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Monday, November 14, 2011

Speaker of the House Analyzes Flood Damage

U.S. Representative John Boehner came to our area Monday to check out damage from the September flood.

Boehner and Congressman Lou Barletta went to Bloomsburg to talk about what the federal government can do to help flood victims recover.

It has been more than two months since the September flood and some areas in Bloomsburg still look like they were hit yesterday. Homeowners who lived on Main Street came out Monday to tell Speaker Boehner firsthand what it is that they need.

Some places, like the Reiter Automotive Factory in Bloomsburg, are up and running again after the catastrophic September flood. Speaker Boehner and Congressman Barletta toured the building that was once under five feet of water.

They also walked along a row of houses on Main Street next to the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds where Columbia County Commissioner Chris Young and homeowners were waiting to tell them exactly what they need.

"What we`re finding is people are just kind of in limbo for such a long period of time and we need, people need to know whether they are going to get bought out, when their going to receive their money from FEMA for a buyout. They can't wait two or three years for this process to take place. It needs to happen much much more quickly," said Commissioner Young.

Boehner listened to many of the homeowners' stories, then let them know they have not been forgotten and that he now realizes just how bad the devastation really is.

"Oh it`s horrible. These homes have been whipped out, and they need to be rebuilt, and that`s going to take money and the federal government has a big responsibility here," said Speaker Boehner.

He told the homeowners and commissioner he will be working closely with Congressman Barletta to help the flood victims.

Many residents are hoping for that help.

"Ultimately my neighbors and I are hoping for a buy out, I know that we all had flood insurance, it's not going well, not going smoothly. We`re all collectively getting offered less money for damages this year than we did in the '06 flood," said homeowner Keri Gaito of Bloomsburg. "The holidays are in six weeks and I have to go home and tell my kids that they have no where to go for Christmas."

Residents of Bloomsburg are hoping, now that Speaker Boehner has actually seen the devastation in person it will help speed up the process for the flood victims to get their lives back on track.

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