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Stormy chapter about to come to a close

By Joe Lanane

The effects from late-July’s flooding persist months later, but after Wednesday residents from Milwaukee and Grant counties will no longer qualify for financial aid.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved individual relief in September after pleas from Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle to expand local assistance. Homeowners and small businesses have since received more than $50 million in grants and low-interest loans, but FEMA suggests many flood victims still failed to apply for help.

It is hard to sympathize with anyone — perhaps the same people who initially begged for money — who failed to apply for assistance. FEMA extended its deadline to accommodate 2008 flood victims, but Marquita Hynes, FEMA spokeswoman, said there have not been any requests to stretch Wednesday’s cutoff date.

Unfortunately for local construction crews, it does not appear the industry will get the anticipated boost in business following this summer’s storms. Hynes said much of the money distributed goes toward “essential items” such as water heaters, furnaces and other destroyed appliances.

So, despite more than 32,000 applications approved in Milwaukee County, any work on flood-damaged homes likely already occurred before Wednesday’s FEMA deadline.

Joe Lanane is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter. He’s tired of “100-year storms” occurring almost every other year.

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