Graves and citizens of Craig speak out on issues with Corps of Engineers

Thursday morning, Congressman Sam Graves and State Rep. Allen Andrews visited the people of Holt County and Atchison County where water continued to rise and citizens were still being evacuated in towns all along the Missouri River.

“It’s a hard thing to see it,” Graves said. “These are friends and family and neighbors, and you see homes that are completely inundated and farms that are completely inundated. You go up and down the river, and you see grain bins that have popped because of the grain that’s in them that have swelled.”

Andrews said the flood will be life-changing for the people he represents in District 1.

One resident who is having to flee her home for the third time in Craig said she is reuniting and grieving with her neighbors at a shelter in nearby Mound City.

“When we saw the pictures of our homes, we all sat down and cried yesterday,” said Janice Gladden. “Craig has always been a community that has done things together. You gotta stop and think, how much your family means to you and your friends and your neighbors.”

Gladden is just one of the citizens that was forced to leave behind her home in Craig this week, leaving behind family photos, clothing and valuables. Gladden said all she has with her is a change of clothes, her husband and her five dogs who are being kept at a relative’s house.

While the Red Cross’s shelter at First Christian Church was serving around 15 residents of Craig, the mayor of Forest City issued a suggested evacuation to the citizens while the Exide Technologies battery plant was under a mandatory evacuation. The Red Cross said they planned to open more shelters in Troy, Kansas, and St. Joseph to help with the evacuations.

“A lot of people say, I’d do this or I’d do that, but you know that when it comes down to it, the good Lord’s going to tell you what to do,” Gladden said. “When you’re in a situation like all of us were, we didn’t walk out of our house until the water was on the ground.”

Gladden said that she blames the Army Corps of Engineers for the flooding, claiming that they want the area of Marshlands.

“I wish Congress, these senators and congressmen, could go through what we’re going through now, one time, just one time,” Gladden said. “And one of them, just one could open his mouth and tell the rest of them what he’s gone through, what we’re going through.”

Graves said that he is not happy with the way the Missouri River has been managed.

“That goes back to the management of the river. The priority is no longer navigation and flood control. The priority is fish and wildlife and that’s where we have a real problem with the Corps.”

Graves said while the destruction is widespread and devastating, he believes the people of Missouri will bounce back.

“It’s a tough battle, but you know what, the folks in Northwest Missouri, they’re pretty resilient and pretty tough people. They’ll pick themselves up and move forward.”

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