publishes through the flood.
| What do you do with
a city full of water? After the flood goes down, the first thing you do
is pump the water out of the buildings. All the wet personal stuff, clothing,
photos, books, stuffed animals and toys, has to be thrown out. Then you
haul out the furniture and appliances, rip up the carpet, and remove the
shelves and cabinets.
The next part smells. Everything has to be scrubbed with chlorine bleach to remove the contaminants that gather in flood waters. Residents say the city still smells like bleach five months after the flood. The debris left by the flood in Grand Forks totaled 112,000 tons. That was 224 million pounds of garbage.
The Grand Forks Herald fire.
One of the most destructive aspects of the flood was the fire, not water. Power lines that were knocked down by the water short-circuited and caused raging fires that were hard to control. In one case, flames destroyed the Grand Forks Herald newspaper building. In the time it takes to read a long article, 117 years of local history were ruined.
"It makes me want to cry," said Jenelle Stadstad, the Herald's librarian. But instead of moping, the staff of the Herald went to work. Stadstad called her old elementary school principal in the small town of Manvel, North Dakota.
Survival via the internet.
Soon the newspaper staff was back in school-- publishing the paper via internet from the Manvel High School, ten miles north of Grand Forks.
Imagine, going to school while reporters and editors race through the halls, trying to get their jobs done on time. The photo department set up shop next to the drums in the music room. And on the first day, members of the paper staff were standing outside the school smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. (They soon realized that they were setting a bad example and stopped.)
There was an upside for some students. They got to work with the editors, writing flood updates. They learned first-hand the pressures of the newspaper business.
And, by publishing on the internet, the Grand Forks Herald missed only one day of production.
But the loss of the paper's historical records left many with an empty feeling. To fill the gap, a new generation of historians has stepped forward to create their own history. In the Living History Project, organized by Technology Facilitator Cindy Grabe, students will go out with cameras and take quicktime movies as downtown Grand Forks rebuilds.
Using technology to record and remember.
During the flood, a Webcam of the flooded scene was accessed from all over the world. "Someone who was familiar with Grand Forks knew where the camera was, and could understand what we were fighting," Grabe says. Now, students will focus the Webcam on downtown, perhaps the Herald building, to watch and record the rebuilding process. Grabe says the site will not be fancy, but will concentrate on capturing content and making history.
The residents of Grand Forks realize that you can't count on the national news media to accurately document your history. Cindy Grabe recalls watching Peter Jennings point to a map that had South Dakota above North Dakota and Minnesota on the wrong side. On one morning news program, the anchor described the Red River as flowing south to Fargo, North Dakota. In truth, the Red River is the only river in the United States that flows north. It flows from Fargo, which is up river from Grand Forks, to Canada, which is down river.
Why would students want to remember the painful flood? For five weeks, they were physically cut-off from the community. They were sent to shelters, or to live with out of town relatives. Friends were scattered and for those who remained, most buildings and playgrounds were unsafe. There wasn't much time to talk about people's fears and feelings. The Living History Project will help students sort out their experiences. Cindy Grabe sums it up this way: "For adults, the flood was a life-defining moment. For the rest of our lives it will be before the flood and after the flood. Perhaps for young people it will be different. It will also be fun for they to look back at what they did five years from now."
The living history project is supported by a donation of software and equipment from Apple Computer and a challenge grant from the Department of Education.
of downtown Grand Forks
Soul Asylum to volunteer to play at
the Grand Forks prom for free.