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All island residents can return Wednesday

By Sara Foley
The Daily News Published September 20, 2008

GALVESTON - The city will allow all island residents back into Galveston beginning at 6 a.m. Wednesday, but those who live west of the seawall are discouraged from staying there.

Police won't check proof of address but will stop every vehicle at the base of the causeway to hand out information about re-entry.

Residents will return to a damaged Galveston that might be unhealthy or unsafe.

"There are some things to consider when returning," City Manager Steve LeBlanc said. "You may want to ask yourself if you really want your children here."

The left lane of the causeway will be reserved for emergency workers and contractors.

The 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will remain in effect after the island is opened and be "very strictly enforced," LeBlanc said.

"If we have to make an example of someone, we will," he said. "We will maintain order in this city."

Violators will face a $2,000 fine.

The state will send an extra 150 troopers and other law enforcement officers to help control traffic and enforce curfew, state Rep. Craig Eiland of Galveston said.

The state will also bring in between 800 and 1,000 stop signs to replace those that fell down and traffic lights that are out.

Centers distributing food to the public will be in place, LeBlanc said.

Returning residents shouldn't drink water, but the water is safe to bathe with. Residents should bring bottled water or boil water before drinking it. They should also conserve water and flush toilets only when necessary, LeBlanc said.

Returning residents should turn off their breakers, make sure their gas is cut off and start cleaning up, LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc advised residents to call a technician before flipping the switch back on if floodwaters rose above the electrical breaker box.

Before Wednesday, the city will announce its recommendations on how trash should be separated.

In general, appliances should be in one pile, furniture and household goods in another and spoiled food should be in a closed container.

Residents who live west of the seawall are discouraged from staying, but the city won't force them out.
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