City asks legislature to OK gaming zones

The Biloxi City Council this afternoon voted unanimously to ask the state legislature to allow on-shore gaming in Biloxi, but limited to a proposal by Mayor A.J. Holloway that would base locations on existing casino-zoned areas in the city.

Under the proposal, any on-shore casino would be no more than 800 feet from the water.

Said Holloway: “If we want to keep this industry viable and growing, this legislation needs to be passed.”

The mayor plans to present the proposal to key legislators at the state capitol on Tuesday, when a special session of the legislature is scheduled to begin.

“This proposal does three things,” Holloway said: “It protects an industry that is responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for state and local governments. It protects our options for the future restoration of Point Cadet, such as the resurrection of historic neighborhoods and the growth of the small-business sector. And, finally, it builds on the successes of the past and provides protection for the future.

“I’ve been concerned with the talk of allowing casinos to locate 1,000 or 1,200 feet from the shoreline,” Holloway continued. “That would put casinos on Howard Avenue, in the center of the Biloxi peninsula. We’d be opening the door to an issue with far-reaching implications.

“This proposal passed by the council allows on-shore gaming, but it’s more inline with what we have now — and far short of the wholesale changes that were being discussed in some quarters.

“Now, we need to convince the legislature that this is the right thing to do – for Biloxi and the state of Mississippi in general.”

To see the resolution passed this afternoon by the City Council, click here..

To see the map that shows proposed gaming zones in Biloxi, click here.

Areas south of Bay still under boil-water notice

Biloxi Public Works Director Richard Sullivan said he realizes that having a quality water supply is vital for many businesses to re-open, which is why he and his department are continuing to work toward lifting the boil-water notice that remains in effect for residents south of the Bay of Biloxi.

The notice has been in effect since Hurricane Katrina devastated city water wells Aug. 29.

“We’ve drawn more than 50 water samples, and we’ve had all but two pass,” Sullivan said this afternoon. “And those two are the reason that we still have the boil-water notice in effect for residents south of the Bay.”

Sullivan said the biggest challenge for Public Works crews has been rebuilding engines and chlorination systems at the 24 water wells that provide water throughout the city. The Point Cadet area was particularly devastated, he said.

Since Biloxi’s water system south of the Bay is a “looped system,” the boil-water order affects the entire peninsula.

“We’ve pulled more samples over the weekend and today, and we’re hoping that we’ll get the OK from the Mississippi State Department of Health sometime this week,” Sullivan said. “We’re working as hard as we can to resolve this situation, and we appreciate everyone’s patience. We’re making sure that we’re doing this by the book because the public’s health is our primary concern.”

More than half of students return to classroom

Biloxi Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale said he was encouraged to see that more than half of the students enrolled before Hurricane Katrina were back in school today, the first day of class since the storm struck Aug. 29.

A total of 3,167 students attended this morning, compared to 6,125 enrolled before the storm.

To read more, click here.

Debris removal teams nearing completion of first pass

“It’s been going great,” Brian Fulton says of the ongoing task of removing storm debris from city rights of way. “The contractors are nearing completion of the first pass of the entire city, and the second pass will begin later this week.”

Fulton is with Neel-Shaffer Inc., a firm the city hired to oversee its three teams of contractors hauling debris from city streets to two sites north of Interstate 10.

To read more, click here.

News and notes

Storm Recovery Line: Updated information is available on the city’s Strom Info Line, (228) 435-6300.

Video clips: Several clips are available on the front page of the city’s web site, and you can also see Katrina video, shot from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, at