Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » This just in… *** Legislator blasts state response *** Editor defends *** Righter: Worst is yet to come *** Disaster finally declared ***
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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

Levee breaks in Lawrence County near the Indiana line in southern Illinois are forcing evacuations.

Officials tell the Lawrenceville Daily Record that an early morning levee failure along the Embarras River is forcing the evacuations of portions of eastern Lawrence County.

The evacuation apparently involves about 200 homes, and the flooded area so far is mostly farmland and prairie.

Officials also say another levee broke along the Wabash River near Westport.

Track the events at the Lawrenceville Daily Record and at the local TV news outlet.

* 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…

Governor Blagojevich says state supporting flood response in southeastern Illinois after levee breaks

IEMA, IDNR and ISP on site in Lawrence County to assist local response agencies, ensure public safety

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to coordinate with local emergency management officials in southeastern Illinois to ensure public safety after levee breaks along the Embarras and Wabash rivers forced the evacuation of people in the Lawrenceville and Westport areas.

“I’ve directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to work closely with local officials to make sure they get whatever assistance necessary to protect people in this area,” said Gov. Blagojevich.

Early Tuesday morning, levees on the Embarras and the Wabash River broke sending flood waters into areas east of Lawrenceville and the Westport area. IEMA dispatched a regional coordinator to the area to work with local emergency management officials and determine if state assistance is needed. Conservation police officers from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) assisted with the evacuation of 14 people yesterday in Lawrence County and conducted welfare checks throughout the night and this morning. In addition, officers from the Illinois State Police (ISP) are assisting with safety issues, and an ISP airplane was used this morning to conduct a flyover of the area to assess the extent of the flooding.

Following heavy rains over the past week, floodwaters have risen along several rivers in Illinois. IEMA officials are in close contact with emergency managers in several counties to determine needs for state assistance. In addition to the assistance provided in Lawrence County, state emergency response assets have been provided to the following counties to aid in their flood assistance efforts:

o Cass County – a crew of six inmates from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) sent to assist with sandbagging.
o Mercer County – pumps from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
o Menard County – pumps from IDOT
o Douglas County – 30 barricades to assist with traffic control.

* 11:29 am - More serious flooding on the way

The National Weather Service is predicting crests of 10 feet above flood stage and higher over the next two weeks in Hannibal, Canton, Louisiana and Clarksville in northeast Missouri and at Quincy and Grafton in Illinois. That’s considered major flooding and would near record levels reached in 1993.


*** 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…

Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today declared six southeastern Illinois counties state disaster areas due to widespread flooding and severe storms that have forced evacuations and closed roadways. The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from flooding. Counties included in the Governor’s declaration are Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Jasper and Lawrence. […]

“While we’re very fortunate that Illinois hasn’t been hit as severely as some other Midwestern states, the flooding in southeastern Illinois is devastating to everyone affected and we’re prepared to provide these counties with any state assets and personnel they need to respond and recover from this event,” said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 10:34 am:

    Cheez SE Illinois…earthquakes, tornadoes, floods….what plague is next, a locust invasion?

  2. - Fan of the Game - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 10:35 am:

    There are unconfirmed reports of another breach in the levee at Westport. In addition, Rt. 33 from Heathsville south is closed. Water over the highway on IL Hwy 33 and US 50.

  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 10:35 am:

    VQ, you are right. This was very close to the epicenter of the recent earthquake.

  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    I just got off the phone with some people there. What a mess.

  5. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 10:54 am:

    I grew up in Robinson and are calling people now…

  6. - Vote Quimby! - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:01 am:

    video of the flooding at (Channel 2 WTWO - Terre Haute)

  7. - Anon - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:03 am:

    “what plague is next, a locust invasion?”

    Maybe. If AFSCME keeps the Governor from moving the IDOT employees to Benton, maybe he’ll stimulate the economy down there by using his court-approved authority to set the time, date and place of special sessions by moving the General Assembly down there for the summer.

  8. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:05 am:

    Will these leveee breaks turn into more finger pointing for immediate infrastructure improvement?

    Obviously, a callous way to deal with natural disaster. (And coming from a town along the Mississippi, I understand the situation here — and understand the fear and frustration.)

  9. - wabash river native - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:08 am:

    I just talked to my brother who is a farmer in Crawford and Lawrence counties. He said that everyone is in a panic, they are trying to save what they can, the Army Corp of Engineers is trying to save the Lawrenceville Aiport Terminal with sandbags. Hutsonville and Palestine are having major water problems. The bridge to Indiana at Hutsonville is closed. MAJOR CROP LOSSES……He ask “where is the Governor, where are the declarations, where is the help?” He said that Governor Mitch Daniels is on top of it, but nothing in Illinois from our State government. Part of this could be the national media’s fault, as they have concentrated on southern Indiana and have not mentioned southeastern Illinois. Help is needed down there now!

  10. - BigDog - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    wabash river native - Not to make light of the situation by using cynacism, but how many of the farmers affected can afford a $25,000 campaign contribution? I hope they get the help they need.

  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:17 am:

    Everybody just back off a bit. On phone with IEMA discussing response. Try not to go off on the guv because so far it doesn’t look deserved.

  12. - Fan of the Game - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:22 am:

    People in west-central Illinois like to call their region “Forgottonia,” because state government tends to overlook it. I once lived two blocks from the Wabash River and can say the same is true of southeastern Illinois. I really can’t see the governor visiting the affected areas any time soon.

  13. - wabash river native - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:23 am:

    Thanks Rich for the update, sounds like they are on top of it. My family must be in an isolated area.

  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:25 am:

    wrn, in any emergecny situation, war, etc. there is always a lot of info that sounds true yet isn’t even close to being true. I could tell you stories that would make your head spin about this sort of thing. If they’re not getting help, you might want to send me an e-mail and maybe I can move it up the chain for you.

  15. - wabash river native - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 11:35 am:

    Right now they are trying to save irrigation motors that will soon be under water at the Lawrenceville-Vincennes Airport. Of course, in the scheme of things, folks’ homes and lives are much more important than crops and irrigations, but it is a very serious situation down there right now. They just hope they can make it out in time without having to abandon their vehicles. I should also note that all the media down there is from Indiana, so they will carry the state government response from Indiana and the response from Illinois will get little or no coverage. This could have been part of the problem of not being aware of our State’s response. Thanks again Rich for your help….

  16. - Katrina in Illinois? - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 12:10 pm:

    Rich is right. They made up a bunch of stories about what went on in the Superdome after Katrina to execerbrate the negativity too. None of the rapes, murders, et cetera actually happened. Though if they had that would have been Bush’s fault too.

  17. - I-R-B - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 12:29 pm:

    Of course the Governor is not going to visit the area. He thinks that area is part of another state and country. Remember, the state of Il for all practical purposes to him stops at I80.

    People need to wake up and realize that everyday impeachment proceedings are not started is another day the people and legislators of IL look like fools!

  18. - phil - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 12:29 pm:

    That Roger Eddy is a real stand up statesman. I hope we get some help here soon before my house floats away.

  19. - Just My Opinion - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 12:32 pm:

    So after Eddy says, “The people down here are going to perceive that he just isn’t engaged,” (meaning Blago), Rich why should we cut Blago any slack? Eddy just said what most of us here have realized for a long time. Bad PR move not to be personally in that area - not one of your IEMA reps, not one of your “bull boys”, but YOU personally. You can’t get to that area by plane so get your sorry rear end in a car Blago and drive to the Lawrenceville area. While you’re at it, pay particular attention to the 2-lane roads and bridges you are driving on in a part of the State you rarely, if ever, see.

  20. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===Rich why should we cut Blago any slack?===

    I asked people to hold their fire before I had a chance to call around.

    Fire for effect.

  21. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    Rod Blagovaich does not care about black people! Or people who live in Lawrence County. This is a crisis, an emergency. There is enough to criticize Rodney without grasping at straws and making him the unfair fault of it all

  22. - Lurker - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 12:59 pm:

    Gosh, the press release was nice. Now how about doing something that is ACTUALLY USEFUL?

  23. - piper - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:00 pm:

    Would the governor be responding differently if Lawrence County was in the running to host the Olympics?

  24. - 618er - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:07 pm:

    People settle down. As soon as the governor a) figures out if the Lawrence county is indeed in Illinois, b) where it is if it IS in Illinois, c) where he is in case he as to send his (well DOT’s) plane after himself. He will find the closest airport in the area that isn’t under water to hold a press conference to tell us all not to worry, He will figure out a way use this devastating event to improve Chicago’s transportation infrastructure to help land the 2016 Olympics.

  25. - Disgusted Downstate - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:16 pm:


    The governor does deserve criticism. He’s been completely AWOL in terms of visiting disaster sites for the past few years down here.

    I don’t think there’s a direct connection between the lack of the governor’s presence and the failure to secure federal disaster declarations, but it’s becoming a pattern.

  26. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:20 pm:

    Two sites where you can track stream flow:

    The NOAA site includes projections for the gaging stations and, if you scroll down the page, it indicates the impacts of different stage heights.

  27. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:22 pm:

    The Gov. will probably hold back a full response until local legislators agree to cast a vote in his favor on an issue important to him.

  28. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:23 pm:

    Although it’s early, it’s interesting to see the contrast between the Indiana and Illinois sides. Mitch Daniels is a pretty sharp dude, and I’m sure his White House days are serving him well in getting the ball rolling with the feds.

    For the average person, when something like this happens in your town or neighborhood, you put everything else aside and you work all day and night with your neighbors to address the situation as best you can. It’s an emergency.

    To hear that Illinois is days behind Indiana in the paperwork puts my blood pressure in the red zone. For God’s sake, this is where a leader, a governor, can really take the ball and run. Put everything else aside, put on the coffee, pull people together, beg, plead, charm, threaten, crack heads and work until you’ve done everything you can. Then, get in your helicopter, get on the ground and find out what more you can do. That’s the job.

  29. - How Ironical? - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:24 pm:

    Prophetic words…

    If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
    When The Levee Breaks I’ll have no place to stay.

    Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan, (X2)
    Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home,
    Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.

    Don’t it make you feel bad
    When you’re tryin’ to find your way home,
    You don’t know which way to go?
    If you’re goin’ down South
    They go no work to do,
    If you don’t know about Chicago.

    Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
    Now, cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
    When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.

    All last night sat on the levee and moaned,
    Thinkin’ about me baby and my happy home.
    Going, going to Chicago… Going to Chicago… Sorry but I can’t take you…
    Going down… going down now… going down….

  30. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:37 pm:

    Don’t be so eager to the the Governor’s face at your disaster.

    The Gov. helicoptered in a few years ago to ‘look’ at the flooding of the DesPlaines River, had a few photos taken and then absolutely nothing happened. No state aid (out of money) , no federal aid.

    In the meantime valuable time was consumed by the local authorities to provide a landing strip for the Rod-o-copter and security. Their time should have been spent elsewhere.

    Sad to say, you are likely on your own.

  31. - Ghost - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:45 pm:

    Rich, any info if the Red Cross or other organizations are seeking and organizing volunteers to help out in the area with sandbagging or in other ways?

  32. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 1:46 pm:

    Waiting on more info.

  33. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 2:05 pm:

    Wumpus, I beg to differ with you. Blagobucks is color blind when it comes to race. He has a strong preference for any color only if they have a check for $25K.

  34. - anon - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 2:34 pm:

    Nice to see a newspaper call out a legislator for unfairly bashing the gov and IEMA. It should never be that easy for somebody to slander somebody unchecked.

  35. - jay - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 2:36 pm:

    Mike Van Dorn hasn’t been on the scene. Easy for him to call out all the hard work Rep. Eddy has been doing while Van Dorn is probably sitting at Alice and Woody’s again.

  36. - Lurker - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 2:38 pm:

    None of the Daily Record’s articles say anything either way about evacuations OR the government response. Seems odd.

  37. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 2:39 pm:

    Red Cross apparently doesn’t do floods. Still waiting on info for donations, etc.

  38. - Mr. Ethics - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:05 pm:

    Jay - Why isn’t he sitting at Tykal’s and spending his money in Illinois?

  39. - jay - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:08 pm:

    I bet Tykals is under water with this slow response

  40. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:13 pm:

    Easy, people.

  41. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:23 pm:

    No reason to cut the governor slack on this one. The state is big and vertical — and runs along an unusually big river — so the gov’s people should be prepared for this. The floods in 1993 should certainly have prepared the state, although I suspect most of the gov’s staff was still in grade school in 1993.

    Anyway, the whining about the “gov is doing the best he can” doesn’t cut it. He knows this was only a matter of time — and now he’s gotta force himself to go out in public and deal with it.

    If he can’t, it’s yet another reason for yanking him out of office one way or another.

  42. - wabash river native - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:34 pm:

    Here is Indiana’s website and response…..

  43. - alvin - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:34 pm:

    Glad to see Roger Eddy remembers Lawrence Co is in his dietrict. Where was he at for hospital
    grant money,Golden Rule fire and more.Mr negative ( state rep) what a joke.

  44. - Macbeth - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:37 pm:

    Well, the governor does love websites — so perhaps his beloved IT team at CMS can set something up to mirror Indiana’s response?


  45. - bud - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:43 pm:

    This isn’t really about one person or one legislator or the governor. Everyone should be doing everything they can to call attention to the problem and work together to help people that are struggling. For the Hard D’s in Lawrence County to bash someone for calling for leadership from our Governor during a disaster like this is silly and sad. Disaster might start with a D, but remember, it ends with an R.

    Plus, who reads the Lawrenceville Daily Rag anyway?

  46. - wabash river native - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:44 pm:

    the latest from the Vincennes Sun-Commercial….

  47. - just watching... - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    I have been told that if a death occurs as a result of a disaster, the feds automatically declare a federal disaster and aid becomes available.Otherwise, an assessment has to be done to determine the damage in terms of dollars to see if it meets the criteria for fed aid. Could this be differce between IL and Indiana’s situation?

  48. - Ghost - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:55 pm:

    interesting, the main american red cross page discusses them providing assitance for the flood areas. Interestingly they mention providing help in, amongst other states, Indiana, but not in Illinois. Must be a local chapter decision about what emergencies they are equipped to assist.

  49. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 3:57 pm:

    Try not to repeat “I am told” stuff. Not always helpful.

  50. - Levois - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:00 pm:

    What conditions determine whether or not the governor might show up at a disaster area? Just curious.

  51. - jaundiced eye - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:06 pm:

    Just wait until the flooding really starts on the Illinois and Fox rivers — they’re an easier commute for Rod from Ravenswood and he can always stop in Rosemont for lunch. North of I-80 and he’ll be there.

  52. - just watching... - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:12 pm:

    Sorry Rich, I should have said my information came from an emergency management professional rather than “I was told”. My mistake but the information is still accurate.

  53. - jaundiced eye - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:13 pm:

    Chicago media aren’t covering downstate flooding at all. Easy to understand their emphasis on WI dells (not just tourism but think of the Chicago politicians incarcerated at Oxford!)but current and upcoming river flooding is a major economic story … but hey! it’s Cedric Benson & R. Kelly here and now. We’ll worry about failed crops and runaway food prices whenever.

  54. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:15 pm:

    ===What conditions determine whether or not the governor might show up at a disaster area? ===

    If it’s on Chicago TV.

    This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

  55. - Papa P - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:24 pm:

    just got back from tykals and van dorn is there

  56. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:30 pm:

    C’mon, is that necessary?

  57. - Leave a light on George - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:39 pm:

    Given the budget debacle wonder how prepared IDNR, ISP are for their duties? These type of events are the reason you don’t fore go preventative maintenance, training, reasonable equipment replacement cycles. I know for a fact that these two agencies have put all of the above on the back burner for all of Blago’s time in office.

  58. - down south - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:40 pm:

    Just watching
    If your source was accurate, then the floods in Southwest Illinois in March should have warranted federal relief money, as two people died after their vehicle was washed away in flood water. Alas, our request was denied.

  59. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:47 pm:

    Channel 20 in Springfield last night had a segment with some of the Springfield Red Cross volunteers packing up and heading west to either Missouri or another state because of the flood. Me and spouse looked and each other, shooks our heads, and said “why not stay right here where they are needed.”

  60. - Bob - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:49 pm:

    Chandlerville had more than 6 inmates working; closer to 20. They’ve filled a lot of bags over the past 2 days.

  61. - Joe Schmoe - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 4:57 pm:

    Springfield Red Cross to Nebraska - 450 miles
    Springfield Red Cross to Lawrenceville - 135 miles?

  62. - DuPage Dave - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:07 pm:

    I think the state has more than 6 (or 20) inmates who could lend a hand. Hard to believe the Gov put out a press release bragging that he had 6 inmates on the job. Even for this guy, that’s not impressive….

  63. - Speaking At Will - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:17 pm:

    == Mr negative ( state rep) what a joke ==

    In defense of State Representative Eddy, I interviewed him today at about 1 pm. He was critical of the slow response from Blagojevich in getting the area declared a disaster area, but also said that he felt all parties outside of the governors office were genuinely working as hard as they could to face the issues at hand.

    I beleive his remarks critical of the governor, although genuine, are being slightly blown out of proportion. His remarks may be seen by some as being negative, however I think it shows a genuine concern for the people of his district. I would rather have someone who is going to be a bit critical and get results, then someone who says that everything is going just fine, when in reality it isnt.

  64. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:21 pm:

    I think his comments did move some people along, so you’re probably right.

  65. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:36 pm:

    “If it’s on Chicago TV” is right! He was “Roddy on the spot” after the Utica tornado in 2004; he showed up three or maybe four times in two weeks.
    Granted, it was a major disaster in which 8 people died, and even then-FEMA director Michael “heckuva good job Brownie” Brown showed up as well, but it also got wall-to-wall coverage on Chicago TV stations.
    Trivia note: Blago’s first visit to Utica on April 21, 2004, coincided with the infamous Health Facilities Planning Board meeting testified about at the Rezko trial…so, just as Blago was visiting the site of one disaster, the disaster that (probably) will bring down his administration was unfolding closer to (his) home.

  66. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:41 pm:

    I feel for the folks down there who will look to their State Government for help in this time of need.

    The agencies are undermanned, underequipped, and bereft of positive morale. Great time to try to stiff the unions, guys.

    Look no farther than the Illinois State Police; veteran troopers are running for the door faster than they chase bad guys, the police cars look like demolition derby candidates, and what passes for “State Police Leadership” (thanks for that, Mr. Punkin Haid) is rarely seen outside of the posh command bunker in the old Franklin Life HQ.

    The troopers, teamsters, and all the other State employees who are called to Southeastern (and perhaps elsewhere) Illinois will answer the call and do their best for the people who need their help.

    It’s just unfortunate that there is a lousy excuse for a Governor who probably needs help finding Lawrenceville on a State map and who won’t exert one iota of personal effort for either the people in need or the workers on the front line.

    Mr. Speaker, time for the surgery. AA would volunteer to handle the anesthesia.

  67. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:43 pm:

    Speaking of Utica’s recovery plan, how’s that coming along, four years later?

  68. - Anon 5:45 - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:45 pm:

    Anon, another co-inky-dink: Health Facilities and TRS Boards met in the same meeting room in the same Chicago hotel.

    Probably saved the G thousands in wiring costs.

  69. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:46 pm:

    too snarky?

  70. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 5:55 pm:

    My thoughts and prayers to all in the Midwest that have been effected by the unfortunate weather.

  71. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 6:04 pm:

    Pretty good progress but much remains to be done. Village hall and other public facilities have been replaced, and there’s a nice little memorial on the site of the collapsed Milestone Tap. Rerouting of Route 178 through town isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, however. Almost two blocks near downtown are virtually bare because houses were torn down to make way for the eventual new highway route.

  72. - Link - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 6:25 pm:

    I spoke with some good people in Crawford County today and they told me of how they had one woman in their office who is now homeless due to the flooding (which I am told hit there maybe a little earlier than it’s southern cousin Lawrence County) and that they too are fighting the rising waters.

    An interesting story. I was visiting with some friends in Metropolis (that’s in Illinois) - which is in Massac County - and C. Miller, a DAR member and active community member, told me of her first meeting with Governor Blagojevich some years before. When she and the others were taking him around the flooded area back then they pointed out how the Ohio River had overflowed and the disasterous impact it was having on an already severely depressed area.

    Out loud he exclaimed how he “had no idea that the Ohio River bordered Illinois!”

    They were incredulous!!! They had entertained Former Governor Ryan many times when he traveled to the area and he had no problem knowing what rivers and states bordered Illinois.

    I firmly believe Ms. Miller and thought others would be interested in this little aside….

  73. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 7:05 pm:

    on a lighthearted note..(and with apologies to VM who would likely make this a lot funnier)


    (Gov. Blagojevich, working up a sweat playing hockey aboard Amy’s new “Wii Fit” video game)

    Patti: Darn it Rod, watch where you swing that controller! That’s why I don’t want these people in the house!

    Rod: I didn’t have anybody else to play with me, and I didn’t think a big State Trooper like that would go down with one elbow. But then there was the time when Daddy Mell and I got in that little tiff about Cousin Frank’s landfill, and he took down two, or was it three, with one…RING RING!

    Patti: Rod, it’s your office.

    Rod: Don’t answer it.

    Patti: It’s Harris, he’s like a telemarketer, he’ll keep calling back until you pick up.

    Rod: Can’t I put him on that “Do Not Call” list?

    Patti: Rod!

    Rod: Alright. Hello.

    Harris: Governor, as you may have heard, there has been some serious flooding in Southeastern Illinois. In Lawrence County, the situation is severe.

    Rod: If we had passed a capital bill, this wouldn’t be a problem. Tell Abby to put out a release and blame it on Madigan. Bye.

    Harris: Governor, you’re the boss, but that’s realy not a fair statement to make. Roger Eddy is criticizing us for our lack of response when Mitch Daniels has already issued a disaster declaration.

    Rod: You’re going too fast; Who is Roger Eddy?

    Harris: He’s the Rep from Lawrence County. Republican.

    Rod: Just like Chris always says. You can’t trust Republicans. One day they’re with you, the next day they’re singing their hearts out to the-

    Harris: Governor, may I suggest we move forward with disaster assistance and declaration?

    Rod: Yes, get Sheila right on it.

    Harris: Governor, Sheila doesn’t work for us any more.

    Rod: Get Out! I guess the chicks don’t dig my cologne any more, Patti. Who took her place?

    Harris: Bob Greenlee is the new Deputy Governor.

    Rod: Who is Bob Greenlee?

    Harris: He worked for John Filan.

    Rod: That guy? Jeez, you’ve got two foxes in the henhouse now, Johnny boy. You better stay on top of those two all the time.

    Harris: I’ll keep you posted, sir.

    Rod: You do that, ok. (Hangs up phone) Hey Trooper Smith, you ready to go again? I’ll let you be the ‘Hawks this time.

    Amy: Daddy, can I please play my Wii?

    Rod: Amy, be a good girl and go sign all those papers from my office; then I’ll let you play.

    Amy: Daddy, you do this every day!


  74. - Red Cross Guy - Tuesday, Jun 10, 08 @ 9:34 pm:

    Just to clarify - Red Cross does provide assistance to flood victims. The Red Cross currently has a shelter open in Lawrenceville for displaced and evacuated persons, has been handing out clean-up kits (bucket, mop, broom, cleaning supplies) over in Coles County and other flooded areas, will be feeding 150 sandbaggers tommorow in Adams County and has placed displaced families in hotels and provided financial assistance to others. The Red Cross does not fill sandbags but does support disaster victims and emergency workers in a disaster. People needing help (or wishing to help can call their local Red Cross chapter) or (866) GET INFO. The assistance is free. They also have a web site to register that you are “safe and well” so family and friends know those in the impact area are ok. The Web Site is at

  75. - wabash river native - Wednesday, Jun 11, 08 @ 7:16 am:

    Talked to my family in Crawford County this morning……there are folks that have lost their homes, roads are impassable, things are a mess, conditions in Lawrence County where the levees broke are worse……there has been little help from the State, virtually nothing in comparison to Indiana. They feel like no one in Springfield is aware of how bad it is……of coures, we know that Springfield is aware, but the response has been extremely slow, especially when one can look across the river at Indiana…….you would think the Governor would use this as an opportunity to begin to patch things up downstate, but that probably makes too much sense……..please Governor, if you are listening, please help in getting a federal declaration for Crawford and Lawrence counties…….they are in dire need and time is of the essence……..

  76. - Fan of the Game - Wednesday, Jun 11, 08 @ 8:59 am:

    With the flooding just across the border in Indiana, one would think the administration would have had resources “at the ready” to spring into action as soon as the levees broke. There was plenty of time to organize a response before the flooding happened.

  77. - Vote Quimby! - Wednesday, Jun 11, 08 @ 9:10 am:

    I do have to take issue with the editor judging the state response from inside his office. As people may be able to tell from their websites, SE Illinois residents are still kicking around this internet thing….

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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