Q&A about the Greensburg tornado

05/08/2007 1:01 AM

01/24/2008 5:15 PM

Here are answers to some things we -- and readers -- wondered about the aftermath of the tornado in Greensburg. Have a question? E-mail us and we'll try to answer it for you in this column.

LATEST ANSWERS

What is being done with the displaced large animals: cattle, horses, etc.? Is there a need for foster care for these animals until they can be reunited with their owners?

Sam Graham, veterinarian with the Kansas Animal Health Department, said some farm animals were displaced. As people have reported them, they are being cared for. People with questions are asked to call the Pratt County Humane Society, 620-723-2897.

My wife and I have a number of clean, good-condition clothes that we would love to donate to the people affected by the tornado. Is there a receiving agency to which donated articles can be shipped? We live in Iowa. My birthplace is Pratt, and I would like to be able to donate in some tangible way.

In general, clothing is not needed, but packaged underwear and socks for adults and children of all ages are needed. Also needed are bedding and towels.

In Wichita, those wanting to donate those objects can drop them off at the Kansas Food Bank, 1919 E. Douglas, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.

The Food Bank will be closed Sunday, but items can be dropped off during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. next week.

ANSWERED FRIDAY, MAY 11

Has everyone been accounted for, or are there some still missing?

Officials said Wednesday they thought everyone had been accounted for. Search crews will still be called as needed, they said, but rescuers don’t expect any calls.

Is U.S. 54 through Greensburg still closed?

Traffic on U.S. 54, which travels right through town, still is being rerouted from both directions.

Westbound traffic is being stopped in Pratt, 30 miles east of Greensburg. State transportation workers are directing people headed toward Dodge City north on U.S. 281 and then west on U.S. 50, which leads to Dodge City.

Traffic headed toward Liberal is being rerouted south on U.S. 281 and then west on U.S. 160, a detour that makes the trip between Pratt and Liberal about 40 miles longer.

Eastbound traffic is being stopped at U.S. 183, about a mile west of Greensburg. From there, people can connect with U.S. 160 to the south or U.S. 50 to the north.

It’s unclear when normal traffic will resume. All the detour roads can handle the same types of traffic and vehicles that U.S. 54 can.

I live in North Carolina but am ready, willing and able to come to Greensburg and work for a week or so. I'll do whatever needs to be done. Can I just show up, or do I have to be part of a group like the American Red Cross, Samaritan's Purse, etc.?

Call United Way of the Plains, which is working on a plan to organize volunteers, at 316-267-0202.

I am an Kiowa County resident and I applied for an extension to file my federal taxes. My extended deadline is May 12. Do I have to meet that deadline?

The Internal Revenue Service will provide tax relief for Kansas taxpayers in Kiowa County.

Deadlines for affected taxpayers to file returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts falling between May 4 and July 5 have been postponed to July 5.

In addition, the IRS will waive the failure-to-deposit penalty for employment and excise deposits due between May 4 and May 21, as long as the deposits are made by May 21.

If any affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late-filing or late-payment penalties that would otherwise apply. No penalty or interest will be abated for taxpayers that do not have a filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, during the specified periods.

Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov or may order them by calling 800-829-3676. The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 800-829-1040.

Has the Kiowa County treasurer (or any county official) issued a press release concerning the 2006 real estate taxes due May 10?

Kiowa County Commissioner Gene West said the county is working on putting extensions on payments, including penalties and interest payments. He said anyone who owns property in Kiowa County is encouraged to mail their property taxes to the old courthouse address at 211 E. Florida, Greensburg, KS 67054. The mail will be forwarded to the Greensburg High School where workers are busy setting up county offices.

“We hope to have those offices up in a day or so,” West said. “I think we’ll manage with the old courthouse address. It’ll come through Pratt and as soon as we get a postal command center in Greensburg, then we’ll handle it there.”

What is the status of the Kiowa County Historical Museum in Greensburg?

“I think it’s probably a totally loss,” West said. He said he did not know about its contents.

ANSWERED TUESDAY, MAY 8

Where can I find a list of the deceased from the tornado?

We are now maintaining a list of victims here.

ANSWERED MONDAY, MAY 7

Where can people displaced by the storm get their mail?

Some mail has been lost because the post office was destroyed. All that is left of the 47-year-old brick building is one wall. The branch served 1,500 addresses, said Greensburg Postmaster Randy Kelley. The post office is collecting changes of address to forward mail to survivors.

In the meantime, customers served by the Greensburg post office can pick up their mail about 32 miles away at the Pratt Post Office, 202 E. Third St., from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

I can't reach my cousins by phone. How can I find out where they are -- and if they're OK?

Go to Eagle's Web site, Kansas.com, and click on the "Find loves ones" link. You'll find a discussion board where you can type in a personalized message explaining who you are looking for. Other readers who know them can share their up-to-date information.

You can also check the Red Cross' Web site, disastersafe.redcross.org. That page allows people to select from a list of messages -- such as "Currently at shelter."

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