Home | Archive | Place Classified | Subscribe | Where to Buy | About | Contact

Search only Ripley News

March 13, 2012

Assistance still available for
residents affected by tornado

Wanda English Burnett

The remnants of the EF3 tornado that ripped through Ripley County, particularly the Holton and Dabney areas on Friday, March 2, are being picked up. People are slowly getting their lives back in order with the assistance of agencies who have stepped up to offer their help.

Today will be the third day that the Ripley County Emergency Management Agency has had their incident command vehicle on site at the Holton Community Center particulary for those who need to complete the on-line FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) application. They will be in place from 1-7 p.m. at the center on Versailles Street in Holton.

Patrick Rose, local EMA director, urges those with loss to come to the site and get registered.

Since Governor Mitch Daniels has heard from President Barack Obama that he has approved federal assistance for six Indiana counties, Ripley being one of them, one FEMA representative told the Osgood Journal they are ready to assist those in need. It's not an immediate process, but extremely important for people to get their information to FEMA representatives. If you cannot get to the site in Holton today, you can go online at www.fema.gov/assistance or call 1-800-621-FEMA. The toll free number is available 24 hours a day.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, according to information from the governor's office.

If someone approaches you and says they are with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA), or any other governmental agency, ask to see their agency identification. All personnel have a photo I.D. If you don't believe someone is who they say they are contact your local law enforcement immediately.

Holton has moved into recovery mode, which means in a few days the Southeastern Indiana Red Cross service will move out, the shelter at the Holton Community Building will have limited hours this week for meals being served, and the Holton Fire Hall will do the same.

People needing assistance for food, cleaning supplies, or whatever, are encouraged to call the Holton Fire Hall at 689-7241 to find out their hours this week. Also, you can call the community center at 689-0693 to find out their hours. They will have evening meals through Wednesday, according to Angi Farrell, town council member, who has been working in the food service area.

Your property may need to be reassessed after the storm damage. Shawna Bushhorn, county assessor, was on the scene many days throughout the week, but if you didn't get information to her, you need to go to the assessor's office on the first floor of the courthouse in Versailles or call 689-5656.

The Arc of Indiana is offering immediate referral services and assistance to families of a loved one with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been impacted by the tornadoes. Families should call 317-224-0276.

For updated information about the disaster and now recovery situation at Holton is progressing you can go online at rcema@ripleycounty.com.


     Vicky Patrick, left, holds a remnant of a newspaper she found in the rubble of her home that was completely demolished by the tornado that hit Holton on Friday, March 2.
The 2004 headline reads "Holton residents survive twister." Below her and her husband, Junior's grandsons are enjoying a game of basketball on Sunday, showing that things are getting back to some sort of normalcy.

Volunteers thanked
at Holton Town mtg.

Karen Reynolds
Contributng Writer

During the EF3 tornado, the town was devastated including the destruction of town equipment, along with improvements and trees within the Holton Town Community Park. People have been interested in donating to rebuild the park, but since the town does not have a park board in place, they cannot accept those donations. Instead, a special non-reverting park disaster fund has been established in a new town ordinance that is for the purpose of depositing monetary gifts, donations and subsidies for the rebuilding, repair and maintenance of the park. This ordinance was adopted unanimously at the meeting.

Unanimous approval was given to accept a revised proposal to allow Tom McConnell a 90-day period in which to pay his delinquent sewer bill fees so the town can approve allowing Brooks and Earl Construction Co. to get started on the sewer problem at the McConnell residence.

An update on the tornado cleanup effort was given with 90% of this being done by volunteers. The Holton Fire Department Fire Chief, Tony Franklin along with Marshall Bob Curl were commended for their hard work and dedication during this time. Paul Hughes, board member, let the residents of Holton know that if they have debris that needs to be removed, there is equipment and man power to take care of this and will be available the rest of the week, even into next week.

Angi Farrell, board member, announced that three meals a day were served through March 11 at the community center. She noted that March 12 and 13 the evening meal would be the only one served. At that point, they will assess the need for food to be served and go from there. Farrell thanked everyone who has worked so tirelessly and encouraged people to be sure to thank others for all they have done.

Ronnie Palmer, town resident, shared that those who need permits to rebuild or renovate can apply for them for free, if they do so within a month. Gary Stutler, Ripley County Commissioner said residents actually have six months to apply for a permit and get fees waived. It was also announced that new guidelines for trailers include having a trailer newer than a 1981 model having at least a square footage of 950 have been included in the guidelines. People need to check with the planning commission about this issue at 689-6062.

Keri Johnson, from St. John's Catholic Church in Osgood, reminded residents they have storage space available for a long-term situation.

It was announced that the Salvation Army had distributed more than $30,000 in Wal-Mart cards to people affected by the tornado as of the meeting date. They were back in town the next day to give out even more.

Town resident Steve Vaughn, asked about the possibly of having a work release program that would allow local residents who are in jail for non-violent crimes to be able to help their town. Vaughn encouraged people to call the local judges, the probation office and sheriff, to express concern that such as program be utilized.

Several other people in attendance had encouraging things to say about the town of Holton. According to Cindy Vanosdol, she is "proud to be a part of this community."

Paul Hughes said he thanks the firemen and police department. Andy Stratton, president of the Holton Town Board, said he was pleased by how everyone had "pitched-in"to help.

"This town stands strong with strong people behind it," Missy Gotts, noted.

Delbert Felix of the Southeastern Indiana Red Cross, thanked the town for allowing them to participate. Felix reminded residents that people of other towns who were also hit by tornadoes helped us, too. He urged everyone to thank the local ham radio operators who were there first to warn people and helped save lives.

Gretchen Moore, town clerk, would like anyone who specifically would like to donate to the park to contact the town hall at 812-689-3269. Town officials attending the meeting were Andy Stratton, Paul Hughes, Angi Farrell, Gretchen Moore, Cathie Stratton, and town attorney, John Ertel.

To read these and more articles pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local store or subscribe by clicking on the link above or by calling 812-689-6364.

Ripley Publishing Company, Inc.
115 S. Washington Street
P.O. Box 158
Versailles, Indiana 47042
Phone: (812) 689-6364
Fax: (812) 689-6508
Email: publication@ripleynews.com

© Copyright 2012 Ripley Publishing Co../ Inc.