The only good thing that came out of the ice storm a couple weeks ago is that FEMA has agreed to provide emergency management funding for 75 percent of debris cleanup.

The first thing to be done to try to receive federal funding was to file an emergency declaration, which was done by Dave Lester, Payne County emergency management.

“That essentially allows us to do what needs to be done,” said Lester.

Rather than waiting for the next Payne County Commission meeting, the declaration allowed for all communities to engage in mutual agreements and work together to address the problem. This action put everyone in a response phase, and brought FEMA officials to Payne County for a preliminary damage assessment to see if Payne County falls into the disaster category.

A threshold of approximately $212,000, based on population of the county, was reached and FEMA declared the event a disaster. While statewide damage totals are estimated by Gov. Brad Henry to be more than $200 million, not all of Payne County was affected.

“Glencoe and Stillwater dodged a bullet,” Lester said. The communities of Oak Grove and Schlegel were most severely damaged, he added.

“It was devastating,” Lester said of Oak Grove and Schlegel. “I don’t think I saw a tree that wasn’t damaged. The bigger the tree, the more damage there was.”

Lester believes all Payne County residents are back up and running after some lost power, except for maybe a few isolated residences. The county has now moved on to recovery phase and is beginning debris removal.

Strict FEMA criteria must be followed in order to receive the 75 percent reimbursement.

Assuming that correct monitoring will take place, and FEMA picks up 75 percent, the remaining 25 percent will be split by the state and each entity.

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