Thursday, March 6, 1997
Residents watch safely
as flood engulfs business area

The Cincinnati Enquirer

RABBIT HASH - A lot of folks have stopped by the Rabbit Hash General Store this week, but nobody has bought a thing.

Visitors have come only to gawk at the flood water engulfing the tiny rural community's several buildings that are grouped together on Lower River Road near the Ohio River in western Boone County.

''We usually stop at the store on our way back from church every Sunday to get some pop,'' said Tressa Louden, who lives 3 miles away.

But Wednesday she brought her 8-year-old son, Brian Fugate, to see the flooded area from dry ground.

''It doesn't look the same,'' Brian said. ''It looks weird.''

The store has about 2 feet of water in it.

Before the water came into the store, all the perishable food was moved to the higher shelves and the coolers and ice machines were moved out, said Alexis Scott, whose father, Lowell Scott, owns the store.

Ms. Scott and her brother, Brandy, are in the process of buying the store from their father.

''It hasn't been devastating for us,'' she said, standing outside her nearby house that sits on higher ground. ''We're going to have a mess to clean up, but we haven't lost anything.''

Water also flooded the Rabbit Hash Museum, a log cabin near the general store. But Kenny Williamson, a lifelong Rabbit Hash resident, said historic papers and other items were moved to the second floor.

The houses in Rabbit Hash generally are on hills and escaped the flooding waters. But with part of Lower River Road flooded, some of them had to take round-about routes to get to their houses.

Mr. Williamson's driveway had 5 feet of water. To get to it, he had to walk up an embankment and along a creek.

''I've never seen the river come up this fast,'' said Mr. Williamson, 50.

His daughter, Michelle Lustenberg, her husband, Jeff, and their 2-year-old daughter, Michayla, came to Rabbit Hash Wednesday to see the effects of the flood.

''Every year, you can expect the water to cover this road in a couple of spots,'' said Mr. Lustenberg, of Corinth.

''But this is pretty remarkable.''

About 3 miles from Rabbit Hash, the top halves of campers, trailers and small summer homes in Camp Turnabout poked up out of the flood waters.

Water came up to the bottom of the front windows of Charles Palmer's camper-home, where he spends parts of his summer.

''The beds and everything inside are shot,'' said Mr. Palmer, of Groesbeck.

Standing on a muddy road at the edge of the water, he looked out at the remains of the summer camp. ''It's sickening,'' he said.