Waters have receded, but problems have not for flood victims

In late March, ice jams along the Yellowstone River caused flooding of agricultural land and residential properties near East Fairview, North Dakota.

According to the McKenzie County emergency manager, more than 14,000 acres and 29 homes were impacted.

However, some Fairview residents told KX News that even though the flood waters have receded their problems have not.

 “We have been here 70 years, and there has never been a drop of water around here. . .  overnight it is gone. . . basically, you are starting over from scratch,” said Jack Damm, Fairview resident, and flood victim.

Damm has lived in his home for more than 60 years, and on the day of the flood the water levels were about four to five feet high on his property, and on the inside of his house, things are not much better.

“Well the water in here(kitchen)was about 15 to 16 inches, and you can see the discoloration on the cabinets,” said Damm. 

He and his wife are currently displaced and staying with some friends, along with about 300 totes of personal belongings that were able to be saved.

However, he said his home will have to be demolished, and he plans to rebuild the foundation and place a new manufactured home from Billings, MT on top of it.

He doesn’t think he will be able to move back to his property and live in his new home until September. 

Damm said the whole process will cost him more than $350,000.

“We just don’t think it is safe or healthy to live in it( current home),” said Damm.

His neighbors Kim and Casey Schlothauer said they are in the same situation.

Their home is a complete loss, and the damages that they have occurred on their property are astronomical.

The Schlothauer’s and their two kids, Jake and Brock, are currently staying with friends, and haven’t decided yet if they will they’ll rebuild or relocate.

“I think the hardest part has been not coming home after school,” said Brock Schlothauer.

Kim Scholthauer added,” . . . everything is all over the place. Every part of it has been difficult”.

Back in March, many of the fields in the Fairview area were completely under the water, but Damm and Casey Scholthauer, who farm sugar beets and spring wheat, said they feel large portions of their cropland can be salvaged this season. 

“It’s taken a lot of work, and there is some that won’t be plantable, but we are getting there.  We are getting a crop in,” said Casey Schlothauer.

Casey Scholthauer’s cousin, Dirk Schlothauer, said the flood caused his grain bins to explode.

Of the 25,000 bushels that spilled out, only 20 percent is salvageable.

He said the crop loss and damage to his bins will cost him about $200,000.

“Yeah, I don’t know if there is going to be a way to recoup what I loss. I hope I am in good enough financial standing that I can borrow the money and carry on,” said Dirk Schlothauer.

Earlier this month North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring announced some programs to help individuals impacted by the flooding in McKenzie County.

One is an Emergency Conservation Program form the USDA Farm Service Agency, which provides a 75 percent cost share for the restoration and repair of agricultural lands impacted by disaster events.

The other is a Buydown Loan program and a Rebuilders Loan program from the Bank of North Dakota for homeowners who suffered extraordinary losses and damage during the flood.

Damm said he is he’s looking to participate in the buydown loan program, but some of the other residents KX News talked to said things are still in the early stages from them, and they don’t know if they qualify for some of the programs. 

However, whatever happens, they know the community will be there for them.

The Mckenzie County emergency manager, Karolin Jappe, said funds are being raised in the community to help flood victims.

It’s being organized by the North Dakota Community Foundation and Lutheran Social Services.

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