Friday, June 19, 2009

Important Information from the Polk County Long Term Recovery Committee


You may register with FEMA online at or call 800-621-3362
Apply with SBA at Mena Fire Station 603 DeQueen St or call 800-827-5722

It has been more than 10 weeks since the April 9 Tornado, and much has been
accomplished. Many homes have new roofs, new siding and new paint. The City and County Crews along with countless volunteers, organizations and agencies have worked feverishly to recover from the storm.

And there is still much to be done.

The Polk County Long Term Recovery Committee along with CRWRC will be conducting an area wide Community Assessment to determine un-met needs.

The Assessment Teams will be conducting door to door visits along with walk in interviews from June 22nd through July 1st.

Appointments can be made by calling 479-394-3534 or in person at the
Community Assessment Command Center at 1201 College Drive , Mena,
open 8:00 am until 6:00 pm. The Command Center will be open Saturday June 27 8:00 am until 4:00 pm for your convenience. We are here for you!

Polk County Long Term Recovery Committee
See ALL Current Members of the Polk County Long Term Recovery Committee please to

Friday, June 12, 2009



Little Rock, Ark –Just two weeks remain before the June 26 deadline to register for assistance for Arkansans affected by the severe storms and tornadoes that occurred on April 9. Officials with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge anyone affected to make sure they have applied for all the federal assistance for which they may be eligible.

Individuals and business owners must have filed an application with FEMA by June 26, 2009 to be eligible for the variety of individual assistance programs made available to homeowners, renters and business owners in Ashley, Miller, Polk and Sevier counties.

To apply for disaster assistance, call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. Phone lines are open daily from 8 a.m. to midnight. An application also may be made online at

In a disaster declaration, the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) is the primary source of financial assistance. If you have received an SBA loan application, you must complete and return it to be considered for an SBA disaster loan or other grants and programs. If you do not qualify for an SBA disaster loan, you will be referred to other federal or state assistance programs, such as FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program, which may cover essential disaster-related costs such as clothing, furniture, appliances, transportation and medical expenses.

Applicants will not be considered for ONA until they have applied to and been denied by SBA. You can get help by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or on-line at
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state's homeland security and emergency management agency. The agency works to identify and lessen the effects of emergencies, disasters and threats to Arkansas by developing effective prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery actions for all disasters and emergencies.
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terrorism.

The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Disaster recovery assistance is available to any individual without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.

Editors: For more information on Arkansas disaster recovery, visit or

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

FREE Legal Services

Free Legal Services Available to Those Affected by the April 9 severe storms and tornadoes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – In the aftermath of the severe storms and tornadoes of April 9, disaster-affected residents may find they need help with disaster-related legal issues. Free legal advice and referrals are available for those who may need assistance.

The Arkansas Bar Association in association with the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division—made up of attorneys who volunteer their time and knowledge—can offer advice on issues involving landlord/tenant problems, disaster-related contract matters, insurance, replacement of legal documents, counseling on mortgage foreclosure, and a number of other concerns.

The contact number is 877-321-8815. When you call, you will be asked to leave your name and phone number. An attorney will then call you back as soon as possible; 877-321-8815 is operational daily around the clock.

No member of the volunteer attorney group will accept fee-generating cases. Their services are authorized only to assist in resolving issues arising out of the disaster.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Polk County Long Term Recovery Meeting

The group working to establish a Long Term Recovery plan for Polk County will meet Tuesday, May 12 at 4 p.m. in Dallas Avenue Baptist Church Sanctuary .

Representatives from any organization interested in helping Polk County and Mena recover from the tornado are welcome to attend and participate in developing the plan.

If you have questions, contact Keith Rose at 234-6637.

Friday, May 8, 2009

FEMA Disaster Relief Center Locations and Hours

Present and Future DRC Locations and Hours
Current as of 9:00 am Friday May 8

Polk County – St Agnes Catholic Church Parishioners Hall
207 N 8th
Mena 71953

7:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday until Monday, May 11

Beginning Monday, May 11,
Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Final closing date to be determined

Sevier County – Old Library
105 S. 5th
DeQueen 71832
Thursday, May 7 and Friday, May 8 – 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Sunday May 10 is the last day in DeQueen

Miller County – Doddridge Community Center
9345 Highway 160
Doddridge 71834
Monday May 11 – Noon to 6:00 pm
Tuesday – 8:00 to 6:00 pm
Tuesday May 12 is the last day in Doddridge

Ashley County – Meridian Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
4593 Ashley Street
Crossett 71635

Thursday May 14 – Noon to 6:00 pm
Friday and Saturday – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday – closed
Monday May 18 and Tuesday – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Tuesday May 19 is the last day in Crossett

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New News Links from FEMA

Arkansas Severe Storms and Tornadoes
Declared April 27, 2009
Disaster Recovery Center Reopens In Miller County For Two Days, May 7
SBA Disaster Loans - Not Just For Businesses, May 6
No Loss Of Benefits For Senior Citizens Receiving Disaster Aid, May 6
Receiving A Denial Letter May Not Be The Last Word, May 5
Community Relations Teams Reach Out To Those Who Need Information, May 5
Assistance Available For Non-Citizens, May 4
Applying For FEMA Disaster Assistance—Frequently Asked Questions, May 4
When The Inspector Comes To Your Damaged Property, May 2
Disaster Recovery Center To Open In Miller County For Three Days, May 1
Apply For Assistance Even If You Have Insurance, May 1
Registering With Voluntary Agencies For Disaster Aid Does Not Register You With FEMA, Apr 29
FIVE Arkansas Disaster-Affected Counties Designated For FEMA Public Assistance Aid, Apr 29
Federal Aid Programs For Arkansas Disaster Recovery, Apr 28
Tornado Victims Urged To Register With Fema For Disaster Aid, Apr 28
President Declares Major Disaster For Arkansas, Apr 27
More information about Arkansas Severe Storms and Tornadoes

More FEMA information

Please continue to visit the FEMA website for more valuable information concerning our community. It is very important that all those affected by the April 9th, tornado contact FEMA and see what is available on an individual basis. The FEMA team is here to help. Please visit their website to read the important incoming news. For new FEMA news check here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Boxes are available for free at the fairgrounds if you know anyone who needs them. The semi-truck load will be leaving soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Recovery and Assistance Meeting

A meeting to discuss long term recovery efforts is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5th in the Dallas Avenue Family Life Center at 4 p.m. All local Pastors, Community leaders, and Disaster assistance agencies are urged to attend.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Federal Small Business Administration is in town


Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan's Purse responded by dispatching a Disaster Relief Unit to Mena on April 11th. They worked with the help of volunteers, including several from our town, to nail tarps on surviving rooftops, help families salvage priceless mementos, and haul off debris so people can rebuild. They have helped our community not only with physical needs but spiritual needs as well. We can never say "Thank You" enough to the volunteers that have helped our town as we heal. Samaritan's Purse will be leaving town Sunday to go help other area's in need.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Information

For Immediate Release:
Contact Person and Phone Number: April 29, 2009
Kimberly Friedman (501) 682-3125

Disaster Unemployment Assistance available for individuals affected by severe storms, tornadoes

LITTLE ROCK – Individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of the severe storms and tornadoes that began in three Arkansas counties on April 9, 2009, may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, according to Artee Williams, the director of the Department of Workforce Services.

At the request of Gov. Mike Beebe, President Barrack Obama declared Miller, Polk and Sevier counties as federal disaster areas authorized for DUA. Individuals who have temporarily lost jobs in these three counties because of the disaster and do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits or Extended Benefits (such as self-employed individuals) may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, which provides unemployment benefits up to 26 weeks under Presidential Disaster Declaration FEMA 1834-DR.

The first possible week of compensation for DUA purposes was the week ending April 18, 2009, and the last possible week of compensation is the week ending October 31, 2009.

DUA claims may be filed at the following DWS offices:

Miller County Texarkana Local Office,
1702 Hampton Road
(870) 216-4011

Polk County Mena Local Office,
601 C Highway 71 North
(479) 394-3060

Sevier County Texarkana Local Office,
1702 Hampton Road
(870) 216-4011

Claims must be filed between April 30, 2009, and May 29, 2009, at DWS offices from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. DWS offices will also provide re-employment assistance where appropriate. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered untimely and benefits denied, unless the individual provides good cause for filing after that date.

To be eligible for benefits, individuals must have worked or have been scheduled to work in the disaster area, but because of the disaster, they no longer have a job, a place to work in the area or could not get to their place of work because of disaster damage.

They also may qualify if they have been prevented from working because of an injury or illness resulting from the disaster or if they have become the head of household and need employment because the head of the household died as a result of the disaster.

This benefit also may be available to self-employed individuals who have lost all or part of their livelihood as a result of the disaster.Each claim is considered individually; therefore, individuals who believe they may be eligible should bring their Social Security card, the name and address of their last place of employment and documents verifying income, such as income tax statements, pay stubs, W-2 forms or 2008 federal income tax forms (Schedule SE and Schedule C or Schedule F) for self-employed individuals.

All DUA applicants must provide documentation within 21 days from the day the claim is filed indicating an employment record at the time of the disaster or verification of the weeks the applicant was scheduled to work.

DWS officials understand that because of property losses, some claimants may not have the necessary 2008 income information. Although some delays may result without this information, DWS staff will make every effort to work with DUA claimants to confirm their income information and expedite the claims-taking procedure.

Community Wide Prayer Gathering

Sunday, May 3rd
3:00 pm
At the Gazebo in Janssen Park
Join us as we gather together and pray for our community.

Polk County Designated For FEMA Public Assistance Aid

FIVE Arkansas Disaster-Affected Counties Designated For FEMA Public Assistance Aid
Release Date: April 29, 2009 From

» More Information on Arkansas Severe Storms and Tornadoes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announces that Public Assistance disaster aid, for state and local governments, has been added (under the presidential declaration of April 27) to include the disaster-affected counties of Ashley, Howard, Miller, Polk, and Sevier.

This additional aid was approved following a review of damage data gathered by federal and state disaster recovery officials. Under Monday's presidential declaration, Miller, Polk and Sevier counties were designated for aid to individuals, families and business owners. They now join Ashley and Howard counties for this Public Assistance aid.

Under FEMA'S Public Assistance Program, state and local governments, along with certain non-profits, may apply for federal funds to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency protective services related to the disaster, and eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities.

"Our continuing commitment is not only to help meet the recovery needs of devastated families and businesses," said Mike Moore, who is heading up the federal recovery, " but to ensure that the vital community services they also depend on are restored, repaired or rebuilt as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Procedures for requesting the assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings for local officials at locations to be announced by state disaster officials.

FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

Tornado Victims Urged To Register With Fema For Disaster Aid

Tornado Victims Urged To Register With Fema For Disaster Aid
Release Date: April 28, 2009 from
» More Information on Arkansas Severe Storms and Tornadoes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- State and federal officials encourage Arkansas residents, living in Miller, Polk, and Sevier counties, with losses and damages from the April 9 severe storms and tornadoes to call and register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) as soon as possible.

People with hearing or speech impairments may call (TTY) 800-462-7585. The toll-free registration numbers are available from 8 a.m. to midnight, daily. Also, online registration is available 24 hours a day at

Under the presidential declaration of April 27, 2009, the disaster-designated counties of Miller, Polk and Sevier are eligible for Individual Assistance to help individuals and families cope with the losses and damages from the tornado.

"It is important to call FEMA even though you may have contacted other agencies or volunteer organizations in your area," State Coordinating Officer Richard Griffin of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) said. "Keep clear records and receipts of any repairs and take photos if possible."

Applicants are advised to have the following information available to help speed up the application process:
A current phone number where you can be contacted;
Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where they are now staying;
Your Social Security number, if available;
A general list of damages and losses; and
If insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name.

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to homeowners, renters and businesses. Call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or visit the Web site at

"Registration is the first important step in the recovery process," Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Moore said. "Even if you have registered for assistance with FEMA for other disasters, it's important that you call and register again for the April tornado incident."

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state's homeland security and emergency management agency. The agency works to identify and lessen the effects of emergencies, disasters and threats to Arkansas by developing effective prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery actions for all disasters and emergencies.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terrorism.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Disaster Relief Clinic for Long Term Needs

To those affected by the April 9th Tornado:

Disaster Relief Clinic for Long Term Needs

When: Thursday April 30th
Time: From 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: At the Polk County Fair Grounds

Please come and fill out an assessment form and let us help you with your long term needs such as food, clothing, furniture and other household items. These needs are not covered by FEMA. Forms will be turned in to local churches and organizations for needs assessment and distribution of items.

Local FEMA Office

FEMA will have their Disaster Recovery Center set up in Mena starting Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Below is the rest of the info for those needing assistance.

Polk County Disaster Recovery Center
St.Agnes Catholic Church Parish Hall
207 North 8th Street
Mena, AR 71953

M - F 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sun 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

To register by phone call:
1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
(hearing or speech impaired call) TTY 1-800-462-7585
To register online:

There will also be Centers in De Queen, AR for those in Sevier County and Doddridge, AR for those in Miller County.

Polk County Extension Update

Due to damage to the County’s U of A Cooperative Extension Service Building from the recent tornado, the Extension Office is temporarily being housed at the Polk County Fairgrounds. We have the same office hours of 8 to 12 and 1 to 5 each weekday.

The April 9 tornado will leave a mark on our minds as well as on our landscape. We have all stages of recovery going on in our community. Many do not have homes at this point and have many hard and tiring decisions to make regarding their future. Others are trying to deal with saving or cleaning up trees from their yards and streets. No matter what the issue, your U of A Extension Service has resources available to guide you in some of those decisions.

We have several publications to help with managing your decisions regarding finances, valuables, and insurance claims. We have information to help you and your family deal with the stress related to our recent trauma. If you need to get information related to caring for damaged landscape plants or even what types of plants you need to choose from for reestablishing your lawn or shade trees, those are available as well. We have resources to set up informational and educational meetings about various issues caused by the storm. Let us know what we need to t do to help with your recovery process.

All of our traditional services such as soil testing, pest ID and control, foods and safety are up and running. We are just not quite as easy to find as we were. Give us a call or stop by and see us for assistance. We may not be quite as organized as we were in our former office but we are her to help you. Our fact sheets are also available online if you have internet access. Go to our website at If you have trouble locating something you need, call us at 479-394-6018.

I have had a request from some folks about organizing a bulk or mass purchasing opportunity to presale and have some larger landscape trees delivered to our area. This could possibly save some money for those who are ready to replant some of their lost shade trees. The same opportunity is also available for those needing to reestablish lawns using zoysia, centipede, or Bermuda grass sod. There are lots of new sunny lawns since so many of the trees are gone. Many will be having to change the way they care for their lawn and home. Information is available for that as well.

We are also working on a public educational meeting to help people with storm recovery. As soon as the date and schedule are ready, we will start publicizing the meeting.

Carla Vaught
County Extension Agent-Staff Chair
April 27, 2009

Important Insurance Consumer Alert

***There have been several new posts today. Please scroll down for more information. ***

From: AR Insurance Department
For Immediate Release

For More information contact:
Alice Jones
Communications Director
(501) 371-2835

Consumer Alert: Storm Victims should know Public Adjusters are NOT permitted in Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS (April 14, 2009)- State Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford today reminds Arkansans that the salary of an adjuster is paid by the insurance company he or she represents. The Department has received reports that public adjusters have approached citizens in Mena following last week’s storm. Adjusters requesting payment from the uninsured for their services are considered public adjusters and are not permitted in Arkansas.

In the aftermath of a catastrophic event such as a tornado, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to process one’s claim. “I advise everyone to request the identification of anyone approaching them claiming to be an adjuster.” He went on to say, “Call your insurance agent if you have questions as he or she is the first link between you and your insurance company.”

Reports of adjusters operating without a license or trying to seek compensations from an insured for their services should be reported to the Arkansas Insurance Department at 501-371-2820.

Anyone with questions or problems relating to the processing of their insurance claims may call the Consumer Services Division of the Arkansas Insurance Department at 800-582-5494.

Big Bear Opry Special Benefit Show for Tornado Victims

Big Bears Saturday Night Opry has scheduled a Special Benefit Show for the Victims of the recent Tornado, according to Jim “Big Bear” Huff, Promoter and Manager of Big Bear’s Saturday Night Opry, in Mena. The show, scheduled for May 9th will be held at the Old Armory located on De Queen St., which was generously provided by Rich Mountain Community College.

We realize that so many families have suffered catastrophic loss from the storm and have been working tirelessly since it happened with hardly a break. At this point, 2-3 weeks afterward, the stress and worry many have experienced can really begin to wear on a body. With that in mind, we want to invite those folks to take a break, catch a breath and spend a little time relaxing while enjoying some of the areas Finest Entertainment, at no charge, simply as Guests of Big Bears Opry.

“This will likely be the biggest Show of the Year, both in terms of talent and attendance, stated Huff. We are scheduled to have a full range of music with Country, Bluegrass, Gospel and some great Classic Rock-n-Roll. Entertainers tentatively set to perform are: James Tarver, Richie Owens, Bob Dowdy and the Mountain Bluegrass Boys, Colin Cannon, Judy Buck from Glenwood, Vinnie Lee, Don Hunt from Hot Springs, Six Mile Creek, Steve Rook, Mary Caster, Lisa Tarver, John Talley, Michelle White, and a new group called Shed West.

Instead of our regular admission we will be taking donations at the door with “all” profits and donations from the show, going to benefit those most in need. For those in the community that would like to help by donating funds and haven’t known where to do so, this will be the perfect place and while here enjoy the show.

Showtime: 7:00 P.M. on May 9th, Old Armory on DeQueen St. Mena. For more information contactJim L. Huff, at (479) 394-5377 or e-mail or

Message from Mayor on Tornado Debris

From: Mayor, George McKee
Date: April 27, 2009
Subject: Tornado Debris

There have been several questions regarding debris removal. I will try to make this as simple as possible to explain.

If VOLUNTEERS OR PROPERTY OWNERS have cleaned your yard, please have them separate debris into the following categories at the curb:

3-Sheet rock/Insulation

The City of Mena will pick up these items.

If you have CONTRACTED OR PAID SOMEONE, it is the responsibility of the contractor to dispose of any construction debris that includes shingles. They can take the vegetation and all other white lumber (no treated lumber, no metal cleats or truss plates, no trash) to Mid South. They can call Southern Disposal @ 479-394-2175 and arrange for a dumpster, or about fees for disposal. There is also an option to haul to the nearest landfill, Nashville or Fort Smith, AR. Those are the two closest landfills.

Federal Aid Programs For Arkansas Disaster Recovery

Federal Aid Programs For Arkansas Disaster Recovery
Release Date: April 28, 2009 Release Number: HQ-09-043Factsheet
» More Information on Arkansas Severe Storms and Tornadoes

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for Arkansas.

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:

Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)

Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)

Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)

Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)

Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)

Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)

Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)

Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans benefits and social security matters.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:
Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

How to Apply for Assistance:
Those in the counties designated for assistance to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday until further notice. Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.

Application procedures for local governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.

FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

FEMA Disaster Declaration

From the FEMA website...

President Declares Major Disaster For Arkansas
Release Date: April 27, 2009Release Number: HQ-09-043

» More Information on Arkansas Severe Storms and Tornadoes

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that federal disaster aid has been made available for the State of Arkansas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and tornadoes on April 9, 2009.

Acting FEMA Administrator Nancy Ward said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Obama. The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Miller, Polk, and Sevier counties.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

W. Michael Moore has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Moore said that additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow (beginning April 28) by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Stay Tuned

More information coming tomorrow.

Thanks for your patience.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Today in Mena, April 24th

Billy Graham Ministries will be conducting two school assemblies today for the Mena Middle School children and faculty that are displaced. Seven Chaplains will conduct an 8:30 a.m. assembly at Dallas Ave Baptist Church for the MMS 6th graders and eight will travel to Hatfield for a 1:30 p.m. assembly for the 7th and 8th grade students. They will be ministering to the children and helping them with any needs or fears they may be experiencing during this displacement.
Americorps St. Louis located at the Ouachita Baptist Association (across from Rich Mt. Community College) reported that 50-60 volunteers have already registered to help volunteer for this weekend and they anticipate that number to rise. Last Saturday 230 volunteers signed up to do volunteer work.

If you would like to volunteer please call Americorps at 479-394-3534 or sign up at the Command Center in the Aalfs parking lot on Highway 71S.

Mena Fire Chief, John Puckett advised that vegetation, lumber, shingles, and metal should all be sorted on the curb for pick up. There has been a problem with individuals piling everything together; this is making a bigger mess and harder to clean up. PLEASE sort all items into piles.

The following people may still have rent houses:
Terry Lunsford 394-2568
Allen Stewart 394-1731
Don Craig 394-3824
Dawn Lea/Sheila Bush 216-4675

Americorps St. Louis is aiding in the efforts of establishing a place for people to take items they have found and also for those looking for items that were displaced during the tornado. If you have lost or found any items you can call 479-394-3534 or go by the Ouachita Baptist Association located across from Rich Mt. Community College and they will help you with whatever your need may be. We will be posting the items found as they come in so please check the blog regularly as we keep it updated.

FOUND- what looks to be part of an old family bible or funeral memorial turned in by the parks department, it was found at Janssen Park. It is in memory of Fred D. McClellan Born September 28, 1880 deceased October 10, 1946.


Mena Mayor, George McKee spoke with Channel 5 news "We've already had more than 4,000 truck loads of vegetation hauled out of the city," said Mayor George McKee Thursday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

American Red Cross Update

The American Red Cross would like to announce that they are continuing to provide service to those individuals with major damage or completely destroyed homes. However their time is coming close to leave and return to their headquarters. Please contact them today if you need assistance at 1-866-GET INFO or 1-501-623-9321.

Disaster Recovery Ministries Updates

Local pastors, community & para-Church leaders met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the status of the disaster relief as well look to the future. Here are some status updates from many churches/groups from the last week or so.

Many groups have switched gears from providing 3 meals a day to those affected by the tornado and the volunteers to different roles in the relief. This is a brief summary of what was shared by the Pastors/leaders and is in not a complete picture of everything that has been accomplished or is being accomplished.

Most of these groups/churches continue to aid in some sort of debris removal as well as helping with tarps, etc.

Assembly of God Church- Pastor Ronnie Tilley o
*Has served 400-500 survivors of the disaster non-perishable food items.
*Continues to provide meals for survivors and volunteers.
*Hosting Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan's Purse
*Aided in cleaning yards and digging up tree trunks
*Retarped homes and provided long term heavy tarps with webbing
*Planning on leaving May 2nd

Dallas Avenue Baptist Church- Pastor Donnie Edwards
*Housing Mena Middle School 6th grade students
*Housing the American Red Cross Volunteers

Seven Day Adventist- Lavida Whitson
*Overseeing the distribution at Mena Fair Grounds
*Distribution of clothing, furniture, blankets, and clean up kits

Hatfield First Baptist Church
*Aiding farmers with fencing and cleaning of fields

The Crossing Church- Pastor Victor Rowell
*Providing 3 meals a day for prisoners and clean up crews
*Providing OSB and other boarding (tung & groove)

Union Mission Church- Pastor Lewis Martin
*Providing 3 meals a day for prisoners and clean up crews

First Baptist Church- Pastor David McCord
*Feeding volunteers at lunch
*Providing personal care items

First Presbyterian Church- Pete Chambers
*Providing tarping needs

South Side Church of God- Pastor Kenneth Posey
*Hosted God's Pit Crew which provided a drive thru distribution serving over 600 families or more.

Ouchita Baptist Association- Craig Chambers
*Hosting Americorps St. Louis
*Providing storage for distribution items

Americorps St. Louis
*Providing field teams
*Aiding the volunteer check in located in Aalfs parking lot
*Running the Disaster Relief Call Center for volunteers and victims in need of assistance
*Providing door to door visitations to obtain disaster assessments

Mena Lions Club- Darrel Baker
*Providing food, clothing, medical supplies, cooking utensils

American Red Cross- JoAnn Mangione
*Provide assistance to those with major damage or homes destroyed.
The Pastors and leaders discussed the needs that are present and emphasized the need to get out of the city limits to assess damage and help those in the rural areas. Americorps recruited some churches to help them re-canvas the rural areas affected by the tornado.

The group discussed future ways to help. Some hinged on whether or not FEMA will have a presence in our community.

They decided to follow up with a meeting on Tuesday May 5th at 4 pm at the Dallas Ave Baptist Church Family Life Center.

Today in Mena, April 23

Pastor Ron Tilley of The First Assembly Of God Church in Mena has been the center of many of the local tornado recovery efforts for more than a week. Pastor Tilley told KENA news the outpouring of support for the community has been overwhelming. Listen to his report here.
Listen to Sheriff Mike Oglesby speak to KENA about the Temporary Police Offices at Polk County Courthouse here.
Polk County Judge Ray B. Stanley reports initial damages for the damage done by the tornado is $10.7 MILLION. Listen as he describes damage done outside the city limits and his hope that FEMA will become involved here.
Andrea Kuwik from Americorps reported that so far there have been 1,517 volunteers with 7,947.5 hours donated to the clean up and restoration of the city of Mena and our surrounding area. There are still a couple of organizations who haven't reported so these numbers aren't completely accurate... they will continue to grow. THANK YOU to all of the volunteers!

Remember the BBQ Brisket Dinner tonight hosted by 1st National Bank & Union Bank of Mena at First Baptist Church for those affected by the recent tornado and for those volunteers who have worked in the recovery efforts. Come and eat from 5:30- 7:30 tonight!
Message from Patti Oates from Vision Realty...

Since our building was so badly damaged, a lot of people do not realize that we are open for business in the same location at 500 Mena Street. We are awaiting our insurance company’s go ahead before we begin restoration. The architectural engineer will have to draw plans for the new roof that will be placed on the building.

We also want to thank everyone that helped us during this disaster.

Mrs. Oates is also missing two checks with invoices attached that were blown away in the storm. If anyone finds them please call Vision Realty at 479-394-1111.

Hands on Disaster Response

Hands On Disaster Response ( is working in Mena, aiding homeowners affected by the Tornado.

There is no charge for any services provided as we are a volunteer organization. We have the tools and resources to help homeowners with tree removal, debris pick-up and smaller demo jobs.

If you would like one of our assessors to look at your property please call: 234-7971 and we will schedule a time to meet.

Jeremey Horan and his team with HODR are working out of the Church of God on 88E.

Hands On Disaster Response is a US-based, volunteer-staffed, nonprofit organization with 501(c) 3 tax-exempt status, dedicated to timely disaster response and relief. Tax ID # 20-3414952. For more information or to donate online, please visit:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today in Mena, April 22- Updated

Mayor George McKee gives a Tornado Recovery Update to KENA
So far 2,900 loads of debris have been hauled off from the storm.


Listen to his report to KENA here.
Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief will be here through Saturday, May 2. We offer roof tarping, debris removal and chainsaw work. All services are free and donations are NOT accepted. We are partnering with Mena 1st Assembly of God at 2111 Sutherland Ave. 479-394-1273.

Dr. Richard J. Carver Optometrist is moving to 601 Maple St. (corner of Maple and DeQueen St.) Next to Karl Cunningham CPA.

Dr. Carver says they hope to be open in about a week. (per Chamber of Commerce)
CONTROL AT 394-8339.... KENA has an Animal Lost & Found on their website.
From Liz Sutherland...My property used to be a church camp so I have a large number of mattresses and I do not need them. If there is anyone you know of who could possibly use any of them I would be happy to donate them. They are all twin sized and they are used, but most of them are in pretty decent shape.

If you or someone you know needs a twin sized mattress please emial Liz at


Mena Police ask that citizens treat all intersections in the areas affected by the tornado as FOUR WAY STOPS. Many stop signs & street signs were destroyed and we want to prohibit traffic accidents.

With the temperatures being in the eighties this week please help make sure these all of these volunteers working so hard to help our town have plenty of water to drink.

I am gathering ice chests, ice and water and will be driving around tomorrow afternoon handing out water to all of the workers.
If you have water to donate or an ice chest I can use please give me a call at 394-0111 or my cell at 234-1399.
You can drop off ice chest with you name on them and water at the Command Center at Aalfs and I will pick it up in the morning.

Thanks, Cyndie Crider
Mena Chamber of Commerce

Mena Lions Club & Lions Club Int'l Disaster Refief Effort

Mena Lions Club

Mena, AR. and Surrounding Area
Victims of the April 9th Tornado

Mena Lions Club and Lions Clubs International is accepting applications for assistance to victims of the April 9th tornado that hit Mena and Polk County .

The assistance will be in the form of vouchers that can be redeemed at area business(s).

The vouchers can be redeemed for immediate needs such as food, clothing, medical supplies, small cooking needs (pots, pans & eating utensils), and sanitation supplies. NO ALCOHOL, TOBACCO OR OTHER LUXURY ITEMS may be purchased with the voucher.

Voucher cannot be exchanged for a gift certificate, and no change will be returned.

Individuals can redeem the vouchers ONLY at the Vendor designated that will be determined during the application process.

Applications for assistance can be made with the assistance of Lions Club members at:

Ouachita Baptist Association
1200 College Ave. (Across from RMCC)
Tuesday and Thursdays 1:30 – 3:30 PM (Beginning Thurs, April 22)
Information: Dariel Baker 479-234-0819

Angel Food Ministry

The Angel Food Ministry is being restarted for Polk County.

This provides low cost food, including seafood, meat, and fresh fruit & vegetable boxes.

A $30 Signature Box provides a variety of food sufficient to feed a family of four for a week.

Orders will be taken at St. Agnes Parish hall (Walnut & 8th Street) on 4/29 and 5/6 from 11 am to 2 pm.

Thank you.

Roberta Salamone
St. Agnes Parish.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Americorps St. Louis

Americorps St. Louis have been in our area to help lead the disaster relief organization and to register and facilitate volunteers. They are headquartered at the Ouachita Baptist Association office across from RMCC. Their Disaster Relief Hotline number is 394-3534.

Americorps currently has a staff of 21 people here to assist in our recovery efforts. They have attempted to contact every family/home that has been affected by the storm. It is their desire to see what assistance is needed for each home.

If you or someone you know was affected by the tornado and needs any type of assistance (debris removal, cleanup, financial (non-insured), etc) and you have NOT filled out a work order/release form for Americorps please call 394-3534 as soon as possible.

Americorps will assign volunteers to "work orders" as they come. Individual volunteers are asked to check-in/register at the Command Center located at Aalfs on Highway 71S across from Country Express.

If you have a large group of volunteers coming please call 479-394-3534 so they can help facilitate your group.

Americorps plans to continue to assist our community's relief efforts until a long term recovery plan is in place.

For more information about Americorps St. Louis please visit their website.

If you see any of these young people in town please show them your appreciation!

Today in Mena, April 21 - Status updates, relief info, business location changes

Here are a few updates...

On FEMA involvement..
There has been much speculation on whether or not FEMA will become involved in the disaster relief. At the present moment it is still unknown if FEMA will come. FEMA has assessed our area and have returned the information to Washington. No declaration has been signed at this point.
A crew started on Janssen St doing clean up. Fire Chief John Puckett also stressed to leaders the importance of getting Janssen Park cleaned up and accessible to our community's children.
Per City Council- All contractors working on building structures, roofing, tree removal and demolition must provide $1 Million in liability insurance. This is very important and is only to protect the citizens of Polk County. This liability insurance is not required for smaller jobs such as painting and carpet cleaning. These guidelines will be re-visited in 90 days.
AT & T has restored service to our community. If you are having problems with your phone please call one of the following numbers:
800-888-2020 for residential
800-499-7928 for business
The First National Bank and the Union Bank are sponsoring a Beef Brisket Dinner this Thursday, April 23rd at the First Baptist Church, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.......for those who had damage done by the tornado, and for all volunteers who assisted and are assisting in the clean up efforts.
RMCC resumed classes on Monday, April 20th. Their website offers information on class assignments, location changes and more. Check back for more updates.
A few business changes...
The Maddox and Maddox Law Firm is now temporarily located at 506 Mena St.(formerly Goforth bldg.)

USEM Federal Credit Union is temporarily located at the Seventh-day Adventist church across from the fairgrounds on Fairgrounds Road. The phone number is 479-394-7404

First Financial Bank is at 1311 Suite C Hwy 71 N. We are across from Sun Country Inn and behind Nat and Co. We are in the conference room of SWEMS. Will be there a while. Phone is still the same. Phone #479-394-2318 fax #479-394-4741 (per Mandy Godfrey)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Disaster Donations: how to donate

Help people affected by disasters like the 2009 Mena Tornado by donating to the
American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Send tax deductible contributions to
The Ouchita Area Chapter (Mena Tornado)
American Red Cross
P.O. Box 1362
Hot Springs, AR 71902

Designate that it go towards Mena Tornado or donate at any the following banks (and accounts #'s):
Benefit Bank: 900009515
Arvest: 0013620134
Regions: 0087667134
US Bank: 15180188733
First State: 5013623

To Make a Credit Card Donation by Phone Call 479-782-1056 between 8:00 am - 4:30 pm weekdays.

The account has been set up at the Union Bank of Mena:
Mena/Polk County Disaster Relief Fund
Union Bank of Mena
Attn: Linda RoweP.O. Box 898
Mena, AR 71953
Account #: 765244

Mena Disaster Recovery Fund at First National Bank of Mena
Account # 2000351792
Routing # 802901473
or mailed to P.O. Box 1049
or taken to #1 Financial Center
Mena, Ark. 71953

Path of the Storm

Data compiled from the USDA (Forestry), USGS, and satellite imagery.
*posted by jonrf on the Mena Forum

Lost and Found

Personal Items (such as pictures, documents, ect) can be returned to the Command Center at Alfs Parking Lot.

There will be more information available in the future to claim personal belongings.

Please call 394-3534 for more information.

Recovery Items still needed in Polk County

Canned Foods
Cleaning Supplies
Baby care products
Paper Products
Soy Milk
Dry goods

Long Term Recovery Plan for Un-Met Needs

A committee of local pastors and leaders will meet at 4 pm on Tuesday, April 21st at Dallas Ave Baptist Church to begin to discuss Long Term Recovery Plan for Un-Met Needs.

For Volunteers

First, thank you all so much for sacrificing your time and resources to help those in need and to work to restore our community. We truly appreciate you all!

There is still much work to be done! You can volunteer by registering at the Command Center located in the Alfs Parking Lot on Highway 71S in Mena.

Please call the Disaster Relief hotline at 394-3534 for more information.

Relief One Stop Shop

There will be a One Stop Shop for tornado Survivors...

Tuesday, April 21st
from 10 am to 3 pm
at St. Agnes Parish Hall

Representatives from each Relief Organization will be represented.

Please come out and see how we can help!

Contact Information for Disaster Relief

These are ministries seeking to help those affected by the tornado and to help facilitate volunteers. Please call The Disaster Relief hotline at 394-3534 for more information or register to volunteer at the Command Center located in the Alfs Parking Lot.

  • South Side Church of God
    "God's Pit Crew"
    101 Dallas Ave
    Pastor Ken Posey 479-243-8671

    Diapers, Paper Products, Etc

  • The Crossing
    1122 W. Maple
    Becky Hooper 479-394-2218

    Ice Chests
    Diapers, Paper Products, Etc

  • County Fair Grounds
    71 S. to Fair Grounds Rd
    Adventist Church Association.
    Lavida Whitson 501-912-1364

    All Non Food Items Go Here!!!
    Clothing- They are only accepting new clothing at this time!
  • Toys - in good condition
  • Cleaning Supplies

  • First Assembly of God
    2111 Sutherland Ave
    Ron Tilley 479-394-1229

    All Can Goods Available Here!!
    Hours Are 10AM-6PM

  • First Baptist Church
    811 Port Arthur
    David McCord 479-394-2541

  • Red Cross @ Dallas Ave Baptist
    300 Dallas Ave
    Bonnie Rogers

  • Feed My Sheep
    2933 Hwy 88 E.
    Jay Palmer 479-394-3311

    Food Boxes
    Diapers, Paper, etc


"If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.

Isaiah 58 9-14 from The Message