Monday, August 12th, 2013 @ 2:03PM


Last Friday, the President reversed his previous decision and issued a “major disaster declaration” for our community.  This will allow FEMA to release additional public assistance funding to help rebuild West.  The initial declaration provided funds for debris removal and emergency protective measures.  With this major declaration, as reported by FEMA, funds will be used for “repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities.”  This announcement means that the burden on the city is a little lighter, and the community’s road to recovery is now a little smoother.  We are grateful for the assistance.

We are also very grateful for the generosity of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul (SVDP), Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services.  These organizations providing case management through the immediate and the short-term recovery periods of our disaster.  SVDP will continue to provide financial and personnel assistance to our community through the transition into long-term recovery.  Please note, Case Management is no longer located at St. Joseph’s Hall.  They have moved into the Long-Term Recovery Center, and are rapidly working through case files to contact and meet with affected residents.  Formulating recovery plans and identifying unmet needs is their priority.  If you have questions, call our Case Management Supervisor, Nikki Leaverton at 817-995-2147.  In addition to meeting with their case manager, residents are welcome to visit the LTRC and use our internet work stations and talk with Workforce Solutions.

This past Sunday, more than 75 residents attended a Disaster Recovery Information Session at the Community Center.  Thank you to the Baylor School of Social work for the Dr. Pepper floats and the Salvation Army for the wet inflatables!  Residents learned about unmet needs, duplication of benefits and phases of recovery.  They also learned that no one has gone through the process to the point of receiving any of the disaster relief funds, which will soon be available for distribution.  Residents need to work with Case Management to exhaust all other available resources first.  If you missed this information session, please plan to attend our last session at the First United Methodist Church at 411 Pine St., Tuesday, Aug. 13th at 7:00 PM.

Today through Saturday, August 10th, all West area residents can bring trees and brush (NO LUMBER) to the drop site at the corner of Meadow and Jane Lane to be chipped and shredded.  Absolutely no dumping after Saturday!

Don’t forget the Relaxation Training on Tuesdays, beginning Aug 13th from 4:30 – 6 PM, hosted by Maggie Martin.  She will continue to take appointments for crisis counseling.  Call her at 254-640-7401.  The successful Social Skills for 2nd – 5th graders is back!  Classes began Tuesday, Aug 6th, for 4 weeks from 2 PM – 4 PM.  At the same time and location, parents can attend a new Love and Logic class.  Sign up or call Ashton for more information at 254-399-6552.  Our Family Support Services Center is open 10 AM – 4 PM M-F.  Call 254-405-9820.

We’ve recently heard from residents who were contacted in the days following the explosion by helpful-sounding disaster and restoration companies.  Now, they feel like these companies have taken advantage of them by charging outrageous amounts to clean and store their personal belongings, or adding hefty penalties if they don’t pay…some as high as $50,000!  If you have been treated this way, contact the SVDP-endorsed legal team of Why West at 254-826-5200.

Thank you to Serving God by Serving Others (SGSO) disaster relief organization, and the Prestoncrest Church of Christ Singles Ministries (Dallas) and the NFL Retired Players Association for a fun football camp last Saturday.  The kids really enjoyed it!

The West Home and Health Fair will be Saturday, September 14th at the Community Center.  Hearing Screenings, Blood Pressure checks Equine therapy horses PLUS representatives from home-builder groups will be here to answer questions!  Additional details to come.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing of the building is planned for the Long-Term Recovery Center on August 12th.  Go to our FaceBook page or office window for details.  Plans are in the works to re-open a restricted store for affected residents, for clothing, household goods and building materials.  All “shopping” will be authorized by your case manager.  Call Nikki for more information.  Finally, the distribution of bottled water is again being done self-service at the water trailer on Washington.

Your Long-Term Recovery Center is located at 218 N Main St. next to the Czech American Restaurant.  Hours are 8:30 AM to 5 PM M-F and 9 AM too Noon on Saturday or by Appointment.  Call us at 254-826-7550.  For updated information, please go to www.westltr.org or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WestLTR.

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