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Federal lawmakers announce grant to help state with Sandy recovery

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall, all D-W.Va., announced on Wednesday that the United States Labor Department is sending a $300,000 National Emergency Grant to WorkForce West Virginia.

The grant will create about 35 temporary jobs for eligible workers to help with cleanup and recovery efforts at sites damaged by superstorm Sandy.

"I'm grateful for this federal support," Tomblin said. "This grant will assist us in rebuilding and restoring our hometowns while helping put West Virginians back to work."

The grant will help individuals who were displaced from their homes or lost their jobs because of superstorm Sandy.

The grant targets Barbour, Preston, Tucker, Upshur and Webster counties -- all of which were previously declared "federal disaster areas."

The federal emergency funds will provide temporary employment to help clean-up, demolition, repair, renovation and reconstruction efforts on the sites of destroyed public structures, other facilities and lands in the damaged areas.

The federal funds also may be used to provide humanitarian aid.

Rockefeller said, "Sandy was devastating to so many of our communities in West Virginia, tearing up roads, toppling trees and damaging homes."

Rockefeller praised the Labor Department for wanting to hire displaced and unemployed workers in its clean-up efforts.

Manchin said, "As we celebrate this holiday season, let us also celebrate the great news that more jobs will be created for many hard-working West Virginians.

"So many communities are still working to rebuild their homes and businesses in the aftermath of [superstorm] Sandy," he said. "We will continue to do everything we can to create jobs here at home in West Virginia and across America while doing everything we can to assist the American workers who are hurting."

Rahall said hauling damaged structures away is the key to starting the rebuilding efforts.

"Sandy's wrath demanded a federal response and this is a good down payment on a broader effort to fully recover," said Rahall, the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

People interested in working on the restoration projects can call WorkForce West Virginia at 1-800-252-5627.

WorkForce West Virginia has its main offices in the Plaza East Shopping Center, near Appalachian Power Park and Charleston Area Medical Center on Charleston's East End.

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348=5164.


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