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Starke County farmers fighting flooding

STARKE COUNTY, Ind. - Starke County farmers are fighting February's historic flooding after the county declared a state of emergency Friday.

Employees of farmer Daniel Gumz worked to lay sandbags in a field that has become a lake after a Kankakee River levy dividing his land and the DNR's broke.

“We’ve seen flooding, but nothing even remotely compares to what we’re seeing here today," said farmer Todd Lawrence, who owns 500 acres nearby.

After declaring a state of emergency on Friday, the Director of Emergency Management and County Surveyor drove ABC 57's Jess Arnold around Monday to show her why.

“We actually ran out of road closed signs, we went through so many, and barricades," said Emergency Management Director J. Nier.

She says the water is receding around the Knox city limits, but in the more rural areas, the level is still increasing.

In just a few hours, a dry IN-8 became a nearly impassable river.

“Financially, it is a big impact to our community. We were already one of the poorest counties in the state. This isn’t helping those situations," said Nier.

And, for farmers, who across the state of Indiana contribute $11 billion to $12 billion in product to the state, according to the Starke County Co-Op, it could be crippling.

“We are the economic engine of Indiana, and we do very little to maintain that engine, and it’s sad," said Lawrence.

“There’s a lot of I’m going to say deferred maintenance on the Kankakee and Yellow Rivers that had it been done all along, then it would have greatly reduced the flooding," said farmer Lee Negai.

“It’ll be a lot of work to do repairs and get things ready for the growing season," said farmer Daniel Gumz, who owns 1,000 acres spanning Starke and La Porte counties.

“From trees out in their property, debris,different things, sediment out in their property that makes their soil kind of change, so they’re going to have impacts from this for a long time to come," said surveyor Bill Crase.

Starke County Road Statuses as of Sat 12:09 2/24/18:

REOPENED ROADS
100 E. between 250 N. & SR 8
450 E. between US 35 & 800 S.
700 S. between 975 E. & 1100 E.
600 N. between 800 E. & 900 E.
900 E. between 400 N. & 500 N.
500 S. between 150 E. & 300 E.
1000 E. between SR 10 & 625 S.

CLOSED ROADS
700E between SR8 and 25N
900 E. between SR 10 & 625 S.
800 N. between 550 E. & 600 E.
Range Rd. between 250 N. & 600 N.
Robbins Rd. between 600 E. & 700 E.
850 E. between SR 10 & 550 S.
550 S. between 850 E. & 900 E.
800N between 300E & US35
700 N. from US 35 to 500 E.
800 W. between 400 S. & Toto Rd.
600 N. between 300 E. & Range Rd.
850 W. between SR 10 & 500 S
700S between 250W & 300W
1200 E. between 50 N. & 150 N.
100 W. between 200 N. & SR 8
300 N. between 125 W. & La Porte County Line
1200 E. between 550 N. & 600 N.
100 W. between 50 S. & SR 8
Old US 30 between US 35 & 500 E.
Old US 30 between US 35 & 300 E
300 E. between 700 N. & 900 N.
700 N. between 150 E. & 300 E.
50 E. between 700 N. & La Porte County Line
300 E. between SR 8 & 50 S.
800 E. between 850 S. & 750 S.
500 E. between 25 N. & Knox City Limits
25 N. between US 35 & 600 E.
50 S. between 700 E. & 800 E.
50 N. between SR 35 & 300 E.
700 E. between SR 8 & 150 S.
Range Rd. between 50 S. & SR 8
Toto Road between 350 W. & 900 W.
800 E. between 50 S. & SR 8
500S between 1100W and 1200W
250N between Range road and 50W
125W between 300N and 250N

HIGH WATER
1100 E. between 650 N. & 700 N.
500 N. between SR23 & 1100 E.
300 N. between 1100 E. & 1200 E.
300 E. between 300 N. & 480 N.
Toto Rd. between 200 E. & 350 E.
250 N. between Range Rd. & 100 E.
850 S. between Main Street Ora & 850 E.
975 E. between 700 S. & 750 S.
900 E. between 400 N. & 500 N.

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