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Serving: IN

Notorious Anniversary Looms Ahead

Evidence of damage remains one year after flood.

This year's wet spring has been a replay of last year's for some, worse for others. There are some who literally have had to pick days where fields were less tacky than others to get anything planted this year at all. Last season some planting was done, then problems started with more than two weeks of wet, cool weather in May.

 

But what last year will forever be remembered for is the flood of June 7, especially in central and southern Indiana. For others, like those in northwest Indiana, the remnants of a hurricane that produced unprecedented flooding in mid- September is a reminder of last year. Both are more like nightmares rather than memories.

 

One year later some of the problems caused by the June 7 flood have been corrected, while others are yet to be sorted out. The Bartholomew County Hospital, for example, is back in service, but it took months and millions fo dollars for it to reopen. Final touches are still being put on cosmetic repairs at the Johnson County Memorial Hospital in Franklin.

 

Dozens of homes on Franklin's south side stand vacant, waiting for a final decision on their fate. Those who lived there have already moved on in most cases. The area looks like a ghost town now, and will never look the same again.

 

One of the most vivid memories of the June 7 flood was the field in southern Johnson County, owned by Shelby Gravel Company and farmed by Jim, John and Ryan Facemire. The area is plotted on the map as basically no risk to flooding. Yet an entire watershed found an outlet to a gravel pit near the field after carving a way into the pit. More than two acres were destroyed, extending nearly 80- rods. The caverns created were seven to eight feet deep, and several feet across. There is gravel at three to four feet below the surface in that field, and the gravel went along with the soil into the pit.

 

Five days after the storm, Lt. Governor and Secretary of Agriculture in Indiana, Becky Skillman, visited the site to see it for herself. A waterfall 12 corn rows wide was still running that day.

 

Today, if you just drive by the field, you won't notice anything spectacular. The owners of the field filled the hole back in so that the farmers could still farm the field. Exactly how many loads of soil it took, and how much time was involved in refilling it, aren't being reported.

 

Here's hoping the similarities between this season and last end before June 7.

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