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Record Floods: One Month Later

August 30, 2010, 4:56 PM by Cherlene Richards

Record Floods: One Month Later
NEAR SHINDLER, SD - One month ago, roads were blocked off, and people were fighting rising flood waters in Lincoln County.  Now, all but one road in that county is open.  Highway 135 north of the Spring Creek Golf Course is closed and won't reopen for several months.

While it seems construction is coming along, clean up has become a tougher task than anyone imagined. One homeowner says those who lost nearly everything feel forgotten.

This is what homeowners near Shindler woke up to on July 30.

“Furnace went out, air conditioning went out, fireplace is destroyed, the bathroom downstairs, everything rotten," homeowner Tim Griffith said.

Four feet of water flooded Griffith's basement. Today it's dried out, but the work isn't done. Griffith is still cleaning up and moving furniture into storage. He says it's tough to see his home like this, but it's even harder knowing everyone else is back to their daily lives.

“All of a sudden, a week later it's forgotten just like we didn't have a flood, and we're still putting stuff away, cleaning, sanitizing,” Griffith said.

Griffith and his neighbors have seen water damage before, but never like this.

About 15 years ago, Griffith took matters into his own hands and built a three-foot berm.  But after all of this, he'll probably have to add four to five more feet.

But there's only so much Griffith can do as a homeowner.

"The biggest concern is the culvert that I've been fighting for 15 years and they ignored me.  County blames the state, state blames the county.  I found out the county is responsible for the size of the culvert, the state DOT is responsible for putting it in,” Griffith said.

That's why he's going to ask local and state officials what's next at a public meeting next week.  Lincoln County Emergency Manager Harold Timmerman is putting it together.

“We're in the process of that now, getting every agency together, and getting their presentations in order so that they can tell what it takes to change, or anyway influence water flow through here,” Timmerman said.

It'll give officials and homeowners a chance to express concerns and ask questions about the flood and the future of their homes. Griffith hopes he'll finally get answers.

“None of the governor elects showed up out here.  I'm still wondering who to vote for, I really am, because they care about people, here.  I served in the Marines two years during the war, paid my taxes.  You think they show up for a hard working average citizen? No, it's got to be some different story,” Griffith said.

Officials say two homes in that neighborhood are unlivable; one family is living in an RV in their backyard, which was donated by a local business.

The public meeting is a week from Wednesday. It's at 7-o-clock in the evening in the Lincoln County Commission meeting room in Canton.

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