Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bags begin going down with airsoft guns

Eleven-year-old Davis Geske found a creative use for leftover sandbags.

He and friends from his Fargo neighborhood built bunkers to hide in while they played with Airsoft BB guns Saturday.

Each team started in a bunker and the boys shot each other with the soft pellets to eliminate the other players.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Jon Roscoe, 11.

Floodwaters pushed into the Geskes’ backyard near Lindenwood Park, but didn’t come close enough to the house for them to need the sandbags.

As river levels continued to recede Saturday, homeowners began removing sandbags and cleaning up.

The National Weather Service lifted flood warnings for the Sheyenne River at West Fargo and the Maple River at Mapleton, N.D.

Clay County officials reopened Highway 26 from Highway 75 north to the Red River. Water remains on the road, but motorists can drive on it with caution.

In Fargo, the Red River was at 34.2 feet Saturday afternoon, down more than three feet from Wednesday’s crest at 37.11 feet.

To the north, cities including Drayton and Pembina, both in North Dakota, were still waiting for the Red River to crest, and high water was still presenting problems. But officials in most areas were making plans to begin the process of returning to normal.

In Grand Forks, N.D., officials said they hoped to reopen the downtown Sorlie Bridge on Monday, and the Point Bridge on the south edge of downtown as early as midweek. The Kennedy Bridge currently is the only open link between Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Minn.

In Oakport Township north of Moorhead, Steve Schwindt started the task of taking down the ring of sandbags that kept his home dry.


“It’s easier to pick up the dike than to clean up the basement,” Schwindt said.

A shed in the family’s backyard remained underwater Saturday, but other items including an elf lawn ornament and a cooler had resurfaced.

Schwindt also began raking sticks out of the grass and back into the river.

His wife, Joanna Schwindt, said the flood brings large logs to their backyard that need to be pushed back into the river.

“The hard part is the cleanup,” she said.

Their neighbor Joe Himle worked on removing a line of sandbags that went in front of his garage.

About 10 people helped him put up the sandbags, but “they never come around to take it down,” he said.

It will be a few days before he can clean up a shop and another building on his property that still have high water.

The contents of his shed – three lawnmowers, a furnace, a refrigerator and saws – are in his yard and garage until the water recedes.

Himle said he will use the extra sand on the road leading to his shed that was washed out.

He plans to beef up his flood protection for next time.

“This is getting tiresome,” Himle said.

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