What a difference a year makes

Posted July 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm

BABBLING BROOKS column–Express Editor Kim Brooks

If you look at this week’s issue of the Monticello Express from exactly one year ago (July 4, 2012), you’ll see a front-page story about the excessive dry weather and drought that Iowa was experiencing at the time.

My how things change in a year!

The headline in the Express this week talks about the heavy rains that hit Monticello last week, causing flash flooding in many parts of town.

Last year there were many calls for field fires and out-of-control burns due to the dry weather. This year, people scrabbled to get their campers out of Walnut Acres Campground and beautiful flower gardens at Riverside Gardens were immersed in water. Again, what a difference a year makes!

The most intensive flood in my time here in Monticello was in 2010 after heavy rains to the north caused the dam at Lake Delhi to breech, sending a lot of water downstream into Monticello. While thankfully this wasn’t as bad, flash flooding is still not fun to deal with; just ask those who have been through it!

At the Great Jones County Fair last year, the dry weather was an odd occurrence. It seems you always have at least one day of rain during fair week. This year, I think it’s a little uncertain as to what Mother Nature has in store for the fair. Maybe all this recent rain will cease until after the fair. (Although it’s always interesting to be standing on the track during a concert as a downpour sweeps through, creating a pit of mud and footwear left behind. I think I left my sandals sitting on the track a year ago during the Alan Jackson concert. Always easier to make a run for it in bare feet.)

Earlier this week, if you were someone with US Cellular cell phone coverage or Mediacom cable or Internet, you found yourself a little lost without such luxuries.

It seems a semi hit a utility pole in the Fareway vicinity, causing both companies’ services to cease for the time being. While many of us here at the Express were experiencing issues with our cell phones, we quickly learned what happened to cause the interruption. After work, I went home to a quiet house without TV, Internet or phone service. Oh, the hardships!

I could have relaxed a bit, read a book or two, but I decided to get out and go for a run at the gym. Later that evening, the technology gods restored service.

This incident that took place on Monday, June 24, could not have come at a worse time. A nasty storm was moving through Jones County, with a tornado warning in the midst of everything. Without cell service to track the weather and receive updates or cable (for some) to watch the live weather reports, how was anyone to know what was coming?

Thank goodness there were no injuries or anything out of that storm. It could have been much worse.

As of Monday, July 1, many new laws are now in place in Iowa. Here are just a few of the ones that stick out in the lengthy list: Those arrested and convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor will now have to submit a DNA test to authorities. This is all being done as a way to enhance public safety.

All school employees must now undergo a background check before being hired. This new law change allows school districts to create a policy to require employees to undergo a background check at least every five years after their date of hire.

Cell phone surcharge fees for Iowans will increase by 35 cents a month. This is to help cover E911 services across the state, and to bring them to an even level with the landline surcharge of $1 per month.