The Daily Register
May 10, 2011
By Eric Fodor
SHAWNEETOWN — Before taking a tour of Southeastern Illinois College, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon made a stop in flood-stricken Gallatin County.
She visited the Shawneetown Fire Department, which is being used as a staging area for flood-fighting efforts in the county.
While the flooding has taken a huge toll on home and property owners in the county, it has brought people together in a spirit of cooperation, Simon said.
During her trip, Simon met a Conservation Police officer from DeKalb County and a coordinator from the Menard County Emergency Management Agency who were in the region to work with local officials.
The flood-fighting efforts are a testimony to the dedication of public employees, Simon said.
"Public employees are not always seen as the model employees, but it is public employees who have been working 20-hour days until they drop on the pile of sandbags they've been stuffing," Simon said.
Ridgway Mayor Becky Mitchell, who met with Simon, said the cooperation among workers has been heartening.
"I think that we've had a wonderful, wonderful team," Mitchell said.
No region of Gallatin County is unscathed. Old Shawneetown, New Haven, Junction, Equality and Ridgway are all grappling with flooding. The water is still high virtually from the county line to Shawneetown on state Route 13.
"We have lost four residences probably 100 percent, and there are two houses it has gotten into," Mitchell said regarding the flooding in Ridgway.
The newly-renovated Ridgway Park is underwater. New equipment and picnic tables have been inundated in the floodwater, Mitchell said.