The Week in Photos: June 27, 2013

The visual report from the week of June 27, 2013.

Ja’Ron Bailey, middle, plays in a sprinkler June 21 during a summer festival hosted by the Early Childhood and Prevention Initiative in St. Mary’s Park in Cairo. The event had water games for kids including a dunking booth and a large sprinkler set up by the Cairo Fire Department. The festival also was host to Wellness on Wheeles and Dental Safari, which allowed parents to get dental exams and school physicals for their children done all in one place. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Ja’Ron Bailey, middle, plays in a sprinkler June 21 during a summer festival hosted by the Early Childhood and Prevention Initiative in St. Mary’s Park in Cairo. The event had water games for kids including a dunking booth and a large sprinkler set up by the Cairo Fire Department. The festival also was host to Wellness on Wheels and Dental Safari, which allowed parents to get dental exams and school physicals for their children done all in one place. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Emergency workers respond to a truck fire June 18 on northbound Interstate 57 near mile marker 8. The truck caught fire as result of an accident involving one Mounds police officer and state trooper Kent Ray. Pulaski County sheriff Randy Kern said around 4 p.m. June 18, Ray was being supported by a Mounds K-9 unit as he picked up debris from a blown semi-truck tire when a big rig collided with the Mounds K-9 Unit car. After the truck rear-ended the Mounds officer, it hit Ray as he was standing in the road. Kern said both Ray and the Mounds officer were released from St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Ray may have a broken foot and the Mounds officer has whiplash. Kern said the officer who performed the reconstruction of the scene has deemed it to be the truck-driver’s fault, however he has not been given the official report and could not offer more details. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Emergency workers respond to a truck fire June 18 on northbound Interstate 57 near mile marker 8. The truck caught fire as result of an accident involving one Mounds police officer and state trooper Kent Ray. Pulaski County sheriff Randy Kern said around 4 p.m. June 18, Ray was being supported by a Mounds K-9 unit as he picked up debris from a blown semi-truck tire when a big rig collided with the Mounds K-9 Unit car. After the truck rear-ended the Mounds officer, it hit Ray as he was standing in the road. Kern said both Ray and the Mounds officer were released from St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Ray may have a broken foot and the Mounds officer has whiplash. Kern said the officer who performed the reconstruction of the scene has deemed it to be the truck-driver’s fault, however he has not been given the official report and could not offer more details. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Kelly Booher, left, is presented with a plaque June 19 by Pulaski County sheriff Randy Kern during a surprise 90th birthday party held for Booher at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Mound City. When asked about what has kept him coming in to work everyday during his 13 years at the courthouse, he said it simply comes down to the fact he does not like to sit at home. “When you don’t like staying home, you try to keep doing what you are doing, if you like it, as long as you can,” he said. Booher said he plans on hanging it up soon, though. He intends to retire by Feb. of 2014, which would be his 14th anniversary at the Courthouse. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Kelly Booher, left, is presented with a plaque June 19 by Pulaski County sheriff Randy Kern during a surprise 90th birthday party held for Booher at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Mound City. When asked about what has kept him coming in to work everyday during his 13 years at the courthouse, he said it simply comes down to the fact he does not like to sit at home. “When you don’t like staying home, you try to keep doing what you are doing, if you like it, as long as you can,” he said. Booher said he plans on hanging it up soon, though. He intends to retire by Feb. of 2014, which would be his 14th anniversary at the Courthouse. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Kids fall during a game of tug of war June 19 during the seventh annual Alexander County Health Fair at Cairo High School. The event was sponsored by the Alexander, Pulaski Action Council and was designed to educate attendees about various health issues, it also provided free or reduced cost health screenings and physicals. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Kids fall during a game of tug of war June 19 during the seventh annual Alexander County Health Fair at Cairo High School. The event was sponsored by the Alexander, Pulaski Action Council and was designed to educate attendees about various health issues, it also provided free or reduced cost health screenings and physicals. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

 

Bre-aja Williams, 3, right, has her ears inspected by LPN Julia Thrower June 21 during her first school physical onboard the Wellness on Wheels bus during the Early Childhood and Prevention Initiative’s Summer Festival at St. Mary’s Park in Cairo. The event hosted Wellness on Wheels as well as Dental Safari, a portable dental office, along with summer activities as a way to give parents a chance to get their children’s school medical checks done all in one spot. Williams’ mother, Jackie Vaughn said coming to the festival saved her time and money. She said on the physical alone she saved $30. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Bre-aja Williams, 3, right, has her ears inspected by LPN Julia Thrower June 21 during her first school physical on board the Wellness on Wheels bus during the Early Childhood and Prevention Initiative’s Summer Festival at St. Mary’s Park in Cairo. The event hosted Wellness on Wheels as well as Dental Safari, a portable dental office, along with summer activities as a way to give parents a chance to get their children’s school medical checks done all in one spot. Williams’ mother, Jackie Vaughn said coming to the festival saved her time and money. She said on the physical alone she saved $30. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

Officers recover from 57 crash

After rear-ending a squad car June 18, a semi-truck heading North on Interstate 57 struck an a state trooper.

Emergency workers respond to a truck fire June 18 on northbound Interstate 57 near mile marker 8. The truck caught fire as result of an accident involving one Mounds police officer and state trooper Kent Ray. Pulaski County sheriff Randy Kern said around 4 p.m. June 18, Ray was being supported by a Mounds K-9 unit as he picked up debris from a blown semi-truck tire when a big rig collided with the Mounds K-9 Unit car. After the truck rear-ended the Mounds officer, it hit Ray as he was standing in the road. Kern said both Ray and the Mounds officer were released from St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Ray may have a broken foot and the Mounds officer has whiplash. Kern said the officer who performed the reconstruction of the scene has deemed it to be the truck-driver’s fault, however he has not been given the official report and could not offer more details. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Emergency workers respond to a truck fire June 18 on northbound Interstate 57 near mile marker 8. The truck caught fire as result of an accident involving one Mounds police officer and state trooper Kent Ray. Pulaski County sheriff Randy Kern said around 4 p.m. June 18, Ray was being supported by a Mounds K-9 unit as he picked up debris from a blown semi-truck tire when a big rig collided with the Mounds K-9 Unit car. After the truck rear-ended the Mounds officer, it hit Ray as he was standing in the road. Kern said both Ray and the Mounds officer were released from St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Ray may have a broken foot and the Mounds officer has whiplash. Kern said the officer who performed the reconstruction of the scene has deemed it to be the truck-driver’s fault, however he has not been given the official report and could not offer more details. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

The Week in Photos: June 20, 2013

The visual report from the week of June 20, 2013

George Lee checks on pork shoulders June 17 in the barbecue pit at Shemwell’s Barbecue in Cairo. Lee said he often gets to work at 4:30 a.m. to start cooking. Shemwell’s, which has operated in Cairo for more than 60 years, is owned by second generation barbecue man Darrell Shemwell. He said his cooking methods are the same as those used when the business started. He uses the same three woods to smoke the meat that his parents did: Hickory, oak and ash. Shemwell said he takes pride in respecting the traditions of his family’s craft. “We cook the old fashioned way,” he said. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
George Lee checks on pork shoulders June 17 in the barbecue pit at Shemwell’s Barbecue in Cairo. Lee said he often gets to work at 4:30 a.m. to start cooking. Shemwell’s, which has operated in Cairo for more than 60 years, is owned by second generation barbecue man Darrell Shemwell. He said his cooking methods are the same as those used when the business started. He uses the same three woods to smoke the meat that his parents did: Hickory, oak and ash. Shemwell said he takes pride in respecting the traditions of his family’s craft. “We cook the old fashioned way,” he said. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo High School basketball coach Brian Brantner, middle, addresses camp goers June 14 at Cairo High School during his two week summer basketball camp. Brantner said  the camp was an opportunity to talk about life lessons with kids. “Basketball a lot of times is a metaphor for life,” he said. He worked with students from grades 3-8 during the camp and hopes to host a second two week session at the end of the summer but has not finalized the details. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo High School basketball coach Brian Brantner, middle, addresses camp goers June 14 at Cairo High School during his two week summer basketball camp. Brantner said the camp was an opportunity to talk about life lessons with kids. “Basketball a lot of times is a metaphor for life,” he said. He worked with students from grades 3-8 during the camp and hopes to host a second two week session at the end of the summer but has not finalized the details. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Students from Loyola Academy in Wilmette paint a house in Cairo June 10. The students, all rising juniors from the school, were participating in Loyola’s annual summer service program. Kevin Mistrick, a teacher at Loyola, said the school has been making the trip for the last twenty years and is connected to the community though the Day Star Center. He said the primary objective for his students is to build relationships. “We are helping them but at the same time, the homeowners are sharing their lives and their wisdom and helping our students,” Mistrick said. The program lasts for two weeks with two groups of 10-14 students staying for one week each. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Students from Loyola Academy in Wilmette paint a house in Cairo June 10. The students, all rising juniors from the school, were participating in Loyola’s annual summer service program. Kevin Mistrick, a teacher at Loyola, said the school has been making the trip for the last twenty years and is connected to the community though the Day Star Center. He said the primary objective for his students is to build relationships. “We are helping them but at the same time, the homeowners are sharing their lives and their wisdom and helping our students,” Mistrick said. The program lasts for two weeks with two groups of 10-14 students staying for one week each. – Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Council member Thomas Simpson, right, talks with a volunteer June 15 during the annual River Sweep. Simpson said, "I enjoy helping out the community." Simpson and volunteers cleaned up between 4th and 8th street by the river in Cairo. -- Lindsey Vaughn | The Cairo Citizen
Council member Thomas Simpson, right, talks with a volunteer June 15 during the annual River Sweep. Simpson said, “I enjoy helping out the community.” Simpson and volunteers cleaned up between 4th and 8th street by the river in Cairo. — Lindsey Vaughn | The Cairo Citizen

Illinois Press Association Contest Winners

From left to right, Harley Showalter, Sr., Harley Showalter Jr. and Frankie Temke, rush to get Showater Jr.’s car ready for the final heat during the Aug. 17 Pulaski County Fair demolition derby in Pulaski. This image was awarded first in the Feature Photography contest. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
From left to right, Harley Showalter, Sr., Harley Showalter Jr. and Frankie Temke, rush to get Showater Jr.’s car ready for the final heat during the Aug. 17 Pulaski County Fair demolition derby in Pulaski. This image was awarded first in the Feature Photography contest. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Nina Ellis, right, is congratulated by friends and family Nov. 24 after winning the Unheard Gospel Voices competition held in Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo. “This image was awarded first place in the General News Photography contest. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen.
Nina Ellis, right, is congratulated by friends and family Nov. 24 after winning the Unheard Gospel Voices competition held in Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo. “This image was awarded first place in the General News Photography contest. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen.
Sherry Windings, president of the Ladies Auxiliary for the American Legion in Villa Ridge, places a holiday wreath on her husbands grave Dec. 15 at the Mound City National Cemetery after the annual Wreaths Across America service. This image was awarded second place in the General News Photography contest. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Sherry Windings, president of the Ladies Auxiliary for the American Legion in Villa Ridge, places a holiday wreath on her husbands grave Dec. 15 at the Mound City National Cemetery after the annual Wreaths Across America service. This image was awarded second place in the General News Photography contest. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Kenneth Taake inspects an ear of corn from one of his farm fields July 13 near his home in Ullin. This image was awarded third place in the General News Photography contest. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Kenneth Taake inspects an ear of corn from one of his farm fields July 13 near his home in Ullin. This image was awarded third place in the General News Photography contest. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Gus Colbroth, of mounds, takes a cigarette break Dec. 12 while working for Spring Valley Farms in Pulaski. This image was awarded Honorable Mention in the Feature Photography contest. --Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Gus Colbroth, of mounds, takes a cigarette break Dec. 12 while working for Spring Valley Farms in Pulaski. This image was awarded Honorable Mention in the Feature Photography contest. –Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

Winds damage Alexander County Courthouse

An early morning storm May 21 damaged nearly 50% of the Alexander County Courthouse’s roof.

Alexander County circuit clerk Paul Jones, left, answers the phone and eats a standing lunch May 21 in his office in the Alexander County Courthouse in Cairo as his staff works to box up any paper documents after a storm early that morning damaged the roof. Jerry Held, Alexander County Emergency Management coordinator, said around 3 a.m. winds pulled the west side of the roof eastward. It is estimated nearly half of the roof was lifted up. This left several large holes in the roof, causing wide-spread leaking throughout the Courthouse. John Price, Alexander County building commissioner, said were it not for the antenna on the roof of the building, it is likely most of the roof would have been ripped off. The storm also left four air conditioning units irreparable. Several offices were boxed up and temporarily relocated so clean up and repair could take place in the building. Jones and his team will be operating out of the Cairo Junior High School until their office has been cleaned up. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Alexander County circuit clerk Paul Jones, left, answers the phone and eats a standing lunch May 21 in his office in the Alexander County Courthouse in Cairo as his staff works to box up any paper documents after a storm early that morning damaged the roof. Jerry Held, Alexander County Emergency Management coordinator, said around 3 a.m. winds pulled the west side of the roof eastward. It is estimated nearly half of the roof was lifted up. This left several large holes in the roof, causing wide-spread leaking throughout the Courthouse. John Price, Alexander County building commissioner, said were it not for the antenna on the roof of the building getting caught on the edge of the roof, it is likely most of the roof would have been ripped off. The storm also left four air conditioning units irreparable. Several offices were boxed up and temporarily relocated so clean up and repair could take place in the building. Jones and his team will be operating out of the Cairo Junior High School until their office has been cleaned up. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Winds nearly tore off half of the Alexander County Courthouse's roof.
Winds nearly tore off half of the Alexander County Courthouse’s roof.– Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

 

The Week in Photos: May 16, 2013

The visual report from the week of May 16, 2013.

Angela Thomas, right, shares a tearful hug with her son Eric Dent after he his graduation ceremony May 10 at Egyptian High School. Dent said he plans to attend Shawnee Community College and hopes to play basketball. Dent graduated with 30 of his fellow seniors. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Angela Thomas, right, shares a tearful hug with her son Eric Dent after he his graduation ceremony May 10 at Egyptian High School. Dent said he plans to attend Shawnee Community College and hopes to play basketball. Dent graduated with 30 of his fellow seniors. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Lacey Hacker, left, waits for her friend Jade Yates to put on her gown just before graduation May 10 at Century High School. Hacker and Yates were among the first of Century’s 20 graduates to arrive for the ceremony. Yates said she has plans to attend Shawnee Community College to get her associate degree. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Lacey Hacker, left, waits for her friend Jade Yates to put on her gown just before graduation May 10 at Century High School. Hacker and Yates were among the first of Century’s 20 graduates to arrive for the ceremony. Yates said she has plans to attend Shawnee Community College to get her associate degree. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Danny Kohn, left, insists the held of Century High School teacher’s aid Michelle Nale to fasten his tassel to his cap May 10 before Century’s graduation ceremony. Kohn said he plans to attend Shawnee Community College before transferring to SIU where he hopes to get a degree in international studies. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Danny Kohn, left, insists the held of Century High School teacher’s aid Michelle Nale to fasten his tassel to his cap May 10 before Century’s graduation ceremony. Kohn said he plans to attend Shawnee Community College before transferring to SIU where he hopes to get a degree in international studies. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo Pilots third baseman Lorenzo Nelson just misses tagging out an opponent May 13 during the Pilot’s regional loss against the Dongola Demons. The Pilots lost 25-3. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo Pilots third baseman Lorenzo Nelson just misses tagging out an opponent May 13 during the Pilot’s regional loss against the Dongola Demons. The Pilots lost 25-3. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Kylee Wright, of Charleson, looks out the window of the Airbrush Dreamz trailer May 9 in Cairo. Derik Davis, Wright’s mother’s boyfriend, sells airbrushed clothing and accessories out of the trailer. Davis said he primarily sets up shop at carnivals and festivals but said he does come to sell his wares in towns like Cairo from time to time. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Kylee Wright, of Charleson, looks out the window of the Airbrush Dreamz trailer May 9 in Cairo. Derik Davis, Wright’s mother’s boyfriend, sells airbrushed clothing and accessories out of the trailer. Davis said he primarily sets up shop at carnivals and festivals but said he does come to sell his wares in towns like Cairo from time to time. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

The Week in Photos: May 9, 2013

The visual report from the week of May 9, 2013.

Cairo junior Jordan Holder, right, takes a look at Cairo Junior Jalecia Purdiman’s cell phone May 4 while taking a break from dancing during the Cairo High School senior prom. Later that evening, prom attendees voted seniors Jeleigha Johnson and Terion Taylor as prom queen and prom king. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo junior Jordan Holder, right, takes a look at Cairo Junior Jalecia Purdiman’s cell phone May 4 while taking a break from dancing during the Cairo High School senior prom. Later that evening, prom attendees voted seniors Jeleigha Johnson and Terion Taylor as prom queen and prom king. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Senior Jeleigha Johnson, left, and senior Terion Taylor pose for a portrait May 4 after being named prom queen and king during Cairo High School’s senior prom. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Senior Jeleigha Johnson, left, and senior Terion Taylor pose for a portrait May 4 after being named prom queen and king during Cairo High School’s senior prom. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Shanna Farris, left, is comforted by her father, John Timmons, during her mother’s funeral May 1 at Jones Funeral Home in Villa Ridge. Farris’ mother, Sandra Farris, went missing March 28 after a walk near her home in Cairo. Her body was found April 24 in the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky. The cause of death was deemed undetermined.-- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Shanna Farris, left, is comforted by her father, John Timmons, during her mother’s funeral May 1 at Jones Funeral Home in Villa Ridge. Farris’ mother, Sandra Farris, went missing March 28 after a walk near her home in Cairo. Her body was found April 24 in the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky. The cause of death was deemed undetermined.– Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Rita Flummer, middle, takes her oath of office as mayor of the City of Mounds May 6 with the help of former mayor, Waymon Butler, right and city clerk Robin Barksdale. After being sworn in, Flumer then lead her first city council meeting.-- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Rita Flummer, middle, takes her oath of office as mayor of the City of Mounds May 6 with the help of former mayor, Waymon Butler, right and city clerk Robin Barksdale. After being sworn in, Flumer then lead her first city council meeting.– Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Myron Jordan rounds third base April 30 during the Pilots’ double header home win over Agape Christian. The Pilots had a slow start, narrowly winning the first game 6-5. However, they picked up momentum in the second, defeating the Knights 12-8. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Myron Jordan rounds third base April 30 during the Pilots’ double header home win over Agape Christian. The Pilots had a slow start, narrowly winning the first game 6-5. However, they picked up momentum in the second, defeating the Knights 12-8. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo Pilots third baseman Lorenzo Nelson jumps for a line-drive April 30 during The Pilots' double home win against the Agape Christian Knights. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo Pilots third baseman Lorenzo Nelson jumps for a line-drive April 30 during The Pilots’ double home win against the Agape Christian Knights. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

 

The Week in Photos: May 2, 2013

The visual report from the week of May 2, 2013.

Donna Pearman talks on the phone with a relative April 25 in her home in Cairo. Pearman said since her sister’s body was found April 24, she has had a hard time keeping up with all the phone calls she has received from both family and the media. --Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Donna Pearman talks on the phone with a relative April 25 in her home in Cairo. Pearman said since her sister’s body was found April 24, she has had a hard time keeping up with all the phone calls she has received from both family and the media. –Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Gabriel Harris, second from the left, officiates as president pro tempore as, left to right, Mary Coleman, Artie McBride, Brenda Gooden and Sheila Nelson simultaneously swear in April 25 during a special meeting of the Cairo School Board at Cairo High School. Coleman swore in as treasurer, Harris as Vice President, Gooden as secretary, Nelson as a board member and McBride as president. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Gabriel Harris, second from the left, officiates as president pro tempore as, left to right, Mary Coleman, Artie McBride, Brenda Gooden and Sheila Nelson simultaneously swear in April 25 during a special meeting of the Cairo School Board at Cairo High School. Coleman swore in as treasurer, Harris as Vice President, Gooden as secretary, Nelson as a board member and McBride as president. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Assistant Meridian baseball coach Greg Harris leads his team in cheering for their midnight-hour victory against the Century Centurions April 29 at Shawnee Community College. Meridian gave up a safe 3 run lead in the bottom of the 9th, but prevented Century from taking the win. This victory came after the Centurions defeated the Bobcats April 18, 17-3 in a game at Rent-One Park in Marion. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Assistant Meridian baseball coach Greg Harris leads his team in cheering for their midnight-hour victory against the Century Centurions April 29 at Shawnee Community College. Meridian gave up a safe 3 run lead in the bottom of the 9th, but prevented Century from taking the win. This victory came after the Centurions defeated the Bobcats April 18, 17-3 in a game at Rent-One Park in Marion. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

Packing up the polls

On April 9, the polls opened for the Consolidated Election.

Barbara B. Johnson, left, Tyrus Davis, middle, and Vernon Stubblefield finish packing up the third ward polling location April 9 at the Alexander County Courthouse in Cairo. Many of the polling places throughout the county had a slow day, one not even seeing its first voter until after noon. Stubblefield said in 13 hours of being open, Ward 3 had 30 voters. In all 660 people in Alexander County went out to vote. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Barbara B. Johnson, left, Tyrus Davis, middle, and Vernon Stubblefield finish packing up the third ward polling location April 9 at the Alexander County Courthouse in Cairo. Many of the polling places throughout the county had a slow day, one not even seeing its first voter until after noon. Stubblefield said in 13 hours of being open, Ward 3 had 30 voters. In all 660 people in Alexander County went out to vote. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

Buyout offers still months away

Clinton Pecord looks at floodwaters March 25 on the back of his property in Cache. Pecord lives a few hundred yards from the house he grew up in and said flooding has been something he has dealt with all of his life. However the flooding in 2011 was the highest he has seen on the property. He said even though the flood was difficult, he is not sure he will accept a buyout. “It really depends on what kind of offer they give us,” Pecord said.-- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Clinton Pecord looks at floodwaters March 25 on the back of his property in Cache. Pecord lives a few hundred yards from the house he grew up in and said flooding has been something he has dealt with all of his life. However the flooding in 2011 was the highest he has seen on the property. He said even though the flood was difficult, he is not sure he will accept a buyout. “It really depends on what kind of offer they give us,” Pecord said.– Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

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

Providing produce

The Chester Walmart has stared a new project, benefitting the Daystar Community Programs Center in Cairo.

Cat Johnson, right, gives bags of free produce to Curtis Johnson, left, Feb. 19 at Daystar Community Programs in Cairo. The produce was provided by the Chester Walmart as part of recent service project taken on by the store. Store manager Christopher DeWitt said this is his store’s fourth time coming to Cairo, but the first time bringing vegetables. DeWitt said his crew of 10-12 volunteers brought nearly 2,000 lbs. of vegetables to hand out to patrons of the food pantry. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cat Johnson, right, gives bags of free produce to Curtis Johnson, left, Feb. 19 at Daystar Community Programs in Cairo. The produce was provided by the Chester Walmart as part of recent service project taken on by the store. Store manager Christopher DeWitt said this is his store’s fourth time coming to Cairo, but the first time bringing vegetables. DeWitt said his crew of 10-12 volunteers brought nearly 2,000 lbs. of vegetables to hand out to patrons of the food pantry. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen