Only 18 percent of Alabama residents who applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency following the April storms have gotten it so far, according to a July 21 report by Monique Fields of Reuters. But Michael Byrne, a FEMA official in Alabama, told Fields it was too soon to tell how many residents will ultimately be able to get help.
According to a July 25 report by David Moore of The Arab Tribune (www.thearabtribune.com), the acceptance rate in Marshall County has been a little over 15 percent. However, FEMA spokesperson Mike Stone told Moore that only the number of people registering for assistance is final. “A lot of these numbers are still in process because a lot of these individuals are still going through the system,” Stone said.
Read Field’s piece, “Alabama gets millions in tornado aid, many still wait,” at www.reuters.com.
REASON FOR CONCERN?
An editorial in The Gadsden Times expresses concern that some recent cost-saving moves by the American Red Cross in Alabama could damage the agency’s ability to respond quickly to disasters. For example, the Times says that the organization’s geographical service areas will shrink from 23 to 17, citing a Red Cross press release. You can find the July 25 editorial, “Red Cross cutting back,” at www.gadsdentimes.com.
NOT THE USUAL OFF-SEASON:
Trent Richardson, a running back for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, has a hard time shaking an image from the horrific April storms that ravaged Tuscaloosa—the image of parents having their kids snatched from their arms by high winds. “I have two little girls myself, so I can only imagine how they feel,” Richardson told Antonya English of the St. Petersburg Times. It’s been, to say the least, a difficult offseason for the Tide, English reports. There were the storms, their aftermath and even the death of a teammate in Florida due to what officials called an accidental drug overdose. The players have spent many hours visiting families and volunteering in Tuscaloosa. Check out English’s July 23 story, “Alabama Crimson Tide draws strength from offseason tragedies,” at www.tampabay.com.
Once again, I want to give shoutouts to people from around the country who have contributed in some way to Alabama’s recovery.
Country/pop singer Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to Nick Saban’s foundation Nick’s Kids to support post-storm rebuilding in Tuscaloosa, according to a July 22 report at www.themontgomeryadvertiser.com. The singer also raised about $750,000 for storm recovery efforts in the Southeast at a concert in May.
Nearly 200 Taco Bell restaurants in the Southeast raised about $300,000 to support the American Red Cross and its disaster relief efforts in Alabama and elsewhere, according to a July 25 report at www.chattanoogan.com.
Five University of Alabama students organized a recent 5K race in Overland Park, Kan., that raised $10,000 for Alabama tornado victims. The students are all from the Kansas City area, according to a July 24 report by Lynn Horsley of The Kansas City Star (www.kansascity.com).
Twelve members of Fremont Alliance Church in Seattle, Wash., traveled to the Alabama communities of Talladega and Webster’s Chapel in July to help residents recover from the storms, according to a July 25 report by Daniel Carson at www.thenews-messenger.com.
The National Association of Realtors gave four Pleasant Grove families money to help them rebuild, according to a July 22 report by Stephanie Salvatore at www.cbs42.com.
A California-based educational publisher, Teacher Created Materials, donated about $30,000 in materials to the Tuscaloosa County School System, whose facilities were heavily damaged by the storms, according to a July 24 item at www.benzinga.com