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Marseilles Dealing With Aftermath Of Flooding

Guy Stephens

JoEllen Fuller laughs nervously when asked how last month's floods damaged her school.

"Oh Boy. It was horrible. It was just devastating. The clean-up process is in full swing, everything has been removed. We just have a shell." - Marseilles Supt. JoEllen Fuller

She's the Superintendent of the Marseilles School District. Marseilles Elementary sustained major damage and is still closed. More than 600 students were displaced and are now at three different locations including a local church, an old high school, and Seneca Elementary School North Campus. She says everyone has been cooperative throughout the ordeal. Fuller says students have been "troopers."  She says most parents and staff also understand the measures taken in the wake of flooding last month.

"We've told them to be flexible and there is still learning going on, they're great. I can't ask for a better staff right now."

Fuller says students will be in the temporary locations through this school year which ends June 4.  She's not sure if the Marseilles Elementary building will be ready in time for the start of the next school year. She expects students may have to learn in modular facilities, at least temporarily.

Marseilles was the hardest hit in LaSalle County. Assessment teams wrapped up their work over the weekend according to LaSalle County Emergency Management Director Connie Brooks.

"What they need to do now with that information is to submit that information to the Governor and see if enough major and damaged homes that are uninsured loss would qualify for an individual assistance federal declaration." - Connie Brooks, LaSalle Co. Emergency Management Agency

She says about 500 structures including homes and businesses were damaged in the county, 200 alone in Marseilles.

Brooks says the closest comparison to the 2013 flood was in 2008:

"Now we've hit a second 100-year flood in five years. Everybody thought it was really bad then and they had never seen it. Well, this one was worse than 2008."

In 2008, the county issued a storm water management report.

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.
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