Mineral Loses FEMA Aid, Lands Alan Jackson

MINERAL, VA (WWBT) – In the tiny Louisa County town of Mineral, all the talk is about FEMA and country music.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency won't give Louisa County federal disaster aid following last month's earthquake, but a country music star will do his part to help people forget about their problems.

It's been seven weeks since the earthquake, and Todd Hall is still rebuilding.

ANDY: "What used to be here?"
TODD: "Model blocks, cinder blocks. It cracked it so bad you could look through the  wall anywhere you wanted to."

The 5.8 magnitude tremor August 23rd caused $40,000 worth of damage at Hall's Body Shop, none of which is covered by federal disaster aid. Todd blames the government.

TODD: "I ain't voting for whoever's in the office. I'll vote for the next man coming in."
ANDY: "You serious?"
TODD:  "Yeah. Only thing I can do."

It's becoming more apparent that most of the millions of dollars in earthquake damage, county-wide, will have to be paid for by individual home and business owners who likely don't have insurance. There's a state pool of private donations, but it won't be enough.

"We're not going to be able to handle that very easily with the funds that we do have," said Bob Spieldenner of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. He added, "We've had a number of events this year, but this one is definitely tough because the resources that can help out are limited."

The battered town did receive some good news Monday when it finished first in an online competition to bring a country music concert to town.

Country music star Alan Jackson will bring a free concert to Mineral after the town easily beat out Kansas City. It's not clear when, or where, the concert will be...but town leaders say it's just the kind of news Mineral needs.

Back at the body shop, Todd explains how he's paying for all of the work.

"Borrow, beg, and steal is the only thing you can do. Government ain't gonna help you," he said.

He's only joking about stealing...in a town that's serious about needing money for repairs.

While we wait for more details on the concert, Virginia is appealing FEMA's decision, and will try again to land some kind of federal disaster aid for earthquake victims.

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