May 18, 2011 Edition

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Disaster declaration
issued for LawCo.

Gretchen Hunt
Editor

Steve Jones, director of the Lawrence County Office of Emergency Management, reported Tuesday morning that FEMA has declared Lawrence County as a federal disaster area.

According to a release from FEMA, the county will be eligible for individual assistance under the presidential disaster declaration, as well as for federal aid under FEMA's public assistance program.

Several counties were added to the disaster declaration on Monday.

"We appreciate FEMA's response to the state's request to extend federal help to even more Arkansans," State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell said. "This allows assistance to be available to some of our hardest hit areas."

County Judge Dale Freeman said he is expecting FEMA representatives on Friday or early next week to examine some of the road damage.

"Up on the high ground we've got a big portion of the roads where cars can at least get over them," he said. "We're holding up on some of the roads with heavier damage so FEMA can see them."

Freeman said the Clover Bend area and the bottoms near Powhatan were among the hardest areas hit.

Congressman Rick Crawford was in Lawrence County Tuesday meeting with officials regarding damage caused by the flood, as well.

Information about FEMA's individual assistance program is available at www.fema.gov/assistance/process/assistance.shtm.

Lawrence Countians with damage from the flooding should register with FEMA onine at www.diasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.

More information about public assistance can be found at www.fema.gov/government/grant/pa/index.shtm.

"We hope these additions to the disaster declaration will jumpstart the rebuilding process in many parts of the state," Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy M. Casper said.

"Our goal is to help the people of Arkansas and their communities recover from this disaster and get back to normal as soon as possible."

IRS offers tax relief

With Lawrence County's addition to the disaster declaration, the Internal Revenue Service has also announced that disaster victims are eligible for federal tax relief.

The relief includes the postponement of federal tax deadlines falling between April 23 and June 30. Forms and publications are available online at www.irs.gov.

The relief also includes the ability for residents to claim disaster-related losses on their federal income tax return for either 2011 or 2010. Claiming the losses on the 2010 return will provide the refund quicker, but waiting to claim the loss on the 2011 return could result in a greater tax savings, depending on other income factors.

Individual can contact the IRS toll-free number for general tax questions at 1-800-829-1040.

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