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Torrential rains creates flooding, sewage problems

Mother Nature roared down on Richmond around 5:30 a.m. Friday morning, ravaging trees and knocking out power to around 1,500 area residents. The entire town was littered with leaves, limbs and debris.
Sheet-metal siding from the former Derstler Lumber building, at Lexington and Thornton, slammed into a major power pole and snapped it in two. Sgt. Chad Burnine of the Richmond Police Department, who was responding to the call, said torrential rains at 6 a.m. created a nearly no-visibility situation for himself and other drivers. Burnine said he was driving 5 miles per hour on flooded Lexington St. to the scene and nearly ran up on the power lines and pole that the metal brought down.
Carmichael’s Towing removed the sheet metal sides of the building from the power lines and power pole that was broken in two.
Next door, Larry’s True Value sustained significant water damage. Owner Larry Brightwell said the entire store’s floor was covered with mud and water. Employees scrambled to move appliances and use squeegees and floor cleaners to remove the dirt.
“It rained mud. It’s a mess,” said employee Billy Joe Hardwick.
Bricks were torn off the side of Burns Title as well as extensive roof damage to the historic building. A portion of North Main was closed because of the falling bricks.
Raw sewage poured from the manhole cover at Richmond Housing Authority after this morning’s deluge of rain. Six residents at the complex were unable to use their toilets – one who is handicapped in a wheelchair. The sewage was also backing up in some bathtubs as well.
Nancy Pearson, housing authority executive director, said raw sewage is a persistent problem, and the heavy rains aggravated it.
“This has been ongoing for 20 years. The previous mayors and previous councils were made aware of this. To date, nothing has been done with the exception of Terrie Stanley who has contacted me twice,” she said. Pearson said she sent a letter to the city stating the housing authority is withholding their payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) because the city has not upheld their agreement.
The Daily News is delayed to customers today because of the power outage. The newspaper was produced at the Excelsior Springs Standard newspaper office and printed in Cameron.
The storm has postponed this evening’s Family Fun Night and fireworks at the Ray County fairgrounds as well as all Saturday activities. The fair will resume at 6 p.m. Sunday. Shirkey Golf Course is closed today because of downed trees and tree limbs. The storm has also forced Concert in the Park to move to the City Hall gymnasium tonight, and next Thursday and Friday.
City Administrator Rick Childers said the city is creating a burn site this weekend for residents to bring storm debris to the city compost site.
“Grant Akers is bringing trucks for removing limbs. Lonnie Quick has police, fire and public works out to help residents in removing large limbs and trees from their yards and businesses,” said Richmond Mayor Lance Green. “We’ll do as much as we can ourselves with our own crews.”
Photo: “I heard a whooshing sound between 5 and 5:30 a.m.,” said Ken Chaffin. “It blew steady for 15 or 20 minutes, slowed a bit, then sped up again.” When it got light outside, he discovered his son’s 1989 Lincoln was buried beneath large limbs and branches. (Photo by Brenda Jensen/The Daily News)

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