From daycares to baseball, rain throws wrench into plans

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – In Concordia Parish, rainy weather has brought a halt to everything from construction projects to the spraying of insecticide on farms to day care students’ outdoor play.

&uot;It can get a little difficult&uot; keeping children entertained when it’s raining, said Marcy Dobson, assistant manager at Kiddy Kottage on Carter Street in Vidalia, which is licensed for 40 children.

Still, the center’s staff vary the games children play and the videotapes they watch to make sure indoor play time does not get boring, she said. And older children are encouraged to bring their own games and tapes.

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At BMJ Childcare Center in Ferriday, children can enjoy Nintendo, riding toys, puzzles and even visits by a storyteller while the rains pours outside, said Owner and Director Bertha Matthews.

&uot;But they’re not just confined to the building,&uot;&160;Matthews said. The children visit the Macon Ridge Economic Development Region office regularly to take computer classes, she said.

Other youth activities are also being affected — perhaps baseball most of all. Vidalia’s Dixie Youth League may have to cancel one or two games this season because rain has set play back a couple of days.

&uot;The problem is that it happened so late in the year,&uot; said league President Mike Bowlin. &uot;We have All-Stars in a couple of weeks, and we’ve got to be finished so they can practice.&uot;

Cancelled games are announced over the radio so the parents of the league’s 220 players can make other plans, Bowlin said.

Days of rain have also halted construction projects throughout Concordia and neighboring parishes, such as construction of an amphitheater at the Vidalia Landing site.

&uot;If the rain would quit and the ground would dry up, we might get back in there by Monday morning, … but right now, it’s hindering our work for sure,&uot;&160;Mike Grantham, owner of Camo Construction, said Thursday. That project is about 60 to 65 percent complete, he said. Grantham had also hoped his crews could start to install new drainage pipes throughout Vidalia this week, but that work will also have to wait until the ground dries. Until then, crews will have to busy themselves by doing vehicle maintenance and other repairs.

Falling rain and wet soil have also stopped construction on a number of Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development projects, said Ricky Moon of the DOTD district office in Chase.

Those include four-laning of Louisiana 15 between Sicily Island and Peck, highway overlaying between Jonesville and Harrisonburg, replacement of the Black River bridge at Jonesville and construction of a bike trail south of Vidalia.

&uot;We’re definitely not going to get any work done this week, but hopefully we’ll get back in there next week,&uot; Moon said, referring to the four-laning project.

That project was also hindered by heavy winter rains that have undermined the highway’s foundation in some places, he said.

Farmers who have already planted this year’s crops would normally be spraying herbicides and insecticides and applying fertilizer to their fields this time of year, said Glen Daniels, Concordia Parish’s county agent.

&uot;But they can’t get in there now — the ground’s too wet,&uot; Daniels said. &uot;We needed the rain, but now we need it to stop and maybe give us another inch of rain in another three to four weeks.&uot;

Still, the rain was greatly needed, especially in fields where corn is mature enough to begin to tassel. The rain even helps guard against corn toxins, Daniels said.

Some fields are flooded, but most farmers have good drainage systems that allow excess water to run off quickly, he said.

One event that was affected by the persistent rain was the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce’s golf scramble, originally scheduled for Thursday but now reset for June 21.

But the rain has allowed chamber members extra time to sign up more sponsors for holes and golfers, said chamber Executive Director Linda Gardner.

&uot;Besides, even if it had been sunny (Thursday), the ground would still have been too wet to play,&uot; Gardner said. &uot;Hopefully, we’ll get some pretty weather between now and June 21.&uot;