The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:
Q: We were so lucky so not have the terrible flooding that happened in other parts of the state. My question is whether or not local authorities had to help anyone find shelter during this situation, here in York County.
A: York County Sheriff Paul Vrbka said they employed the help of York County Emergency Manager Gary Petersen in finding shelter for 12 people. The sheriff said the people were all from Platte County and were working in York County. When they were unable to return home due to the flooding there, they found them temporary shelter at the York City Auditorium.
Q: There are a lot of places to donate money and items for flood relief. My question is what can be done to help the livestock producers directly? Is there an official place we can go or call to offer our assistance?
A: At this time, the local FFA chapters and the Lively Livestock 4-H Club are in the process of gathering items to be taken to farmers in need on Sunday. They have trailers parked at Orschelns and Tractor Supply in York, which are being filled for transport. Nutrition Services has also offered a semi and a truck to transport product – items may also be purchased there and they will load it directly. Donation suggestions include hay, bags of feed, mineral tubs, salt blocks, colostrum, milk replacer, bottles, work gloves, fencing supplies, fence posts, tools, bottled water. On Saturday, items may be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. People may also donate money for these items to be purchased. Checks can be written to the Lively Livestock 4-H Club and in the memo it needs to be written that this is for “The Nebraska Storm Relief Fund.” Organizers are working directly with Nebraska Strong Storm Relief, as this organization is guiding them as to where the items will be delivered in the state. If someone wants to donate bales or feed, arrangements can be made for those items to be picked up if necessary.
Meanwhile, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture says that “producers have been impacted by the blizzard and flooding and are now in need of hay, feed stuffs, fencing materials, volunteer help, equipment, etc. If you have hay, feed stuffs, fencing materials, equipment, etc. that you are willing to donate, please contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 1-800-831-0550.Be prepared to share your name, contact information and what you have that you are willing to donate and the amount, along with your location. NDA staff will be gathering this information and identifying needs to react accordingly, including the use of the National Guard and other state resources.”
A list of disaster relief resources for Nebraska farmers and ranchers is also available online at: https://buff.ly/2FbqDfU. This website includes links to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs including the Livestock Indemnity Program and information from the Nebraska Extension.
Q: In how many years has this week’s level of flooding happened in Nebraska?
A: When Governor Pete Ricketts toured areas of the flooding, he said this devastation was the worst widespread situation in the state and categorized it as historic.
Emergency declarations have been made in 41 villages/cities and 53 of the state’s 93 counties.
Q: With all this crazy weather and the awful flooding, we are suddenly hearing the term of “bomb cyclone.” They say a “bomb cyclone” was to blame for the heavy rain and the blizzard out west. What on earth is a bomb cyclone?
A: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a bomb cyclone, or bombogenesis, “occurs when the atmospheric pressure of a storm drops 24 millibars in less than 24 hours. As pressure falls, the storm grows stronger and stronger, creating intense high winds and heavy snows. A bomb cyclone usually happens when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, typically over a large body of water, so last week’s storm marked a rare inland bomb cyclone.”
Q: If we want to send financial donations to flood victims, where are the safest places to make donations? I want to make sure that my money goes to the flood victims and there is no chance of a scam.
A: There are ways to make donations for flood relief that can be considered extremely safe.
The governor’s office has announced that the Nebraska Preparedness Partnership is currently accepting donations.” These donations will stay in Nebraska and will be used for these catastrophic flooding/blizzards. And a list of reputable national and state organizations can be found on the Nebraska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)’s website, www.nvoad.org. By giving to any of these organizations, donors can be sure that their funds will be distributed to those most in need.
Donations can be made to the American Red Cross of Nebraska by going to redcross.org and selecting “I want to Support Disaster Relief;” call 1-800-REDCROSS; test the word REDCROSS to 90999; mail check to American Red Cross, 2912 S. 80th Ave., Omaha, NE 68124.
Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska is accepting monetary donations to assist those affected by the flood and storm damage. Checks can be mailed to their administrative offices at 2241 O Street, Lincoln, NE 68510 or via their website. If donating by check, be sure list “flood relief” in the check memo. If donating online, designate “flood relief” in the “specific designation for your gift” field.
United Way of the Midlands is also accepting monetary donations. They say 100 percent of every donation to the Nebraska/Iowa Flood Relief Fund will be directed to non-profit programs meeting people’s needs for emergency shelter, food and more. Donors will have the opportunity to direct their gift to a specific community within Nebraska or Iowa if they so wish. Go to their website for more information.
“In the coming days, it is critical that we reach out and help our communities affected by the devastating floods,” Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said this week. “One of my responsibilities is to help Nebraskans recognize and avoid disaster-related, fundraising scams.”
“Following a few simple steps can help ensure that your donations reach those in need:
• It is best to donate to organizations whose reputations you are familiar with and those having a local presence.
• Be cautious about fundraising efforts initiated on social media with no known ties to an established organization or local charity.
• Carefully evaluate the charity before making a donation. Resources such as Charity Navigator, GuideStar, IRS Select Check, the National Center for Charitable Statistics, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance all provide information about established charities.
• Designate the disaster so you can ensure your funds are going to disaster relief, rather than a general fund.
• Don’t fall for imposters. Watch out for charities with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. Sometimes these sound-alike names are designed to confuse donors. If you receive an email, telephone call, or text message asking for a donation, confirm that the request is from the charity, and not an imposter, by contacting the charity or visiting its website before making the donation.
• Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals or send money via money transfer.
• Be especially wary of unsolicited emails that contain attachments or links to websites, as they may download harmful malware onto your computer.
• Be cautious when donating to a recently-formed charity. These organizations have less experience handling donations, especially those intended to assist with a natural disaster.
• Ask questions. Contact the charity to ask how your donation will be used for disaster relief. If they cannot give you answers, consider donating elsewhere.
• Use peer-to-peer fundraising platforms carefully. Watch for hidden fees and make sure you know how your personal information may be used after you donate. When possible, make your donation payable to a charitable organization and not a specific person.
• Get permission and all the details before raising money on behalf of a charity or individual. Contact the charity or individual beforehand to get permission and determine how and where donations should be sent. This will also provide you with an opportunity to confirm that any representations you’ll be making are truthful.
Those who suspect a charity scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at https://protectthegoodlife.nebraska.gov or 800-727-6432.
Editor’s note: There were other questions related to the historic, disastrous flooding in Nebraska. Many of these questions can be answered by reading the statement from the governor which is included here - https://www.yorknewstimes.com/news/nebraskans-others-step-up-to-help-flood-victims/article_98ebe49e-4cb1-11e9-84ae-bbed651f3ccb.html