Thursday, May 24, 2007

Today in Greensburg - Thursday, May 24

Greensburg Relief Bill Signing

Governor Kathleen Sebelius will visit Greensburg tomorrow, May 25, to sign the Greensburg relief bill (Senate Substitute for HB 2540) into law. The signing will take place at 2 p.m. at the Southern Plains Co-op elevator with Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the adjutant general; Representative Dennis McKinney, Senate President Steve Morris, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, Senator Ruth Teichman, House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, and city and county officials.

The measure creates the Business Restoration Assistance Program which is available for counties affected by the May 4th storm that lost at least 25% of their property tax base. Qualifying businesses will be eligible for assistance payments of up to 10% of their qualifying investment to rebuild or replace a building or structure or to replace business machinery and equipment. Also, qualifying businesses will be eligible for assistance payments of up to $3,500 for each full time employee rehired. In addition, the measure provides sales tax exemption. All sales tax for items and services purchased to construct, reconstruct, enlarge or remodel a business facility within Kiowa County as a result of the May 4 storm will be exempted. Qualifying businesses must apply before June 30, 2008.

Under the law, the State Finance Council is allowed to extend the Governor’s Disaster Declaration for Kiowa County past Oct. 31, 2007, until Jan. 14, 2008, if necessary. And in excess of the $10 million allowed by current law, the Director of the Budget, at the request of the State Finance Council, has the authority to transfer into the State Emergency Fund an additional amount not more than $25 million from all state revenue funds.

Storm Shelters

Workers in Greensburg, Kan. sought shelter early today when a tornado warning sounded sirens in the area just after 1 a.m. The rainfall did result in some street flooding, but no injuries or significant additional damage were reported as the result of the storm. Yesterday afternoon was the first time this week that threatening storms moved close enough to the area to prompt officials to ask residents, volunteers and private contractors to leave Greensburg.

Picnic in the Park in Greensburg

Hundreds of residents of Greensburg, volunteers, contractors, and others involved in rebuilding the city enjoyed mild temperatures and breezes for a "Picnic in the Park" over the noon hour today.

In addition to hot dogs and hamburgers, residents had the opportunity to talk with residential and commercial construction contractors who are expressing interest in helping rebuild the city. Representatives from a variety of government agencies which have been working with residents since shortly after the devastating tornado just less than two weeks ago were also on hand to provide information.

Air Ambulance Service Offered to City of Greensburg

The owners and employees of the EagleMed Critical Care Transport service presented the City of Greensburg with a check for $10,000 at the "Picnic in the Park" in Greensburg today. The donation will be used for parks and other public improvements for the city of Greensburg.

Employees of the Wichita-based company raised one-half of the funds, which was matched by EagleMed owners Jim and Iva Ballard. In addition, EagleMed is working with the City of Greensburg and Kiowa County Regional Hospital to base one of its air-ambulances in Greensburg for several months at no charge to the city or county.
EagleMed operates 16 aircraft in 13 cities in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas.

Debris Removal Update

An estimated 63 percent of the debris has been removed. As of May 23, 1,290 loads of debris have been hauled out of Greensburg for a total of 20,268. Since the storm, workers have hauled 189,911 cubic yards of debris – that’s enough to fill more than 50 Olympic swimming pools. An estimated 110,000 cubic yards of debris remains.

KDHE Issues Hazard Declaration for Tornado Debris

Residents are encouraged to take appropriate steps to remove tornado debris remaining on private properties which may present a health and safety risk to the public. Unstable structures and debris piles pose fire hazards and create a habitat for undesirable vermin. Currently, concrete rubble and foundations do not present an immediate hazard.

Asbestos Contractors

Private contractors must be KDHE licensed to remove or demolish any suspected asbestos material. If you are a homeowner and suspect asbestos is present during demolition or debris removal, consider using a specially trained contractor to remove the material. Contact Scott Bangert at 785-296-1689 with questions.

Precautions for Workers

Health officials ask those working in Greensburg to dress appropriately for work environment to ensure their safety. This includes wearing the appropriate shoes, gloves, hats and masks for working in the debris strewn areas. Workers in Greensburg should call 911 if they encounter a hazardous spill or leak. The EPA spill line is 913-281-0991. Contact city hall at 620-723-2751 with questions or to report water leaks.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home