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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of June 4 - 10, 2003


Hailey neighborhood battles rising Big Wood

Express Staff Writer

Della View residents in Hailey scrambled out of bed late Saturday night to fight back the Big Wood River as it jumped its banks.

"It came up surprisingly quickly," said War Eagle resident Dave Jensen, a veteran dike builder who fought the river the last time it threatened the neighborhood in 1997. "A few of us were talking with city street superintendent (Allen Stowell) Friday. Allen provided sand. I had left-over bags."

The city furnished bags and a pump to help protect the Fischman residence on Triumph Streetin Hailey, which was the most inundated by water. Express photo by Willy Cook

The river, running at 4,150 cubic feet per second, rose over 6 feet to reach a peak flow at 7:15 Saturday morning, according to USGS measurements taken under the bridge on Bullion Street.

Fighting the rising tide was no small challenge. The alarm went out at 3:30 a.m.

"We were up at 4 a.m. sandbagging," said middle school librarian Rick Dressell. "Twenty to twenty-five people were out with lights on their heads filling bags with sand the city had dropped off."

"We monitored and put our caution signs up," said Stowell, who acknowledged that the city can’t be in the business of saving people’s property. "It’s real touchy, legally. As it approached a disaster situation, we were trying to be good neighbors."

The city furnished bags and a pump to help protect the Fischman residence on Triumph Street, which was the most inundated by water.

"Out of something bad comes something good," said Julie Fischman, not a little surprised by the power of the river. "We’re very blessed to have such amazing neighbors."

The Fischman family bought their house just over two years ago and is considering raising it on stilts.

The sandbag diversion and a channel dug through the Lawrence Heagle Park parking lot steered the river into the Wood River Land Trust pond, which overflowed back into the river.

"All the neighbors pulled together," said Tex Mann of the parks department. "It was a clean set-up."

The work saved on water damage, but it turned the pond brown, raising concern that the flood would impact the state-wide free fishing day Saturday.

"At this point we are still planning on stocking the Hailey pond," said Fish and Game regional conservation educator, Kelton Hatch. "If it does fall through, there will still be events at the Hayspur fish hatchery near Picabo."

Meanwhile, if all goest well, children under 10 and their guardians are invited to the free fishing derby on Saturday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the new Riverside Pond at Heagle Park in Hailey. The first 100 children will receive a free fishing pole, compliments of the Chateau Drug and the Wood River Land Trust. It is also Free Fishing Day across Idaho, so adults will not need a fishing license to participate.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will stock the newly created Riverside Pond with rainbow trout. Casting demonstrations will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The derby will occur from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. At 11:30 a.m. prizes from Guffy’s and Read All About It Books will be awarded. Please bring your own bait.

The Riverside Pond is adjacent to Heagle Park in Hailey’s Della View subdivision. To get there, turn on to Cedar Street from Highway 75 in Hailey. Continue straight and follow the signs to Heagle Park. Additional parking is available at the LDS Church. People are encouraged to walk or bike to Heagle Park, as parking is limited.



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