Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Body of IL teen found in floodwaters

Dive crews recovered from floodwaters the body of one of two teenagers reported missing in Christian County, Illinois, near the town of Taylorville, shortly after 9 AM this morning, the State Journal-Register reports.

Devan R Everett, 18, was last seen at the home of a friend who is still considered missing. The two teens left the house in a red 2000 Ford F-150 truck, which crews have located, according to a release from the Christian County Coroner’s Office.

Water levels from the flooded Missouri and Meramec rivers have receded somewhat near St Louis, but rural communities in the southern part of Illinois are still under water. A levee protects homes in Olive Branch, Hodges Park, and Unity from Mississippi River floodwaters, and residents of those communities were evacuated to higher ground after the Mississippi began pouring over the levee.

In Alexander County, sandbagging efforts were stopped out of concern for the safety of volunteers, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Mississippi River is expected to crest Sunday in southern Illinois.

A few schools have suffered damage from floodwaters, especially in Missouri, but most have been spared significant damage, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“We’re actually really lucky,” the paper quoted Superintendent Jim Wipke of the Fox School District in Jefferson County as saying. “I anticipate when we get back on Monday we’re going to hear a lot more about our families in need.”

But, it was also reported that in Eureka, the superintendent of the Rockwood School District took a boat to get into Eureka High School, which appeared to be surrounded by a moat.

On the other side of the Mississippi, in the town of Alton, Illinois, schools also suffered damage from floodwaters.

About 90 students at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School will have to hold classes somewhere else this semester, as the current building has been deemed uninhabitable, according to a report in the Telegraph.

“They will not be starting school Monday,” the paper quoted Principal Harry Cavanaugh as saying, noting the school walls were cracked on all three levels. “We are putting it off until we know what we are going to do. We don’t have a lot of answers; we have a lot of questions.”

Gov Bruce Rauner toured the area, and he and many other local officials have praised volunteer efforts in the area of the worst flooding.

“Holy cow, the public works department came through in a big way,” the paper quoted Alton Mayor Brant Walker as saying. “With a combination of our employees and volunteers, we basically built a 1,000-foot wall in a day, sandbagged it, wrapped it and sealed it in a matter of 48 hours. It’s a big giant swimming pool down there.”

In addition to community volunteers, players from the Bethalto Civic Memorial High School football team helped by placing sandbags along a concrete and gravel barrier. Alton High School’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps also provided sandbagging services to the effort.

“It’s all about giving back to the community,” the paper quoted Morgan McLauchlin, 17, of the JROTC as saying.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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