Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

State News

April 18, 2014

FEMA's disaster decisions frustrate leaders


FEMA officials say they assess a number of factors to determine an event’s size and impact before deciding who gets help. Concentration of damage plays a role, as does the number of injuries and deaths. For aid to individuals and local governments, FEMA takes into account a community’s resources, and those of the state, to recover on its own.

Cassie Ringsdorf, a FEMA spokeswoman, said in an email that federal law restricts the use of formulas or other objective standards as a sole basis for determining need. That leaves FEMA open to criticism that its decisions are unfair, inconsistent and hard to defend.

Earlier this year, U.S. Sen Joe Donnelly asked FEMA officials to meet with Kokomo leaders to explain their repeated denials. Local leaders said they left the meeting feeling more confused – and angry.

“We never really got a good explanation for why three disasters in one year wasn’t enough to warrant some help,” Wyman said.

FEMA’s discretion

The last time FEMA granted an Indiana request for help was when a tornado struck the small town of Henryville in 2012, killing one resident and injuring others.

The town and Clark County sustained significant damage, though not as much as other Indiana communities experienced in the November 2013 storm. But the tornado was part of a lethal wave of storms that ripped across the Midwest and South, killing 40 people in five states – including 13 in Indiana. FEMA provided just over $5 million in public and individual assistance to communities in and around Henryville.

Hill said FEMA felt pressure from the high-profile event and made a subjective decision to offer assistance. FEMA could have exercised similar discretion, he noted, to help Kokomo and other communities after the November 2013 tornadoes.

“I can’t get in the head of FEMA,” he said. “I don’t know why they’ve said, ‘We’re not going to help Indiana.’”

Text Only
State News
  • Briefs piling up in gay marriage appeal INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Opponents of same-sex marriage cited political theory, social stability and even biblical text in legal briefs filed this week in federal court, where Indiana and Wisconsin are appealing rulings that overthrew their bans on gay we

    July 25, 2014

  • Healthy Indiana Reaches Capacity Indianapolis – As of today, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has authorized the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to stop enrollment into the existing Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). Enrollment in the cu

    July 25, 2014

  • nws-gb072514 BC-US--Teen Pilot-Crash pic Wreckage of teen's plane found in Pacific PLAINFIELD, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has found wreckage from an airplane piloted by an Indiana teenager who was killed when he crashed during an around-the-world flight, a Coast Guard spokesman said Thursday.A C-130 pilot spotted sections of

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man who avoided prison time for rape resentenced INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man who was placed on home detention after being convicted of drugging and raping his then-wife was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for violating his probation.The ex-wife of 52-year-old David Wise said

    July 25, 2014

  • Ex-employee says prison workers had sex on desk INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that Indiana’s prison agency mistreated a female employee when it shrugged off her complaints about workers having sex on her desk and later fired her for having an affair with an official.The app

    July 24, 2014

  • nws-gb072414 plane crash pic Plane piloted by teen crashes PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) – Sources tell 24 Hour News 8 a plane piloted by a Plainfield teen and his father has crashed after taking off from Pago Pago in American Samoa.Haris Suleman, 17, and his father were on an “Around The World” trip, attempting t

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Counties chosen for preschool program INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s three most populous counties are among five chosen for a pilot program that will allow low-income children in those areas to attend preschool as early as next year.Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties we

    July 23, 2014

  • Colts partner against Rx abuse INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force have teamed up with the Indianapolis Colts to heighten awareness of Indiana’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. According to the Indian

    July 23, 2014

  • Infant from Indy attacked, killed by dog in Ohio DAYTON, Ind. (WISH) — Authorities in Dayton, Ohio say a 7-month-old from Indianapolis was attacked and killed by a dog over the weekend.Officers were called to a home on Riverside Drive around 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Someone called 911 saying their neighb

    July 22, 2014

  • Downed jet victim was Indiana exchange student DEMOTTE, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana University doctoral student’s boyfriend who died with her on the downed plane in Ukraine had spent six months in northwestern Indiana as a high school exchange student.Jenny Jonkman said Laurens Van Der Graaff came fro

    July 22, 2014