GOWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Congressman Brian Higgins is requesting a presidential disasterdeclaration for the flood-ravaged communities of the southern tier.The National Guard is already on the job, cleaning out flood debrisfrom Gowanda.
The streets of Gowanda belonged to the Guard Thursday, and theresidents couldn't be more thankful.
The Guard went to work, clearing out tons of flood ruinedproperty of homeowners. One Guardsman is a native of Gowanda.
Gowanda native Private Brad Gabel said, "It's good to help out.It's awesome. I got a chance to help out my home town, yaknow?"
The mud is putting out a terrible odor and presents a realhealth problem now because some of it contains sewage.
Cattaraugus County Disaster Coordinator Nick Crassi said, "I'msure it has a lot of bad chemicals, sewage and oils, and otherdebris that isn't nice for people to be walking around."
Federal and state preliminary assessment teams fanned out acrossGowanda.
New York Governor David Paterson, who was there Wednesday, saidhe is hoping for federal aid, "I briefly alerted the president thatwe'd be seeking that kind of assistance." (August 12, 2009)
Assistance also will be needed for rebuilding theinfrastructure.
Zoar Valley Road cost a million dollars to repair last year andis now a total washout.
Gowanda homeowner Steve Murphy said, "Well we lost a washer anddryer; brand new washer, as a matter of fact."
Steve and Cindy Murphy want their losses to be recorded.
Cindy said, "We haven't seen anybody yet, but we're stillwaiting our turn."
The people of Gowanda are coping as best they can. They havebeen through this before, and keeping spirits up is the key.
Steve said, "We thought if we put something on the front lawnlike this, maybe people would get a little higher spirit. Ya know,we've all been digging out for the last few days."
Friday, News 4 was told Gowanda residents will meet at 4:00 p.m.to express their needs to the people who can help them.
Flood victims can find help at a Cattaraugus County FamilyAssistance Center in the Gowanda Elementary School on AldrichStreet.
Jamestown Savings Bank Arena is collecting food, clothing orhousehold items for flood victims. And the Amvets post on CentralAvenue in Silver Creek is open from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.,offering food, water, clothing and other supplies.
Boil water advisories remain in effect for Gowanda andForestville. Advisories for Perrysburg, Silver Creek and the SenecaNation have all been lifted.
If your travels are taking you through the southern tier, beaware. Two travel bans are still in effect in Gowanda andPerrysburg.
Village of Gowanda Trustee Heather McKeever is coordinating thecollection and distribution of materials and manpower for those inneed in flood damaged Gowanda. Anyone who wants information on howto help, or in need of supplies can call Heather McKeever at860-1254.
On Friday, August 14th, a truck with much needed supplies isarriving at the Gowanda Assembly of God at 78 Allen Street on thecorner of Aldrich Street.
Anyone in need must have proper identification to show they arefrom an area affected by recent flooding. Distributions will bemade from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday, August 14.
Anyone wanting to volunteer their time or make donations to therecovery effort can stop by the Gowanda Assembly of God at 78 AllenStreet on the corner of Aldrich Street from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.Friday, August 14th.
The Army National Guard's 152nd engineering company out ofBuffalo has begun doing the heavy lifting in Gowanda, clearingflood ravaged streets of damaged and ruined property.
Mud-caked appliances and furniture are being hauled away in hugedumpsters, holding up to 40 cubic yards of debris. There have beenreports of rats infiltrating residential areas, a major priority isalso rebuilding the washed out road leading to the villagereservoir, which is polluted with mud and debris.
Gowanda has opened a family assistance center at the elementaryschool on Aldrich Street. The village is dispensing food and waterand assisting with shelter and counseling as well.
As many as 30 percent of the homes in Gowanda were damaged byraging flood waters and high winds on Sunday.
Assessment teams from FEMA and the Small Business Administrationare in Gowanda, which is hoping for federal aid to rebuild thedamaged infrastructure and low-interest loans for home owners.
Governor David Paterson, who activated the National Guard, saidhe talked briefly with President Obama about the need for relief inErie, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.
The state is wrestling with mounting deficits but have pledgedto do all it can, to help flood victims pull their lives together.
Police say they had the wrong man, and that Jerome Thagard, who spent four years in prison, didn't murder Steven Northrup in 2009. But the victim's family says otherwise.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
It was so treacherous in North Collins, the mayor had to issue a travel ban, and village snow plows were pulled off the roadways to keep drivers from trying to plow in zero visibility.
The Buffalo School Board unanimously approved plans to transform Burgard High School into a Manufacturing Magnet School on Wednesday,
Investigators are making progress in the case of a Chihuahua thrown in a ditch while zipped up in a Coors Light thermal bag.