Press-Republican

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June 27, 2012

2011 flooding: Isolation brought bonding

Isolation pulled residents closer together in aid

CHAMPLAIN — Six pumps sucked water nonstop from Alice Frederick’s basement and back room, but it seemed to come back in just as quickly.

“It was scary,” said the Deyo Road woman said.

But Jack and Marilyn Neverette, who were dealing with water problems of their own next door, helped fight the battle with her.

“Jack even stayed here a couple times at night, just in case the pumps stopped.”

SHARED DRIVEWAYS, MAILBOXES

Neighbors got closer during the two-plus months of high water in spring 2011. 

In the Cumberland Head community of Algonquin Park, many streets became impassable for weeks on end — to cars, anyhow. Some residents used paddle boats to get around, while others were able to cut through the back yards of neighbors to reach vehicles they had parked on dry pavement, sometimes in the driveways of others.

“We even arranged for the mailman to drop our mail at the farthest point he could come down the street at one of the neighbor’s mailboxes,” said resident Dale Matott.

They all had their own personal crises going on — Matott’s was 18 inches of water in his front yard and at least 3 in his family room — but the Algonquin Park people pitched in to help one another where they could.

With a steady flow of water coming into her home for a time, Christina Brault had four sump pumps going at once, and her neighbors kept an eye out to make sure they all kept working.

“Without someone offering to watch it, I would have had to stay home from work,” she said.

  MEALS TOGETHER

On Point au Fer in Champlain, several families pooled resources after the flooding limited their access to the outside world.

When Mary Zurlo cooked a meal, she’d make extra, “for more like a party,” said her husband, Clinton County Clerk John Zurlo. 

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