Beshear Asks For Disaster Declaration

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear said Friday he was asking for federal disaster relief to help cover a growing tab to clean up from the strong winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ike that battered Kentucky nearly a week ago.

More than 120,000 people remained without electricity as crews kept working around the clock to restore power knocked out Sunday.

Beshear said he was confident Kentucky would qualify for federal assistance and called it "the worst storm of its kind on record in Kentucky."

"I'm hopeful that we are beginning to see some light at the end of this long, dark tunnel," Beshear told reporters in Louisville, which was hardest hit by the power outages in Kentucky.

Wind gusts peaked at 75 mph at Louisville's main airport and in western Kentucky. The high winds were blamed for the death of a 10-year-old Shelby County boy struck by a large limb while mowing.

Meanwhile, a Louisville woman's death is under investigation as possible carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator found in her home. Dozens of others were treated for exposure to carbon monoxide

In one sign that life was returning to normal, local public school officials announced that classes would resume Monday in Louisville after a weeklong disruption. Meanwhile, there were no ill effects at Valhalla Golf Club near Louisville, where play opened Friday in the Ryder Cup.

By gaining a presidential disaster declaration, state and local governments could seek reimbursement for up to 75 percent of costs to remove debris, repair public infrastructure and provide emergency protection, Beshear said. State and local governments each would shoulder 12.5 percent of those costs.

The federal government requires a $5 million threshold in public damage to qualify, officials said.

"We have reached and exceeded that threshold," Beshear said.

Meanwhile, Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said he was pushing congressional leaders to include Louisville in a separate disaster-relief package being considered by Congress.

As the power outage dragged on, some storm-weary residents chose
a Red Cross shelter over their homes.

"It's been kind of tortuous," said Lee Hayes, whose family took refuge at an American Red Cross shelter in downtown Louisville after roughing it at home for several nights.

Hayes' family coped most of the week by driving to Fort Knox to eat with friends, then returning home for the night, where they relied on flashlights.

They spent Thursday night in the shelter after Hayes and his wife, Maria, spent four fitful nights at home without power for the machines that treat their sleep apnea.

"I just couldn't take it anymore," Maria Hayes said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by Leslie Location: Drakesboro ky on Sep 21, 2008 at 06:16 AM
    I have moved from Eastern ky to western ky, but still keep up with the news. I live in Muhlinburg county, and survived this storm. Never in my 41 years did I see or live through a storm like this. For 5 hours the storm pounded with sustained winds at 50 mph with gusts up to 75 mph!! The wind snapped huge trees that crushed roofs and houses, and not to mention the vehicles! It tore shingles off of houses and destroyed property as if it was a tornando. I am a republican myself, and did not vote for Beshear, but he has hit the nail on the head this time. I may have to swing over next time, because he was right, I am sure it was the worst wind storm whith millions of dollars of damage!
  • by Leanne Location: currently Louisville from Lexington on Sep 20, 2008 at 10:21 PM
    I go to the university of Louisville. And I know Lexington eastward didn't get much but in the Louisville area it was horrible. All public and private schools were closed last week because so many of them had some kind of damage. A high school's roof was blown off. Power lines were down everywhere. I was in my dorm room and you could see debris flying everywhere. The wind sounded like a tornado. So many people are still without poewer. Including most of my relatives.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 20, 2008 at 11:58 AM
  • by Diane Location: Mt.Sterling on Sep 20, 2008 at 07:40 AM
    "Worst storm of its kind on record in Kentucky"??? Are you kidding me? Where has Beshear been all his life. No one is disputing the damage, the inconvenience, or even the loss of a life but the "Worst of its kind"? Beshear needs to watch the news or somehow get informed of life in general!
  • by steve Location: irvine on Sep 19, 2008 at 10:22 AM
    What now gov we going to bail out everything just because a tree branch falls gees we done bailed your liberal ran shenanigans in Washington.The government has done broke the American people.


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