Jun 10, 2024 - News

How to help with ongoing cleanup

photo of debris

Debris is pushed to the curb in Rogers. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Residents should expect debris cleanup from the Memorial Day weekend storms to take time, as crews continue to work.

State of play: A company contracted by Rogers had picked up about 85,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris — like tree branches — as of Thursday, its sixth day on the job, Mayor Greg Hines said Friday at a news conference.

  • That doesn't include what residents have dropped off at public collection sites.

Be smart: Pickup crews haven't yet reached parts of the city; crews will reach those areas and will make repeat visits to other sites, as needed, Hines said.

  • Residents should continue to push their debris to the curb and separate their non-vegetative rubble — like construction materials — and vegetative debris. Crews will eventually pick up both categories of wreckage.
  • "The places we have gone through and made a first pass — you wake up the next morning and go back, and it looks like no one's ever been there," Hines said. "And that's going to be the narrative, unfortunately, in a large portion of our city that was in the direct storm path."

Zoom in: Gravette, Decatur and Siloam Springs school districts created a program where students can volunteer to help clean up on the west side of the county, per state Sen. Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs).

  • So far, about 40 students are participating. They can log community service hours now required for graduation as part of the LEARNS Act.

Threat level: Officials are warning of price gouging and scams, like people offering to remove trees or perform roof work at inflated prices.

  • Residents should not pay for services upfront, Hines said. FEMA officials have badges they can show residents to prove their identity, agency spokesperson Keith Jones said.

Thousands apply for help

People and businesses had contributed about $700,000 within days of the Benton County relief fund being established, said Jeff Webster, president and CEO of Excellerate Foundation, during the news conference Friday.

How it works: The fund is set up to provide immediate relief to households affected by the storms who make less than $125,000 a year.

  • Examples include people who lost pay because their work was affected — or those who can't afford to have trees professionally removed or need food assistance.

Excellerate, the nonprofit handling the fund, had received about 500 applications as of Friday.

  • Some of the money could go to nonprofits hurt by the storms or that will use the money to help storm victims, Webster said.
  • You can donate here.

By the numbers: FEMA has gotten 2,294 applications for assistance, Jones said.

  • Benton County, Rogers and Bentonville are applying for federal aid. Preliminary estimates in damage to public property and cleanup costs total $70 million, Moehring said.
  • Bentonville has its own electric service and had 120 poles down, Mayor Stephanie Orman said.

Keep reading for debris dropoff and burn info, plus how to apply for help.

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