Archive for Sunday, October 23, 2005

No help is on the way

Couple devastated by recent flood

October 23, 2005

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Joe and Shirley Noll may never spend another night in the rural Jefferson County house they have called home since 1956.

During the early hours of Oct. 2, heavy rains caused nearby Walnut Creek to overflow its banks and send 2 feet of water rushing into the Nolls' house northeast of McLouth, about 14 miles north of Lawrence.

"The telephone didn't work, and we couldn't call for help," Shirley Noll said. "We sat there for hours, and nobody knew we were flooded."

The Nolls, both 70, managed to find places to sit and keep their feet out of the water, and they were not harmed. But the water damaged everything that was low enough to be in its path, including furniture. The couple spent a frightening night watching the water rise and listening to logs bang against the outside of the house.

In addition to the damage to their house and its contents, floodwaters also claimed their two cars, a pickup truck and three tractors, as well as other equipment in their barn.


Joe and Shirley Noll take a break while cleaning up their home of 50 years. The house near McLouth was flooded with 2 feet of water on Oct. 2 as heavy rains swamped much of northeast Kansas. The Nolls did not have flood insurance.

Joe and Shirley Noll take a break while cleaning up their home of 50 years. The house near McLouth was flooded with 2 feet of water on Oct. 2 as heavy rains swamped much of northeast Kansas. The Nolls did not have flood insurance.

The Nolls don't have flood insurance, and it appears there will be no monetary grants from agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"There's nothing available," Shirley Noll said. "They say there is not enough damage in Jefferson County. We're devastated."

Many victims

The Nolls are not alone. The series of storms that kept re-forming over Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson and Leavenworth counties caused torrential downpours. Up to a foot of rain fell in some areas of Jefferson County. Roads and bridges were flooded. Houses and businesses in Grantville were damaged by water. At least two feet of water covered a section of U.S. Highway 24 east of Grantville, causing it to be closed for more than a day.

When the water receded, 110 houses had been damaged in the flood, according to tallies made by Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Don Haynes. Three homes were considered total losses, Haynes said. Another 52 houses had damage of more than 50 percent, he said.

A total damage estimate for Jefferson County homes and properties is still being compiled, but because of FEMA disaster rules, it doesn't appear there will be any assistance from FEMA, Haynes said.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius issued a statement last week saying that although FEMA funds wouldn't be available, residents and businesses were eligible to apply for Small Business Administration disaster assistance loans.

Federal disaster assistance will probably be made available for Jefferson and the other counties to help with the costs of repairing bridge and road damage. The counties are able to combine their losses to acquire FEMA funds, said Jefferson County Commissioner Lynn Luck. There could be $1 million in damage alone to Jefferson County roads, bridges and public infrastructure, she said.

Even if federal money is available for road and bridge repair, it will be months before everything is back to normal, Luck said.

But Luck, Haynes and other county officials are upset that more can't be done to assist people like the Nolls.

The Oct. 2 floods in northeast Kansas damaged Joe and Shirley Noll's farmhouse and most of its contents, plus several vehicles and items of farm equipment. The Nolls are not eligible for federal emergency assistance.

The Oct. 2 floods in northeast Kansas damaged Joe and Shirley Noll's farmhouse and most of its contents, plus several vehicles and items of farm equipment. The Nolls are not eligible for federal emergency assistance.

"These people didn't have flood insurance," Luck said. "They didn't even live in what was considered a flood plain. That means they are not eligible for flood insurance."

Changes needed

Haynes would like to see the FEMA rules changed to take into consideration the percentage of homes damaged in a particular location.

"One hundred homes may not be a lot in a big city, but it is a lot in Jefferson County," Haynes said. "These people need some help to put their lives back together."


Joe Noll, who lives about six miles north of McLouth, surveys the damage to his barn and tractor. Recent heavy rains caused major damage to his property, and Noll is having trouble getting help.

Joe Noll, who lives about six miles north of McLouth, surveys the damage to his barn and tractor. Recent heavy rains caused major damage to his property, and Noll is having trouble getting help.

In addition, Luck thinks the federal assistance rules and guidelines are inconsistent and confusing.

"When you are trying to help people and you get good questions but have no answers, that's when it gets really frustrating," she said.

The Nolls are now living in an apartment in Winchester. They aren't sure they will ever be able to move back into their farmhouse.

"We're here until March, and that will get us through the winter," Shirley Noll said. "You just need some time to get your head on straight and think about what you are going to do."

Comments

armywife 9 years, 9 months ago

I would love to get some volunters to help out this couple, I don't have alot of skills when it comes to fixing a home. I can help clean up their property, is there anyone out there who would committ to this? If there are any family members out there of the Noll's or friends please put a comment on this page. So many people are helping out Katrina victims, yes this is nothing like this, but I hope if this happened to me I'd have some kind people to assist me. These folks live here in Kansas and it seems like they live a million miles away, why can't they get help, well by reading the article above it looks as though small apples like them aren't important enough. Politics, politics, politics whatever happend to lending your neighbor a hand, if I knew where these folks lived I'd help.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 9 months ago

Katrina folks are not faring as well as expected. FEMA and insurance companies seem to have plenty of loopholes to avoid servicing their customers. Not only are we being forced toward universal health care it might be time to begin investigating the possiblity of universal home insurance in order to stop consumers from getting screwed. Nobody's giving home insurance away and the agents do not rely on food stamps. Not eligible for flood insurance...now that's a good one.

Report: Post-Katrina Reconstruction Slow, Ineffective The Bush administration's approach to post-Katrina reconstruction has been slow, ineffective, and partly influenced by major conservative opposition to aid spending. This according to the Los Angeles Times. Of the three major proposals outlined in President Bush's prime-time speech from New Orleans in September, only one has been put before Congress. The lone proposal to reach the floor -- $5,000 dollar accounts for unemployed workers - would only provide aid for fewer than a quarter of those left jobless by the disaster, the paper says. The slow pace is drawing the ire of even some Congressional Republicans. Republican Senator Judd Gregg said the Bush administration's approach risks: "confusion, inefficiency and huge bureaucratic frustration." Gregg co-sponsored a bill along with Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy for the creation of a cabinet-level Gulf Coast-recovery agency. The White House rejected the proposal.

Influential Congressional Republican Group Opposed Aid Spending In his September 15th address, Bush promised "one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen." But as of last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had obligated only $15 billion out of $60 billion in available emergency funds. Meanwhile, administration officials are preparing another emergency spending bill for $20 billion dollars, much of it for rebuilding military bases and a NASA facility. The Times reports the administration's inaction is at least partly shaped by pressure from powerful Republicans. The committee's chairman, Republican congressman Mike Pence told the Times QUOTE: "We saw the White House engaging in an aggressive, multifront drive to rebuild the Gulf Coast, and we thought we ought to bring up the small matter of the bill." Last month, the committee circulated a list of proposals for Katrina recovery that included providing vouchers for private schools and making affected areas a "flat-tax free enterprise zone."

lilchick 9 years, 9 months ago

Shirley was working part time in Oskaloosa before the storm at Swoyer & Swoyer's law office on the North side of the square, I don't know if she still is or not. Also, there is a fund set up for the Noll's at the bank in Easton, KS (I can't remember the name of it, but there is only 1 bank in Easton). This couple has lived in the community for all of their lives, they have raised their children there and are very active in the lives of their grandchildren. I really hope that they are able to piece their lives back together.

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