County Making Progress after Laura
The conditions in Newton County after Hurricane Laura were devastating. The damages were likened to Hurricane Rita of 2005. Many trees were down and all power was wiped out for Newton County residents. Judge Weeks is encouraged by the comeback in the county. He shared that Jasper Newton Electric Co-Op and Deep East Texas Electric have worked tirelessly to restore power to thousands of members. JNEC reported 21,000 members without power and as of Monday, September 7, 2020, they have restored 20, 750 meters, leaving approximately 400 meters without power. Judge Weeks said, “I completely understand that folks are worn to a frazzle, but please know that we are working to help you in every way possible.”
Weeks also comes bearing good news. Newton County will receive two rounds of pick up by the Texas Department of Transportation through the Stars program. He urges residents to place all vegetation and debris at the right of way as soon as possible. He asks that you keep household debris (shingles) and any freezers or refrigerators separate at the roadway.
As for FEMA, Newton County has reached the threshold of $37,000,000 for public assistance but the individual assistance threshold has not yet been met. Of course, the evaluation process continues so the word on individual assistance is not expected for a week or two. Weeks asks that folks are patient, knowing that he and the commissioners are doing everything possible to get Newton County the help that is available. He certainly wanted to thank all those from out of town that have come and are still coming to aid Newton County residents with hot food, clean up services, and all sorts of donations. He said the help they are offering is priceless in times like these.