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Officials continue flood damage assessment

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Local resident Fred Prewitt's home was extensively damaged when 18 inches of water flooded his home on April 19. Ivy Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
With a forecast of more heavy rainfall over the next few days, the fallout from the recent heavy rainfall continues.

Brazil City Planning and Zoning Administrator Stacey Gibbens and Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband have been working with local flood victims in the Brazil area.

The rains began Tuesday, April 19, and the flooding continued into the next day.

"We're trying to get to everyone as quickly as possible," Gibbens told The Brazil Times about visiting the reported sites of damages throughout the city. "We've had approximately 10 reports made so far, but we know there are many more people out there with damages. We need everyone who has suffered damages during the recent floods to contact us as soon as possible. The deadline for filing for potential assistance from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is coming up fast."

According to officials, a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) will determine the magnitude and impact of the damage in the area because of the recent flooding.

Brazil resident Fred Prewitt lives in the area hit the hardest during last week's flooding.

Prewitt's home located in the John Street area received a yet undetermined amount of damage when more than 18 inches of water flooded the home located near Pogues Run.

"It's really disheartening. I just finished remodeling the house," Prewitt said. "I talked with neighbors before I bought this house. And while everyone told me about the flooding in this area in 2008, they believed, and me too, that it wouldn't happen again."

Wading through mud and debris caused by the recent flooding, Prewitt tries to keep in good spirits.

"My wife has had it," he said while throwing out damaged appliances. "I'm going to remodel it again. Just hope I can get it done before there is a problem with mold."

Prewitt said his homeowners' insurance wouldn't cover the damage.

"I'm not the only person dealing with this mess. There are others," Prewitt said. "All of us need to make sure we report the damages. The more people that report, the better off our chances are to get assistance."

Once a state of disaster is confirmed, FEMA provides supplemental assistance for approved State and local government recovery expenses, and the Federal share will always be at least 75 percent of the eligible costs.

For Prewitt, that 75 percent is worth taking the time to report the damages.

Husband told The Brazil Times filing a damage report is a lot easier than before.

"We don't hand out applications anymore,' Husband said. "It's all done electronically now."

According to Husband, people need to just contact Brazil City Hall or his office at the Clay County Courthouse.

"They just need to be prepared to leave their contact information," Husband said. "We will call them back as soon as possible and take more information about their damage, which goes directly into the computer system."

To report any flood damages from any recent flooding, contact officials at Brazil City Hall, including Mayor Ann Bradshaw's office at 443-2221, Brazil City Planning and Zoning office at 446-0050, or Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband's office at 448-8400. Victims need to document any damages, including standing water, with pictures.

"Wind damages can also be reported," Husband said. "There hasn't been too much damage in the county, most of it has been reported in the Brazil area."

While the FEMA damage estimate threshold is $80,000 and at least 20 homes affected, officials confirm Clay County isn't close to that yet. However, with flooding throughout the state becoming a problem, claims in Clay County could potentially get lumped in with other counties affected by the recent event.

"That is why we need people who suffered damages in the recent event to notify us of the damages," Husband said. "The more damage claims we have, the better our chances of receiving assistance."

Meanwhile, Mayor Ann Bradshaw told The Brazil Times the bid for work to repair the collapsed portion of a Pogues Run underground drainage tunnel that runs under John Street has not been approved at this time. However, the city has spoken with Knust Excavating, Brazil, and has received a bid from them, along with one other company, which will be reviewed during Thursday's meeting of the Brazil Board of Public Works and Safety.

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Look, this thing first reared it's ugly head in August of 1993 when we had 11" overnight. How come almost 20 years later, nothing has been done?

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Tue, Apr 26, 2011, at 9:04 PM

What happened to the "40-acre" holding pond that was supposed to have been developed? This was mentioned as a partial solution in 1993 and a pre-requisite in the state re-doing US 40 through Brazil.

The city has been neglectful in their inactions over the last 18 years, and I'm considering all my options at this time.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 7:24 AM

It's really disheartening. I just finished remodeling the house," Prewitt said. "I talked with neighbors before I bought this house. And while everyone told me about the flooding in this area in 2008, they believed, and me too, that it wouldn't happen again." Why would you buy a house that has been known to flood and then blame someone else because it flooded again. Why is it people never want to take responsibility for their own choices but want to blame others-blame the city? I guess we live in a society where we are told to blame everyone else for everything.

-- Posted by hoosierhick on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 9:37 AM


The city is to blame...read the Federal Clean Water Act. And even if there weren't Federal Laws, they've known since 1993, and I suspect before that, that their waste water management plan was sorely lacking, and the result of their selective negligence hurts those who bought homes who DID NOT know that flooding was a problem.

I still sympathize with the subject of the article, because even though he knew prior to the purchase of his home, the city has told us time and again that these events are "freak" storms. I was told by Mayor Crabb after the 1993 storm that not only was it a 100-year storm, but it was more like a 500-year storm. Then after 2008, again I heard the term 100-year storm. Now here we are again in 2011.

If the city has no desire to make the improvements they promised us in 1993, then they need to buy all of us out and tear down all of these homes and not allow anymore to be built in those areas. If they don't, there are other means that us homeowners have that have been previously shunned that may no longer be. Again, we are talking about the city's legal responsibility. I guess they need to be reminded of this once again, but in a stronger fashion.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 12:25 PM

ClayCountyGuy - I believe the Federal Clean Water Act has to do with EPA requirements NOT flooding. Also the TERM 100 year flood DOES NOT mean there WON'T BE A FLOOD for 100 years but it is a phrase that means a flood has a 1% change of occurring in any given year. Buildings built in these areas should be purchasing Flood Insurance.

-- Posted by hoosierhick on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 4:11 PM

To Hoosierhick,

I believe that Mr. Prewitt meant that after all of that like everybody else in this town.Were suppose to believe that they(the city officials)would of done something like "Oh lesee thier jobs"! He is a good hearted person that was raised to believe that people are only as good as thier word. What was he thinking? Sure glad that wasn't you or your family trying to start all over again. Because someone maybe so petty to twist what a man is saying. Some people are just wired wrong. As Ron White says..Next time you get an ideal


-- Posted by Cardonia Redneck on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 11:45 PM


I know what the term "100 year flood" means, and regardless of how you use the terminology, it was still used by city officials in telling us that these were freak storms rationalizing their lack of action towards correcting the problem.

Even if everyone carried flood insurance, do you not understand the considerable inconveniences pressed upon families during times when repairs have to be done? Or even more to the point, the fact that anyone who has been through this before, even those insured, have absolutely no peace of mind. I just spent another evening doing nothing but watch the rain fall and seeing if the storm lines were going to back-up again. And if the worst part of the storm had been in the middle of the overnight, I can guarantee you that I would not have slept a wink until it was over.

And before you say "then sell your home", just consider for a moment who I am going to be able to sell it to and for how much. Again, my property value is the one thing that has gone down the drain in this neighborhood because of the city's inaction.

Your "legal" opinion on the Clean Water Act is not shared by some others who actually have a law degree. I will agree on one thing in this respect, its not about flooding, it IS about the city's responsibility of managing their storm water. This is not a "flood" in that an existing body of water (creek, lake, etc.) that comes up, but rather a failure of a city's infrastructure, and their negligence in showing any inclination to fix or, even diminish the problem. It is obvious that the existing storm lines are inadequate to handle a storm that apparently on average happens every 5 to 6 years, not one that has a 1% chance of occurring each year.

If they don't want to increase the capacity of the storm lines, then they have to develop "holding areas" for water so that it doesn't overwhelm the system we do have. Again, we were told in a public meeting in 1993 that the city WAS going to do this...they haven't.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 8:04 AM

By the way, the current mayor's own brother previously sued the city over this!

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 8:12 AM

My basement has flooded 3 times since February with 5 ft of water standing for 12 hours @ a time leaving raw sewage & sludge on the floor & walls. My whole family was sick through the month of March after the first flood in February. I just bought this house in October & i was never informed of the flooding from the realator or the previous owner. Now when it storms i have sleepless nights as i watch my home flooding & filling with sewage dreading what kind of sickness could plague my children or myself.

-- Posted by racing girl on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 11:55 AM

CLAYCOUNTYGUY .. I'm sorry this has happened to you, Mr. Prewitt and countless others over the years. I think you present a valid claim and argument regarding the city's responsibility.

No one would KNOWINGLY purchase a home or make improvements if they thought the area would see a massive flood such as this .. and those who think Flood Insurance comes close to replacing what is lost during flooding is arrogant, ignorant, or just plain stupid.

Anyone who's ever paid insurance (car/home/flood) knows you pay and pay and pay, then pray YOU NEVER HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM! Wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on a prayer. If we have to use our insurance, it's like pulling teeth to get a claim paid .. and if you're lucky .. very lucky .. your premiums won't go through the roof.

So, I say, STAND YOUR GROUND! The city should be held accountable for their negligence.

-- Posted by Emmes on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 12:05 PM

on or about 17 august 1993, our home was severly damaged by stormwater runoff and flooding. fema assisted us with approximately $12,000.00 for repairs. the end cost was approximately twice that amount. the "city of brazil" promised to fix the problem. after that and on numerous ocassions; stormwater runoff further damaged our property. sink holes developed; resulting in serious damage to our property. again, i complained to the "city of brazil" and promises were made; but, never kept. i personally have been in the newspaper and on television; trying to get the "city of brazil" and it's administration to resolve this problem. on or about 7 june 2008, our home and my livelyhood was again damaged almost destroyed; by the "city of brazil" and it's failure to control stormwater runoff. the result was an undetermined amount of damage. fema wanted us to seek a small business loan to complete the repairs. at that time i had suffered a seriously partial impairment to my right shoulder and arm; and we could not afford to make the payments. and just when we thought that every thing was okay; the "city of brazil" and it's administration's failure to control stormwater runoff; hit us again. we had purchased flood insurance on or about 17 february 2011. on or about 19 april 2011; stormwater runoff caused $25,000.00+ to our home and my business. on or about 22 april 2011, we were informed that my shop would not be covered by my flood insurance.

in the past, my wife being a good Christian woman; has told me that the Bible says that I shouldn't sue. that i should resolve this issue in another manner; and being a good Christian man, i tried. well this time she told me to act in a Godly, lawful and professional manner; then she removed the "spiked collar" from my neck; and turned her "devil dog" loose.

in my opinion: the "city of brazil" has clearly "failed to act", "acted careless" and been "negligent" in this situation. and i personally have been lied to for 18 years; by numerous city officials who stated that this problem would be fixed. there are no more promises to be made. this last "slap in the face" to my wife,children and our home; was the last "straw that broke the camel's back"

the "clean water act" also covers the control of stormwater run-off. it is meant to provide public health and safety and the well being of everyone. the "child protection act" also addresses the issues of contaminants being deposited upon personal property, as in the soils. and from what little i have read of the "city of brazil" drainage ordinances; it looks like the "city of brazil" is not in compliance. there are also state and federal laws that address the issue of stormwater runoff, the control and the release of this runoff. these laws also address the "city of brazil's" responsibilities they have to provide for the publics' safety and protection of personal and private property.

there is funding to solve or resolve these problems. and on numerous, previous occassions; i brought this to the attention of city officials. federal and state grants are out there; but, it takes effort. on or about 21 april 2011 during a meeting of certain city administrators and workers; the comment was made by one individual "that we are waiting on the state". the time of waiting is over; and this matter will be agressively, continiously and lawfully pursued!

i will not hide behind a sreen name like many others. my comments have clearly been an exercise of my first admendment rights under the constitution of the united states and the laws of these lands. i am mark bedwell; 304 s. franklin st; brazil, indiana; 812-691-6176. please feel free to contact me any time with your comments, concerns or responses. it is time for the citizens of brazil to stand up, look out for your neighbors, and collectively address this issue. please don't criticize my spelling or punctuation.

-- Posted by madmarkbedwell on Fri, Apr 29, 2011, at 7:18 AM

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