Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 23, 1974, Page 10

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette June 23, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - June 23, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa TOA    Cedtr    Rapids    Gajirttr:    Sun.,    June    23,    1974 Sewer Project Leads To Citizen Complaints By Mike Deupree A lot of city-dwellers would probably love to have a home nearly isolated by timber and water; a hideaway that sometimes can be reached only by boat. Few would love it, though, if the home wasn't supposed to be isolated, and the boat trip was over a route where a road is supposed to be. That’s the situation several residents out on Ellis road NAV Mike Deupree have found themselves in, and they don’t like it. The problem is construction work on the Morgan creek sanitary interceptor sewer, a $2.4 million project that, combined with unusually wet weather, has made Ellis road nearly impassable for long periods of time. What problems does that pose? The Don Springers have been isolated completely during rains, with no way for emergency vehicles to get through. They have occasionally boated to their home. The same thing is true at the Paul Shimek residence. Frances Shimek has spent several nights in a downtown hotel because of the road conditions. Stephen and Kathy RagUr sea, like the others, have been without mail service and have been stuck in the mud several times. Their car, new last year, is rusting and one of its windows was broken. • • • THE PROJECT, originally scheduled for a July completion date, has been extended by the city council until October. You would imagine the residents are pretty fed up with the contractor, Lametti and Sons of St. Paul, Minn. You w-ould be wrong, because although they’re mad. they aren’t mad at Lametti and Sons. “The people on the construction crew would do anything they can for you.” said Mrs. Shimek. “The Lametti people really are nice. They’ve got a job to do and they’re doing it as well as they can. The workers bend over backwards trying to help you,” added Mrs. Springer. “We’re getting along fine with the company; they will pull us out when we get stuck, things like that,” said Ragu-sea. Ragusea is upset with the city council, though, and said he has trouble finding someone who will assume responsibility for financial losses he believes are directly attributable to the construction project. Several organizations and agencies, both public and pri vate. are involved. It s a city project, partially ($1.7 million) funded by the federal government, and a great deal of the construction is outside the city limits. Then there is the contractor, the contractor’s insurance company, and the engineering firm of Howard R. Green Co ‘‘You just can’t get any answers.” Ragusea said. • • • “THE PEOPLE on this road have been very forebearing, trying not to make waves, to be good citizens and go along with the public improvements, but we keep getting shafted.” Ragusea, a teacher at Taft junior high school, said he has been late for work because his car got stuck in the mud. The car, new a year ago, is rusting and he believes that is because the rough road, rock and chuckholes have chipped the paint and undercoating. A piece of heavy equipment accidental^ threw a nock Stephen Ragusea through his car window, he said, and the operator apologized and assured him the insurance company would take care of it. He hasn’t received any payment, however, Ragusea said. He is also concerned about the isolation of some of the homes when the weather is bad. “If there had been a fire or a heart attack on this end of the road, nobody could have gotten out here,” he said. Ragusea said he realizes bad weather has delayed the project, but he does feel he’s entitled to compensation for actual damages. “I don’t have anything personal against anybody,” he said. “I’m not being unreasonable. I don’t want them to buy me a new car or anything.” He also believes the problems wouldn't have happened if there were more than a handful of families affected, or if they were influential families. “I’ve lived in three cities, and I’ve never seen one that was so unconcerned about the citizens,” he said. “Because the families that live out here don't have a lot of money or a lot of influence at city hall. we’re getting shafted. It's as simple as that.” Virginia Springer also believes there wasn't enough consideration given to the residents when the project was planned. ‘‘It’s gone on so long.” she said. “They really didn’t consider the people who live here at all.” • • • SHE IS upset because she was assured at a public hearing on the project that the road would always be passable and the school bus would always be able to get through. That hasn’t been the case. “They promised so much. They should have realized the promises were impossible to keep,” she said. ‘‘And you can’t talk to the city, because they refer you to Howard Green.” Frances Shimek has had the worst experiences with the project. Early in the project, she said, it was possible to drive near the house, then walk overland the rest of the way. Even then, she spent several nights in a hotel, she said, because “. . . I didn’t want to go sliding through gullies at night.” She also stayed in the hotel while her daughter was in the hospital, to make sure she would be able to get to see her, and sometimes — when the water was high — she didn’t get to her house for several days. There have been other expenses for the Shimeks; dynamite blasting has cracked the ceiling near their fireplace, their truck has needed repairs after traveling the rough road, and sometimes food has spoiled because the family was unable to get to the house for several days. “There are intangible things that you can’t put your finger on that cost you money,” she said. Mrs. Shimek said she has conferred with a lawyer about her troubles and has saved records of the expenses, but she doesn’t know who should pay. “I'm not too sure who gets them,” she said of the bills. She believes another route should have been selected for the sewer, and the residents -hould have been warned of the difficulties that lay ahead. “It was bad judgment, in my opinion, to run the sewer that way,” she said. • • • ON THE other side of the dispute are the engineering firm and the city council. They say the project is necessary, will be of great benefit to many people — including the ones who are now complaining — and is being completed as quickly and smoothly as possible. w Good Success ' Finding Jobs for the Elderly By Steve Helle Since its inception in April, the local job placement service for the elderly has placed at least one elderly person for every working day. Pauline Wagamon, 69, of 1009 Oakland road NE, the sole operator of the placement service, was the first person to be placed. About 60 people over the age of 60 have been placed since then, she said. “We’ve bad very good success,” said Mrs. Wagamon. “Very few people come in here wanting a job that we have not been able to place “Secretaries, welders, machinists, babysitters, cooks, security men — we’ve been able to find almost any kind of work that they w ant to do ’ Mrs. Wagamon noted that employers have great faith in elderly workers. “They think they are more stable, know they want to work, are dependable and will be there to work,” she said. “Employers mostly hire the elderly to fill in vacations or just on a part-time basis," she added. Workers receiving social security benefits work part time because they would lose their eligibility for the benefits if they earned more than $2,400 a year. The oldest worker placed by the service to this date has been a WWI veteran who works about 20 hours a week as a maintenance worker in a local firm, said Mrs. Wagamon. She said there was a definite need for a placement service for the elderly. “There are so many people who are retired,” she said. “And they’re not too fortunate finding jobs on their own. Many retirees don't want to stay home. “They need money especially the way prices have gone up and they don't want to give up working. The more who find out about this service, the greater the demand of elderly-wanting work.” A volunteer worker will be added to the elderly employment staff in July, doubling its size. Mrs. Wagamon works from 8 a rn. to 4:30 p rn. placing people on a daily basis. The service was launched through the combined effort of the area Jaycees, Jaycee wives, Area Agency on Aging and the employment security commission. The program parallels a national effort called Operation Mainstream to employ elderly people if they want to work. T he national Jaycees received a $3,000 grant from the Mainstream Employment project. The national Jaycees then turned the grant over to the local chapter to initiate the Cedar Rapids program To begin the program, Jaycees contacted local businesses to measure the response to an employment program for the elderly. Jaycee wives contacted retirees to see if they would be interested in employment. The employment security commission supplied office space at 601 Eighth avenue SE and the Area Agency on Aging helped organize the program. The program was budgeted through Dec. 31 of this year, and Alice Schwiebert, consultant to the employment project from the Agency on Aging, anticipates it will be continued past that date. Mrs. Wagamon can be contacted during working hours for more information on employment opportunities for the elderly by calling 365-9474, extension 31. Carl Tronvold He ll Handle V«ur Real Estate | Needs. 222 Dows Bldg. Its a big project. The sewer and lift station will serve about 11,000 acres and are designed to serve a population of up to 84,000 people. It will pick up the Covington area and the Silver creek drainage area, property north of the Cedar river and part of Cedar Hills, where a problem exists with the present sewer system. “This is going to take a good share out of that overloaded sewer,” said Jerry Hotchkiss, vice-president of Howard R. Green. Public Improvements Commissioner Richard Phillips said the growth of the Cedar Hills area is toward the west, and the sewer is necessary for orderly expansion of the city. Hotchkiss said the project was begun in the fall (Ellis road was first torn up last October) so most of the work could be done in winter, when the river was low, minimizing the problems. Promises that part of the road would be kept open were made in good faith, he said. But more trouble was experienced with rock excavation than anticipated, and there wasn’t enough room between the river and a bluff south of the road to permit construction to go on while the road stayed open. The rock excavation cost time. So did an early thaw, ice jams and high water, not to mention the heavy rains this spring. “The whole season has been lousy,” he said. • • • VANDALISM to the contractor’s equipment has also been a big problem, both in expenses and in time lost. Vandalism was so bad, he said, that a private security organization was hired to protect the equipment. And, after the project began, additional work was added when the city council decided to use excess material from the trench excavation to elevate Ellis road. The road will be raised more than five feet rn places, providing added flood protection to homes. As for the damages suffered by the residents, both Phil! i p s and ANNIVERSARY? Flowers Say It Best 4-SEASONS GARDIN — HARDWARE — FLORIST \^31»t 4 Mt. Vernon Rd. St • 363-3885 Hotchkiss are confident they will be compensated for legitimate claims. “At this point I’m very confident that any valid claims for damages .. . would be under the contractor’s insurance,” Hotchkiss said. There is a guarantee of that in the standard contract. Before final payment is made by the city, the contractor is required to show that all bills and claims have been settled. It is possible, and it has happened in the past, that if claims aren't settled, final payment is withheld. “This will be a matter their insurance company will have to resolve,” Hotchkiss said. The city can’t pay for the damages or inconvenience, Phillips said, because it would set a precedent. “Once you do. what do you say to the next guy?” he asked. “Ender federal projects, no payments of this type can be included, as far as we can find out,” he added. • • • BOTH MEN deny Ragusea’s allegations that the residents’ lack of influence affects their treatment. “I resent statements like that,” Phillips said. The commissioner said he is getting complaints now from another section of town, due to detours caused by the realignment of Forest drive SE at Sinclair avenue. And, he said, he has had a similar experience at his own house since he became commissioner, although not on the same scale as the problems of the Ellis road residents. Traffic was detoured past his home at 302 Linden terrace SE because of a street project, Phillips said, and cars and buses drove over his yard, doing considerable damage.    I “I couldn't say anything, but I felt like it.” he said. “I know how these people feel.” Hotchkiss said technical, not political, considerations determined the route of the sewer. “As engineers, when we design a project we have no idea who lives where, and we don’t want to know,” he said. “If it goes up a valley, it goes up a valley, and the Cedar river is a valley.” He said the only alternate route was on the north side of the river. That route wouldn't have served as many people, would have cost about $1 mil-1 i o n more, and probably wouldn’t have been permitted by the Environmental Protection agency, anyway, because it would have run the sewer through one of the city’s well fields. “I think the contractors and ourselves have done everything humanly possible to help those residents,” he said. • • • HE SAH) a procedure was set up to contact equipment operators if an emergency occurred while the road was too rough for ordinary vehicles to travel, so a fire truck or other vehicle could be transported to where it was needed. “If any such emergency had occurred, they would have got o u t there with whatever equipment was necessary,” he said. Phillips said city crews have graded and filled the road at times. The city put 52 loads (759 tons) of rock, at a cost of about $2,000, on the road to try to keep it usable. “We’re not belittling the problems those people have had out there.” he said. “But we’re trying to do the best job we can under those conditions.” Three Is Company for Grey Whales af any Rate LONDON (UPI) - When it comes to doing what comes naturally the grey whale is happy to enter into a mutual assistance pact. One male is apparently glad to have the help of another male, a cozy triangle of two males and a female that evolved somewhere in the mists of time long before the saucy French gave it the name of “Menage a Trois”. Why the grey whale does its mating in threes is not exactly clear to scientists who have been 'studying tile great beast on its 8.000-mile round trip between the Arctic and the Tropics. But it may have something to do with bulk. The grey whale weighs a massive 1.400 pounds a foot—some 35 tons on a length of say 50 feet. Recently a reporter for New Scientist observed the migration of the grey whales as they I passed along the California coast on their way from the summer feeding grounds in the Arctic to the winter breeding grounds in Mexico. Almost exterminated in the 1930s by indiscriminate whaling the grey whales are making a comeback and instead of a few hundreds there now may be more than 10.000 in the oceans. They were the target of whalers for years even though they were smaller than the sperm or white whales because they had the most predictable migratory pattern and could be located with a minimum of trouble. New Scientist said tJiat despite the accessibility of the greys — tourist boats, for example, take passengers out from California harbors to witness the transit of the whales —there is still a great deal that is not known about them. For example, no one knows whether they feed on their journey or why they suddenly raise the upper part of their bodies out of the water. The grey whale has baleen filters instead of teeth and feeds on small organisms directed into its gigantic mouth by a tongue that can weigh as much as 300 pounds. The newborn calves can reach 17 feet in length and the adult whales can accelerate from a cruising four miles an hour to some 30 knots — destroyer speed. But no one really knows how long they spend underwater between breaths. And, of course, no one knows why, where the grey whale is concerned, three is company. GOLD MEDAL* AWARD- WINNING PORTRAIT FASHIONS •••by Lisle Ramsey rn SOLVEIG KRISTEN TERESE daughters of Mr & Mrs Jack Lyster in 7.1 nor! rail Fashions al I flail A Itraulifui JU.OO 11x14 Color Portrait. . . only $10.95 Thursday only—June 27-July ll, and July 18, 1974, Morning, Afternoon, L Evening Appointments Available. Candlelight, Low-Key, High-Key, and Multiple Exposures Two changes of clothing. . . we suggest casual as well as more formal attire. Selection of poses and each one different. This special offer may be used by anyone, including seniors, as well as F amily Record and Aunt Mary Portrait Plan members. We arc anxious to show off our new 1975 portrait fashions. Limit: One offer lier family.    1 hor your appointment, call X65-7627 Isl Sit* It ii MS VIJ PORTRAITS HIO SGA Ballam*    I22 Srr.nd St. S.E. Cedar Rapids •Awarded by Lisle Ramsey Network in competition with nearly loo studio* Keep love growing. . . with I,ini,. Ha mary Gazette Photo by John Mc Ivor wafer and mud, as it was when this photo was taken June 14. They reach their house by walking across country through a stand of timber, or by boat. Photo looks west on Ellis road. The Donald Springers are among those residents of Ellis road NW that have had trouble during the last year with construction of the Morgan creek sewer. At times the Springer house has been nearly isolated by high $ ;

  • Alice Schwiebert
  • Don Springers
  • Donald Springers
  • Frances Shimek
  • Jack Lyster
  • Jerry Hotchkiss
  • John Mc Ivor
  • Kathy Ragur
  • Lisle Ramsey
  • Mike Deupree
  • Paul Shimek
  • Pauline Wagamon
  • Richard Phillips
  • Vernon Rd
  • Virginia Springer

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: June 23, 1974

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