Flood updates: Hours extended at free disposal site for household hazardous waste

Flood updates: Hours extended at free disposal site for household hazardous waste
World-Herald News Service

The metro area’s free, household hazardous waste drop-off site has extended its hours to accommodate those cleaning up from flooding.

Under the Sink, 4011 S. 120th St., is open to Douglas and Sarpy County residents only. Proof of residency is required to drop off materials.

The center also recycles some materials that are dropped off, which mean residents can go there and pick up free paint or other household materials.

The schedule, with the added hours:

Tuesdays, 1 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Saturdays, By appointment only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call 402-444-7465.

For more information on what can and can’t be dropped off, visit their website, underthesink.org.

BBB offers advice on hiring contractors

The Better Business Bureau has published a booklet, “ReBUILD with TRUST,” with information about how to hire contractors, how to manage insurance claims and disputes and how to check on charitable organizations before accepting aid or making donations.

The digital version of the booklet is posted on the homepage of BBB’s website here and has been formatted for mobile devices, laptops and tablets here.

State income tax deadline extended for some flood victims

Income taxpayers in the nine counties that have been declared a federal disaster area will be given extra time to file their state tax return, the Nebraska Tax Commissioner announced Wednesday.

The new filing deadline for state income taxes is July 31 for those who reside or have a business in the affected counties and who were subject to a mandatory or voluntary evacuation. The designated counties are: Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders, and Washington. Additional counties may be added later as the disaster declaration process continues.

Commissioner Tony Fulton said said those who were adversely affected by the disaster but don’t meet the above qualifications may qualify for a case-by-case reprieve.

For more information, call 800-742-7474 in Nebraska or Iowa, or 402-471-5729, or visit Department of Revenue’s website.

The IRS has already extended the federal income tax deadline for the nine counties to July 31.

UNL recovery experts urge volunteers to register

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Extension and Public Policy Center are assisting in the coordination of flood cleanup and recovery in Nebraska.

Ryan Lowry, a research specialist with the Public Policy Center who has expertise in disaster response, stressed that individual volunteers and organizations must register with the county or community where they are volunteering for safety reasons, and to help offset costs for the communities.

Lowry said that once a presidential disaster declaration is made — which President Trump approved March 21 — the federal government may provide 75 percent of eligible assistance, while the rest is split between state and local funding.

“Tracking volunteer hours really helps when a community is coming out on the other side of the disaster,” Lowry said. “Each volunteer hour has monetary value, which offsets that 12.5 percent the community or county has to pay.

“It helps take some of the financial burden off the community.”

Quinn Lewandowski, State Citizen Corps program coordinator at the Public Policy Center, said, “There’s a lot to be done, and those volunteers renew hope for people who’ve lost so much.”

Lowry said that if a person wants to help but can’t volunteer physically, monetary donations are best, as storing items can be a burden response teams.

For more information on flood recovery, volunteering and how to assist through donations, click here.

Niobrara waters rapidly filled lake behind Gavins Point Dam

An epic amount of water and ice washed down the Niobrara River during this month’s flooding.

Images of the scoured landscape and piles of ice show that vividly. And now there’s another way to characterize the extraordinary nature of the flooding on that northern Nebraska river.

So much water was washing down the Niobrara that it would have filled Lewis and Clark Lake in one-half to three-fourths of a day had the lake been empty, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

And the water would have kept coming.

The Niobrara is the primary tributary feeding into the lake, which is formed by the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River. The Corps operates the dam.

“We still would have been releasing a lot of water,” said John Remus, chief of the Missouri River Basin Management Division of the Corps of Engineers.

In response to the influx of floodwater into Lewis and Clark, the Corps upped releases from Gavins Point Dam by nearly five times normal. Various levels of high releases continued until inflows from the Niobrara River subsided.

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