Flood notes: Salvation Army serves more meals in Hamburg, Iowa

Flood notes: Salvation Army serves more meals in Hamburg, Iowa
Bradley Perry and other help to fill sandbags as the city of Hamburg, Iowa, fought to keep the town from flooding. Floodwaters from the Missouri River were threatening the town. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD

The Salvation Army Council Bluffs Corps is expanding its food-service efforts in Hamburg, Iowa.

The Salvation Army has been serving lunch in the flood-impacted community for the past two weeks. Beginning Friday, it expands its efforts to include dinner.

That means as many as 500 meals per day will be served by Salvation Army representatives in Hamburg.

Looking to volunteer? Go to United Way website for ways you can help

United Way of the Midlands, in conjunction with AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams, are partnering to get the word out about flood relief volunteer opportunities.

Groups needing volunteers will be listed on the United Way’s Get Connected Volunteer Platform at https://uwmidlands.galaxydigital.com/.

Information about volunteer opportunities also is available by phone by calling the United Way’s Helpline at 211, then pressing 6.

If calling from outside Nebraska, call 402-444-6666, then press 6. An operator will be available to assist people weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For organizations looking for volunteers or those interested in hosting volunteer opportunities, contact the 211 AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordination Team at 402-235-8262 weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by email at nebraskafloodresponse2019@gmail.com.

Cleanup, repairs begin at Game and Parks properties

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has begun the cleanup and repair of its parks and wildlife management areas affected by the March flooding.

Much work remains in assessing the impact of the damage at some state parks, state historical parks, state recreation areas and wildlife management areas. Road, buildings, campgrounds and lakes were affected.

Among the major state park areas still closed are Niobrara State Park, Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area (SRA), Two Rivers SRA, Schramm Park SRA and Louisville SRA. Work has begun on repairing the entrance road to Two Rivers. Game and Parks is working with the county to complete the project in the near future. Repairs are underway at Fremont and cleanup is beginning at Louisville.

A list of parks that are closed, partially closed or accessible only by alternate route is available on Game and Parks’ website at OutdoorNebraska.org/weatherclosures. Visitors to the page will also find a list of park areas unaffected by flooding. Though some parks are temporarily closed, more than 50 park and recreation areas remain open for outdoor recreation.

Hunters, especially those hunting the April 13 start of the shotgun spring turkey season, should be aware that many wildlife management areas still are inaccessible because of soft or washed-out roads. Several roads and bridges also remain closed. For information on specific wildlife management areas, please contact your local Game and Parks district office. Contact information is available online at OutdoorNebraska.org/locations.

Additionally, the Cowboy Trail from Norfolk to Valentine will remain closed until the trail and its bridges can be repaired. The public is advised to stay off the trail until it has reopened.

A timeline is not yet in place for reopening areas affected by the flooding. Game and Parks asks that those with upcoming camping reservations be mindful that parks staff will not be able to make determinations about when those parks will reopen or answer questions about whether reservations might be impacted until after water levels recede. Individuals with advance reservations at areas impacted will be notified if the status of their reservation is affected as soon as parks staff are able to complete assessments of the parks and services.

In addition, Game and Parks continues to remind the public that those who wish to canoe or kayak should wait until water levels recede or plan a trip on water bodies that did not experience flooding in order to avoid hazards.

Questions about specific park closures should be directed to Game and Parks headquarters at 402-471-0641. As reopening dates are set for specific parks, announcements will be posted at OutdoorNebraska.org.

Goodwill accepting flood relief supplies

Area Goodwill locations are accepting donated flood relief supplies in support of the Salvation Army’s efforts.

Items specifically requested are bleach, work gloves, rakes, mops, shovels, buckets, tarps and household cleaning items.

On April 2, Goodwill dropped off a 53-foot semitrailer full of supplies at a Salvation Army distribution center.

Goodwill also is inviting customers to round up purchases to the nearest dollar, with the funds donated to the American Red Cross. On Wednesday, Goodwill presented the Red Cross with a check for $8,094.23 from customer donations.

Goodwill also has issued more than $24,900 in store vouchers to more than 1,245 people. The vouchers are distributed through 26 local agencies.

The vouchers can be used to purchase items at any Goodwill retail location.

FEMA to hire temporary workers

The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to hire Nebraskans to help with recovery efforts.

Anyone interested in temporary job opportunities should go to USAJOBS.gov and create an account.

The website is updated as new postings occur. In the search box, type “FEMA Local Hire” and put “Nebraska” in the location box.

Victims should consider applying for SBA loan

Homeowners and renters who register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency also may be contacted by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

According to the agency, there are good reasons to submit an application for a low-interest loan, even if the person had not considered a loan.

It doesn’t cost anything to apply. If SBA is unable to offer a loan, the person may be referred back to FEMA for additional benefits. People are under no obligation to accept an SBA loan.

Those who don’t complete an SBA application process may not be considered for FEMA grants to replace clothing and certain household items, repair or replace a damaged vehicle or to pay for moving and storage costs.

People may apply online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. For more information, call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Disaster Recovery Center in Thurston County adds two more days

The Disaster Recovery Center in Thurston County has added two more days to its previously announced schedule.

The center, at the Pender Community Center, 614 Main St., Pender, is now scheduled to be open from April 13-19, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

NPPD crews go to South Dakota

Nebraska Public Power District crews are responding to South Dakota to help with power outages resulting from this week’s snowstorm.

NPPD line technicians will be supporting a mutual aid request from Xcel Energy in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, area.

“We have assessed our current storm situation and believe we will be out of the storm area, which will allow us to support this request for mutual aid,” said Scott Walz, Transmission & Distribution construction and maintenance manager.

A total of 13 technicians and one supervisor will be assisting local crews in restoring power.

In addition, the utility announced that it will be increasing three residential EnergyWiseSM incentives to help those affected by recent flooding.

Beginning April 1, the incentive amounts have been increased for the High-Efficiency Heat Pump, the Heat Pump Water Heater and Cooling Tune-Up programs. These incentives will increase by approximately 33%, through Dec. 31, and are available to all customers, not just those recuperating from flood damage.

In addition, through Aug. 1, the Nebraska Energy Office, in conjunction with Nebraska lending institutions, is offering 1% loans through the Dollar and Energy Savings Loan Program. For more information, go to http://www.neo.ne.gov/loan/floodemergency.html#loans.

For a more information on incentive programs offered by NPPD, go to https://www.nppd.com/save-money/incentives-programs.

Red Cross provides update on disaster response

The American Red Cross provided a one-month update Friday on its response to the flooding in Nebraska and southwest Iowa.

Among the highlights:

• It has provided 6,300 shelter stays for displaced residents in a total of 30 shelters.

• It has served nearly 140,000 meals and snacks.

• It has distributed more than 750 “comfort” kits.

• It has distributed emergency relief supplies to more than 7,700 households.

• It has made more than 2,000 health service contacts and 1,300 mental health contacts.

• The effort has been supported by nearly 550 disaster volunteers and staff.

Millard West custodian is surprised with a $7,000 check to repair his flood-damaged home

The Millard West High School community had a special surprise for a custodian whose house was damaged during the flood.

When Kris Boger came into work on Thursday afternoon, students, parents, faculty and community members surprised him with a check for nearly $7,000 and a stack of gift cards to help him and his wife repair their home in Valley.

“It totally blew me away,” he said. “I can’t find the words. It’s amazing. I’ve got quite the family here.”

Boger works afternoons and evenings, helping set up and tear down for athletic events and other activities at the school. In his one year at Millard West, he has already become a favorite of students and parents.

When his fellow custodians learned that Boger and his wife were trapped in their home by floodwaters, they began asking for donations.

“I had families bring in hundreds of dollars,” said principal Greg Tiemann. “It’s a beautiful thing to see in your culture that people care like this.”

The soft-spoken Boger, 40, said he and his wife have already replaced their furnace, water heater and air conditioner. They still need to clean up their unfinished basement, replace their basement stairs and paint some of their home’s exterior.

Members of the Millard West community have reached out to Boger offering help, he said, and he still struggles to find the words to say thank you.

“I don’t even know what to say. It’s overwhelming,” he said. “I’ve had some ups and downs in life, but this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me.”