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Recovery fund tops $2 million

Harrison Countians continue to step up to the plate to assist recovery efforts of Gulf Coast areas ravaged by the recent hurricanes.
Counted among those who can use a helping hand are some 9,000 Harrah’s casino workers who lost their jobs, at least temporarily, when Hurricane Katrina shut down three casinos ‘ in Biloxi, Gulfport and New Orleans ‘ and then Hurricane Rita closed down another in Lake Charles, La.
The Caesars/Floyd County foundation has contributed $50,000 and the Harrison County Community Foundation $100,000 to the Harrah’s Employee Recovery Fund.
‘As a person working in this community, I am extremely gratified by the concern both of these boards have shown for the employees of our company,’ said Ed Garruto, general manager of Caesars Indiana at Bridgeport. ‘It is a testament to a partnership we have developed over time in this community.’
The fund, started with a $1 million contribution from Harrah’s, now has more than $2 million, Garruto said.
The money will help displaced persons resettle, and then cash grants will be awarded based on circumstances to help people ‘through these difficult times,’ he said.
Both foundations were started with funds from Caesars Indiana, recently purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment.
A mother and her son from the Biloxi, Miss., area, have moved into an apartment furnished and donated by Century 21 Champion Real Estate owner and principal broker Vicki Kitterman in Corydon.
The two moved in Monday and hope to make this their permanent home, Kitterman said. The woman’s brother lives in Corydon.
Also on the home front, Bob Walter and Dave Brengman of Lanesville and Doug Gibson of Corydon, who work for Cinergy/PSI, have returned home after making electrical repairs in Katrina-damaged areas.
Another Cinergy/PSI crew has gone to the Rita-affected area of Lake Charles. Eric Smith of Lanesville has returned from making repairs in the Katrina and Rita areas for Cinergy.
Some nursing home patients displaced by Hurricane Rita have been transferred to Indian Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center in Corydon.
Director Jill Pierson said eight patients arrived here Sept. 23, mostly from Port Arthur, Texas. None have family in the area, but some relatives have visited from out of state, Pierson said.
Pierson said these residents were evacuated by the military and had no idea where they were going. A wife and husband were separated, Pierson said, because the husband could walk. He was sent to a hotel in Louisiana.
The YMCA, through a Hurricane Relief fund made up of donations for that purpose, has helped a woman return home to Louisiana. She had come here to stay with a sister. The woman isn’t sure what she will do when she gets home, but that’s where she wants to be, said YMCA director Catherine Turcotte.
‘It seems most people really want to go back, even though there aren’t many answers about what they would do,’ Turcotte said. ‘That was her home.’
The Garrett family from Ocean Springs, Miss., who stayed at Corydon’s Hampton Inn after Hurricane Katrina devastated their coastal town, has returned home, Turcotte said.
The Harrison County Public Library and Corydon Elementary School are raising funds to purchase new books for libraries and schools damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The money will be matched by Scholastic under a new program called ‘One for Books.’
To raise funds, the library and the school will sell ‘paper book slips’ for $1 each. The slips will be hung in the library and school. Monies collected will be used to purchase books from the Corydon Elementary School’s Scholastic Book Fair at the end of October. Scholastic will match the dollars to buy twice as many books.
Paper book slips are available at the children’s desk of the library or at the elementary school library. For more information, call the library at 738-4110.
St. Joseph School in Corydon has answered a call from Common Threads to donate student uniforms to students in the Gulf Coast region.
Uniforms are being collected at Mount St. Francis for the St. Isidore community in Baton Rouge.
St. Joseph has donated more than 150 uniform pieces.