Monday Roundup: Flooding in Langdon

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Yonder readers wait to hear what’s happened on Richard Oswald’s place.

Richard is the author of the Yonder’s Letter From Langdon column. He’s also president of the National Farmers Union and a fifth generation farmer in Atchison County, Missouri. 

Yesterday a levee broke on the Missouri River near the Iowa/Missouri border. The Iowa town of Hamburg was evacuated. And parts of Atchison County are now being cleared. Good story here in the Omaha World-Herald. 

Richard has been sending messages and photos. You can see some berms being built around the Rock Port (Missouri) municipal water plant in a photo Richard took a couple of days ago. People along the Missouri have been watching the flood gather from Montana south. Richard sent a short email a few days ago:

The usual panic is ensuing here. Yesterday they hauled sand to the Rock Port water plant across the road from our blue implement shed. One of the preachers from town was out there talking about how bad this was going to be. He wasn’t here in ’93. When Brandon explained to him that in ’93 they sandbagged the plant and when the water came in it was a good 8 feet in depth beneath the wells, the chief of police shrugged and the preacher said, “This is going to be much worse, a 500 year flood”.

Guess we can assume he has connections we don’t have….?

’93 was supposedly a 500 year flood, I presume ’52 was also since it was actually bigger. But according to water depth maps put out by the Corps, assuming the levee does fail, water depth on our farm here at home will be about the same as past floods. It’s gonna get dry sometime because we’re flooded 1,500 years in advance now.

The story here describes the breach in the Atchison County levee. Sunday, they sent a Blackhawk helicopter to drop 1,000 pound sandbags on the levee to try to stem the flow. It was too dangerous for crews to work on the ground. 

Okay, this just came in from Richard:

Still kicking. Rivers set to rise by mid-week. Still well below top but…we’ll see. The crest they have us preparing for is about 50 percent higher than ’52 and ’93. Maybe a little more. It is the equivalent of 600,000 cubic feet per second. 

That may never happen. I hope!

Most furniture is in a reefer van in the driveway headed out. 

Flood note; pack the food LAST.

Richard hasn’t lost his sense of humor. God bless everyone there. 

• The Daily Republic’s Bob Mercer asks, “Who should bear the burden of flooded river?” 

There’s been a great debate in the Missouri River Valley over whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inadvertently increased the volume of the flood by mismanaging the river. People wonder why the Corps didn’t increase releases out of the dams on the upper river earlier.

Mercer finds that the Corps did exactly that. “Records show the corps released much more water last fall than in almost any other year since the dam system was strung together in the 1950s and ’60s,” Mercer reports. 

This is a good story assessing what went right and wrong in managing the river. 

• Kentucky coal mines are complying less with laws governing strip mining, according to federal officials.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that compliance with federal coal surface mining laws had “dropped sharply” in the state from 2008 to 2010. “These are not minor violations,” said Joseph L. Blackburn, the top federal mining official in Kentucky. “I think there is a degree of seriousness we cannot ignore, and we aren’t.” 

• A new study finds a link between job losses and school accountability scores.

A state that experiences job losses totaling two percent of its workforce can expect to see a 16% increase in the share of its schools failing to meet adequate yearly progress standards contained in the federal No Child Left Behind law. The paper was released this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Walmart opened its first mini-store in Gentry, Arkansas. It’s only 15,000 square feet, about a tenth of the size of a superstore.

The idea is to put the mini-store in urban areas, where space is at a premium, and in more rural areas that can’t support a superstore. 

 

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