Wednesday Roundup: Minot’s Turn

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At mid morning, officials in Minot, North Dakota, were expecting water to start pouring over dikes within minutes. A quarter of the city’s residents, 11,000 people, were ordered to leave town by 6 p.m. Tuesday as the rising Souris River reached record levels. 

This is the second time in 2011 that Minot has been evacuated, reports The Grand Forks Herald. Some 10,000 Minot residents were asked to leave town earlier this month when the river rose.

The river isn’t supposed to crest until June 30, next Thursday. The paper reports

Water from the Souris River, which loops down from Canada through north central North Dakota and is bloated by heavy spring snowmelt and rain on both sides of the border, is forecast to top the city’s levees within two days.

The resulting deluge is expected to dwarf the historic flood of 1969, when the Souris reached 1,554.5 feet above sea level. Zimbelman said the river was already just a tenth of an inch shy of that level at one bridge Tuesday afternoon. It’s expected to hit nearly 1,563 feet this weekend — topping the historical record of 1,558 feet set in 1881 by Friday or Saturday.

A story just filed has water running into the streets of Minot and the sirens are ready to blow.

Richard Oswald explains in the St. Louis paper that changes in policy by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have resulted in flooding downstream: 

The corps does everything by an operations manual. This is supposed to de-politicize the river so that everyone knows what to expect — even in the face of unusual events. Special interests and politics have rewritten that guide through the Missouri River Compromise so that it now seems to create more of these unusual events than it solves.

• What happens to the local economy when you can’t get a clear cell phone signal? Nothing, folks in Bridgeport, Alabama, found — and nothing in this case is not a good thing. 

Andy Johns in the Times Free Press explains that we not only need nationwide broadband, we need nationwide cell coverage!

• Jeez. The Democratic nominee for Ag commissioner in Kentucky was doing a “comedy” routine near his home in Louisville. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports:

“(Bob) Farmer joked that Eastern Kentucky is a place where “cars are on blocks and houses are on wheels.” He says someone told him the FBI would not investigate a particular county “cause all the DNA is alike and there ain’t no dental records.”

Farmer goes on to say that people in Eastern Kentucky did not trust him because he had shoes on and had all of his teeth. 

Then Farmer gave the standard non-apology apology: “I apologize if it offends anyone,” Farmer said in the interview. “I don’t want to offend people.”

If?

• The L.A. Times reports that there is a surge in the number of recall elections for state and local officials. 

The number of mayors being recalled doubled in 2010. One guy who counts such thing says there have only been 20 recalls of state legislators in the history of the country. This year, there have already been 10. 

• West Virginia University researchers found “significantly higher” rates of birth defects in areas with mountaintop removal mines than in parts of Appalachia without mining, the Charleston Gazette reports. 

The study “offers one of the first indications that health problems are disproportionately concentrated specifically in [mountaintop removal] areas. It’s significant not only to people who live in coalfields but to policymakers as well,” said Michael Hendryx, an epidemiologist at West Virginia University.

 

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