2019-20 Campaign Results Announced by United Way of Southwest Minnesota
United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) reports a total of $595,545.79 was raised during the 2019-20 fundraising campaign. A small portion of the funds raised locally will be paid directly to local organizations as designated by the donors. All other funds raised locally will support local programming and people throughout 2020-21. Currently, 52,600 local people are being touched by the organization through internal programs, community partner programs and/or other initiatives.
Michelle Doeling, Campaign Chair said, “Thank you to everyone that supported United Way of Southwest Minnesota, with donations, special events and volunteer time. It was an honor to get to be a part of such an amazing campaign that will support so many programs and organizations. We truly HELPED OUR HOME!”
More than 2,000 individuals, families, service organizations, clubs, schools, foundations and businesses contributed to the campaign. Gifts ranged in size from handfuls of change to tens of thousands of dollars. Every gift, no matter the size, makes an impact. When many entities give, it adds up and makes a remarkable difference throughout the region. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota board of directors and staff team would like to thank everyone who donated time, funds and other resources to our campaign. Thank you for helping your home.
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. In southwest Minnesota, the focus is on health, education, financial stability, hunger and safety & well-being. For more information about United Way of Southwest Minnesota and our commitment to the area, please visit our website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.
Myth: “My Agent said I can’t get flood insurance since I’m not in the floodplain.”
Reality:That is NOT true.Rural properties throughout the county may be eligible as well as those located within the city limits of Chandler, Lake Wilson, and Avoca!
Myth:I have homeowner’s insurance!Doesn’t that cover flooding?”
Reality:Flooding is not covered under a homeowners insurance policy.This includes flash flooding which has been the majority of flooding cases in Minnesota since 2017.
Myth: “If there’s a devastating or damaging flood, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will cover it.”
Reality:A federal disaster declaration is needed before FEMA assistance may become available.FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) is only eligible in some disasters, and the average pay out when available is only around $3500 per household.
Who MUST purchase flood insurance?
Flood insurance is required for all buildings in mapped high-risk flood zones shown on FEMA’s maps when financed by Federally-backed loans or mortgages.
Who CAN purchase flood insurance?
All homeowners, business owners, and renters in communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) may purchase NFIP flood insurance on any building and its contents, even if outside of the mapped flood zone.Discounted Preferred Risk Policies are usually available outside of the mapped high-risk flood zone.Owners are encouraged to buy flood insurance even if not required by mortgage lenders because buildings in mapped flood zones are five times more likely to be damaged by flooding than by major fires.
30-day Waiting Period
There is a 30-day waiting period before any new flood insurance policy takes effect.Based on this information, the time is now to contact your insurance agent to determine whether you need a flood insurance policy for your buildings and contents.A policy issued on March 1st would be effective April 1st.
Flood Insurance Policies
The NFIP is backed by the federal government.Policies are sold by private insurance agents and as long as the community participates in the NFIP, anyone in that community can purchase flood insurance.Anyone in Murray County, outside the municipalities, is eligible to obtain flood insurance.AND those with property within the following municipalities:Avoca, Chandler, and Lake Wilson, may also obtain flood insurance.All communities can and are encouraged to enroll in the NFIP; flooding has occurred all over the state in communities with no mapped high flood risk that got eight, ten or even twelve or more inches of rain.
More Intense Rains
In Minnesota, extreme rain events are becoming more common, and can occur almost all year.In fact, the MNDNR Climatology office talks about “Mega-Rains,” which are events in which six inches of rain covers more than 1000 square miles and the core of the event topped eight inches.
Seeing More Damage Outside Mapped High Flood Risk Zones
Those purchasing flood insurance in medium and lower risk zones are usually able to get the discounted “Preferred Risk Policy, which can be purchased for as little as $200/year for $20,000 building/$8,000 contents coverage, and about $600/year for the maximum residential property coverage of $250,000 building/$100,000 contents.Twenty-five to 30 percent of flood insurance claims are in the lower risk areas, and more recent reports estimate that over 50 percent of flood damage occurs outside of the mapped high-risk areas.
NFIP Goal: Flood Damage Reduction to Private and Public Structures
The NFIP aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures.It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners, renters and businesses and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures.Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically.
Tanks and Utilities
Fuel and propane tanks may explode or release contents during flooding.Even shallow water can create large buoyant forces on tanks.Tanks may be placed underground, elevated on platforms or columns, or at-grade and anchored to resist flood loads.Fuel and propane tanks can pose serious threats to people, property and the environment during flood conditions.
Heat Pump or A/C units must be elevated above the regulatory flood protection elevation to minimize flood damage potential.
The Flood Risk is Real
Murray County experienced a large flood event in July 2018, continued flooding in 2019, and based on the higher water levels last fall, and all the snow events that continue to occur over Murray County, climatologists are concerned that we may see flooding again this year.Fast melting snow combined with severe storms and heavy rainfall has the potential to cause extensive flooding this spring.
When considering flood insurance, many people only think that flood insurance is needed for those properties directly adjacent to water, or in the floodplain.However, many forget about the overland flooding that occurs, especially with rapid snow melts.
Why should I purchase flood insurance?
If you’re thinking that it seems silly to buy flood insurance every year, and “If they predict a big storm, I’ll buy flood insurance then,” remember, it doesn’t work that way.There is a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy becomes active.Don’t gamble.Call your insurance agent and get a good flood insurance policy.So, when all of the snow melts and the rains come, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your home and your possessions are protected.
If you have any questions or need more information, below are websites and contact information for you:
Jean M. Christoffels - Murray County Zoning/Environmental Administrator
Steps to Reduce Flood and Water Damage
• Check your sump pump.Clean the sump pump and pit and test the pump by pouring water into the pit.Consider having a spare submersible portable sump pump.Make sure the discharge hose delivers the water several feet away from the house to a well-drained area that slopes away from the house.If the hose outlet is too close to the house foundation or on flat ground, the water may simply recycle down through the house drain tile.Don’t run sump pump water into a rural septic system because the water may saturate the drainfield.In cities, running sump pump water into the sanitary system may overload the system and cause sewage backup, plus it may be illegal.
•Move valuables to higher locations.Get items such as irreplaceable family photo albums, high school yearbooks, personal videotapes, tax records, insurance policies and household inventories off the bottom shelves in the lower level of your home.
• Move hazardous materials to higher locations.This includes paint, oil, cleaning supplies and other dangerous materials.
• Move snow away from the house’s foundation.If the ground is sloped 1 inch per foot near the house, moving snow just 3 to 5 feet from the house will reduce problems.
• Keep water out of window wells.Since windows can’t withstand much pressure, build dams and contour the ground so water will naturally drain away from the house.
• Get downspouts down in place so that as snow melts, they can carry the water away from the house.Using salt or a chemical to melt them free will probably damage the lawn.
• Plan an escape route if certain roads or streets are known to flood easily.Where would you go if your home flooded – a local shelter, a family member or friend’s house?
• Assemble supplies in case the electricity goes off.Gather water, nonperishable food, paper plates/cups and plastic utensils, extra clothing and shoes, blankets or sleeping bags, a first aid kit and prescription medications, cash and credit cards, important phone numbers, special items for babies and the elderly.
• Anchor fuel tank.A fuel tank can tip over or float in a flood, causing fuel to spill or catch fire.Cleaning up a house that has been inundated with flood waters containing fuel oil can be extremely difficult and costly.Fuel tanks should be securely anchored to the floor.Make sure vents and fill line openings are above projected flood levels.If you have propane tanks that are the property of the propane company, you’ll need written permission to anchor them, or you can ask whether the company can do it for you.
• Prepare appliances for flooding.Shut off appliances at the fuse box or breaker panel.Put freezers, washer, dryers and other appliances up on wood or cement blocks to keep the motors above the water level.If high water is imminent and large appliances can’t be moved, wrap them in polyethylene film, typing the film in place with cord or rope.The water will still get in, but most of the silt won’t so cleanup will be easier.
• Shut off electricity to areas of the home that might flood.Even if floodwaters are not reaching electrical outlets, the risk of electrical shock to someone working in a flooded basement is high with electric motors in the furnace, freezer, washer, dryer and other appliances.Shut off electrical breakers or unscrew fuses.Don’t stand in water and turn off electrical switches.If this must be done, use a dry piece of wood or a plastic or rubber pole to do the switching, and stand on a block of wood or a plastic crate that doesn’t conduct electricity.If floodwaters are getting close to the electrical entrance box, call the power supplier and have the electrical supply to the house disconnected.If the floor is damp but not really flooded, ground fault circuit interrupters reduce the risk of using electricity.In newer homes, interrupters can be identified by the buttons between the top and bottom outlets.They can be added to any outlet or in an extension cord to turn off the power if an electrical fault occurs.
Producers Urged to Consider NAP Risk Protection Coverage Before Crop Sales Deadlines
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers to review available USDA crop risk protection options, including federal crop insurance and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, before the crop deadline of March 15.
Federal crop insurance covers crop losses from natural adversities such as drought, hail and excessive moisture. NAP covers losses from natural disasters on crops for which no permanent federal crop insurance program is available, including perennial grass forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, bioenergy, and industrial crops.
The following crops in Murray County have a NAP application deadline of March 15, 2020:Spring-seeded crops and Pasture
Producers can determine if crops are eligible for federal crop insurance or NAP by visiting https://webapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/ActuarialInformationBrowser2018/CropCriteria.aspx.
The 2018 Farm Bill reinstates higher levels of coverage, from 50 to 65 percent of expected production in 5 percent increments, at 100 percent of the average market price. Producers of organics and crops marketed directly to consumers also may exercise the “buy-up” option to obtain NAP coverage of 100 percent of the average market price at the coverage levels of between 50 and 65 percent of expected production. NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production.
For all coverage levels, the NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties.
Federal crop insurance coverage is sold and delivered solely through private insurance agents. Agent lists are available at all USDA Service Centers or at USDA’s online Agent Locator: http://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#. Producers can use the USDA Cost Estimator, https://ewebapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/costestimator/Default.aspx, to predict insurance premium costs.
For more information on NAP, service fees, sales deadlines, contact the Murray County FSA office at 507-836-8567 or visit the web at www.fsa.usda.gov/nap.
By: John Stenen
Our world seems to be getting crazier every day. Our nation is so different than the one I grew up in. What was godly, decent and right is being turned upside down. Policies that were proven to bring about security, peace and prosperity to our country are being challenged and threatened at an alarming rate. Our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, (Christianity in particular), and our right to bear arms are under attack as never before.
Lawmakers may legalize sin, but that doesn’t make it right. Politicians tell us that their beliefs in what is right and wrong have ‘evolved.’ What I see is that so many Americans have lost their fear of God. God’s Word does not change! What was wrong two thousand years ago is still wrong today. So, what’s the danger in all of the ungodliness sweeping throughout our nation? Judgment! The prophet Isaiah said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Read the rest of that chapter and see how God brought severe judgment on Israel for rejecting Him.
Our nation will be severely judged one day. It is only by the grace of God that we are where we are as a nation, but we are fast losing it.
Scripture says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” One day, and it could be soon, Jesus Christ is coming for those of us who belong to Him. After He catches us out of here, judgment like this world has never seen will strike this earth. There is still hope for you if you have not surrendered your life to Christ. Do it today. We don’t know when Jesus is coming, but neither do we know when we will pass from this life. God bless.