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Tiny downstate Cairo pitted against state of Missouri in flood battle
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | Apr 30, 2011 | Lisa Donovan

Posted on 04/30/2011 6:06:50 PM PDT by Graybeard58

Tiny downstate Cairo, already battling the still-rising Ohio and Mississippi rivers, has been drawn into a controversial flood-relief plan that could put thousands of acres of farmland in neighboring Missouri under water.

The plan calls for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to burst a Mississippi River levee to provide relief to little Cairo, population 2,800, as well as relief for a series of pumping stations, flood walls and levees.

But the relief action will trigger flooding in southeastern Missouri, as opening the levee will allow water to flow over some 130,000 acres of Missouri land, mostly farms.

The state of Missouri had sued the Army Corps of Engineers — charged with flood control along the lower Mississippi River. But on Friday, a federal court judge backed the Army Corps plan.

And on Saturday, a federal appeals court rejected Missouri’s appeal, upholding the ruling.

“If we open the levee, it would allow us to release the water, and that would have the effect of lessening the pressure on the flood protection system in that part of the country,” said Jim Pogue, a spokesman with the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We would expect that would drop the water by three to four — up to as much as seven feet. It could drop the pressure on the system by as much as a quarter,” Pogue added,.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) toured the area on Friday, and already the flood waters had reached the front doors of residents’ homes in Cairo, a spokeswoman for Durbin said.

On Saturday morning, the river was up to 59.2 feet, and forecast to hit 60.5 feet by Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Cairo Mayor Judson Childs said Saturday afternoon that he’s called for voluntary evacuation of his city, which is located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers — both swelled from the heavy rains. But the mayor steered clear of the controversy pitting his town against Missouri.

“It’s voluntary now,” he said of his call for his residents to evacuate. “But as I keep telling everyone, in the next 20 minutes I could mandate it. This is my home too, and my main concern is the safety of the citizens of Cairo.”


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Illinois; US: Missouri
KEYWORDS: acoe; cairo; corpsofengineers; farmland; flooding; foodsupply
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For those not familiar with that neck of the woods, Cairo (pronounce Ka ro as in the syrup, not as Cairo in Egypt)

Cairo, Illinois is a little obamaville, not worth anywhere near the 130,000 productive acres of farm land in southeastern Missouri that will be destroyed, not to mention the 100 or so farm houses that will be destroyed.

I read a report in a Missouri newspaper that it would flood closer to a half million acres and effect 500-1,000 people.

This is a political decision to protect "Holders people", nothing more and nothing less.

Spare Cairo? Simple, just blow up the levees on your own side of the river, flood your own land.

1 posted on 04/30/2011 6:06:54 PM PDT by Graybeard58
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To: Graybeard58
It is fundamentally stupid to let federal judges get involved in flood control situations. All of this has to be WORKED OUT BEFORE THE FLOODING STARTS. There are FEMA plans at the federal and state level that provide instruction in these matters.
2 posted on 04/30/2011 6:20:12 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Graybeard58

“This is a political decision to protect “Holders people”, nothing more and nothing less.”

You nailed it! As well, if they destroy enough crop land for the year, it will help are great economic recovery....


3 posted on 04/30/2011 6:24:38 PM PDT by foundedonpurpose (Be strong in truth!)
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To: foundedonpurpose

2800 democrat votes in Cairo need protecting!


4 posted on 04/30/2011 6:28:20 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: Graybeard58

Evacuation no longer voluntary in Cairo. They have until midnight to get out.

Another storm is getting going to hit Illinois


5 posted on 04/30/2011 6:35:35 PM PDT by RummyChick
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To: Graybeard58

One of the farmers who will be affected called local Chicago talk radio yesterday. He said Illinois didn’t maintain their levees properly (kinda like New Orleans?) and now Missouri farmers will suffer. He was very angry.....Today’s news reports were turning it into a racial issue. Probably Dem Illinois politicians trying to get ahead of the story of their negligence..


6 posted on 04/30/2011 6:43:07 PM PDT by Fu-fu2
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To: Graybeard58
When they were building the levees in the 1800’s, Mark Twain scoffed, prophetically:
“One who knows the Mississippi will promptly aver — not aloud, but to himself — that ten thousand River Commissions, with the mines of the world at their back, cannot tame that lawless stream, cannot curb it or confine it, cannot say to it, Go here, or Go there, and make it obey; cannot save a shore which it has sentenced; cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over, and laugh at....

Otherwise one would pipe out and say the Commission might as well bully the comets in their courses and undertake to make them behave, as try to bully the Mississippi into right and reasonable conduct.”

He did have a way with words.

And we have seen the Mighty Mississip laugh over and through the levees time and again - sometimes burying whole towns.

Since when does one person/s have the right to pass their fate on to someone else? If they can divert the water to the harm of no one else - fine. But where in hell do they think they have the right to wipe other peoples homes and living off the face of the earth?

I pray they can be stopped. And then, if their little town is destroyed, let them do what another town did - rebuild HIGHER - out of the flood plain. DUH. Which, after other such examples, they should have doing anyway.

I puzzles me, with all the building ‘codes’ across across the country, they still let people build in flood and fire and mudslide zones.

7 posted on 04/30/2011 6:43:35 PM PDT by maine-iac7 ("We stand together or we fall apart" mt)
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To: Fu-fu2
Today’s news reports were turning it into a racial issue.

Cairo's residents are mostly black. The town is an arm pit, as I noted before, not worth the hundreds of thousands of acres of prime Missouri farm land that will be lost to production, plus the farm houses that will be destroyed.

8 posted on 04/30/2011 6:50:07 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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To: Fu-fu2

Flood borne silt would be one of the best things for that farmland. Millenia of annual floods is why it is farmland.


9 posted on 04/30/2011 6:50:48 PM PDT by Solitar ("My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them." -- Barry Goldwater)
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To: Solitar

S.E. Missouri farm land is among the richest on earth already. Until the Little River Drainage District drained the land around 1900, most of it was swamp.


10 posted on 04/30/2011 6:54:17 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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To: Graybeard58
We went through Cairo, Ill a few years ago and it was practically a ghost town. Most of the buildings in the small old town were vacant.
11 posted on 04/30/2011 6:56:41 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Fu-fu2

“He said Illinois didn’t maintain their levees properly (kinda like New Orleans?)”

So maybe they will fail before they can destroy the Missouri farm land! I would never wish this on anyone, but this political corruption has to end! Maybe the lawmaker in question should deliver paddles and boats to the farmers that will be effected. I would believe that most of the farmers would use the paddles on the asses backside. I would anyway:~\


12 posted on 04/30/2011 6:57:28 PM PDT by foundedonpurpose (Be strong in truth!)
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To: Graybeard58

Cairo is destroying itself slowly anyway...why not just finish the job in a judicious manner??? Good riddance...


13 posted on 04/30/2011 6:59:03 PM PDT by magritte ("There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself "Do trousers matter?")
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To: Solitar
Flood borne silt would be one of the best things for that farmland. Millenia of annual floods is why it is farmland.

If flooding is so beneficial, why would the farmers object? And why wouldn't Cairo want to be flooded?

14 posted on 04/30/2011 7:00:49 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance On Parade)
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To: Graybeard58
Then it should be able to handle a bit of flooding.

The Delta is a wet place. The only levees they should have should be around the urban areas. Elevated earthen causeways can be built through the area to allow for transportation, but stopping and channeling the flood zones of the rivers in the Lower Midwest is as unwise today as it was nearly two centuries ago when they started doing that.

15 posted on 04/30/2011 7:01:44 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah
Then it should be able to handle a bit of flooding.

So should little obamaville Cairo.

Blow up a levee on the Missouri side to save Illinois property? It makes no sense at all.

16 posted on 04/30/2011 7:08:18 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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To: Ditter
We went through Cairo, Ill a few years ago and it was practically a ghost town. Most of the buildings in the small old town were vacant.

Cairo is East St. Louis, on a smaller scale.

17 posted on 04/30/2011 7:12:57 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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To: Graybeard58

Cairo Ill looked like it had been a quaint old Victorian town. I have never been to St. Louis.


18 posted on 04/30/2011 7:15:58 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: Graybeard58

***Cairo, Illinois is a little obamaville,****

Back about 1969, the Cairo police department was preparing for race riots so built their own armored personel carrier. They called it THE WAR WAGON. I never heard if they got to try it out.


19 posted on 04/30/2011 7:23:37 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name. See my home page, if you dare!)
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To: magritte; Graybeard58

***Cairo is destroying itself slowly anyway...why not just finish the job in a judicious manner??? Good riddance...***

Does anyone miss Natchez Under the Hill, Mississippi? No difference.


20 posted on 04/30/2011 7:27:54 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name. See my home page, if you dare!)
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To: Ditter
I have never been to St. Louis.

St. Louis, Missouri is bad enough but for real slums East St. Louis, Illinois has St. Louis, Missouri beat hands down.

21 posted on 04/30/2011 7:29:06 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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To: Graybeard58

Cairo is a perfect example of a dying town. Racial unrest in the 60s & 70s drove nearly all of the businesses and jobs away. When you drive through town you mostly see boarded up businesses. Recently the town has suffered a string of arsons. There are lots of beautiful mansions that have no value—no one who has any choice wants to live there.

I believe that any dispute between Missouri and Illinois over what the Corps of Engineers will do is bound to favor Illinois—after all, where is this administration from? That said the people of Cairo (pronounced care-o around here) both black and white are human beings who could very well lose their homes and belongings if the Corps doesn’t blow the levees in Missouri.

In addition, there is apparently a lot of toxic waste/pollution in Cairo that an inundation of the town would spread far down stream.


22 posted on 04/30/2011 7:33:28 PM PDT by hanamizu
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To: okie01

The farmer I heard on the radio yesterday said it would take a really long time before the soil could be farmed again. And he said it was wrong that their farms and lives would be destroyed because of Illinois’ negligence.


23 posted on 04/30/2011 7:34:52 PM PDT by Fu-fu2
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To: okie01
Flood borne silt would be one of the best things for that farmland. Millenia of annual floods is why it is farmland.

It is not black dirt that would inundate the area. The farm land would be filled with sand and debris... it would take decades to recoup from the damage, and some think the land would never be used for farming again.

The land has been farmed for generations.

24 posted on 04/30/2011 7:41:01 PM PDT by stars & stripes forever
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To: stars & stripes forever
You're addressing the wrong guy.

I'm on the farmers' side.

25 posted on 04/30/2011 7:42:46 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance On Parade)
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To: Graybeard58

I have been following this for a week. Search Birds Point Levee for an interesting history.

First post. Long-time lurker and contributor.


26 posted on 04/30/2011 8:00:32 PM PDT by CitizenF
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To: Graybeard58
Indiana property is worth far more than any of that, so why not blow up all the downstream levees along the Ohio lest it back up into the world's best bean growing region.

Now that makes sense.

Might take out Paducah and Cairo, and could provide enough extra flow to back up the Mississippi enough so it overtops the levees in Missouri.

The problem with blowing up levees is that defeats the earlier comprehensive designs. No one knows what is going to happen but if it endangers Indiana I don't want you doing it, ya hear?!

27 posted on 04/30/2011 8:05:24 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Graybeard58

The Corps of Engineers will need national guards troops armed and ready to fire back if they go ahead with this. There has been gunfire in the past during Mississippi flooding as both sides tried to breach levies on the other side to protect their homes and farmland, and if I were a Misssouri farmer looking at some fellows planting charges on a levy on my side of the river to flood my land I’d drop them in a second. And no Missouri jury would convict me.


28 posted on 04/30/2011 8:11:17 PM PDT by Spartan79
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To: muawiyah
Indiana property is worth far more than any of that

That is a matter of opinion.

29 posted on 04/30/2011 8:24:00 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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To: Spartan79

The Missouri National Guard is closing off all roads leading into into the area that will be flooded if/when the Corps decides to blow the levees. So a Missouri jury might well convict someone of shooting a Missouri guardsman.

Cairo is being evacuated right now. Everyone is to be out of town by midnight. The problem now is “sand boils” . This water that is being forced by pressure under the levees to “dry” side. Apparently there are several very large ones boiling up in several places and they can’t be controlled.

And we are getting more rain...up to 4 more inches in Cape Girardeau over the next couple of days.


30 posted on 04/30/2011 8:33:34 PM PDT by hanamizu
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To: hanamizu

I don’t know the area well, but drive thru every couple of months on I-55 heading to or back from the south. Strikes me that the land on the west side of the river is far more productive. Rather than flood hundreds of thousands of acres of productive farm land in this day of soaring food prices, wouldn’t it make more sense to evacuate Cairo and let nature take it’s course? If it does flood the little town and some surrounding acreage, then we can flood the area with FEMA bucks after the deluge is past and rebuild Cairo (this time a bit higher, please).

Anyway, my prayers go out to folks on both sides of the river. If the rains continue and the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri all continue to swell, they may well all be underwater in a week or so anyway.


31 posted on 04/30/2011 8:46:27 PM PDT by Spartan79
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To: hanamizu
And we are getting more rain...up to 4 more inches in Cape Girardeau over the next couple of days.

I have two sisters and a sister-in-law and their families who live in the small town of Morehouse, in New Madrid County and my mother in Miner, Missouri (Near Sikeston) who have already evacuated from their homes. Morehouse is about 40 miles west of the Mississippi. The Mississippi is not their primary problem but ordinarily calm and small Little River, which runs through Morehouse and is now a very full and very large river flooding the entire town. Plus the Wahite, about 2 miles west of the town is over it's levees

I was born and raised there and in all my 65 years there's never been a flood there.

I can't imagine what Diversion Channel in Cape looks like, it backs up on a some what regular basis anyway. Scott City, Benton and all points south of Cape are in danger too, all those small streams and rivers dumping in the Mississippi have no place to go.

32 posted on 04/30/2011 8:48:15 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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To: Spartan79

You are right, the Missouri side is prosperous/productive than the Illinois side. And starting Cairo anew, might well be the best thing that could that could happen to it. The hundreds of people being forced to leave their homes from the floodway will likely loose everything if the levees are blown.

The Mississippi is nearly as high as it was in ‘93 and that was a record. But this year the Ohio is also at flood stage. Cairo may well be doomed, whether or not the levees are blown.

I’ll confess, I don’t know how “political” the Corps of Engineers is. But I’d like to think that the decision that they make will not be based on the victims politics.


33 posted on 04/30/2011 9:18:34 PM PDT by hanamizu
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To: Graybeard58

I haven’t been down to see the Diversion Channel, but Dutchtown is battling to stay dry, so I imagine there are now large lakes in the area. (thirty years ago, I saw a sailboat sailing over a flooded field).

Moorehouse is getting wet. Apparently MODOT made a makeshift levee on a highway to keep it open and that caused the water to flood Moorehouse.

The river is so high that it is backing up into the little creeks and steams that feed into it, causing flooding away from the river where you might not expect it.


34 posted on 04/30/2011 9:30:05 PM PDT by hanamizu
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To: stars & stripes forever
People assume that because the Nile river flooding helped farms at one point that all river floods benefit all farm land.
There is farmland in MO that has still not fully recovered from the 93 flood.
35 posted on 04/30/2011 9:47:11 PM PDT by Controlling Legal Authority
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To: hanamizu

The COE is plenty political. Just do some snooping into the hows/whys/wheres of the COE in New Orleans prior to Katrina and you’ll see for yourself.


36 posted on 04/30/2011 9:54:11 PM PDT by NVDave
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To: Graybeard58

Cario is a mini New Orleans, it sits in a flood prone bowl, it is also a social cesspool hardly worth saving at any cost.

Man proposes, but nature disposes. Puny man thinks he can control the actions of rivers like the Mississippi, which is a fool’s course of action, for the river will win out in the end.

I seldom (as in hardly ever) hear a discussion of the disaster waiting to happen at the Little River Control Structures. They damn near lost the whole shebang during the big 1973 flood, so they built the Old River Auxiliary Control Structure. But, for all the construction, higher and higher levees, the Mississippi will one day surely breach at Old River. Divert, and cascade down the Atchafalaya River and into the Atchafalaya flood plain as it has done at least twice in recorded history.

And the result of the entire Mississippi River channelization for flood control has been, the subsidence of now settled former natural wetlands, making them ever more prone to flooding when (not if) the river levees fail. Not to mention the loss of Louisiana coastline, which has receded several thousand feet in just the past few decades.

But, I am just an old fart with a eighth grade education, so what do I know.


37 posted on 04/30/2011 10:31:28 PM PDT by Sea Parrot (Being an autodidact, I happily escaped the bureaucratization of intellect)
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To: hanamizu

“if the Corps doesn’t blow the levees in Missouri.”

Historically the Corp has been wrong in every disaster situation involving the Mississippi River.


38 posted on 04/30/2011 10:58:16 PM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (Oligarchy...never vote for the Ivy League candidate.)
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To: hanamizu

“I’ll confess, I don’t know how “political” the Corps of Engineers is. But I’d like to think that the decision that they make will not be based on the victims politics.”

They don’t call them the Whore of Engineers for nothing. Why do you think they have projects in just about every Congressional district of any importance to their budget. Their motto should be incompetence is a way of life.


39 posted on 04/30/2011 11:02:34 PM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (Oligarchy...never vote for the Ivy League candidate.)
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To: Graybeard58

I was born and raised down in the Bootheel which was once the catch basin (AKA an uninhabitable swamp) for the Little River drainage.

More than a few people don’t know the Little River Drainage District project during early part of the 20th century was of massive proportions. More soil was dug and displaced than during construction of the Panama Canal. The hundreds of miles of smaller drainage ditches and levees cumulated in five or six large pararell ditches known as the Floodways, in which I did a lot of fishing as a kid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAKQIB2cYbM

The Floodways then drain into Big Lake AR. This video shows what all of the Bootheel country once looked like before the Little River Drainage District Project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKuvIyc2PK0


40 posted on 04/30/2011 11:51:12 PM PDT by Sea Parrot (Being an autodidact, I happily escaped the bureaucratization of intellect)
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To: Sea Parrot

My bad, Little River Control Structures. Should read Old River Control Structures.


41 posted on 04/30/2011 11:53:52 PM PDT by Sea Parrot (Being an autodidact, I happily escaped the bureaucratization of intellect)
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To: Sea Parrot

When I was a kid, I swam in one of the floodways, it was also named “Wahite”, about half way between Morehouse and Gray Ridge.

Little River runs through Morehouse, where I was born and raised. Normally a small stream, it’s now out of its banks and Morehouse is being evacuated.

As I noted earlier, I’ve never seen Morehouse flooded before and I’m 65 years old. The river has been out of its banks before but usually it just puts standing water in the far west end of town. Now all sections of town are flooded.


42 posted on 05/01/2011 5:37:37 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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To: Graybeard58

I was in East Prairie, MO. just last week and Cairo, Il which is located a few miles upriver from East Prairie. I have an uncle who lives in East Praire and works at the grain elevators in Cairo. Cairo was once a beautiful river town ; lots of river barge commerce. The managing editor of a local news paper told me the small farmers are gone. East Prairie and Cairo are rotting down to older retired farmers and the rest is young unemployed. Lots of dope and crack houses in both cities. I mean, it’s like stepping into a nightmare. I have been going there to visit relatives since the 50s and have personally seen the decline. The local advise from law enforcement (friends of my relatives)is NOT to travel on the roads near Cairo after dark. Seems crackheads head for the freeway after dark and cruse for fun and game. I actually time my trips to pass Cairo during the day.


43 posted on 05/01/2011 6:34:36 AM PDT by RossB
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To: Graybeard58

I was in East Prairie, MO. just last week and Cairo, Il which is located a few miles upriver from East Prairie. I have an uncle who lives in East Praire and works at the grain elevators in Cairo. Cairo was once a beautiful river town ; lots of river barge commerce. The managing editor of a local news paper told me the small farmers are gone. East Prairie and Cairo are rotting down to older retired farmers and the rest is young unemployed. Lots of dope and crack houses in both cities. I mean, it’s like stepping into a nightmare. I have been going there to visit relatives since the 50s and have personally seen the decline. The local advise from law enforcement (friends of my relatives)is NOT to travel on the roads near Cairo after dark. Seems crackheads head for the freeway after dark and cruse for fun and game. I actually time my trips to pass Cairo during the day.


44 posted on 05/01/2011 6:34:43 AM PDT by RossB
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To: Graybeard58

So, no one in FEMA thought of this BEFORE it started raining?


45 posted on 05/01/2011 6:37:48 AM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: hanamizu
I’ll confess, I don’t know how “political” the Corps of Engineers is. But I’d like to think that the decision that they make will not be based on the victims politics.

My feeling is that this plan is based on ossified doctrine.

46 posted on 05/01/2011 10:01:18 AM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Graybeard58

I’ve been to Cairo IL. Let it flood. The only thing better would be if we could flood East St. Louis, too.


47 posted on 05/01/2011 10:03:06 AM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Ditter

I just looked at Cairo on google Earth.
I looks to be about the size of a typical neighborhood in my town here in MA.

Jeeez.............


48 posted on 05/01/2011 11:25:45 AM PDT by mowowie
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To: mowowie

Yes it was a very small town but had 1 or 2 blocks of impressive old abandoned buildings.


49 posted on 05/01/2011 11:40:32 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: mowowie
I looks to be about the size of a typical neighborhood in my town here in MA.

Small indeed and the second slumiest town in the state, East St. Louis, Illinois having beaten them out for the top honor and chock brim full of Obama voters.

What's a half million or so acres of prime Missouri farm land, compared to the glory of slumville, obamaville Cairo? After all, these are Holder's people we are talking about.

50 posted on 05/01/2011 6:31:53 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Trump - Romney, without the Mormon baggage.)
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