The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 26, 2001 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, April 26, 2001
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Page 6
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AB THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2001 NATION THE SALINA JOURNAL T MIDWEST FLOODS River doesn't rise to occasion Davenport puts trust in levee as river falls short of expectations By EMILY GERSEMA The Associated Press DAVENPORT, Iowa — City workers kept watch on sandbag levees as the bloated Mississippi River hovered around its crest Wednesday, not quite as high as predicted and short of a record. "I'm just waiting to see it go down. Really, I'm just tired and waiting," city worker John Field said during the night, hours into his 12-hour patrol making sure there were no problems with the clay and sandbag levee protecting the downtown. By late morning, the river had dipped slightly to 22.2 feet, down from 22.30 feet, its third-highest on record at Davenport, the largest urban area on the upper Mississippi without a permanent flood wall, the National Weather Service said. The weather service had expected the Mississippi to crest near 22.5 feet, just short of the 1993 record of 22.6 feet. "The crests that we're looking at today and tomorrow are significantly lower than the '93 levels," Illinois Emergency Management agency spokeswoman Chris Tamminga said Wednesday. Flooding is expected to be confined to the upper Mississippi River, above the points , where the Missouri and Illinois rivers join it. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Charles Camiloo said. "The river widens out as it comes south," he said. "There's a lot more room for water" Armed and ready Davenport's 1,200-foot-long wall — 12 feet high in some places, 6 feet in others — was built to hold back a 23-foot flood. Behind it, diesel- and gasoline-powered pumps removed water bubbling up through storm sewers and The Associated Press Coast Guard flight mechanic Trent Ganz views the flooded riverfront of Davenport, Iowa, from the doorway of a Coast Guard helicopter Tuesday. The IVIississippi River crested Wednesday in the area at near-record levels. cracks in the street. Ten dump trucks loaded with sandbags were ready to fill any leaks. "All the work we had to do, we've done," police Capt. David Struckman said. "Now we just have to sit back and wait." Dee Bruemmer, the city's public works director, got on the two-way radio when she heard the river was cresting and told her crews: "I think we made it. This is it." That doesn't mean the danger is past, though. "It's going to be very slow going down, so we'll be fighting this river for probably another week and a half in a serious way" Bruemmer said. Melting snow, heavy rain Fast-melting snow that coincided with heavy rain caused the Mississippi River to spill over its banks, first in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and now in Iowa and Illinois as the water flows downstream. The river also crested Wednesday 35 miles downstream from Davenport at Keithsburg, 111. Water rose to 20.7 feet at the town of about 750 people, but town officials said their levees were in good shape. Water seeping under the Keithsburg levee closed a section of downtown, but it had not yet gotten into any buildings. "The next 48 hours are going to be critical for us. I feel real comfortable with what we've got unless something unexpected happens," said Keithsburg Public Works Director Steve Nylan. The Mississippi River started to drop in Wisconsin over the weekend, but remained above flood stage in many shoreline communities, including Prairie du Chien, where dozens of homes were inundated. It could take several weeks for the river to drop below flood stages, especially after this week's storms to the north, which could push river levels'back up in some areas. the weather service said. Might as well enjoy it In Iowa, at least 1,115 homes have been damaged, according to the state Emergency Management Division. Gov. Tom Vilsack made a formal request Tuesday for federal disaster aid, which could include low-interest loans, housing assistance and cleanup aid. Fifteen miles upstream, on the riverbank in Port Byron, 111., Don Johnson threw a "crest party" for friends in his driveway, which was lower than the water being held back by sandbags on either side. "There's no sense in getting down. You can't do anything different," said Johnson, 64, who weathered the 1993 flood and a lesser flood in 1997 with no damage. "Occasionally the river reminds them that they're not in charge," Port Byron fire Capt. Mike Poel said. "They learn to live with it, or they sell out." T SPACE SHUTTLE Computer trouble delays vital testing Communication is disrupted, robot-arm workout postponed By The Associated Press CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Computer trouble prevented astronauts from steering the international space station's new giant robot arm with a I '/a -ton load Wednesday and resulted in a cascade of other problems. Communication between the space station and Mission Control was disrupted, and an orbit-raising maneuver by the docked space shuttle Endeavour was put on hold. NASA bumped the robot-arm workout to today to give engineers more time to solve the underlying computer problem. "Clearly at this point, it's obvious that we're into something here that we don't understand," said Milt Heflin, a Mission Control representative. Flight controllers spent hours switching from one control-and-command computer on the space station to another and then another in an unsuccessful attempt to link up with a hard-drive server that is needed to test the robot arm. Their efforts to get one of the three computers working* caused Mission Control to lose its communications link with space station Alpha.' Messages for the three space station residents had to be relayed through Endeavour. Because the space station could not be commanded to turn off its steering system, Endeavour could not take over control to raise the orbit of the joined spacecraft. (NASA wants to leave the space station in as high an orbit as possible.) What's more, the shuttle astronauts had to funnel urine and other waste water into bags, rather than dumping it overboard. As all this was going on, the space station's Russian carbon- dioxide removal system briefly shut down, forcing Endeavour's purifiers to cleanse the air of both vehicles. It was unrelated to the U.S. computer problem. Testing of the newly delivered and installed robot arm — Canada's primary contribution to the space station — is considered critical. NASA and Canadian Space Agency officials want to see how the arm operates with a payload in its free hand, albeit a smaller and lighter one than the massive space station pieces that wiU arrive in the months and years to come. The Keyboard Carriage Has Arrived! One Time Only Yamaha Clavinova Truckload Sale! s^S^^^ Digital Pianos-^-"5^ Starting at radius-rpiJSf^ $1 ,595 825-6273 / South St. & Clark. Salina /1-800-875-6273 Spring Air Never 'Hirn Twin $599 Full $699 Queen $799 King $1,099 Posture Beauty Twin Set $279 Full Set $379 Queen Set $479 King Set.... $599 Richmond Firm Central Showroom Sleep Shop 1415 W. Crawford • 823-7171 • FLORIDA ELECTION Florida's punch card voting to end By The Associated Press TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to do away with the state's punch- card voting system and its dangling, pregnant and dimpled chads. The measure to move to an electronic ballot system passed 114-3. It still needs Senate approval. The punch cards were at the center of Florida's disputed presidential election last year, and getting rid of them was part of an overall election reform package. The House bill would provide low-interest loans to counties to make the changes. It would make electronic systems such as optical scanners and touch­ screen voting the only ones certified by the state. The three "no" votes were all from Democrats, who complained the state was requiring counties to upgrade their voting systems without giving them the money to do it. Pool & Spa SERVICE 823-7512 2320 Planet Galaxy Center, 827-2497 w'ww.faMfocuiinccom • BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ADULT NOVELTIES VIDEOS • LOTIONS • MAGAZINES 11 am ' 9 pm Mon. - Sai • 1 pm - 5 pm Sun. 1901 W. Grand • Salina • (785) 823-1339 •^'Salina Journal Comiecling cmmunities wiUi information Pettle's Flowers Flowers For All Occasions www.ftd.com/pettlea flowers 785-825-6265 341 Center • Salina We've Moved!!! Come See Us At Our New Location At 3450 S. Ninth, Salina 3450 S. Ninth. Salina • 823-2257 • 800-874-651 d FIRST BANK ' \i>i)J ' KANSAS All the BANK you '11 ever need. 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