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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2008

Jerusalem Township, Curtice still recovering from tornado

BY CHAUNCEY ALCORN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Several campers at Meinke Marina on Corduroy Road in Jerusalem Township were destroyed. Several campers at Meinke Marina on Corduroy Road in Jerusalem Township were destroyed.
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It's been nearly a month since a tornado swept through parts of Jerusalem Township and Curtice, Ohio, but some local residents still haven't gotten their lives completely back to normal.

The storm's funnel cloud, with wind speeds estimated at nearly 100 mph, initially touched ground at 7:20 p.m., April 11, just north of Curtice, covering 5 to 10 miles before reaching Reno Beach, Ohio, at about 7:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Jerusalem Township Fire Chief Harold Stanton said it caused an estimated $150,000 in damage to public property alone, knocking down power lines, trees, telephone poles, and street signs throughout the area.

"There were a few buildings around that were leveled and some that were considerably damaged," Mr. Stanton said. "We had a few roofs damaged, but we got real lucky with residentials. We didn't get the kind of damage we very well could have."

Although utility workers and emergency technicians had restored most of the damage to government property by April 13, Mr. Stanton said many people whose homes were damaged are still dealing with the aftermath of the storm.

Local resident Jennifer Shepherd is one of those. Her Corduroy Road home sits on six acres of land where she lives with her husband, Dennis; sister, Laura; and twin sons, Joshua and Jonathon.

The property has two barns and two houses, one of which is occupied by the family of her daughter, Laura Ramirez .

On April 11, the family was celebrating the birthday of Christian, one of Mrs. Shepherd's grandsons, at Chuck E. Cheese's in West Toledo and had no idea a tornado was wreaking havoc on their home.It leveled a barn, ripped shingles off roofs, and knocked a tree into Mrs. Ramirez's roof, which was cracked as a result.

When they returned home from bowling at about 1 a.m., their yard was surrounded by emergency vehicles.

"I was in shock and mostly I was trying to keep the little kids from being too scared," Mrs. Shepherd said. "It was kind of a scary thing."

The family's insurance company sent a local contractor who estimated the damage at $100,000.

"I was glad we left, very glad," Mrs. Shepherd said. "I was glad that we were all safe and stuff we lost was just stuff. It can be replaced."

The storm destroyed even more "stuff" up the road at the Meinke West Marina on Lake Erie. The park is scheduled to open today, but last week, Mr. Meinke was still clearing recreational vehicles from his property that were destroyed and blown into the marina by the tornado, which also destroyed a few boats, and a billboard sign.

"We're repairing everything that we can," Mr. Meinke said. "It hit right when the boats were going in the water. We had a lot of electrical damage. The docks are going to have to be repainted. We can't make everything new."

About five campers tipped over into the water and damaged his docks.

"I'm talking with my insurance company right now," he said. "They haven't been telling me what they're doing yet."

By all accounts, the April 11 tornado was one of the few to hit the area in recent years, but it did more damage than any in recent memory.

"That's very rare that we get one," Chief Stanton said. "I can remember maybe two or three others that basically did no damage whatsoever. This is the first one that's done considerable damage."



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