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Forum staff reports, Published June 18 2010

Pawlenty activates National Guard to help in Wadena, Freeborn and Steele counties

ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Pawlenty activated the Minnesota National Guard to assist in Wadena, Freeborn and Steele counties following tornadoes and severe storms that hit Thursday afternoon.

Seventy-four soldiers will assist local authorities by providing security and operating traffic checkpoints.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is also assisting in the response. Nine DNR officers were to the Wadena and to southeast Minnesota areas on Thursday. Five officers are on the ground today.

Initial damage reports from Wadena include:

- More than 200 homes damaged or destroyed.

- High school has severe damage.

- Minnesota State Community college has significant damage.

- Wadena Community Center destroyed.

- Pool structure destroyed.

- City skating rink warming house destroyed.

- One city park shelter destroyed.

- Leaf River Ag business destroyed.

- One apartment complex heavily damaged.

- More than 60 vehicles totaled.