County officials give update at new resource center

MIDLOTHIAN — Ellis County residents affected by the weekend's tornado got some answers Tuesday night on how to go on with their lives one step at a time.

More than 170 homes in the northwestern portion of the county were impacted by an EF-3 tornado Saturday night, totaling an estimated $20.4 million in damages. On Tuesday, a Multi-Agency Resource Center opened at Longbranch Elementary to provide assistance through credible agencies. At 5:30 p.m., toward the end of the center's first day, county officials and representatives held a meeting to show support and give residents advice.

Stephanie Parker, the Ellis County Emergency management coordinator; Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown; MISD superintendent Lane Ledbetter; Casey Ballard, the United Way of West Ellis County executive director; Tim Birdwell, the Ellis County Fire Marshal; and State Farm Insurance agent Tim Toby s well as Pct. 4 commissioner Kyle Butler offered residents contact information for services and advised on the best way to move forward.

Here are the top 10 things presented from the meeting that residents should be aware of:

1. When clearing a home, watch for snakes, unstable structures, glass and other dangerous debris. Wear protective clothing and make sure your shots are up to date. Don't touch deceased animals.

2. Sheriff's deputies will continue to heavily patrol the damaged area. If you need assistance, call or stop a deputy.

3. The Midlothian ISD is collecting names and information of students impacted by the storm to make arrangements for when school starts next week.

“Your child will remain in MISD and will remain at the campus they are at,” Ledbetter said. “If you need school supplies, don't go out a buy them. The school district will take care of you.”

4. The process to receive state and federal funds in underway, but will take time. The Ellis County Emergency Management team will keep residents updated on the process.

5. No roads or bridges were damaged in the storm, and county workers are will clearing many. Potholes have developed in some areas because of heavier traffic, but will be repaired.

6. Property tax value will be re-evaluated to reflect the property condition on Friday.

7. Document all damage and items you have to replace to allow the insurance company to gather information quickly.

8. Don't throw away damaged items until the adjustor documents them.

9. Don't inflate additional living expenses, expenses of living out side of your home until it is repaired, because the insurance will take that sum out of other reimbursements.

10. Be aware of scammers. Use reliable, local companies who will be here in six months or a year if problems develop. If you do fall for a scam, alert the sheriff's department. “We will go after them and show them they can't do that here,” Brown said.


Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email Follow her on Facebook at or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.