Thursday, October 05, 2000

Federal aid to help rebuild Xenia

The Associated Press

        XENIA, Ohio — Greene County will receive federal disaster aid to help pay for damage to the fairgrounds and other public buildings hit by a tornado Sept. 20, it was announced Wednesday.

        After the tornado hit this southwest Ohio city, President Clinton declared the county a federal disaster area, freeing up federal funds to help individual residents.

        But the Federal Emergency Management Agency said estimates of damage to public buildings at the time were not enough to warrant federal aid. Last week, Gov. Bob Taft sent FEMA updat ed figures on the cost to the public sector.

        The tornado killed one person, injured more than 100, and did an estimated $40 million in property damage. At the fairgrounds alone, 16 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

        “The impact of the storm and the facilities that were devastated by the storm was so severe that we needed public assistance,” said City Manager Jim Percival.

        U.S. Rep. David Hobson was among lawmakers who pressed for the additional money to help rebuild or repair public buildings and with the cost of debris removal.

        “There was some emotional concern in the community that they weren't going to get this,” said the Ohio Republican.

        Meanwhile, Mr. Percival honored the dispatch supervisor who activated the tornado sirens even though a tornado warning had not been issued by the National Weather Service. Mr. Percival on Tuesday presented June Johnson a commendation for exemplary performance of duty.

        “This lady's courage and determination and professionalism ... saved a lot of lives,” he said.

        Xenia is about 15 miles east of Dayton.


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