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UMC relief teams to service people hurt by tornadoes in La Crosse area

LA CROSSE - It wasn't that long ago when a disaster relief team was helping La Crosse area people who still had unmet needs from the floods of 2007-and-'08. Now, the recovery team from the United Methodist Church is starting in earnest to help those victimized by the May 22nd tornadoes that damaged 200 buildings in La Crosse and caused damage around Sparta.

The Reverend Ellen Rasmussen says tornado victims are still working with insurance companies - so her group is still not sure which unmet needs her group can help with. The local committee has about 11-thousand dollars - and local chair Michele Engh says it can be stretched a long way with the help of donated materials and volunteer labor. Her group says it cannot handle every problem. But it can help with some repairs, food needs, and consoling youngsters who are now afraid of the weather.

Engh says the La Crosse area still has a lot of exposed damage from the spring storms, and not just the tornadoes. She said a lot of roof damage from April's hail-storms had not been repaired when the twisters hit - and there's still wind damage that has not been covered up. Also, the committee is getting requests for help from those affected by last weekend's heavy rains in the La Crosse area and nearby Vernon County.

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