Archive for Wednesday, March 15, 2006

City won’t receive federal aid for storm

Losses in Lawrence, including KU, could go as high as $8 million

March 15, 2006


Lawrence residents won't receive federal aid to help pay for recovery from Sunday's severe wind storm, a state official said Tuesday.

"There's not going to be any federal money available," said Joy Moser, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

To receive federal aid, she said, a community must have 25 or more damaged homes, each sustaining at least 40 percent uninsured damage.

A damage assessment team from the state agency, she said, found just 12 homes in the city that sustained that much damage.

The assessment showed:

¢ Three houses destroyed.

¢ One house that was 80 to 90 percent damaged.

¢ Eight houses that suffered at least 70 percent damage.

Crews work on the roof of Robinson Health and Physical Education Center on Kansas University's main campus. Workers were also busy Tuesday on the roof of Naismith Hall, seen at right.

Crews work on the roof of Robinson Health and Physical Education Center on Kansas University's main campus. Workers were also busy Tuesday on the roof of Naismith Hall, seen at right.

The next most-damaged home, she said, suffered less than 40 percent damage.

Had Douglas County qualified for disaster aid, property owners would have had access to a variety of programs, including rental assistance for displaced homeowners, cash grants of up to $26,200 per household and tax credits.

The state government does not provide disaster grants.

"We're lucky no one died," Moser said. "It's unfortunate for those people (that no aid is coming), but it didn't meet the threshold."

Local officials were still submitting their damage estimates to state and local agencies.

All power restored

Westar Energy reported at midmorning Tuesday that electricity was back on for all Lawrence customers who are able to receive power. Gina Penzig, a Westar spokeswoman, said several homes still required work by electricians before power could be restored to them, but other service had been restored throughout the city. Westar asks customers still without power, and who are not already working with Westar, to call 1-800-LIGHTKS to alert Westar that they are still without electricity. Also, the city of Lawrence is asking people to report street signs that are down to the Public Works department at 832-3123.

Paula Phillips, director of Douglas County Emergency Management, said Tuesday that initial surveys showed property losses and local government expenses of between $4 million and $7 million from the storm, with the potential to rise as high as $8 million. That figure includes damages at Kansas University. KU officials have said the campus suffered $6 million in damages and costs related to the storm.

State officials said they would see that the state covers the costs of repairs at KU.

"We will be working with the University of Kansas on damage assessment," Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said.

Sebelius said KU buildings are self-insured, which means repairs will have to come from state funds.

She said the state would obtain an assessment of the cost to repair the buildings, and then she would submit a budget amendment for those costs to the Legislature.

If the final repair figures can't be reached before the Legislature adjourns in April, Sebelius said she would call a meeting of the State Finance Council, which is led by her and includes legislative leaders, to make the necessary appropriations.

"We'll certainly have a discussion on it and see what we need to do," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls.

Neufeld said KU currently had about $4.5 million in its repair and rehabilitation budget.

"We'll have to see what they really need and make adjustments accordingly," he said.

March 12, 2006, Storm

Related content for the storm

  • A year later, microburst's sudden fury still evident (03-11-07)
  • EMS chief stays positive after injuries (03-11-07)
  • Staff writer Scott Rothschild contributed to this report.


    lv2ride 12 years, 2 months ago


    No offense taken. Since I am proud of who I am. Others may not be so understanding and I just don't appreciate steryo<-(sp) typing, whether it be about me or anyone else. Sorry, but I couldn't let it slide...had to say something. :+)- My two cents have been submitted and now I will step down from my soap box. :+)-

    Thank You. Have a wonderful rest of the day!!

    Godot 12 years, 2 months ago

    "Godot, are you in Arkansas?"

    No, but my mobile home is.

    lv2ride 12 years, 2 months ago


    Why do you feel the need to "make fun of hillbillies"?

    I am, I guess, classified as a hick (damn proud of it). I listen to country, live on a farm, and (hince the screen name) LOVE to ride horses, and damn good at it. Does that give you the excuse to make fun of me?

    A couple of my friends are "americans who happen to be black" and I consider them very close friends of mine...they don't feel the need to make fun, actually, one of them considers himself a "cowboy" and is very proud of it.

    So, why can't people just accept eachother for who they are(or who they want to be)and stop poking fun and pointing fingers at eachother. Different types of people is exactly what make this world so unique.

    No, I don't live in a perfect world or a fantasy land...I just prefer to be positive and NICE to everyone around me.

    Please everyone, have a nice day!! Thank You.

    justathought 12 years, 2 months ago


     I have insurance. I also have a 500$ portion to pay off the top. I hear that amt is going to be going up ALOT. So you tell me how great is the insurance when you have to chop of an arm to pay your part? I guess when it doesn't affect you then you have no sympathy for others. Typical.

    Linda Endicott 12 years, 2 months ago

    Why does everyone assume that someone who lives in Kansas is a hick?

    And even if they are, what's wrong with being a hick? Some very nice people, if you ask me.

    I'd rather be a hick than someone supposedly "cultured" like Paris Hilton. Airhead.

    I find it hard to believe, after viewing some of those pics, that there weren't at least 25 homes damaged severely enough for a disaster to be declared.

    I don't know that I buy that excuse, anyway. I've heard of many places that were affected by flooding, some rural areas where the homes are sparse, and they were declared a disaster area.

    Does it depend on what the disaster was, or what?

    J Good Good 12 years, 2 months ago

    I bet part of the reason that KU's estimate is high are the red tile roofs that are one of the landmarks of the campus. Very pretty, but very expensive to replace, and some of those are very badly damaged.

    mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

    Maybe you need an actual tornado to be declared a federal disaster area, or as it seems, a certain amount of damage.
    We were lucky, because no one was injured, and property damage was not severe for the entire area.

    I do feel sorry for those who did have damage.

    badger 12 years, 2 months ago

    jg - the tiles make sense. I wonder if they also have issues with expense because of the age of some of the damaged buildings?

    crazyks - perhaps in the rural areas the crop and livestock loss, plus the damage to land based on its potential agricultural usage, counts?

    lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago the number might be up to $8 Million bwahahaha cough

    cornflakegirl 12 years, 2 months ago

    Let's all not forget the important ways that our tax dollars ARE used by the government. Emergency Management is still enjoying that $5,000 flat screen TV that sat dark for most of the day on Sunday.

    justathought 12 years, 2 months ago

    Perfect. I live in south west lawrence on scottsdale st. and we got hit LAST time the tornado/microburst/wtfe came through. We were the most affected neighbor hood and we had american red cross, police not letting us into our neighborhoods ect.... But it seems because this storm was So wide spread (not just here in Lawrence either) they have decided to pick and choose who they are going to help. I don't blame anyone but it just doesn't seem right.

     When I called the insurance on Monday it took me an hour to get into the que and then when I did there were 117 calls ahead of me. I know that alot of people were more affected then me but I'd really love to remove the ugly blue tarps from my roof sometime this year :(

    Oh well such is life,

    not as important as you

    Linda Endicott 12 years, 2 months ago

    The storm wasn't large enough to show on radar??

    Funny, I saw it on radar on both KC and Topeka stations. And they talked about the hook echo and how dangerous a storm it was. And a tornado warning was issued by the weather service.

    Wilbur_Nether 12 years, 2 months ago

    Having spent time in Chicago, Boston, LA...I can tell you that KU isn't really all that liberal....

    and ld, you know where to get the information about how KU came up with its $6M figure--contact their open records official and ask.

    lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

    luv2ride, i guess i should've said 'jerry springer' type people instead of hillbillies or a hick, no offense.

    for some reason i can't get the themesong for the movie Deliverance out of my head....dee dee dee da dee da dee da dee.....

    Rick Aldrich 12 years, 2 months ago

    come on! go figure the goverment can't even take care of their own people, what a crok. oh wait we're at war sorry forgot. i got my prioritys wrong. lets take care of the out of country issues first. god and the communitee will help these people.

    neopolss 12 years, 2 months ago

    Then I guess the call needs to go out to everyone in Lawrence to help those who need, since our government is unwilling.

    This is what irks me about government. It's OUR tax money, and this is EXACTLY what I want our tax money to go towards, helping others who were vicitims by random choice.

    Godot 12 years, 2 months ago

    KU got hit so hard is because it is closer to the clouds.

    benm024 12 years, 2 months ago

    "I guess those silly traffic-calming devices on 13th street will have to wait?"

    Fact: No traffic calming devices were harmed by the storm in any way.

    Fact: traffic signals and stop signs were ripped from the ground and destroyed, costing tax payers money.

    If anything, the recent storm helps strengthen the case for roundabouts.

    blessed3x 12 years, 2 months ago

    Is it really the government's responsibility to bail everyone out of even the smallest mishap? All of these damages should be covered by the homeowner's insurance. The federal money should be reserved for large catastrophes. Quit bellyaching and call your insurance man.

    Rick Aldrich 12 years, 2 months ago

    p.s. the federal and state government is paid by us. what if a astroid hit your neighborhhood, doe's your insurance cover it if not next question is can your butt afford it? either way i'd bet you'd be expecting help from your state and federal government. so set on it and spin.

    lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

    i'm still trying to figure out how KU, which makes up a small percentage of land when compared to the rest of lawrence, gets $6 Million in damage, and the whole city of lawrence gets just $1-2 Million in damage.

    i bet KU be gettin a new color tv and stuff.

    just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 2 months ago

    I guess macon and luny didn't get their fill of racist comments in the aftermath of Katrina.

    Hey, luny, have you noticed that KU is on a hill, and much more exposed to such a weather event?

    Sorry if I have confused you with the facts.

    Fatty_McButterpants 12 years, 2 months ago

    I guess those silly traffic-calming devices on 13th street will have to wait?

    badger 12 years, 2 months ago

    Good question, luny. I would like to know what the extent is of the damages KU is claiming, and why they'll cost so much more than all the rest of Lawrence.

    I also agree with neopolss. This is precisely what I'd like to see my tax dollars going towards, helping people rebuild after a catastrophe they couldn't have really avoided.

    lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

    bozo, i was trying to sound like a hick. i didn't know making fun of hillbillies made me a racist, especially since i am an american who happens to be black.

    please educate me about racism bozo.

    lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

    i don't know everyone... i haven't seen $6+ million in damages up at KU. i saw some spanish type tiles missing, know about the roof top airconditioners, know the general cost of a flat roof to replace, and some downed trees - but not near (in my opinion) $6 million worth. i can't forget the bleachers - not sure what those cost. please, if anyone can tell me where i need to look to see such an astronomical amount of damage let me know. and yes godot, i know KU is closer to the clouds. i just haven't been convinced of the extent of damages.

    kansaskev61 12 years, 2 months ago

    Didn't KU just ask the state for some ridiculous amount of money? If they can't get it one way then they'll get it by inflating the damage estimate from a little wind. There is usually more damage done by the big winds in the classroom! Bravo to the feds for not forking over money for such little damage!

    badger 12 years, 2 months ago

    Marion -

    We spend billions of dollars each year rebuilding people's houses in other countries after they're leveled by flooding, fires, tsunamis, hurricanes, or bombs (some of them ours, some of them not).

    I like that we are an affluent enough nation to help other nations, and that we do so. That makes me proud of my country. But I am Americentric enough to say that if the US helps provide funding for houses for people whose homes were destroyed by weather in other countries and who can't afford to replace their shelter, then they should do the same for the people in this country who lost their homes to natural disasters and can't afford to repair or replace them.

    Now, if the truth is that everyone whose home suffered serious damages had insurance that covered the damages, and so Lawrence doesn't need the aid as a community, that's great.

    But if you have people who will be living in unsafe housing, or who will be homeless, as a result of this because they can't afford to repair or replace their homes, then I don't see why they shouldn't get the same level of concern from the US government as someone in the same situation in another country.

    The money we're talking about is hotel grants while you're displaced, less than 30,000 dollars a household at the very most, and tax credits. It's not buying them a whole new house and furniture at Lawrence prices. Just a hand to help with what insurance might not have covered.

    If they end up homeless, the government will spend a lot more than that to feed, house, clothe, and occasionally jail them, and they won't be contributing anything back at all, financially. I'd rather see us help them stay on their feet than have to pick them up later.

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