Alcatraz, North Fort Myers, Florida

18 09 2010

You know how some palatial homes are given names by their owners, Sea Pine, Twelve Oaks, Monticello, The Poucelli…I’ve decided we too should name our home.  Alcatraz.  It’s what it has seemed like for the past week and continues still.  There is so much I could write and say I don’t know where to stop and start.  I’ve been writing this particular blog for a week now, and still have countless words to say.  But, I have to hit post at some point right?

Monday, September 6

Glenn’s brother took us all on an aerial plane flight over the islands and up the river and then over our property as well.  It was rather exciting, even though I’ve flown countless times before, I’ve not flown since the accident and with the upcoming trip to the UK I’ve been wondering what impact flying will have on my body.  It wasn’t bad, though granted, shorter than a sixteen trans-Atlantic flight, it did give me an idea of what it will feel like.  But I digress.

I really wish we could make it to dry land to once again go up, as I am sure this picture would show nothing but water.

Wednesday, September 8

There was a snake in the rabbit cage, so Glenn came home on his lunch to kill it, but refused and instead relocated it.  This is the image of our yard at that time.

You can see the puddles there in the low spots.

At that time, the eighth, we had received 2.52 inches of rain since the sixth, when everything was dry.

September 9th brought .28 inches of rain.

September 10th brought .94 inches of rain.

So if you are doing the math that’s a total of 3.74 inches of rain.

So what does that equal?

(In case you aren’t certain – this is a road.)

(So is this.)

We began making calls and shooting emails off on Saturday.  Then Sunday.  It was the weekend though, so we didn’t expect much.

Monday, September 13

Contacted the Department of Transportation this morning when it became apparent the children would not be able to go to school, nor Glenn to work.  We were told it wasn’t their issue – these are private roads.  It doesn’t matter that we are taxed for road maintenance, nor does it matter that on our property plans the county owns the easement up through our ditches.  Not their issue.  Call the County Commissioner.

I had already emailed Tammy Hall, the District 4 Lee County Commissioner, over the weekend.  Glenn called and could only leave a message.

I called the girls’ schools, hoping they would have an option.  No luck.

Called DOT again.  Nothing.

Now I am panicking, because what will happen if Alannah has an asthma attack and is once again in need of hospitalization?  We can’t get to our car, much less approach the roads by vehicle.

Glenn called the Fire Department, asking Fire Chief Larry Nesbit what would occur.  Mr. Nesbit offers to send a fire truck down the road to test if it is passable.  And an hour later we watch the fire truck trudge along, water overwhelming it, but after about twenty minutes more they are able to make it the 3/4 mile distance.

Mr. Nesbit says he will do what he can and make some calls, but not to hold our breath.

And we know this.  It isn’t our first flood.

This was the same front yard after Hurricane Wilma, 2005, a category 4 hurricane no less – 4.69 inches of rain fall.

After Tropical Storm Ernesto, 2006, which totaled my Ford Escort when waters rushed over the floorboards and got into the engine while it was parked and we had ran into town – 8.72 inches of rain fall.

But that doesn’t compare with what 3.74 inches has done.

The news at noon addressed the flooding, so I wrote them with pictures, begging to know what we can do and who will help us.

No answer.

At 6:30 the commissioner calls, by accident.  She was calling for someone else but had confused the emails she had received and called us instead.  She gave Glenn her election year campaign speech, pleading for patience and time and our support as she does what she can – but you know how it is – the Good Ol’ Boys will only do what they want to do.

I still want to know how my kids will get to school tomorrow.  And the water is still coming higher.

Tuesday, September 14

The kids cannot go to school, yet again.  Glenn is risking the drive to work, but the water is at the doors.

The Fire Chief has called now to say that he has declared the roads impassable and will be meeting shortly with the Commissioner to pray for action.

We’ll see.

The action pays off in a declaration of a state of emergency for our area.  What that means really doesn’t explain itself, though I am told it frees up some money and allows the county to go onto private roads and land to resolve the issue.  Mr. Nesbit says they’ll drop fill rock on the roads to building them up and attain dry ground.

Tammy Hall called however, around noon, and she says that isn’t the case at all.  Building up the roads will only dam the water further.  They’re doing flyovers though, and they see concerning areas.  She says we residents deal with this every year.  I point out that she doesn’t – she doesn’t live here locally.  She lives in the Cape.  Well yes, true enough, the residents deal with this every year.  I share my concerns about my daughter getting medical care if needed and she tells me she has authorized for some All Terrain Vehicles to be parked and equipped for certain areas so that the response time can be two minutes.  I have my doubts about that – but okay.  She tells me to be patient and have faith and I remark about hearing that four years ago.  She changes the subject to inform me she is about to board a plane for DC.  At this moment when we need her here she is going up to DC on the tax payer’s dime where she has no weight or voice as a local district commissioner?  She tells me to read her blog and she’ll keep us posted.

Here’s what I find on her blog that is supposedly there to keep us residents informed of all of her efforts for us and our benefit:

9-1-10 There are to be cloasses [sic] at the NFM Community Center

8-10-10 Meeting to discuss the Aviation Transportation Program and Priorities

8-9-10 Art work being displayed in commissioner’s office

8-3-10 Budget meeting

5-27-10 Town Hall Meeting

5-19-10 Art work being displayed in commissioner’s office

5-17-10 Meeting with DOT (for road that isn’t even near North Fort Myers!)

5-7-10 Meeting Army Corp (to discuss a lake that isn’t even near Lee County!)

4-28-10 Meeting to discuss a NFM Community Center

4-26-10 Meeting to discuss North Fort Myers Community Plans

4-14-10 Workshops calendar to help public learn about the appraisal process

4-5-10 Art work being displayed in commissioner’s office

4-1-10 News blip to say that Commissioner has been invited to attend an IBM school to help teach community leaders

3-12-10 Funeral memorial for former mayor & prescribed burn to occur today

2-26-10 Art work being displayed in commissioner’s office

2-5-10 More about that road that isn’t even in the district for North Fort Myers

2-2-10 Community planning meeting

1-22-10 Art work being displayed in commissioner’s office

1-15-10 Introduction to blog

1-13-10 How to nominate someone for citizen of the year

12-28-09 Citizen Survey request

12-2-09 Art work being displayed in commissioner’s office

11-16-09 Community planning meeting

11-10-09 Census job posting

10-27-09 Community center meeting

10-7-09 Staff report for Babcock Ranch

9-17-09 Permit request from Babcock Ranch

9-15-09 News blurb about commissioner supporting artists …no shit?!

Nothing about her work on having our areas assessed and this league of scientists and engineerings taking over a million dollars of county funds that were appropriated specifically for our area to determine how to help the flood situations.  Perhaps that’s because they did the survey on other areas and never even bothered to survey the flooded lands.

No action all day though, it’s now past nine at night.  I can hear the mosquito planes flying, but that is it.  The water has risen another inch, it rests almost at the electrical box for the water pump.  Another inch and we are so screwed I can’t even put it into words.  I want to cry but I am afraid to add to the water level.

Wednesday, September 15

Glenn managed to get his work to loan him a truck for two days.  The downside is as it is a company vehicle, I cannot drive it.  So he will now have to get up at 4 am to get ready to take Alannah to the bus stop.  The good news though is they can go to school.  The neighbours’ son will bring her home on a four wheeler as I cannot get to the stop and she damn sure cannot walk the two miles in water up to her knees.  Thank God for neighbours!

The news crew came out to interview me about 1:30 pm.  The reporter had to walk due to the waters and I met her at the end of the drive.  She was pleasant enough.  We talked for a while and she shared with me that the rock would be coming today, she has been told by the DOT they would be here within the hour.  That is exciting news.  She is shocked to learn that this is the first time I’ve even stepped off my property since Saturday.  She laughingly suggests a boat and I point out our boat floating on its trailer in the back of our acreage.  She asks for a drink of water and I hobble back in to get her one (which I later learn she recorded and it seems to now be the stock footage for our flood problems – my butt and my cane, hobbling up my drive – great).

Around 4 I can hear the dump trucks, but I don’t see anyone.  Alannah tells me they were at the end of the road near the black top.  That’s a start I suppose.

Thursday, September 16

Larry Nesbit calls about 8 in the morning to tell me our road is to get ten truckloads of fill.  It didn’t happen, by the way.  There were two dump trucks total for our road.  But beggars can’t be choosers right?

The news crew comes out once more, my warning is hearing the dogs bark.  I’ve been house cleaning and look a fright. (Luckily I only have seen the clip played once, on the 6 o’clock news and it hasn’t even been on their online file.)

Glenn arrives home from work to say there is a citizens meeting at the church.  We decide to attend, but it really is a bunch of people all wanting to be heard so they can share their own horror story and struggles of the flood.  We’re all flooded folks, let’s get beyond this – that’s what I wanted to yell.  But I didn’t.

The news is there and again interviews me.  At least I don’t look like trailer trash this time.  Small relief.

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9 responses

1 11 2010
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2 11 2010
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15 11 2010
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1 12 2010
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19 06 2011
Ron

We live in Fort Myers too and suffer the floods every year, its nohing new. Hoping that this new damn system will fix the problem but I have my doubts.

23 06 2011
Jon

What you need is a boat.

23 06 2011
Sherry

True the floods are nothing new but I think anyone could say that this past year was the worst in memory at least the worst ever without a hurricane or any actual reason for the flooding.
Our elected leaders dont live out here so they dont have to go through wondering if they can get to work or to health care or to school or live their lifes today because of the amount of water in their yard.

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