BY CINDY SCHROEDER
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SILVER GROVE - Four days after school was hastily dismissed because of rising floodwaters, Superintendent Bill Brown got his first look Friday at the damage his tiny district had suffered.
Inside, boxes of tissues and crayons floated in one of the stairwells leading to Silver Grove Elementary's basement preschool. Records and materials from the preschool were piled several feet high in the first-floor cafeteria, and the once-white floor of the elementary gym was covered with a muddy film.
On the building's east side, rushing waters had prompted an empty 10,000-gallon fuel storage tank to ''pop up like a cork,'' shoving up a huge concrete slab from the school parking lot.
In front of the school, what used to be a street had been turned into a muddy stream, complete with passing boats.
''It's funny to look out your window and see a boat go by,'' Mr. Brown said, as he waited in his second-floor office for an insurance adjuster.
On Monday, classes in the district of 300 students in preschool through grade 12 opened as scheduled, but Mr. Brown decided to close two hours later.
''We had to close, because we had so many kids leaving early to help their parents load up stuff at home,'' Mr. Brown said.
Before leaving, some of the high school students helped staff move records and supplies out of the basement preschool area.
''If (the river) had hit 65 feet, it would have been on the (main) floor, but it stopped short at 64ï feet,'' said school board member Bob Dozier, who has been checking the building each day.
School is closed until Thursday.
Throughout Silver Grove, residents photographed flooded streets and yards Friday, dropped by the Masonic Lodge to pick up supplies, and gathered on porches and street corners to exchange cleaning tips.
Campbell County officials said Friday that cleanup efforts are focusing mostly on the western end of the county, where the Licking River has receded. Three roads have been reopened to traffic: Wolf Road, Morning View Road, and DeMossville Road.
In Kenton County, 12 roads closed because of flooding from the Licking River have reopened. Only Rich Road in Morningview is still closed.
Residents of the Shady Shore mobile home park in Covington, where all but one of the 103 trailers were damaged by the flood, also were allowed to re-enter their trailers Friday to remove belongings, authorities said.
Officials in both counties say they will continue to clear roads as the water recedes.