Cleanup still slow after January 2012 storms

Even with new homes going up, there are still scars from storms in Clay and surrounding communities. Piles of debris and damaged homes are waiting to be cleaned up after the January storms. Those tornadoes swept through Center Point, Clay, and other communities."It was a mess. It was absolutely a mess," Larry Hays, a Clay resident said.For Larry Hays, every day is a reminder of the January 2012 storm that left his community devastated."I had about 26 pine trees all in my front yard, on my house," Hays said. "It took a long time to get all that cleared off."But it's what's left across from his backyard - that's causing new problems.{}"If you have anybody over or go out to the pool or anything, it's just like an eyesore," Hays said. "Tarp hanging on it, flopping, half the side torn off."Debris piles and abandoned structures are not only eyesores, they're becoming breeding grounds for a few unwelcome guests."Sickening. Just a sick feeling," Hays said."When you have debris like that sit for a long time, you're going to have rodents and snakes," Mayor Charles Webster, Clay said."I've already spent $500 on pest control to get rid of them," Hays said.The city of Clay, says cleanup is a slower than normal process. {}Because of it's size and lack of income to pay for the debris removal, the city is using a line of credit."Everybody has been really patient because they knew we didn't have any money from the state or Federal government - it's been all coming out of our pockets, so we had to move slower than if you just had the money in the bank," Mayor Webster said.There's still an incredible amount of debris: 300 truck loads and there's not much help in site."We're the little city that's just out there on it's own - is basically what they've told us," Webster said.Clay's neighbor, Center Point, lost several of its businesses. The mayor says cleanup is slow...."I think we will be better off than we were before," Mayor Tom Henderson, Center Point said. "It's bad to say that something good like this can come out of the bad but you have to move forward and hopefully make things better."The city of Clay says it's even had to cancel its splash park - it had already ordered - due to the high cost of cleanup. The city hopes to have the rest of the debris removed over the next several months.