Saving Riverview Circle: The calm before the calm


There is no high drama to tell you about on Riverview Circle today. People are sitting in garages with “hot dish” and BBQ and coffee and beer — as the Johnsons were doing at lunchtime, or standing in driveways at the Brummer household, or in the backyard kicking ice and shooting the breeze at the Morse home.


The Brummer’s railing on the stairs down to what once was — and will soon be again — their backyard, has reappeared.


An Excelsior firefighter, walking the dike, stopped to chat with Todd Morse and I awhile ago. He’s been here since Friday, staying at the high school, but mostly has been out in these neighborhoods. About three dozen firefighters from Carver County are here and most are going back tonight. Why? He has to go back to work tomorrow.

That’s the thing with the sacrifices many of the out-of-town volunteers; they’ve got real jobs to get back to on Monday. For this guy, it’ll be a long drive back, and a short night’s sleep.

I’m hearing more of that from residents now — talk of work and real life resuming.

Today, from what I hear, a resident from up the road took a kayak down the river. Three Coast Guard Sea Fury helicopters made sure he got the message.

Meanwhile, the furniture has been taken off the counters at Todd and Donna Morse’s house. It’s true that anything can still go wrong, but the reality is that the amount of pressure the water has exerted on this sandbag wall is markedly reduced.

The face of the neighborhood doesn’t tell the story of this week as well as the hands of the neighborhood. John’s are raw from 8 days of near-steady work.


Others have rings of Band Aids, the wounds of a battle nearly won. My hands are embarrassingly healthy.

I won’t be the one to jinx things by saying the ‘flood is over,’ because it certainly isn’t. But barring unforeseen events overnight, by tomorrow evening, I’ll probably be making the trip home, too.

Somewhere in the Morse house, there’s a bottle of champagne that will get opened when the water drops below 37 feet. The latest river projection suggests that will be sometime between 1 and 2 o’clock next Saturday afternoon.

(See all News Cut flood dispatches)

  • Joanna

    Thank you for telling these stories! Your perspective isn’t from the helicopter surveying the waters, and giving us the day-to-day experiences of these families puts names and faces to the folks going through these trials. I know it’s not over yet, but hope is getting stronger.

  • Fabulous work. The best coverage of the flood, by far. The best reporting I’ve seen in years.

  • Suzi McMerty Shands

    Thank you for the wonderful and quality reporting. I am so happy to hear my family (John, Jeannie and family) as well as thier neighbors are going to make it. For all of us feeling helpless to not be able to be there physically your blog has helped us be a part of what is happening. Please pass along my love, support, prayers and offers of “what can i do for you” to Jeannie and John and all the others.


    Suzi (Cean, Sunny, Charley and Cruz)

  • bruce johnson

    Hi Bob,

    It is in the middle of the night and I am in the garage taking a break from managing the pumps in our back yard. This is the first time I have had time to go to your blog and see your good work. All of my family in Nebraska are concerned about what is going on up here so I will get them on your site!

    It is quiet out here tonight. I just talked with 5 firemen from Duluth that are walking the dike. They were told they can go home and get some sleep in a half hour. Last night we had firefighters and national gaurd walking thru the yard every 10 minutes or so. This is a good sign. We have food and coffee in the garage but this is the first night nobody is hanging out in here. I have the fire pit glowing with a nice fire outside. I am down to 2 pumps and they are not runing full time so the seepage is really slowing down. Time to check the dike and pumps. Keep up the good work!