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Northwood update and how you can help

Stay out of damaged school The Northwood School Board issued a reminder Friday that no unauthorized personnel are allowed into the tornado-damaged school until further notice. Parents and students are asked to leave belongings at the school until...

Stay out of damaged school

The Northwood School Board issued a reminder Friday that no unauthorized personnel are allowed into the tornado-damaged school until further notice.

Parents and students are asked to leave belongings at the school until the building is deemed safe to re-enter.

School supplies

Backpacks and school supplies will be provided to Northwood students when they arrive in nearby Hatton, N.D., to return to class Tuesday, according to Northwood Elementary School principal Shari Bilden.

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Parents do not need to purchase supplies, she said.

Organizations have donated items, including a shipment of 100 backpacks filled with supplies Thursday, Bilden said.

Any families looking for back-to-school clothes or shoes should visit the Northwood Red Cross station.

LDR supplies

Lutheran Disaster Reponse is asking for supplies to aid volunteers as they continue the clean-up effort in the City of Northwood.

Supplies needed are:

-- Batteries (all sizes).

-- Coolers.

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-- Flashlights.

-- Tarps.

-- Garden rakes.

-- Hammers.

-- Crow bars.

-- Carpet cutters.

-- Packing materials (bubble wrap, newsprint, packing tape, etc).

Anyone looking to donate any of these materials are asked to bring them to the Community Center in Northwood. Blankets and paper towels are not needed at this time.

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For more information about donating materials or volunteering, call (605) 431-8921 or 431-8922.

Shoe, sock drivePayless Shoe Source is collecting gym shoes, socks and backpacks to donate to Northwood students.

Items can be dropped off at two Grand Forks store locations, in the Columbia Mall or at 2851 32nd Ave. S.

If donors chose to purchase the items at the store they will get a buy one, get the second half-price deal.

The drive will be held until the need is filled or until the end of September.

Pomeroy to

visit Tuesday

Rep. Earl Pomeroy will tour Northwood on Tuesday to see the damage caused by the tornado that struck Sunday evening.

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Pomeroy, D-N.D., will tour the city with Northwood Mayor Richard Johnson and local, state and federal emergency management officials.

New gym floor in danger

The State Fire and Tornado Fund, which insures public buildings across the state, has staff in Northwood this week working to save the recently refinished gym floor at the school.

The roof on the gym is mostly gone and what's left of it is falling in, according to Jim Poolman, state insurance commissioner. That threatens to ruin the refurbished floor.

"It would be a shame to lose it," Poolman said in a news release. "We are working to find a solution to fashion some sort of temporary cover that will protect the floor from rain."

It is estimated that nearly one-quarter of the school, mostly the old part, will need to be torn down and rebuilt from the foundation up.

Homeowners taking similar steps to prevent further damage should keep records of their expenses and take photos of what they have done so they can be reimbursed for those repairs and materials later on, Poolman said.

Insurance questions: Call the department's Consumer Hotline, (800) 247-0650.

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Agency replaces food stamp benefits

The North Dakota Department of Human Services is replacing food stamp benefits for program participants affected by the tornado in Northwood.

Low-income Northwood residents who are receiving food assistance can access replacement benefits by using their EBT debit cards at participating grocers. The process started Friday.

A family that received a $75 food stamp benefit in August 2007, for example, would automatically have an additional $75 benefit issued to their food stamp debit card, said state Food Stamp director Arlene Dura.

Dura said about 22 Northwood households will benefit from the extra help.

Info: Contact the Grand Forks County Social Service Office at (701) 787-8535 or the N.D. Department of Human Services at (800) 755-2716.

Agency offers forbearance

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency will allow Northwood borrowers in its first-time homebuyer loan program to delay monthly payment for up to 90 days starting today.

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The agency also will waive late charges and indicate to credit bureaus that mortgagees were affected by a natural disaster. Approximately 30 homes in the Northwood area have loans with the agency.

Contact the agency at (800) 292-8621.

If your home loan is serviced by another lender, contact that lender as soon as possible to discuss possible relief options.

Volunteer check-in

Northwood cleanup volunteers are asked to call (605) 431-8922 or 8921 before coming to town.

On arrival in Northwood, check in at the McVille State Bank, located next to the Cenex station on state Highway 15.

Service of Hope

Northwood residents will gather at noon Sunday under the big tent on Main Street for a community Service of Hope.

The service will be conducted by a worship team from the Mennonite Brethren church in Winkler, Man. The service is being organized by leaders of the Community Bible Church and Ebenezer Lutheran Church.

The tent will be set up next to Community Bible, which is serving this week as the Red Cross center.

Northwood Evangelical Lutheran Church will hold a worship service in its basement at 11 a.m. Sunday, with Bishop Rick Foss and the Rev. Luther Symmons participating, as well as the interim pastor, the Rev. Wayne Stark, Grand Forks. Symmons just left the congregation this year after several years as its pastor.

Northwood on Web

A Web site has been launched with information for residents of Northwood and other people looking for information about how to help the city recover from Sunday's tornado.

The Web site can be found at www.helpnorthwood.com .

Relief Fund

Three local organizations will accept monetary donations to help Northwood.

United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area, Alerus Financial and the Community Foundation Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region will accept checks, which will be deposited in each organization's separate Northwood Relief Fund account.

Anyone who wants to donate should write the checks to "Northwood Relief Fund" and either visit the organizations in person or send checks to them.

United Way: (701) 775-8661, 1407 S. 24th Ave. S. Suite 400, Grand Forks, ND 58201

Any branch of Alerus Financial: (701) 795-3200

Community Foundation: (701) 746-0668, 620 Demers Ave., Grand Forks, ND 58201.

The Salvation Army

Financial donations to assist with the recovery process can be earmarked Northwood disaster and sent to the Grand Forks Salvation Army at 1600 University Ave., Grand Forks ND 58203.

Red Cross

American Red Cross donations earmarked for Northwood can be sent to the Red River Valley Chapter at 1708 River Road N.W., East Grand Forks, MN 56721.

Send tornado-related announcements to:gfhcity@gfherald.com or fax (701) 780-1123.

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