County qualifies for federal disaster relief

Monday, March 19, 2007
DePauw University women's basketball seniors (from left) Bridget Bailey, Kristy Mahon, Caitlin McGonigal, Suzy Doughty and Liz Bondi hoist the NCAA Division III Championship trophy after defeating Washington in the national final, 55-52. On Tuesday, the senior members of the team will be featured in a special Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture, "In a Class of Their Own: The DePauw Women's Basketball Team," which will begin at 4:15 p.m. in the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media's Watson Forum. The public is invited to attend the event.

Putnam County is among 34 Indiana counties recently named by President George W. Bush to receive federal disaster grants stemming from the Valentine's Day snow storm that buried parts of the area under more than a foot of snow.

The last time Putnam County qualified for such a grant, according to Emergency Management Director Kim Hyten, was in 1999 when Putnam County received 14 inches of snow.

In order to qualify for this latest round of relief, the county had to break the 1999 record, which it did in northern parts of the area, Hyten said.

The purpose of the funding is to reimburse towns and departments for the money that they spent on snow removal during the period of Feb. 12-14.

Departments are eligible to be reimbursed for overtime pay, equipment usage and the cost of materials, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the administrators of the program.

Hyten explained that the winter storm forced departments to spend money that they would have otherwise spent on other projects. This could be important with spring beginning this week and the return of summer road projects, he added.

As of last Friday, the following towns and departments had submitted the following amounts of money to the EMA office:

-- Cloverdale -- $10,000

-- Greencastle -- $26,000

-- Putnam County Highway -- $109,000.

Although the disaster grants are specific for the Valentine's Day weekend, Hyten has asked the departments to estimate costs for three separate spans of time since the county was hit with several storms during February. He said the county highway department had to fight snow drifts that were more than 12 feet high in northern parts of the county.

The dates for which Hyten is hoping to recover are Feb. 12-14, 15-19, and 20-22.

Representatives from each of the towns and department will have to attend a meeting with FEMA in order to make their formal request. Hyten believes that if the agencies are approved to receive funding, they should get it within 30 days.

One of those meetings was conducted earlier today in Indianapolis and another one is scheduled for Tuesday in Lafayette. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Tippecanoe County Extension Office, 3150 Sagamore Parkway, Lafayette. There are additional meetings planned in Muncie, Crown Point and Peru.

In 1999, Putnam County received the following amounts of disaster relief funding:

-- Putnam County Highway Dept. -- $43,000

-- Greencastle -- $15,000

-- All other towns -- less than $4,000 each.

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