Greensburg proved a beehive of activity yesterday, as citizens and relief workers alike busied themselves about the task of clearing debris.
At the same time heavy equipment operators got into the act, front-end loaders continually filling Kansas Department of Transportation and National Guard trucks with rubble. The trucks ran in a steady stream to the county landfill northwest of town throughout the day.
Several more downtown businesses were also entered by owners in an earnest effort to salvage whatever might hold value.
Cleanup at some locations, however, will require special attention, as County Sheriff Galen Marble said he’d been told by FEMA that at least 11 destroyed buildings posed an asbestos risk.
“They told us a specialized team would have to be brought in to clean them up,” Marble said.
Efforts at reestablishing utility services went on as well, while easements continued to be cleared to make room for temporary housing. Thursday was also the first of two days that law enforcement is making available to residents the firearms collected in the immediate aftermath of the tornado. That process continues today between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Local government, meanwhile, continued to operate as best it could, with the daily 9 a.m. county commission meeting taking place for the second consecutive day in a tent on the courthouse’s north lawn.
City officials announced a town hall meeting to be held today at 5 p.m. in a grassy area just west of Davis Park on the east side of town. Representatives from the city, county, state and FEMA are to be on hand to both share information and answer questions of the public.
It was announced yesterday that residents may bring into Greensburg contractors they have personally hired. At the same time contractors not hired by residents or business will be turned away at the checkpoint.
With the majority of the media having departed the county seat after President Bush’s Wednesday visit, the remaining press were allowed to both enter and move about town for the first time without military escort.
The first local memorial service for one of the nine victims of the storm was held last evening. The funeral was for 79-year-old Claude Hopkins at the Haviland Friends Church. Graveside services for Hopkins was set for 10 a.m. this morning at Fairview Cemetery just outside city limits on the northeast side of town. The cemetery received minimal damage in the storm.
Other items of note:
*Hours of access for residents remains at 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
*County 911 service has been returned.
*The City announced it will not be holding any portion of residents’ insurance payments.
*Greensburg mail is being forwarded to the Pratt Post Office. Also, registration for a post office box in Pratt is free of charge.