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This is my hometown

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photo of downtown Columbus Junction Iowa

Many of you know that my hometown is Columbus Junction, Iowa. I posted several times in June about the floods that consumed Eastern Iowa, including my town – the “CJ”. Home of the Wildcats. The place where I grew up.

I’ve had a Chicago Tribune article that references Columbus Junction in my bookmarks for quite sometime now. The article was published on the Tribs website in June.

I wanted to share the article and post it, not as something that tarnishes my hometown, but as an example of the realities of where I come from.

Excerpts after the cut…

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Written by Eric Stoller

August 25th, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Columbus Junction to record flood history

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The people of Columbus Junction will not soon forget about the floodwaters that ravaged their business district.

Humanities Iowa is making sure of it.

The organization, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has granted $1,910 to that city to assess the impact of the flood on the business community. Nitza Lopez Castillo, the city’s assistant marketing director, said the floodwaters wiped out about half of the city’s commercial strip.

“For tomorrow’s kids and grandkids, we should have this here in town for history purposes,” she said of the assessment, which will include a Power Point presentation, photographs, oral histories and more. “Columbus Junction has books in the library with the city’s history through the years, and this is something to add.”

via The Quad City Times

Written by Eric Stoller

August 16th, 2008 at 10:23 pm

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Viva Columbus Junction, Iowa

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This video is from a 2004 Iowa Public Television story on my hometown of Columbus Junction, Iowa. It’s an interesting clip and it has a variety of different viewpoints. It’s a 10 minute synopsis of my hometown. Enjoy.


via IPTV

The face of Iowa is changing. This past year, the number of Hispanic students surpassed the number of Anglo students in the small school district of Columbus Junction in southeast Iowa.

Living in Iowa profiles Araceli and Maria, a couple of teenagers who recently immigrated to Iowa from Mexico, and find out how they are adapting to school in a new country with new rules and a new language.

We’ll also meet educators from Columbus Junction who are committed to helping immigrant students learn to speak English and to succeed in their new school.

Written by Eric Stoller

July 5th, 2008 at 1:12 pm

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Iowa flood roundup

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Iowa Hydrologic Predictions update

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The Advanced Hydrologic Predictions Service is terrific source for hydrologic information. Water levels in several Southeast Iowa communities are still higher than flood stage, but the floodwaters are receding.

Columbus Junction Iowa flood predictions hydrologic data
Hydrologic prediction data from the Iowa River gauge at Columbus Junction, Iowa. The river waters are predicted to be above flood stage until June 26th.

Hydrologic prediction data for Iowa City, Muscatine, Wapello, Ottumwa and Burlington after the jump.
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Written by Eric Stoller

June 22nd, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Columbus Junction, IA flooding photos

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Photographs of flooding in Columbus Junction, Iowa:
flooding in Economart grocery store in Columbus Junction Iowa
The store with the giant apple on it is the Economart – Columbus Junction’s grocery store. I worked at the Economart for 2 years while I was in high school. I was always asking people if they wanted “paper or plastic”. My former doctor’s office is located just a few stores down from the Economart.

Columbus Junction Iowa Photographs of Economart flooding in 2008

More photos of flooding (before and after) in Columbus Junction after the jump…

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Written by Eric Stoller

June 21st, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Recovery efforts in Columbus Junction

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Woohoo!!! “The boil order for Columbus Junction and Columbus City has been lifted. The water plant is functioning normally, and the water in your faucet is safe for all uses including human consumption. Restaurants and bars are free to serve prepared foods and beverages.”www.columbusjunctioniowa.org

[Columbus Junction] officials said medical and dental services are back in operation, albeit from a remote location since the town’s medical center fell victim to the Iowa River.

A chiropractor has rented a facility in nearby Columbus City and has started accepting patients. Members of the National Guard helped load and unload the chiropractor’s supplies.

The town dentist “got a chair” and office in Washington County about 20 miles from Columbus Junction.

“They have given him one chair three days a week and he’s (dentist) looking at a temporary facility about halfway in between,” said City Councilman Hal Prior.

More importantly, the medical clinic has been moved to occupy about four to five classrooms at the elementary school. Patient medical records are intact and were also moved to that location.

City officials also have allowed a lumber yard and an auto parts store to return to their buildings and restock their merchandise. It will take an additional two days for some businesses to get back in their properties.

“We, however, don’t anticipate that the other businesses getting in soon because they are submerged a little deeper,” Prior said.

via the Burlington Hawk Eye

Written by Eric Stoller

June 21st, 2008 at 11:39 am

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Columbus Junction – flood recovery

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flooding in Columbus Junction Iowa  residents begin to recovery efforts

COLUMBUS JUNCTION — Bottled water has been made available for residents here after officials shut down the city’s water plant Saturday. Waters from the Iowa River breached the levee, submerging part of downtown where the senior center, the medical center, the pharmacy, the water plant and some other businesses were left under at least 12 feet of water.

The National Guard also has trucked-in “Water Buffalos,” which are tanks full of water, and situated them at five key points around town.

City officials said they have ran a 3,000-foot fire hose tapping into Tyson Foods water supply, hooking it up there and running it across the river bridge and into town.

“We’re pumping water from their system directly to recharge our tower,” said city councilman Hal Prior. “We’re on a recovery mode right now.”

Even after the battle against the fury of the Iowa River was lost, Prior said the spirit of the town and its residents remain glued to a common goal — recovery.

via the Burlington Hawk Eye.

It’s great to see that things are improving in Columbus Junction. Just a few days ago, Columbus Junction was inundated with flood waters. City Council member Hal Prior talks about the decision to send national guard personnel from CJ to help out at Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Written by Eric Stoller

June 17th, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Aerial photos of Iowa flooding

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dike fails in Columbus Junction Iowa massive flooding occurs
Here are some aerial photographs of flooding in Iowa from Columbus Junction, Fredonia, Lake Odessa and Muscatine. The images of flooding in Columbus Junction are unbelievable. My mom told me that floodwaters were as high as the pop machines at the Economart in Columbus Junction and that was after some of the flood waters had receded!

Columbus Junction before the levee failed

Columbus Junction Iowa floods after levee fails due to high water levels in the cedar and iowa rivers

More aerial photographs of flooding in Southeast Iowa after the jump…
(Photographs courtesy of D. Stacy Lewis of Stacy-Lewis and Wittich-Lewis Home for Funeral and Cremation Services of Columbus Junction and Muscatine.)

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Written by Eric Stoller

June 16th, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Iowa Road Closures

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flooding in center point iowa completely erases roadway

From the Iowa Department of Transportation:

Flooding continues to affect many roadways in the state, according to Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) officials. Iowans are urged to closely monitor conditions and never enter a water-covered roadway.

Travelers are reminded to avoid flooded areas so emergency vehicles and equipment can be mobilized to the impacted areas. Due to congestion on remaining available roads, Iowans are asked to postpone any unnecessary trips.

Areas where travel is not recommended due to mandatory evacuations:

  • Portions of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.
  • The entire communities of Fredonia, Columbus Junction, Montour, Oakville, Iowa; and Oquawka, Ill.

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Written by Eric Stoller

June 15th, 2008 at 5:49 pm