Archive for September 15th, 2011


“SHOULD DIVINE PROVIDENCE ever send a flood of the maximum predicted by meteorological and flood experts as a remote probability but not beyond the bounds of ultimate possibility, the floodways provided in the plan are still normally adequate for its passage without having its predicted heights exceed those of the strengthened levees.”

—Major General Edgar Jadwin,

Chief of Engineers;

December 1, 1927 in transmitting the Jadwin Plan to Secretary of War

Truly a great read. I am still looking at it; but everyone must understand the Corps – relative to this epic disaster caused by the Flood of Record 2011 – have contributed mightily to the great History of our nation…the Mighty Mississippi …

See Summary of Inspection 2011; find it…it’s worth your time…

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Never a dull moment in an independent enterprise, I’ll tell ya…

Good intentions on delving into the local re-building mess Mississippi County is facing as a direct result of the activation of the Birds Point New Madrid Floodway. While the worst fears of local farmers and politicians didn’t materialize, sufficient major damage was suffered by all and any who had something to do with the BPNMF; some more so than others. But, it’s been a crippling blow in many ways…

And, the reparations – financially and more – is just underway and multiple issues have – obviously – arisen.

On the agenda today; While already having a strapped budget, Mississippi County is in for a long haul in getting requests funded/built/and implemented in regards to the rebuilding efforts post BPNMF. FEMA delays; CORPS issues in terms of height levee is built and – just as important – *what is made of….

*This issue with sand core as opposed to clay core is really an issue with the upper proposed reconstructed portion of the levee from 51 to 62.5. This is the cap the Corps proposes to put in place once funding is available. In place, as this is written, is the majority of a 51 foot dirt/sand/clay – ish mini-levee in place at the ‘Upper Crevasse’. The drastic difference in this can be seen in photos I posted under BPNMF.

60.5 (actually) to 51...

THE ACTUAL LEVEL AT THIS PHOTO Is 60.5 as it is the part of the upper fuse plug that did not activate on May 2, 2011…; the remainder of the BPNMF is at 62.5, only 60.5 at the three fuse plug sections….


SEPT. 14 2011

LATE APRIL 2011 (perhaps 27/28th)


The Corps wants the sand core so that it will be easier to operate in the future. Don’t believe me? See aaronvalleytrees on You Tube and hear it for yourself or see the BPNMF story on the Kp Chronicle. This isn’t a background story, this is an up to the moment look at what is going on…

The farmers don’t want a sand core because they know it will be easier for the Corps to utilize the floodway; and as we’ve seen this year – we don’t want to ever see that again…Period.

And, most assuredly never, ever at the middle crevasse. If it ever again becomes a matter in which the ‘gauge on the Ohio hits 60 and rising and the system is threatened, you best believe they’ll do it again. Book it.

Well, it best be done with the revised plan of 2011; based on the 1937 plan updated in 1986; to include common sense approach(es); modern technology to assist in determining stress on the MR & T system; and where…

Not ‘to save Cairo’ that was wrongfully portrayed by local and even some national outlets…; In all the meetings (and there were plenty) that I was involved in the word ‘Cairo’ was never uttered until forced out of Col. Vernie Reichling at a made for TV press conference just a couple days from activation.

Trust me on this one, the Corps had larger issues to deal with than Cairo. And, I’m not a Cairo basher. My father worked in that town for 47 years; worked for Bunge and was closely involved with the 1973 flood that threatened Cairo then when the town still had political and economic clout. It’s safe to say – today -neither of those two are still in play and neither is the city what it was – and hoped/predicted to be – when the original plan was drawn up.

So, put that one to rest. The fact is, those 130,000 acres of tilled/plowed/cultivated/ prime growing land is without question some of the best growing ground on planet Earth.  Look it up.

Trust in the fact the Corps of Engineers is doing the best for the whole; and play an unwinnable part in this saga. It is their job. No questioning their motives. It does, however, become emotional and – personal for those directly effected – when such an event as the Record Flood of 2011 occurs….





...TO HERE....





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Took a ride this afternoon the ‘Middle Crevasse’ following a gentle root-canal by famed New Madrid dentist Dr. Rausch. Needless to say, the ride to Dorena numbed by the anesthesia may have dulled my senses a bit, as well.

I have not frequented the Floodway more than a good reporter would. In fact, far more often would I have ventured that way last year by choice of route to kill a few hours; but not now. Respectful of the harm/damage done to people’s homes/lives/futures is not something to rubber-neck about.

As a veteran reporter in newspaper/TV and radio – like they say – I’ve been to a few rodeo’s…Gawking at victims is not a hobby; nor a professional practice of mine. In the days leading up to the activation of the Birds Point New Madrid Floodway on May 2, 2011 2204 hours; I was on point.

With the United States Army Corps of Engineers from the moment they laid boots on the ground at the office of our local newspaper; It was on. They needed a mouthpiece on the local level and I needed the outlet to gainfully mourn the recent passing of my mother (Shirley Jean ‘McKinnie’ Pritchett – a veteran reporter of note);

Additionally, in the final day(s) of covering the event I was joined by Kellie ‘Anderson’ Bone whose mother Liz ‘Walhausen’ Anderson set the bar for covering the Corps; her material is used as base evidence for solid,  critical questioning in regards to the BPNMF and just as importantly, of the forgotten, but critical famed ‘Gap’ in the levee system the Corps is working on getting closed – again…

FOR THE RECORD: After May 2, 2011 I made one flyover; I had also went up in a helicopter with Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon’s group prior to; but our trip got diverted after threatening, hail producing thunderstorms changed our flight plan.

I also took a boat ride – I believe May 4/5 with Wolf Island icon Pete Story whose family’s experiences in the Floodway would be a good Southern novel; Pete took me places I needed – not wanted – to see. He was my guide.

I got an eyeful. And quick.

But today, SEPT. 14, 2011, it was a different feel; there was still lots of damage’ but there was progress…beans up with a good stand; construction on the Mo. Dept. of Conservation HQ; BIG OAK store; ground being shot by survey just SE of the park; and a caterpillar, four trucks and two more pieces of equipment at the new Blue Hole.

I’ll try to make this as gently as possible because I do want to reach a wide audience and not offend; to keep connections with certain folks at high levels. That being said, the documentation of the epic failure of the third blast/middle crevasse is an obvious result of plan over man.

Orders over Common Sense, may be a bit too harsh, but slightly just under that then. I’ll explain – to the best of my knowledge…

With information I learned from a meeting held by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt in New Madrid – courteously relayed via aaronvalleytrees to the masses – that the Corps was made aware the third activation would not work as designed. I also learned at that meeting the third activation was not put in the plan – originally drafted subsequent to the 1937 flood; major revision in 1986 that included the middle crevasse as an “inflow/outflow….

When the Corps finally acquired the necessary additional slurry to do the job; the levee breached – oh, for about 40-yards or so – connecting it with the standing Blue Hole just across the levee; there wasn’t 3,000 feet of levee falling down…it merely scarred the vast majority of the intended breach. Thus, leaving a torrid current running straight toward ancient historical Big Oak Park. Once it receded – this is what it looks like….


The Corps finally began work on the middle crevasse Sept. 13 (see update thru USACE to see running score on all 3 breaches; $4.3 mil to date as of 9/13/11….Much more to come….

In conclusion, there is a public statement by the corps pledging to rebuild to original grade (62.5); tho no timetable has been set on when that would be completed. It is on record of Nov. 30, 2011 as when the 51 foot levees will be finished in all 3 crevasses….

It will be very interesting to see how the middle crevasse is re-established; very interesting – and just from the looks of it – very difficult…










#26 DANNY LEE JOHNSON...arguably the greatest running back in EPHS lore

By Kevin Pritchett

Can you believe we’re one week away from the mid-season point of the 2011 High School Football season. Seems just a couple of weeks ago we were sitting in a sauna praying for Fall. Well, it has arrived…And, with that, perhaps a rain shower or two Friday night BUT much cooler temperatures should be on-line for the Charleston – New Madrid County Central SEMO Central tilt and the EP – Kennett matchup that brings pounds of pride to the Prairie.


Yes, I’ve been wrong before, just last week in fact, but I did call the season opening win for the Jays at  Metz Cherry Stadium and unlike my friend Micky Abner who placed second this past week in the Standard Democrat picking contest (dinner at Farmers Market) who doesn’t have to pick with his heart…I do – sometimes….

Call me a ‘Homer’….

But NMCC will be itching to notch a ‘W’ and  Coach Pixley won’t be putting out a welcome mat…Charleston – 1-0 in the Central has the offensive firepower to score points but defensively the Jays have to do a better job of stopping the opponent; even if they’re put in a bad spot on the field – which has been the case at times this year.

NMCC has scored only 6 points to date; Mind you, they lost to Cape Central (2-0. 0-0)41-6 to open the season; 20 – 0 to Poplar Bluff (1-2, 0-0) and 60-0 last week to state ranked #10 4A (3-0, 0-0) Farmington …something tells me the game will be physical…

Offensively, the Jays have been prolific led by Jamaul Gray with Rontavious Clark and Robert Bogan fully capable as well to tote the rock; Maurice Moore does the hard work up the middle. As second year coach Brett Blackman continues the rebuilding process; depth and depth are the keys…Don’t be shocked if Charleston comes away the victory; but by the same token, it’s not a bad 0-3 rival team they’re playing either….High School football; you gotta love it…And, if you don’t think these two schools are rivals, you haven’t been to a basketball game between them in recent years…

KENNETT 20 @ Ep 22

Pride will be on display Friday night on the Prairie. Expect a large, supportive crowd to be on hand as home-town boy done good comes back the field he played on not so long ago to coach the opponent against the Eagles. First-year Kennett coach Corey Adkisson has talked about what it means…And, it means just another game on the schedule to reporters. Next week’s opponent, if you will. The veteran assistant coach – and lineman on the Ep 94 semi-final squad – is getting his first head gig at a school with not a lot of football history but a lot of expectations. Playing for the folks at Metz Cherry Stadium is demanding. Ask Jack Burns, who and this is just on quick recall, perhaps a Kennett fan who reads this will clarity – but the lone playoff appearance in football was in ’86 against the loaded Dexter Bearcat teams of Earl Wheeler, Nate Stevens and the Pixley twin…THAT was a harda** hitting high school football team. Slobberknockers before I heard those words uttered to me by a legendary South Fulton, TN. coach in 2011 while covering the Red Devils for the Fulton Ky. Leader; I got the privilege of covering Patrick Willis for two seasons; talked to him after both games and the dude had it going on then…Didn’t know he would turn out to be the All-Pro NLF player he is but he was something special against 1A competition at Bruceton-Hollow Rock Tennessee. He also was well spoken, courteous to me and the legion of fans that followed him – and that program…

Speaking of programs, 5th year coach Jason Aycock has put the Eagles into a new realm; once thought of as ‘Homecoming’ opponents, folks don’t feel that way anymore about the Eagles. While maybe not a powerhouse, but a school with two standout teams prior to this last 3-year upswing; Ep fans have always supported the team if they play hard and act right on the football field. That’s what you get from this team; program now. Coach Aycock was reflecting on the interesting fact that he and the Kennett coach were former Eagles; he quickly added with valid pride, but “so are all the coaches on my staff.”

James Hodges, whose tenure at the Junior High has resulted in a first-ever SEMO Conference championship for the Jr. Eagles; he and assistant Ben Walters apply the techniques; playbook and calls/language so that when they his the High School program they are ready to play, not still learning. Offensive coordinator Gary Scott is also the baseball coach and Chad Jamerson is back with the Eagles after serving as an assistant to gain experience. As Mo. State Rep. Steve Hodges recently documented on the amount of doctors who have matriculated at EPHS, a late string of coaches is making their mark now as well. Think for a moment as well, how many faculty members also went to school here. A lot.

But, to the game; Ep 22 Kennett 20…call me a ‘Homer’; say I drink the Kool-Aid, but the game is at home; the team will have gut-check big Friday night to offset injuries to key players (Cody Huff – Phillip Latomondeer)…The Eagles will depend more than ever on youth; freshman and sophomores will have to make the difference in this game – and young guys play better at home. Just a fact. CANT’ WAIT, to see the Eagle crowd Friday night. Now, is when they need you in full numbers while the cycle makes it’s turn. Remember a few years back with the Miller twins and Connor Scott were just getting started….

GAME OF NOTE…Hayti at Caruthersville. Not a conference game or district game, but a heated rivalry nonetheless; Don’t believe me. Call local law enforcement. Caruthersville gets the nod; ranked #6 in Class 3A while Hayti is currently out of the top ten but receiving votes in 1A….Both teams will make state runs at the end of the year, but the Tigers are my pick….C’ville 45 Hayti 28