Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reynolds speaks out if defense of Latimer's wetlands

July 29 Letters to the Editor, The Sun Herald

Stop MDOT’s cut-through plan before it’s set in concrete

Tell me it ain’t so! Tell me Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown is not trying to pull a fast one over on the citizens of South Mississippi. Word is, he’s planning to move the route of Mississippi 15’s four-lane corridor from the existing route to a Jackson County cut-through (Route C).

And cut through it will. Does Brown think the beautiful streams, meadows and creeks of Latimer, Larue, Vestry and Vancleave can be improved with four lanes of bridges, concrete and asphalt? I especially like the part where Wayne and his brother own 1,000-plus acres of land near the proposed route.

There’s a reason for saying, “Take the high road.” The existing route was once a path traveled by native Indian tribes. Settlers made their way to the Coast along its natural ridge.

Along Route C, bogs and wet-lands are nature’s water filters. Rain seeps through and trickles down into our water table as clean water. Wetlands cannot be reproduced or manufactured.

Brown’s proposed Route C is a seriously flawed concept. It is an ecological nightmare, four miles longer, and will cost you, the taxpayers, millions of dollars more. These are taxes everyone in our country will pay. In these hard times, we do not need to add to the recession.

Please contact Commissioner Brown at Call your supervisors, state representatives and congressmen. Let them know that you strongly disagree with Brown’s proposal. How can we sit idly by and let this happen to our children and their children? We deserve better.

Please attend the meeting hosted by MDOT and federal officials from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Latimer Community Center.


Ocean Springs

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brown on hotseat over proposed 15 route

But the project that brought the most questions from the public was a proposed route for Mississippi 15 that would take the highway from I-110 in Harrison County, across northwest Jackson County, link it to Mississippi 57 north of Vancleave and have the two highways merge for 20 miles en route to the Beaumont area, where it would link up with itself.

Kendall Cruthirds, whose family owns a grocery in the Latimer community, asked Brown about land Brown and his brother own.

Cruthirds and others expressed concerns about the route cutting into Latimer homesteads and acreage that have been in families for generations, the tons of fill dirt that would have to be brought in before the route gets to Old Biloxi Road and the fear that a four-lane highway would divide the community with few points of access for locals.

Read more in The Sun Herald

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MDOT Workshop Open to the Public

On Wednesday (July 22nd) MDOT will meet with Jackson County leaders and officials from all four of the county’s cities to go over projects that are on the drawing board.The meeting for Jackson County will be at 10 a.m. at the Gautier Convention Center, near the city’s public library.

Letter from Maxine Ramsay

Letter to the Editor, The Sun Herald, July 21, 2009

MDOT sign should say, ‘Your tax dollars at waste’

This letter is in opposition to MDOT State Route 15/57 Alternate Plan through Latimer in Jackson County.

MDOT and Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown acted in a furtive manner on this important issue by holding a forum in Harrison County, leaving out Jackson County in their meetings and advertisements. An oversight? I don’t think so. In essence, Brown has publicly stated that the Latimer C corridor is MDOT’s choice.

Jackson County’s supervisors have been contacted but have not supported the citizens of Latimer in their plight. They have also been contacted by MDOT, yet they remain silent. Why?

How can MDOT rationalize a completely new route in these economic times? Instead of saving the taxpayers’ money by using existing roadbeds (either Miss. 15 or Miss. 57) they will be squandering away 10 times as much money by bulldozing wetlands and streams and adding four miles to the route.

I wonder if MDOT thinks EPA and the Fish & Wildlife Service rejoice in the selection of Latimer C, which will impact many threatened and endangered species and their habitats. At least two archeological sites will be destroyed. Why choose this route when there are more environmentally friendly routes to consider?

Longtime homeowners, other residents and those displaced by Hurricanes Camille and Katrina will be affected unnecessarily.

A look at the land rolls provides some very interesting names of landowners on the route and in the general area who could profit from future development if Latimer C comes to fruition.

Maps, petitions, MDOT comment cards, and other information are available at Cruthirds Country Corner Grocery and T&N Feed Store off Exit 50 in Latimer.

Instead of “Your Tax Dollars at Work,” this project’s sign should be “Your Tax Dollar at Waste.”



Possible Good News

From The Sun Herald
The new alternative would extend the highway north from I-110 (it's current location), rather than taking it east through Latimer and Jackson County. But this route would then skirt Camp Shelby on its way to Beaumont, where Mississippi 15 would reconnect with itself. Whether this alternative would hook up with Mississippi 57 has not been determined, Stringfellow said.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Proposed highway route threatens homes

From WLOX TV Proposed highway route threatens homes

Alternate Route C runs through the tight-knit Latimer community and crosses several homes.

"I can't believe it," said 18 year-old Natalie Ramsay, whose family just moved into a new house in the proposed highway's path. "You would never think that that would happen to you or your family."

Ramsay is worried she's going to lose her new home if the highway runs through Latimer.

"My mom and dad have worked so hard for this, and it's being taken away," Ramsay said. "And it makes me think, Do these people actually care about what they're doing? Or do they just worry about making money or having a road put through?"

Brown said MDOT is considering drawing a third route that would run just north of Latimer to connect with Hwy 57. He said he expects the decision-making process to take up to a year.

This could potentially be horrible news for me depending on how far North of Latimer he is talking about. So for a whole year the residents of Latimer and the surrounding area are suppose to live in fear that their homes could be destroyed.

Alternate Route B touches on land owned by Camp Shelby and the Forestry Service. Southern District Highway Commissioner Wayne Brown said it would be very difficult to acquire the permits necessary to cross through that property.

It is unconscionable that it is harder to use land owned by the federal government then it is to seize private citizens homes

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lily Smith ask Is no place safe from MDOT’s bulldozer?

This was in The Sun Herald's July 13th, Letters to the Editor

Is no place safe from MDOT’s bulldozer?

I am writing this on behalf of my parents. They have lived in the Latimer Community their whole lives. As a young married couple they purchased land and built a house which they now own outright. Their home, like many others in the Latimer Community, survived Katrina with no damage. They should be able to enjoy their golden years in the home that holds so many warm memories for them. But MDOT is threatening to destroy their home with its relocation of Miss. 15, a relocation that is unnecessary and uncalled for.

Those on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who wish to evacuate using Miss. 57 can do so now by merely getting on the interstate or on U.S. 90 and getting off at Miss. 57 and heading north. There is no need to bulldoze people’s homes in order to tie Miss. 15 in to Miss. 57. This does not actually give us another evacuation route north. One has to wonder if the real drive to bulldoze people’s homes is in order to get visitors who travel to the Gulf Coast via Miss. 57 to the casinos faster.

It is also ironic that MDOT has to ask permission to use land already owned by the government but is free to take private citizens’ homes. And it is unconscionable that when there are so many homeless in Jackson County, MDOT wishes to create even more homeless citizens. My parents are retired and on a fixed income, there is no way they will be able to start over somewhere else on the pittance MDOT will give them for the land they will take if this highway relocation goes through. Let’s put a stop to MDOT’s continual land-grabbing.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

I couldn't have said it better myself

Letter to the Editor Sun Herald, July 9, 2009

We survived Katrina. Will we survive MDOT?

A proposed alternate route to Miss. 15 now being considered by MDOT will plow through existing homes.

What is wrong with this picture? How can MDOT even consider destroying people’s homes? The devastation that this Coast suffered almost four years ago destroyed so many homes and businesses. If you are blessed to have a home left, why on earth would our own state want to destroy it? I cannot believe that this is even a consideration. How heartless.

There are other routes that this road could go. How much will financial and political clout factor into the final decision? Will MDOT even hear the voices of the hard-working people just trying to keep ahead?

We are not notified of the meetings; we have to learn after the fact.

Orange Grove community was annexed into the city of Gulfport by some judge in Jackson. The residents of this community had no say.

Now the state wants to destroy families and their homes. Some of these families built here because they lost everything to Katrina, now their own state wants to destroy them again.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Route through Jackson County will destroy homes

From The Sun Herald, Monday July 6, 2009

The state has just begun studying the expense and the environmental impact of both routes and will take at least a year to make a decision, but the unveiling of the route across Jackson County has raised concerns in the Latimer community, which is north of Interstate 10 above Ocean Springs.

Residents there have said they’re concerned that the route would cross and damage more than three miles of sensitive wetlands and plow through residential communities of large-lot home sites.

“Now is the time to have your voice heard,” said Wayne Brown, Southern District highway commissioner. “In this case, write MDOT or contact your county through your supervisor.”
MDOT held meetings on the subject in Stone County, Perry County and D’Iberville in Harrison County last month. None were held in Jackson County, but Brown said that if there’s enough interest in Jackson County, he would come to the county and meet with a group to explain the two routes.

He said the meeting would allow residents to hear MDOT staff explain environmental impact, rights-of-way and how each route might be built.

Brown gave strong reasons why the alternative route through Jackson County looks good.

He said that to continue Mississippi 15 north from where it is now, would mean going through U.S. Forest Service land and Camp Shelby, which would require approval from both of those entities. He said that getting that approval could be difficult. He said the alternate route would benefit economic development in northwest Jackson County, which is growing.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

State Route 15/57 Objections

Wayne Brown and MDOT held public meetings in Harrison, Stone & Perry Counties about the proposed improvements to State Route 15/57. All these counties are in the path of Alternative B. On the other hand the residents of Jackson, George & Green Counties who are in the path of Alternative C will not have any meetings held in their counties. Apparently we are not going to be allowed the same open forum public meetings where we can “view MDOT’s alternatives and speak to representatives” or a chance to voice our opinions and opposition as the residents of Harrison, Stone & Perry Counties enjoyed. The residents of Latimer do not wish to have highway 15 moved to their community. Wayne Brown and MDOT's backhanded attempt to keep those along Alternative C from learning these "proposed improvements" might affect them are shameful. And shame on the Sun Herald for not letting the residents of Jackson County know they should attend the meeting in D'Iberville (Harrison County). Nothing in their article about the meeting in D’Iberville, Sunday June 14, 2009 Meeting will give highway options - Sun Herald mentioned Jackson County as a possible route. If they had the residents of Latimer would have attended the meeting. Unfortunately according to MDOT when a resident of Latimer called to request a meeting in Jackson County, we have missed our chance.

Good news MDOT has agreed to hold a meeting in Latimer.