Flood aid may not be lost yet

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Federal relief workers will return to Franklin County Monday to reassess damage caused by flash flooding after initially denying a request for emergency funding.

County Judge-Executive Teresa Barton said Tuesday she'd received word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that workers will do another damage assessment.

"I am encouraging anyone who can to be at their residence to share how much they lost and damage they suffered," said Barton.

Workers will begin the assessment 9 a.m. Monday when they will depart from the local Emergency Management office, Barton said.

Gov. Paul Patton in August asked President Bush to declare a disaster in Franklin County, after severe floods killed two Stony Creek residents and caused extensive damage in the area. The request was denied, prompting appeals from county and state officials.

"We are encouraged they took our appeal serious enough to take a second look," said Barton, who sent a letter to Patton Sept. 19 outlining the extent of damage in Franklin County. "I think the community cannot endure damage without assistance."

The flooding occurred in the northern part of the county in an area known as Bald Knob, a rural, mostly agricultural community. Bald Knob resident Leslie Bishop was happy to learn FEMA was returning to the county, but was already at the Capitol today passing out a letter, largely critical of the federal agency.

"We don't know what else to do, we're going to hit it at all sides," said Bishop."

Bishop said in light of Hurricane Isabel, which hit the Atlantic Coast last week, she feels Bald Knob isn't being made a priority. She said the community can't repair the estimated millions of dollars in damages without federal assistance.

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