No debris removal for Bolivar residents

October 28, 2008 5:17:42 PM PDT
We've been told time and again that the road to recovery following Hurricane Ike could take months, and even longer. But some residents on the Bolivar Peninsula are growing impatient. ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim

Much of the peninsula was wiped out by Hurricane Ike, and crews have been working around the clock to clean up. But for those who still call Bolivar home, there is still no debris removal for residents.

Piles of debris sitting next the side of the road are very common sights in Crystal Beach. Noticeably absent, according to residents, is the county, who's supposed to be in charge of taking all this stuff away.

In Crystal Beach, frustration is mounting, along with the piles and piles of storm debris. Fragments of lives shattered now litter the sides of nearly every street in this beachside community.

Crystal Beach resident Curtis Maxey said, "Well, the flies, and the mosquitoes, and the snakes that are around... You know, they're not picking up anything here. It seems like it would go a little faster."

While the clean up on Bolivar is under way, it's private contractors like Matthew Nez -- a resident -- and his crew who are doing most of the work. He says county clean up crews are nowhere to be found.

"We're stepchildren out here. We're not being taken care of," Nez said.

The amount of debris is mind-boggling. There are mountains of it. All crews can do is push one pile at a time from private property to public property -- the side of the road -- in the hopes that Galveston County will collect it, and soon.

Yet the Lees, who lost their business to Ike, say they're amazed at the progress. It's six weeks after the storm, and some parts of the peninsula have power restored.

"As devastated as Bolivar Peninsula is, I think they're doing an awesome job," said business owner Teresa Lee. "They're doing the best they can. There's a lot more to deal with than debris. I mean, they're still looking for bodies here."

Our phone call to the Galveston County judge's office was not returned. Residents and business owners we spoke with say they attended a meeting in Jefferson County earlier this month. Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough was there. He reportedly told residents and business owners that debris removal on Bolivar Peninsula would begin in the next couple of weeks.

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