Chairman Richard Hickson said that as soon as the county committees complete the details of their requested projects, the fund will begin meeting its commitments.

Two FEMA workers arrested for getting Katrina assistance by fraud

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday the arrest of two FEMA employees on charges of fraudulently receiving $25,562 in Hurricane Katrina assistance.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton said Duane Adams and Emily Fuqua are accused in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Gulfport of filing a false disaster assistance claim with FEMA.

Court documents showed Adams claimed his primary residence, a houseboat in Moss Point, had been completely destroyed by Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005. Lampton said Adams was not the owner of the houseboat.

Lampton said when a FEMA representative called to verify the claim, Fuqua allegedly identified herself as the person who sold the houseboat to Adams.

Keesler AFB awards $287M contract to Texas firm for new housing

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) Keesler Air Force Base has awarded a $287.8 million contract to a Texas company for new base housing.

“If you look around, there is so much going on,” Brig. Gen. Paul Capasso, commander of the 81st Training Wing, said in a civic club speech Wednesday. “On Friday, we finally got the (housing) contract signed. We’re going to start rebuilding homes. We are here to stay.”

The contract was awarded to Hunt Building Company, a 50-year-old El Paso, Texas-based firm that specializes in military housing installations.

Keesler officials said 1,213 current homes on the base in Biloxi are being demolished to make room for the 1,067 new homes covered in the contract.

As of Tuesday, 889, or 73 percent, of those homes already had been demolished, officials said.