Help still available for those affected by June floodsWith the city of Superior denying all flood damage claims from the June 20 flood and winter on the way, help for those affected by the flooding is available.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
With the city of Superior denying all flood damage claims from the June 20 flood and winter on the way, help for those affected by the flooding is available.
A case manager for Superior-Douglas County area flood relief efforts is already filling funding gaps for local families who suffered damages from the storm, which dropped approximately 8.15 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.
Flood victims should call Brenda Kohel at 715-392-5127, ext. 119 or 218-343-6912, to discuss their needs.
More than $35,000 is available through the Long-Term Recovery Flood Fund targeted specifically for Douglas County residents who were affected by flooding and sewer backups resulting from the June storm. That total includes a $3,280 gift from residents of Superior’s Sister City, Ami-Mache, Japan. Another $19,902 was raised by a quartet of Superior High School students during their “Tailgate to Recovery” fundraiser last month.
“Quite a feat for four high school students,” said Kathi Madsen, executive director of the United Way of Superior-Douglas County. Madsen said funds can also be tapped from the larger Twin Ports Long Term Recovery Fund once the $35,000 is exhausted.
Requests for funds are brought before the Long Term Recovery Fund’s unmet needs committee. Priorities include heat, water heaters, electricity, winter clothing, mold issues and people who are still sleeping on the floors because they need beds. Reconstruction projects, work already paid for and appliance reimbursement also are considered.
Kohel works for Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, but has taken on the role of case manager and is working out of an office at Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency, 1118 Tower Ave. Even victims who contacted the city of Superior when damage first occurred are asked to call Kohel, as not all contact numbers were retained.
Those who contact nonprofit agencies about flood damage needs are referred to Kohel.
City denies claims
A total of 69 flood damage claims were made to the city of Superior following the storm. All were denied, according to the city attorney’s office. That included claims by residents who survived the initial flooding only to have their basements fill with rain and wastewater after a sanitary sewer cover was removed at 15th Avenue East and Bardon Avenue. The denial letters were sent out Oct. 25. Richard and Julie Ford, homeowners in the area affected by the removal of the sanitary sewer cover, received theirs a day later via certified mail. Julie Ford said her first thought was that she received the wrong letter.
“We were all rather taken aback,” she said.
The group of homeowners — about 17 — are keeping in touch and mulling their options.
“I think it would be nice if the city would step up,” said Ford, who is finishing up painting the couple’s basement, which was ruined by flooding. They have already replaced their furnace and hot water heater, as well as more than 1,000 square feet of sheetrock. But the organs, amplifiers and speakers Ford’s husband kept in the basement were complete losses.
Residents have six months from the date they received the letter to file a lawsuit against the city or its employees. One of the homeowners from the 15th Avenue East and Bardon Avenue area, Rick Flaherty, requested a meeting with Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen during the Nov. 7 city council meeting. The mayor’s assistant, Rani Gill, confirmed she is in the process of setting up a meeting with Flaherty, homeowner Steve Olson and the mayor.