Tornado recovery: Saturday afternoon update
Here are the latest developments in the Wadena tornado relief effort:
Another community meeting will be held shortly (at 3 p.m. today) at St. Ann's. There's talk of a third meeting tomorrow, but no confirmation yet.
The emergency management committee will meet again tonight at the city council chambers at 8 p.m. This isn't one meant for the public, although there is limited seating available for those who want to watch.
Anne Florezano of the Red Cross said they are now staging out of St. Ann's alongside the Salvation Army. The Red Cross is helping with distribution of food, snacks and water, and is also working on damage assessment. Anyone needing food: go to St. Ann's.
The Salvation Army served the following on Friday: 757 sandwiches, 1,000 hot dogs, 900 bags of chips, 5,000 snacks and 10,000 bottles of water.
KSKK Radio is running a drive to collect tarps and bottled water. One donor already spent $100 on tarps and dropped them off.
Mid Central Bank has started a fund collection. More details on that once I can confirm the information with the people at the bank.
There's already a little bit of buzz about a special session of the Minnesota Legislature to aid Wadena. Nothing official, just buzz.
Five employees at Leaf River Ag took shelter in a walk-in safe. It's one of the few things that was left standing there.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar: "The people in this town have done everything they're supposed to do," and now it's up to Washington to lend a hand.
The Friendly Rider Transit Garage has some supplies available until 5 p.m. tonight, including ample supplies of water, baby diapers, toothpaste and insect repellent. There are also limited supplies of band aids, blankets, rakes, duct tape, ear plugs, first aid kits, gloves, light bulbs, shovels and tarps. Be prepared to give your name and address and show ID.
There's conflicting information about volunteering in the northwest quadrant. But there's no conflicting information about the southwest: they still need people to stay out so they can make it safe.
The southwest quadrant is considered Second Street Southwest to 11th Street, and Irving to Lincoln.
Tree haulers are asking people to stay back when they're coming through with heavy equipment. Too many people, in an attempt to assist, are getting dangerously close to the equipment. Wadena County Highway Engineer Ryan Odden promised they'll keep coming back until all of the logs are taken away.
Starting Monday at 9 a.m., people can haul their debris to the old airport grounds, but it must be sorted into tree waste, masonry debris, scrap metal and other debris categories. Or people can sort piles where they are and those things will be picked up.
Judy Jacobs from MnDOT is the new acting public information officer for the city of Wadena.
Jacobs said Minnesota Highway 29 will likely remain closed until either early or middle next week -- "it won't be earlier than Tuesday," she said. The priority right now is to get U.S. Highways 10 and 71 and Otter Tail County Highway 75 cleaned off and free of debris.
More updates as they warrant. If you're wondering about something specific, e-mail your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.