Retired Cedar Rapids ‘Gazette’ Columnist Describes Iowa Flooding Disaster

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By: E&P Staff

Mike Deupree, a retired columnist for The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, wrote about the devastating Iowa flooding and the work of his former colleagues in a piece posted today on the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ Web site.

“My former co-workers are doing an absolutely incredible job,” said Deupree. “Power has been off at The Gazette since Thursday morning and the water got up to the front walk — that’s five blocks from the river, uphill.

“Employees of the paper and its sister TV station next door were granted special dispensation to stay on the job despite being in a mandatory evacuation area and a 9 p.m. citywide curfew. They’re working with portable generators powering the computers, no air conditioning, temporary lighting that makes it difficult to read notes. A couple of porta-potties are set up in the alley.

“Fortunately, about 10 years ago we built a new printing facility in an area that so far has remained dry. Everything is sent there electronically, and the paper has been printed — and delivered! — every morning. In their ‘spare time,’ the printers also printed the Waterloo paper, whose plant was knocked out of service by flooding.”

Deupree, who lives about halfway between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, said his home was spared because it’s on higher ground.

Discussing just how bad the flooding is, the former columnist noted: “There were buildings that no one thought would even get water in their basements that now have water damage on the SECOND floor.” He said it’s “amazing” that the flood hasn’t caused any deaths or serious injuries — at least so far.

Deupree’s complete piece can be seen here.

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