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User Journal

Journal Journal: Living through the flood of '08 1

I was in the middle of the flooding of the Root River in Racine Wisconsin. It was a very surreal experience. On Sunday night the water was rising in the river. Areas of Oak Creek, Franklin and the Town of Raymond had received 12 inches of rain in a single storm. All of the rain there drained into the Root River.

For hours the neighbors and I watched as the root river slowly began to rise and over flow its banks. First to go was Lincoln and Island parks. Followed by Spring Street. Neighbors were removing everything frantically from their basements as the water was inching slowly closer and closer. I have water coming through the concrete in the basement floor! it's bubbling up the paint! I dry it up with a towel and I decide to check the downspout extensions outside. Both of them blew off with all the water. I put them back on and the floor doesn't get any wetter. The rain is falling harder than I have ever seen. I worry about my shingles.

Down by Spring Street the City Department of Public Works arrived. They were wading in knee deep water and tried hooking up a 4 inch pump to force the water down a storm sewer that drained the other way to Lake Michigan. It was painfully obvious this wasn't going to do anything. We watched as the water inched up the curb, then up to the sidewalk, then up to the stop sign, then to the fire hydrant. It was rising at more than 2 inches an hour.

At midnight, One of my neighbors, Dave and I were frantically trying to clear storm sewer grates on Luedtke Avenue to no avail. We'd get them clear and a whirlpool would form and we'd move to the next one. We found a few that didn't drain since the water was still rising. A strong current was beginning to flow down the street.

We gave up at trying to clear the drains, the water was rising and what we were doing wasn't making a difference. I went into my basement and began moving things up.

At about 2 AM I was still watching the street fill up and finally got the nerve to pound on the other neighbors' doors. I had to get them up to move their cars because in minutes the water would be above the bottom of their doors. Luckily they all got up and drove their cars to higher ground. The water still was rising.

At about 3 AM the fire department showed up banging on the doors. They were evacuating the residents of the neighborhood. The neighbors across the street now had to wade in ankle deep water flowing very fast with kids and pets in tow. After a while they came to my door. My house is on higher ground than any other on my street -by the slightest amount. I also had a way to get out through the back yard. When they asked me to evacuate, I responded "Is this a mandatory evacuation?" They said no.

I tried to lay down at 5 AM. I just barely drifted to sleep when I was awoke by a series of loud diesel engines. The fire department had arrived again. This time they also brought a truck with boat on it. The water had risen higher still. They drove the boat, still on the trailer to the homes they were evacuating closer to the river. Then drove everyone out on the boat still on the trailer.

The water now covered the street curb to curb. The current had to be flowing at about 20 knots. We now have white water in the street. Large logs are floating by. The water is still rising up the curb on to the parkway. It seems to be rising slower now, but still going up.

Now this is interesting, Here comes a news van. It's Channel 7, WLS the ABC affiliate from Chicago parked on the street on the side of my house. They even have their HD equipment. Channel 7 proceeds to set up shot in my neighbors yard. It's a weird thing to turn the TV on and see your house on it live.

People are beginning to come into the neighborhood to see what's going on. A trickle at first slowly building up to a torrent of people. The water is flowing so fast in front of my house. It's now over the sidewalk. What started as a few neighbors has turned in to a circus of disaster tourists.

The ground is getting mushy around my house. The level of the water in the trap of the basement floor drain has risen 2 inches. I'm getting concerned. Other neighbors aren't doing so well. Basements are filling up floor drains are backing up. Down the street the water is coming in their basement windows. This is a very curious mix of emotions I'm feeling. Fear worry and a little of the disaster watcher too. There isn't anything I can do anyway.

About 9 or so, my coworker, also a city alderman stops by with his camera. Expecting a little water he was amazed at what was happening. I came out to talk with him, and it was getting to be a little surreal outside. There are people all over the place. Helicopters and light planes are swarming above.

The gas company came. They shut off the gas at the meter. Just in case the water rises and snuffs the pilot lights and theres a bad thermal coupler I suppose. The last thing I need is a fire in the middle of the flood. They aren't turning off the electricity. If they did that hundreds of pumps would grind to a halt, only if you ask will they shut it off. I didn't ask.

A while later the Mayor stops by and before he can get a few feet from his car channel 7 corners him for an interview. This is nuts! Large crowds of people swarm in waves. The Red Cross also shows up with bags of potato chips. Meanwhile the DPW and Fire Departments are doing their various jobs and volunteers are stacking sandbags in front of Lutheran High School and some of the houses.

I decide to walk down the street... I get a chance to see all the fence posts leaning different directions as the ground was soaked. There is the STS satellite van and there's channel 58 WDJT the CBS affiliate from Milwaukee and newspaper photographers are running up and down. If I didn't already know who the reporters were it'd be hard to identify them, everyone has a video camera a SLR fancy camera or at least a cellphone camera. I keep thinking to myself... Ok, do not be the guy on TV who says "I didn't know it was going to rain" -- Avoid the news media.

I come home and turn on the news on tv... There's Gus Gnorski on channel 6 WITI the FOX affiliate in Milwaukee standing on the other side of island park on Liberty street. Looks bad there. Also some pictures of Riverside drive... it appears they are the repository of all the logs swiftly swept down and off of Luedtke.

People I know are stopping by to see me. Thank God someone brought me a bag from McDonalds. I couldn't leave if I wanted to. It isn't the flood blocking me in it's the traffic, the emergency response vehicles and the tourists.

There's a knock on my door and a woman calling my name. It's my alderwoman. She is amazed at all the happenings and appalled at the goings on. Children of all ages playing in the swift current... some trying to swim some on bikes some on rafts and canoes. It's a real circus now... Anyone wanna beer? $25.00! She asks to borrow my cellphone and calls the police department to have them come down and bring some order. There are also fears of the dam upstream and she calls the County emergency manager to find out the truth. The dam is fine.

The cavalry has arrived! The police department, including my cousin show up to clear the area. They're kicking everyone out except residents and news media. They are putting up barricades on Dombrowski and Wickham. It takes about an hour and a half to get all the spectators out of the area. There had to be in excess of 10,000 people down here. It was kind of nice being the center of attention for a while, but it had to stop. People would have gotten hurt.

Now here comes Channel 9, WGN out of Chicago. It's already 7 and they want to get this together by the 9 o'clock news. Good luck. Oh I'm trapped! They got me. I guess I am going to be on the news after all. Well I talked about the flood and the school and tried not to be the guy who didn't know it could rain.

The water is still flowing fast. There's some idiot on a jet ski too. The river may have crested I don't know. As night falls I try to convince myself the water has gone down some but it hasn't. The police explorer scouts show up to relieve some of the officers checking ID at the road block in my neighborhood. I know them too through the Volunteer Center and Ham Radio.

I try to sleep. I even get some tonight. But at like 6:00 more diesel engines. The Fire Department is back and black smoke is pouring out of a neighbors chimney. Turns out the furnace went funny but no real concern. Now we have the smell of fuel oil in the neighborhood. The water has gone down a little too! It looks like the worst may be over.

Throughout the day the DPW is bringing 3 and 4 inch pumps to get water out of basements. It takes about 90 minutes to get the full ones drained. The water level goes down but the current stays swift. Unlike other flooded areas, Luedtke avenue is really clean now. The water was moving so fast we didn't get the mud in the street. The water even cleaned all the oil stains off of the pavement. The concrete has a yellow hue to it now.

You know it's a real pain to cook without gas. I learned scrambled eggs actually can be made in the microwave. As lunch came around the gas was still off and I was getting hungry. Pizza Hut took a pass on getting by my house, but Dominos saved the day. I do not know how the guy navigated his way through the blocked and flooded streets but they seemed happy about being able to help. I got 3 pizzas and bread sticks and shared them with some of the neighbors.

I could have had it worse. I do have some damage but I didn't get my basement filled to the top. My fence didn't take it well neither did my side porch. I didn't get outright flooded but It's definitely very damp in the basement. Some things aren't going to make it and will need to be thrown out. I'm still worried about how the sidewalk is going to move as the ground dries up and the possibilities of sinkholes. The ham shack and computers are in complete disarray and the Internet is still down most of the time.

See pictures of the flood http://av.wi.net/Floodof08

User Journal

Journal Journal: I am the DX

I will be in Alaska on the Ham Radio Cruise http://www.qsltravels.org/ Be sure to listen for us!

On-Board Ship HF Frequencies:

Voice SSB Operations (Mhz):
10M 28.300 - 29.300 Near: 28.335
15M 21.200 - 21.450 Near: 21.392
20M 14.150 - 14.350 Near: 14.273
40M 7.150 - 7.300 Near: 7.265

CW Operations:
15M 21.000 - 21.200 Near: 21.140
20M 14.000 - 14.150 Near: 14.120
40M 7.000 - 7.150 Near: 7.125
80M 3.500 - 3.750 Near: 3.710

User Journal

Journal Journal: Amateur Radio Field Day

Amateur Radio Field Day
June 25 & 26 2005

A 24-hour field day exercise that involves international communications, television and satellites, will be held at Pritchard Park. Field Day is a communications drill that attempts to simulate communications during a natural disaster or national emergency.

Dozens of Ham Radio Operators are expected to descend upon Pritchard Park June 25 and 26 to test their skills during the annual communications drill. It is expected that about 33,000 Hams will make about 1.3 million contacts during field day across the nation.

The Racine Megacycle Club has invited the general public to view demonstrations and participate in the event. The event is free.

12 Noon on Saturday until 12 Noon on Sunday. (24 Hours)

For Driving Directions:
(2800 Ohio Street Racine, WI 53405)

For a closeup area map:

Amateur Radio Operator Recognition Day
June 25, 2005

Proclaimed by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, this day is intended to recognize Amateur Radio Operators in the State of Wisconsin for their efforts in providing communication support for community and public service events to help ensure the safety of all attendees, participants and observers; and disaster preparedness.

View a copy of the proclamation at:

Racine Megacycle Club Meetings:
Meetings are held on the
second Monday of each month.

American Red Cross Building
4521 Taylor Avenue
Racine, WI 53405

User Journal

Journal Journal: 70th anniversary of FM Radio commemorative broadcast

A special commemorative FM broadcast Saturday, June 11, at noon (EDT) will mark the 70th anniversary of Edwin H. Armstrong's first public demonstration of wideband frequency modulation (FM). The transmission, from Experimental Station WA2XMN (remiscent of Armstrong's W2XMN call sign) will be on Armstrong's original 42.8 MHz frequency and will emanate from his landmark 400-foot Alpine Tower in NJ.

The program will tell the tale of FM's difficult birth as well as the its impact on present-day communications andwill include excerpts from a recording of a 1941 test broadcast of the New England Yankee Network.

For those unable to receive 42.8 MHz FM, the broadcast is being retransmitted by WFDU-FM on 89.1 MHz and via the Web. Rebroadcasts will take place June 14 and 16 at 7 PM (EDT)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Field Day 2005 - Racine, WI

The Racine Megacycle Club, W9UDU

Amateur Radio Field Day
June 25th & 26th 2005

The Racine Megacycle Club Field Day is an annual exercise carried out by Amateur Radio operators to give ham radio ops experience setting up radio stations under emergency conditions. The object is to contact as many other stations as possible during 24 hours. The Public is Invited to Attend. June 25th & 26th from noon till noon (24 hrs) at Pritchard Park in Racine at the corner of Hwy 11 adn Ohio Street.

Click Here For Driving Directions

For a closeup area map click here

Amateur Radio Operator Recognition Day
June 25, 2005

Proclaimed by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, this day is intended to recognize Amateur Radio Operators in the State of Wisconsin for their efforts in providing communication support for community and public service events to help ensure the safety of all attendees, participants and observers; and disaster preparedness.

View a copy of the proclamation here

What is Field Day?

Field Day is a test of an amateur radio operator's ability to operate in an emergency situation and provide communications under adverse conditions, but it is also a chance for fine-tuning emergency communications skills. Using generators and battery power, and setting up antennas in the field. The idea is to put together a self-sufficient, working station quickly and making contacts in a 24 Hr period. this is training for emergency communications during floods, Hurricanes, fires, Earthquakes and other major disasters.

Field Day is a contest sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). ARRL is an Organization based in Newington CT. representing Amateur Radio members all over North America. Field Day contest starts on the last full weekend of June each Year.

During the contest, each contact that has been made to another radio station counts for points. Bonus points can be collected by communication with certain Field Day stations and receiving certain messages from the ARRL headquarters simulating emergency messages. Other bonus points can be collected by using Solar, Windmill, or Water powered generators to power the radio equipment.

Field Day is intended as a public event and so the public is always invited to attend. Field Day is a great way for people interested in Ham Radio to get a chance to see what it's all about. The first Field Day took place in 1933, the Racine Megacycle Club has participated in Field Day ever since it was first affiliated with the American Radio Relay League in 1948.

User Journal

Journal Journal: People are Stupid

"Last week I called and you told me how to install your Linux. Why doesn't my Word Perfect CD work any more?"

Thank You DenDave (700621). It was a good laugh.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Voting

I went to vote.... YAY. It was very busy. I hope atleast that the high turn out means that it is less likely that fraud will be as significant.

I hope everyone votes. Even those who would vote against my candidate. Its a lot better to have someone vote against me... than to have people not vote so someone else could vote for them.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Milwaukee: City, county spar over ballot supply

Milwaukee County (WI) Executive citing vote-fraud concerns,is publicly balking at a City of Milwaukee's request for almost 260,000 additional ballots in anticipation of high turnout for the November 2nd presidential election.

The City requested over 900,000 ballots though the city's population is 596,974. I understand you may need some extra ballots but this just looks like a good setup for vote-fraud.


Journal Journal: Sabotage caused power loss at Milwaukee Airport 2

Short of calling it a terrorist act, the FBI said the collapse of two 80 foot tall high voltage electric transmission towers was caused by someone purposely removing bolts that held the towers in place.

The outage effected 17,000 customers, including Mitchell International Airport. A southbound freight train stopped on the tracks about 75 yards from the downed lines. Amtrak commuter service between Milwaukee and Chicago has been stoped.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Voter registration drive comes under scrutiny

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal is reporting "Project Vote Voter registration drive comes under scrutiny when Affirmative Action Officer sees his name and apparently forged signature on a questionable application.

The Racine (WI) City Clerk's office has at least a dozen different stacks of voter registration forms on desks around the office. Stacks contain forms with addresses not in the city, without sufficient proof of identification, and even some duplicates.

I guess it's best to get up early and make sure you vote early so someone doesn't vote for you.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Field Day !

Amateur Radio Field Day
June 26th & 27th

The Racine Megacycle Club Field Day is an annual exercise carried out by Amateur Radio operators to give ham radio ops experience setting up radio stations under emergency conditions. The object is to contact as many other stations as possible during 24 hours. The Public is Invited to Attend. June 26th & 27th from noon till noon at the American Red Cross Building 4521 Taylor Avenue, Racine, WI

Click Here for a Map

Amateur Radio Operator Recognition Day
June 26, 2004

Proclaimed by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle in January 2004, This day is intended to recognize Amateur Radio Operators in the State of Wisconsin for their efforts in providing communication support for community and public service events to help ensure the safety of all attendees, participants and observers; and disaster preparedness.

Racine Megacycle Club

Racine area hams were highlighted in an article by Mary Jo Diem in the Racine section of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Saturday, June 19, 2004 about next week's field day activities.

"...While hams enjoy the camaraderie and the fun of Field Day, it's balanced by the knowledge that radio communications can be crucial during disasters..."

Read the Article at JS Online:
JS Online


Journal Journal: How do you get on the Discovery Channel?

My group of Amateur Radio Operators is planning a DX-Pedition in 2005 to an Island in Alaska. We are planning on operating a station for a few days to become the rare ham radio contact from the island. We already have sponsors, but we want to showcase this event and Ham Radio in some way to the public and were hoping to find some way to get PBS, The Discovery Channel or some other network to tag along with us and showcase what Amateur Radio is. In researching how to contact these I find a sea of red tape. The Discovery Channel Networks only take suggestions from scientists or production crews. PBS seems interested but the few stations I have actually received a response from seem to just mention how they have no budget. How do I find a production company and convince them this would be a good idea? It is important to note that we Ham Radio operators cannot make any money on this and any money made as a result of this going on TV would go to the production company.

Journal Journal: The Space Shuttle Columbia

Last night I attended the memorial service for Mission Specialist Dr. Cmdr. Laurel Blair Salton Clark here in Racine. It was really amazing to see all the lives she touched. I was also amazed at the number of people I knew who knew her personally.

The tragic loss of the Shuttle Columbia STS-107 has hit our community hard. The memorial service was attended by Governor Jim Doyle, Mayor Jim Smith, Congressman Paul Ryan, County Exec Jean Jacobson, Rear Admiral Ann Rondeau, Rev. Dr. Tony Larsen, Contingent of Sailors from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Racine Area Police, Fire and rescue personnel and her sisters from Gamma Phi Beta, Family, Friends and the citizens of Racine and Wisconsin.

The Columbia did not return safely to Earth but we can pray that all are safely home.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Hmm Interesting...

WI State Law: 97.18(4) - "The serving of colored oleomargarine or margarine at a public eating place as a substitute for table butter is prohibited unless it is ordered by the customer."

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