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Three one-day Harvey Communities Forums slated for April

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo HarveyDebrisPic
Mound of debris from Hurricane Harvey awaiting removal.
Disaster rebuild, recovery programs to be in Beaumont, Rosenberg, Victoria

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will present three Harvey Communities Forums in April in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“These free forums are one-day events for community leaders, school district administrators and local officials and staff to come and hear from speakers who will share insights and personal experiences related to disaster response and recovery,” said Dr. Monty Dozier, AgriLife Extension administrator and special assistant for Rebuild Texas, College Station.

“Attendees will hear community leaders from Texas and beyond and learn about both their failures and community-led successes, as well as what they may expect on the road ahead.”

Each forum will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. with presentations and discussion sessions  to follow from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dates and locations will be:

— April 16, Lamar Institute of Technology, 855 E. Lavaca, Beaumont.

— April 17, Rosenberg Civic Center, 3825 Texas Highway 36 South, Rosenberg.

— April 23, Victoria Educational Gardens Pavilion, 283 Bachelor Drive, Victoria.

While the forums are at no cost, attendees are requested to RSVP to ensure a space. To RSVP, go to

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many communities sensed the possibility of long-term opportunities to do things differently and were looking for a game plan,” said Steven Mikulencak, AgriLife Extension program specialist and liaison to the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas, Houston. “These forums are a way to learn what other communities have done and how that could apply to our communities here in Texas.”

Charriss York, AgriLife Extension program specialist and liaison to the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas, Houston, said those scheduled to speak at the forums include:

— James Crowell, president, Biloxi Branch NAACP and member of the National NAACP board of directors. Crowell will share his experiences in rallying community collaboration and volunteerism through faith-based organizations after Hurricane Katrina.

— Windell Curole, general manager, South Lafourche Levee District – Galliano, Louisiana. Curole will discuss his work as part of a group to implement a comprehensive hurricane protection system and coastal restoration project in Louisiana.

— David Dodd, president, DADCO Consulting – New Orleans, Louisiana. Dodd will speak about both disaster and economic recovery, including work in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, as well as in Oklahoma after the 2013 tornadoes/storms and Louisiana after the 2016 floods.

— Reggie Dupree, executive director of the largest non-federally funded flood control system in the nation, Terrebonne Levee and Construction District, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Dupree will discuss implementation of a comprehensive long-term hurricane protection system and coastal restoration project for this parish.

— Christine Files, board president, Bastrop County Long-Term Recovery Team and Disaster Leadership Team. Files will discuss her experiences and lessons learned from response to and recovery from seven disasters – floods and wildfires – in Bastrop County since September 2011.

— Deirdre Hewitt, outdoor recreational planner, National Park Service. Hewitt will discuss her work with communities in northeast Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina to develop ecotourism projects to spur economic and community growth.

— Dr. C.J. Huff, former superintendent of schools, Joplin, Missouri. Huff will speak about the EF5 tornado that destroyed six schools and damaged four others while he was superintendent in Joplin.

— Gerard Landry, mayor of Denham Springs, Louisiana. Landry, who was in office when flooding struck his community twice in 2016, will discuss how he is now leading a community engagement planning process to develop and implement projects to rebuild a better Denham Springs.

— Linda Langston, former county supervisor, Linn County, Iowa. Langston will talk about the Linn County floods of 2008 and her involvement in response and recovery in the areas of social services, public health, post-disaster policy and community engagement.

— John Young, former parish president, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Young will present on post-Katrina recovery and the challenges of attracting and keeping businesses in the affected area.

For more information on the forums, contact York at 281-694-5508 or [email protected].


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