How local businesses are coping with the floods

Flood fg

Joe Brandt, owner of Village Green-House Green-house Florist in Gays Mills tells about how after 34 years they were flooded for the first time.

Crawford County, WI - Sept. 5, 2018 - Midwest News toured the Kickapoo Valley between Steuben and Soldiers Grove to see how businesses and events are being affected by the flooding.
   Wednesday the rain was adding to the raising waters.  It was rumored that the Kickapoo might raise to 16 plus feet at Steuben within the next 24 hours.  That level of renewed flooding would pour water into businesses and homes that were trying their best to clean up after the last record flood.   See Video

Steuben Underwater

Flood after

Steuben, WI - August 30, 2018 - After a tremendous community sandbagging effort the Kickapoo again ignored our defenses, breaching walls of sandbags and entering homes and businesses without discrimination.  Jo’s Kountry Bar, where a great deal of effort went into building a sandbag wall, ultimately the wall could not withstand the extreme pressure of tons of marauding river waters.  (See Video)
   The two bar/restrurants, the other being Lou’s R&R, have 4 feet of water in their interiors.  To add insult to injury, while towns’ people stared mute in disbelief at the overnight flooding, the day open with a beautiful blue sky, and fluffy white clouds. The weather, a wonderful, cool early fall day with a few fall leaves passing by.  It certainly must have felt, to someone whose house is full of river water, as an ultimate irony.
   The same spirit that animated groups of people up and down the Kickapoo Valley to fight back against Mother Nature will still prevail when the waters recede.  They will do what they have always done, clean up, repair, and restore their communities.

Gays Mills sees record flooding

Flood GM House

Gays Mills, WI - August 29, 2018 - Flood waters of the Kickapoo River are migrating fast down the valley.  By 9 a.m. the waters in Gays Mills had reached a record stage with cresting still hours away.  Much of the old part of Gays Mills had water up to the door threshold.  See Video
   Many people commented on how fast the flooding occurred.  One resident said he was up a 5 a.m. and looked out the window without seeing any flooding.  He dozed off on the couch for about an hour, and when he looked out his living room window this time he saw water up to the headlights on his truck.
   People's attitude ranged from being miffed at the lack of infrastructure maintenance in Wisconsin that they blamed on contributing to the constant flooding, to ‘oh well, been through it before, we'll deal with it again’.

Towns along the Kickapoo
prepare for record flooding

Flood prep

Steuben, WI Mayor Marcus McCullick describes the community sandbagging effort by volunteers to protect local businesses from the flood waters of the Kickapoo River.  See Video.  A town with a population of only 131 individuals turns out a record number of volunteers of all ages to work for the common good.  Something sure to build community.  If only our politicians would follow this example.  One can only hope.

After the Kickapoo floods, the work begins
How one small local business struggled to reopen

Flood Lou's R&R intv

By Dave Collins -
Steuben, WI – The floods came in late August, and when they receded they left two of Steuben's business devastated, Lou's R & R Bar & Grill and Jo's Kounty Bar.  This was no normal flood, which these business have gone through before, this was the granddaddy of them all, an all time record due to heavy rain plus two dams failing.
   This all took place in late August when Bob & Lou, owners of Lou's R & R Station, set out to reclaim their business.  It required a huge effort over the next few months, a good deal of money, and the help of lots of people.  Now, after over two plus months of effort they are open again.  Watch video to see what they had to do before they could reopen.
   These two businesses are vital to the folks in this area.  Local farmers depend on them for a take out meal or as a meeting place.  If you want to help these businesses get back on their feet, treat yourself to an extra meal or two over the next couple of months.
   Up and down the Kickapoo River valley there are other businesses in the same boat.  Send flowers to your wife from Village Green-House & Florist in Gays Mills (608-735-4853).  Won't she be surprised?  Or, put together a care package for your mother or a shut-in from the Kickapoo Exchange Natural Food Coop in Gays Mills (608-735-4544).  All these businesses and many more have struggled to recover from the all time record floods this summer.  Your business would be greatly appreciated.
   The phone number for Lou's R & R Bar is (608-476-2134).  Jo's Kounty Bar is still remodeling, but will be open soon.


Copyright, Midwest News, 2001- 2018