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Gov. Branstad Talks With Rock Rapids Homeowners

June 18, 2014, 5:42 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Gov. Branstad Talks With Rock Rapids Homeowners

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad visited Rock Rapids Wednesday as residents clean up their flooded homes and businesses.

The Rock River crested Tuesday flooding homes with several feet of water. The water has now gone down and residents spent Wednesday cleaning up as Branstad was taking an up close look.

"We weren't expecting it at all because we didn't expect that much more rain," Rock Rapids homeowner Melinda Folkens said.

Officials say about 50 homes have been impacted by the flooding.

Folkens had about a foot of water on the main level of her home after the nearby Rock River rose following the record rain this week. She was just one of the homeowners who met with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and state emergency officials Wednesday.

"We just talked to a retired teacher who was telling us she's lived here all her life and this is the worst she's ever seen it," Branstad said.

Curt and Laura Schar have lived in their home 37 years and share the same sentiment. They had knee-deep water in their lower level.

"You take one day at a time and put one foot in front of the other and material things can be replaced," Laura Schar said.

Branstad has already signed a disaster declaration for northwest Iowa. Iowa Emergency Manager Mark Schouten says they are also going to push for a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

"We think given all the damage we're seeing we have a pretty good chance of meeting the minimum threshold for the state of Iowa so the governor can request a Presidential Disaster Designation for this area," Schouten said.

That could mean FEMA money for damaged public infrastructure. Officials will also make a pitch for federal money for private property owners who were flooded.

"It's really sad to see this and to see the huge muddy mess that the homeowners have to pick up and the damage that has been done to the crops and the businesses," Branstad said.

And homeowners are hopeful that Branstad's visit can bring some relief following a flood that brought destruction.

"We just hope everyone comes out okay and has a place to live again and things go back to normal when they can," Schar said.

Branstad also visited Rock Valley, Iowa Wednesday. He says FEMA officials will likely be in northwest Iowa next week to take a look at the damage.

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