SBA Deadline Ahead

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Victims of December's thunderstorms and tornadoes in Newton County have until Feb. 24 to apply for assistance from the Small Business Administration.

SBA's disaster area director, Michael C. Allen, said renters and business owners with storm damage qualify for low interest SBA loans.

On Dec. 19, a tornado with winds estimated at almost 160 miles per hour devastated downtown Newton and adjacent areas.

Several businesses along U.S. Hwy. 80 were damaged. Officials estimated the storm caused $1 million in damage.

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has asked the White House to reconsider a request to issue a federal disaster declaration for the storm-damaged area.

Allen said he was surprised at the low number of loan applications turned in so far.

The SBA loans help repair damages not covered by insurance, and can be canceled if it turns out private insurance covers the repairs, he said.