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County declared a disaster

Gov. Mike Beebe on Friday declared 22 counties disaster areas because of damage caused by severe winter storms two weeks ago and Logan County was one of them.

Included in the declaration are Baxter, Crawford, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Newton, Polk, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Scott, Sebastian, Sharp, Stone and Van Buren counties.

The governor’s office said state Department of Emergency Management officials were on the ground Friday with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in about a dozen of the affected counties and were seeking to determine whether the state will qualify for federal assistance to help counties recover and repair damaged infrastructure.

Last Thursday, Logan County Judge Gus Young toured parts of the county with a Representative of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We looked at state roads,” Young said. “They’ll do cost estimates after that tour and then we’ll get back with them to see if we qualify for federal or state funds.”

Young issued a disaster declaration for the county on Monday, Dec. 9.

Young said last week that all county roads were open even if it was only one lane.

“Once we get debris moved, the question will be how much freezing and thawing we get,” Young said. “If that happens, we could have soft spots develop. Eventually, we’ll have to get some road graders on them. More than likely, we’ll be dealing with this until the spring, but there is no way to be sure.”

Young said he did turn in a preliminary estimate on damage in the county. It was $80,000 in tree removal and $500,000 in damage to utility poles.

Power was restored to most of the county early last week.

Power was largely restored to the Booneville Human Development Center was largely restored last week. Power to the facility that cares for approximately 125 developmentally disabled individuals was restored late Tuesday afternoon. Phone service had been restored earlier in the day.

As of Thursday work was still being undertaken to restore Internet services as fiber optic cabling was an additional victim of toppled trees that took down utility lines and poles.

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