Monday, March 10, 1997
Fifth body found;
mayor hospitalized

The Cincinnati Enquirer

FALMOUTH - Search crews picking through debris found another body Sunday, boosting to five the number of people killed here in last week's massive flooding of the Licking River. Kentucky State Police said a rescue team from the Division of Fish and Wildlife Services found the body of Jerry Beyersdoerfer, 27, before noon Sunday.

Meanwhile, residents learned their mayor, 83-year-old Max Goldberg, was hospitalized in fair condition Sunday night for an irregular heartbeat.

City Councilman Anthony Strong said Mr. Beyersdoerfer's body was found along north Liberty Street among the muck, trees and pieces of buildings left after the river's torrent through Falmouth.

''They still have search teams out along the river bank, going through the debris with search dogs, pulling it out a layer at a time,'' said Mr. Strong, also the city's mayor pro-tem.

Further details about the discovery were not available Sunday night. It brought to 19 the number of Kentuckians who lost their lives in the Flood of '97.

Mr. Goldberg was moved Sunday afternoon from intensive care to a private room at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood. He was taken by ambulance Saturday after complaining of neck pain.

A cardiogram showed his irregular heartbeat, a longtime condition. A local policeman persuaded the mayor to undergo the test.

''I would have never gone if he hadn't insisted I get checked out,'' the mayor said Sunday.

While the mayor was recovering, his longtime friend, developer Jerry Lach, distributed a press release Sunday touting a new Falmouth to be built on a nearby hill as a reincarnated version of an 1840s settlement on the Kentucky frontier.

''This is something we've been working on for a long time,'' Mr. Lach said Sunday. ''We are thinking on a regional basis.''

The plan calls for $500 million to be raised, primarily in federal assistance funds, to rebuild Falmouth as an authentic frontier town that would attract tourists.

According to the press release, which quoted Mr. Goldberg, the plan would also involve adding two lanes to U.S. 27 between Falmouth and Cynthiana, and a monorail link from Cincinnati to Falmouth and possibly on to Lexington.

''The time is right, because we have access to funding because of the flood that wasn't available before,'' Mr. Lach said.

Mr. Strong said Sunday was the first time he and other council members heard of the mayor's ideas for the new Falmouth.

''The council is committed to making sure we do all we can to help the people,'' said Mr. Strong. ''There are some people saying maybe we need to relocate the town. We don't want the people to sell out because of discouragement.''

''There are some who are gonna come back and some who are not,'' Pendleton County Judge-executive Donald Mays said. ''These people will have to evaluate what to do.''

Mr. Mays said the county will restore the courthouse and reopen soon.

Mr. Lach said the first order of business is to get people back into homes on a temporary basis.

''But I've talked to people on the streets of Falmouth, and none of them want to return,'' he said. ''People are angry. Lack of regional planning years ago permitted building in the (river) bottoms. This can't be permitted to happen again.''

The mayor's Shelby Street home was among the hundreds flooded by the Licking River. ''I'm going fine,'' he said Sunday. ''I've been under a lot of stress and strain.''

Mr. Strong said the mayor has spent all of his time since last Monday with residents and business owners.

Mr. Goldberg said he had hoped to return to the Pendleton County seat today to meet with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials.

''I don't want to see the businesses lock up,'' the mayor said. ''You've got good people down there who've got nothing to go back to - no homes to go back to, no jobs to go back to.''

Steve Goldberg visited his uncle Saturday and Sunday.

''Every piece of property he owns is under water or destroyed, and he's worried about the people down there,'' the mayor's nephew said.

''Of course, Falmouth is his life.''