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Midwest Tornadoes

Alyssa Thorpe, left, and Marlee Burden hold their children while Halyn McKnight, right, searches for possessions with her mother, Jennifer Burden, in her destroyed home in the aftermath of tornadoes that tore through the region in Dawson Springs, Ky., on Dec. 15, 2021.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A tornado-stricken county in western Kentucky will receive $8.5 million in additional support, signaling the start of a new round of assistance for a region working to recover from the devastating storms last December, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

Hopkins County is the first county to receive support from the new West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies fund, Beshear said. State lawmakers appropriated more than $120.8 million to support the fund, and more awards are expected to be announced in coming weeks, he said.

“These funds will help Hopkins County cover services that are not eligible for FEMA support and will ease some of the financial strain they have endured as so many of their resources have been directed toward restoration,” the governor said.

Eligible cities, counties, utilities and school districts can apply for financial support from the fund as the cleanup and rebuilding continue, he said at his weekly news conference.

Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield Jr., in a video message, praised the bipartisan work of state leaders in providing the crucial funding to support rebuilding efforts. The Hopkins County town of Dawson Springs was devastated by a tornado.

“In a day when all too often politics gets in the way of getting work done, I am pleased that our state has come together to assist all of the counties that have seen so much devastation,” he said.

Beshear, a Democrat, credited Republican state Sen. Robby Mills for his work in getting the tornado-relief legislation passed.

Eighty-one people died in Kentucky from the tornadoes that ripped through parts of the state last December. In the hard-hit city of Mayfield in Graves County, a candle factory, a nursing home and government buildings were destroyed.

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