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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Grinnell begins recovery process after derecho fells power lines, trees across Poweshiek County

Photo contributed by Maya Kusunoki-Martin.

The city of Grinnell has begun a lengthy recovery process in the aftermath of the derecho that swept across Iowa on Monday, killing two residents of Poweshiek County and causing widespread damage to the area.

Poweshiek County Emergency Management told KCCI on Thursday that a 41-year-old woman had died in Malcom after being injured by debris during the storm, and a 40-year-old man in Brooklyn had died of electrocution by a downed power line. The Poweshiek County Emergency Management office did not immediately return The S&B’s request for comment.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster declaration for Poweshiek County on Tuesday in addition to 19 other counties. The declaration activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program, which provides for grants of as much as $5,000 for households with earnings up to twice that defined by the federal poverty line. The grants can cover repairs, replacement of spoiled food, and emergency housing costs, or for reimbursement of storm-related expenses (receipts are required).

Applications for grant funding are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website.

Friday’s “Campus Conditions Update” email from College President Anne Harris announced that some areas of Grinnell have regained power as Alliant Energy directs technicians to different parts of the city, and that removal of large tree debris has begun “in earnest” in residential areas.

Harris urged the community to continue to practice social distancing and PPE use during the recovery period, writing, “We have endured a great upheaval, and conditions were so intense as to forget there is a pandemic also active in our world.”

As power is restored to the campus, faculty are being asked to vacate academic buildings in order to allow for safety checks by Facilities Management and a “purge” of the air inside the building once the HVAC systems are confirmed to be fully functional.

The email noted that residence halls, which function differently than academic buildings during a power outage, do not need to be cleared at the current time, and that students living on campus should stay in or near their halls until they receive further information.

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