The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 8, 1997 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, May 8, 1997
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Page 4
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A4 THURSDAY, MAY 8, 1997 NEWS THE SAUNA JOURNAL A Dirty Job Grand Forks residents try for a clean start after flood By SHERYL ORING Sr>n Francisco Chronicle RAND FORKS, N.D. — Most of the snow has melted, meadowlarks and red- winged blackbirds are back for the spring. Things appear deceptively normal on the way into town. But on the west side of the interstate just past the mall, there is a lot full of camouflaged trucks, humvees, tractors and boats. Cars getting off at one of the city's three exits find that not all traffic lights are working. Building after building is ringed with sandbag necklaces. And the berms are loaded with ever-growing piles of trash. Nearly three weeks after most of Grand Forks was evacuated because of record flooding on the Red River, many of its 50,000 residents are returning. And they're finding that things are worse than they had imagined in this prairie town. Many phone lines are still not working. Water is being restored, but it could be weeks before it is potable — in the meantime residents are relying on bottled water. And then there are the houses. The floodwaters ripped through many homes with a mighty force. Clothes, furniture, china and other belongings were strewn about, and the filthy mixture of mud and sewage left a powerful stench and a public health hazard. "Our basement is full, and there must have been about two inches of water on the main floor — and it's a mess," said 85-year-old Mildred Koth after returning for the first time to the two-story house she's lived in since 1954. Like thousands of other Grand Forks residents, Koth is staying in Fargo and making the three-hour round-trip to clean. No one knows how long they'll be exiled. It could be a week. It could be a month. No one expects anything resembling normalcy for months, maybe years. Throwing out memories Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, a town of nearly 9,000 across the river in Minnesota, are towns full of basements. Almost all of them were flooded. Health officials are telling residents to wear rubber boots and rubber gloves while cleaning and to throw out anything touched by floodwater that can't be sterilized. Many people are tossing everything. Koth, a retired secretary, plans to clean her basement out herself. It will be quite a job — she has 43 years' worth of papers, knickknacks and antique china she's collected and two freezers full of food. "Everything that got wet in my house isn't getting thrown out," she said. "I have to die one way or another. If it's from this, well, I've lived my life." The flood of 1997 was unprecedented in local history- The Red River reached 54 feet, 26 feet above flood stage. When their neighborhood was evacuated, the Stewart family — 50-year-old Lydia, her 57-year-old husband, Ronald, their 7-year-old daughter, Dorothy, and 14-year-old grandson, Chris — joined several thousand others in a shelter at the Grand Forks Air Force Base west of town. Both kids are reconciling the loss of almost all their belongings. For Lydia Stewart's grandson, it was the CD player an uncle brought him in the hospital after the illness he was suffering was diagnosed as diabetes. For her daughter, it was more. "My daughter started counting. She said, 'I lost the teddy bear Lori gave me, I lost my laptop computer that teaches me to spell' and she got to five and then she says 'That's it, I don't want to . think of no more.' "Lydia Stewart said. "And then she started crying and crying. I didn't know what to do." Still, as Stewart stuffed flood-soaked belongings into trash bags at her apartment, she took extra care to make sure Dorothy didn't see some of the things that were being thrown away. Especially not the swollen pink case filled with Barbie clothes. Buying the basics On the drier south and west sides of town, stores and restaurants have started to open. But downtown, which suffered a double whammy of flooding and a fire that destroyed nine buildings including the local paper, is just digging out. While downtown cleans out, businesses across town have started to reopen. J.C. Penny was one of the first, but business has been slow. "People are buying socks, underwear, basic jeans and shampoo. And we're taking returns on jewelry like crazy," said the men's department manager, 24-year-old Dana Sande. "Three diamonds were returned yesterday for about $6,000.1 can understand it. That'd pay for a furnace." Looking ahead Where does Grand Forks go from here? Most people seem determined to stay, but hundreds of houses are still underwater and will probably be condemned. Meanwhile, local officials are considering a dike to protect the city from future floods, and planners are reevaluating zoning laws. New houses are likely to go up on the far west and south sides of town — the driest sides. "What I've heard is most people are staying," said Dennis Eggebraaten, a 48-year-old police lieutenant who is normally in charge of investigations but lately has been working almost nonstop for the Emergency Operations Center. "There's not going to be a great exodus from Grand Forks." Eggebraaten's own house still had water on its second floor, so he hadn't been back to his home by the river. Unlike about 90 percent of the town, Eggebraaten has flood insurance. He said he'll buy a house or build one once he finds out how much insurance money he'll get. This time it will be away from the river. Way away, he said. T SAILING We're Here To Earn Your TVust Business Ta ailored To Fit Your Individual Needs eady To Manage Your Funds And Explore Your Options u nderstanding The Needs Of Our Central Kansas Customers ervice With Your Best Interest At Heart With Quality You Expect T rusting And Caring Professionals At Your Service If you are not certain of who to turn to for your trust services, call our Trust Professionals today. Steve Stein Brenda O'Gorman Central National Bank Salina / 454 S. Ohio / 913-823-5700 Gypsum / 600 Maple / 913-5364231 Midlife crisis yields U.S. record Illinois native is first American woman to sail solo around world By JAYSON CARCIONE Tlie Associated Press MEXICO CITY — Eight years after a midlife crisis put the wind in her sails and sent her off to sea, Pat Henry returned to Acapulco a new woman. The 56-year-old Illinois native became the first American woman — and one of fewer than a dozen worldwide — to sail around the globe by herself. Henry dropped anchor in the Pacific resort on Monday, eight years and a day after she left the port. When she shoved off, she had no thought of circling the globe: She had just wanted to get away from •Antiques •Arts •Crafts •Collectibles Mothers Day Specials 116 S. Santa Fe, Salina Tues. - Sat. 10 - 5:30 Sun 1-5 (913) 452-9976 it all. "I had a severe midlife crisis in 1988," she said. "It seemed like a good time to evaluate my life. ... I just wanted to simplify my life. I really had no intention of doing this." Henry sold her home and put all her money into a 31-foot cutter- rigged boat, dubbed Southern Cross. The boat had electronic navigation equipment, but no radar or refrigerator. An architect by training and a watercolorist, Henry exhibited her paintings of buildings in cities and towns around the globe. "Since I put all my money in the boat, I had no money left," she said. "So, I had to paint my way around the world." Being alone never bothered her, she said, and to pass the time, she read more than 300 books. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" was one of her favorites. She kept in touch with family and friends back home in California with a long-distance radio. Born in Chicago and reared among the cornfields in Bloomington, 111., Henry said she fell in love with the sea when she moved to California in the 1970s. Henry plans to paint and "stay put for a while" in Puerto Vallarta. DLOTS FLOWER 1125 East Crawford nesTONe. chimney service I and stove store 545 5. f=ITth /Saltna. KS Steve Miles & Jim Kerby Above Ground AMF Marauder Ducone Register at Sunflower Pool & Spa or Smoky I Drawing to be held 2:00 pm Saturday, i 98.5 & SUNFLOWER POOL 6V SPA'S Bothers Uny^'Happy Moth^ Take Mom Out! Pll ^^ "B^ipr —-«ia6i Ribeye With the purchase of a Wood Grill Buffet at Regular Price FREE DRINK With The Purchase of Buffet or Any Menu Item OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 10:30 am -10:00 pm Extra's Don't Cost Extra at our Wood Grill Buffet! 1708 West Crawford, Salina ^ fi&n

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