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PICKSTOWN -- As a huge rush of water rattled the ground at Fort Randall Dam, people lined up Thursday morning to witness a historic event. For the first time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the dam's outlet works regulating tunnels at full capacity, said Tom Curran, the dam's operations manager. The tunnels released at 118,000 cubic feet per second, and the power plant released at 38,000 cfs. Last week, the corps released water from the tunnels at 110,000 cfs, he said.
LAKE ANDES -- While some sites in an area nutrition program suffer, most are doing well and work hard to continue providing a service, according to the officials involved. The staff and board of the Rural Office of Community Services Inc. in Lake Andes insist the program is thriving, mostly due to volunteer support. The state and federal governments fund one-third of the program. The other two-thirds usually come from local efforts and contributions, said Karen Janousek, nutrition director. Recently, ROCS closed the Reliance nutrition site due to a lack of funding.
After a team of horses spooked and hurt four people during Armour's 125th anniversary celebration parade on Sunday, a state representative's proposed legislation could be back on the table. Rep. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, told The Daily Republic in September he planned to introduce a bill that would require an outrider at parades to monitor teams of horses. The proposal came after a team of mules ran into the crowd and injured three people at the 2010 Labor Day Parade in Wagner.
CHAMBERLAIN/OACOMA -- While the water has remained at the same level at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma, it has reached the south side of the sandbag levee at Gary McQuistion's home in Chamberlain. "We had to remove carpet in our basement yesterday," McQuistion said Monday. "The sump pump runs every three minutes and water is coming through fraction crevasses." According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, the Missouri River will remain around 1374 feet mean sea level until Thursday -- as long as it doesn't rain.
ARMOUR -- A team of horses slightly injured four people Sunday at a parade to celebrate the Fourth of July and Armour's 125th anniversary. Douglas County Chief Deputy Rod Hotchkiss said a mother, two small children and their grandmother were injured when the team of horses was spooked and ran out of control. The four people, whose names were not released, were taken to the Douglas County Memorial Hospital to be checked over. Hotchkiss said they were more shaken than anything. They had a few scrapes, but did not have serious injuries, he said.
FORT THOMPSON -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close the spillway gates at Big Bend Dam today to inspect how the water has affected the structure. Keith Fink, dam operations project manager, said the gates are currently open 9.5 feet. On Thursday, the corps began preliminary inspections of the structure and bank erosion, and this morning, the corps started closing the gates. "We'll move all the gates a foot at a time and inspect them as normal," Fink said Thursday. This is the first time the Corps has opened the spillway gates due to floodwater.
CHAMBERLAIN/OACOMA -- Residents of Chamberlain and Oacoma filled more sandbags Wednesday as the Missouri River continued to rise between the two cities. Wednesday morning, Gary McQuistion gathered friends, relatives and neighbors to help raise the sandbag levee around his home in Chamberlain. The American Creek Campground, which is inundated, is just behind his residence. The water was approximately 10 feet from his house Wednesday afternoon. "A quick thundershower just ran through; it just wet the ground," he said Wednesday morning.
PRESHO -- Pilots in and around Presho may soon have an improved airport. City Airport Manager Dustin Smith recently applied for a 50/50 grant through the State Aeronautics Commission to construct two concrete turnarounds for the gravel runway. Included in the project will be 200 feet of straightaway for safer takeoffs, Smith said. "Right now, it's just a gravel strip and planes pivot around on the gravel," he said.
LAKE FRANCIS CASE -- Since June 15, the Missouri River reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam has risen nearly 10 feet to a new record elevation. Meanwhile, recreation business at the cities, boat ramps and campgrounds near the dam is plummeting. As of Tuesday, the reservoir behind the dam was at 1,372.9 feet mean sea level, above the previous record level of 1,372.2 feet msl in 1997. And it's still rising, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The 1997 record was surpassed Monday when the reservoir rose to 1,372.5 feet msl.
ARMOUR -- Area residents have the chance to view a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this weekend in Armour during the town's 125th celebration and all-school reunion. The Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It has traveled the country for 20 years and has become so popular that two replicas now travel around the nation. Gene Poelstra, Armour, applied to bring the wall to the town four years ago. As a former member of the U.S.