Just Shelley

The stories this week: Levee fails, Anheuser-Busch says no, Burke is gone

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

second update Unfortunately the Hesco barrier erected by the National Guard failed. Though I admire the tenacity of the Guard, I’m not surprised the barriers failed.

Winfield is now, more or less, cut off, and many homes will, unfortunately, be damaged. How many, no one knows for sure at this time. The town gave it their all, but the Mississippi is one big river.

update This NECN in Boston shows how fast the water flows through a levee break, and how widespread the flooding is now. The National Guard is disheartened by the break, as they worked on the levee for nine days. This levee was also the destination for the sand bags I helped fill.

The flood crest has been raised at St. Louis, and there’s a possibility of flooding south of Lemay Ferry Road from River Des Peres. This is the drainage river that runs through St. Louis, and is also the waterway that puts us most at risk during a flood. However, the Mississippi would have to crest about 13 feet higher to put us at risk.

We will have to rethink how we manage our waterways in the future. We can’t keep putting our fingers in the dike, and hoping for the best.

The last levee in Lincoln County still holding back the water breached this morning. I don’t think anyone was surprised when a sand boil, a mix of water and sand, appeared in the side, signaling that water was undercutting the foundation of the levee. The folks in Winfield and surrounding areas made a mighty effort to save the levee, but it was not enough.

The waters should be cresting this weekend, though we have more rain in both the Mississippi’s upper river basin, and along the Missouri river basin. Whether this means the flooding will continue hasn’t yet been determined.

Another major event impacting on St. Louis is the InBev offer for our local, beloved Anheuser-Busch. A-B, the largest beer company in the US, has remained in control by family members to this day, and has been an important St. Louis and Missouri business. A-B is very generous to the community; many members of the family are very active environmentalists; from all accounts the company is a good employer— well, needless to say, no one wants InBev to buy the company but greedy, rapacious stock holders.

We’ve already had warnings from employees in other countries where InBev has made acquisitions, and left a swath of destruction in its path. By all accounts, InBev is only interested in profits and power, not a legacy.

This week, A-B turned down the offer, and InBev has already made the opening move of a hostile take over. Hopefully the A-B people can hold their own, but this war will leave this community scarred. The only way that A-B might be able to hold off the bid is by decreasing costs and increasing profits, both of which could mean the end of our gentle neighbor, regardless of who owns the company. I would wish InBev in Missouri…right in the middle of the Mississippi river.

Lastly, St. Louis’ Archbishop Burke is leaving for a position in Rome. Burke’s four year tenure here has been marked by disruption and antagonism, as Burke trounced Catholic presidential candidate Kerry for supporting choice with abortion, excommunicated the members of the St. Stanislaus Kostka, just because the church members wanted to control their own property, and condemned one of the local rabbis for opening her arms to women wanting to be ordained as Catholic priests. Burke has also skirted perilously close to crossing the line in allowable political activity, going just far enough to try to influence local and national elections, but without endangering the church tax exempt status.

I am not surprised at Burke’s appointment to Rome, and wrote not long ago that he had ambitions beyond St. Louis. I am, also, not disappointed at Burke’s leaving, though whether the man appointed in his place will be any better for the community is hard to say.

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