FORADA — On Thursday evening, June 2, U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach, congresswoman for the 7th Congressional district in Minnesota, along with several other legislators, toured portions of Forada that were ravaged by an EF-2 tornado.
While walking along Maple Lake looking at all the damage that was done by the May 30 tornado, Fischbach, along with State Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria; State Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake; and State Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, spoke with residents, Forada City Council members, including Mayor David Reller and Clerk Jo Kluver, and two Douglas County commissioners, Tim Kalina and Jerry Rapp.
In a statement sent after her tour, Fischbach said, “It was truly humbling to see the damage done in Forada. We’ve got every level of government working to help rebuild, from local all the way up to federal, and if my office can be helpful, I encourage anyone to reach out. There is a long road ahead but it was beautiful to see the way the community has come together. The people of Forada are strong and will overcome this disaster.”
Cindy Frederick, along with her husband, Adam, live along Forada Beach Road, one of the hardest hit areas. She said they were fortunate that they can still live in their house while so many cannot. Frederick contacted Fischbach’s office asking for the congresswoman to come and see for herself the damage that was done and was thankful that Fischbach and the other legislators saw for themselves the destruction.
One of Frederick’s many concerns is Maple Lake and who will be cleaning it up.
“How do we take care of the lake?” she said, noting that there is so much debris along the lakeshore, as well as in the lake.
Kalina said the county is looking into contracting with a company that has barges that can come in and help clean up the lake. The cost, he said, is close to $35,000. Once something is put in place or a solution has been determined, Forada city officials will be notified along with residents.
For now, officials are asking that people use caution and that it would be best to stay out of the water.
Frederick’s parents, Gary and Shirley Kluver, who live down the road from their daughter, had severe damage to their home and property. They, along with several other residents, had the opportunity to talk with the legislators on the tour.
Fischback and Franson also toured what was left of a home located right next to the Forada Beach public access. The homeowners, according to the Douglas County parcel online map, are Michael Grove and Mary Timmer. They were home and in their basement, along with residents of the Sunset Beach Resort Association, which is directly behind their home.
A very large tree fell on the couple’s home, destroying it, but fortunately, no one was injured.
Mayor Reller said the city council is planning a meeting for next week to figure out next steps. The American Red Cross has been helping people and there are volunteers set up at the Forada Fire Hall for people to check in and ask questions.
More information about what help and other resources there might be will be determined in the coming weeks.
Fischbach said it’s not going to happen overnight; there is a process and that there are people at the state level trying to figure things out.
“We are with you, but we understand it’s hard,” she said.