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Funding for government lapses as short-term spending bill stalls in the Senate

Flood insurance funding OK'd

Funding has been secured for the National Flood Insurance Program.

Beryl Wernberg, emergency management director with the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management, locally announced the news on Friday.

The NFIP had been in limbo since an extension on its funding had not been approved.

However, a bill extending that funding was signed Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, DFL-8th District, and his staff "deserve a lot of credit for getting this straightened out," Wernberg said an e-mail.

With the approval, residents in Bemidji and Beltrami County can now apply for the NFIP, which is offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Once accepted, there is a 30-day waiting period that begins on the date of a person's application.

The opportunity for insurance through the NFIP was made possible through the work of Bemidji city and Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning staff, Wernberg said.

In other flooding news:

- Sandbagging 101 will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 13, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds 4-H Building. The class will feature Sentence to Service supervisors who will discuss filling and stacking sandbags to gain the most benefit. Participants should dress for the weather; sand and bags will be on hand.

- Sandbags will soon be available for sale to the public. Information regarding their arrival and distribution will be announced.

- The Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area will again serve as the staging area this spring in case of the need to transport and document volunteers for sandbagging efforts. If a call is made requesting volunteers, they should report to the Boys & Girls Club, located at the intersection of 16th St. N.W. and Minnesota Ave. N.W. All volunteers must sign in and sign out.

E If citizens are interested in donating financial assistance, the United Way of Bemidji Area will be in charge of the donations, which will only be given to flooding victims in the Bemidji area.