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Flood damage to be featured in USA Today

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

EAST PRAIRIE - While the predicament faced by farmers and small town residents in the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway has received almost daily coverage by local and regional media, it is now gaining the interest of national reporters.

Kevin Mainord, East Prairie's mayor and a leader in the effort to encourage the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the levee to its previous height, was among those who told their story Tuesday to a reporter with USA Today, a national daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company.

For about an hour and a half, Mainord was interviewed by the reporter. She also spoke with other local landowners and spent Tuesday evening with residents of Pinhook, who lost their homes this spring when the Corps blew a hole in the Mississippi River levee in an effort to reduce pressure on the flood control system.

According to Mainord, the national newspaper became aware of the area's plight after seeing "Man Made: Disaster at Birds Point," a short documentary film produced by Osborn and Barr, a communications company based in St. Louis specializing in agriculture, and the Standard Democrat's most recent "Just Saying ..." segment featuring Mike Jensen and Steve McPheeters interviewing Mainord. Both the documentary and "Just Saying..." are available by going to the newspaper's website, www.standard-democrat.com.

Mainord said his primary message to the national newspaper reporter is that the Corps is planning to only rebuild the levee to 51 feet, which is about 10 lower than it was before it was breached.

"That means 50 percent of the time it is going to flood," said Mainord about the farmland in the floodway. "Farmers just can't afford to take the risk."

For the complete article and more stories from the Standard Democrat, click here to log on to the electronic edition.