The visual report from the week of June 27, 2013.
The visual report from the week of June 27, 2013.
After rear-ending a squad car June 18, a semi-truck heading North on Interstate 57 struck an a state trooper.
The visual report from the week of June 20, 2013
Illinois Press Association Contest Winners
An early morning storm May 21 damaged nearly 50% of the Alexander County Courthouse’s roof.
The visual report from the week of May 16, 2013.
The visual report from the week of May 9, 2013.
The visual report from the week of May 2, 2013.
On April 9, the polls opened for the Consolidated Election.
Thirty-one years since he built his home, Clinton Pecord is not sure he is ready to leave it.
Pecord, a lifelong resident of Cache and no stranger to floodwater, built his house in 1982 where he and his wife Susan live only a few hundred yards from his childhood home. Pecords’ house was built 9 ft. off of the ground and has seen its share of high water. Pecord said the day during the 2011 flood when his family moved out of the house, the water was rising an inch an hour and said at its height, there was 19” of water in his house. It was the highest he had seen the water rise since living there. However, despite the heartache and hassle of having to move out and repair his home, Pecord said he is still not sure if he will accept the buyout he applied for.
“It really depends on what kind of offer they give us,” Pecord said.
Though Alexander County has been approved for state and federal assistance, it may still take several months for residents to see an offer on their flood-damaged homes.
Jeff Denny, Alexander County Engineer, said the next step his office is taking in the buyout process is to confirm granting agreements between the County, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). These agreements lay out how the $11.7 million granted to the County is to be managed and spent. However, there are still several steps between the recent grant approval and applicants being paid for their homes.
Once the granting agreements have been made, Denny said the first steps are to hire a project manager and an appraisal company. During a County Board meeting March 26, Denny discussed with the board different possibilities of managing the project. Denny presented the idea of hiring Southern 5 for the job, though said nothing could be decided until the granting agreements are made. Both Denny and Ron Davis, State Hazard Mitigation Officer for IEMA said these first few steps are crucial to make sure the rest of the process runs smoothly and yields the best result for those who applied.
“We have to be sure that the people we hire and the work they put out meet certain requirements,” Denny said. If the County were to make a quick hire without vetting enough candidates, it could in turn slow the process down even further.
“It just brings up all sorts of problems,” he said. Denny explained if the appraiser does a bad job, they could lose money.
Denny was first to admit the process was not a fast one.
“That’s just the unfortunate reality of how the government works,” he said. Once all the hires are made, appraisers will go over a series of months to each of the nearly 170 homes on the buyout list and assess the fair market value of each property. Once these appraisals are completed, Davis said they are sent to IEMA for approval. Once these steps are finished, offers can then be made to homeowners. Davis said it may be close to half a year before offers begin to be made.
“We are probably looking at four or five months down the line until they start to make some offers,” Davis said.
Denny said his office will soon send out letter to grant applicants explaining the next steps in the buyout process and said once the appraisal team and project manager are hired, there will be a public meeting where all applicants can come and ask questions of all involved in the project.
Applicants have been waiting for one and a half years to get word on when they may receive buyout money. Even though the applications were approved, some are still unsure if they will take the money. Pecord and his wife are on a fixed budget and he said they need to make sure they will be able to maintain the same quality of life should they accept the State’s offer.
“We are on a fixed income now and there is no way that I can go and finance a house and have a mortgage payment of $4-500 a month,” he said.
While money is an issue, Pecord said he is just not sure he wants to have to deal with more substantial flooding.
“When you become 65 years of age it becomes a little bit more of a chore,” he said.
Pecord said if he does take the buyout, the decision to move will be an emotional one. He said he does not relish the idea of leaving behind a place he’s known since he was young.
“To move and go somewhere else, it’s really sad thinking that you are going to lose all those memories,” he said.
However, whatever the decision, Pecord will have some time to make up his mind.
— Isaac Smith can be reached at (618)-734-4242
The Chester Walmart has stared a new project, benefitting the Daystar Community Programs Center in Cairo.