Wednesday, March 5, 1997
Falmouth can at least
make calls out

You probably won't be able to call in to Falmouth for another week or so.

But thanks to some herculean efforts, people in the flood-stricken city will be able to reach out and touch the rest of civilization for the first time since the waters swallowed the towns on Sunday.

Cincinnati Bell ran fiber optic cable into the Pendleton County seat of Falmouth on Tuesday. The company set up a 100-unit phone bank at the Pendleton County High School shelter and installed another six phones at a shelter in the Plum Creek Christian Church.

Floodwaters inundated the telephone switching stations in both Falmouth and Cynthiana Sunday, knocking out service to the entire community. The telephone companies weren't even able to get a good idea of the damage to their facilities until Tuesday.

Dave Weller, Frankfort regional manager for BellSouth, said a new switching station was being brought into Cynthiana at a cost of around $5 million.

Neither company could predict when full service would be restored.

Surviving natural disasters is old hat for 92-year-old James Campbell Beckett.

Exactly one year after a tornado destroyed the brick Butler home he occupied for 50 years, Mr. Beckett became the victim of the worst flood in Pendleton County since 1964.

Now a resident of the Hillview Manor Personal Care home, Mr. Beckett was evacuated with 18 other residents.

He's fine and used to all the turmoil, but had hoped for less excitement in his later years.

After losing his home in last March's twister, Mr. Beckett said he wanted ''to go to a rest home so I can be taken care of.''

Ludlow Police officers are determined that the next flood of this magnitude will not come as a surprise to the then-residents of this Kenton County riverside city.

To that end, officers have used three rolls of film photographing about a dozen locations around the city every time the river moves another six inches to a foot. A book of the pictures will be compiled so that future Ludlowians will know how long their houses will be water-free.

Pendleton County water officials have a temporary home from which to conduct business and evaluate damage to the flooded water system, thanks to the Northern Kentucky Water Service District.

NKWSD assistant general manager Ron Barrow said Tuesday that Pendleton County water officials had been given temporary office space at the district's offices in Edgewood.

Customers of Pendleton County Water can call 606 441-2310 with questions.

Dixie Police Authority officers were amazed at the ignorance of people trying to drive through the flooded city of Bromley on Tuesday morning.

On their way to work, they wanted to drive down Pike Street into Ludlow - some even wanted to try, in spite of the foot of muddy water covering the roadway. Many ignored earlier road blocks, only to find that the streets really were closed.

In spite of the hours local media have devoted to flood coverage in the past several days, more than one driver asked Officer James Welsh: ''Why didn't anybody tell us?''

St. Luke Hospital East in Fort Thomas housed 42 patients Tuesday from a flooded Butler nursing home, another casualty of the Licking River.

''We put them in empty patient rooms,'' said Janice Way, manager of public relations and marketing for the St. Luke Hospitals.

James Barnett bet Ludlow Police Sgt. Benny Johnson that Mr. Barnett's house on Hooper Street would be safe from the rising Ohio River. The wager: $5.

Mr. Barnett lost. He was paddling down his street Tuesday morning in a rowboat. Sgt. Johnson declined to collect on the bet, saying, ''People are going to need every penny they have after this is over.''

Northern Kentucky University is opening up its doors to help students and staff from flood-stricken areas.

About 20 to 25 beds are available in NKU's Residential Village to students from Falmouth and other flood areas. And the food service department will be providing food for those students, said William Lamb, dean of students.

Students who will be in need of shelter can call Mr. Lamb's office at 572-6376, or Patty Hayden, director of residential life, at 572-5597.