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A coming together


Fri, Sep 7th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worker. I wasn't looking forward to it but it turned out to be an interesting chat. He was a young man no older than 40 and relatively senior in the inspector ranks. I was unaware that all the damage inspectors are private contractors not government employees. I also was unaware that they must remain ready to go anywhere a disaster is declared within 24 hours of the declaration. Doesn't matter that you had a wedding coming up or a dentist appointment, you just go. I didn't know that they don't get paid an hourly wage but are paid on the number of claims they deal with. No disaster - no pay check. Tough job.

We talked about 9-11 and the Katrina disaster and how different this disaster in SE Mn was from both of the others he had recently worked. For starters the worker remarked how honest all the people were he was dealing with, evidently in other parts of the country there is much more of a penchant to stretch the truth about the extent of loss or whether a person has insurance or not. We talked some about how remarkable so many people were in rising to the occasion to help their neighbors and friends. How many times people just came and helped out total strangers just because they knew they needed help. Evidently that doesn't always happen in other places.

We talked a little about my next door neighbor who was one of the fatalities. He described to me how difficult it was for him to talk with families who had lost loved ones and have to ask about funeral costs so he could try to arrange reimbursement. We talked about spending long days talking with people, many who had lost all they had, all day long. We talked a bit about how you sleep at night after a day of dealing with nothing but pain and anguish. Tough job. We talked about how incredible it was that there were only 7 fatalities when it could easily have been many more.

We talked about how difficult it was for a FEMA worker to be away from family and loved ones for weeks often months, how hard that was on marriages and children.

Disasters are painful for everyone and everyone's loss is unique to their situation. I lost a neighbor and friend and a good bit of my mile and a quarter drive way. Yet I was able to sleep in my bed at night. My heart aches for those who lost so many things precious to them. Believe it or not the FEMA worker too anguished over the suffering he was seein .....
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Pawlenty, get'r done!

Fri, Sep 7th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

It was a genuine good feeling in the immediate wake of the horrific flooding to see a stream of politicians visiting southeast Minnesota - assessing the damage personally, visiting with officials, and giving assurances to people who had lost everyth ..... 
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Flush Day and other signs of progress

Fri, Sep 7th, 2007
Posted in Commentary



The porta-potty is gone from our front yard, leaving only a three foot square patch of dead grass and a strange memory. Last week we celebrated "Flush Day"-the day Rushford residents were told it was okay to flush toilets again. This week af ..... 
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The church ladies and the loaves and fishes

Fri, Aug 31st, 2007
Posted in Commentary

RUSHFORD - Shakespeare said "Some are born to greatness; others have greatness thrust upon them." Betty Culhane belongs to the second group. The recent flood in Rushford resulted in displaced people, who were also, sooner than later, hungry. As the ..... 
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The perfect storm

Fri, Aug 31st, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Not many of us would consider the recent rains that brought such devastating flooding to our region, the perfect storm. Most would consider the perfect storm as one that would have brought its 10+ inches of rain, with us making note of only how the ..... 
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Loans to Rushford businesses may not be enough

Fri, Aug 24th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

When asked early last week whether the recent rainfall was a 50 year or 100 year event, Fillmore County Engineer John Grindeland shrugged his shoulders.

"Who can conceive of 17 inches of rain?" Grindeland asked rhetorically.

Call i ..... 
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We all must do our small part to rebuild Rushford

Fri, Aug 24th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Friday, August 18, was a pretty typical day in Rushford. At least for me. I dragged myself out of bed to go walk the high school track. The R-P football team was practicing next door on the practice field by 7:30 a.m. I like watching their practices ..... 
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The bogeyman is gone

Fri, Aug 17th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Karl Rove will be departing the White House at the end of August, leaving Washington, our government and the party of Lincoln in tatters. The brains behind George Bush, Rove's take-no-prisoners political tactics set the tone for this presidency, an ..... 
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Enough is enough

Fri, Aug 10th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Had enough? Tired of the war? Tired of the government seemingly helpless (or is it hapless?) to deal with the problems directly in front of them? Tired of paying taxes and not getting the bang for your buck you had expected? Tired of the "rich" gett ..... 
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