Commissioners address tornado tragedy

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, April 19, 2011

WINDSOR – Bertie County Commissioners were preoccupied Monday.

And rightly so.

The board held its regular meeting during the morning hours of Monday, but Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard III made it clear they were going to get their work done and get back to Colerain and Askewville.

“I apologize if we look somewhat preoccupied today,” Hoggard said. “We’ve obviously had a tragedy with the loss of life with the tornadoes that struck Saturday night.

“As far as loss of life, it is the worst disaster in Bertie County in recent times,” he said. “We wanted to conduct this meeting, but if we move fast, please forgive us, there are things that need to be attended to.”

Hoggard said all five commissioners had been out working to do whatever they could to help with the tragedy.

After his initial statement, he recognized Commissioner Norman M. Cherry Sr., who led a moment of silence for those who had lost their lives.

During the board’s public comments section, citizens spoke and both were attempting to aid victims of the weekend tornadoes.

Tim Phelps presented a check for $1,000 each to the Town of Colerain and Town of Askewville from the Friends of Bertie. They asked the commissioners to make sure the checks went to the appropriate place.

Kent Williams, a citizen from Powellsville, said he had heard several concerns while helping those who were trying to clean up.

“The biggest concern people have is what are they going to do,” he said.

He said citizens were concerned about taking the debris to the landfill and being charged.

Commissioner J. Wallace Perry interjected that the situation was being handled at that same time the board was meeting. He said people would be able to put the debris on the roadway and the county would make sure it was picked up.

Williams then said there were concerns from farmers whose fields had debris in them.

Commissioner Rick Harrell said the USDA was working to have inmates come in and clean up that debris so farmers could continue their work.

Citizen Candy Lee asked if there were opportunities for those who wanted to volunteer to help and Chairman Hoggard said those names could go to Clerk to the Board Misty Deanes.

Lisa Briley of Roxobel said there were many citizens from that area of the county who were at the meeting and had brought canned goods and other items. Deanes said she would deliver them to Colerain Baptist Church for distribution.

Later in the meeting, Planning Director Traci White said the Inspections Office had already started receiving questions about building permits and asked the board to waive fees for those who were victims of the tornado.

Harrell made the motion to waive the fees and Perry offered a second. It passed without objection.