Senator Al Franken Tours Northland Flood Damaged Communities

By KBJR News 1

July 2, 2012 Updated Jul 2, 2012 at 1:55 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Surveyors estimate the Northland flood damage totals $108 million.

To help in the ongoing recovery efforts,US Senator Al Franken is in the Northland Saturday touring the flood-damaged communities.

"My friends who are here helping me out are from the Hermantown Rotary Club," Michael Cochran said.

Michael Cochran, joined by his friends and family are cleaning up after what many are calling the worst flood in decades.

"Any type of help is welcome."

Through the devestation, Cochran says he is pleased his community is the host to some of Minnesota's top political officials.

"The city is going to really need money for infrastructure. I mean, when you look at this road, it's not the way it used to be. You know, there are portions that are collapsed and it's not just here in Fawn du Lac, it's all over the city."

Senator Al Franken visited the community along with Barnum, Moose Lake, and Willow River Saturday.

"We happened to have flood insurance, but most homeowners didn't. Those that didn't I'm sure would be very grateful for federal assistance, not that we wouldn't, but some people are hurting more than we are."

With additional financial assistance from FEMA, Senator Franken is hopeful the Northland will get the assistance it needs, but what's next?

"The governor has requested on the basis of that a disaster declaration by the federal government and on Monday the White House will be receiving a letter from our delegation."

The declaration is sponsored by Gov. Mark Dayton, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken.

"It's very important for homeowners and business owners to document the damage to their homes, their businesses. Take pictures. Document it as it is so important."

While community members wait for a decision on federal aid, Michael knows he isn't going anywhere.

"You know, for 35 years, this has been a beautiful, fantastic place to live and I have no regrets. We had this 500 a year incident and if it doesn't happen for another 500 years, I'll be really glad. I'll be glad to get back to normal so we can enjoy life on the river again, because this is just a great place to live."

Are you going to get there?

"Oh, yeah. We'll get there."

Franken says starting Friday, a disaster recovery center in Duluth will be available to residents to stay for up to four days.

Individuals at the shelter will be asked to complete an application in the event that President Obama grants an individual disaster decree.

Written and posted by Justin Reis, NNC jreis@northlandsnewscenter.com