The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the deadline for Nebraskans to apply for disaster assistance.

Homeowners, renters and business owners in designated counties now have until June 19 to register for federal aid.

Homeowners and residents may qualify for grants to pay for repairs needed to make their home habitable, temporary rental aid and for coverage for disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other sources. Low-interest loans also are available to eligible applicants.

Governmental entities will have until June 20 to apply for federal aid. There are several types of flood recovery work for which governments can get reimbursement, including emergency services, debris removal, road and bridge repairs, and for utilities, parks and recreational areas and water supply systems.

Register online at disasterassistance.gov, or by phone at 800-621-3362.

Bankers Association to take applications for Nebraska Strong aid

Funds raised through the Nebraska Strong effort will be distributed through an application process managed by the Nebraska Bankers Association.

The association worked with the Nebraska Community Foundation and Nebraska United Way to establish the Bank On Nebraska Strong Fund, which has raised more than $145,000 to date.

The focus will be on communitywide needs and long-term recovery. A grant application form and guidelines are at nebankers.org/bankonnestrong.

“With initial triage efforts beginning to decline, the NBA is eager to put the funds that have been so generously given to work to rebuild our Nebraska communities,” said the association’s president and CEO, Richard Baier.

The NBA started accepting requests for grant support Wednesday. 

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Additional Nebraska recreation areas open to visitors

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has reopened portions of two state parks and several recreation areas. Contact the individual park or check the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website for complete details.

Niobrara State Park is open, but can’t be reached from Highway 12 on the park’s east side. Instead, access is from the west on Highway 12, which means a significant detour for eastern Nebraskans. Trail rides and swimming pool hours will vary depending upon staffing.

Indian Cave State Park is open, and access to the cave trail has been restored. Boat ramp remains closed.

State recreation areas that have at least partially reopened recently: Dead Timber, Louisville, Willow Creek, Schramm Park and Pelican Point.

Riverview Marina State Recreation Area remains closed.

Corps awards $8.5 million contract to repair Iowa levee 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded an $8.5 million contract for closing one of the breaches on a Missouri River levee.

Closing the breach northwest of Bartlett, Iowa, is necessary so other repairs to flood damage, notably fixing Interstate 29, can proceed.

The contract went to Newt Marine Service of Dubuque.

Jeremy Szynskie, project manager for the corps, said the project was difficult because officials had to figure out how to access materials needed to fill the hole. The contractor will bring in two to three smaller dredges to extract sand from the land side of the levee.

There are more than 500 miles of levees on the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn Rivers and their tributaries that have experienced significant flood damage, including 50 breaches, according to the corps. Repairs are expected to take a significant amount of time.

An elevated risk of flooding remains until all the levees are repaired.

Google gives $125,000 to Nebraska and Iowa

Google.org and Google employees have donated more than $125,000 to flood relief efforts in Iowa and Nebraska.

“Google is proud to call Iowa home, and we felt it was important to support our neighbors in need,” said Dan Harbeke, a regional spokesman for Google. The money was donated by employees, the Council Bluffs data center and Google.org.

Google employees also have collected such things as food, water, cleaning supplies and clothing to help people recover from flooding.

Google’s data center in Iowa officially went online 10 years ago. Google employs more than 400 people at its Iowa facility and has awarded more than $1.5 million to local schools and nonprofits since 2009.

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Phone: 402-444-1102.

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