June 24, 2009 Edition

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Craighead Electric to
receive FEMA funds

Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

Craighead Electric Cooperative Corporation will receive $13,598,307 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Rep. Marion Berry. The funds are to be used to help with repairs and cleanup from the January ice storm.

"January's ice storm caused significant damage to the northern half of our state," Lincoln said. "I am pleased that the federal government is doing its part to help with recovery efforts in Northeast Arkansas."

All three legislators expressed their pleasure that FEMA is providing help with recovery costs.

"Cleaning up the damage and debris required considerable time and manpower," Pryor said. "I'm pleased FEMA came through with more federal resources to help offset the costs."

Monte Williams, vice president of marketing and communications for Craighead Electric, said the Cooperative had a total of $43 million in damages due to the ice storm. They received $11.5 million from FEMA at the beginning of June. The current funding is for debris removal.

"We are still working on getting everything back to pre-ice storm condition," Williams said. "We expect to finish debris removal by mid July. We still have 4,800 miles of distribution lines that must be inspected to ensure maximum dependability."

Williams said this includes pole straightening, adjusting guy wires and electric distribution lines and could take up to 18 months to finish.

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