Kirk set to tour storm damage as cleanup continues

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is set to view the clean-up efforts in tornado-ravaged Washington as community leaders push to get federal aid for the recovery effort after two dozen tornadoes whirled across Illinois.

The Nov. 17 storms, which destroyed or damaged about 2,400 home, were blamed for six deaths.

The central Illinois community of Washington was hardest hit. Kirk is expected to meet with Mayor Gary Manier to discuss efforts to get a federal disaster declaration for 15 counties.

Meanwhile in Gifford, elementary children returned to classrooms for the first time Monday since twisters hammered the region.

The Champaign News-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/IqGO9J ) a boil order in the small village will likely remain place for months and the village hall has been condemned.

Gifford has about 1,000 residents.