Time winding down for debris removal effort

The City of Biloxi, facing the end of state and federal reimbursement for debris removal, has announced two key deadlines are approaching, signaling the end of storm debris-removal efforts in the city.

May 31 is the deadline for residents to submit tree removal right-of-entry forms and June 5 is the deadline for residents in the storm-surge areas to move any remaining eligible storm debris to the curb.

“We’ve removed nearly 4,000 standing dead trees from the city and hauled away 2.95 million cubic yards of debris – 99 percent of the debris – and now we’re asking residents to help us bring this effort to a close,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “We need to get it done before state and federal reimbursement runs out at the end of June.”

Residents with dead trees remaining on their property — whether the trees have been marked or not — should contact the city’s debris monitor, the firm Neel-Schaffer, at 228-374-1211 or via e-mail at tom.hutto@neel-schaffer.com to confirm that they have trees to be removed. A tree removal ROE is also available in the Forms and Permits section of the city web site at biloxi.ms.us. (To print a form, click here.)

Once a request is made, FEMA will determine if the tree is eligible for removal by city crews. Eligible trees must be standing dead trees in an improved area of property, within about 100 feet of a residence or former residence, or must be deemed a threat to structures or may block access for emergency vehicles.

City contractors have removed more than 3,900 standing dead trees under this program.

Meantime, the city is asking residents in the storm-surge area to move all remaining eligible storm debris to the curb by June 5.

Over the next several weeks, debris crews will make a final pass through the surge areas to remove eligible storm-related debris.

No construction material or lot-clearing vegetation is eligible to be picked up. Since Aug. 29, 2005, the city has removed 2.95 million cubic yards of debris from the city.

To see the map of the storm-surge areas of the city, which is included in the map section of the city web site, click here.

To see tracking information on the city’s storm debris program — what types of debris have been hauled, how much of it and from where — click here.

Blood drive scheduled for son of Biloxi firefighter

Mississippi Blood Services will be hosting a special blood drive for Cortlan Gates on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center on Porter Avenue.

The drive is to benefit the 14-month-old son of Biloxi firefighter Derrick Gates. In April, Cortlan developed a severe staph infection in his lungs and had to be air-transported to University Medical Center in Jackson. He was recently moved from the intensive care unit to a standard room, and the staph infection has cleared. However, he has sustained damage to his lungs and is still experiencing complications because of the infection.

The Mississippi Blood Services mobile donor facility will be parked at the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center.

All donors will receive free T-shirts, Donors should bring identification. Officials suggest eating within four hours before donating and drinking plenty of water before and after donating.