CHADRON STORM CLEANUP WINDING DOWN, PARKS STILL CLOSED

Posted 11 months ago

By John Axtell

SAMSUNGThe active phase of recovery in the northern Panhandle from this month’s blizzard continues to wind down.

SWANN…the Solid Waste Agency of Northwest Nebraska…returned to normal hours today at its community sites from Harrison to Rushville after 2 weeks of extended hours to accept tree debris from the storm. The Chadron site alone received over 3,000 loads of debris.

Nearly all the tree debris along the streets in Chadron has been cleared, although some still have downed limbs and trees to be removed. Many trees also still have broken limbs and branches that have yet to fall, so-called hangers, which pose a safety threat.

Chadron Public Works Director Milo Rust says the largest city parks remain closed because of hangers, with the weather since the blizzard keeping city crews from dealing with them yet by leaving the parks too wet to handle the equipment needed dropping and removing the hangers.

The blizzard also took out a number of metal street light poles and lots of electrical lines serving street lights in Chadron, but Rust says the full system should be back in service shortly.

Chadron City Manager Wayne Anderson remains ecstatic about the community response to the blizzard recovery effort, both with the way neighbors…and even strangers…helped each other and the fact that it cut his estimate of the recover time from three weeks to two weeks.

Anderson and Rust say the storm cost to public facilities, services, and infrastructure were high enough to qualify Chadron for state emergency funds through NEMA…the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency…on a 50% reimbursement match.

Since the same weather system caused the blizzard and thunderstorms that spawned one or more tornadoes in the Wayne area on the same day, Governor Dave Heineman included both regions in a state disaster declaration.

Should the loss totals be high enough to warrant a federal disaster declaration, the affected cities and counties would qualify for federal emergency funds on a 75-25 reimbursement match. Rust says state policy is to pick up half of the local 25% share.