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Katrina is felt on the Plateau

Stories started swirling last week of local residents feeling the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Some had personal reasons for getting involved, while others just had to lend a helping hand. Following are a few local connections to the devastation in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast.

Anyone with a similar story is encouraged to contact the newspaper. Call Editor Kevin Hanson at 360-802-8205 or e-mail news@courierherald.com.

Peggy Stamp's mother, sister and niece traveled thousands of miles to Enumclaw for a happy occasion. Now, a tragedy at home has left them stranded, unsure what their future might hold.

Stamp and husband Randall Xavier were married Aug. 27 at their home on Mud Mountain Road. The couple moved here a year ago from Los Angeles.

Stamp's mother, also named Peggy, flew to the Northwest for her daughter's wedding, leaving her home and job in New Orleans. Joining her were Stamp's sister Scarlett and Scarlett's 22-month-old daughter, Carolina.

The wedding went off without a hitch and Stamp and Xavier departed for a Mexican honeymoon, leaving Stamp's family at the Enumclaw home. While in Mexico, Stamp watched television as New Orleans was destroyed.

Stamp's mother, sister and niece share a home in New Orleans; they know the roof is gone, but they're unsure whether the house is still standing. Stamp's mother is out of work, because the nursing home where she was employed has been emptied as part of the citywide evacuation.

'Thus, Stamp and Xavier have three house guests for an indefinite time. After paying for a wedding and honeymoon, Stamp said, finances are tight.

She has been heartened, by the response of the Enumclaw community. A clerk at Walgreens convinced an insurance company to waive charges for her sister's much-needed medication, Stamp said, and also bought diapers for the baby. Plateau Outreach Ministries has stepped forward with a food donation and the local Rotary Club has expressed an interest in involving the family in an upcoming benefit. Better still, Stamp's mother, who works with Alzheimer's patients, has a lead on a job.

Finding lodging and transportation for her family is a top priority, Stamp said.

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Mail Express, an Enumclaw mailing center, has connected with an affiliate store in Louisiana to get needed goods into the hands of Hurricane Katrina survivors. Mail Express is currently accepting donations that will be packed and shipped free of charge to another mail and parcel store in Baker, La.

Lana Griffin, owner of Ship-N-Store in Baker, has agreed to spearhead the effort and accept/distribute the relief packages. Griffin has three shelters within three miles of her facility. The one directly across the street from her store, Bethany World Prayer Center, is housing more than 650 people. They will be housing people - most coming from New Orleans - indefinitely.

The following is a list of items being requested that Mail Express will ship for no charge to the relief centers: baby food/formula/bottles, baby wipes, blankets, bottled water, batteries, flashlights, diapers, toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.), first aid kits/supplies, over-the-counter medicines (new, sealed), soap, shampoo, feminine products, small games/toys/colors/coloring books, pre-paid phone cards, pens/pencils/paper, waterless hand cleaner, plastic bags (zip-type), pet food, towels, snacks, cheese/peanut butter crackers, candy, cookies, Depends.

Donations can be made at Mail Express Business Center, 718 Griffin Ave., in Enumclaw. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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The new owner at Enumclaw's Subway sandwich shop is enticing customers to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, and he's hoping other local merchants will do the same.

Azim Merali, who has owned the decade-old shop since late May, will give a free cookie to any customer who donates $1 to the Katrina effort. And, for every dollar donated, Merali will add 25 cents to the pot.

He's running his campaign through the end of September and hopes to raise $2,000.

Merali is hoping other merchants will join, creating a coordinated Enumclaw effort. Anyone interested can contact Merali at 206-718-1585.

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A group of Enumclaw kids rallied to the cause last week, raising $340 that was donated to the Red Cross to help Katrina victims.

The youngsters set up a neighborhood Kool-Aid stand Sept. 3 and worked the downtown crowd Sept. 5 that turned out for Kasey Kahne Day. On the 5th, they sold Kool-Aid at a downtown location and also walked through downtown taking donations for cookies and other goodies.

Participating were Sean Coats; Sara, Bo and Mollee Mongrain; Karleen, Emily and Olivia Adams; and Ryan, Tony and Alana Chynoweth.

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Enumclaw attorney Jeff Coats will depart Sunday, headed for Louisiana to help with some of the legal questions being raised in the hurricane's aftermath.

Coats has been called by the Air National Guard, where he serves as a judge advocate general stationed at McChord Air Force Base. He's one of six attorneys stationed with JAG units throughout the country who will first head to Washington, D.C., then fly to Carville, La., a small town outside New Orleans.

Coats expects to handle a two-week shift, then return home.

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Local Camp Fire kids will host a combined car wash/garage sale to help children impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

The event is planned for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 24 at Rose's IGA in Buckley.

Items for the garage sale will be accepted through Sept. 23. Anyone with questions, or wishing to make a donation, can contact Elethea Steward at 360-829-2617 or Kelly Johnson at 360-829-1076.

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