A special Mainstreet Radio program from East Grand Forks, one year after the flood. Dan Gunderson provides a report of the flood disaster that took place last year. This is followed by Rachel Reabe interviewing Pat Owens, Grand Forks mayor; Lynn Stauss, East Grand Forks mayor; Cliff Barth, Breckenridge mayor; and Morris Lanning of the Red River Basin Coalition. Group answer listener questions.
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Mpr's Main Street radio coverage of Royal issues is supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening communities through grant-making leadership training and convening. We invite you to visit the Main Street website go to www.mpr.org. We can hear today's program at your convenience the special Main Street flood website remembering and rebuilding also includes entries from a flood journal and photos of the people in places were talking about today the entire collection of NPR stories on the flood will also be available on the Main Street website. The address again is www.mpr.org.Good morning, and welcome to a special Main Street radio show live from East Grand Forks. I'm Rachel reabe. We're opening our broadcast with music about last year's flood written and performed by the people of the Red River Valley.We're broadcasting today from East Grand Forks brand new city council chambers in this town along the banks of the Red River today. The river is Placid and well-behaved rolling slowly and steadily North as it has for thousands of years 12 months ago, though. You wouldn't have recognized the River or the towns that swallowed when the Red River rolled over the dikes in the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks on April 18th. 1997 The Eyes Of The Nation were drawn to the unfolding tragedy nearly 61,000 people were forced to leave their homes. It was the largest single evacuation in US history for the next 2 hours will talk about how the people of the Red River Valley are putting their lives and their communities back together, but first Main Street radios, Dan Gunderson revisits the flood of 97In early April people in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks were piling sandbags High confident. They were ready for a record blood then the forces of nature conspired to send the Red River two levels. No one expects East Grand Forks Police Officer Marty the texture of vividly remembers the beginning of the end. I was there when the second Dyke broke up on the Louis Marie bridge the corner of 2nd and 5th and what about the check and find out where the water was coming from and stopped to talk to two teenage kids and ask him all things are going where they're at and I'll send their, Walla water.I hollered on the radio I said the dike broke at 2nd and 5th and I ran and knocked out about what for 5 hours and that was back there to get away when the texture return hours later the lights of his patrol car. We're still flashing underwater engineer Dean Whelan remembers being on the point in East Grand Forks and neighborhood near the Red River Health and direct the flood fight from the cab of a backhoe as he and an operator tried everything they could think of in the Frantic minutes before the city surrendered and we actually took the garage just took him through it in a dike and he picks up his garage in about six bites and throws it in there and throw up dirt on top of it if you didn't get it stopped, but then about ten minutes later broke about a little ways Downstream to as the dice que pueden wheeling and other flood Fighters were forced to abandon their equipment and Retreat leaving hundreds of Homes at the mercy of the river. So I took the last six by six core vehicle out beforeStart evacuating by helicopter. And then there was mostly women and children and little kids carrying their teddy bears that are crying and I tell you that that's one night. It's hard to get out of your pipe as water swirl through the streets Grand Forks mayor Pat Owens and other city leaders begged residents to give up the fight and evacuate. Rebuild and we will be stronger and we will be in it together. April 18th, I'll always remember 1997 is changing my life forever East Grand Forks Marilyn Strauss remembers watching in horror as his entire town went under it took me back to Vietnam. I could I could picture. I was a Vietnam veteran and I can picture these helicopters come in the light shining down in the speakers going and saying people we need to get you out. Now in moments thousands of flood Fighters became refugees many like Peggy bushy. We're miles away before the awful realization of what had happened to set in. pictures of personal items we moved the second floor thinking they be okay there and they weren't my wedding video things like that. One of the last presidents to leave East Grand Forks was John McCoy. He stood at a Crookston shelter with the safety month old son and tried to make sense of the situation looking at you like you're crazy and you probably are crazy. I decided I found out where in hell this is it even has the final evacuations were happening another disaster hit. Grand Forks firefighter was videotaping the scene as fire truck struggles to get to the fire through water filled streets blazing Island in a sea of flood water deputy chief Pete O'Neal was one of the first on the scene arriving by boat. He and two other men went into the burning building to make sure no people were left in the dozens of a park stuck in my plans. We went from door-to-door and kicked in as many doors as we could until her. I just got too tired originally were knocking the doors in but after a while I got too tired enough the doors in so they know we're doing the best we could with just making a bunch of noise without He's got everybody out. And then we saw somebody stick their head out from one of the apartments real close to the fire. Anda Pieces on what's going on. So we realized that we didn't have all the people out no lives were lost in the fire something many firefighters consider a miracle Deputy Chief Peter O'Neill remembers hearing firefighters would be swept away by the Raging Water as they struggle to connect hoses to submerged fire hydrants, you you would lean into the current you focus on where you were heading and you walk to that point when you push against the water there was actually ice chunks in the water the whole situation seemed very surreal. Nothing seem to make any sense. It didn't seem possible at time you look up in the sky and you see helicopters and these burning embers size of garbage cans phone overhead and crashing down around you and all the buildings burning in the floodwaters for 4 to 5:50. By the time the fire was contained 11 buildings have been destroyed living downtown Grand Forks a blackened shell but water did the worst damage destroying hundreds of homes and damaging thousands in time the Red River shrank back within its banks and the process of Demolition and rebuilding began the process that continues today. Almost a year after the flood entire neighborhoods are being turned into Rubble hundreds of people still live in clusters of Tiny mobile homes provided by the federal government while the homes they lost to the river stand mud encrusted and broken a daily reminder of the flood of 97 and of the many unanswered questions about the prevention of floods to come and long-term future Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Minnesota Public Radio. Well Grand Forks and East Grand Forks that had their share of headaches and heartaches this past year. They've also had their Heroes, perhaps the best-known am I to guess this morning Grand Forks mayor Pat Owens and East Grand Forks Marilyn Styles, welcome both of you to wear show. Our phone lines are open for your questions and comments. Please give us a call today at 1 800-537-5252. The number again one 800-537-5252. 3/4 of the homes in Grand Forks 99% of the homes in East Grand Forks were damaged by the flood all of the downtown businesses were impacted. How do you two feel about the progress you've made in the past year pallet start with you. Are you where you'd hoped you would be I guess what I can say is, you know, we're all in a hurry to get to full recovery, but I'm going to sum up by an article that appeared in the paper this morning that made me feel just great James Lee with the director of FEMA was talking to him over the telephone to some officials in Fargo North Dakota yesterday, and he said that they had never the Federal Emergency Management had never been through a disaster of the nature that are two cities have gone through and he said that the speed of recovery between two cities East Grand Forks and Grand Forks is remarkable. and this morning as I was sitting on my couch, I was all by myself and I read that and it's been a challenging year for Lynn and myself and actually the tears did flow because I thought we wish we could be really normal right now all we've come a long long way much further than I ever would have imagined but we're not ever going to be really normal. We're going to be totally different and we're going to have to get used to the idea and I think people have been just absolutely marvellous and I know Lynn will agree with me. We've been through a lot but I believe that the true heroes of our flood are the people that have weathered the storm and we've just been fortunate to be able to leave them and I hope they feel the same way. Lynn what do you think about the progress? If this has been a year ago the three of us would have been way Steven water in the bottom of the pool in this remarkable Redevelopment effort in downtown East Grand Forks. This is the holiday mall that your new council chambers are in. This is so new we can smell the fresh paint from where we are here at this is really sort of the centerpiece released the opening shot in your Redevelopment, isn't it? Right at the very beginning we looked at we had to do something positive downtown. We had all of the businesses that were flooded and these people didn't know who they could turn to for help. So we decided to take this building and remodel it and what is turned into a very successful story for us because we have now 14 businesses that were taken out of business and because of the flood and then we have City Hall down here. Also. Am I KC? You said this was 7 1/2 feet underwater by And now we got business is ready to open up for the grand opening on Saturday and we couldn't be happier. I think this particular building in both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks at this present time is probably the most successful story of the two communities because we're able to move very quickly on it and then the ruined buildings you have time to rehab them and open them up to other businesses are there are other businesses. They're looking into East Grand Forks in Grand Forks that are in even though we've been flooded and I know that what the disaster did the coming here and looking for an opportunity to be part of our communities. So I think it's Pat mentioned the true unsung heroes are all of the community people. I think that the dis is reflected to some of the people across the nation within our state and they're looking that they would like their kids to come up in this type of community with this type of spirit. And so we're seeing businesses are interested moving to both both communities. Mainstreet stand Gunderson is with one of the business owners in our audience today Dan with Bob Rosenberg is the owner of Mike's Pizza and Mike's pizza's been a landmark in East Grand Forks since the early 1960s. It's located about a block from here right on the bank of the Red River and was one of the businesses that was totally destroyed essentially then we'll be demolished a deck will be built near that site and Bob is one of businesses that has reopened here in the holiday Mall Bob. What were the challenges of getting a business back when I think all you salvaged was a couple of metal tables from your business? Yes. I did sell that just a handful of things in the federal government was was generous with with the programs that they were offering but I think the city took a hold of this building and and fostered the The businesses in and gave us a real. Course to get us going and yes turned out to be better in the holiday Mall here than I had ever ever imagined. What was the greatest challenge with getting a business back going again? Where there times when you thought of Simply walking away from it? It was several times. I was going to throw in the towel, but you know why my employees were were checking with me every day and and they want to go to go for it and the spirit of the community as such that you can never find a better place. I don't think to be in business. What did it mean to the community to have a landmark business like this reopening and you were one of the first businesses to open reopen After the flood well, we had you know it over time your thoughts are Jesus and all those people are going to forget about me in I'm going to open my doors and if so, we haven't spent all that money then. You know, you lose all those people but it's it's been a huge the response that I've got. Its the people are lined up all my doors everyday at noon and and it's like a hero's welcome. It's feeling like I've never had before the people come in and and thank you for being there and and wish you well and they just keep coming. It's just incredible. My calendar. How long were you out of business? How long was Mike's pizza's down after the flood for nine and a half months? We opened February 1st in the new location in the people haven't stopped, and it's just been terrific having a place to go to I see where your business was located near the river. There wasn't another place to go to because they were on the same shape that you were it was tough. You know. I looked at several locations in Grand Forks in in a few different ones in East Grand Forks, and I know, you know some of the programs moved slowly, you know, I like to do things today my way and I've learned if nothing else patients and I think patience paid off is I picked out a good spot there and with the help of the city of East Grand Forks, you know, I suspect we're going to be there for a long long time, and we can also almost smell the pizza from here Bob Rosenberg. Thanks very much continue with our program. Our phone lines are open at one 800-537-5252. Feel free to call us today. If you have a question, we have Judy from Greenwood on the line. Go ahead with your question, please. Good morning. I was just like it ask it seems to me that if the world or at least people in Minnesota would go through their homes and closets and find things that are wonderful and never used where could they be sent to Let's I'd like to know. What's a good question? Do you still need things? I know right immediately after the flood last year people there was such an outpouring of trucks and trailers and people coming in town and it seemed very quickly the call came, please no more used clothes. You were probably drowning at her mountains of the mirror. Where you at now? Well with Grand Forks North Dakota, I believe and we work very closely together. I know that our information center which is offset of the mayor's office takes calls and will direct and they have all the information as to where the needs are at this point, you know when they run them through a different agencies. And so if you ever want to call Larry at 701-746-2736 and they could give you you know, if there are needs in specific areas and I know we do have the victory program working and that is one area where I they do know the needs don't you give that number one more time pat? 701-746-2736 2736. Thank you for your call. We have Mary Jean on the line from St. Louis Park. Good morning. I have a question for the mayor's or for both people. One of my kids is attending the university up there and I kept track. On the internet. I kept printing out all the and I have a whole file of Internet messages. What do you think the internet? Did you playing a role in the recovery of that disaster up here internet and also, yeah the radios the PD the in and assume it's the internet did such a part to get the news out. There are people that were displaced throughout Minnesota North Dakota. And I know a lot of people throughout the nation we're going to the internet and trying to find out what's happening with their Hometown what's happening to the university I attended before so it was a very vital part on putting a link to those people that was needed throughout the United States. I also concur with what lens said and I recently got email on my computer and I haven't even had enough time to run the messages that have come through on that email their overwhelming but it's all in response to the internet and what they've seen on our two cities. So I believe it is a plus for us and our University of North Dakota right now needs all the advertising that they can possibly get. They close down a course for the flood and I think people still imagine that were under water but they were up and running in the fall and really Roman stabilize their pet it was down but I think you know, they figure that it will come up but we are putting up a whole team of advertising across the country to Target. So they know that you know, it's a great University in a great City and it's it's A place that people need to come to go to school. We have a great quality of education. So I think the efforts will pay off but it did put a Stigmata UND was one of the places that came to our Aid when our Emergency Center went under water and they gave us their operations center and we worked and work with them and they gave us everything we possibly needed. So we do owe them a debt for what they did for a community. You mentioned the media when she asked about the internet. You said that the media was also a great help lot of attention lot of celebrating going on in this community today in these communities today when the word came last night that the Grand Forks Herald had been awarded the coveted prize in journalism. The Pulitzer Prize. Was that a delightful such a deserving award for the Grand Forks Herald to because you know, they didn't stop printing and all in everyday people that were displaced and other areas from Crookston Bemidji. Thief River Falls and even ourselves because we didn't let many times get to see the television or what some of the radio station so we didn't get to listen to and I waited to see the Grand Forks Herald in the morning to read what was happening to some of the families that have been to space. They think that just the ones being displaced. We're wondering what was going on in East Grand Forks what we were wondering what was going on with them that had left the city to so it really did work to help all of us and they deserve the ward. We have Cheryl on the phone with us from Grand Forks. Good morning. Call my commentary was so is most people would expect from me. My name is Pastor Cheryl Hendrickson, and I just have to comment you had a program just before this one on about how the face of Americans has been such an important part of their history and certain other religious faith of people has been a very very important part of going through this whole disaster before during and after the base of the mayor's both mayor dolls. And Mero Owens has been a tremendous inspiration to us all and they have not been afraid to stay there their religious faith in their depends upon God that he's thinks the churches working together and show of all Faith people coming from all over the country because of their face on the Lord and they're wanting to share that Joy by service to our community has been tremendous everything. Salvation Army to how Lutheran Disaster Response which our church has been deeply involved with too many many many agencies of every kind of denomination of every kind of church has been so active in this community. Our churches have been working very closely together. The pastors have been working together people who maybe would have had arguments ad infinitum while I was colleagues and Seminary have done nothing but embrace one another lift up one another in prayer and fellowship and work together via Victory Valley Interfaith coalition to recovery has been a tremendous resource for everyone in the area as the churches denominations in agencies that work together. It has just been a terrific inspiration and David Lord has upheld us through this whole thing. Let me ask you what we talked about the separation of church and state and don't mix those things up. When a flood comes and almost washes your communities away. Is that when the lines begin to blur? I didn't even think of separation of church and state at that point. The only thing I believe in my heart and mind I carried our communities through is our faith. And you know, I I personally and I know Lynn the same week. I attended many different church services. You almost forgot where you belong because we were really hurting and you just needed to be together and I think that's a great thing that happened. I think America is losing a lot. I mean, it's not toward anyone Faith. It's all faiths. And I know Sunday we are teaming up to heaven all faiths service at 5 at the Chester Fritz Auditorium and Lynn and I will be there and We could have made it without I know I couldn't and I can just Echo the same thing feeling that a pass and I hear a different politician. Should we say because we're not politicians. We like to feel that we're people's Mayors and we don't separate the church from The Fallout the political party, but I guess and I think we needed to share that Faith with the people of our community. And I know that one of the things that I said too many times is it wasn't a public speaker and when we had to go to Washington DC and speak in front of the Senators and congressmen you were very afraid of what you would say. You didn't want to hurt your community and I could remember many times saying going to the Lord in prayer and asking for that help to say the right things for your community. And so we'd we didn't hide our faith we brought our faith out in and shared it with the people of our communities. Just about at all. Have you been people say stop a rebuilt or have people not send that totally opposite in my city. I have people that come in and I know Lane you must get that too. And it's it's it's a you pray a lot because they come in to try to gain strength from you. I think the big thing is, you know, you can't be phoning Janet and I didn't want to go too far and faith in it because they know that I'm not a the every Sunday worshipper, but not at all mine was to to eliminate some of that stress. It was out there and I just felt religion was a place you could go to and in a time of stress and need. will be back with a special edition of Main Street radio from East Grand Forks, but first a bit more music from keep the faith musical theater production written and performed but by the people of the Red River Valley What goes up must come down? sandwiches at Wawa red train stop you're listening to a special Main Street radio broadcast from East Grand Forks. NPR's Main Street radio coverage of Royal issues is supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening communities through grant-making leadership training and convening. It is 33 minutes now past 11 today's weather calling across the state for cloudy skies and rain in the South. It is mostly sunny where we are here in the north temperatures expected to be in the forties Statewide tonight a chance of rain, maybe even snow in the Southeast the temperatures dropping down to the 30s and tomorrow across Minnesota Cloudy Skies chance of rain or snow in the Southeast with highs in the forties. We are continuing now with this special Main Street radio broadcast from East Grand Forks our phone number today one 800-537-5252 have a question or comment. Please give us a call. We have Gloria from Garrison on the phone. Good morning. Good morning. I just want to pass both those mares on the back for the wonderful work that they have done. My folks were one of the unfortunate couples that lost their home after 43 years in the Lincoln Park area and I am have just visited them last night and they are resettled in their new home. And I just think it's wonderful that they have survived this and it could not have been done without the mayor's without all the people of Grand Forks the people of North Dakota and in fact the generosity of the people of our whole country and I am just so proud of them. And so pleased that we are all survivors and did it with Grace and integrity and I'm I'm just pleased as can be and that's really all I wanted to say to you and thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I would like to respond to Gloria are your parents the two that I sort of adopted at the beginning because they were so strong in her just last week had a birthday. I'll tell you they have been a living model of Perfect People perfect citizens. I can't say enough for that couple has it been difficult to be put in such a spotlight not even locally. Not even Statewide but a national Spotlight. Can you ever just break down and wind people or do you feel like you must keep saying we will rebuild it will be better who can you talk to buy things that we've been using positive words for rebuilding our community. But sometimes when you mention we actually have been elevated to a different level of Mayor than than it has been in Ark You need from the past and sometimes it really you feel the almost embarrassed when people come up and patch on the back telling you what a good job because you want to turn around and we do I mean we passed them. So you just did and it is almost embarrassing at times because Pat or myself to not look upon ourselves as Heroes we feel we're part of the whole communities in the whole communities are the heels of this flood. I think the main reason and I'm a quiet person also Lynn and I were very close. We had some little projects. We were going to work on before the water overtook us and so I feel very fortunate to have Lynn is Michael partner in East Grand Forks. It's been a great team. However, I said I believe firmly that the news media helped our two communities significantly by keeping us up front and people understood what was happening and how are people were hurting and that's the only reason that I've stayed Frontline and I know Lynn the same way. It's just we couldn't have done it without the people across the nation to thank when she did the news media, but also the Congressional people that senators and congressmen that kept us up in and the front of the press and out in Washington and and made our story here available to everybody the nation and that's what kept things going and getting it kept us apart coming to us in Washington DC. We were a team Are we with a drunken ass to what they call the swamp where they and it was sometimes about 2 miles away and I think they all I know laid made made a joke about me the other day with my big purse in my high heels and I thought I was going to have Cardiac Arrest but we made it and so, you know, like he said our Congressional people both. Both States couldn't we could have done it for moving us back and forth to senators and representatives so fast and we had a lunch that they had gotten ready for us. And the only time we had is to go into the garage to eat the lunch before we ran over to the next stop is spread that we were glad to do it because it was certainly something it was needed for our communities. We have Mitch from St.Paul on the phone. Good morning isn't quite as proud of my home state is it was last year, but I have a question. There was some talk in the media down here in the Twin Cities last year about People comparing the relative styles of government. Of course, Minnesota's got a big comprehensive style of government is very large state government. What's the tax rate in Beaufort North Dakota as a smaller more hands-off Western type of to the state government. Just wondering if the mayors from both sides of the river could comment on the differences in the types of room for the received not from the feds, but from their respective state governments, First of all, I'm I'm so glad that we have a small city council and you have a lot of just kidding cast. It's always easier to work with a smaller group as far as the state government's go. I don't really know how much a Grand Forks hasn't is how many representatives that but I thought it was relatively large considering the the size of the state the population but you know, we haven't said anything about the state of Minnesota here on the help that they have given to us up to this point tonight. I have to congratulate the governor the replica of the legislative people the representatives and Senators. They have helped us an awful lot through this crisis and up. I know sometimes we talked a surplus and the money should be available to help out people in disaster, but I think that's something legislators should look at in the future since there seems to be a disaster every year put some money or several per year but to put some money away so that we don't have to argue about it when This Disaster help so we can give any commit. Weatherby the south of north help him out at that time of disaster but getting back to your question though. I think our legislative group in Minnesota have been very good to us. And we really come East Grand Forks want to thank them I guess in North Dakota world largest city in a smaller State. I'll tell you our governor has been right front line from the very beginning. In fact, he even put in place of retired National Guardsmen General Maurice eggs being to carry on and he work with inner-city to make sure that the needs are taken care of at the state level. They did our match with a FEMA buyout. It was a 10% City match with which which we couldn't do and are two senators and congressmen Center Conrad dargan and congressmen Pomeroy. They and the governor are different, why are congressional people in Washington or Democratic Governors Republican? They have melded together to help our city just tremendously. I just can't say enough for them. I would like to see them as lifetime in that job last year's floods in the resulting Devastation is sharp in the long-running conversation about water management and flood control, especially in the Red River Basin more Landing who is the mayor of Moorhead and chairman of the Red River Basin Coalition joins us from our Minnesota Public Radio station in Moorhead kccd. Good morning. Mr. Lanning. Good morning. Good morning. Let's talk while we're setting that up about how do you look at your city? But also look larger you talk about what's good for Grand Forks? What's good for East Grand Forks in the two of you have done what some people find to be a remarkable job of pointing in the same direction and walking along concerned about your own communities, but also looking out for the other ones. How about the larger picture? How about flood control Basin why this is a group that has been meeting for decades and there is still not a plan in place. First of all, I think Lynn and I are both alternates on that board which worked out very well at this point because our schedules have been just overwhelming we have for years needed total flood control in the Red River Basin and it's going to take years to accomplish that but at least now they're working toward it down with Canada. I think the main thing that we can rely on is that's going to be great for us is the international Joint Commission, which is Canada and the United States. It was put in place by the president and the premier to address these issues and they are working with the Red River Basin board to come up with Solutions. Mr. Landing. We have you now on Good morning. Hi us good morning, and good morning to Pat and win. Did the flood really galvanized the conversation about what to do? Yes, it did. We have been working towards Basin management to program your for many years, but what the flood has done is to really give that effort a shot in the arm. And where does the money come from? Mr. Landing for that system-wide planning? We are getting support from federal sources and state sources. And eventually we are going to need gate local support from enemies throughout the base and hopefully there would be a some means to tax property throughout the basin. Now when we see even on a smaller scale cities Grand Forks meeting tonight to look at a second opinion for the dike plan and it's hard for a single Community to get together behind a plan when we have three states two countries 30 some communities. How do you get people to come together? Well that is really a challenge for us to be able to pull everybody together and try to get people to achieve consensus on what should be done. But it's a challenge that needs to be done and we have to keep our nose to the grindstone and make every effort to try and bring people together and Achieve consensus. There are things that we can do to better control floods in the Red River Basin a but in order to do that. We're going to have to have cooperation across the political jurisdictions and anyone jurisdiction can in effect veto something that the somebody else wants to do. And so the only way you're going to achieve progress is for people to be moving forward together and consensus. Thank you. Mr. Landing for your time this morning. Our phone lines are open. The number is one 800-537-5252. Is there a question that people are so concerned with the immediate the tyranny of the urgent that it's hard when they're house needs to be re fixed or they have to get the furnace in or they have to do to think let's spend some time and think flood control in the Red River Basin. Is it sometimes just too much on top of what you're doing? Okay, usually it's kind of surprising but I think I could let her once a week at least if somebody was got a suggestion how to manage the water basin, you know and help out so probably would not happen. But what made Mary Landing in that group is doing from the South Dakota Border North Dakota, Minnesota and up into Canada is something that has to happen and then probably some of these levies don't have to be put up that are very costly and take the homes out that are people's lives and their families grew up. So we would have come in what they're trying to get accomplished but it's going to take time and we have to give be patient and give him that time because it's a lot of people to put together when you're trying to work different states in different countries, so you don't have one. I am King. This is what's going to happen. That's right. It has to be a Cooperative effort to and we really commend what they're doing democracies work well, but they work slowly dying. You talk so much about Grand Forks in East Grand Forks receiving so much of the attention, but they certainly did not have the corner on destruction last year other towns were hit hard Breckenridge, which is 2 hours south of us in Grand Forks was swamp twice and hundreds of people had to be evacuated. We have Breckenridge mayor Clif bars on the phone with us. Good morning. Mayor Barth morning. Good morning the rest of mirrors. Let me ask you sir. Is it better to be the mayor of a small town when natural disaster occurs, or did you often wish that you had the people in the procedures in a fact that they might have had in a larger cities such as Grand Forks. I guess my answer to that would be you know why I can really relate to what padawans and then they are Strauss are going through but I do feel that it is a somewhat easier on a smaller scale even all the devastation per capita was just as bad on a smaller scale that it isn't quite as overwhelming and and I just can't even imagine with what I'm going through what it's like up in in East Grand Forks Grand Forks. But yes, I agree that the smaller scale is is somewhat better. And even now one year after the flood where Nightline is coming back in and I know Patty Lynn of talked about some of their to Media parents is today and the next day that they are just booked all over from media all over the country calling them to see how things are going. Have you got any calls in Breckenridge to say may or Barth? How are you doing there a year after from all over the states here and the answer to them has that we're doing quite well, I'm real happy with our city is that we have a long ways to go. We're in the process of next month starting our demolition of housing, but 130 houses are going to be tore down throughout the next year. But I feel good about our city. We have recovered from the flood at this point quite. Well. We have a long ways to go in there still a lot of pain and suffering in the in the process, but the state federal governments are representatives and And I'd like to Slater's have just done a wonderful job for us. The governor's task force just was overwhelming how those people reacted and helped us out this past year and I guess the the most important thing that I would say is that to have a person we have stand through online to help us with this we hired it before the flood and it's just an excellent man, and then has done wonders for us as far as getting the funding to do what we need to do. Thank you very much for your time this morning. We've been talking to Cliff Barth. Who is the mayor of Breckenridge smaller Community 2 hours south of here that it was also hit very hard by the flood. This is a special Main Street radio broadcast live from East Grand Forks were broadcasting from the city council chambers here. Just a block from the Red River. I'm Rachael Ray be my guest this morning East Grand Forks mayor and Steakhouse in Grand Forks mayor Pat Owens. Our phone lines are open for your calls and comments one. 800-537-5252 Jim from Grand Rapids is on the good morning. Good morning. I have a question for the mayor's I wonder how they find enough tradespeople that Christians plumbers sheetrockers, excetera to even begin to put a stone like Grand Forks back in place it in the town. I live in we just went to a small remodeling project and it's hard to find a contractor here because They're all so busy and also booked up and it just seems like that would be overwhelming. I'll hang up and listen to thank you and forks Tradesman real real demand. We put in place a one-stop-shop they came from all across the country. They you know had to meet certain requirements and we had to clear them to make sure that they were very legitimate good qualifications. So that works beautifully for us right. Now where we lack is we do not have enough people to go in and repair homes. There aren't enough people because they were doing the big jobs. So the smaller are left, you know the truth by the wayside. So that's something that are Senators have asked that we work on grease from all over the country and when they got here, I know the motel I stayed at last night. It was me and all the construction workers. So they've certainly populated the motels in the hotels here at the house. He was such a prompt Everybody where do you fit the tradespeople in they they basically stayed in hotels. They stayed in the Grand Forks Mission. I think even how some of them they had trailers that haul our own trailer homes up here. If I don't have a son-in-law who is an electrician in about 300 miles away and he hauled up his own living quarters and everything for his people so it did it worked out. Okay, no question though that occasionally trade-ins is is hard to find because all throughout the the Midwest or having trouble with getting the personality need East Grand Forks did Implement a program into their Vo-Tech school to younger people that is going sheetrocking electrical work in so that did help out and I will continue to do that. But I think for the next 5 years Construction in greater Grand Forks is going to be at the highest levels. It's ever been in we're going to eat construction people for a long time to come. Spend some time working here thinking it's just temporary and think I like this place. I'm going to get out of this motel room build my own house in my office from Florida doing Wallwork, you know, he said I just love it here and I've heard of people that have actually moved and we have mortenson's construction Martin since project. There are in a project manager and they actually have moved some of their families up here in East Grand Forks. We're going to have for new schools and put a picture on here put in a day, but for new schools new residential area new downtown business district. Yes, I think people will look at our community is good giving it to live in in Grand Forks the same. Do you get mad when people say you're probably happy that you were flooded out never ever said that I never will say that but let's say it's an article that intimated. What is the best thing that ever happened to these communities on the thing that you see, you know, the truth airs disaster that comes with a plaid with tornadoes that we've had in the state but through disaster also comes the ultimate good in people that you throughout the nation throughout our state and then comes the help is needed for these communities and it should come to help him restore not just to what they were but two better than what they were before and that's what we're trying to do with both. Our communities were trying to use the federal government to State money to the best that we can so that we do have better communities. Is there some pressure To build a perfect this time people always say and then they're saying it in St. Peter and comfy this week will now you have a chance to really start with a clean slate and you don't have the same amount was too bad that a hundred years ago. They decided to do that. But just come with that also a quite a bit of pressure that this needs to be now model this needs to be perfect do it. Right don't make a mistake. I think that one of the things that secretary Como from he's a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development set on a tape when he came to our cities to give us money was, you know, we none of us wanted that disaster if we could go back we'd be happy The Way We Were however he said Out of This Disaster has come opportunity you are cities that can build your city almost from the ground up so we will make mistakes because we have to take risks or will never move ahead and we won't be perfect but will be closed. Who is what your opinion is? A perfect is one thing and then you get so many different opinions me as a mayor and I know Lincoln say this to is have you have so much money to work with and it's a jump start from the government its have to take care of immediate needs under the guidelines. But you also have a step ahead 5 to 10 years to make your tax base strong and you have to do things for businesses and so forth and I've learned how to do that. But unless you're right in the middle of it people don't understand it five years from now they will But it's easy to be short-sighted. Right and our house is falling down right now and I have to stop and look at it that way or I would be against certain things also more costly than we ever thought. And so what do we know when something is taken down on a home? For example, a residential home that a person had paid for fixed income and it's probably 800 square feet to a thousand square feet now to go replace that home. It's probably triple the value of what it was or he does that mean she is on the phone. Good morning. Go ahead with your question or comment retire in 1990. So our hearts were very much in and still are in the Grand Forks East Grand Forks area as all this process has been going on one of the things that have Here was a town. Whoever had no warning 2 to get ready for this at all. Suddenly less than 12,000 was about 4,000 evacuation. And I know this is a story that's been repeated in a in a circumference. I don't know but what just outside the area as people had to leave very very abruptly. I think it's done something very special for the sense of community within this community and a sense of bonding with the salad forks to like him bite your comment about that night feedback you had I'd also like as one of those communities I'd like to hold up for recognition the little Community 15 miles north of Grand Forks of which took them to continue their They're never missing an issue. I saw here at our emergency Operation Center everyday people hungrily waiting for the herald to come and give them a link to what was going on to the end of time. They could get return taking in people and also taking in businesses your comments about that mayors. Well, I guess I have three things. I'm thankful for I'll put one we could never have recovered without all of you and Across the Nation even overseas. We have received help for the citizens of our community. And without the caring attitude. We never could have recovered and I shall never forget a community when they go through a disaster and I've heard many of our citizens say that and I know you were insane Peter Just A Week Ago talking to people there and one of the comments you made that was interesting. You said we're in the anger phase right you do get angry because you're not normal and you'll like I said, you'll never be the normal you were before but it will pass and we all understand one another and we've been through so much we have a right to be angry. So a great deal of empathy for people wear their their towns have been hit by tornadoes or flood or anyting and I also want to say to the communities are around East Grand Forks Grand Forks to Bemidji to Thief River Falls Crookston Warren and they were so good to us and that you are Our Heroes 2 because you took in our people that they had just the clothes on their back you fed them. You clothed them and you also a large diamond we owe an awful lot to you and you're right. We did become better communities closer communities up and down the Red River Valley and we want to thank all of you for that. We'd like to close this first half of our show with more music from keep the faith written and performed by the people of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. My guests have been Grand Forks mayor Pat Owens and East Grand Forks Maryland state house. Thank you too for joining us. Turn your very busy day. We spent the first hour of our show looking at how the communities along the Red River are rebuilding After the flood next hour will focus on how people are putting their lives back to Whether you stay and rebuild or do you move and try to start a new life in a new place will talk to people who have chosen different roads to recovery and will look at how the flood impacted the children of Grand Forks. It's only had as we continue this live Main Street radio broadcast from East Grand Forks after the news. this week listen for a series of reports and commentaries on treaty rights and tribal sovereignty in northern Minnesota weekday mornings at 7:20 on Minnesota Public Radio know FM 91.1 You're listening to Minnesota Public Radio. It's 42 degrees at k n o w FM 91.1 Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Today's Twin Cities weather calls for Cloudy Skies scattered showers High 45° the street conditions tonight temperatures dropping down to 32 degrees and for Thursday, Wendy and mostly cloudy across the state high of 43.