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Damaging weather spares the beaches

The high wind and heavy rain Saturday caused no serious beach erosion in Pinellas County, said Paden Woodruff of the Beaches and Shores Division of the Department of Natural Resources.

Woodruff said state inspectors checked beaches Monday and found no problems. He also said local officials reported no serious erosion.

"I'm sure there's some minor erosion, but there's no structures threatened," Woodruff said.

The show goes on

in soundproof TV room

At CPN Television Inc. in Clearwater, work continued through the tornado Saturday in a soundproof editing suite, even as windows in the building were blown out.

Jim Dusel was editing Motor Trend Quarterly, a new, nationally syndicated television program. According to CPN, Dusel never knew that the building was hit, only noticing a slight flicker when the emergency power kicked in. Meanwhile, nearby buildings were seriously damaged.

Tornado arrives same

day as benefit checks

Saturday's tornadoes struck on the same day thousands of Social Security checks were being delivered by postal carriers. Social Security offices received a few calls Monday from people reporting missing checks, though officials weren't sure how many were caused by the tornadoes, said Norm Bungard, assistant district manager in Pinellas County. "If (recipients) don't have a check and they can't find it, they need to get in touch with Social Security right away," Bungard said. The agency can replace lost checks within about a week of being notified, Bungard said, and a $200 advance on the lost check is available immediately at local Social Security offices. Social Security's toll-free number is (800) 772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Applications for immediate financial help are available at the three offices in Pinellas County from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

HRS has help available

for victims of tornadoes

The state Department of Health and Rehabilitate Services is offering help for tornado victims. Anyone who meets the financial requirements for food stamps and whose home was damaged by the storms will receive stamps within 48 hours of applying, said Barbara Butz, an HRS spokeswoman.

Application must be made at one of the following service centers: 1100 Cleveland St., Clearwater, 469-5700; 5540 Park Blvd. Pinellas Park, 547-7650; 3151 3rd Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 893-5213; or 7809 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey, 841-4111.

If the damaged areas are declared a national disaster by Gov. Lawton Chiles in the next few days, more help will be available. Then, anyone living in the damaged areas and needing food stamps would receive them for a limited time without having to meet financial requirements. Also, the offices would be able to help people with applications for loans and grants to rebuild damaged houses.

_ Staff writers Jack Reed, Alan Goldstein, Wayne Garcia and Jenny Deam contributed to this report.

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