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Little inspects flood damage in Tupper Lake

State Senator Betty Little surveyed flood damage in Tupper Lake on Thursday as part of her campaign to secure emergency funding to repair damage caused by flooding in the North Country.

Her tour began at the Trail's End tavern where the owner, Mark "Beard" Sutliff, said flooding caused water damage to his establishment.

"The water was right up to the door and all the insulation underneath the floor is going to have to be ripped out," he said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo put in a formal request earlier this week to declare 26 New York counties a federal disaster area. He has also asked for the Individual Assistance program to help individuals and businesses impacted by the flooding.

Flood insurance is expensive, and few people had it locally.

The state has met the $25 million threshold to qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but Little pointed out that this does not guarantee funding.

She said her visit would help her make the pitch for federal assistance, something she said won't be easy to get given the problems in other parts of the country, including more serious flooding along the Mississippi River.

"We need to make the argument that it was a real hardship and that people were hurt by it," Little said.

Most of the damage was in Franklin and Essex counties, where Lake Champlain and the AuSable, Raquette and Saranac rivers spilled over their banks.

A number of people had to be evacuated from their homes for days in Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, and Lake Champlain is still above flood level.

While braving heavy rains and thunderstorms with a state issued umbrella, Little inspected several area homes that had been inundated in the recent flooding.

She said she came away with a fresh sense of the hardship people have been dealing with in Tupper Lake.

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