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TORNADO INFO: Quapaw will not receive FEMA funding - KOAM TV 7

TORNADO INFO: Quapaw will not receive FEMA funding

SUMMARY
One confirmed death, John Brown, 68 of Baxter Springs, Kansas, who was traveling through Quapaw, Oklahoma when a tornado hit that community, then hit Baxter Springs.

IF YOU NEED HELP

SHELTERS
Baxter Springs, Kansas - 1101 East Avenue
Quapaw, Oklahoma - Community Wellness Center, 907 Whitebird Street

CONSUMER PROTECTION
Kansas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Team to be at the Community Building at 1101 East Avenue on Thursday May 1 to help replace paperwork lost in the storm.

Replace tax forms in Kansas: call 785-368-8222

STORAGE
Temporary storage available free of charge through Great Plains Development Authority: Call 620-421-1228 or 620-778-3375, or email dmann@parsonsks.com

LOST PHOTOS
Lost Photos of Baxter Springs https://www.facebook.com/ndprbaxterspringsks

Lost Photos of Quapaw https://www.facebook.com/ndprquapawok

Lost Photos of Mayflower and Vilonia https://www.facebook.com/ndprmayflowerviloniaar

www.nationaldisasterphotorescue.org

OTHER CONTACTS

Dig Safe - Call 811

Need help with clean-up?  Contact the incident command post at 856-3536

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CASH DONATIONS

American Red Cross

Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas - DONATE NOW or call 620-231-8897

Kansas Ready

Quapaw Citizens Relief Fund:  call 918-674-4904, or mail check or money order to Quapaw Citizens Relief Fund, c/o First State Bank of Commerce, P.O. Box 280, Commerce, Oklahoma 74339

Salvation Army
Phone: 1-800-725-2769
By Mail:  Send your check, designated "Baxter Springs Tornado" to The Salvation Army, 3637 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111

FOOD DONATIONS
Quapaw Baptist Church food bank for non-perishable items

VOLUNTEER LABOR
Volunteers should go to the former Burgraf Tire building at 2402 Military in Baxter Springs

Updated May 7, 2014 at 5:30 PM CST:  Quapaw will not receive FEMA funding

Quapaw, Oklahoma city leaders tell us today that the town will not receive FEMA funding to aid in the recovery efforts after the April 27 tornado.  Sixty structures were damaged, both businesses and homes, when the EF-2 tornado struck.

The city says it has yet to apply for state funding but believes it will qualify for some assistance.

Updated May 7, 2014 at 2:10 PM CST:  SBA Disaster Declaration granted for Cherokee County

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE KANSAS ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management received notice May 7 that the state has been granted a Small Business Administration disaster declaration for Cherokee County and adjacent counties. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback requested the declaration after an EF2 tornado struck the town of Baxter Springs April 27, destroying and damaging a number of homes and businesses.

The declaration names Cherokee County as the primary county and Crawford and Labette as contiguous counties. It also includes Japer and Newton Counties in Missouri, and Craig and Ottawa Counties in Oklahoma.

The SBA has established Disaster Loan Outreach Center field offices to assist the public with loan applications and other related matters. In Kansas, the center is at the Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce, 1004 Military Ave. The hours of operation will be Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The center is closed on Sundays.

In Oklahoma, the Disaster Loan Outreach Center is at the Robert Whitebird Cultural Center, 905 Whitebird, in Quapaw. The hours of operation are Monday and Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Closed Saturdays and Sundays.

The declaration was granted on the basis of the results of joint preliminary damage assessments conducted state of Kansas, SBA and FEMA.

To qualify for SBA loans, a community must have a certain amount of structural loss and a portion of those properties must be uninsured. SBA's disaster loans are the primary form of federal assistance for the repair and rebuilding of non-farm, private sector disaster losses. For this reason, the disaster loan program is the only form of SBA assistance not limited to small businesses.

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Updated May 6, 2014: $50,000 donation to help Baxter Springs

Following the announcement that Baxter Springs, Kansas will not be receiving FEMA funding a private philanthropy group has made a donation.

The Kansas Health Foundation has donated $50,000 to the community.

The funds will be split between the American Red Cross Midway Kansas Chapter and the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas.

The money will be used to provide food, shelter, clothing and emotional support for those affected by the April tornado.


Updated May 5, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. - Spirit of Cherokee County displayed following tornado

NEWS RELEASE FROM CHEROKEE COUNTY SHERIFF DAVID GROVES

The EF-2 tornado, which started in Oklahoma on April 27th and moved across the state line into Kansas, left a path of destruction through the heart of Baxter Springs. I praise God that no one was killed on the Kansas side and I pray for the families of those who lost loved ones from the storm in Oklahoma.

While in Baxter Springs over the past week, I observed something extraordinary despite the devastation. It’s something all of us here in Cherokee County are aware of, but sometimes we tend to forget because we are going about our normal day to day lives.

The generosity of our neighbors and community is exceptional and never failing!

We have seen it so many times, whether a family looses their home to a fire, a sudden diagnosis of a devastating illness or any other tragedy. In those times of struggle, everyone pulls together and allows their selflessness to overflow. That spirit of strength and giving has been displayed in full force in Baxter Springs.

In no time, in fact while we were still establishing a command center, friends from every community in Cherokee County came to provide whatever assistance they could.

Before long, even more people began coming from outside of our county also offering to help.

Throughout the week, I had a few chances to leave the command post and help deliver supplies and meals to citizens and workers in the impact zone. In doing so, I met a lot of great people. I visited with volunteers from all over the country, but many of them were from Joplin and told me they felt fortunate to pay back Cherokee County for the help they were given following the devastating tornado that struck their city in 2011.

I also spoke with several families as they sorted through the piles of debris which once was their homes. Their positive attitudes amazed me. I would ask them what they needed, and many either replied, we’re fine and asked if I needed anything, or some would tell me they had sent a truck of volunteers to their neighbors home and would take care of their needs later.

It was truly remarkable and moving, but not surprising. Because again, we know the people of Cherokee County is what makes it great. When it comes down to it, we will band together, help each other out and do what needs to be done.

As we continue the cleanup phase and start rebuilding, the needs for assistance will continue, and I know at some point the groups from outside of our region will have to move on to another unfortunate event somewhere in the country. When they do, we will still be here helping one another. That’s what we do. That’s who we are. That is why I am incredibly proud of the citizens of Cherokee County and how they are stepping up to help during this difficult time.

God Bless,
David Groves
Sheriff, Cherokee County

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Updated May 2, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. - Kansas governor requests Small Business Administration disaster declaration for Cherokee County

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE KANSAS ADJUTANT GENERAL

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has requested a Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration for Cherokee County and adjacent counties after an EF2 tornado struck the town of Baxter Springs Sunday, April 27, destroying and damaging a number of homes and businesses.

Joint preliminary damage assessments by the state of Kansas, SBA and FEMA were conducted this week. Based on those assessments, it has been determined the damages sustained will potentially qualify the community for SBA assistance.

"If the SBA assistance is approved, these low-interest long-term SBA loans will certainly help homeowners, renters and businesses as they work to rebuild," Brownback said.

To qualify for SBA loans, the community must have a certain amount of structural loss and a portion of those properties must be uninsured. SBA’s disaster loans are the primary form of federal assistance for the repair and rebuilding of non-farm, private sector disaster losses. For this reason, the disaster loan program is the only form of SBA assistance not limited to small businesses.

The governor issued a state declaration of disaster following the tornado and storms Sunday night to activate the disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan.

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Updated May 1, 2014 at 4:35 PM CST - Quapaw to make up school day at end of school year; Baxter Springs Schools to decide by Tuesday;  STORM SIREN TEST ON FRIDAY IN BAXTER

School officials in Baxter Springs decided to cancel classes through Friday. They plan to have students back in school on Monday May 5. Also on Monday, district officials will discuss their options about making up the five days missed this week. They hope to have a decision by Tuesday.  All end of the year activities are still going on as scheduled. 

In Quapaw, schools were closed just one day due to the tornado. That will be added to two snow days being made up at the end of the year.

Donations continue to arrive for victims of the Quapaw tornado. At the Tribal Community Center tables bear the gifts from a variety of churches in Oklahoma and even Joplin. Officials say Downstream is donating three truck loads of supplies. At the First Baptist Church in town, a family from Pryor, Oklahoma brought tables full of shoes and clothing for all ages.

Today, a multi-agency resource center is at the Baxter Springs High School gymnasium for tornado survivors. They will be assigned a "survivor ambassador" who will help them navigate through the recovery process. Agencies that will be at the gym include faith-based, non-profit, and state based. The resource center will be open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Another important note for those in the Baxter Springs area: tomorrow (Friday), storm sirens in the area will be tested at 10 a.m.

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE CHEROKEE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE AND THE BAXTER SPRINGS FIRE DEPARTMENT

Baxter Springs Tornado Response Continues to Transition Towards Recovery

On Sunday, April 27th, 2014, at approximately 5:39 p.m., an EF-2 tornado struck through the center of Baxter Springs, leaving a trail of destruction which included approximately 200 damaged and destroyed homes along with businesses, in its wake.

Baxter Springs Fire Chief Gunnar Wixon immediately assumed overall command of the incident and assembled a team who began coordinating rescue efforts, which were carried out by over 100 law enforcement officers from 22 different agencies, emergency medical personnel from 12 area ambulance services, and firefighters that came from 25 neighboring departments, all of whom rushed to provide aid and assistance to our community.

That night, emergency medical personnel transported nine residents to Joplin hospitals due to non-life threatening injuries and were able to treat an additional 25 who did not require emergency transport.

Simultaneous to the initial search and rescue efforts, additional law enforcement officers established an outer perimeter, diverting incoming traffic at the city limits, and an even more secure perimeter around the impact zone. These actions were taken to allow emergency responders better accessibility to get to those needing medical care.

With debris scattered throughout the impact zone, residents and responders were also exposed to additional hazards from numerous downed power lines and natural gas related issues until utility crews could arrive and render them safe.

City crews were deployed alongside those from neighboring towns, and began clearing roadways from the destruction left behind.

In addition, a volunteer registration and coordination center was established (initially at the High School on Monday and then was moved to Burgraff Tire on Tuesday) where volunteers registered and received their assignments. As of this time, nearly 3,000 volunteers have completed that process, with more expected throughout this week and upcoming weekend.

“This storm has truly devastated the community of Baxter Springs, shattering not only homes, but the lives of our friends and neighbors. Although there was significant property damage, we were incredibly blessed that no lives were lost as a direct result of the storm,” according to Fire Chief Wixon.

“One thing has certainly been confirmed as a result of this. The citizens of Baxter Springs, and this entire region, are good, caring and extremely generous people. As soon as the storm passed, we started seeing strangers helping strangers, neighbor helping neighbor and everyone just basically pulling together and helping out however they can to get things done. The response from citizens and emergency personnel alike has been incredibly overwhelming and encouraging.”

“After the initial emergency response phase was completed, we began to transition towards the clean up and recovery part of our efforts. As a result of that transition, storm related response will now be focused out of City Hall, rather than the Command Center established at the fire department.”

“In the weeks ahead, we will have an opportunity to assess our response in an effort to identify our strengths and make necessary changes to areas where improvements may be needed, so God forbid our community ever has to endure another event like this, we are even more prepared.”

# # #

“I am proud of the positive way this community has persevered through the initial phase of this tragic event, and would like to thank the team of officials, responders and residents who have helped me lead our response efforts,” concluded Wixon.



Updated April 30, 2014 at 4:05 PM CST - Volunteers still needed; burn ban in Baxter Springs; and, more

Volunteers are flocking to the tornado-impacted areas of the Four States. More are likely this weekend and authorities are taking action to help their efforts go smoothly.

The curfew for the impacted area of Baxter Springs begins each night at 9 p.m. and ends at 6 each morning. That will continue until further notice.Storm victims who need help from volunteers should contact the incident command post at 856-3536.

Also, the Baxter Springs fire chief has issued a burn ban for all outside burning. However that does not apply to barbecue grills.

City Park is available for any Baxter residents who want to camp out.

Tarps are now available at the Nazareene Church at 8th and Park.

The Baxter Springs Post Office is waiving box service fees for people impacted by the tornado.

And the Cherokee County Health Department is providing Tetanus shots the rest of the week for all residents, volunteers and responders.

Volunteers spent the day helping tornado survivors pick up what's left after the tornado. Volunteers from churches and schools worked to cut through fallen trees and distribute trash cans. No matter the age there is something every one can do to help.

"It's great, it means a lot, one man can't do it by himself, it's great to see the community pull together like this," says homeowner John Tessman.

"It sucks having to come around see all this but then again you are getting to help people," says high school student Jacob Bowles. "It kind of gives you a little bit of enjoyment out of it through all the horror and destruction and all that."

Volunteers are asked to check in at the former Burgraf Tire building at 2402 Military. There workers can get safety gear and then be dispatched to clean up sites.Across the state line, the Quapaw Baptist Church has set up a food bank to collect non-perishable foods. The church is also serving free meals to anyone who comes in wanting one - victims, volunteers or emergency workers.

For the church, it's a labor of love.

"We just feel like it's something the Lord expects us to do, is pass on - whenever he provides for us we should pass it on to our fellow people," says John Mate of First Baptist Church of Quapaw. "I feel like I get a bigger blessing giving to them then what they get by receiving it."

The church welcomes donations of non-perishable foods.

Also, the town of Quapaw has established the Quapaw Citizen's Relief Fund at First State Bank of Commerce. The monies will go directly to aid Quapaw residents affected by the tornado.

And residents can still go to the Quapaw Tribe Wellness Center for shelter or relief.


Updated April 30, 2014 at 2:12 PM CST - United Way to assist in Baxter Springs, KS long term recovery efforts

NEWS RELEASE ISSUED APRIL 29, 2014 BY THE UNITED WAY OF SOUTHWEST MISSOURI AND SOUTHEAST KANSAS

Joplin, MO— United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas has announced the creation of a tornado relief fund for the city of Baxter Springs, KS following the EF-2 tornado on Sunday, April 27, 2014. According to city officials, the storm was more than 2 miles long and 2 blocks wide, leaving over 100 homes and 12 businesses damaged or destroyed.

Financial donations may be made to United Way of SW Missouri & SE Kansas through cash, check, or credit card at the Joplin office: 3510 East Third Street, Joplin, MO 64801; or Pittsburg office: 117 West 4th Street, Pittsburg, KS 66762. You may also give online at www.unitedwaymokan.org and choose Donate Now.

Baxter Springs Schools superintendent Dennis Burke praised recovery efforts today and said, “Our goal right now as a community is to help those most affected by Sunday’s storm to keep Baxter Springs their home. Efforts by United Way and other recovery organizations are vital in helping us do just that.”

Donations of food and water can be taken to the First Baptist Church at 10th and East Avenue. American Red Cross will be coordinating the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at the Baxter Springs High School campus, 110 North Military, beginning May 1 from 8 am – 8 pm. NO CLOTHING DONATIONS ARE REQUESTED AT THIS TIME.

In addition, United Way of the Plains set up a Volunteer Reception Center to coordinate the cleanup from the weekend tornado. Hours of operation will be 8 am – 8 pm, but new volunteers must check in by 6 p.m. The address is 2402 Military Road, Baxter Springs, Kansas and is on the south end of town, across from Casey's General Store. There is plenty of parking at the center and volunteers will be driven by bus to their assigned sites to work. Plans are to have the Volunteer Reception Center open through this weekend. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own tools such as shovels, rakes, gloves, face masks, etc. United Way of the Plains set up the center at the request of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management to provide an orderly system for volunteer cleanup from the tornado damage.

For the latest information on volunteering in Baxter Springs, call 2-1-1 (United Way's 24-hour information line).

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Updated April 30, 2014 at 11:01 AM CST - Curfew remains in place in Baxter Springs; city park available for camping out

NEWS RELEASE ISSUED APRIL 30, 2014 BY THE CHEROKEE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE (POSTED APRIL 29)

BAXTER SPRINGS TORNADO RESPONSE UPDATE: April 29th, 2014 at 9:46 p.m.

Curfew remains in effect for the impacted area until further notice. Curfew begins each night at 9:00 p.m. and will end at 6:00 a.m. each morning. Law enforcement will continue to saturate the area tonight, working to insure any would be thieves / looters are dealt with accordingly.

Also, there is currently a burn ban issued by the Baxter Springs Fire Chief. Burn ban is for all outside burning including fire pits. Burn ban does not include grilling on a barbecue grill.

City park is available for any residents seeking to camp out.

Residents needing assistance from volunteers can contact the incident command post at (620) 856-3536. Tarps are available starting Wednesday, April 30th after 10:00 a.m. at the Nazarene Church located at 8th and Park.

Baxter Springs Post Office is waiving box service fees for any residents impacted by the tornado. Residents need to contact the postmaster for further information.

On Tuesday, Cherokee County Health Department provided over 70 tetanus shots.

The health department will be providing tetanus shots the rest of the week for all residents, volunteers, and responders.

On Wednesday, all volunteers are asked to report to 2402 Military Ave. (Across from Casey’s General Store) at 8:00 a.m. to be issued an identification card that will allow them into the impacted area. No volunteers under the age of 18 will be allowed unless accompanied by an adult. No one without ID will be allowed in the impacted area.

If you were issued a volunteer card on Monday or Tuesday, bring it with you for expedited check in and to be issued a new card that will be valid for Wednesday.

Volunteers should arrive with the appropriate attire, such as jeans, gloves, safety glasses, closed toed shoes / boots. If you are working inside a structure or somewhere there may be an overhead hazard, you are required to wear a hard hat.

Small Business Association and Kansas Department of Emergency Management will be conducting thorough assessments to help determine if individual assistance may be available starting Wednesday.

Please share this information with anyone who might be effected.

**All official updates will be posted on the Baxter Springs Fire Department Facebook Page.**

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Updated April 29, 2014 at 5:27 PM CST - How you can donate to a local disaster relief fund

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas wants to remind you it has a disaster relief fund ready to take donations. The foundation says it's also possible for groups to establish funds for specific projects in their hometowns of Baxter Springs and Quapaw, Oklahoma.

The organization says monies collected will follow the directions indicated by the donor or to any of the relief agencies serving the area.

To donate now visit http://www.southeastkansas.org/page.cfm/donate-today or call 620.231.8897.

To learn more about the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas visit http://www.southeastkansas.org/ .


Updated April 29, 2014 at 5:13 PM CST - State asks FEMA to participate in joint preliminary damage assessment of Baxter Springs, Kansas

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE KANSAS ADJUTANT GENERAL

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management has sent a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment be conducted for Baxter Springs to determine eligibility for federal Individual Assistance. KDEM, FEMA and Small Business Association personnel will do the assessments with some beginning as early as Wednesday, April 30.

Baxter Springs was struck by an EF2 tornado Sunday, April 27, and according to early assessments destroyed nearly 100 homes and a dozen businesses. The town has approximately 4,200 residents. Gov. Sam Brownback signed a declaration of State of Disaster Emergency for the county April 27.

The request was sent to Beth Freeman, regional administrator for FEMA Region 7, Tuesday, April 29. The results of the assessment and the economic impact of the damage will also determine whether a federal disaster declaration can be requested.

"This tornado cut a swath through the heart of Baxter Springs," said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of KDEM. "Many people lost their homes, businesses and just about everything they own. We will continue working to provide resources to assist this community."

Federal Individual Assistance may include financial assistance for temporary housing, home repair or replacement, disaster-related medical expenses, clothing and household items lost in the disaster, clean-up items, moving and storage expenses, and other expenses caused by the disaster. It may also include crisis counseling, disaster unemployment assistance, legal services and special tax considerations.

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Updated April 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM CST - Photo recovery efforts underway in Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma

VILONIA, Ark. (AP) - A national nonprofit organization that works to reunite people with their photos following disasters is focusing on communities hard hit by recent tornadoes.

The National Disaster Photo Rescue is reaching out to people in the communities of Vilonia and Mayflower, Ark.; Quapaw, Okla.; and Baxter Springs, Kan.; to try to help collect, document and reunite people with their personal photographs free of charge. More than a dozen people were killed and homes and businesses destroyed when tornadoes tore through the communities earlier this week.

The organization is looking for community drop-off locations and groups interested in helping with the effort.

___

Lost Photos of Baxter Springs https://www.facebook.com/ndprbaxterspringsks

Lost Photos of Quapaw https://www.facebook.com/ndprquapawok

Lost Photos of Mayflower and Vilonia https://www.facebook.com/ndprmayflowerviloniaar

www.nationaldisasterphotorescue.org


Updated April 29, 2014 at 11:13 AM CST - Kansas will waive fees to replace documents lost in storm

NEWS RELEASE ISSUED APRIL 28, 2014 BY THE OFFICE OF THE KANSAS ADJUTANT GENERAL

The Kansas Department of Revenue will be waiving fees for those who need to replace identification and documents lost in the tornado that struck Baxter Springs in Cherokee County Sunday evening. The National Weather Service in Springfield has rated the tornado an EF2 with winds of 130 mph.

“As residents of Baxter Springs begin to rebuild from the destruction, this is a way we can help make picking up the pieces a little easier,” said Kansas Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan.

“We are happy to be able to step up and help Kansans by making it as easy as possible to replace these documents,” said Kansas Director of Vehicles Lisa Kaspar.

The executive order signed by Gov. Sam Brownback waives the fees for residents in Bourbon, Cherokee and Linn Counties and, in addition to driver’s licenses and motor vehicle titles and registrations, includes birth certificates and marriage licenses obtained from Vital Statistics, Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Cherokee County residents who lost their driver’s license in the storms can go to the full service driver’s license offices in Topeka, the office in Baxter Springs or the Cherokee County Treasurer’s office, show a document, such as their FEMA identification number, a utility bill, school document or other mail that lists their address, proving they lived in the storm affected area and Kansas will replace the license or identification card free of charge.

The department is also going to have additional staff on site from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 29 and 30 at the new Community Building, 1101 East Ave., to process driver’s license replacements and print replacement titles out on site.

After Thursday, those who need to replace vehicle titles lost in the storm can get a free replacement by visiting the Cherokee County Treasurer’s office or the Titles and Registration counter in the Docking State Office Building in Topeka.

For those who lost vehicles in the storms, they can bring in insurance claims to their local county treasurer’s office and apply for a refund for the vehicle’s tags.

Businesses still need to file monthly state sales and withholding taxes. For businesses affected by the storms, which are busy trying to reopen, the department will waive any late filing fees they incur if they file those taxes late.

If people need replacement copies of their tax returns, they can call 785-368-8222, and the department will provide a copy for free.

Gov. Sam Brownback flew to Baxter Springs today in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flown by the 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation, Kansas National Guard, to view emergency response and recovery operations and meet with local residents. He was accompanied by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins; Tim Shallenburger, legislative policy director; and Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

Power restoration is continuing. Approximately 1,400 customers were affected in Kansas and Oklahoma. Kansas Gas Service reported damage to their system with 91 meters out of service. The initial leak surveys are complete and the system is currently secure.

A Red Cross shelter was established at the Community Center, 1101 East Avenue, in Baxter Springs Sunday night for residents who lost homes in the tornado. Three persons were reported sheltered overnight. The shelter will be open again tonight.

Central Elementary School sustained minor damage and was closed for the day. Classes are expected to resume Wednesday, April 30.

The Kansas Department of Transportation reported U.S.-69A was closed due to debris along the roadway north of Baxter Springs at US 400 south to the Oklahoma line. It was reopened at approximately 3 p.m. today.

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Updated April 29, 2014 at 11:31 AM CST - PSU offers support for students, faculty affected by tornado

NEWS RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE UNIVERSITY

Pittsburg State University is reaching out to offer support to students and faculty from Quapaw, Oklahoma and Baxter Springs, Kansas, in the aftermath of the Sunday’s tornados that left a wake of destruction in its path.

“We have several students and faculty who either live in these towns or have family there,” said Pittsburg State President Steve Scott. “With the semester drawing to a close, we want to make certain their immediate focus is on recovery, so we’re working with them to make arrangements for their academic schedules.”

The tornado struck the towns early Sunday evening, killing one and leaving a wake of destruction in its path.

Two members of Pittsburg State’s university police department were among those who helped with the initial response effort in Baxter Springs Sunday night, and several students and faculty are volunteering to help with recovery.

The destruction hits close to home for President Scott who grew up not far from the tornado’s path in Baxter Springs.

“As a kid who grew up in Baxter, it’s tough to see this happen to my hometown,” said Scott. “I walked through those neighborhoods every day on the way to grade school. My heart goes out to everyone affected by Sunday’s storms.”

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Updated April 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM - Consumer Protection Team to assist Baxter Springs residents

NEWS RELEASE ISSUED APRIL 28, 2014 BY THE KANSAS ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE

The Attorney General’s Office has sent its Consumer Protection Team to Baxter Springs to assist residents affected by the tornado that struck the community April 27.

The Kanas Department of Health and Environment’s Office of Vital Statistics will be in Baxter Springs on Thursday, May 1, to help replace vital paperwork.

Both teams will be working out of the Community Building, 1101 East Ave.

A curfew has been established for the tornado-damaged area between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., enforced by local law enforcement.

A sign has been put in place to direct volunteers to the check-in point at Burgraf Tire Bldg, 2402 Military. Volunteer check-in will begin at 8 a.m. After check-in, volunteers will be bussed to their work location.

People wishing to donate are requested to donate cash rather than food or other goods. To donate, go online to www.ksready.gov and click on the “Donate to Kansas Disaster Relief” link.

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Updated April 28, 2014 at 4:47 PM CST - Warehouse and storage space offered for tornado-hit businesses

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE GREAT PLAINS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

Having survived a tornado of its own in April 2000, the Parsons’ business community understands how critical it is for businesses to get back on their feet as quickly as possible. That’s why the Great Plains Development Authority is offering free warehousing and storage space for area industries hit by Sunday’s tornadoes.

Having a place to store materials and supplies, while owners clean up and repair, can be a challenge. Great Plains’ CEO Daniel Mann said that providing free temporary warehousing is a way that Great Plains can help repay the kindness of the thousands of volunteers who responded to the Parsons F3 disaster 14 years ago.

Mann said that the Great Plains Industrial Park has hundreds of thousands of square feet available that can accommodate any kind of need. Space will be at no charge on a temporary basis for those in need. Great Plains is located southeast of Parsons at the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. Mann can be reached at 620-421-1228 or 620-778-3375, and by email at dmann@parsonsks.com.

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Updated April 28, 2014 at 4:25 PM CST - National Weather Service says EF-2 tornado struck Baxter Springs

FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI

...NWS DAMAGE SURVEY FOR 4/27/2014 BAXTER SPRINGS TORNADO...

...UPDATE TO INCLUDE ADDITIONAL SURVEY INFORMATION. PLEASE NOTE...THIS STATEMENT ONLY INCLUDES INFORMATION ON THE KANSAS PORTION OF THIS TORNADO TRACK...

A TEAM FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN SPRINGFIELD MISSOURI CONDUCTED A STORM SURVEY IN BAXTER SPRINGS KANSAS ON APRIL 28 2014...TO DETERMINE THE STRENGTH OF A TORNADO THAT STUCK THE TOWN DURING THE EVENING OF APRIL 27.

AFTER PRODUCING DAMAGE IN THE TOWN OF QUAPAW OKLAHOMA...THE TORNADO CROSSED THE STATE LINE INTO KANSAS AND MOVED INTO THE TOWN OF BAXTER SPRINGS...PRODUCING A 150 YARD WIDE SWATH OF DAMAGE FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST THROUGH THE CENTER OF TOWN. NUMEROUS HOMES AND BUSINESSES WERE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED IN BAXTER SPRINGS... AND 25 INJURIES WERE REPORTED. SEVERAL AREAS OF EF2 DAMAGE WERE NOTED...WITH AREAS OF EF0 AND EF1 DAMAGE SURROUNDING THE MORE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE SWATH. WIND SPEEDS WERE ESTIMATED TO BE BETWEEN 120 AND 130 MPH.

THE TORNADO LIFTED NEAR THE SPRING RIVER...JUST NORTHEAST OF TOWN.

.BAXTER SPRINGS KANSAS TORNADO...
RATING: EF-2
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 130 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/: 4.25 MILES IN
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/: 150 YARDS
FATALITIES: 0 IN KANSAS
INJURIES: 25 IN BAXTER SPRINGS
START DATE: 04/27/2014
START TIME: 5:35 PM CDT
START LOCATION: 1.5 MILES SOUTHWEST OF BAXTER SPRINGS KANSAS
START LAT/LON: 37.0016/-94.7485
END DATE: 4/27/2014
END TIME: 5:42 PM CDT
END LOCATION: 2.5 MILES NORTHEAST OF BAXTER SPRINGS KANSAS
END_LAT/LON: 37.0519/-94.7164
EF SCALE: THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES.
EF0...WEAK......65 TO 85 MPH
EF1...WEAK......86 TO 110 MPH
EF2...STRONG....111 TO 135 MPH
EF3...STRONG....136 TO 165 MPH
EF4...VIOLENT...166 TO 200 MPH
EF5...VIOLENT...>200 MPH

NOTE: THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT AND PUBLICATION IN NWS STORM DATA.

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Updated April 28, 2014 at 4:03 PM CST: Around 1,300 customers still without power following storms

NEWS RELEASE FROM EMPIRE DISTRICT ELECTRIC COMPANY

JOPLIN, MO – April 28, 2014 – The Empire District Electric Company reports that as of 1:00 p.m. approximately 1,300 customers in the Quapaw and Baxter Springs areas remain without power due to the severe storms that moved through Empire’s service territory yesterday evening. Immediately following the storm, approximately 6,000 customers in Empire’s service territory were without power.

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Updated April 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM CST: Salvation Army Provides Support to Tornado Relief Efforts

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE SALVATION ARMY

Kansas City, MO (April 28, 2014) The Salvation Army is providing support to residents of Baxter Springs, Kansas today in the aftermath of a tornado that damaged much of the community Sunday.

Two Salvation Army mobile feeding units (canteens) are on-site in Baxter Springs, providing food, snacks and beverages to first responders, clean-up crews and residents Each canteen is carrying a team of trained emergency disaster services personnel and is capable of serving more than 2,000 people per day. The Salvation Army is also providing spiritual and emotional care to tornado survivors in the community.

Beginning Tuesday, April 29, Baxter Springs residents impacted by the tornado may apply to The Salvation Army for direct financial assistance for immediate aid including food, shelter, personal care items and medicine. The Salvation Army will be providing social services at Trinity Worship Center, 225 E. 16th Street in Baxter Springs.

More than 90 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in Sunday’s tornado in Baxter Springs and at least 25 people were injured.

How to Help
The best way to help The Salvation Army serve those affected by the tornado is to make a monetary contribution.

By Phone:
Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY [1-800-725-2769]

By Mail:
To donate via mail, please send your check, designated "Baxter Springs Tornado" to:
THE SALVATION ARMY
3637 Broadway
Kansas City, MO 64111

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Updated at April 28, 2014 at 10:20 AM CST - Volunteers sought to aid in cleanup process; one confirmed death
A rural Baxter Springs man was killed while traveling through Quapaw, Oklahoma when a tornado struck the area on Sunday.The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office says a Baxter Springs couple was traveling through the area and pulled into a parking lot when the storm system moved in. A large concrete wall fell on the vehicle, pinning the couple inside.

The wife was rescued from the vehicle and transported to a nearby hospital where she was treated and later released. The husband, John L. Brown, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Brown is the only confirmed death from Sunday’s storm that left many homeless.

Authorities today are assessing damage and beginning cleanup.

This morning Quapaw police believed at least 25 homes sustained damage, but did not have an estimate on the number of businesses damaged. Thousands are still without power today.

Just across the state line the same tornado hit Baxter Springs causing extensive damage to homes and businesses.  Emergency officials say the tornado remained on the ground for two miles and stretched two blocks wide.  After the tornado hit crews blocked off a portion of Highway 69 entering Baxter Springs for emergency personnel.

Nine people were taken to area hospitals while 25 others were treated at the scene.

This morning Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves says 40% of the community's residents remain without power.  91 residents had their gas utilities shut off.

The American Red Cross says more than 200 emergency responders were fed at the Quapaw Tribal Center last night. They will continue to provide meals three times a day and provide shelter at the center tonight.

Red Cross volunteers say the "help your neighbor" spirit of small town Quapaw in some ways benefits recovery efforts more so than in a larger city.

“I think the great news here is that this seems to be a very tight knit community,” says Regina Moon of the American Red Cross. “The fact that we only have one person stay in our shelter means that there's a great network here of family and friends who are willing to take in the affected people.”

The Red Cross shelter at the Quapaw Tribal Center will continue to provide meals and shelter over the next several days.

Volunteers looking to help met early this morning at the Baxter Springs High School. Each volunteer was asked to show their driving license as part of a tracking system for organizers to ensure everyone is where they are supposed to be.

People in need of assistance are also invited and Red Cross volunteers are on hand to help them. Emergency personnel, contractors, family and friends were all among those who turned out this morning. Some were even victims of Joplin's tornado and say they are happy for a chance to pay forward the love and support they received in 2011.

“If I was in the same situation I would want people to come help me, so I felt like I was dedicated to come help them,” says Pittsburg resident Dustin Graves.

“Even just the smallest things like just giving someone a smile, giving someone a hug, any tiniest thing means the world to people who have lost all their stuff,” says Baxter Springs resident Andrew McGarry.

Baxter Springs High School will be open all day today for volunteers or people seeking assistance.

Organizers say they plan to return the next several days as well.

The Fort Scott, Kansas area was also hit hard by a tornado yesterday afternoon. It is believed to have touched down north of Fort Scott at 69 Highway and Soldier Road, with a path of damage heading northeast.

The tornado caused scattered damage including some to a train. Two silos from Midwest Fertilizer fell onto the stationary train. There were two engineers inside the train when the tornado came through. The engineers apparently did not know a tornado was approaching. Eight train cars were derailed by the storm, but no injuries were reported.

“I think we were very lucky we dodged several bullets, even in the months past, and the people that I went out and talked to after we seen this incident north and east of here in the trail of that tornado, no one was hurt and needless to say no one was killed,” says Bourbon County Emergency Manager William Wallis.

A dairy farm off Wagon Road also suffered extensive damage from the twister.

As for injuries, we’re told two people drove themselves to Via Christi Health in Pittsburg. They were treated and released.

We’ve also confirmed that two patients were taken to Freeman Hospital in Joplin with minor injuries.

Integris Baptist Regional Health Center in Miami, Oklahoma received six patients, all with minor injuries.

The Cherokee County sheriff has confirmed that the death of a 58 year old woman was medical related, not physical trauma.


Updated April 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM CST: Identity released of victim in Quapaw tornado

NEWS RELEASE FROM QUAPAW COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
In reference to the one confirmed death, which was a result of the April, 27 tornado in Quapaw, Ok.  The identity of the deceased is John L. Brown, age 68 of rural Baxter Springs, Ks.  Mr. Brown was traveling through Quapaw, Ok. when the bad weather struck, and pulled into a parking lot.  A large concrete wall fell on the vehicle, which Mr. Brown was operating, trapping he and his wife inside.  Mrs. Brown was rescued from the vehicle, and transported to the Integris Baptist Regional Medical Center, where she was treated, and released.  Mr. Brown was pronounced  dead at the scene.   The Ottawa County Sheriff's Department extends its' condolences to the Brown family, and out of respect will release no other information concerning the matter.  # # #

Updated April 28, 2014 at 9:32 AM CST: Authorites to assess damage today; Quapaw resident say storm siren did not activate

In a matter of minutes the town of Quapaw, Oklahoma became virtually unrecognizable after a tornado struck the area on Sunday.
Homes are now gutted shells.  Other structures are now piles of wood and debris.  The tornado left a trail of damage more than a mile long. As night fell bulldozers were digging through rubble as people were looking for victims and survivors.

The Quapaw police chief says there has been one confirmed death.  Previous reports from the Associated Press put death the toll at two, but, both the fire chief and the police chief say it is just one confirmed death at this time.The police chief says Quapaw does have a storm siren in town but it did not go off before the tornado touched down.

One resident we talked with says more needs to be done.

"If there is one siren in town and if it went off and we are this far out, a mile north of Quapaw, you can not hear that siren," says storm victim Nathan Thompson.  "There needs to be more sirens put up or someone there 24 hours a day and when bad weather is supposed to happen."

The damage is extensive along Main Street and the police chief says around 25 residences sustained damage and that does not include damage to businesses.

At one point nearly 5,000 people were without power in northeast Oklahoma in the area of Commerce, Fairland and Quapaw.

Officials will be working Monday morning to assess the damage. Shelters have been established at the Quapaw Tribal Center and the Middle School.



Updated April 27, 2014 at 10:24 PM CST:  Authorities confirm one death; thousands without power after storms strike; law enforcement securing location
While the Associated Press previously reported two deaths from today's storms, the Quapaw, Oklahoma police chief says only one death has been confirmed.  A death was reported in Cherokee County, Kansas, but it is unclear if it is medical or storm related.  Roads throughout the area are blocked off to through traffic.

The tornado went through Quapaw at about 5:30 p.m. causing a great deal of destruction, including to a fire station.  The Quapaw police chief says a storm siren did not go off before the tornado touched down and around 25 residences received damage.

At last report nearly 5,000 customers were without power in the Commerce, Fairland and Quapaw area.

Again, only one death has been confirmed in the Quapaw area.

Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves says the tornado moved from northeast Oklahoma into Baxter Springs, Kansas and "significantly" damaged several homes and businesses.  EMS is reporting 9 patients were transported to area hospitals and another 25 were treated at the scene, but not transported.

Again, Sheriff Groves says there was one death in the Baxter Springs area, but it is unclear if the death was due to a medical reasons or was storm related.

Sheriff Groves says emergency crews have secured the damaged area to keep looters out of the area.  He says they have heavily saturated the area with artificial lighting and law enforcement officers.  Also, appropriate ID is required to be allowed in the damage area.

The Baxter Springs School District has canceled school for Monday.

Sheriff Groves says any volunteers who wish to help are to be at the Baxter Springs High School on Monday at 8 a.m.

A separate reported tornado struck Fort Scott, north of Highway 69 and Soldier Road, and traveled northeast, causing scattered damage.

Two silos from Midwest Fertilizer were blown onto a stationary train about four miles outside of Fort Scott.  Officials tell us two engineers were inside and did not know the tornado was approaching.  Fortunately they managed to escape safely and were not hurt.

The Bourbon County emergency manager says as far as his office knows there is damage throughout the area, but no fatalities or injuries have been reported.

Updated April 27, 2014 at 8:15 PM CST:  Officer Jacob Williams in Sarcoxie, Missouri says the storm has passed their area and they are assessing damage but it does not look like there is anything bad at this time.

Updated April 27, 2014 at 8:10 PM CST: NWS confirms tornado strike in Quapaw and Baxter Springs

Two people have been reported dead in Quapaw, Oklahoma after a reported tornado - confirmed by the National Weather Service - went through the area.  Damage has been reported throughout Quapaw, as well as in southeast Kansas, Baxter Springs and Galena specifically.  No specifics have been confirmed at this time.

Another tornado was reported north of Fort Scott - this one not yet confirmed - where an empty grain silo fell over onto a train.  There is also damage to a dairy at 245th Road and Wagon Road.

KOAM meteorologist Nick Kelly says the National Weather Service offices in Springfield and Tulsa are planning to send survey crews to the area over the next couple of days.

UPDATED:  The Quapaw Police Chief has confirmed only one death.

Updated April 27, 2014 at 6:50 PM CST:  Two reported dead
CBS affiliate KOTV in Tulsa is reporting two dead in Quapaw, Oklahoma.
UPDATED:  The Quapaw Police Chief has confirmed only one death.

Posted April 27, 2014 at 6:42 PM CST:  Storms strike Four States; damage, injuries/fatalities unknown at this time
Officials report damage in and around Quapaw, Oklahoma, as well as Baxter Springs, Fort Scott and Galena, Kansas.  The extent is not known at this time.  Paramedics have been dispatched to aid but there are no known injuries at this time.  KOAM staffers are in the field and working to confirm information with officials.
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