Posts Tagged ‘flooding’


Today is Flag Day. Fly em’ high and proudly. I’ll not go into the origination of Flag Day. It might as well be called Constitution Day, Patriots Day or whatever. Yes the flag means different things to different people. I am always hurt by protesters, American or foreign, burning or otherwise desecrating the flag. I am equally hurt by those from either the Right or the Left who mock the Constitution or choose to only honor a small portion of it for their own selfish wants. When others’ rights, color, beliefs, backgrounds, lifestyles, politics or whatever don’t fit with their own, then they sometimes choose to burn the flag in protest disregarding the lives and sacrifices that made their right to do that possible. Many, who would do this, would just as quickly burn the Constitution itself, or all that it implies, to exercise their right to express themselves. Yes, it is just a flag, a piece of cloth, but isn’t it beautiful?


All but the northwest corner of Iowa has been declared a disaster area. The floods and weather are truly affecting many throughout the country. Any state with a river or creeks and clouds overhead have been affected. I’m sure Cedar Rapids is having its own Katrina feelings. Any place having to endure these difficult times, including floods and earthquakes in Asia or elsewhere, as well, know the feeling.

I am always overwhelmed by the united efforts that go into fighting these things. No one sandbagging cares whether the person next to you is white or black, male or female, rich or poor, young or old. They are all there. The NCAA Track Championships are at Drake University this week in Des Moines. Team after team from South Carolina to Oregon, shared in flood duty between events. The 833rd National Guard unit I welcomed home from Iraq last Saturday, is, this week on flood duty here in Ottumwa working around the clock to protect this community.

A levee was breached last night in Des Moines after days of effort by thousands, spreading the water into new neighborhoods. Cedar Rapids has lost their battle. Iowa City and the University of Iowa are at break point. Here in Ottumwa, our Market Street bridge is at water level. It and down town are still closed, as new levees are built and old ones raised and strengthened. We had a four inch horrendous rain, just at the wrong time, on Thursday evening, but a week earlier, the town of Creston had 10 inches. So it goes. City officials remain confident that we will be able to withstand the worst that is coming, although that is little comfort to the people in outlying and low areas already flooded. This will be, most likely, a month long fight, and then years long recovery for some communities.


T.R. No, not Teddy Roosevelt, as greatly as he is regarded. This T.R. is Tim Russert, another great American. We are shocked by his untimely death. All you had to do was look at him and his smile and hear his comforting voice and you liked and respected him. He has been part of my Sunday ritual of watching the news shows, which good wife Pat, sometimes (always) finds irritating. I go to all the networks, one after another, cable shows and public TV included. Meet The Press with Tim Russert was always part of that ritual. Maybe unfairly, I have been more critical of him the past couple of years. I felt he had become a little more interested in creating sensation and carried some questioning far beyond what was necessary without letting the person being interviewed express his own opinion, unless it was going to come out as Tim wanted. But that’s the way it works. However, always fair, probably as fair as they come and truly one of the great ones. Before Meet The Press he worked for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In my imperfect list of greats since WWII, Moynihan was at the top, and oh how I wanted him, before his death, to be our President. Russert was a part of that. Sunday mornings, and political campaigns won’t be the same without Tim Russert.

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I will use this blog to provide an update to a few things going on in our lives here in South Iowa. As I write, things are deteriorating rapidly in our state pertaining to the flood and weather situation. Mason City and numerous other communities are without water due to flooding of city water systems. Cedar Falls, Waterloo, and Iowa City downtown’s have been evacuated. Nine rivers (they may have said nineteen) are currently above flood stage. Our river was at 12 feet at noon. (10 foot is flood stage for minor flooding). They are now expecting 21 feet on Saturday which is still a foot less than 1993. Extensive sandbagging began today and the trucks are starting to roll with dirt for a protective berm around our water works. Des Moines downtown is flooding. The problem is that more heavy rains are expected tonight and the next few days. We are under a tornado watch again but all looks well now. A tornado has struck a boy scout camp in NW Iowa killing 4 and injuring 40 this evening, with ambulance and rescue efforts being hampered by heavy rains and winds. I’m repeating some of this news from the TV as I write. 28 highways are now closed and hundreds of lesser county roads. We’ll be staying home.

On a personal note, my new found satisfaction after 23 years of discomfort from nerve damage due to spinal tumor removal surgery continues to amaze and please me. Doctors had convinced me that it was not really pain, just nerve damage and one had to live with it. As if being awakened every 1 to 2 hours with the feeling that a car had just run over my right foot, or a circus elephant had just managed to step on it was not painful. Those feelings would also occur several times throughout the day, but walking and daily busy things would give some relief. My Veterans Admin. Dr. which I have been seeing once a year has been on medical leave and finally they suggested I come in and see a Nurse Practitioner about three or four weeks ago.

My lab work turned out well and I met the Nurse Practitioner. Bless that lady. She could not believe that someone had not suggested that I try Neurontin. While I had found that drug in on-line search for help and discussion of neuropathy, I had not really asked a Dr. about that specific thing because of some of the side effects that I read about. Anyway she said those side effects were more likely to concern those taking the drug for epilepsy and seizures, etc. and felt that I should try a fairly low dose to start with and go from there. The very first night, I enjoyed the first night of sleep without being awakened and having to get up, spend a half hour or more of walking, etc. and then repeating same every 1-2 hours. While I still feel a mild stinging and awareness that my right foot is not the same as my left, it is many times over, an improvement. No more traffic running over my foot, or lost elephants tromping my foot. And thus far, no side effects. I feel like I have my life back, although I guess I had grown somewhat used to the way it was. We will see what develops, but so far I am happy. And, hooray, the drug, is available in generic and is a $4.00 monthly prescription on our medi-care plan.

Also, we old folks, who fit the low income group and contribute no income taxes, received the minimum economic stimulus payment, (thanks to all of you I guess). We plan to stimulate Wapello County by using it for partial payment of our property taxes. Whatever, it will help. I hope y’all get to stimulate somebody also.

I still attend the YMCA Silver Sneakers class, which our Humana Medi-Care Advantage plan provides for us as an extra benefit (Gram has been unable to participate because of health conditions). The instructor, which has been with us since inception has left, and we have a new one, who has introduced new routines, and I find new bones and muscles that I had forgotten about – and new soreness. She is good, and (has really nice legs), but unfortunately she will also be leaving soon, and we will have another new one.

Also, I will mention, that I decided to send a letter to the editor about my recent attendance at the return of our National Guard unit from Iraq. It is pretty much the same thing said in a recent blog, but HERE is the link anyway. I was pleased that a few friends have mentioned seeing and approving the letter. I didn’t really want to invite “hate” mail or adversity which so many well intentioned letters generate.

Lastly, I want to give good wife Pat, credit for the beautiful picture of our basement accompanying my last blog. She found it, and called it to my attention after our attempt to seek shelter after last Sunday evenings tornado siren warning. We had a good laugh and I asked her permission to use it. Take care, all. More later.

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