BY CINDY SCHROEDER
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MENTOR - Not even the Flood of '97 has kept Northern Kentucky postal workers from their appointed rounds.
In Melbourne this week, the National Guard escorted the postmaster to his office in the flood-stricken town.
After taking a boat into her water-logged town Wednesday to distribute mail, Silver Grove Post Master Lisa Cropenbaker spent Thursday working out of the Alexandria post office.
''If I can drive in (today), I'll go back in,'' Ms. Cropenbaker said. ''It depends on how much the water drops.''
The Butler and Falmouth mail also has been handled out of the Alexandria post office, but today, operations are expected to be shifted back, postal officials said.
In Falmouth, mail will be handled from a trailer at Pendleton County High School, temporary home to nearly 200 flood victims.
Even the trailer-based California post office, forced to move twice since Monday, has continued to serve 1,276 families in southern Campbell County.
On Monday, the post office was towed to the A.J. Jolly Elementary School parking lot. But on Tuesday, postal authorities opted to move it to Mentor, when flood waters started to seep into the school, and the postal trailer's power supply was cut off.
For the last few days, California residents have filed through the post office to pick up mail and find out how their displaced neighbors are faring.
Nearly all of the town's 50 homes and trailers are at least partially submerged, authorities have said. A few residents - some in homes, and others in tents pitched on an incline at the edge of town have stayed behind to guard residents' property.
Some inquired about everything from a lost horse to relief efforts.
''An offer for a credit line,'' Steve Strasinger mused, as he picked up his mail. ''I might need some of that, especially if this flood aid doesn't come through.''
Postal clerk Debbie Young was happy that her home had only basement water damage.
''We'll be able to help everybody else out now, because we don't have to worry about our own house,'' she said.
Mentor resident Matt Franck found the California postal move ironic, in light of the fact that Mentor residents had waged an unsuccessful battle years ago to save their own tiny post office.
''At least one good thing came out of the flood,'' the 65-year-old man quipped, as he photographed the post office in its temporary location by Mentor Baptist Church. ''We got our post office back.''