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FEMA inspections to determine whether Richmond County qualifies for federal aid

Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 11:48 AM
Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 1:39 AM
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Federal Emergency Manage­ment Agency inspections of widespread damages in Augusta from last week’s ice storm got underway in force Monday in the hope the area can be reimbursed for recovery expenses.

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Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Augusta Commission members get an update on the massive storm cleanup and recovery effort from Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Charley English.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Augusta Commission members get an update on the massive storm cleanup and recovery effort from Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Charley English.

Georgia Emergency Manage­ment Director Charley English told Augusta Commission members and Mayor Deke Copenhaver at a meeting Monday the inspectors are in Richmond County this week to determine whether home­owners, renters and the government might be eligible for federal assistance.

For the state to meet the federal criteria, the storm had to leave a minimum of 400 to 500 uninsured homes uninhabitable and cost the governments $13.6 million, English said.

For Richmond County to qualify for federal assistance, the storm had to cost the government about $3.50 per capita, or about $700,000, he said.

English and the city officials praised the local government’s and residents’ response to the storm. Asked by Commissioner Bill Lockett to rate the local response, English called it “magnificent,” particularly how “local governments got the word out to citizens there was trouble on the way.”

The storm has drawn contractors and others seeking cleanup work from all over the country. English suggested three reputable charitable groups that are in the area for those unable to afford the help, but he said “it’s a real balancing act” for the city to try to monitor for unlicensed contractors while it is also in need of so much cleanup assistance.

“It’s welcome, all the help right now,” Commissioner Grady Smith said.

Commissioner Mary Davis, whose District 3 was among the areas hardest hit, said she hadn’t observed a single household in the district without some degree of storm damage.

“It seemed to me almost every home was affected,” Davis said.

Still, Davis said, as she drove around the district over the weekend, no one was complaining.

“Every person had a smile on their face, saying, ‘We are fine, we are lucky,’ ” she said.

Power outages were nearly restored to Richmond County residents Monday, with Augusta Fire Chief Chris James reporting only a few hundred still without electricity.

Copenhaver said many of those still without power had such
severe damage to their homes
that the power could not be restored.

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said several of those still calling him about power outages were Planters Electric customers in the southern part of the county.

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dickworth1 02/17/14 - 08:48 pm
City employees off

The city of augusta shut down for the week claiming inclimate weather even on Friday. I called the so call info line and no one was working, I needed the number to the non emergency number for the fire dept on alexander drive. I called the sheriff dept dispatch and they didn't know the number and told me to call 821-1080 and when I explained no one was working they offewred no solution. Called animal control on Monday before the ice storm, no return call, call tues and the answering machine said leave your number and someone will return the call, no callback on tues , wed, thurs, or Friday. We receive the return call today. These workers should not receive wages if they do not work, the mere fact that they are city employees doesn't mean a thing when it comes to spending taxpayers money.

corgimom 02/17/14 - 09:07 pm
Gosh darn those animal

Gosh darn those animal control people, what is WRONG with them, that they won't risk their life for an animal?

Who would EXPECT animal control to work during that terrible storm?

Personally, I would've called 411 on the telephone if I wanted a phone number, but that's just me.

Gage Creed
Gage Creed 02/17/14 - 09:13 pm
Sounds like someone needs a

Sounds like someone needs a recap of last weeks weather report....

You may want to consider that you do not automatically have an answer for every situation, but that's just me.

Common.sense 02/17/14 - 10:19 pm
Corgimom, North Augusta's

Corgimom, North Augusta's animal control was working during the ice storm. They risk their well being for animals all the time.

corgimom 02/17/14 - 11:05 pm
Gage, why would you think

Gage, why would you think that I need a recap of last week's weather report?

I will be the first to say that I have no patience with anybody complaining about RC's government last week. They did an extraordinary job under terrible conditions. It could've been so much worse.

To complain because Animal Control didn't call them back is shameful. How were they supposed to return a call when they weren't in the office?

And I personally value people above animals, as do most people.

But that's just me, too.

I'm sure you'll feel differently.

corgimom 02/17/14 - 11:13 pm
Commonsense, I have known

Commonsense, I have known Mike Strauss for years, he's a great guy. I got one the best dogs I ever had through him.

Remember when he got hurt trying to capture the emu?

KSL 02/18/14 - 04:47 am
Exactly how is Fema going to

Exactly how is Fema going to understand the condition before and after. Like they care. They are just there to distribute money and justify their existence.

And, of course, as a taxpayer, I would not want to spend the money to determine whether the leak actually occurred before or after the storm or whether the limbs fell before or after the storm, or the damage occured actually after the storm.

There are so many opportunities to cheat and lie to collect from insurance, especially with hail damaged roofs. Not that the clients are lying. The insurance companies are just making some people really happy.

I have seen this questionable practise happen on occasion. Was it really a hail storm. Maybe a sleet storm is different. Well I know it is from the 3rd grade. I am speaking of what I learned later.

Bizkit 02/18/14 - 09:15 am
"For the state to meet the

"For the state to meet the federal criteria, the storm had to leave a minimum of 400 to 500 uninsured homes uninhabitable and cost the governments $13.6 million." Well I bet the govt can account a 13.6 mill hit but I wonder if there are 400 uninhabitable homes?

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