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Minor storm damage    
Image for Entry 1315222192There were lots of reports of damage from Saturday's severe thunderstorm, but it all seemed to be minor damage, nothing like the EF-1 tornado in May or the big storm on 7/23/10. After driving around town a bit yesterday, here's a couple of the "highlights" (or "lowlights" if you were the recipient of the damage). These photos are from Hudson & Hull and Grand & Mongomery.
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Events page redesigned    
I've just redesigned the Events Page. The old format was super nice, but very time consuming to maintain. As a result, it wasn't always complete up to date. And Coldwater really needs a good event calendar. The Branch County Community Calendar was launched a couple of years ago with much fanfare. However, there's a couple of problems with it. First, there's two versions of the same calendar, and one version may have events not listed in the other. Which version you see depends on which website you go to. Second, I've noticed that a few big events have been totally missed. I contacted the DDA a while ago about these problems, but nothing has changed.

The new events page seeks to give you a simple, always up-to-date calendar. I wrote an automated "script" that checks the calendar daily and deletes any old events so the next event is always on top; new events are easily added when I submit an event title, date, and link. So instead of rewording the event you now simply jump to the event's web site for all the official details. So now you have to click a link to see details rather than see everything on one page, but the advantage is that I now will be able to keep the page stuffed with events and up-to-date very easily. Note that I'm not trying to replace the Branch County Community Calendar, but supplement it. If you submit your new event there, I'll see it and re-post it to the events page (except for events like Tibbits and train rides which are pay events that are not one-time special events). You can also submit to me directly if you prefer. There's a link for that on the events page as well as links to both versions of the Branch County Community Calendar, so I'm hoping it will work out great for you.
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Relay for Life 2011 underway...    
Image for Entry 1308967624It's unseasonably chilly this evening (low 60s), but great weather if you're on an American Cancer Society Relay for Life team and will be doing a lot of walking. With the large turnout, it seems likely that Branch County will be able to raise over $100,000 again for cancer research. The band Next in Line (with Greg Brayton, cancer survivor) played again to entertain the walkers and bystanders, and we were told that the four members of the band only have the opportunity to play together once or twice a year, so it was a special time. CBPU's bucket truck was also back, along with other special booths. The evening activities are winding down but the walk continues all night and through much of the day Saturday.
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More tornado damage reported    
Officials have now confirmed that a tornado touched down in Coldwater Sunday and that it was an EF-1. WWMT (TV Channel 3) reports that it was not 4 Star General Storage but Budd's Upholstery (also reportedly owned by Mark & Laurie Budd) that got hit by the tornado. Since WWMT's report was based on an actual interview and since WTVB's report included a photograph of a damaged storage facility, then most likely both reports are true, which would be a triple-whammy for the Budd family (lost home and two businesses). WWMT also reports that a freeway billboard got blown down into someone's yard.
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Surprise tornado sirens 2 times    
Twice now the tornado sirens have gone off in Coldwater even though the National Weather Service did not issue a tornado warning. The first time was on Sunday, May 22nd around 7:45pm. According to WTVB, "Branch County 9-1-1 decided not to take any chances after it received several reports of funnel clouds aloft ... along Garfield Road in the Coldwater area and activated the Tornado warning sirens." A week later, on Sunday, May30th (last night), the sirens were blown again at 4:43pm. According filed reports to Weather Underground, there were numerous witnesses of an actual tornado: "Multiple reports of damage for a quarter of a mile in the area of US 12 and I-69 in Coldwater. Roof off house and pole barn. Roof and doors off storage facility. Debris crossed I-69 into Walmart parking lot." According to WTVB, the damaged storage facility was 4 Star General Storage, owned by Mark and Laurie Budd.
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