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Whitmer approves more disaster funds for Otsego County

Courtesy of Michigan State Police
An EF-3 tornado struck the City of Gaylord on May 20, 2022.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today that Otsego County will receive additional state emergency funding for tornado recovery efforts.

The county and surrounding communities will receive over $500,000 following severe thunderstorms and an EF-3 tornado touching down on May 20. Governor Whitmer has approved these awards for the City of Gaylord, Hayes Township, Livingston Township, Bagley Township, and Otsego County.

“After the tornado hit our community, the people of Gaylord have grown closer together, and our work to rebuild damaged homes and local businesses — and help people get back on their feet — continues,” said State Representative Ken Borton (R-Gaylord) in a written statement. “In the Legislature, I’ve supported investments into our Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to help communities across Michigan recover from catastrophes and crises. Now, these critical resources will aid Otsego County in our hour of need.”

Gaylord City Manager Kim Awery says even though the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied the request for emergency relief, the state funds will help the city recover costs from the disaster clean up.

"I think this is good, this will make us whole. It happened at the end of our budget year too. From the city of Gaylord standpoint, we had to take monies from other places to try to pay bills," said Awery.

Awery added that homeowners are the people who need relief the most at this point in the recovery process.

"It's not necessarily that they don't have the insurance and don't have the coverage. It's finding the contractors and being able to get the work done. The shortness of building supplies and things that are being issues for everyone. That's kind of the general consensus I've hear," said Awery.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering homeowners, renters and businesses low-interest loans to help recover from the May disasters. You can learn more about the loans and the application process at

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.