Posts tagged Time Check

Looking back: flood photos from inside and outside of The Gazette

Watching rising Cedar River from 16th Avenue SW on June 10, 2008. (Cindy Hadish photo)

Watching rising Cedar River from 16th Avenue SW on June 10, 2008. (Cindy Hadish photo)

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.

Looking down Third Ave. SE toward Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids (Cindy Hadish photo)

Looking down Third Ave. SE toward Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids (Cindy Hadish photo)

Sandbagging at Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street SE (Cindy Hadish photo)

Sandbagging at Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street SE (Cindy Hadish photo)

Near Boston Fish at Fifth Street SE (Cindy Hadish photo)

Near Boston Fish at Fifth Street SE (Cindy Hadish photo)

Hospital CEO Tim Charles inside flooded Mercy Medical Center (Cindy Hadish photo)

Hospital CEO Tim Charles inside flooded Mercy Medical Center (Cindy Hadish photo)

Dan Geiser, Joe Hladky and George Ford inside a darkened Gazette, cooled, somewhat, by fans (Cindy Hadish photo)

Dan Geiser, Joe Hladky and George Ford inside a darkened Gazette, cooled, somewhat, by fans (Cindy Hadish photo)

Stream of cars drive through the Wal-Mark parking lot to pick up bottled water (Cindy Hadish photo)

Stream of cars drive through the Wal-Mart parking lot to pick up bottled water (Cindy Hadish photo)

Sandbags in front of Gazette building in downtown Cedar Rapids (Cindy Hadish photo)

Sandbags in front of Gazette building in downtown Cedar Rapids (Cindy Hadish photo)

Gazette publisher Dave Storey probably regrets being in my photo taken on the back dock of The Gazette. Employees had to use portable toilets for weeks because of water restrictions in Cedar Rapids. (Cindy Hadish photo)

Gazette publisher Dave Storey probably regrets agreeing to be in this photo taken on the back dock of The Gazette. Employees had to use portable toilets for weeks because of water restrictions in Cedar Rapids. (Cindy Hadish photo)

To be fair, this is me in the same spot on the Gazette's back dock - no shower for days because of the city's water restrictions.

To be fair, this is me in the same spot on the Gazette's back dock - no shower for days because of the city's water restrictions.

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Flood damaged trees

Jan and Howard Holten tear up when they discuss the trees that were damaged by floodwater surrounding their home in the Time Check neighborhood in Cedar Rapids.

Howard, 74, is an expert woodworker and some of his creations, including a plant stand, survived the flood and were moved to their new home, a trailer near Westdale Mall. Jan, 68, has been trying to do what she can to clean their flooded property, at the same time caring for their adult daughter, who suffers from disabilities, even while Jan is feeling the health effects of the stress and respiratory problems.

She recalls making jelly from the Concord grapes that grew on their property, which she would hand out to children. The couple hope to save one tree to move to one of their son’s homes. A small burr oak should survive the flood stress and be able to be transplanted. They got the acorn to start the tree from Burr Oak, Iowa. 

Howard lost his wheelchair in the floods and even more devastating to him, his saws and other woodworking tools. They hope to start a new life in their new neighborhood, but can’t plant any trees in the trailer park, one of the aspects they will miss the most about their old home.

For more on the Holtens, and what you can do for your flood-stressed trees, see the article in today’s (Tuesday, Sept. 16) Gazette. Trees Forever of Marion will have a workshop Saturday to help.

If you had a special tree that was damaged or lost in the floods, please add your comments below.

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Homegrown flood perspective

A boat makes its way down a flooded street near downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on June 12, 2008.    How do you describe the devastation to someone not experiencing these floods?

   Journalists typically pursue the Big Story with an excited fervor, but when it happens in your hometown – to your hometown – the news feels like a crushing blow to the stomach.

   There was the Time Check neighborhood completely under water, where my son played soccer this spring. Where I had interviewed Doug Ward this week for a story about his Ellis A&W restaurant’s anniversary – the oldest drive-in in Cedar Rapids. Where we had done what little we could to help co-worker Kathy Alter evacuate from her home with her mother. I still have her knitting – dozens of items she created for charity – in the trunk of my car. Kathy said it’s practically all that’s left from her home.

   There was the Cedar Rapids Public Library, where my children regularly begged me to take them – yes, for computer games, but also for the summer reading program, research for school projects and DVDs to check out, all perhaps taken too much for granted. The first thing my younger son asked was if the Harry Potter books had survived. Could anything survive that surge of water from the Cedar River?

   There was the stately St. Wenceslaus Church, where members tried to save historic artifacts by moving them up from the basement. I had intended to take pictures of my son serving Mass at the 104-year-old church, sometime soon. It was under the flood of water, as well.

   There was Czech Village, with its landmark National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library; Polehna’s meat market with its distinctive savory scent, historic Sykora’s, the bakery everyone had been waiting on to re-open; and the restaurants and bars that have been longtime neighborhood hang-outs. All under the swell of water. There was 20-plus year Czech School teacher Bessie Dugena’s t-shirt and souvenir shop, which my sons and I had sandbagged – a futile effort, it turned out – and her house just a block away.

   And then there was the home where my mother, Dorothy Martens, still lived on Hamilton Street, just blocks from Czech Village and until Thursday, seemingly nowhere near the river. The sidewalks where we rode our bikes as kids under a canopy of trees and the wide porches where neighbors would chat on warm summer evenings, all became part of the Cedar River this week. I’m in northeast Cedar Rapids. Mom’s across the river, so I can’t easily reach her to give her a hug.  

   I did talk to her today. Like other Iowans who have lost their homes, she’s had her low moments, but calls from relatives and friends, including a cousin in California, have buoyed her spirits. As usual, her first thoughts are with others. “I keep thinking of all the rest of Cedar Rapids,” she said. “It’s a house and we had some good years in it.” Somehow we’ll carry on.

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