29 MAR 2009
The headline of the Fargo Forum for Sunday is
River level in Fargo at 9 A was 40.15, at 11A it is 40.07.
The steel permanent barrier protecting Oak Grove Lutheran School in north Fargo had gushing water coming for underneath the dike, not over. Two buildings are lost and two more are threatened. Another levy has keep the family homes safe for now. The concern for the campus was first acknowledged in the early planning meetings, as it is on a point; think about what a peninsula is. When a river, which on a normal day, travels at 4 miles and hour and is now moving at 12 miles an hour, there is erosion in the banks as it whips around yet another oxbow in this river of many twists. Our sympathies go out to them.
Although the Home Land Security feels all of Fargo needs to be evacuated, we need to remember the plans for such evacuations are a rigid outline for Any City, USA. We are not Grand Forks in 1997 when downtown flooded and burned and we are not Katrina of 2005.
Our river, although running swiftly, is running efficiently with no ice jams. We believe the city knows the big picture from the small picture as Dr. Mahoney, Vice Mayor, demonstrated with a railroad lantern; big beam, small beam.
Let's talk about the Predator, the unmanned, remote controlled craft borrowed from the border patrol. This valuable technology is being used to measure water levels, river flows, ice jams and other necessary numbers to help the Red River Valley understand what is happening from the air and below the clouds. And no, you can't have a ride~nor can any of the commissioners of Fargo OR government officials. How do we know that? Someone asked.
When the Mayor requested non-essential businesses remain closed, he did not realize his favorite Dairy Queen would not be available for a BBQ and shake. That is just how well the city residents are listening. The Blue Law, which means nothing open until noon on Sunday, has been lifted for essential items. It is important to understand every business in Fargo is important but food, gas, and flood flight supplies are priority. Somehow Walmart found its way into ESSENTIAL.
Pomeroy could not remember who said "It ain't over til it is over" when he said we are still in the main event. He used the example regarding the Fighting Sioux hockey team who were up two, yet got tied in the last 1/10 of a second pushing the game into overtime. The point is well received. We appreciate an opportunity to laugh; without it we would be ice jammed in stress. I am certain by now, Pomeroy remembers it was Yogi Berra.
In the county of Cass, boats are going door to door to check on people. Those who have phones may call and delivery of needs will be done. Some of these folks are cut off but on high ground. Hopefully other counties along the Red River on both sides are doing the same.
As I write, the Ramada Inn has conference rooms open for prayer services. Fifty+ ambulances remain available. The hospitals ARE open, Merit Care for emergencies and Innovis ER and hospital itself is functioning.
Sandbagging at the Fargodome restarts. Of the 300,000 bags on hand, a third of them went out yesterday. The new inventory number is 500,000. Someone from the floor asked him if he was trying to beat the pancake record. (It is one of those inside jokes about the Kiwanis Club trying to break a record of the number of cakes served in eight hours).
Permanent dikes come from funding. Funding is released through the Army Corp of Engineers. A plan for just the city of Fargo has been submitted. The Mayor told them we need a plan for both sides of the river including Moorhead. A study of this is on going. People who have river view homes don't want to look at a dike, they want to look at the river. We all would.
Our Mayor, a big man of 6'5" is coughing. He told us not to worry about him, he had the doctor, referring to the Vice Mayor Mahoney, and his black bag right here. Mayor Walaker stated again he had found his mother and had talked with her. The Governor Hoeven told him they knew were she was all the time, they just didn't tell him. As it is with the humor in this part of the country, we are all aware we have to break the gloom and doom to break the stress. The flood isn't any fun.