North East residents deal with damage after last week’s storm

Local News

The lake front property of a North East woman has been significantly damaged by recent storms. The property is near Freeport Beach. With winter storms headed our way, the owner is finding no help.

Janet Rose Wojtalik said it’s been a difficult week for her. In the 10 years she’s lived on the shores of Lake Erie, Janet says that very rarely would a wave even touch her retaining wall. This year, she said her property has been ravaged by high water levels.

“Almost every household here has had damage because of the weather.” Wojtalik said. She has literally been picking up the pieces after a recent storm damaged her property.

“Mainly because I’m devastated that my property has been destroyed, the second worry is that how am I going to pay to rebuild the wall.” she tells us.

Rose said her State Farm Agent has told her she’s not covered by insurance. Wojtalik has also written to Governor Tom Wolf and Rep. Mike Kelly. She’s been doing damage control even before this incident.

“I have attended Bluff Management workshops at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center just previous to this happening.” Rose said.

She said that the Department of Environmental Protection officials came out and took a look at her wall two days before the storm did the damage. DEP Community Relations Coordinator Tom Decker said that the state gave a list of contractors to Wojtalik.

“It was just unfortunate that literally the day after we were there, we had the big storm an with the high water levels, these bluffs are really taking a beating.” Decker said.

Decker adding that it’s up to the private homeowner to take care of the property and that DEP will be there to assist and answer questions.

Wojtalik has said she can only apply for a grant if the area is deemed a federally declared disaster. We reached out to North East Township and borough officials but no one was available to comment

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