The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 29, 2006

Geneva hit hard by heavy rains


Staff Writer

The Geneva area was smacked with heavy rains that produced flood conditions late Thursday into Friday morning.

A number of roadways in the City of Geneva and Geneva Township were closed for several hours until flood waters receded.

Geneva Assistant City Manager Jennifer Brown said West Main Street by the railroad overpass was closed because of flooding, as was East Main, Woodlawn, and the intersection of Grant and Eastlawn streets.

Sections of North Avenue and Wheeler Creek Road in Geneva Township also also closed temporarily because of flood waters. A railroad underpass on Route 20 just outside the city limits was still closed late Friday afternoon because of flood waters.

"There was a lot of water," Brown said. "It was like what happened to Ashtabula on Saturday."

On Thursday evening a 13yearold boy had to be pulled from a rainswollen creek at Kiwanis Park by fire department personnel, she said. By Friday morning a majority of Kiwanis Park was under water.

"People need to stay away from the creeks," Brown said.

She also said if any resident smells natural gas or any suspicious odor to call the fire department.

Some residents of Eastwood Street ended up at the Geneva City Hall early Friday morning after the Geneva Fire Department evacuated them, said Geneva Fire Department Capt. Tim Parks. The flooding was bad and for safety reasons the residents were evacuated.

The fire department began responding to flood calls about 2:30 a.m. and havent quit yet, he said. Around 10 a.m., the department had received 46 calls concerning flooded basements and roadways.

The police and streets departments for Geneva also were busy assisting during the worse of the storm. Additional personnel were called in to assist.

"There was a lot of water," said Geneva Police Chief Dan Dudik.

As the water receded the city slowly began opening the closed roads, he said.

"Its pretty bad," said Geneva Township Road Supervisor Gordan Schupska.

After working six weeks to get Wheeler Creek Road ready for paving, the berm and about four driveways were washed out by the water, he said. The township road crew will be working over the weekend to cleanup.

Schupska wanted to thank Geneva Township Trustees Tim Mills and Bob Russell for helping the road department assess damage and answer complaints, he said.

GenevaontheLake did better this time around than on Saturday, said Victor Quinones, GenevaontheLake Wastewater Treatment Plant supervisor.

"We spent the day helping Geneva bail out," he said.

Because of the flooding and evacuation of some residents in Geneva the Ashtabula County Red Cross set up a receiving center (shelter) at Geneva City Hall.

"We got the call around 6 a.m.," said Mary Ellen Coneglio, executive director for the county Red Cross headquarters in Ashtabula. "Were not sure how long well be set up there."

The Red Cross also is opening a shelter at Edgewood Senior High School in Ashtabula Township for residents who need a place to stay because of flooding.

Because of the significant rainfall that hit northeast Ohio, Coneglio said the Northeast Chapter of the Red Cross for Lake, Ashtabula and parts of Cuyahoga counties are working together.

"We are assessing the damage and consider this a new flood to homes flooded again or for the first time," she said.

Red Cross from Ashtabula and Lake counties are working together in accepting donations. Combined between the two counties the cost of flood damage is more than $50,000 for just the flooding of Thursday and Friday, Coneglio said.

People affected by flooding should contact their insurance company whether they have flood insurance or not, contact the Ashtabula County Emergency Management Agency at 5769148, take photographs of damage and document everything. Residents also should begin the cleanup process, Coneglio said.

The Red Cross also is handing out cleanup kits that include a mop, broom, bucket and bleach to residents in Geneva. More than 200 kits were distributed after the July 22 flooding, she said.

Anyone who needs assistance, has questions or wants to make a donation can call the Red Cross office at 9981020.

Geneva residents, business owners deal with the mess


Staff Writer

Residents and business owners alike fought flooding and the mess left behind by Thursdays and Fridays storms.

Todd Brandeberry, who lives on North Myers Road in Geneva Township, watched as water ran into his basement through the basement windows. Brandeberry had two pumps running to try and remove the foot and half of water from his basement, he said.

"The water has no where to go," Brandeberry said.

The homes furnace, a freezer and other items in the basement are ruined, he said.

At around 10:30 a.m. the situation got worse as water moved from yards into streets causing flooded roadways. The lot south of Brandeberrys property was under a foot of water, he said.

"The area never had a problem with flooding until the county installed a new 12inch drain," Brandeberry said.

He understands a lot of rain fell in a short amount of time, but something needs to be done, Brandeberry said.

"I am watching my basement go under," he said.

Brandeberry began fighting the water on Thursday evening using one pump to handle the water. However, Friday morning it got out of hand, he said.

Memorial Field on Eastlawn Street in Geneva got hit with flooding. A creek runs around the perimeter of the stadium, said Geneva Area City School Superintendent Ronald Donatone.

The creek was 4 feet above its normal level and overflowed into the basin of the stadium.

"There was about 3 feet of water above the turf," Donatone said.

The booster stand and the main field house also were flooded, he said. The water did start to receded, but an estimate of damage has yet to be determined.

"I think the football field will be okay and ready for the football season," Donatone said.

However, there will be a lot of cleanup. Food stored in the booster stand and football equipment, including uniforms, in the field house were damaged.

Donatone said he will have a better idea of the damage in a few days.

A couple of businesses along East Main Street in Geneva experienced flooding and closed to cleanup the mess.

Star Lite Video of Geneva had more than 2 feet of water inside the store, said Barb Lewis, manager.

"The whole inside of the store is flooded," she said. "Movies are floating on the floor."

Lewis went to the store Friday morning to find the mess left by the flooding. Money that had been kept in a file cabinet was wet, dirty and smelled, she said.

"The power to the store had to be shut off and the store will be closed until further notice," Lewis said.

The beauty shop located near Star Lite Video had mud up to the front door, Lewis said.

Saybrook Township saw additional rain as many yards and roadways were flooded, again. One resident on North Depot Road reported using sandbags to keep the water from entering her home early Friday morning.

Ashtabula, however, did better this time around even though the Star Beacon Golf Outing at the Harbor Gulf Club was postponed until Aug. 11, because of the weather.

There were a few pockets where the water took a little longer to receded, but nothing like Saturday, said Ashtabula City Sanitation Supervisor Dominic Iarocci.

The wastewater treatment plant saw 16 million gallons of water Thursday night. On Saturday, it took in about 22 million gallons, Iarocci said. The normally can handle 4 million gallons of water a day.