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Published April 12, 2009, 12:00 AM

Adrian steps up flood work

ADRIAN, N.D. – Residents in Adrian and Montpelier, N.D., built and reinforced dikes Thursday in preparation for high water levels that are predicted to surpass the James Rivers’ first crest of 20.34 feet March 24.

By: Katie Ryan, Jamestown (N.D.) Sun, INFORUM

ADRIAN, N.D. – Residents in Adrian and Montpelier, N.D., built and reinforced dikes Thursday in preparation for high water levels that are predicted to surpass the James Rivers’ first crest of 20.34 feet March 24.

That first round of high water resulted in wet basements, garages, barns and farmland. However, this weekend, the water levels are expected to climb higher.

To prevent more damage, Adrian residents increased their sandbag efforts.

“It’s what we did the first time, and it’s what we gotta keep doing,” said Lucas Rode of Adrian.

Rode covered 10 layers of sandbags with a plastic sheet Thursday, careful to place an additional bag on top to keep the sheet in place.

But the home he protected was not his own.

Rode, like many volunteers, sandbagged about 10 Adrian homes that day. And it wasn’t just people. Businesses helped, too.

Jamestown Implement lent a tractor and a straight truck to the flood-fighting effort.

Rode’s basement filled with 7½ feet of water after the March flood, drowning personal possessions such as the family’s freezer, pool table and hot water heater.

His wife Shawna’s wedding dress, though, survived.

“In every disaster, you always run into something that makes no sense,” said Pat Rode, Lucas’ mother, who lives across the street.

For now, the family is living with Lucas’ parents. But even Pat and Loren Rode’s house is in danger of flooding.

Volunteers sandbagged their home Thursday while the James River beckoned not 20 feet away.

When the flooding is over, the main floor of the Lucases’ home may be salvageable, he said. If not, Lucas, Shawna and their 17-month-old son, Hudson, will move and rebuild. Either way, the home will relocate, he said. The stress of flood-fighting is taking a toll on his family.

“We’ll just have to take our licks and move on,” he said.

Even Hudson was feeling the chaos and uncertainty of high river waters.

“He doesn’t play with his toys much,” Lucas said. “All he wants to do is be with Mom or Dad.”

Like Rode, emotions of many sandbaggers range from erratic, scared and grief to joking and playful – all within a sentence or two.

Optimistic spirits weren’t limited to Adrian. Volunteers in Montpelier kept things light, too.

After one volunteer stepped into the same puddle as Chad Housh, teasing and name-calling ensued.

“You see the people who work here. ‘Bonehead’ describes a lot of us,” said Ben Brodigan of James-town.

Brodigan helped sandbag along with several volunteers such as Trevor Davis, Troy Brown, Tim Herman and Blake Naze, all of Montpelier, and Jon and Penny Bartholomay of Enderlin.

The volunteers helped Housh place about 6,000 sandbags at the home of his mother, Linda Barnick.

“You’ve got to laugh, or you cry,” said Barnick who lost her husband, Otto, in January.

“You don’t even have time to deal with that,” she said of the grieving process.

Emotions see-sawed at the neighboring farm of Paul and Audrey Gohner, too.

“Intellectually, I can handle this,” said a joking Mike Larson of Horace, N.D., as he shoveled dark sand into an upside-down construction cone.

Larson and about 10 volunteers scooped, bagged and tied sandbags while other volunteers stacked them like an igloo around the house.


The Jamestown Sun and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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