Quieting down after storm
LAKE COUNTY — After two weeks of coordinating emergency efforts and restoration from storm damage caused by two tornadoes and straight-lined winds on the evening of Aug. 28, life is beginning to settle down.
"Currently, the main thing left is cleanup," said Lake County Emergency Manager Don Divis, adding power has now been restored to county residents and the last emergency shelter, at the Baldwin Fire Department, shut down on Sept. 8. "The highest amount of people at the shelter was 52, then during the last week it dwindled to four people and then one last person to place."
He said the county did not qualify to receive relief funds from the state or federal government.
"I have been talking to the state and we didn't fit the criteria needed for relief funds. There was no loss of life and we really didn't need to extend resources. The Lake County Road Commission did an excellent job with cleanup efforts and the biggest expense comes down to the road commission. They are still working on figures, but by day five, they already spent $85,000 on cleanup," he said. "Our road commission attacked restoration efforts very aggressively the same night the storm hit. Some other counties also hit by the storm just blocked off roads and waited until the next day to begin cleanup. They went above and beyond"
Lake-Osceola State Bank is going to provide low-interest loans for people repairing damages, he added.
"All fire departments did an awesome job, putting in many hours," he said. "The sheriff's office did a great job and had reserves at the school shelter around the clock. The state police worked with us every day and dedicated a whole week up here. We had two meetings every day with emergency personnel and wrote press releases. The state police took a telecommuter out to look at damage on the Pere Marquette River and on the ground. The Christian Aid Ministry team based in Indiana, made up of Amish and Mennonites, did a tremendous job helping to clean up."
Divis said officials and emergency service personnel will meet for an after-action debriefing to discuss the management during the storm and critique and improve emergency methods.