Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - September 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Gov. Rick Perry surveys Polk County damage
Polk County Enterprise - September 2008
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry surveyed storm damage surrounding the Angleton and Livingston areas and visited with local offi cials on Thursday, assuring them of the state’s continued support through the entire restoration process. “The winds have died down, but the folks around here know better than anyone that we have a long road to recovery ahead of us,” said Gov. Perry. “I am confi dent that the state of Texas is equal to the task because I believe the leaders in our hardest hit communities have proven they are up to the challenges presented in this tough time.” During the question and answer session in Livingston, Perry was asked why DPS troopers brought in from other regions had no communications with DPS supervisors in Lufkin and Houston as well as city and county law enforcement offi cers. In Livingston, offi cers worked around the situation by loaning walkie-talkies to the out-of-town troopers. Perry passed the questions to Steve McCraw, Homeland Security Director for the State of Texas. McCraw said Texas is in the midst of a six-step process of upgrading communications interoperability. We are currently at stage four and we won’t reach stage six until 2014, according to McCraw.
As of Thursday afternoon, 211 shelters were open throughout the state housing more than 21,941 evacuees; more than 1,360 truckloads of water and 1,201 truckloads of ice have been distributed by the state throughout the storm-affected areas. By Thursday, power had been restored to more than 1.3 million customers; however nearly 1.57 million remain without power. More than 9,500 personnel from across the nation are working with power companies around the clock to restore electricity. In the meantime, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is providing generators to large-scale facilities in greatest need of electricity, including hospitals, prisons, shelters and emergency operations centers. Nearly 100 percent of those sites are operating, with some on generator power. More than 55 percent of retail fuel stations have resumed operations. “I completely understand that people want to get back to their homes and start rebuilding their lives, but their return will place an unnecessary burden on vital resources like food, water and fuel, and weigh down recovery efforts,” Perry said.
“I urge all displaced Texans to remain patient and stay where they are until local offi cials deem their neighborhoods are safe enough for their return.” To help Texans determine whether power has been restored to their communities, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas has a web feature that allows customers to check power outages by entering their utility provider and zip code at http://www.puc.state.tx.us/ fi les/ike.cfm. At the order of Gov. Perry, a hotel/motel tax waiver is effective Sept. 8, 2008, through Oct. 14, 2008, which suspends the collection of the state and local hotel and motel taxes under the Texas Tax Code for victims of Hurricane Ike. For assistance or information regarding the waiver, please visit the Comptroller of Public Accounts website at: http://window.state. tx.us/taxinfo/disaster_relief_faq. html or call 1-800-252-5555. At the state’s request, federal transitional housing assistance is available to Texas evacuees with inaccessible or uninhabitable homes.
A constantly updated list of approved hotels/motels can be found at: www.femaevachotels. com. To register for transitional housing assistance, visit www. fema.gov or call toll free at 1-800- 621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585. Texas residents who have been displaced by Hurricane Ike who evacuated to another state may call 1-877-541-7905 to reach the Texas 2-1-1 network and obtain information on how and where to apply for food stamp benefi ts or seek additional assistance. Texas residents displaced by Hurricane Ike who evacuated to another area of Texas may call 2-1- 1 from any Texas landline or Texas cell phone to obtain information on how and where to apply for food stamp benefi ts or seek additional assistance. For a comprehensive overview of the state’s activity related to Hurricane Ike response and recovery, please visit the Hurricane Center on the governor’s website at: http://www.governor.state.tx.us.