This just in… *** Legislator blasts state response *** Editor defends *** Righter: Worst is yet to come *** Disaster finally declared ***
Tuesday, Jun 10, 2008
* 10:23 am - Uh-oh…
* 10:46 am - Tomorrow’s leaders meeting is scheduled for 10:30 at the Thompson Center. Kevin will be covering this one, so we won’t have to wait around for updates.
* 11:19 am - From a press release…
* 11:29 am - More serious flooding on the way…
*** 11:52 am *** State Rep. Roger Eddy (R-Hutsonville) is not usually one to pop off, and he mostly kept his cool when we talked a few minutes ago. But he’s becoming ever more frustrated that the flooded areas of his southeastern Illinois House district are not getting the same attention from the state that the folks across the border in Indiana have received.
Flooded areas of Indiana have already obtained a federal disaster declaration. In contrast, Illinois has yet to declare its side of the border a disaster - a step that has to be completed before the feds can step in.
Also, Indiana’s governor has personally toured the impacted areas on his side of the border. But when Eddy talked to an official with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency he was told that it “doesn’t make any sense for the governor to be down here at this time.”
“The people down here are going to perceive that he just isn’t engaged,” Eddy said of Gov. Blagojevich.
Eddy did say that some localities were getting some much-needed help with immediate concerns, and he said he was very grateful for that. But he added that the paperwork process needs a thorough review. Too much emphasis was being placed on getting local officials to sign off on documents when they were out on the front lines battling the flooding, Eddy said.
“We have a flash flood,” the legislator said, “We need flash paperwork.”
“I don’t know why Indiana can have a declaration in less than a day and now we’re three or four days ino this and we’re just seeing this paperwork.”
*** 12:36 pm *** Rep. David Reis sent in this photo of a levy break just beyond his back yard…
*** 2:12 pm *** For some perspective, I phoned Mike Van Dorn, the editor of the Lawrenceville Daily Record.
Van Dorn wasn’t much impressed with Rep. Eddy’s comments about Blagojevich, claiming that’s his usual schtick back in the district - to blame the guv for everything.
The editor said that about 200 families have been evacuated from their homes, adding, “As far as i know the state response has been excellent.” Van Dorn hasn’t been out and about himelf, but has been getting reports from his reporter on the beat.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency “is on top of it,” Van Dorn said, claiming, “They’re doing everything they can.” However, he did say that IEMA is “short of manpower.”
*** 3:07 pm *** Sen. Dale Righter has been out all day dealing with the flooding in his district, but from what I gather the worst is yet to come. A couple of rivers in the area could flood over each other and cover an area of around 50 square miles, Righter said. Yikes.
Now, much of that is agricultural land, but that’s still pretty darned huge. The local airport is expected to be underwater this week, and one town’s water treatment plant is already totally submerged.
Sen. Righter credited local agencies and the local IEMA people for working very hard.
But, Righter said, the further up the ladder you get, the less contact and involvement there is. He said there was a problem getting answers out of Springfield, and that the response out of IEMA headquarters “could be more prompt.”
With flood warnings along the Mississippi River and the deteriorating situation in Southeastern Illinois [and elsewhere], IEMA and the rest of the Blagojevich administration certainly has a lot of work ahead. I hope they’re up to it.
* Also, we’re working on figuring out how people can donate to flood victims or lend a hand in other ways.
*** 3:55 pm *** A state disaster has finally been declared…