CADIZ – One week after Harrison County declared a state of emergency in response to winter storms, word has come that it was not accepted on the federal level. That decision now has the local EMA director fuming.
County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management/911 Director Lorna Bower is livid over FEMA’s choice to not grant the declaration, which would provide assistance for the already financially strapped area and help them recoup some funds for cleanup efforts. Bower said she was notified by e-mail on Wednesday, but she is not backing down.
“They changed criteria on the snow policy,” she said. “We do not qualify for the declaration. I think it’s terrible. I think that more and more big government is trying to squeeze out little government. I think we should take care of the people in our country before we send resources overseas. I think we’ve got our priorities mixed up. People have tried so hard to take care of themselves and [government] has just rewritten things.”
Bower had approached commissioners on Feb. 9 to begin the process, but only after she and other EMA directors were contacted by Ohio Sen. Jason Wilson (D-Columbiana) to help reimburse areas within his jurisdiction for overtime cleanup during the storms starting Feb. 5. The area was bombarded by two separate storms that dumped a total of 16-21 inches of snow, while the first squall left thousands in the region without power for days and had residents and crews busily plowing driveways, roadways and byways throughout the week. It also forced a series of school delays, early dismissals and cancellations throughout the Ohio Valley.
Look for the complete story about the county’s state of emergency declaration in the next edition of the Harrison News-Herald.