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Tuesday, December 14th, 2004 -- 7:48 PM

The West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission ? utilizing Clark County?s Emergency Planning Committee as a steering committee ? is in the process of developing an ?All-Hazard Mitigation Plan? for the county.

The first of three meetings was held on Wednesday afternoon with Chris Straight ? who is authoring the plan ? explaining the document needs to be on the books by January 15th if Clark County is to get any FEMA mitigation funds. Those funds can be used to prevent ? or at least lessen ? the impact of disasters, whether natural or otherwise. Jennifer Lord-Kourachi with the Clark County Emergency Management Department says the plan will first be sent to Wisconsin Emergency Management, then through the County Board and finally on to FEMA.

"The final product will be a plan - probably about 100-some-pages in length -- that outlines all the natural hazards that apply to our county and it will also identify some possible mitigation strategies," says Lord-Kourachi.

This plan will cover just unincorporated areas of the counties; cities and villages need to develop their own specific plans if they are to be eligible for mitigation monies ? those plans should be complete in 2006. On Wednesday, the committee discussed what were to be deemed ?critical facilities? ? such as schools, hospitals and government structures ? and ranked which types of natural disasters carry the greatest risk here.

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