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Project 195 http://project195.org An Action Based Charity & Relief Organization Fri, 02 May 2014 15:49:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5 Mississippi Tornado Update http://project195.org/2014/05/mississippi-tornado-update/ http://project195.org/2014/05/mississippi-tornado-update/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 15:49:30 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=981 The body of a missing 8-year-old Louisville boy whose parents were both killed by Monday’s tornadoes has finally been found, officials said Thursday.

Tyler Tucker is the 14th death attributed to the storms that swept the state Monday during what officials are calling Mississippi’s most active tornado day in history.

“Tyler was one of the smartest kids in his class. He made special distinction every nine weeks. He was in TAG (talented and gifted). He was in Melody Makers. They put him in mixed martial arts; he loved that,” said Katie Ainsworth, the mother of one of Tyler’s closest friends. “He liked to go hunting with his momma and his daddy. Both of them went hunting.”

Earlier this week Tyler’s parents, Terri Tucker, 31, and Sean Fowler, 44, both of Louisville, were found blown into a wooded area a half mile from their destroyed home in Louisville.

In Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama student John Servati, a Tupelo resident, died in a tornado from one of the same systems that moved through Mississippi. His death means 15 Mississippians were killed during the storms.

Ongoing National Weather Service storm surveys show what appear to be 15 tornadoes that swept the state during the killer outbreak on Monday.

The NWS survey teams have been on the ground throughout Mississippi since Monday, trying to determine the nature and level of the storms that killed 14 and destroyed more than 1200 homes.

At this point in the surveying, which is ongoing, the tornadoes that affected Vicksburg, north Hinds County, south Hinds County, Lake Caroline, west Newton County, Crawford, New Hope and Steens have been rated at an EF1. The tornadoes at Decatur and south Columbus were both EF2s. The tornado that hit Richland, Pearl and Brandon was an EF3, as was the one in Forest and the one in Tupelo.

The one that killed 10 people in Louisville was an EF4. The Newton/Lauderdale tornado has not yet been rated yet. Other areas may still be found to have had tornadoes as well.

“I think we’re pretty close to having it wrapped up,” said NWS Meteorologist Eric Carpenter.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said at this point in the damage assessments, 23 counties are reporting damage. There are 1,201 homes destroyed, with an additional 1,268 reporting damage. Eighty-seven businesses have been destroyed, with an additional 41 damaged. Another 69 agricultural facilities have been destroyed as well.

At this point, there are seven counties included in the Presidential Declaration of Emergency for the state, but others can be added as further damage assessments come in. Flynn emphasized that it’s important for people who have damages to their property report them to their local emergency operations center and register for federal assistance.

“If you’re in a declared county, register,” Flynn said. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to receive assistance if they need it.”

Shreveport Times reporter Adam Duvernay contributed to this report.

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April 28th/29th Tornado Update http://project195.org/2014/04/april-28th29th-tornado-update/ http://project195.org/2014/04/april-28th29th-tornado-update/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 00:04:26 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=977 At least 13 deaths have been reported in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee from a storm system that’s spawned tornadoes and damaged homes as it moves across the South, threatening millions in its path, officials said.

As the storm hopscotched across a large swath of the U.S., the overall death toll was at least 30, with 13 killed Monday and 17 Sunday in a band stretching from Oklahoma to Alabama. Forecasts showed the storm continuing to move east early Tuesday, with Georgia and Alabama residents waking to sirens, howling wind and pounding rain.

Others found their loved ones missing and their homes pulverized early Tuesday. Along Mississippi Highway 397 on the eastern edge of Louisville, firefighters picked through the remains of mobile homes, searching for three people unaccounted for after a tornado tore through. Twenty firefighters linked hands and waded through an area where wood frame homes had also been heavily damaged. Rescue workers stepped gingerly over downed power lines and trees that were snapped in half and stripped of branches.

The Louisville tornado caused water damage and carved holes in the roof of the Winston Medical Center. The emergency room was being evacuated.

“We thought we were going to be OK then a guy came in and said, `It’s here right now,”‘ said Dr. Michael Henry, head of the emergency room. “Then boom … it blew through.”

Republican state Sen. Giles Ward huddled in a bathroom with his wife, four other family members and their dog as the tornado destroyed his two-story brick house in Louisville and flipped his son-in-law’s SUV upside down onto the patio.

“For about 30 seconds, it was unbelievable,” Ward said. “It’s about as awful as anything we’ve gone through.”

Mississippi emergency officials said seven people had been killed statewide. State Director of Health Protection Jim Craig said officials were working with coroners to confirm the total.

Six people died in Winston County, where Louisville is the county seat, with about 6,600 people. It was unclear whether those deaths were included in the state’s total tally.

One of the six was a woman who died in the day care center she owned in Louisville, county Coroner Scott Gregory told The Associated Press late Monday. It was unclear if any children were in the day care center at the time, said William McCully, acting spokesman for the Winston County Emergency Management Agency.

In Tupelo, a community of about 35,000 in northeastern Mississippi, every building in a two-block area south of U.S. Highway 78 suffered damage, officials on the scene said.

On Tuesday morning, a blanket of fog hung over the city as crews cleared trees tangled with power lines, fixed cracked roadway signs and removed debris from streets. Some streets into neighborhoods were blocked by law enforcement vehicles.

Some buildings had their roofs sheared off, while power lines had been knocked down completely or bent at 45-degree angles.

The Northeast Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo had received 30 patients as of Monday night, four of whom were being admitted with non-life-threatening injuries, said center spokeswoman Deborah Pugh. Pugh said the other 26 patients were treated for minor injuries and released.

The storm sent staff at a Tupelo TV news station running for cover. WTVA-TV chief meteorologist Matt Laubhan was reporting live on the weather around 3 p.m. when he realized the twister was coming dangerously close.

“This is a tornado ripping through the city of Tupelo as we speak. And this could be deadly,” he said in a video widely tweeted and broadcast on YouTube.

Moments later he adds, “A damaging tornado. On the ground. Right now.”

He peeks in from the side to see if he’s still on the air before yelling to staff off-camera: “Basement, now!” He then disappears off camera.

Later, the station tweeted, “We are safe here.”

In southern Tennessee, two people were killed in a home when a suspected tornado hit Monday night, Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Mike Hall said. The winds destroyed several other homes as well as a middle school in the county that borders Alabama, Hall said.

In northern Alabama, the coroner’s office confirmed two deaths Monday in a twister that caused extensive damage west of the city of Athens, said Limestone County Emergency Director Rita White. White said more victims could be trapped in the wreckage of damaged buildings, but rescuers could not reach some areas because of downed power lines.

With the wind howling outside and rain blowing sideways, Monica Foster rode out a tornado warning with her two daughters, ages 10 and 12, inside a gas station near Fayette, Ala. One of the girls cried as the three huddled with a station employee in a storage area beside a walk-in cooler.

Foster, who was returning home to Lynn on rural roads after a funeral in Tuscaloosa, said she typically would have kept driving through the deluge.

“I wouldn’t have pulled in if I didn’t have the two girls,” she said.

The threat of dangerous weather jangled nerves a day after the three-year anniversary of a historic outbreak of more than 60 tornadoes that killed more than 250 people across Alabama on April 27, 2011.

Separately, Limestone Commissioner Bill Latimer said he received reports of four deaths in the county from one of his workers.  Neither the governor’s office nor state emergency officials could immediately confirm those deaths.

The storm system is the latest onslaught of severe weather a day after a half-mile-wide tornado carved an 80-mile path of destruction through the suburbs of Little Rock, Ark., killing at least 15. Tornadoes or severe storms also killed one person each in Oklahoma and Iowa on Sunday.

MyFoxAL.com reported that a large tornado damaged apartments near the Medical West Hospital in Bessemer. Some people were reportedly trapped at a church in Kimberly, but no injuries were reported.

George Grabryan, director of emergency management for Florence and Lauderdale County in northwest Alabama, said 16 shelters opened before storms even moved in and people were calling nervously with questions about the weather.

“There’s a lot of sensitivity up here,” Grabryan said. “I’ve got a stack of messages here from people, many of them new to the area, wanting to know where the closest shelters are.”

Forecasters said the system moving into Alabama could generate tornadoes with strength ratings of EF-3 or higher and damage tracks 30 miles long or worse.

Elsewhere, forecasters warned Georgia residents of a threat of tornadoes in northern and central counties in coming hours.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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April 27th, 2014 Tornado Destruction http://project195.org/2014/04/april-27th-2014-tornado-destruction/ http://project195.org/2014/04/april-27th-2014-tornado-destruction/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 17:56:20 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=950 At least sixteen people were killed and more than two dozen were injured after severe storms swept across a large swath of the Plains and Midwest late Sunday and early Monday, bringing multiple tornadoes, damaging winds and hail storms.

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Arkansas suffered some of the heaviest damage and the largest number of deaths so far from the storm, after tornadoes from a long-lived supercell thunderstorm ripped through the center of the state, killing at least 14 people.

“It turned pitch black,” said Mark Ausbrooks, who was at his parents’ home in Mayflower, Arkansas, when the storm arrived. “I ran and got pillows to put over our heads and … all hell broke loose.”

“My parents’ home, it’s gone completely,” he added.

In Oklahoma, authorities said at least one person was killed when a tornado destroyed parts of the downtown area of Quapaw, while in Iowa, emergency management officials said one person died Sunday after strong winds knocked over an outbuilding in a rural area near Kinross.

The storms marked the beginning of a multi-day severe weather outbreak expected to affect much of the South and southern parts of the Midwest.

Parts of Louisiana and Mississippi have a TOR:CON of 7 through Monday, which means there is an 70 percent chance of tornadoes within 50 miles of a given point in those areas.

Severe weather expert Dr. Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel said it is too early to know how many separate tornadoes touched down, but estimated that about 18 tornadoes had occurred as of 10:20 p.m. CDT Sunday.

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Below is a rundown of the outbreak’s impact for each state:
Arkansas

From communities west of Little Rock to others well north of the capital, emergency workers and volunteers were going door-to-door Monday checking for victims.

West of Little Rock, the first large tornado formed Sunday night just after 7 p.m. local time. The tornado, which showed a debris signature on radar, moved west of Maumelle and continued on the ground for a long period of time. The photo below was taken near Mayflower by storm chaser James Bryant.

“We don’t have a count on injuries or missing. We’re trying to get a handle on the missing part,” Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said during a Monday news conference. “Just looking at the damage, this may be one of the strongest we have seen.”

The tornado that hit Vilonia and nearby Mayflower could be rated as the nation’s strongest twister to date this year. It has the potential to be at least an EF3 storm, which has winds greater than 136 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Hood said.

“Based on some of the footage we’ve seen from Mayflower and where it crossed Interstate 40, things were wrecked in a very significant way,” he said, adding that emergency officials were “making sure utilities are cut off in the area. We don’t want anything to get, any fires to start or anything like that.”

The tornado smashed through Vilonia, causing major damage, and also hit El Paso. Additional tornadoes were reported farther northeast near Denmark, Macks, and Jacksonport from the parent thunderstorm.

Surveys taken Monday will determine whether a single long-track tornado continued into those areas or whether several different tornadoes were spawned.

The closest hospital to the deadly tornado that struck central Arkansas says it’s treated about 100 patients for storm-related injuries. Conway Regional Medical Center said Monday morning that nine of those patients were admitted to the hospital and another 10 people were transferred to hospitals in Little Rock.

Conway is in between the cities of Mayflower and Vilonia, where a massive tornado caused widespread damage Sunday night.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock says it received 18 patients with injuries from the Sunday storms. Hospital spokeswoman Hilary DeMillo says the emergency room treated patients with broken bones, cuts and head injuries, and some patients required emergency surgery.
Iowa

Authorities in southeastern Iowa say one person is dead and others are injured after powerful storms swept through the state.

Keokuk County emergency management coordinator Larry Smith says one person died Sunday when strong winds caused an outbuilding to collapse in a rural area near Kinross. He says the victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Smith says one other person was critically injured when a barn blew over near Martinsburg.

Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller says at least four people were injured when they were struck by flying debris at a home auction on the city’s south side. He says the storm came abruptly and they weren’t able to take cover. Miller says the extent of their injuries isn’t clear, but that some were hospitalized.

Strong thunderstorms caused damage across Iowa on Sunday, and at least two tornadoes were spotted in eastern Iowa. The National Weather Service (NWS) said the storms caused wind damage in a number of Iowa towns as gusts neared 90 mph and hail up to 1-inch in diameter fell. One person was hurt when a barn was blown over near Martinsburg.

One tornado was spotted northeast of Mount Vernon, Iowa, Sunday afternoon. The other tornado was spotted in a field north of Floris, Iowa. At least one farm near Wapello sustained damage to the roof and porch.

South of Udell, several farm buildings were damaged or destroyed as the storms moved through. Several trees about one-foot in diameter were snapped off. The roof of the Oskaloosa Family Medical Center in Mahaska was damaged.
Kansas

A tornado that tore through the southeastern Kansas town of Baxter Springs left 25 people injured and more than 100 homes and businesses damaged but caused no serious injuries or deaths, Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves said Monday.

Nine of those injured when the storm hit Sunday evening were hospitalized with injuries that are not considered life-threatening. A person who died Sunday night suffered from a medical condition and the death was not attributed to the storm, he added.

The storm did damage ranging from minor to total destruction of 100 homes and 12 businesses in the town of about 4,200. On Monday, workers were restoring power to about 40 percent of the community and to 91 residents whose gas was disconnected after the twister.

The storm, which Groves said was 2 miles long and 2 blocks wide, also left behind mounds of debris, twisted metal, hanging power lines and residents grateful to have survived.

Sue McBride woke up Monday at a Red Cross emergency shelter. She said she saw the tornado coming and was able to get inside her home before glass started flying around her. She says she survived without a scratch.

The tornado struck around 5:45 p.m. Sunday, cutting a diagonal through the town of about 4,200 people. Baxter Springs is located about six miles north of Quapaw, Oklahoma, where another deadly tornado struck around the same time.
Louisiana

A tornado touched down in rural northwest Louisiana around 3:15 a.m. on Monday, injuring one teenager and severely damaging his home. Power was out Monday morning across the state, with the worst outages concentrated in Faulkner County, where more than 10,000 customers are without power.

Storm chaser Scott Slack took the below photo just after midnight as the storm came in:

In northwest Louisiana, a teenager suffered minor injuries when a tornado touched down there early Monday.

Bill Davis, a spokesman for the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, said the tornado hit around 3:15 a.m. Monday about six miles west of Plain Dealing in mostly a rural area. The teen suffered cuts and bruises and his home was heavily damaged.

Several areas in the northwestern part of the state are under a tornado watch into the afternoon.
Missouri

A large tornado was confirmed on live television Sunday night about 70 miles south of Kansas City on the Kansas/Missouri line in Linn and Bates counties.

A strong line of storms moved through west-central Missouri on Sunday afternoon, bringing winds that reached 70 mph hour near Chillicothe that toppled some trees.
The Missouri Highway Patrol also reported a tractor-trailer was blown onto its side on Interstate 70 near Odessa, about 30 miles east of Kansas City, about 1 p.m. No one was injured.

The weather service received a report from Plattsburg, where an anemometer measured 58 mph before it blew away. Golf ball-sized hail was reported in Trimble, Mo.

KMBC reported that a large tree fell on one house and came to rest against the side of in Kansas City.
Nebraska

NWS reported three tornadoes touched down in Central Nebraska on Sunday, according to the Lincoln, Nebraska-based news website 1011now.com.

One tornado touched down near Upland around 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, while a second was reported to have touched down near Bradshaw. The third tornado was spotted near Osceola. No injuries or significant damage were reported.
Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency Monday for Ottawa County following a tornado that struck Quapaw, killing at least one person and injuring six.

Under the executive order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions to deliver materials and supplies to needed jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance.

Fallin says the state is prepared to offer every resource available to assist with the cleanup, rebuilding and recovery. The town of about 900 residents suffered heavy damage from the tornado, Ottawa County Emergency Management Director Joe Dan Morgan said.

The tornado damaged or destroyed about 60 buildings in the town of 900, including Quapaw’s volunteer fire department station and a bank, reported News9.com.

Although cleanup and rescue efforts are ongoing, Ozarksfirst.com reported the town does not have electricity and that authorities are concerned about the water supply and have asked residents to conserve.

Near the Kansas border, the storms Sunday kicked up dust, reduced visibility and caused a multi-car accident in Oklahoma just across the Kansas border and severely reducing visibility farther east.

Tyrone, Okla., fire chief Anthony Adams said blowing dust caused accidents involving 12 vehicles on U.S. 54 one mile south of the Kansas-Oklahoma border near Liberal. KAKE-TV reported that visibility Sunday was reduced to less than 5 feet.

Adams says only minor injuries were reported. It took four hours to reopen the highway.

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Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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Fast n Furious Paul Walker and Tuscaloosa http://project195.org/2013/12/fast-n-furious-paul-walker-and-tuscaloosa/ http://project195.org/2013/12/fast-n-furious-paul-walker-and-tuscaloosa/#comments Thu, 05 Dec 2013 20:03:32 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=962 TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — The city of Tuscaloosa doesn’t have a record of Paul Walker or the charity he founded ever coming to the aid of the victims of the twisters that tore through the city on April 27, 2011.

Countless people were quick to send money, food, clothes and more into Tuscaloosa in the spring of 2011 after the EF4 tornado killed more than 50 people and left total devastation in its wake. Thousands dropped what they were doing and came from all over the country to work with chainsaws and shovels and truck beds to help total strangers in their time of need.

Some of those offering help got a lot of attention for being there. President Barack Obama flew into the city, and cameras followed actor Charlie Sheen around the city when he dropped in to survey the destruction and swore to do what he could to help.

The city has no record of Paul Walker’s presence here, though, and a friend said Monday that’s just the way that the 40-year-old movie star who was killed in a car accident Saturday would have wanted it.

JD Dorfman told the Burbank Leader that when Walker was on the scene in Tuscaloosa and in other cities affected by natural disasters, he flew under the radar. Dorfman is the Operations Manager for Reach Out Worldwide, the nonprofit that Walker founded and geared toward disaster relief efforts.

“He didn’t want anyone to know he was there. All he wanted was a chainsaw, and point him in the right direction – he wanted to go to work,” Dorfman told the Burbank Leader. “Paul’s fingers were as dirty as yours were.”Walker and a team from ROWW spent time in Tuscaloosa working with chainsaws, trying to clear the way for people to safely reenter whatever was left of their homes.

According to an account of the trip on the charity’s website written by a volunteer named John Cloughen, a two-man recon team for the nonprofit arrived in Tuscaloosa on April 30 in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Cloughen said they worked with people in the city and from the University of Alabama to assess what was most needed in the city, then Walker and Lucas Wimer, the operations manager of ROWW at the time, spent $15,000 on the tools and equipment the recon team said would be needed, then everyone got to work.

Cloughen said the team was “able to bypass some of [the city's] formalities and get out on the road with an assignment” thanks to Wimer and Riz Shakir, the professor helping them on the ground. That might explain why the recovery department at city hall doesn’t have an official record of Walker or the nonprofit operating in the city.

ROWW volunteers worked in Tuscaloosa for days, Cloughen said. With the help of locals and other volunteers, all complete strangers, the team was able to work where they were needed most and get those affected by the storm out of shelters and back into their homes.

“We cut hundreds of trees, moved tons of debris, demolished a house and cleared mobile home pads of rubble so that they could move new trailers in for shelter,” Cloughen said. “We worked hard, side by side with residents and students and volunteers from other cities and states.”

The Tuscaloosa operation was ROWW’s first relief effort in the United States, and it prepared them for future work in Oklahoma, Illinois, the Phillipines and all around the world where natural disasters have devastated an area.

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Moore, Oklahoma beginning to recover with surge in construction. http://project195.org/2013/12/moore-oklahoma-beginning-to-recover-with-surge-in-construction/ http://project195.org/2013/12/moore-oklahoma-beginning-to-recover-with-surge-in-construction/#comments Thu, 05 Dec 2013 19:44:17 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=959

Rebuilding in Moore after Oklahoma tornadoes pumps up construction

Moore issued 93 single-family building permits in October compared to 19 in October 2012, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

 

By Richard Mize Modified: November 29, 2013 at 8:37 pm • Published: November 30, 2013

 

Rebuilding in Moore supplied the standout stats in metro-area housing again in October as the market — and the community as a whole — continued to recover from the May tornadoes.

Moore issued 93 single-family building permits in October compared to 19 in October 2012, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

 

For the year through October, Moore issued 544 permits, compared to 191 the first 10 months of last year.

 

“You sure can tell that Moore has come on strong,” said Robert Crout, president of the builders association. Home building across the metro area is growing. “It’s extremely strong because of the recovery,” he said.

 

Gain over last year

 

Through October, Oklahoma City, Moore, Edmond, Midwest City and Norman together issued 4,703 single-family building permits, an increase of 20.8 percent, the association reported.

 

Even without the increases in Moore, Crout said, the metro area would still have ended October with 14 percent more permits issued than in the same period last year.

 

“The rebuilding seems to be going really well. A lot of houses are on the verge of being finished,” said Moore builder Marvin Haworth of Marvin Haworth Homes. “And we still have customers coming in who have not signed a contract for a rebuild. Lots of people haven’t decided what to do.”

 

Lots in demand

 

In addition to such personal decisions, the business of building also continues to respond, he said, as now-bare former home sites are being worked into the general supply.

 

“A lot of the lots are coming back onto the market,” Haworth said, estimating that 30 to 40 percent of tornado-swept building sites are being bought by builders or by people who intend to contract with builders.

 

The supply of lots was tight even before the tornadoes, he said, although it might not have seemed like it considering the open land visible in developed neighborhoods. However, many open lots were already in the hands of builders, or being held by developers for builders with whom they had established relationships, he said.

 

Premium prices

 

So the tornado lots are commanding premium prices, Haworth said, just as in the months following the May 3, 1999, tornado, which also leveled swathes of Moore. He used a typical lot — 55 to 65 feet wide, 120 feet deep — as an example.

 

After the 1999 tornado, he said, lots that would have sold for $6,000 eventually fetched up to $12,000.

 

Now, he said, lots that were selling for $22,000 are already selling for up to $30,000.

 

Meanwhile, Haworth said, the community is finding its footing again.

 

“There’s lots of things happening in Moore. The hospital is coming back,” he said of Moore Medical Center, which was demolished. “That’s a tremendous relief for people in the community. It was insured for $60 million and they could have paid off a lot of debt, but they’re bringing it back.”

 

In addition, First American Title & Trust and the post office are being rebuilt, he said.

 

Slight slowdown

 

Builders and Realtors did sense a bit of a slowdown in October, but Crout said it was a good kind of slow.

 

“Builders are now where they’re catching their breath,” he said. “They’re geared up for higher volume. With just a little slowdown, it’s allowed it to be at a nice pace.”

 

Prices for houses sold by Realtors slipped in October, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors. The average of $165,320 was a 2.6 percent drop from October 2012; and the median price of $142,313 was a decline of 0.5 percent, the Realtors reported.

 

“I heard from some brokers that there was a little bit of a slowdown in October, but November picked back up,” said Keith Taggart, president of the Realtors association and managing broker for Coldwell Banker Select’s office in Mustang. “In my office, things are still going along pretty steadily. We’re still getting multiple offers.”

 

Edmond eyes record

 

Edmond is still on pace to reach a record 4,000 homes sold for the year, said Brian Preston of RE/MAX Associates Realtors in Edmond, who prepares the monthly Preston Report on sales statistics.

 

“October matched last October with 314 homes closed. That puts our year-to-date gain at 13.07 percent,” he wrote on his blog. “Still on our way to that milestone of 4,000 closed homes. We just need 502 more closings to meet that mark in the last months. We had 609 closings in the last two months of 2012.”

He added, “Compared to the rest of the year, (just) matching October’s numbers from last year seems like a decline. However, it was during the fourth quarter last year that the big upswing in sales began. So matching it is still good for our market.

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Chicago Bears helping Washington Illinois http://project195.org/2013/12/chicago-bears-helping-washington-illinois/ http://project195.org/2013/12/chicago-bears-helping-washington-illinois/#comments Thu, 05 Dec 2013 19:42:21 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=957 WASHINGTON, Ill. (AP) — More than a dozen Chicago Bears headed to central Illinois to spend time in the tornado-ravaged community of Washington, helping with cleanup efforts and meeting the high school football team.

Players, including kicker Robbie Gould, had lunch with high school students, donned Panthers team T-shirts and met with the teenage players who took to the field just days after the storm to play in the state semifinals.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports the Bears and several staffers then helped pick up debris. The Nov. 17 tornado damaged or destroyed about 1,000 homes in Washington.

Bears corner Sherrick McManis grew up in Peoria and says the damage is so bad “you feel it. Everything is destroyed.”

Bears Chairman George McCaskey also visited Washington last month to assist with recovery efforts.

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Indiana Tornado News http://project195.org/2013/11/indiana-tornado-news/ http://project195.org/2013/11/indiana-tornado-news/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 20:13:15 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=952

KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) – Non profit oganizations in Kokomo are gearing up for what they expect will be a massive volunteer effortIndiana Tornado Strike Map. It’s all to help the businesses and homeowners affected by the tornadoes there.

Hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses were damaged or destroyed. One family 24-Hour News 8′s Teresa Mackin met was hit twice with heartache: both their businesses sustained serious damage after the storm.

“That’s where the storm came through,” explained Rodney Collins, owner of Gambinos Pizza in Kokomo. He points at a patched up roof, and water leaking through, creating puddles at his feet.

“It’s really like a nightmare I keep waiting to wake up from, and think ‘man, everything was normal. Then all of a sudden it’s like, boom it’s gone.’”

24-Hour News 8 first met Rodney on Tuesday, as people helped clear insulation and fallen ceiling tiles from his store. Thursday, he speaks over a generator that creates a bit of light in his store.

“This was definitely something we’ve never been through in our lives before,” said Collins.

Because Rodney isn’t the only person in this family to lose a business. His wife Jennifer owns a hair salon down the street that also sustained water and roof damage. She says the building will likely come down.
They also have no power.

“It’s devastating,” said Brittany Miller, the Collins’ niece.

Even the Collins home suffered some damage. Now, Rodney says he’s wondering what to do next. He’s also thinking about his employees – out of work.

“I would love to have some answers and know what direction to take,” said Collins. “I’m just taking it hour by hour. I’ve talked to so many different people from insurance companies, who say, tomorrow, tomorrow.”

So, he waits. Rodney says he hasn’t yet seen an insurance adjuster for his business. He’s hoping to point business to his pizza place in Russiaville. But he says they’re looking at their situation, with a silver lining, saying they’re better off than many.

“Some people lost everything. At least we have something, you know. Clothes on my back. I’m thankful,” said Rodney.

24-Hour News 8 also spoke with an insurance agent at State Farm in Kokomo, who says they’re working long hours to get to everyone affected by the storm. He’s local, and had upwards of 70 clients affected. Hear from him Friday morning on Daybreak starting at 4:30 a.m. on WISH-TV.

kokomo overview

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Illinois Tornado Update 11/24/13 http://project195.org/2013/11/illinois-tornado-update-112413/ http://project195.org/2013/11/illinois-tornado-update-112413/#comments Sun, 24 Nov 2013 14:50:00 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=937 November 18, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — The best way to help the victims of the Midwest tornadoes and storms is to donate through an organization — officials said on Monday.

“We want to make sure people are getting the aid they need as quickly as possible. . . with every asset we have,” Gov. Quinn said, pledging the state will do its part in helping the counties affected recover. Quinn declared disaster areas in Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, Washington and Woodford counties.

The Salvation Army, American Red Cross and Northern Illinois Food Bank are helping with immediate needs like food and shelter.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank is sending a truckload of food and supplies, including apples, granola bars, packaged peanuts, snack cakes, hot chocolate mix, flavored water, hotdogs, chips, hand sanitizer and paper towels, to Coal City Food Pantry on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Additional food will be delivered Friday, and as needed in the upcoming weeks. Coal City Community Pantry is open Mondays from 9 – 11 a.m. and Thursdays from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. The pantry serves more than 100 households per month throughout the year. The number is expected to grow as a result of the storm and subsequent power outages, which can lead to spoiled perishable food.

Northern Illinois Food Bank is asking the public for help to keep food flowing into the storm-affected areas. Donations can be made by visiting www.SolveHungerToday.org/HelpNow or by texting FOOD to 52000.

The City of Washington has established a tornado relief fund at Washington Community Bank, located at 1895 Washington Road, Washington, Illinois 61571. Donations can also be made at any Morton Community Bank location.

Items Most Needed:

tote bags

plastic trash cans

plastic storage bins

gloves

Other Items Needed:

non-perishable food items (granola bars, canned food items, etc)

bottled water

large garbage bags

toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc)

buckets

sponges

mops

towels

baby formula

diapers

flashlights

batteries

manual can openers

duct tape

toilet paper

paper towels

female hygiene products

school supplies  new or used backpacks, crayons, colored pencils, notebooks, binders, etc.

(Copyright ©2013 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Illinois and Indiana Tornado Update! http://project195.org/2013/11/illinois-and-indiana-tornado-update/ http://project195.org/2013/11/illinois-and-indiana-tornado-update/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 23:04:46 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=948 After spending a day in the field, meteorologists for the National Weather Service have determined that at least 16 tornadoes struck Illinois and northwest Indiana on Sunday, as Gov. Pat Quinn declared six more counties as state disaster areas, including Will.

The weather service determined that three EF-2 tornadoes, packing winds of 111 to 135 mph, hit Coal City, Manhattan and Frankfort. The hardest hit was the area around Coal City, where top winds were estimated at 122 mph and the path stretched for about 13 miles.

Four weaker EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes, with winds as high as 110 mph, struck areas from southeast Iroquois County to near Rensselaer, Ind.

One the strongest tornadoes to hit Illinois slammed into the town of Washington near Peoria, where one person was killed, 120 others injured and as many as 500 homes damaged. The tornado was rated an EF-4, one shy of the strongest on the charts, with winds of 190 mph and a path of destruction that stretched for more than 46 miles through Tazewell and Woodford counties, according to the weather service.

Two other tornadoes were reported in central Illinois:

• Gifford, a town of 950 east of Rantoul, was hit by an EF-3 tornado with winds of 140 mph and a path of 24 miles. Six injuries were reported.

• Pekin, a city of 34,000 near Peoria, was struck by an EF-2 tornado that packed 120 mph winds for 2½ miles through Peoria and Tazewell counties.

In southern Illinois, another EF-4 tornado hit the small town of New Minden about 50 miles southwest of St. Louis, according to the weather service. Two people were killed when their farm was destroyed, and two other people were injured. Winds as high as 166 mph were clocked as the tornado tore a path 10.6 miles long.

Farther south, an EF-3 tornado with winds of 145 mph struck Brookport, a town of 1,000 across the Ohio River from Paducah, Ky. The tornado cut a path 500 yards wide and 11½ miles long through Massac and Pope counties.

Three people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured. Dozens of mobile homes were destroyed, many of them tossed 100 feet or more, according to the weather service. Hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted.

Four other tornadoes were reported in southern Illinois:

• An EF-2 tornado with winds of 120 mph hit St. Elmo, a town of 1,400 near Effingham. No injuries were reported there.

• Altamont, a town of 2,300 near Effingham, was hit by an EF-2 tornado with winds of 120 mph that cut 11½ miles through Fayette and Effingham counties.

• An EF-1 tornado with winds of 100 mph that briefly touched down north of Breese, a town of 4,000 east of St. Louis. No injuries were reported.

•An EF-1 tornado also touched down near Centralia, about 30 miles from Breese, with winds of 95 to 100 mph. No injuries were reported.ABC News Tornado Update

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Red Cross Sends Support to Philippines for Typhoon Response http://project195.org/2013/11/red-cross-sends-support-to-philippines-for-typhoon-response/ http://project195.org/2013/11/red-cross-sends-support-to-philippines-for-typhoon-response/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 17:51:46 +0000 dtskoblar http://project195.org/?p=945 According to the American Red Cross, “Typhoon Haiyan swept across the central Philippines on Friday leaving a trail of massive destruction in its wake. With sustained winds reported at over 145 miles per hour, and significantly stronger gusts, Haiyan was the second category 5 typhoon to strike the Philippines this year.

The typhoon affected 4.3 million people across 36 provinces. Philippine Red Cross volunteers throughout the region are reporting significant damage and a growing death toll, while the full extent of the devastation continues to unfold.  Currently, 1,200 evacuation centers are housing more than 330,000 people left homeless by the storm.

The American Red Cross deployed two disaster relief specialists on Saturday to assist in the assessment and relief efforts.  Since communication is still very limited in the hardest hit communities, the American Red Cross will also send two telecommunication specialists and a satellite system in the coming days.

The Red Cross has activated its family tracing services.  If you are looking for a missing family member in the Philippines, please remember that many phones lines are down.  Please continue trying.  If you are still unable to reach them, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a tracing case.

Philippine Red Cross volunteer rescue and relief teams are providing assistance in the hardest hit communities, including assisting in search and rescue efforts and distributing food and relief supplies to survivors.

As Haiyan approaches Vietnam the Red Cross continues its relief efforts to communities affected by Typhoons Wutip and Nari, including an American Red Cross volunteer working there.”

Please click on the link below to donate to the Red Cross!

Article retrieved from: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Sends-Support-to-Philippines-for-Typhoon-Response

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