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Rebuilding a town with our help

By Jamie BateTruckee now has an adopted sister city, Bayou Le Batre, Alabama, a Gulf Coast burg of about 2,000 folks devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The Truckee Town Council approved a resolution Thursday to adopt the town, which for more than 100 years has relied on the sea for its livelihood. But with more than 60 percent of the town’s fleet of shrimp boats destroyed by Katrina, it will be a while before the town and its people can return to what they’ve always known.That’s why Jane Loomis and the staff and students at Sierra High School approached the town council with the idea to adopt Bayou Le Batre. With that goal achieved, Loomis said the next steps will be to organize.”They need financial assistance. They need to rebuild homes. They need labor and supplies,” Loomis said.And with the difficult task ahead of resurrecting an entire town but just about three months until Christmas, Loomis said the children of Bayou Le Batre may not get to experience what many of us will take for granted. So adopting a family could just be a way to help out.”We’re going to start with Christmas,” Loomis said. “The kids have lost everything.”As part of the sister city resolution, the Town of Truckee will be setting up and administering an account at a local bank for Bayou Le Batre, said Tony Lashbrook, Truckee town manager. The town will endorse any fund-raisers, Loomis said.”The most difficult part for us is to create a process for the distribution of funds,” Lashbrook said. “At some level we have to have some fiduciary responsibility to donors.”That said, many of us have already given checks to various organizations believing that our donations are going to the disaster zone. I’d like to think that our town – both residents and officials – can ensure that whatever is raised here gets to Bayou Le Batre and to the men, women and children who need it. “To tune in in six months to say this is where our money is going to would be great,” Lashbrook said.The Sierra Sun will keep readers posted about the bank account.Meanwhile, Loomis is working with Dan O’Gorman, a veteran member of many Truckee service clubs, to get a inter-club meeting set up so that fundraisers can be planned.”The goal is to come together to do a gumbo fest,” Loomis said. Fitting when you considering Bayou Le Barte’s bayou heritage. Now I wonder who has the best gumbo recipe here in our mountain town?Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at jbate@sierrasun.com.


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