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FLOOD UPDATE: Benjamin, Graham to host disaster aid forum at Convention Center

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Staff Reports
Published Oct. 14, 2015

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham will host a disaster assistance forum at 5:30 p.m. today at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St.

The session will include representatives of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),

S.C. Department of Insurance, Small Business Administration (SBA), S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, and S.C. Emergency Management Division.

Representatives will be on hand to provide an update on available assistance and answer questions from individuals affected by the storm.

Continental contributes $115,000 to recovery

Continental has donated $115,000 to the American Red Cross for recovery efforts following the recent catastrophic flooding events. The donations include $100,000 from Continental AG and $15,000 from Fort Mill-headquartered Continental Tire the Americas LLC.

Continental has approximately 1,300 employees and three facilities in South Carolina including its new tire plant in Sumter.

Disaster centers open in Horry County

Two disaster recovery centers have opened in Little River and Myrtle Beach to help South Carolina flood survivors. The centers’ hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week until further notice. Representatives from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, and other agencies will be at the centers to explain disaster assistance programs and help survivors apply for aid.

The disaster recovery centers are at North Strand Park & Recreational Center, 120 Hwy 57 S,

Little River; and South Strand Recreation Center, 9650 Scipio Lane, Myrtle Beach.

Newberry County eligible for unemployment assistance

Gov. Nikki Haley and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce announced today that Newberry County is eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance after FEMA approved it for individual assistance. This brings the total number of counties to 20.

The DUA program makes funds available to assist people who became unemployed as a direct result of the historic flooding. It also is available to small business owners and the self-employed who lost personal income due to the disaster.

The other counties included are Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Greenwood, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg. Other counties may be added at a later date.

City to answer questions about flood repairs, rebuilding permits

An open house to answer questions about Columbia’s flood repair and rebuilding permitting process will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Kilbourne Park Baptist Church, 4205 Kilbourne Road.

The open house is designed to answer homeowner and contractor questions about the permitting application process. Spanish-speaking interpreters will also be available. Residents also will be able to learn whether their property is in a flood plain, pick up the permit application packet, and have any questions regarding the application process answered.

Super Bowl champ Richard Seymour participating in donation drive

Lower Richland native Richard Seymour, a former NFL star and three-time Super Bowl champion as a member of the New England Patriots, is setting up a fund through his  “Blessing God’s Children Foundation” that will offer assistance to homeowners who need emergency clean up and repairs as a result of the record floods. 
Seymour will be touring the Lower Richland Operations Center warehouse facility at 1601 Shop Road in Columbia and participating in a live broadcast and donation drive with radio station WHXT and WWDM from 1-2 p.m.  He will also tour the official operations center at 2615 Lower Richland Boulevard from 3-4 p.m.

Santee Cooper concludes controlled spill at Santee Dam

Santee Cooper ended its controlled spill at the Santee Dam on Lake Marion this morning.

Spilling began on Oct. 4, after historic rainfalls drenched much of South Carolina. Santee Cooper reached a peak target of 75,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs) on Oct. 7 with water flows resulting in actual spilling of up to 85,000 cfs, and the utility began reducing the spill volume on Friday. Santee Cooper’s 40 miles of dams and dikes remained secure throughout spilling operations.

Talking to children about the flood

EdVenture Children’s Museum is helping parents and others talk to children about the recent flood.

“During this crisis, children can be upset and asking questions about how and why this has happened, and it can often be challenging to answer their questions in a way that provides comfort,” said Karen Coltrane, president and CEO of EdVenture. “Children’s museums can help by giving families a space to spend important time together where children can naturally work through recent experiences using play. When children play, they are in control, which is always comforting when uncontrollable things happen.”

EdVenture has produced a fact sheet about the flooding and suggestions on how to answer questions from your children. Copies are available at the museum desk.

EdVenture suggests that caregivers can help their children by:

• Answering questions in clear, factual terms they can understand

• Patiently repeating answers, because children need repetition

• Respecting your children’s emotions, even if different from your own

• Listening carefully to your children and creating a safe, calm environment for conversation

• Reassuring your children that adults are working hard to keep them safe and helping people who were harmed or whose homes flooded

• Talking to your child about the important work of police, fire and rescue, EMS, National Guard and all first responders

After being closed for five days during the emergency work on the Columbia Canal, EdVenture reopened on Friday. The museum will remain open seven days a week during recovery efforts. Parking may be limited because of work on the canal.

Midlands roads report

The S.C. Department of Transportation reported today that Jarvis Klapman Boulevard (SC 12) linking Columbia and West Columbia opened at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The agency added that SC 51 crossing at Black River in Georgetown County may open as early as Thursday if underwater inspection results are positive.

Also, SCDOT reported that the bridge on S-28-349, Wildwood Lane, in Kershaw County, has been repaired.

Statewide 281 roads and bridges remained closed this morning, down from 306 reported on Tuesday.

Road openings today in Richland County

• SC 48, Bluff Road Bridge at I-77

• S-40-63, Alpine Road

• S-40-1690, Southwind Road

• SC 764 Old Eastover at St. Matthews Church Road

• SC 764 Old Eastover Road

• S-40-2893 / S-40-1842, Fernandina Road

Lexington County

• S-32-1673, Jessamine Road

• S-32-1171, Cherokee Trail

• S-32-715, Epting Camp Road

• S-32-940, Murray Lindler Road

• S-32-944, Drawdebil Road

Sumter County

• S-43-25, Old Manning Road, two washouts repaired

• US 15, concrete headwall repaired

• S-43-35, Brewington Road, complete

• S-43-40, St. Paul Church Road, complete

• S-43-517, Beulah Cuttio Road, complete

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