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Tallahassee's Mayor Assures Public Enough Room for Evacuees and Game-Goers

Tonya Marie Jones escaped to Tallahassee before Hurricane Katrina hit. She has not heard from her daughter in New Orleans since Sunday.

Tonya says, "The windows had been blown out from two of the bedrooms. The water was coming in upstairs and downstairs and she was real frantic. That's the last time we heard from her."

Evacuees are still filling hotels and shelters, sparking worry about the coming crowds for the Florida State University versus University of Miami game this Labor Day weekend.

Mayor John Marks says, "We've been prepared ever since we knew the hurricane was going to be to the west of us and some of the evacuees would come our way. I can assure everybody that we will accommodate all of our visitors in this community."

The shelter held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is almost filled to capacity.

Amy Roach of Red Cross Medical Health Services says, "It's a little chaotic because what is happening at this point is the stress is starting to kick in. They're seeing things on the television and in the newspapers about their hometowns and they're now realizing what they had is gone, so they're wanting to go home."

Nellie Kading, an evacuee from Past Christian, MS, says, "Thank God for people like this here. They're wonderful; we wouldn't know what to do without them."

The Florida State-Miami game has not been cancelled. FSU President T.K. Wetherell is asking all football fans attending Monday's game to give a cash donation for the American Red Cross to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Students will be on hand with collection buckets. Some hotels say they have set aside rooms in preparation for hurricane evacuees, but one hotel chain says it's calling football fans with reservations to see if they really need their rooms, anticipating a possible overlap.

Mayor Marks says if push comes to shove, citizens will be asked to open their homes.


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