Linwood keeps watch on Stranger Creek
Linwood resident Bill Jones called Stranger Creek "the meanest river in Kansas," while peering downstream at the creek through a gaping hole where the corner of his tool shed used to be.
When Jones moved to Linwood 10 years ago, he thought living next to a creek would provide a relaxing, scenic environment.
He had plans of constructing a building with a deck overlooking the creek and a dock below to house his fishing boat.
But a flood in 1993, and by his account, an even worse flood last summer, changed his line of thinking about the creek.
Rising flood waters last summer eroded land along the creek's banks, causing Jones' property, and the corner of his tool shed, to fall into Stranger's murky waters.
Also lost to the creek was a pile of concrete blocks that sat near the tool shed.
"I had $2,000 worth of block rock but it took every bit of it," Jones said. "Took it gone. It could be in New Orleans by now for all I know."
Needless to say, the building and the deck never got built and the fishing boat now sits covered with a tarp safely away from the abyss of Stranger Creek.
"It took out more last year than it did in '93 because it came down so fast," Jones said.
But a spot to relax isn't Jones' main concernabout the creek anymore. It's about whether his property, his cars, his swimming pool and his house are going to be safe this year.
Recent stormy weather, with a forecast for more rain later in the week, has Jones keeping an eye on the water levels of not only Stranger Creek but in the northern parts of the county.
"It looks like it hasn't come up much yet, maybe a foot or so," Jones said.
Blame for last year's rising waters in Linwood could be placed on massive amounts of rain received near the city of Easton, where several inches came down in a matter of hours.
The water eventually flowed south and reached Linwood where it took Jones' property, approximately 25 feet of city- owned land and crippled a 100-year-old iron bridge.
The bridge was removed in December.
Last year's problems have officials looking for ways to stabilize Stranger Creek in Linwood.
Linwood city officials said this week that a state funded project should begin in June that would place several weirs or small dams, in Stranger Creek to keep the water flow away from the banks.
Linwood City Superintendent Dwayne Call said the city hasn't lost any land due to the recent rainy weather, although officials keep close tabs on creek water levels.
"Anytime there is weather like this, I'm concerned," Call said.
"As long as we don't have any heavy rains up north, we'll be OK," he added.
But for Jones, as storm clouds move toward Linwood from the west sky, even the prospect of another episode like last year is cause for concern.
"If it gets too close, I don't know what to do," he said. "If we get another big one up north, who knows."