Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Flood of paper work for Zumbro Falls city hall October 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:39 AM
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TALK ABOUT GOVERNMENT paperwork… well, you ought to see what I saw in flood-ravaged Zumbro Falls on Sunday afternoon. Scattered across the lawn and the patio of an uninhabitable home next to the combination fire hall and city hall, sheets and sheets and sheets of paper lay, weighted by stones, drying in the open air.

These documents, these papers (I resisted looking too closely), came from the city office.

Just steps away outside of city hall, which is a corner of the fire station, a woman sorted through stacks and stacks of dried city paperwork anchored by stones on a picnic table belonging to the Mazeppa Lions Club.

My first reaction to viewing this trail of paperwork: How trusting, how very trusting, to expose this government paperwork here, in the open, before the public eye. But that’s small-town Minnesota, where, for the most part, you can trust your neighbor and city hall.


This concludes my series of stories on the aftermath of flooding in Zumbro Falls and Hammond, which were especially hard-hit by late September flooding. Interestingly enough, I had written this post earlier yesterday, before President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration for 21 Minnesota counties, including my home county of Rice and Wabasha, where the featured towns are located.

As I understand the declaration—and I don’t pretend to know the nuances of how this works—funding will now be available to state and local governments and some non-profit groups in the flood-stricken counties.

Aid for individuals and businesses affected by floodwaters is not included in the declaration. That leaves me wondering about the men and women and families in Zumbro Falls and Hammond, and all of the other impacted communities.

To Tracy, Jackie, Susie and Katie, the four women whom I interviewed (see my previous posts), I encourage you to hold on. You’ve already shown incredible strength. Thank you for allowing me to share your stories and your opinions with the readers of Minnesota Prairie Roots. You are, indeed, strong women.

A building marked as uninhabitable in downtown Zumbro Falls, photographed on October 10.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


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