Monday, March 14, 2011

Water is Rising! Do you have Flood Insurance?

I remember!
When I was younger (eon is a good reference word) we spent some time looking at the Mississippi as it swept past downtown St. Paul.  It was April, 1965 and it wasn’t just “one of those record years”, it was THE record year in St. Paul.  Living on the east side of the city, Shepard Road (Warner Road) along the river was a typical route from home to downtown.  Being so familiar with that piece of asphalt, it was staggering to see it covered by 12 feet of rushing water.  To this day, I am still impressed with inconceivable awe when driving along Shepard Road and seeing the high-water marks posted from that year.  When I hear “flood”, the images of 1965 come flooding back – wave after wave of them!  (All puns intended)
Interestingly enough, even Katrina carries memories for me.  Bay St. Louis, MS was dead center of this horrific hurricane. When I stopped there in 2009, four years after this disaster, most of the town was still deserted.  A very good friend of mine had owned one of the marinas just outside of the city. I’ve been unable to contact them since, but I understand they are OK. Under new ownership now, I was graciously given a tour of Bay Marina.  Looking at one of the buildings, there was clear evidence that the water had been lapping under the roof line of one of the buildings – nearly 20 feet over my head! 
This past fall, I was again reminded how vulnerable many people are when the Canon River left its banks and cascaded through many of the small towns along its route.  I always wonder how I’d survive!  I think of the dangers of the roaring water.  I think of the devastation caused and the cleanup that is required afterward.  Could I really move back into a house suffering from the effects of sitting in 6 feet of river water for days?  Could I even bring myself to gaze at a living room with 24 inches of mud covering what used to be the carpet?  I consider myself blessed that I’ve never been directly involved in this experience.  The images are horrific enough!
So here’s a little recommendation.  Buy flood insurance now!  Information regarding this insurance can be found at Floodsmart.  If there is ANY chance at all that someday you might be affected by the ravages of nearby rivers or even those normally quiet, meandering streams and brooks which suddenly overrun their banks, think about this insurance.  Since there is typically a 30 day lag time between the purchase date and the effective date, you may already be at risk.  Flood disasters can change your life.  They can make YOU homeless. Minnesota flooding typically occurs in April and that’s only 18 days away.  You can check the statistics and current predictions for your hometown at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Other Notes:
I've added a new blog to watch: The Hearth Connection Blog.  Richard Hooks-Wayman (Executive Director of Hearth Connection) says in his description,
"this blog is devoted to ending homelessness. Each month we’ll share policy insights, new research, local and statewide news, and stories from people experiencing homelessness or working in the field." 
Rich's insights regarding the issues facing homeless and runaway youth are rooted in first hand knowledge obtained through many years of dedication and experience throughout the county.

I met Rich in 1999 when he was the Collaborative Director of StreetWorks, a street-based outreach organization working with the homeless youth population in Minneapolis.  Since then, he's held the positions of Public Policy Campaign Director of the Minnesota Youth Service Association and more recently, the Senior Youth Policy Analyst at the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington DC.

His current blog posts explore the recent CBS 60 Minutes segment Hardtimes Generation: Homeless Kids.  You really should watch this news report! It will serioulsy touch you.

REMINDER:  Have you explored SPENT?  Try it and then tell us how you fared. Dont' worry the poll is anonymous :-)  We're going to be watching results for the rest of the month.

NEXT POST:  Phil Collins.  What!?!

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