FLOOD CONCERNS Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman perhaps summed up everyone's feelings the best this past week at a meeting to discuss potential flood conditions in the Souris River basin. "People are nervous in Minot," the mayor said. He is right, of course, that people in this area are nervous after the historic flood of two years ago. Yes, the city is protected to a degree with a system of levees designed to keep the city dry even in a one-in-10 flood event. But that protection likely comes with a bit of trepidation after the levees and much higher emergency levees were swamped by the Souris River in 2011. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week declared this spring's forecast to be a one-in-10 flood event, and has taken over management of Lake Darling. On Thursday, 450 cubic feet of water per second was being released from Lake Darling Dam, up from 250 cfs a week earlier. A lot of factors are unknown and beyond control in a North Dakota spring, including the possibilities of more snow, spring rains and temperature swings that could lead to rapid snowmelt and runoff. But the Corps could help the city and its residents by immediately releasing pertinent information, including any time changes are made in releases from Lake Darling Dam. Good communication is key to helping officials and residents from cities all along the Souris River understand the dangers of flooding in 2013 and beyond.
GREAT PROJECT Kudos to Audra Myerchin's Community Relations class at Minot State University for organizing a project to help military parents record themselves reading children's books. The recordings will be given to the military parents, who can share them with their children when the parents are deployed. Books are being collected for the project through March 31 at Old Navy, Main Street Books, Minot Air Force Base, Goodwill, Minot Public Library, MSU Post Office, Beaver Brew Cafe, Arrowhead Mall and Restore. The project is a great way for members of the community to be involved in the lives of military personnel from Minot Air Force Base, and demonstrates again the strong bond between the city and the Air Force Base.