Monday, March 10, 1997
Normalcy returning
to Aurora

Volunteers with brooms busy

The Cincinnati Enquirer

AURORA, Ind. - Instead of teaching lessons from a book, Laura Ankenman took her Sunday school students into the flood-ravaged streets of this city's business district.

With squeegies and brooms, the 10 children swept muddy water Sunday from inside the businesses on streets where the Ohio River had receded.

''My kids came up with this idea,'' said Mrs. Ankenman, who has four children of her own in the Sunday school at First Baptist Church of Aurora.

''This is something that's really needed,'' she said. ''This provided a better lesson than anything I could have taught them.''

Some of the students helped sweep the building housing Chase Heating & Air Conditioning.

Jamie Chase, son of owner Ron Chase, said the business won't lose much inventory, but will have to replace the building's floors.

Mr. Chase, 20, said that long after the arduous clean-up work is finished, he might enjoy reflecting on the magnitude of this flood.

''It's something to tell my kids when I get older,'' he said.

In downtown Aurora, the flood closed 37 businesses and caused 31 families to be evacuated. On Sunday, parts of only five streets remained flooded, and electricity was restored to other streets.

Fire trucks, backhoes and front-end loaders rumbled through the business district. More than 150 volunteers helped in the massive clean-up in this town of 3,500.

The Grand Victoria Casino & Resort in nearby Rising Sun dispatched 200 employees over the weekend to help clean Aurora.

The casino, which had been closed since last Monday because access roads were flooded, reopened at 2 p.m., Sunday.

Within a half-hour of its reopening, the casino had about about 1,000 customers and was filled with flashing lights, ringing bells and laughter. ''That's a good crowd,'' manager Duff Taylor said.

In Aurora, 11 people slept on cots Saturday night at a relief shelter at the St. Mary Activity Center, where food and clothes were available. The shelter was operated by the American Red Cross and several churches.