- Associated Press - Sunday, May 10, 2015

BEAVER CROSSING, Neb. (AP) - A year after tornadoes caused significant damage to Beaver Crossing, residents say the eastern Nebraska town is still recovering.

Village Clerk Shannon Chesnut tells the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1FXDgqL ) that he’s still finding glass and nails in his yard even after five clean-up efforts.

“We’ve raked it, we’ve combed it. And there is still glass and nails,” said Chesnut, who works as the Beaver Crossing village clerk. “It’s like the dirt eats it and spits it back up.”

The town of about 400 people lost 30 buildings in the storm last Mother’s Day, but fewer than 10 families left. About 20 of the homes that were lost have been or are being rebuilt.

Most homes in town now have new roofs and windows. Chesnut said Beaver Crossing is working to help anyone who is short on money for repairs.



Pastor Tamara Holtz of Beaver Crossing United Methodist Church says the Seward County town has mostly started to feel like itself.

But living through the storm and the recovery has been difficult, said Pastor Eric Wiezorek, whose Hope Center church was destroyed.

“It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever had to go through,” Wiezorek said.

The Hope Center congregation plans to start building a new church this summer, but it’s still raising money because insurance won’t cover all the cost of the new 12,500-square-foot facility.

This spring, Beaver Crossing held a festival to thank the roughly 3,000 people who helped with the cleanup right after the storm.

“Everybody was positive and worked hard. We got a lot of work done in a relatively short while,” Village Board Chairman Dick Pariset said.

The town lost most of its large trees, so this spring volunteers have planted hundreds of saplings to replenish Beaver Crossing’s canopy.

Kenny Pankoke, owner of Beaver Hardware & Supply, estimates that he has fixed or replaced more than 900 windows and screens in the past year. His own store on Main Street was heavily damaged in the storm and had to be replaced.

Pankoke said Beaver Crossing has come a long way since the storm, but it did lose several businesses after the storm.

“Any time you lose a business in town, it hurts the other businesses,” Pankoke said. “It’s not good for the community.”

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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