PERU – Roberta Johnson, 74, sat on her neighbor’s porch Thursday afternoon looking across at her house on West 2nd Street, where a towering tree sprawled across the roof.It’s laid there since Wednesday afternoon, when a F1 tornado touched down near Peru, bringing with it 95-mile-an-hour winds and torrential rain.“I’m just glad nobody got hurt,” she said.And getting hurt was a real possibility. Johnson said she was babysitting three of her grandkids when the storm hit her house at 608 W. 2nd Street, where she’s lived for nearly 40 years.Winds speeds were so ferocious it drove two tree limbs through the walls into the living room, where one of the kids had just left moments before.“They were frantic and screaming,” said the kids’ father, Michael Hawkins.Hawkins and a crew of over 10 people worked till 4:30 a.m. Thursday cutting off branches to alleviate the tons of weight pushing down on his mom’s roof.But Hawkins and his crew weren’t’ the only ones working.All day Thursday, street and electric crews toiled to clear debris from streets and get power returned to businesses and residents after downed power lines knocked out around 60 percent of the city’s electricity Wednesday afternoon.Inmates with Indiana Department of Corrections cleared up area parks, where the tornado uprooted more than 100-year-old trees and littered huge branches all over green spaces.Park officials said around 30 trees where down on the city’s golf course. The back 9 holes won’t be open until Monday or Tuesday, officials said, and a golf tournament scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled.Peru Building Commissioner Tom Harp said at least 10 businesses on the city’s west side sustained damage after the tornado, including Paul Richard’s GM Center. Winds tore off bumpers from vehicles parked in the dealership’s lot, blowing them into trees more than four blocks away.He said none of the businesses will be condemned.Harp said the storm totally destroyed two garages and one trailer. Two homes were condemned and will be torn down, he said. Around five other homes along West 2nd Street also sustained serious damage.Johnson said she wants to salvage her house despite roof and structure damage from the fallen tree, She said insurance should cover most of the repair costs.Officials said state and federal agencies have yet to issue the total damage amount caused by the tornado.Despite the wide-spread destruction, Peru Mayor Jim Walker said he doesn’t anticipate the state to name the city a disaster area, and locals most likely won’t qualify for FEMA funds or loans.“If it’s just one home or 100 homes that were damaged, someone is suffering because of this storm,” he said. “To us, it’s a disaster, and we’re going to work with them to get their lives back to normal.”Harp said the city is waiving all fees for renovation and repair permits to fix storm-damaged homes and businesses.Walker said residents cleaning up debris from their homes can leave it near the street or on the curb, and crews will pick it up.“Everyone is cooperating fully and working together,” he said.Walker said it will likely be four to six weeks before the city can clean up all the downed trees and limbs. Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at email@example.com.
National Weather service says tornado touched down; two houses condemned.
- Local News
- CHOPPING IT UP Tree branches that were knocked down during the Nov. 17 tornadoes will now be used to line trails in city parks as two weeks of limb collection throughout the city begins coming to a close. Kokomo Parks Superintendent Randy Morris estimated that 22,0
- Carroll Co. Extension to move venues FLORA -- The Carroll County Purdue Extension will be getting some new digs in 2014. The extension, previously housed in Delphi, will be adding on and moving into a building on the Carroll County 4-H fairgrounds in Flora. A 56-by-60-foot addition will
- Hoosiers and state lawmakers at odds INDIANAPOLIS -- Legislators may balk at the idea of easing the penalties for marijuana, but a new poll shows a majority of Hoosiers support legalizing the drug and taxing it like alcohol and tobacco. The same poll finds that a strong majority of Hoos
- Best-selling author Wes Moore coming to Kokomo Two men. One name. Two very different fates. One is a best-selling author, Rhodes Scholar, Army officer, businessman and host of a television show on the Oprah Winfrey Network -- an American success story. The other is a convicted murderer in prison
- Community digs deep for We Care auction No matter the weather, the community always comes through. That was the sentiment of We Care Board of Directors President Becky Varnell, who watched donations and tears flood through the halls of the WWKI building on Sunday evening. It was an emotion
Question Time: Best and worst Christmas gifts
“What was the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received and why? And what was the worst Christmas gift you’ve ever received and why?”
- Big business in a small town DENVER — It takes about 12 minutes to walk from one end of Denver to the other. The town is a small, isolated enclave of around 500 people surrounded by hilly woodlands and fields in northern Miami County. During that short walk you could do this: Bu
- Santa makes downtown debut The holiday festivities downtown kept rolling Saturday as Santa and Mrs. Claus chugged into downtown atop of a U.S. Rail train engine. Families lined Buckeye Street waving and cheering old St. Nick as the train whistle blared. Hali Adkins and her son
- We Care telethon wraps up today The We Care Auction concludes today. Many items donated by the community were sold in a televised auction that last year brought in $169,444. The funds help support organizations such as the Salvation Army, Goodfellows and the Kokomo Rescue Mission.
- Mayors oppose business tax repeal without replacement INDIANAPOLIS -- Mayors from across Indiana are gearing up for a fight to protect a state business tax that produces nearly $1 billion in annual revenue for local governments, libraries and schools. Republican leaders in the Statehouse say getting rid
- More Local News Headlines