Weather Forecast


Disaster aid gets expanded

ST. PAUL -- Homeowners in four northwestern Minnesota counties who suffered flooding may be eligible for federal assistance.

A presidential disaster declaration for the Red River Valley was expanded Friday to include aid to individuals and homeowners affected by flooding in Clay, Norman, Traverse and Wilkin counties, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office said.

The initial declaration provided federal assistance for public infrastructure and emergency work.

Aid to individuals could include money to rent temporary housing or to repair damage to a flood-damaged home that is not covered by insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency may provide up to $30,300 to return a flood-damaged home to a safe condition.

Federal aid to individuals also could include grants for flood-related medical costs, fuel purchases, storage and clean-up expenses and the repair of damaged vehicles.

President Barack Obama's major disaster declaration issued Thursday also included Polk, Marshall and Kittson counties, but individual assistance is not yet available in those counties because damage assessments are ongoing, Pawlenty's office said.

Scott Wente works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Bemidji Pioneer.