Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

May 2, 2013

FEMA puts boots on the ground

Damage assessment team is in Kokomo.

The April 19 flood proved too much for Walt Raderstorf’s 94-year-old home, knocking the eastern foundation wall out from under the structure.

Wednesday, Raderstorf was contemplating estimates he’d received for fixing the damage, and the news wasn’t good.

“They say they want about $50,000, but I’ve about got the house paid off. I don’t know whether I should stay or not,” he said.

Outside his damaged home, a team of state and federal officials were surveying the flood damage, collecting data to help Indiana Gov. Mike Pence decide whether to request disaster assistance for Howard County.

Howard County Emergency Management Agency director Larry Smith, who was on hand to aid the survey, was hoping assistance comes quickly, in the form of flood mitigation funding to remove houses from the flood plain.

“I think the city and the county have come to the conclusion that if we’re going to do something, now is a good time to do it,” Smith said. “Not two or three years down the road, when this will have happened again and we’ll be seeing all of [the disaster assessment officials] again.”

On their tour, which started in the 600 block of Park Avenue, the team of officials representing the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Indiana Department of Homeland Security and federal Small Business Administration, were looking specifically for structural damage.

As one of them put it, “We’re not here to hear every flood horror story; we want to get in, get dirty and get out, and bring a report back to the president for a determination.”

First, Pence will have to request assistance, however, and to do that, he’ll need an accounting of the number of homes damaged or destroyed and the numbers of people displaced.

At his home at on Park, Anthony Marino was telling the damage assessment team how he plans to fortify his basement walls, to keep out the water the next time it floods.

When he moved in three years ago, he had the foresight to move the electric panel upstairs, which meant he was able to keep power in the house. But he lost his furnace, and he lost a basement full of memories from 37 years of marriage to his late wife.

It’s unclear how people like Marino and Raderstorf fit into the damage assessment guidelines FEMA uses. In addition to classifying flood-damaged homes into the minor, major and destroyed categories, they look at how the economic well-being of a community has been impacted, and they look at the income level of the flood victims.

They’ll also examine local resources used to care for the victims, 10 of whom were still in temporary housing at a local motel Wednesday.

According to Smith, 72 of those initially displaced were renters, and 47 were homeowners. All but a handful of the people living in the city’s most flood-prone areas fell into the low-to-moderate income category.

The FEMA officials Wednesday were planning to be in Kokomo until 7 p.m., and to come back today if need be. They were focusing on the hardest hit areas, including Park Avenue, the side streets leading down to Park, the Carter/Murden area off South Union Street, and the Carter/Elizabeth Street area near Waterworks Park.

When they’re finished, they’ll submit their joint findings to the governor’s office and, if Pence determines the extent of the damage is too much for local and state officials to deal with, he can request federal assistance from President Barack Obama.

It would then be Obama’s decision whether to grant federal assistance.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Former county official pleads guilty to conversion One of two former county officials charged with theft and official misconduct was sentenced last week to a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. Darrell Reed, 52, pleaded guilty to two Class A misdemeanor conversio

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS - KT072514 Kokomo School Board - pic Blueprints found during demolition aid Central Middle School remodel

    When workers began the tear down for renovations to the Central Middle School auditorium, they stumbled upon something very important and helpful sifting through the century-old material. Tucked away inside the structure were the original blueprints,

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bona Vista to build new $1.23 million housing development Bona Vista Programs has announced it plans to build a new $1.23 million housing development in downtown Kokomo to accommodate people with disabilities. The new 6,500-square-foot housing unit called Elmwood Trails will be located at 1101 N. Buckeye St

    July 24, 2014

  • Burlington woman charged in May fatal crash A 26-year-old Burlington woman is being accused of driving drunk causing the death of a Frankfort man in a May 2 accident near the Howard-Tipton county line. Howard County sheriff deputies served a warrant on Casie E. Johnson on Wednesday charging he

    July 24, 2014

  • Lake Co. judge strikes down Indiana right-to-work INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Lake County judge struck down Indiana's right-to-work ban on certain union fees in a second legal blow to the contentious law passed in 2012. Lake County Circuit Court Judge George Paras determined the law violates the state co

    July 24, 2014

  • Kokomo man charged with sexual misconduct with a minor Kokomo police arrested a 20-year-old man Tuesday afternoon on a warrant charging him with sexual misconduct with a minor involving a 14-year-old girl.Officers arrested Malachi Ely at 4:38 p.m. at his residence in the 500 block of South Goyer Road on

    July 24, 2014

  • Howard County rejected for state preschool pilot Howard County is not among the five counties selected for Indiana’s new preschool voucher pilot.Gov. Mike Pence announced Tuesday that Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties will roll out the program in 2015. Eighteen counties, includi

    July 24, 2014

  • Peru dam Who should fix the dams? PERU — Who has jurisdiction over six dams located in the Hidden Hills housing addition just north of Peru, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources or the people who own the land?It’s a question with a lot riding on it — more than $1.5 million, in

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kokomo Airport runway extension nearing completion After more than a decade of waiting, a runway extension project that will allow the Kokomo Municipal Airport to attract new business will soon be prepared for takeoff.The project, which will extend the airport’s main runway from 5,200 feet to 6,000 f

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS KT 072314 Serena Youth Center pic Serena Youth Center to offer safe haven for young women

    Young women in Kokomo in need of security and additional support will soon have a new place to call home as plans move forward to open the Serena Youth Center. On Tuesday, Coordinated Assistance Ministries Inc. closed on a property for the youth cent

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries