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Flood Relief Meeting Held, Victims Still Waiting for Aid

Some people devastated by the June and July flooding have yet to receive any type of assistance, and now they're speaking out. The deadline to apply for flood assistance from the state was in early September. Since then, more than one-thousand checks have been doled out. But some people who applied haven't even gotten a call back about their application, let alone a check.
Some people devastated by the June and July flooding have yet to receive any type of assistance, and now they're speaking out. The deadline to apply for flood assistance from the state was in early September. Since then, more than one-thousand checks have been doled out. But some people who applied haven't even gotten a call back about their application, let alone a check. Many of them turned-out at a meeting in Herkimer today. That's where state reps tried to answer questions from frustrated property owners.
Eyewitness News spoke with one small-business owner in Herkimer who just wants an answer. Ron Dejong's father immigrated here from Holland as a dairy farmer. Then, with Ron's help, the family started a 9-hole golf course from scratch.
"We bought all our own equipment, and after I got out of college, I jumped on a bulldozer and we started working on it," said Dejong.
To keep up with their competitors, the 2-man work crew began a major expansion--adding 9 more holes to the course. But just as the work was completed, it disappeared before their eyes.
"Greens that were constructed and growing in were actually completely washed out, and you're left with big ruts, and no topsoil and stones," he said.
With thousands of dollars of damage and lost revenue, the family applied for state aid and someone came to assess the property.
"He said this is by far the worse I've ever seen so far and he said I don't see any issue with you being able to qualify for the maximum," said Dejong.
But since then...nothing. That's why Dejong spoke out at the public meeting today.
"You got to be patient, you got to be patient, well I mean, we're here in November and you still haven't heard of anything and that's what makes me think that somehow we got lost in the shuffle," he said.
He didn't get a straight-forward answer today, but was told he'd hear from someone by the end of the week. Robin Robinson of the United Way moderated the meeting, and acknowledged that the public didn't hear what they wanted to.
"We know that some folks did get some state funding and other folks didn't, we don't know the reasons why or why not, we wanted to allow them to have a forum to tell us what their thoughts were," she said.
But even after voicing these thoughts the Dejongs don't have high hopes.
"There is a lot of people that are going to be left holding the bag there's not going to be any help for them."
The United Way presented 62-thousand dollars to Catholic Charities for on-going flood relief. The funds will also pay for two disaster case workers that will work directly with those who still need help.
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