|07-10-03: Closed due to flooding near Grand Lake
|By MARGIE WUEBKER
The Daily Standard
Water has wreaked havoc on businesses in the southern part of Celina on
either side of U.S. 127 and at the WCSM Radio station on Meyer Road.
All have been flooded by the overflowing Beaver Creek, where water
pours in from the spillway on Grand Lake St. Marys.
WCSM Radio remains a virtual island ringed with sandbags. Employees
have been wading through water that is hip-deep in places.
The station continues to operate from its home base as of 8 a.m. today.
Owner John Coe told The Daily Standard only paperwork and furniture have been removed thus
"We're still broadcasting from here," he said. "And we
hope to continue doing so for as long as possible. It's been a war keeping water out, and
we haven't stopped pumping."
The station continues to offer regular programming as well as
updated weather reports, road closings and emergency announcements on its FM channel
As water edged closer to the AM towers late Tuesday, a decision was
made to close down the controls taking the AM station off the air. Thankfully, the FM
broadcast towers are located on drier ground at Dibble Road near the Wright State
In the event evacuation becomes necessary, the Mercer County
Commissioners have offered temporary quarters at the former county administration building
on South Main Street.
Tom Krick, owner of Bob's AudioVideo & Appliances, 910 S. Sugar
St., was out of town when the heavy rains hit. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and
built a sandbag wall along the south side of the building.
"I don't believe anyone imagined the water would come up so
fast," Krick said. "It moved in during the night."
Employees arrived around 8 a.m. Wednesday to discover inches of water
inside the building.
Semitrailers were brought in from Celina Truck & Storage.
Volunteers literally came out of the woodwork to remove electronic equipment and
appliances from the store and warehouse located in a nearby store and lock facility.
Everything was moved by truck to a warehouse elsewhere in the city.
"I don't even know who the volunteers were, but they sure did a
nice job," Krick said. "John Derringer (a local contractor) came with about a
The water had subsided by 9 a.m. and saturated carpeting is being
removed. Employees are responding to service calls and making deliveries.
"We're open at this point, but we're not expecting a lot of
customers," Krick added with a chuckle. "It could have been so much worse. Take
Breakaway Rec Plex for example, my heart goes out to the owners and staff. Ruined carpet
can't compare with what they are facing. They have lost much more than carpet."
The Breakaway fitness facility has closed its doors and reported
several feet of water in the facility. Boats were brought in to remove the computer
equipment, an employee reported.
Krick said his business, which his father established in 1956, should
be back to regular operation soon barring additional downpours.
Jim Isaacs, CEO of Community Hospital in Coldwater, hopes Community
Medical Center and Doctors' Care, on the east side of U.S. 127, will reopen Tuesday.
"We spent six hours over there Wednesday saving patient records
and putting equipment up above the water," he said.
The complex closed at 6 p.m. Monday as water lapped around the paved
parking lot. Sandbags were stacked in front of doors leading to the medical offices, but
muddy water infiltrated the barrier sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
Isaacs estimated the depth at several inches.
Community Hospital provided space on the second floor for any doctors
wishing to see patients there. Drs. John Speca and James Kemmler of Buckeye Orthopedic
Care have taken hospital officials up on the offer.
The new units at Westlake Villas and Luxury Apartments located between
West Bank Road and U.S. 127, set to open this month, are surrounded by floodwater. No one
was available at Crawford Communities in Columbus or Brackett Builders, Inc. in Troy to
comment on the current situation or on possible delays to the Westlake project.
Windemere Condominiums, east of town off Ohio 703, have been protected
at several vulnerable spots with several hundred sandbags.
Volunteers from all walks of life have stepped up to help, from moving
furniture and equipment to filling and stacking sandbags.
Mercer County Jail inmates as well as a detail of Darke County
prisoners spent Tuesday and Wednesday filling sandbags. They were assisted by 20 inmates
from the Lima and Oakwood correctional institutions, who volunteered their services and
were accompanied by guards.
"You know it really made me feel good to help the people over in
Rockford the other day," an unidentified Mercer County inmate said. "I learned
how good it feels to help somebody in danger of losing everything."
More than 2,000 full sandbags were stacked beside and behind the Mercer
County Sheriff's Office this morning. On Tuesday and Wednesday, filled bags were
transported to the medical center and the radio station as well as area fire departments.
The work will continue until the threat of flooding subsides.
Additionally, several juveniles helped move items out of flooded
businesses and assisted with sandbagging operations. Mercer County Juvenile Court will
credit the work toward restitution they owe victims, according to a court spokesman.
- Daily Standard reporter Janie Southard contributed to this
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