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Sunday night update: It was an F4, WDCHS 'crumbling,' M State will rebuild

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news Wadena, 56482
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

Here are the latest tornado recovery effort updates:

• Emergency Management Director Scott McKellep reported he heard from NOAA Sunday afternoon that the tornado (yes, we can officially say that) was an F4 with peak winds in excess of 170 miles per hour. The tornado cut a path 1.1 miles wide and 10 miles long from southwest of Wadena to northeast of town. (The F scale goes from 0-5, with 5 being worst. NOAA says on its website that an F4 is considered "devastating.")

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• District court will be closed Monday and Tuesday. The trial scheduled for this week is postponed.

• The curfew is still in place. It is 11 p.m.

• A reminder that the old airport property (next to the north side of Sunnybrook Park) will open at 9 a.m. Monday for the general public to haul debris in. Remember, the debris must be sorted and placed in the proper piles on the site.

• Supt. Virginia Dahlstrom said Wadena-Deer Creek High School is "crumbling." It looks like a goner. It might be time to start calling it the "old high school."

• Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Chancellor James McCormick toured Wadena and the M State campus here Sunday. McCormick told Sen. Dan Skogen that the building, while its in worse shape than originally thought, will be rebuilt. McCormick said despite past rumors about Wadena not being viable for a college, he's committed to rebuilding here. The college was insured with a $50,000 deductible, and he said it could possibly be used to help WDC High School. Students with summer classes at M State will be placed in other area colleges -- CLC in Staples is one that's already stepped forward.

• Nine more people had recovery related injuries as of 3 p.m. today, with 18 total recovery injuries and 34 storm-related injuries. But no deaths.

• Electrical department supervisor David Evans asked people to wait a few days with stump removal, because lifting the stumps out of the ground could disturb underground wires or pipes, and cause more gas or water leaks or power outages. "Give us a few days on stump removal," he asked.

• If you are going to do anything below the surface, call Gopher State One Call to mark utility lines. It's free and they do it within 24 hours. The number is (800) 252-1166.

• Sheriff Mike Carr, who has been working around the clock, finally got to see his daughter a little bit last night and today. The 11-year-old gave him a Father's Day card that said, "Dad, I would like to give you something really personal for Father's Day, so I farted in this card."

• A man found out quickly that looting wasn't a good idea. Ten police officers who responded within minutes taught him that lesson.

• Another community meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Monday in the St. Ann's Parish Center.

• Water, blankets, sheets, pillows and paper products are in ample supply at the Friendly Rider garage behind the Workforce Center. That site will also be a drop off for any lost and found items, especially family photos or important documents.

• Wal-Mart has boxes for free for anyone who needs them. The superstore also pledged it won't raise any prices on any items, and is ordering extra essential items. If you have spoiled food, you can bring it in for their composting program. They can't take spoiled meat yet, but they're working on that.

• St. Helen's Church has a respite site set up at Dayton and First.

• The WDC District Office is moving into the elementary school. A school board meeting to discuss building options will be held Monday night at 5 at the elementary school.

• Kids Club will be at Immanuel Lutheran Church starting tomorrow.

• If you had a headstone overturned at the cemetery, leave it for now. The trees need to be cleaned up first, and then the monument company will come in and place the headstones back where they were with sealer on the base. Jon Johnson said the cemetery is well-mapped, so they will place every stone back in place accurately.

• Johnson had a funny story and a very motivational statement, too. He said a former coach told him, "Adversity does not create character. It reveals it." We're seeing a lot of that.

• Public Health has tetanus shots for anyone who is uninsured and needs one. Also, replacement WIC coupons will be issued if they were lost in the storm. Call Public Health at (218) 631-7629.

• We did order some extra newspapers printed in our original run, and brought the extras out to replenish our distributors tonight. I don't know if they're still there. We are considering reprinting more if there's enough demand.

• Finally, a lot of people have been talking about how the crucifix at the cemetery is still standing strong with downed trees and downed headstones all around it. Don't go out there, but I took some photos and will have them on our website later tonight so you can see it. It's pretty amazing, Jesus was unscathed except for losing his right hand, which someone placed at the base. And just feet away, UNDERGROUND grave markers were moved a foot. Look for the photos soon.

That's all for now. More updates as conditions change.

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