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Sunday update: SW quadrant reopens, no more passes

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Here are the latest developments in the tornado recovery effort:

• The southwest quadrant is now open to residents. NO MORE PASSES ARE NEEDED. However, the area is restricted to residents and those who are helping in the debris removal process. If you don't fit into one of those two categories, you are asked to still stay away to avoid traffic congestion and respect the victims.

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• Residents are being allowed back so they can remove personal property and make repairs. No demolition is to take place at this time. Be careful of trees and debris, unstable structures and other potentially dangerous situations.

• Traffic is still being regulated. All trucks and equipment more than 2 tons are required to register and check in at the softball diamond complex at the intersection of Olmstead Avenue SW and Second Street. Trucks will be escorted by law enforcement. Checkpoints will be restricting heavy truck traffic.

• Public works is asking that people not try to clean up or salvage electrical wires on the property. It is not safe. Electric crews will remove unstable electric equipment.

• The Friendly Rider transit building is open until 5 p..m and accepting donated items such as cleaning supplies, tarps, clothing and more. Other items needed for residents and volunteers to use include rakes, garbage bags, push brooms, scoop shovels and coolers. Those can be brought to either the Friendly Rider bulding at 124 SE First Street or directly to the old Pamida parking lot. Volunteers are also asked to bring these items with them for their own use.

• There is a professional volunteer organizer who can be reached at (218) 640-3432. People who want to volunteer can call that number or report to the Pamida parking lot. Also, people in need of volunteer help should call that number to register.

• The city is screening contractors by getting license and insurance information. There are three lists being maintained, for electrical, tree and construction contractors. Get the lists at city hall. Contractors wishing to get their info on the lists are asked to report to city hall to register.

• The hospital is reporting puncture wounds. Remember safety first when dealing with chainsaws and working in areas with nails and other debris. Get your tetanus shot if you're out of date. Know when your last shots were.

• Only a few individual blocks are still without power. Crews are still working to restore electricity there.

• U.S. Highway 71 is open, and so is Second Street (not only to residents, but to all traffic.)

• Thirty-five trucks are out picking up debris.

• The Salvation Army served 1,500 families lunch Saturday. Mobile feeding will continue through Monday, June 28.

• Shelter is available at Immanuel Luterhan Church on Dayton Avenue and Second Street after 4 p.m. Sunday. For more info, call the Rev. Rob Nelson at (218) 631-2738.

• Red Cross reports their mental health teams have been out talking to people, and that service has been well-received.

• Northwest Building Center is open until 5 p.m. Sunday. Merickel Lumber will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday.

• Another public meeting is planned at St. Ann's Parish Center Sunday at 3 p.m.

• People who are using generators are reminded to plug the tools you're using directly into the generator, and not wall outlets.

• Anyone needing longer-term housing help should call Diane at Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council at (218) 639-1595.

• If you're feeling stressed, take care of yourself. Contact Neighborhood Counseling Center at (218) 631-5913.

• A relief fund for monetary donations is set up at Mid Central Federal Savings Bank.

• One more plea: traffic congestion makes all the difference in clearing our neighborhoods. By 11 a.m. Saturday, there was more debris hauled than all day Friday, and the difference was traffic congestion. If you don't have to be in Wadena to help, you can help by staying away for now and letting crews do their work.

More updates as conditions warrant.

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