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#116134 - 08/31/05 09:59 AM NAR's Gulf Cost relief fund & efforts
Jim Lee Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 07/01/99
Posts: 4785
Loc: Knoxville, Tennessee, Knox Cou...
There's a lot that can and needs to be done right to help out along the Gulf Coast.

NAR has set up a fund and is picking up 100% of the administrative costs so that all the money gets to where it's needed.

One of our local radio stations filled up an 18 wheeler with bottled water and it's on it's way as of about 2 hours ago and they're working on a second one.

My local title company set out yesterday with a U-Haul type trailer full of bottled water and canned foodstuffs.

Our office has a huge stack of bottled water in the lobby that we're putting on the next truck heading south.

"REALTORS® Relief Foundation Provides Funds for Katrina Relief Effort

WASHINGTON, DC (August 30, 2005)­The REALTORS® Relief Foundation is spearheading donations to REALTOR® associations in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi this week by contributing $50,000 to each of three state REALTOR® associations impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

REALTORS® Relief Foundation President Pat Kaplan said the initial contributions will help fund the establishment of state relief funds. “However, much more will be needed to help the many who have lost their homes or businesses,” she said.

"There are so many on the outskirts of New Orleans who have lost everything," says Sandy Lash, an executive at the Louisiana Association of REALTORS® in Baton Rouge. The storm left 6-7 feet of water in areas around New Orleans, including Metairie and Kenner, where virtually every structure sustained damage. "It will be weeks or months before full power is restored to these areas, and the entire water system in the area has been compromised," says Lash.

In Alabama, communities around the Gulf, still recovering from Hurricane Ivan a year ago, are once more digging out. "We have thousands who lost everything in Ivan and had built their homes back up only to have them destroyed again," says J. Danny Cooper, association executive at the Alabama Association of REALTORS®.

NAR CEO Terrence M. McDermott is calling on REALTORS® to reach out and help their colleagues in this time of tremendous need. "We would probably all like to run down and pitch in and help, but since that's not possible, we should all pray that our REALTOR® community finds the strength to make it through this trial," he says. "We ask that you send whatever you can to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation and we will pass your donation along in a rush."

All administrative costs of the project will be absorbed by NAR; 100 percent of all donations will go directly to aid the victims. Contributions can be made online through the following secure site powered by NAR’s e-commerce system: . Contributions are tax deductible. To make contributions by mail, checks should be made payable to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation and sent to: REALTORS® Relief Foundation, Attn: NAR Finance Division, 430 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60611.

For those who would like to make donations directly to the states, in Alabama please send checks payable to the Alabama REALTOR® Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 4070, Montgomery, AL 36104. Donations can be made by credit card by calling the Alabama Association of REALTORS® at 334/262-3808 or by going online to .

For Louisiana, checks payable to the Louisiana REALTORS® Association Relief Fund should be sent to P.O. Box 14780, Baton Rouge, LA, 70898, or to Regions Bank, attn: Louisiana REALTORS® Association Relief Fund, 5353 Essen Lane, Suite 150, Baton Rouge, LA 70809." wrote: "After a quick look, there are about 4900 members on Agents Online, at $25 a person just this board could send down over $120,000 to some people that are in desperate need."

TODAY, right now, is a good time to send NAR or the Red Cross your $25.00 donations.
I am not an attorney & I am not giving you any legal advice.

#116135 - 09/10/05 05:58 PM Re: NAR's Gulf Cost relief fund & efforts
stevertr Offline

Registered: 08/19/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Shrewsbury, MA
Originally posted by James Lee:

[b]TODAY, right now, is a good time to send NAR or the Red Cross your $25.00 donations.
I did my part!

I just spent the last 4 days, working on virtually no sleep, arranging for the donation of over 20,000 pounds of relief supplies and thousands of dollars. I've obtained 2 moving vans as donations, and they are shipping out monday with nearly 40 pallets of clothes, baby formula, diapers, and supplies.

The photo below is of ONE THIRD of what we collected. We had to split it among three driveways to palletize the loads.

So in short... we can change thwe world...we just have to take action.

As Lincoln said "Those who swear that something cannot be done are always amazed by people actually doing it."



#116136 - 09/11/05 06:30 PM Re: NAR's Gulf Cost relief fund & efforts
realestatex2 Offline

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 31
Loc: Troy, MI USA
Jim Lee & Stevetr

God bless and God speed...

I am trying to do the best I can also. Got my local Rotary Club to donate supplies to rescue workers as well as a neighboring Club, and asked our Association to pass on donations as well. Tomorrow I go before my Club to see if we can designate funds from out next fundraiser to relief funds as well...

My hope is that everyone reading this can do just a little part as well. Every little part does add up!

Do unto others...

#116137 - 12/27/05 03:22 AM Re: NAR's Gulf Cost relief fund & efforts
LindaTx Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 6
Loc: Austin, Tx
Way to go STEVE!!

I have been finding homes for many of these people, its so Sad for all of them. Everyone is so lost, all they ask for is peace and a place to call home again. So many stories, I laugh with them and cry with them. So many feel blessed they are still here. I brought a gift basket to a man for his pets, he cried..but they were his only family he had left.

Touch a life and your touched forever!
What great rewards..its not just about the money we give, give of your time and it comes back 10 fold..
"Straight Talk -
Solid Personal Service"

#116138 - 12/27/05 08:21 AM Re: NAR's Gulf Cost relief fund & efforts
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Welcome to the Board, Linda. How wonderful that these people are being helped by someone so caring.

Where are most of these people from? Being so close to Louisiana, I worry that the southern part of Louisiana will lose it's identify--so much wonderful culture down there just washed away. We still have people here in Houston living in hotels. It's just "wait and see" as to what they are going to want to do.

#116139 - 05/06/06 08:51 PM Restaurants open for business in New Orleans & other good info on this web site
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast

"The New Orleans Menu Restaurant Index" is a great web site. Apparently the site is maintained by Tom Fitzmorris, who has a food show, food club, cookbook, restaurant reports, top 10 list, and more. I did not have a chance to explore it too much, but what a lot of great info it has. I believe he uses subscriptions (you choose the amount of the donation) to keep it going. He has lists of opened restaurants by name or neighborhood, plus tons of good stuff. People can check to see if their favorite has been rebuilt, cleaned up, opened back up. What a valuable service this must be for people in New Orleans, especially the visitors.

Don't forget to print this list out and take it with you to the NAR conference. You can find some great places if you go out on your own.

I'm not trying to turn this forum into a vacation forum, but since the conference is coming up, I thought this might be good info.


#116140 - 10/12/05 05:15 AM excellent source!
Ms Gulf Coast Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 292
Loc: Mississippi Gulf Coast
Rebuilding issues--

If you visit, be sure and read/write Letters to the editor as well as "sound off". Also, recent-past issues have had some great articles regarding experiences of real estate agencies post Katrina.
The Truth will set you free...

#116141 - 10/17/05 09:44 AM Re: excellent source!
Ms Gulf Coast Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 292
Loc: Mississippi Gulf Coast
This is for BuyingVirginia and anyone else that needs a laugh.

1st--understand that the Sound off and Letters to the Editor are the "hottest" things going as far as communicating (ha) citizen to citizen in our region.

2nd--Of course EVERYONE here as a vested interest in the rebuild.

3rd--as I recently learned, Mississippi folks can be very sensitive about the RailRoad.

It all started with a family day. We were shooting the breeze on the way to visit the Alabama Gulf shores beach because we are still not permitted to visit the beach 6 blocks away from us. So, as a family and a MSGC concerned citizens we came up with ways to get what we want as well as have the community investment pay for itself.

Next keep in mind that a letter to the editor from an old timer, was in my opinion, ludicrous.
He took a large space in the paper to whine about missing the trains going by at night and that now he couldn't sleep because the trains were no longer running. ...Well, the trains interrupt my sleep and give me migrains. Right there we should realize again, that one persons trash is another persons treasure. Also, after all that we've been through here, whining about missing the trains seemed bizarre to me.

So, on impulse I sent a letter to the editor, that was published on Friday or Saturday, I forget which. In part I was gesting with Mr. Koonse, but some concerned citizens did not realize that.

In an intended spirit of humor, I mentioned in my letter that "Should the rail road be moved North, then our property values would likely appreciate (It did not occur to me that some citizens would be alarmed that the their property value would decrease if the rails were moved to their vicinity.)

I did not realize that my letter had published until I started receiving emails.

Following are some replies to me:

You said

• If the train tracks were moved, it's possible that the property values of the homes still standing on either side of the track would appreciate. Most important is that the trains are re-established in a safe area, in a safe manner to decrease the likelihood of productivity again being interrupted by a hurricane.

Where do you think they are going to relocate them too???

They did a study and discovered there is no VACATE land to move them too.

One of the routes goes right thru my house. As my family worked hard to save money to buy a house in a nice area I am sure you can understand that I DO NOT want it taken away from me. Neither do my neighbors want a train for a neighbor. We have a nice safe neighborhood that we paid top dollar to live in. It is unfair to move a train to our community and drive our property values down. Not to mention there is a housing shortage at the moment. Where do you expect us to live if our homes, homes that survived Katrina are taken from us?

Overpass or underpasses at the trains present location is the only fair thing to do. The overpasses and underpasses would allow traffic to flow smoothly and prevent accidents.

Here's another:
Now is not the time to move the railroad. Apparently those people who live South of Interstate 10 never bother to travel NORTH of Interstate 10. Our homes survived Katrina, our business are thriving, and we DO NOT WANT YOUR STINKING RAILROAD!

And Hal Hardaman's letter is full if misinformation
First he says IF they moved the railroad North they wouldn't need any bridges.

Ever hear of river's Mr Hardaman???? They will still need bridges.

Then he maintains that lives would be saved. Hate to tell you this Mr. Hardaman, but we have traffic up here too. Building an overpass/underpass and installing crossing gates at the railroads present location would save lives too and cost a lot less.

Why not make Highway 90 (at it's present location) a six lane highway, it makes a lot more sense then taking peoples homes away from them in order to relocate the railroad, and there is nothing scenic about a bunch of casinos.

As for SUZI (my) letter. The people who have built/bought homes North of the Interstate paid a hefty price to live in a nice neighborhood. We do not wish to see our property values plummet because you want to relocate the railroad to our community.

Here's another:

Since I don't know when the Sun Herald will get around to printing my letter, I am sending it to you so maybe you will understand why the tracks should not be moved. You can also visit my blog for more info.

Rebuilding Mississippi

I am appalled the relocate the tracks crowd continues to use Hurricane Katrina to push their agenda. Apparently they do not care that peoples homes, homes that withstood the wrath of Katrina would be destroyed in the process.

The presence of endangered species in the area of Latimer makes relocating the tracks to our area environmentally unsound (see Red Cockaded Woodpecker, Non-Migrating Mississippi Sandhill Crane, Gofer Tortise, and Quill Wart Grass).

Here is my letter to Governor Haley Barbour asking him to rethink his support of relocating the tracks.

Dear Governor Haley Barbour,

It was with dismay I heard on NPR that you support relocating the tracks North of Interstate 10.

Perhaps you are unaware that there is a petition with a 1,000 signatures on it objecting to having the railroad relocated North of Interstate 10. Jackson County is opposed to relocating the railroad, as are the Ocean Springs aldermen. Senator Trent Lott has said publicly that he opposes relocating the tracks any further north than Interstate 10, and that the cost (an estimated $2.2 billion) for such relocation, was cost prohibitive and he could NOT SUPPORT SUCH A COST TO TAXPAYERS!

The residents of Latimer have offered help to the communities of Biloxi, Gulfport, and Long Beach; we do not deserve to be repaid by having our homes destroyed by the relocate the tracks crowd. Homes that for the most part survived Hurricane Katrina with minimal damage. Rather then allowing MDOT to take peoples homes away from them by eminent domain I request that you suggest the railroad build overpasses at their current location.

Many people live North of Interstate 10, and would be adversely impacted by relocating the railroad to their communities. Communities we moved to because we wanted to enjoy the peace of the countryside.

I voted for you. Please do not make me regret that decision. Even though I am opposed to gambling, I can recognize the need for casinos to help Mississippi's economy. But there is NO REASON that will justify demolishing peoples homes and destroying the peace of our countryside, just to relocate the railroad tracks.

To End: I made apologies, explained the simple purpose of my statement and that had they read my referring letter they would have realized it was a subtle humor.

I am sorry you received nasty emails. I think people are just scared. I know I am. We evacuated for Katrina, and there was a period of time when I didn't know if I had a home to come back too. When I was able to watch the news, which wasn't often. We evacuated to Meridian and Katrina hit there too so we didn't have power where we were staying, it made it sound like everything was GONE. Then we came home and lived without electricity for awhile (I am sure you did too) and the first thing I read when we got the Internet back was an editorial in the Sun Herald saying they wanted to relocate the railroad North of the Interstate. And all I could think about was I may lose my home to the "relocate the tracks" crowd. And at this point we have a ton of friends, co-workers etc. who are homeless because of the storm surge. They are living in Fema trailers, tents are with friends/relatives. It really makes you value your home more when so many people have lost theirs. We have a group of RV's in a lot next to our house of workers who have come down to help with storm recovery and had no where else to stay. And the one thing I hear over and over are there are no houses to buy, there are no apartments to rent, there are no vacate hotel rooms, so it's really scary to think your home may be taken from you and you may have nowhere to go.

I have enjoyed getting to know you. ~Sandra

At 10:00 AM 10/17/2005, you wrote:

You are super! What a great way to bring me up to speed. Meeting you was well worth some of the nastier emails I received. Suzi

-----Original Message-----

From: SRA

Sent: Monday, October 17, 2005 8:56 AM

To: Suzi

Subject: RE: Why the tracks should not be moved

Let me guess real estate............

To make it short in 2000 Congress appropriated funds to fund a study about moving the railroad (a ton o money was spent). They came up with 4 routes. Route A, was along the interstate and the Engineers claim it is impossible because the railroad has to go in a straight line and the Interstate curves too much. Also it would cost to much to buy out the business along the interstate. Route B, goes thru my home and many others, Route C is a little North of my home and destroys many of my friends houses, and Route D (which is in the most rural location) CSX will not consider because it is too far away from their customers. Also spurs would have to be built running North-South in order for the RR to continue serving it's present customers along the current tracks, so those people would also lose their homes. They hadn't decided where the spurs would go that would be up to CSX. The majority of the meetings were held in locations that would NOT be affected by the RR relocation. When they finally held a meeting in Latimer the Engineers stated that they did not realize that many people lived up here and that their cost projections for B & C were off as they had not factored in having to buy out that many peoples homes. In 2003 the study was put on hold.

................................And then Katrina came along.

It has been nice talking to you, good look on your exam. ~SRA

At 11:19 PM 10/16/2005, you wrote:

Nice to hear from you, Sandra. I can't do a lot of extra research and writing at this time because I am studying for a state exam. You'll REALLY get a kick out of this when you find out what my exam is for:) .
-----Original Message-----
From: SRA
Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2005 1:22 PM
To: Suzi
Subject: RE: Why the tracks should not be moved

Unfortunately the Sun Herald has already gotten rid of the link to the October 8th letters, I was looking forward to getting my laugh for the day. I am really getting frustrated because I thought this "issue" had been killed September 2003, and now it is rearing it's head again. ~SRA

At 05:26 PM 10/15/2005, you wrote:
SRA--apology accepted with joy. I think in our miscommunication we discovered the true mission. Education through information. Really, for fun, look up Mr. Koonse's letter and you'll see where I'm coming from.
Regards, Suzi and the rest of the family
-----Original Message-----
From: SRA
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 5:00 PM
To: Suzi
Subject: RE: Why the tracks should not be moved

I feel I owe you an apology. I always assume that the people who advocate moving the railroad attended the meetings and are familiar with the routes, and realize entire neighborhoods would be destroyed.
Beach Blvd suits me or out in the Gulf. I do think that IF more people understood how many families would lose their homes they would not be in favour of moving the railroad North of the Interstate. Unfortunately as you can probably tell from the Sun Herald's editorial they are in favour of moving the railroad and so they never print the cons.
I'll have to go back and see if I can find Mr. Koonse's letter. I think I may have missed it. Saturday's are usually pretty hectic for me. Today was an exception.
Apology accepted.

At 04:19 PM 10/15/2005, you wrote:
Thank you for explaining patiently to me. I was assuming there was land available, not neighborhoods. Actually, I am used to the rail road and would be willing to continue to accept that burden to your neighborhoods and wildlife would be undisturbed. I was partially in gest speaking directly to Mr. Koonse and his letter of October 8th. If you re read that letter you may actually be a little amused. Mr. Koosne was whining and belly aching about NOT being able to sleep because his railroad was "no more". My point was that rail roads do the same work wherever they are located. They don't have to be located by us to accomplish the work that they do, and, IF, the rail roads were moved I was sure Mr. Koonse could find someone to swap homes with, so he could continue hearing the trains at night, and the new people would not have to hear them.
Yours was the kinder of letters I have received. I understand fully where you all are coming from. I advocate moving the railroad , how about to Beach Blvd., or why can't they build a railroad bridge from Louisiana to Alabama and spare us all. Any way, I hear you and apologize for stepping on your toes
-----Original Message-----

Subject: Why the tracks should not be moved

Anyway, it was funny to me because I stepped into it so innocently. As a citizen, I would love for the tracks to be moved, but I bought my property here knowing the train ran (not how often) so we could be close to the beach but in a safe flood zone. It was a trade off for us. So, since we have so much influence, "We'll Keep our STINKIN rail road. :rolleyes: wink

As usual, I came through the fire with no blisters. I have a new friend, and excellent sources regarding rail road issues when I get "out there". I know I really have to watch what I say, and that some people, especially if they don't have a point of reference--may lack a sense of humor.

To top off the irony-- My newbie original posts included the train avatar. The reason was of course because of the trains that run through our town splitting North and South. There are/were some gorgeous homes close to the train tracks. Figuring those could be difficult to move because of the tracks--though that also meant they were close to the beach, it would require a lemons to lemonade approach (turning a negative to a positive).

So, I visualized starting a rail road property campaign, appealing to train enthusiasts. I know from prior research that there are many obsessed train enthusiasts out there (Mr. Koonse would be a great member).

Anyway, my campaign ideas are on hold. Especially since we do not know what we are doing with our beach and our railroads.

I have thoughts that I certainly would not mention to anyone in Mississippi because of the sensitivity.

Many individuals are planning to rebuild their beach front property. Their hearts and souls are in it. What if the government chose to condemn and acquire through eminent domain? Is that a possibility?
The Truth will set you free...

#116142 - 10/17/05 10:59 AM Re: excellent source!
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
We have a similar issue going on here north of Houston regarding a new freeway, called the Grand Parkway. Very strong emotions on both sides. When I read "move railroad further north", I guess the impact of that statement just did not occur to me. I was just thinking--less damage when a hurricane comes, so less interruption in goods being transported. Seemed like a good idea, huh?

It's sad to see an area change, whether by hurricane damage, railroad tracks, or anything else. In ten years, my town has gone from being a quiet small city to boom box city. Now I have to move out of the town I grew up in just to get some peace & quiet. It's that bad. Believe me, no one wants to see your home town change. I'm sure real estate agents would starve if everything stayed the same, though. By the way, MS Gulf Coast, have you looked at the 5-day forecast for TD #24. Tell me it isn't so. Truly, you have been through enough. It's October 17, for goodness sakes. What is going on with our weather. confused

On a lighter note, a hugh medical complex bought my grandmother's neighborhood years ago. In her 80's, she stubbornly refused to sell. Finally, they found her an old, but nice little house with a front and a back porch very similar to hers, and agreed to dig up and transplant every single plant and flower for her. She agreed, and was happy in her new home for some years after that. It wasn't about the money--it was about hating change.

#116143 - 10/17/05 11:47 AM Re: excellent source!
Ms Gulf Coast Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 292
Loc: Mississippi Gulf Coast
Darlene--I don't know what forecast you are speaking of. Do you want to share with me?

Also, great story about your Grandma and the changes your home town has gone through.
The Truth will set you free...

#116144 - 10/17/05 11:54 AM Re: excellent source!
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast

If this takes you to site with small graphic boxes, click on top right box for 5-day projection. If it does not, can I send better link to your email address? I'll check back in 5 min.

#116145 - 09/04/05 10:28 PM Is Katrina Affecting You on the job?
buyingallhouses Offline

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 245
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm finding it really hard to think about work right now.

My eyes are glued to the TV and the internet and I'm focused way too much on this tragedy unfolding in the Gulf.

I'm just not in the mood to kick butt, put on the happy Realtor face, and shake the money tree.

I remember once having a 'motivational trainer' say - "Don't read the newspaper or watch TV News because all news is bad news and it will keep you from being positive and making a difference."

I managed to detach myself from the Tsunami tragedy of last December and never let myself once watch a TV image

...but this is too close to home
...this is in my country
...this tragedy has been too botched up by whomever will end up getting blamed's too depressing to contemplate, yet too amazingly real to ignore.

Anyone else with a comment?

#116146 - 09/04/05 11:35 PM Re: Is Katrina Affecting You on the job?
rwilson99 Offline

Registered: 09/04/05
Posts: 479
Loc: Tampa, Florida
Find a good volunteer opportunity.

I spent 4 hours yesterday loading a tractor trailer with water and soda heading out to the gulf. It was an uplifting experience.
Robert Wilson
Keller Williams Tampa

I am not a laywer, and I can't even spell very well.

#116147 - 09/04/05 11:40 PM Re: Is Katrina Affecting You on the job?
DCRealist Offline

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 21
Loc: Wash/DC Metro Area
I'm wondering if Louisiana is completly rebuilt (In many years to come) will the low income people that lived there all their life be able to afford the property @ that current value?? Also, whats going to happen to land that was already owned by people? Will this land escheat to the gov't for rehabilitation & then be re-sold?

So to answer your question of is it bothering anyone else, YES its bothering me, & its going to bother me for a while! Im not trying to sound pessimistic but I wouldnt be surprised if within the next 10-20 years, maybe sooner, aggression is showed by one group of people towards another group of people!!!!! Just my 2 cents.....

#116148 - 09/05/05 07:59 AM Re: Is Katrina Affecting You on the job?
ky realtor Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 1879
Loc: kentucky
Yes, I am bothered. I don't watch a lot of Tv, am not a news junkie, but this thing has me obsessed with watching, and channel surfing the news channels for new information. And, like a lot of people, New Orleans is my favorite city to visit. All of this has put a lot of things into perspective for me. All the little things we take for granted every day suddenly have new meaning. See, as Hud has some idea of using their repossessed homes for the homeless. We will see how this turns out, since I can't imagine them giving up their bureaucratic ways for anything, I hope they can help. I don't want to hear any more excuses from George w., FEMA, Homeland Security, Red Cross, or any of them. They failed. Plain and simple. I hope after this is over that a lot of heads roll. If CNN and the other news media got in, food and water could have gotten in. Thank you for letting me vent, cause nobody else I know wants to hear it.
Comments made are my opinion, and not intended to be legal advice of any kind.

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