- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BEAVER CROSSING, Neb. (AP) - More than 100 residents gathered at a town council meeting to hear some good news about their tornado-damaged village in eastern Nebraska.

Power had been restored to most of Beaver Crossing, the residents were told at a meeting Monday at the community hall. The lieutenant governor was scheduled to tour the town on Tuesday, and a federal damage team will be checking the area.

Conditions have improved to the point that a team from the Nebraska National Guard will be leaving.

Beaver Crossing sustained some of the worst damage from the tornadoes that ripped through parts of eastern Nebraska on May 11. The National Weather Service said the EF3 tornado that struck Seward County town packed winds peaking at 140 mph.

Earl Imler with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said he’d be surprised if Beaver Crossing didn’t receive some federal disaster aid for infrastructure and loans for businesses in the next four weeks.

But, he said, the town of around 400 probably won’t qualify for individual assistance from the federal government because relatively few homes were destroyed.

Nebraska officials say 227 homes were damaged near Beaver Crossing, including 16 that were destroyed and 22 that sustained major damage. A number of businesses and churches were also damaged. A makeshift sign lay near the ground as workers repaired the roof of the United Methodist Church on Monday. The sign said: “Down but not out.”

The cleanup is continuing with the help of volunteers, family and friends.

“We’ve picked up a lot of piles,” said Beaver Crossing volunteer firefighter Rick Backhus, who’s overseeing the debris removal. “There’s going to be a lot of piles yet.”

One resident, Robin Butzke, said she knows of at least seven families who’ve decided to leave Beaver Crossing. Not her, though.

“I’m ready to stay,” Butzke said.

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