Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Great Idea for Mobile

From the Mobile Register

Village for area homeless proposed
Plan unveiled to construct housing complex on 28 acres off Interstate 65; cost of proposal not released

Saturday, June 25, 2005
Staff Reporter

Members of a task force on homelessness said they hope that an "opportunity village" will provide the stable environment needed to help resolve the problem in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

The Chronic Homeless Task Force presented a new plan Friday at the multi-purpose room of Mobile Government Plaza in downtown Mobile. The plan includes 11 goals -- with the most ambitious involving construction of a village on 28 acres owned by the city of Mobile off Interstate 65, between Moffett Road and U.S. 45.

Bottom line, advocates say, is that the homeless need housing if they are to get back on their feet.

"We want to help the homeless and address the issues and concerns that we all have in our society," said Ann Bedsole, the task force chairwoman. "We have to be helpful rather than be enablers."

Details, including the cost of the proposed complex, were not released. Bedsole said afterward that the task force hopes to get commitments from agencies that work with or provide assistance to the homeless to help with funding.

Bedsole -- along with Mobile County Commissioner Sam Jones, City Councilman John Peavy and former City Councilwoman Bess Rich -- is running for mayor in the summer election.

The idea of the proposed housing complex, said Dan Williams, executive director of the Homeless Coalition of the Gulf Coast, is to prevent homelessness before it starts,.

Some Mobilians who live and work downtown have expressed concerns about the number of homeless people who frequent the area.

"This plan will eventually eliminate homeless in the county, and that should take care of downtown," said Vanessa Shoots, president of the homeless coalition.

"No. 1 (the village) is intended to provide the homeless with all the services they need under one roof," said Al Stokes, Dow's chief of staff. "It will be a much larger place and serve more people and may be more attractive to the homeless."

According to the overall plan, the task force hopes by September to transfer the land from the city of Mobile to the homeless coalition.

An alternative site that was mentioned consists of three parcels totaling 40 acres on the other side of I-65, directly across from the 29-acre site, said Bill Demouy, director of real estate assessment management for the city.

Task force officials said that residents of the complex would receive job and life skills training in order to get back on their feet.

The goal is to develop a safety net for the homeless before individual situations become chronic, said Janice Small, who helped develop the plan. The goals include more intensive outreach to those living on the street, those who have run-ins with law enforcement and end up in jail, or who have been diagnosed with mental health problems, Small said.

According to the Web site for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the chronic homeless are persons who have been homeless for more than a year, who are disabled by addiction, chronic physical ill ness or disability or developmental disability, frequent histories of hospitalization, unstable employ- ment or incarceration, with an average age in their 40s.

The chronic homeless tend to consume more of the resources used to assist the homeless, the Web site said, and have "a more visible impact on (a) community's safety and attractiveness."

"We do have a challenge with homelessness in Baldwin County and we do need your help," Foley Mayor Tim Russell said. "We need a big sister to help us."

Bedsole recounted a story about hiring some homeless men to help clean bricks that were part of a wall that collapsed during Hurricane Ivan in September. One made enough money to buy a pair of steel-toed boots that were required for his construction job, and another earned enough money to buy a ticket back home, Bedsole said.

Most homeless are similar to these men and "just hit a snag in life, and we want to get them past that snag," she said.

The task force was created last year when Mobile Mayor Mike Dow appointed elected officials and advocates for the homeless from throughout the area to tackle the problem.

© 2005 The Mobile Register
© 2005 All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mobile International Carnival Ball 2002

I have been invloved in a civic organization here in Mobile since 1991 called Mobile International Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Inc. (M.I.C.A.T.) This organization has held the Mobile International Carnival Ball off and on over the course of it's existence. The ball was not held every year due to the way the event was setup. Conflicts and elections with host countries caused the event to be held about every other year. In 2002 MICAT was not receiving the funding that it once had and some people wanted to dissolve it. That was also the year of Mobile's 300th birthday and the city was planning events to celebrate all year. A commitment had been made several years earlier that MICAT would hold a ball or event to honor visitors from Canada. We had a meeting and with less that $25,000 in the bank most people said we there was no way we would be able to put on a ball. Luke and I as well as my dad did not agree. We told the rest of the board to give us a few weeks and we would put together a plan and a budget to show them we could pull this off. The date the even needed to happen was just under three months away so time was more of an issue than money but we were sure we could do it. To make a long story short we not only put on the ball but it was one of the best ones ever.

Luke wrote most of the script for the show which he centered around our emblem and HG Wells traveling to different periods in Mobile's carnival history. I will take you through the show with the pictures.

Darwin Singleton from one of the local TV stations narrated.

Scott Eldrige as HG Wells and Carlitta Wimberly as Carnivale' our emblem.

MOWA band of Choctaw Indians and reinactors recreate the scene at Twenty Seven Mile Bluff the site of the first Mardi Gras celebration. They dance to a Indian friendship dance called Stealing Partners and pull people from the audience to join in.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Moonpie Recipe

I found this on my computer. I don't know where it came from unless it is something my dad wrote for a tv cooking show he did a while back to promote our cookbook. Anyway here is a sneak peak into our book. I thought it was neat.

Mardi Gras, one of the Gulf Coast’s oldest celebrations. If you have lived in Mobile for any extended period, it is likely you have heard of this event. The desert that I will be showing you how to prepare today is Banana Butterscotch Elexis. This particular recipe comes from the cookbook ‘Death by MoonPie’. The author of this confectionary compilation is Doris Dean, with production by Lillian Dean and Wayne Dean. The inspiration for this desert came from Elexis the first, the original King of The Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association.

The last float has rolled down Government Street and downtown is littered with the memories of another fabulous Carnival season. As you walk sadly back to your car with a garbage bag full of throws, you wonder ‘What am I going to do with all of these MoonPies’! Well, there is no need to worry; I will show you one way to diminish your domestic stock of MoonPies. Now let’s put on those sequined aprons, and let the good times roll!

The first thing you need to do is gather together a few of those mystical treats, four to be exact, and follow me into the kitchen. If you are reading this I guess you followed my first instructions and found your way to the kitchen. You will just need to gather together a few more ingredients to get started. These ingredients are as follows: one cup of dark brown sugar, two tablespoons of light cream, three tablespoons of butter, one-eighth teaspoon of vanilla extract, four bananas, one-half cup of whipping cream, and one-fourth cup of chopped nuts. As I said you will need four MoonPies, not to be confused with the more common party pies, but they will work also. You will also need a small boiler, a fork, a spoon and four individual desert dishes.

We are ready to begin our carnival creation. First cut each MoonPie in half through the center. Next, place one-half of each MoonPie in one of the individual desert dishes, puncturing each pie all over with a fork. This last step is to make sure our delectable topping seeps into every pore. Now slice one banana over each MoonPie half. Then you are ready to prepare the butterscotch topping. Combine in your small boiler; the dark brown sugar, light cream, butter and vanilla. Cook over a low flame if you are using a gas range or a low setting if you have an electric stove. Stir constantly until the sugar is melted and bubbling. Now pour the mixture over the MoonPie halves and place the other half of the MoonPie on top. Finally, spoon on the whopped cream and nuts to top it off. This should be served immediately.

If you are looking at a table full happy revelers then I guess you have followed the instructions correctly. If you thought this recipe was delicious and simple to prepare then you need to take a look at the cookbook mentioned in the first paragraph ‘Death by MoonPie’. This book contains MoonPie recipes for all occasions as well as many historical facts about Mobile Mardi Gras. When all your friends start asking you, what do you want with those MoonPies, give them a wink and a hearty Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

My Seventh Joe Cain Day Parade

I was looking through some old pictures and found these. This is from the Joe Cain Day parade when I was six years old. I have been parading in this parade since I was 2 weeks old so this was my seventh parade in this organization. How many people have paraded in more that 65 Mardi Gras parades before the age of 35? Please I want to know leave a comment. I had my picture in the paper the first time I ever paraded with a caption 'Mobile's youngest reveler'. My love and dedication to Mardi Gras has not diminished since that day.

Back then the parade ended with a celebration and picnic in the Church Street Graveyard. It was that way for many years until some people started complaining. I have so many wonderful memories of Joe Cain back then. Oh and I am officially a charter member of the Joe Cain Society and have the certificate to prove it.

In the early day their were tons of people that walked in the parade. We walked every year. I love walking in that parade because you are right there with the crowds of people and you can interact with them more. Years later after my dad became the emblem, Chief Slacabamarinico, we rode in the wagon leading the parade. Even then some years I would roller skate behind the wagon or get on and off the wagon during the parade. In recent years I decided to start walking again.

Anyway, here are the pics I thought they were neat. The other people in the pictures are my mom and dad and my sister is in the stroller. She was a about a year old. In the picnic picture my Aunt Liss who passed away last year was with us.