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A Year After the Floods

Floods Nearly One Year Later
Wellsburg (WENY) -- Nearly a year later, some local businesses still haven't seen any federal or sate aid after the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Lee.

The combination of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused $1.5 billion dollars in damage in the state of New York a year ago next month. Nearly $600,000 has been given out in state aid, with almost half of that going directly to homeowners, businesses and municipalities. But some local businesses haven't received a penny and had to rebuild all on their own. The Wellsburg Diner is one of them.

"It was ruined, completely ruined," said Rose McCartney, who works at the Wellsburg Diner. "The more that we pulled out, the more that we found out we had to pull out. During that process we ran into a gas tank, and that was it -- we had to relocate."

After six feet of water severely damaged the popular Wellsburg Diner during last year's storm, the business was forced to close its doors for seven months.

"It was devastating," said Tammy Blow, also a Wellsburg Diner employee. "It was my source of income, too. I didn't know what I was going to do because you don't know how long you're going to be out of work, and then it was a lot longer than we had anticipated. The place was upside down. It was a mess."

Diner owner Linda Thomas, and her sister Rose, looked around at new locations, and on a shoe-string budget, decided on the place across the street. $574 million has been given out in state aid, but the diner didn't receive any help.

"I think that every business that was effected should have got something," said McCartney. "I don't care if it was here or down in Owego, you know, all the places that were effected. It wasn't just us."

Business has been steady at the new location since March and customers have been loyal. Some say that despite the struggles, the diner ended up in a better spot.

"They got a much better diner than they did across the street," said customer Delbert Beach. "I think they've got a lot more business."

Employees at the diner did say the community was a big help in getting the business back on its feet. To show their appreciation, they'll be having a big thank you dinner in September.