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Wadena tornado update: 268 structures affected

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Here are the tornado relief effort updates for Tuesday morning, June 22:

• An updated damage assessment: Wadena suffered 26 destroyed buildings, 60 with major damage, 91 with minor damage and 91 "affected," for a total of 268. The previous total was 230.

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• Volunteer coordinators were expecting roughly 25-30 volunteers Monday. There were 364. A big push will be made for volunteers for Saturday on what it being called Work on Wadena or WOW.

• If you would like to volunteer, there are two numbers to call: 211 from any land line, or you can call (800) 543-7709 from any phone. This is if you WANT TO VOLUNTEER. If you NEED VOLUNTEER HELP you should call (218) 640-3432. Don't be shy to ask for help. Organizers are not afraid of not having enough volunteers. They're afraid of not having enough projects for the volunteers to do. Register your need for help. People want to help. Let them.

• Colfax Avenue/Minnesota Highway 29 opened Monday evening at 7 p.m.

• Clothing donations are being taken and distributed from the Rising Phoenix.

• The Red Cross served 2,300 meals Monday. They will be here through Sunday doing the same.

• For short-term, immediate housing needs, contact the Rev. Rob Nelson at Immanuel Lutheran Church at (218) 631-2738. For longer-term housing needs, contact Diane Leaders at Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council at (218) 385-2900.

• City leaders are repeating: do not attempt any stump removal or stump grinding at this time. There is too great a risk of the roots pulling up power or gas lines.

• Spoiled food is being collected at Wal-Mart for composting. Meat is not being taken yet, but they're working on that. Call (218) 631-1068.

• Tri-County Hospital reported 18 recovery-related accidents, to add to 34 storm-related accidents. They are stressing you hydrate yourself, wear sunscreen, wear insect repellent and slow down.

• Through Sunday, 817 loads of tree debris was hauled away by crews. On Monday, another 460 loads were moved.

• Experts said about this time, stress starts to set in. If you're feeling stressed, call the Red Cross at (202) 731-4063 or the Salvation Army at (701) 610-1983.

• Extra street lighting is being added in areas of Wadena for security reasons -- Irving is one area.

• Three fawns were born Sunday at Sunnybrook Park.

• City Dray is resuming its regular service routes. If you have an emergency pickup, they're also trying to get to those. Call them at (218) 631-3101.

• Appliances, couches, electronics, etc. are not considered storm debris and cannot be taken to the old airport property for disposal. There are four categories of materials they will take there, and they must be pre-sorted into these categories: tree waste, scrap metal, masonry debris and other debris (including building materials, walls, ceiling tiles, flooring, textiles.) Household hazardous waste like paint, aerosol products and motor oil should be set aside for now -- a special collection will be happening later for those.

• The city is picking up tree debris from boulevards and back alleys. They cannot go on private property to pick up trees -- that responsibility falls to the landowner.

• Fire Chief Dean Uselman said if you have concerns whether your home's structure is safe to be entered, you can call and have a firefighter come out and look at the property. The phone number is 631-7764. He warned people to be careful in going into damaged structures to retrieve personal items. "Certainly there are things that are irreplaceable, but you're one of those," he said. "You're not replaceable."

• With all of the gas leaks in town, there was a surprising number of fires: zero.

• The city sirens were tested Sunday night to make sure they're still functioning after the storm. They are working perfectly, Police Chief Bruce Uselman said.

• All phones are out at WDC schools, including the elementary school which is now the temporary home of the high school and district offices as well. It may be a couple of days yet before the phone lines are restored, but the numbers will be the same once that happens.

• The 11 p.m. curfew continues in northwest and southwest Wadena. People may be stopped and asked to show ID if traveling late at night or early in the morning.

• Residents who have lost birth control in the storm can have it replaced for free. Contact Family Planning to do so.

• Gov. Pawlenty said in a phone message that FEMA assessment starts today. He's keeping in close contact with what is happening in Wadena and plans to make an appeal to the federal government for a disaster declaration.

• The Friendly Rider Bus Garage remains the drop off and pickup point for relief items, and it is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily at 124 SE First Street. Homecrest dropped off 2,000 boxes for people to use. Needed items include tarps, rolls of plastic, garbage bags and gloves. Emergency supplies are available at the garage.

• Emergency Management Director Scott McKellep looked at Police Chief Bruce Uselman and Sheriff Mike Carr and pointed out, "We are all local boys. This is my town. This is their town. You are our town." McKellep said while the emergency plan worked very well, he's taking notes in this recovery effort to make it even stronger in the future.

• Most electricity is still on, except for a couple of blocks of Wadena. If you are still without power, call 631-7712 to report it.

• There is no longer a need to conserve water or sewer, superintendent David Evans said.

• The list of contractors the city is compiling was cut off Monday evening and is available for pickup. The city is stressing it is not "certifying" these contractors, just compiling a list and making sure they have license and insurance information. They're also not checking references. So it's still caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. "Get more than one bid," said planning director Byron Larson. "Select them carefully."

• An effort is being made to get relief supplies and anything needed to those to the west in Otter Tail County who have been affected. "You are not forgotten," said Sen. Dan Skogen of the Deer Creek and Bluffton areas.

• The donation fund has been established at Mid Central Federal Savings Bank in Wadena. Donations can be dropped off there, or mailed to the City of Wadena Emergency Disaster Fund, P.O. Box 152, Wadena, MN 56482.

• The Wadena VFW has been making three meals a day for workers.

• Lost and found animals are being reunited with owners. For more information, contact the Humane Society at (218) 632-5938 or Southbrook Animal Hospital at (218) 631-3503.

• The MPCA warns not to burn anything on your property. That's probably not a safe thing to do anyway.

• The Neighborhood Counseling Center can be reached at (218) 631-1714.

• Another community meeting will be held today at 3 p.m. at St. Ann's Parish Center. It will also be broadcast live on 920 AM KWAD radio.

• City officials are still stressing safety and patience. "Cleanup is going to be an ongoing process for a long time," said Ron Bucholz, city public works director.

• There's at least a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast each day today through Friday.

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