Flood of 1997
DAY 7: FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 1997
Damage estimates for Ohio and Kentucky pass $350 million.
Ohio Gov. George Voinovich cuts short an Asian trade mission to return to the state. He stops in New Richmond and says he is most impressed ''by the spirit of the people'' affected by the flood.
Ohio officials estimate that 5,639 homes are damaged by floodwaters.
Thirteen Indiana counties are declared federal disaster areas.
Kentucky's death toll reaches 18, and Gov. Paul Patton estimates damage at $250 million.
The Ohio River stands at 62.3 feet at 6 p.m. in Cincinnati.
Shelter population in Pendleton County drops from 500 to 125 as displaced residents find more comfortable accommodations.
Enquirer.Com on March 8, 1997

Anger in the shelter,
a hopeful sign in the street

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jack Bell and his dog, Puppy, stayed on the second floor of their McCullough Street home in the East End and used the raft to travel.
(Kevin J. Miyazaki photo)
| ZOOM |
A day in the life at the New Richmond flood shelter. Lights on at 7 a.m. Breakfast at 8. Boredom and bedlam served 'round the clock.Betty Coffey was doing her best to figure out how long her bedroom had been a cot in the New Richmond High School gym.
''Four days? Five?'' she asked. ''I don't know, when you're in here you lose all track of time.''
It was Friday and Betty was on day five.
The 24-year-old mother of five was also at the end of her rope. Two daughters had just fought over a bottle cap. One year-old Kayla lost. She was throwing a temper tantrum on the floor.
Verna Payne of Butler, Ky., found her Sacred Heart of Jesus figurine muddied but intact.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
Earlier in the day, residents clashed again with Mayor Jack Gooding. As the Ohio River continued to fall -- down to 62.3 feet by Friday night -- tempers kept rising.
The mayor told his constituents they'd need passes to get back into New Richmond to inspect their homes. They told him off.
''Why do we need a pass to get on our own damn property?'' one man asked.
Acting Police Chief Landon Williams heard their anger. ''A lot of them have been here for five days,'' he said. ''They're irritated.''
The children of Silver Grove, Ky., were likely not as irritated. School's out because of the flood. On Friday, crayon boxes floated in the stairwells leading to the basement of Silver Grove Elementary. The school's gym floor was covered with mud.
Beverly Nusekabel of Aurora, Ind., was happy.
Ann Wood of Falmouth is overcome with emotion after viewing the devastation on Pendleton Street.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
The Ohio had dropped enough for firefighters to hose down the streets. Beverly stood in front of her flood-damaged house and looked toward the river.
She was looking for a sign of hope. And she found one.
For the first time since the river overflowed its banks she could look at the end of her street and say:
''We can see the top of the stop sign again.''

Day 8, Saturday, March 8, 1997