Tuesday, March 4, 1997
Change washes through
lives of thousands

As the flood waters wash through the Tristate, they create thousands of small stories that are major, life-changing events for the people involved. Among them:

In Moscow, Ohio, about 20 families were evacuated using county dump trucks to move out people and belongings. Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. crews spent Monday going around to homes in New Richmond and Moscow, turning off electricity. They also were turning off underground transformers.

In Germantown, Ky., volunteer firefighters in boats searched the north fork of the Licking River on Monday afternoon for Stewart Buser, whose pickup was swept off Ky. 596 early Sunday.

Three passengers in the truck survived, said the Kentucky State Police.

Michael McDowell, 24, of Brooksville, Ky., a lifelong friend of Mr. Buser, stopped by the scene Monday to see whether he could help. ''I don't really think there's anything to do but hope and pray.''

Out on what used to be Rohde Avenue in the eastern Cincinnati neighborhood of California, Dave and Tracy Erhold sloshed through the rushing waters Monday morning. Mr. Erhold carried several pillowcases full of clothes. Mrs. Erhold carried clothes and their extremely frightened cat, Romeo.

''He is freaked out,'' said Mrs. Erhold.

The couple moved to their home on Bryson Street a year ago, and were told the house occasionally got water in the basement. Monday morning, they left for work and the house was dry. At work, they heard reports of flooding, and returned to California. They found their house cut off by the flood.

''I figured we might get a little water,'' Mr. Erhold laughed. ''I moved what I could upstairs and then we got out of there. We're staying at our parents' house tonight.''

In Maysville, Ky., (above) city workers filled bags with sand Monday to reinforce the floodwall around the business district. The wall will keep water out of the business district up to 70 feet.

As workers drove out with refrigerators salvaged from a flooded United Dairy Farmers store on Kellogg Avenue in eastern Cincinnati, Carl Perkins - assistant supervisor of highway maintenance - ordered crews to lower the last slats of a seldom-used floodgate across Wilmer Avenue.

Globs of thick black grease had to be brought in to grease the metal joints. Other fixtures had to be cleared of dead weeds, mud and gravel.

''It's like a jigsaw puzzle, but we got it,'' Mr. Perkins said.

The OK Tobacco Warehouse in Ripley, Ohio, opened its doors to residents and business owners who were victims of the flood. ''People needed a place to put their stuff, and we're high and dry,'' said Barney Daulton, manning the phones at the warehouse.

Water was circling David and Lee Reese's trailer home along the Great Miami River in Elizabethtown on Monday afternoon. The couple spent the day moving their valuables onto crates to escape the water. They finally decided to flee with their 35-inch color TV and dog, Midnight.

''We've had (the water) come up before, but not like this,'' said Mr. Reese.

At Catalina Marina on the Ohio River in Addyston, owner Greg Todd planned to get on his houseboat and be a lookout in coming days over the boats at his marina.

''My biggest concern is that no one gets harmed. I think we're OK until it gets to 63 feet, if it gets to 63 feet. I've lived on the river all my life. I think this is inevitable. I won't leave the marina till everything is normal.''