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Dickinson post-storm electrical problems persist

DICKINSON, N.D. One of Dickinson's main electrical transmission lines suffered severe damage in a storm last week and workers are scrambling to have it fixed by Friday. There is potential, if another storm hits, that the city could lose power. Th...


One of Dickinson's main electrical transmission lines suffered severe damage in a storm last week and workers are scrambling to have it fixed by Friday. There is potential, if another storm hits, that the city could lose power.

The affected section spans about 2 1/2 miles in northeast Dickinson and is a type of backup, said Mayor Dennis Johnson, at a press conference Monday afternoon at the Dickinson Law Enforcement Center.

"In the wrong kind of storm I guess, we could lose power to the community," Johnson said. "We just want our residents to know that exists out there. We will all rest easier once that line is in place."

Thirty-two poles need to be replaced and Roughrider Electric is working to fix the situation, weather permitting.


Roughrider and Montana-Dakota Utilities supply the town with power and no Roughrider customers were without power Monday. Montana-Dakota could not be reached Monday evening. Brent Pringle, Stark County emergency manager, was unaware of anyone without power Monday.

"It is a main feed for town," said Simon Kuntz, Roughrider Electric line superintendent of the damage to poles in the area. "This is a major line to take care of."

The power grid for Montana-Dakota is running, however, Johnson said that does not necessarily mean all homes have power as residents need to have electrical contractors repair any damaged electrical receptors.

Taken to landfill

Workers have brought about 540 loads -- 888 tons of material -- to a city landfill from the Wednesday storm and tornado, said Shawn Kessel, city administrator.

"That does not include any of the tree material that is on West Broadway, which is about the size of a football field and approximately 15 feet tall," Kessel said.

The city is also looking at opening an inert landfill for demolition waste, possibly by late Monday, Kessel said.

Inclement weather impacted Monday's tornado cleanup efforts.


"We had to call off our volunteer effort today as well as the tree removal effort," Johnson said. "The tree removal focus has been turned to the Gress Softball complex."

The volunteer effort will resume at noon today and will run until about 8 p.m., weather permitting, Johnson said.

Pringle said tarps and plastic sheeting is needed for those impacted by the storm. The Red Cross is also in need of food donations, he said.

Since the Red Cross began service Thursday, it has served close to 5,000 meals, Kessel said.

Elder Care provided more than 250 rides on Sunday alone, he said.

Demolition permits

Johnson said the city received three reports of people beginning demolition on their homes without obtaining proper city permits.

"This is important to do because whether they realize it or not, there is live power and live gas still to that home," Johnson said.


Beginning at 10:30 p.m. today, the National Guard will no longer be monitoring checkpoints into damaged areas. The guard will continue to patrol the areas until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Local law enforcement will then take over.

Kessel said the city will be running street sweepers to try and clear the streets of all dangerous materials.

Johnson stresses the importance of homeowners registering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is taking registrations through Aug. 10.

"If you have hidden damage you become aware of later on, you are going to be out of luck," Johnson said.

Ken Jordan, of intergovernmental affairs for FEMA, said insured homeowners should still register.

"It's important you do this as there may be uninsured costs FEMA may be able to help you with," Jordan said.

Jordan said FEMA applicants may receive a letter stating they do not qualify, however registrants should reapply once they have spoken to their insurance companies.

Small Business Administration loans are also available. Johnson said in the time of an emergency, people do not have to be a small-business owner to qualify for an SBA loan.

"They are a federal partner that is responsible for a majority of funding that comes into a community for repairs," Jordan said.

"If you are denied an SBA loan, that does kick you back into the FEMA system and you might be eligible for grants," Kessel said.

Those interested in an SBA loan can speak with a representative at Prairie Hills Mall.

During the clean-up process, several personal effects have been recovered. They are being housed at the police department. Claiming items is based on an honors system.

The Dickinson Press and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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