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home : opinions : editorials March 26, 2015

8/14/2013 11:22:00 AM
Denying Yarnell aid a low blow by feds
Courtesy the Daily Courier

As if the tiny town of Yarnell about 20 miles south of Prescott hasn't suffered enough blows in the past month, its people had to hear Friday that no federal money would be coming their way because of the Obama administration's refusal to declare the area the site of a major disaster.

Ever since many of Yarnell's people lost their homes in the Yarnell Hill fire that killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who were struggling to battle it, they have quietly gone about their way, determined to rebuild with limited resources. When they had to flee the fire, they spent a week out of their homes in evacuation centers or other places where they could find lodging. All they could take with them were the clothes on their backs and what they had time to pack in their cars and trucks.

Now that they are back in Yarnell, they are living with family and friends who have opened their homes to them or in donated RVs. Some have rented houses, and the more fortunate have been able to buy RVs or fifth-wheel rigs.

None of this has been easy, and it has added expense for these people, even though contributions to help rebuild the town are coming in to the Yarnell Recovery Group, in generous but not overwhelming amounts.

Gov. Jan Brewer and local legislators reacted with disappointment to word of the denial of federal aid that the governor received late Friday afternoon, within days of the president's visit to Arizona to tout the improving housing market and the economy.

At the time of the fire, Brewer asked Obama for help, and he intimated that the federal government might follow through and send some aid for Yarnell. We shouldn't have counted on it.

Unless the federal government rescinds its decision in an appeal that the governor might pursue, Yarnell is out of luck as far as the feds are concerned. And that's not right. As Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin said Friday, this decision make it look like people of a tiny town in the West don't have as much clout as those in the East or those who have endured major disasters in hurricanes.

Yarnell residents pay their taxes like all of us. They deserve better than this slap in the face.

Yet, knowing the will of the people of Yarnell, it's a sure bet they will keep putting one foot in front of the other and move on.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Dennis R.

My disappointment, and I use that term lightly, because I really knew what was going to happen, was that during the services at Tim's, our VP and our other government representatives, said that they were here for us. So what exactly does that mean? They used taxpayer dollars to fly to Arizona, put their arms around everyone and then headed back to Washington, thinking that they made an impression to us Arizonans as a caring government. Then, and as usual, we "Arizonans" have to fend for ourselves. This is not a matter of the federal government paying for anything. Just don't make statements that you are going to do something for good press and then not do anything. We the people, let alone all the victims in this tragedy, don't deserve that.

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013
Article comment by: RICK ALLEN

The Federal Government can't pay for everything, and just because you pay Taxes does not mean the Federal Government should pay for every bad thing that happens. The State of Arizona, and the County of Yavapai should be footing the bill along with the City of Yarnell. We can not count on the Fed's pulling us out of every hole nature manages to put us in.

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