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Friday, April 18, 2014

Andover will try to find photos' owners

BY STAN FINGER
The Wichita Eagle

Andover city officials hope to reunite photos sucked up and scattered by a deadly tornado 20 years ago with the people who once owned them.

More than 200 photos will be on display at a special ceremony Tuesday marking the anniversary of the massive twister that killed 13 people in the Golden Spur mobile home park on April 26, 1991. The tornado hit Andover after tearing through Haysville, south Wichita and McConnell Air Force Base.

Photographs picked up in the wake of the EF5 tornado will be displayed on tables, and officials say they hope people will discover one or more that belong to them or to loved ones.

"Even if it's just one person finding one photograph, it'll be worth it," Andover Mayor Ben Lawrence said. "It's like opening a time capsule."

While efforts to find the owners of the photographs have been made over the years, city officials thought the 20th anniversary would be a good opportunity to try again.

The Red Cross will serve coffee and lemonade from one of its emergency response vehicles beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, city officials said.

Red Cross volunteers and emergency responders will be answer questions and provide information on how to be well-prepared when violent weather threatens again.

An invocation will be given at the council meeting when it begins at 7 p.m., and the names of those killed by the tornado will be read aloud.

A total of 17 people died in the tornado, including four in a subdivision in eastern Sedgwick County.

The gathered photographs will remain at Andover City Hall until May 3 for those who want to go through them. City Hall is now at 1609 E. Central in Andover Central Park.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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