Com­mu­nity lis­tens to tor­nado re­cov­ery up­dates

Record Observer - - NEWS - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — Kent Island res­i­dents gath­ered at Mat­a­peake El­e­men­tary School on Wednesday, Aug. 23, fill­ing the ma­jor­ity of the chairs and bleach­ers in the school’s gym­na­sium, and lis­tened to county, state and fed­eral gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials pro­vide up­dates on how the area was re­cov­er­ing from a July tor­nado.

Dave Rivett, chief of Emer­gency Man­age­ment for Queen Anne’s County, be­gan the two-hour meeting — the sec­ond of its kind in a month — by in­tro­duc­ing elected of­fi­cials, gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees and dis­tin­guished guests.

Like the Aug. 2 tor­nado re­cov­ery town hall meeting, com­mu­nity mem­bers had the op­por­tu­nity to come to the mi­cro­phone to ex­press ques­tions and con­cerns re­gard­ing com­mu­nity and home re­cov­ery op­tions af­ter the EF-2 tor­nado ripped apart and tossed around tree limbs, power lines and por­tions of homes in the early hours of July 24.

State Sen. Steve Her­shey said he and his col­leagues would help any way they could. Deal­ing with the Maryland In­surance Com­mis­sion­ers of­ten, Her­shey said they might be able to as­sist with those is­sues.

A Kent Island res­i­dent who rents a prop­erty in the dam­aged area, who didn’t pro­vide her name, had ques­tions about what to do with un­re­spon­sive land­lords. As a ren­ter, she said it was tough to get ac­tion done on the land. The lady was told to look into land­lord tenant laws and the con­sumer pro­tec­tion agency with the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice might be able to help.

Her­shey of­fered as­sis­tance as he said the state deals with most land­lord laws.

Speak­ing on be­half of the public school sys­tem, Brad En­gel, su­per­vi­sor of stu­dent sup­port ser­vices, said fam­i­lies are en­cour­aged to reach out to him and his of­fice with any con­cerns re­gard­ing the be­gin­ning of the school year and their chil­dren. Whether trans­porta­tion is­sues, any­thing with at­ten­dance or en­roll­ment as well as how to re­ceive ser­vices while at school, En­gel said to call.

“I know that there are a lot of chil­dren that have been im­pacted and af­fected by this event,” he said.

Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schoold Dr. An­drea Kane asked En­gel and staff to cre­ate a plan with school coun­selors, psy­chol­o­gists and staff so when stu­dents ar­rive public school per­son­nel will be ready. En­gel said coun­selors are work­ing on “look-fors” as stu­dents re­act dif­fer­ently to events de­pend­ing on age.

Repeating what he said at the Aug. 2 town hall meeting, Plan­ning and Zon­ing Direc­tor Mike Wis­noski told the packed room about his of­fice’s role in the re­cov­ery and re­minded peo­ple they might need per­mits to com­plete some of the work. Wis­noski said pro­cesses might be ex­pe­dited as much as pos­si­ble. He said though per­mits might be nec­es­sary, not all work needs one dur­ing the re­build­ing pe­riod.

“We stand ready to as­sist you folks as you start go­ing through the process of get­ting your fund­ing from your in­surance company, and what you need to do as far as ob­tain­ing a per­mit to re­build,” he said.”

Todd Mohn, direc­tor of Public Works, said more than 50,000 cu­bic-yards of ma­te­rial has been ground up and mulched at the Batts Neck Road trans­fer sta­tion, though “quite a lot” is still to be pro­cessed. For the first time in “a very long time” the trans­fer sta­tions were open seven days a week for three straight weeks. He said public works crews were at the tor­nado site for 25 days in a row.

PHO­TOS BY MIKE DAVIS

Scott Haas, direc­tor of Emer­gency Ser­vices, gave thanks to the var­i­ous per­sonel, agen­cies and or­ga­ni­za­tions that helped in the re­cov­ery process of July 24’s tor­nado.

Lucy Kruse, right, speaks to Kent Island res­i­dents at­tend­ing the sec­ond tor­nado re­cov­ery town hall meeting at Mat­a­peake El­e­men­tary School on Aug. 23. She, along with vol­un­teers, will be­gin restora­tion ef­forts in the com­ing weeks to dam­aged prop­er­ties.

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