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July 31, 2009 - 8:54am

Officials tour tornado zone on slim hope of building case for government assistance

posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, corfu, tornado.

It may take a lot of volunteers to clean up Darien and Corfu following last Saturday's category 1 tornado.

Bill Clark, regional director for New York's Emergency Management Office, didn't make that prediction, but if you add up what he told Corfu and Darien officials yesterday afternoon, that's what it sounds like.

In order to trigger state or federal assistance, there needs to be 25 uninsured homes in the disaster area, and in Darien and Corfu there weren't much more than 25 homes total that were damaged.  It's likely most of them were insured.  For SBA assistance to kick in, there needs to be five businesses damaged. There may be only three businesses damaged in the tornado. It's unclear if farms can be included in that count, or if they are a USDA issue.

Corfu Mayor Todd Skeet said volunteer efforts are under way and are ongoing, but doesn't think that will be enough. In the end, he's looking for his state to step up and provide assistance.

Out at Petals and Plants, the first stop for Clark and his survey group, Jim Grant, father of the business owner, said if his son doesn't get assistance to haul way the greenhouse debris and rebuild the greenhouses, the nursery and flower shop will not reopen. The greenhouses were not insured.

But Clark and his team did survey the entire tornado zone yesterday and will file a report with the governor's office. Clark stressed repeatedly the importance of gathering thorough and complete data as the best way to make a case for assistance. It will take some time before we know the results of the findings.

Kim Grant
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Why no insurance on the green house? So something can happen to it and the tax payers pay for it? Sorry, no pity from this tax payer.
Chelsea O'Brien
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Do you have insurance on every single thing you own and use?
Kim Grant
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If I owned and ran a business which would be my livelihood, then YES! I would have it insured. I live in my house, it's insured along with the contents. I park my car in my garage, it's insured. My car is insured. Why wouldn't I insure my business?
Lucille Van Son
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I was reading an article on the cleanup last night, and their apartment building and the flower shop were insured, but the greenhouses weren't because the cost to insure them was outrageously high.
Kim Grant
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I can understand why the insurance would be high, the greenhouse is made of glass. A good hail storm could do serious damage. To me it seems like they took a gamble and lost. I'd probably feel different if they had insurance and it didn't cover tornado damage. That doesn't happen to often around here.
Lucille Van Son
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I tried to find the article, but couldn't. It may have been in one of the newpapers online or news channels online. I don't think it was taking the gamble, they just could not afford to pay that kind of money for insurance on the greenhouses, they had no choice.

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