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conradical
November 20th, 2005, 01:01 PM
You are invited to join Southern Masters Swimming (SMS) for some gracious Southern Hospitality at Delta State University (DSU) in Cleveland, MS for our 2005 SCM Championships on December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

You will find registration information at the SMS web (http://www.southernmastersswimming.org/event/index.html#next).

You will find Dining & Lodging information at the Cleveland Tourism Council web (http://www.visitclevelandms.com/).

The swimming facility at DSU is of premiere quality and is a very fast pool. It was designed by the same architect that built the swimming center in Indianapolis. The chemicals used are other than chlorine and are easier on the skin and also create a water viscosity that is more conducive to fast times. The indoor 8 lane 50-meter by 25-yard pool provides a 25-meter race course with a minimum depth of 7 feet, complete with the big sized Kiefer-McNeil non-turbulent racing lane ropes. Warm-up lanes in the west end of the pool will be available during the meet each day. Equipment includes Paragon Track Start Competitor starting blocks with electronic relay takeoff equipment. The building is designed with 1,000 permanent seats and temporary tip and roll bleachers for 600. Shower and locker facilities are available (bring a lock).

SMS represents the Southern LMSC (which is comprised of the states of Louisiana and Mississippi) of USMS and this year we are hosting the Dixie Zone SCM Championships. Originally this meet was scheduled to be in New Orleans, LA, but the devastation brought about by Hurricane Katrina has forced a relocation of the meet. Meet organizers and the associated members of the SMS staff have endeavored tirelessly to ensure that this meet is to go ahead as scheduled. We would be delighted if you could reward these admirable efforts with your participation at our meet.

The situation brought about by what has been recorded as the worst natural disaster in US history is unfathomable. A substantial portion of the SMS membership has been displaced by the aftermath of this tragedy. Some (including SMS staff members) have been permanently displaced due to job relocations/loss, and/or total property losses. The New Orleans City Planning Department estimated the city's population before the storm to be 480,000. Two months after the storm the population was estimated at 80,000. Over 200,000 homes have been either completely destroyed or categorized as uninhabitable. The New Orleans public School System was 47 Million Dollars in debt before the storm, now they are 247 million Dollars in Debt. The City of New Orleans (now broke) is the largest tax base for the State of Louisiana (which is also broke). For the first time in history the US Government is providing an aid package to the tune of 260 Billion Dollars as a LOAN (as opposed to a grant). (Good luck collecting on that debt.) The region of SE Louisiana has been impacted by this catastrophe in a way that is truly unbelievable. The state of Mississippi, which bore the most destructive forces of the storm, is not much better off. The City of Waveland, and a good portion of Bay Saint Louis (as well as other portions of the MS & LA Gulf Coast) were completely wiped off the face of the Earth. The storm surge covered over 200 miles of coastline, and in some places reached heights of over 30 feet and 20 miles inland. The declared federal disaster area covers over 90,000 square miles. This is the harsh reality of the situation, which will take years to recover from.

The positive realities of the situation are the thousands of individuals and organizations that have stepped up to help in the cleanup and rebuilding process. The American Red Cross has launched its largest disaster relief effort in its history. Countless churches and volunteer organizations have sent workers and provisions to provide relief to the devastated region. Thousands of utility workers have come from companies all over the US to aid in the restoration of the basic infrastructures so that all homes and business may once again be operable. All of these efforts, and many more, are helping area residents to once again return to a normal way of life. We welcome you to join us in our celebration of these heroic human spirits by attending our meet with us. Hope to see you there.

Respectfully,

Conrad Gardner
SMS Web Master

Note: I have duplicated this post in a number of areas in the USMS Forum in order to reach as many people as possible. I apologize for the redundancy.