Photos shot post-flood June 2008. Gazette photographer Cliff Jette and I were allowed to accompany shop owners when they first saw the devastation in Czech Village after the flood. Here is some of what we found:
Posts tagged Gazette
One year ago is when it all began. On June 10, my sons and I went to Czech Village in Cedar Rapids to see if we could offer any help in sandbagging efforts. We encountered a flurry of activity, even though no one knew exactly what was coming. Later, we offered our help to Kather Alter, a Gazette employee who was evacuating from the Time Check neighborhood.
Looking back, there was so much more I wish we had done. The historic Cedar River flood ended up affecting not only Czech Village, Time Check and other areas abutting the river, but places I never thought would be touched, including my mother’s home. The Gazette, in downtown Cedar Rapids, was also affected, even though we stayed above the floodwaters.
Here are some of the photos I captured during those days in June 2008.
Remember to stop by the Gazette/KCRG tent between 9-10 a.m. at the Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday (June 6, 2009) in Cedar Rapids.
We’ll be on the 4th Avenue side near the railroad tracks. Sign up for a drawing of cool items from Dandelion Earth Friendly Goods and let me know what you’d like to see on the Homegrown blog and in the Gazette!
Here’s the deal – I don’t have the time, the ego or the Ashton-Kutcheresque lifestyle to be really great at Twitter. But when one of my sources in my job as health reporter for The Gazette – the Iowa Department of Public Health – announced it would start Tweeting swine flu updates, I had no choice but to jump in and join. (and yes, we now call it H1N1 flu – please no calls from the pork industry – bacon’s yummy!)
So now you can follow me on Twitter, though I cringe saying that, partly because of that ego thing, again, but mostly because I’m a very private person. I won’t be Tweeting about the great things my sons did for me on Mother’s Day or the cool “Life is Good” t-shirt my sister surprised me with (thanks Henna!) or heaven forbid, what I’m making for dinner. Unless it’s these awesome morel mushrooms my new best friend Dave gave to me.
So basically, I promise I won’t bore you with the mundane details of my life. On the other hand, in my job as a reporter, I do get to go to beautiful places (including many area gardens this year, I hope) and meet fascinating people (like Dr. Johan Hultin, who dug up bodies in the Alaskan permafrost to decode the origins of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic: see The Gazette this weekend.) So, if that’s the type of Tweet tidbit that’s interesting to you, look me up on Twitter.
The three things tulips don’t like are hot weather, hard, sideways wind and hail, according to “tulip lady” Dorothy Hingtgen, who lives in northeast Cedar Rapids.
I had a fun time interviewing this witty woman for a story for the Sunday, May 10, Gazette. Dorothy digs up more than 300 tulip bulbs every year with her husband, Dan, and is as much of an expert as I’ve met on tulips. So I felt a boost when I told her about my favorite Greenland tulips, a gorgeous pink flower brushed with green. They were beautiful the first year I planted them, but didn’t return the second. I tried again, and once more, exquisite blooms, followed by nothing the next year. Greenlands are labeled for zones 3-8, so they should be fine in Iowa, but the same results happened for Dorothy with those bulbs. I might take her advice and try something orange this fall, which she describes as the most reliable tulips.
A tip for homeowners with voracious deer: Dorothy uses Milorganite, an organic fertilizer. She says the smell deters deer. Further deer advice can be seen in one bed to the side of her yard that didn’t have any tulips, but was filled with bright daffodils. Deer leave daffodils alone, she noted.
To some of us who grew up gardening, the process comes naturally. How can you not know how deep to plant a radish seed or realize you have to wait until the danger of frost has passed to plant your tomatoes? Actually, I’ve heard from people who grew up gardening and despise it now. That includes a couple editors here at The Gazette, who prefer to stay as far away as possible from watering cans, trowels, or anything else that reminds them of the back-breaking labor of their youth.
But, as mentioned in today’s (4/19/09) Gazette article: http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090419/NEWS/704199992/1002/NEWS
more and more people are moving toward gardening, as a way to help the Earth and save money on food budgets in these tough economic times. To that end, Iowa State University Extension has come up with a great beginner’s guide to home gardening, especially tailored for Iowa.
Even experienced gardeners will find helpful hints on beets, potatoes, squash and numerous other veggies, along with everyone’s favorite: weed control.
You can find the guide here: http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2009/4-8/introduction.html
Michael Richards, president of the Oakhill/Jackson Neighborhood Association, has been working on a “Good Jobs/Green Garages” effort since the floods. Some of that is detailed in an article in the Sunday, March 8, 2009, issue of the Gazette:
Here is more from Michael about those efforts:
“We have added a very important layer of innovation and action to Good Jobs/Green Garages:
As Neighborhood Assn. President, I have been approached by flooded residents in their 70s and 80s that do not have the time, energy or financing to Rehab/Rebuild. We are pairing these elderly residents with former Metro High students that are now in their mid twenties, energetic, employed and ready to engage limited money with “sweat equity” to gain first time home ownership by rehab and retrofit of these flooded homes they are purchasing from the above noted elderly flood victims. We have one rehab/retrofit Next Generation Home Ownership project already underway in Oakhill Jackson. We have also paired an elderly resident/ and a young new homeowner in Time Check to work with this model of community recovery.
My goal is this: Create the working model. Then, if the City Government wants to get on board, fine, if not, well, we’ll keep working away to rebuild this city one step at a time from the ground up.”
From Cindy, again: Rod Scott, who is also featured in the Gazette article, realizes not every flooded home can be saved. But he questions why so many that could be rebuilt are being torn down. He asks if it’s because the city is encouraging demolition, especially of homes in modest-income neighborhoods. Rod, who is president of the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance, notes that many of the homes are structurally sound. “They’re just flooded buildings,” he said. “They can be cleaned up and rebuilt.”
Cedar Rapids City Council member Tom Podzimek added to the city’s discussion of sustainability when it comes to rebuilding from the floods in one area that hit home. For city gardeners, it might not be a popular idea, but a suggestion that has been proposed in the past would be to sell land that has city gardens – presumably the Squaw Creek gardens, as the Ellis area often floods – and allow developers to build private housing there. The tradeoff would be offering leased city gardens in the city’s new green zone, where flooded homes have been bought out and removed. “Why get in a car and drive five miles?” Podzimek asked, when the “greener” model would be having gardens located near the people who use them.
Other ideas for the green zone have included soccer and baseball fields and dog parks. Podzimek said some residents want those entities in areas not prone to flooding, but he said it makes more sense to have homes and structures built away from flood zones and use the 250 acres or so of new green space for those “flood resilient” projects, such as ball fields.