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Area endures another round of flooding

Lead Summary

The frustration in Dustin Rolando’s voice came through loud and clear Friday afternoon.Rolando serves as the county engineer for Chickasaw County, and early last week, he felt like the county’s road crews were finally  “getting ahead” when it came to issues caused by the flooding on Aug. 24.And then the county took a giant step backwards on Friday, when up to 5 inches of rain deluged parts of the area.“We felt like we were getting ahead, making some progress,” Rolando said, “and we’re right back where we started.”Numerous roads had to be closed because they were under water, and even those that didn’t flood suffered damage.“I’m sure we’ve lost a ton of rock again,” Rolando said, “and I know of a couple of roads that we had gotten rock on are almost bare again. We just can’t catch a break.”Rolando had estimated that county roads suffered $450,000 worth of damage during the August flooding, and while that number will be lower with this latest round, it doesn’t matter.“We’re doing what we have to do,” Rolando said, “but our budget is shot already. Ten dollars would have been too much.”Chickasaw County Emergency Management Director Ken Rasing said he is hopeful that the county can tie the latest damage amount with the August flooding when it comes to receiving a possible federal disaster declaration.“They don’t usually let you do that because it’s two different storm events,” he said, “but we’re going to definitely try. It feels like our road crews haven’t caught a break here.”Rasing said if there was a silver lining, it was the fact that so many county residents looked out for their neighbors.A portion of Quinlan Avenue was underwater, for example, and two residents blocked each side of the road until road crews could get to the scene.“There wasn’t much left of that road, and if someone had tried to go through it, they would have fallen in,” Rasing said, “but they blocked the road until we got there. That’ neighbors looking out for neighbors.”NEW HAMPTON Superintendent Jay Jurrens said he spent a good portion of Friday morning driving rural roads.He ultimately made the decision that it would be better to keep students in school for the entire day instead of having an “early out.”“It’s always a tough call, but it’s supposed to dry out for a while,” he said late Friday morning, “and we’re hoping that will let the water go down.”The district was able to get most students home, although there were reports of a few buses not being able to get down roads.Still, it’s been the strangest start to the school year in Jurrens’ career.“I know until last month I had never been in a district where we called classes off because of flooding,” he said. “To be back out there today ... it’s just been a strange year.” 

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