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Morris weather radio program ends

MORRIS — Equipped with a police scanner, emergency radio and weather alert systems, Morris resident Tim Pfaff is prepared for unpredictable weather.

But Pfaff is still on the fence about buying a city-subsidized weather alert radio. The radios made available over the last three months.

"I'm still thinking about it," he said. "It's good to play it safe. The weather is interesting. You never know what it's going to do."

In June, Morris began distributing Midland Weather Alert radios to residents at a discounted cost of $10, but the city was unable to sell all the radios it purchased.

Of the 800 devices on hand, the city distributed 695, according to Morris Fire Commissioner Robert Coleman.

"We budgeted for 2,500, but we ordered 800 this first time around, just to see. We could always order more," Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said.

However, the city is not likely to purchase more unless demand grows. While he is happy with the program, Kopczick said he hoped to have all the radios distributed by now.

"I'm just curious. Do people already have them? Do they not care? Do they think $10 is too much," Kopczick said.

"If we don't have any great demand coming for it, we won't purchase anymore," he added.

The battery-powered radios are linked with the National Weather Service and are programmed to broadcast localized severe weather alerts directly from the weather service.

Sold at several major retailers and recommended by the Department of Homeland Security for emergency preparedness, the radios cost anywhere from $30 to $40 when purchased new.

Morris offered the radios at a lower cost thanks to a partnership with Walgreens.

"We were the first municipality to partner with Walgreens on this," Coleman said.

Since implementing the radio distribution in Morris, Coleman said he's been contacted by community leaders from area municipalities who also want to pursue the program.

The radio purchase is a result of Morris’s long-term natural disaster mitigation plan, enacted last year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency required the city to enact the plan to receive federal funding.

Ensuring every household had a NWS-certified radio was included in that mitigation plan.

"Really, it's about saving lives," Kopczick said.

Although the distribution program officially ended last Friday, the city is still selling the remaining 105 radios. To purchase one, residents should bring a copy of their most-recent water bill to city hall.

"I hope that if anyone would still like one, they would call city hall," Kopczick said.

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