North Star News on Bowesmont

North Star News on Bowesmont

The following human-interest article was carried on the web site of North Star News, Karstad, Minnesota, during the flood of 1997, and is reproduced here by permission of North Star News.

Neighbors again after FEMA buy out in Bowesmont

By Lori Bothum

Is it coincidence or kismet that neighbors in Bowesmont, North Dakota, both moved when their flood-plain homes were bought out by FEMA and are neighbors again near Karlstad? Whatever the reason, the two families are happy about it. After most everyone in town had been flooded, including the last two springs in a row, all that was left was waiting for the government buy out.

Milo and Ruby Dybedahl

Milo and Ruby Dybedahl were among those prepared for the flood but still had to evacuate since the roads into town were also flooded. They had emptied their basement before the 1996 flood, which ruined the cement floor, and put freezer, fridge and other big items on top of sawhorses in the garage. The only thing they did to the basement was put down a new cement floor.

"This year was the worst we've ever had," they said. "The basement was full and so was the front and back porch. We had four and one-half feet of water in the yard."

The fridge was ruined. The freezer works after Ruby gave it a kick, but Milo figures it won't last long. The basement floor buckled again.

Now they live in a mobile home with a couple of acres on Pembina Trail and, until July 25, had been in the process of moving since June 24. What made them decided to move? "Water and the buy out."

After wintering in Texas where they also own a retirement home, they arrived home after the ice storm and about ten days before the flood. Like flood refugees all along the Red River, they had to find places to stay, which included going to Spearfish, South Dakota, to stay with one daughter for ten days, then to Roseau for ten days with another daughter, then back home to clean house. "It has been a bad spring, I'll tell you that," Rose said, "and a busy summer."

While staying in Roseau, they found their present home.

Milo has been a mechanic most of his life, the last 15 years as a mechanic at American Crystal. He's originally from Roseau and Rose and her sister, Ruth Green of Halma, are from Bowesmont. Besides two daughters, Milo and Rose also have a son in Drayton.

"I think we'll really like it here and we like the nice big trees like we had in Bowesmont," Rose said. "We went to church on Sunday and Pastor Mickelson came out to visit us."

Mike and Rose Lorenson

Mike and Rose Lorenson and sons Nick, 12, and Mark, 9, bought the Tim Peterson home on Pembina Trail and recently moved in.

"We've flooded bad the last two years where we had to leave home," Mike said. "The sump pump usually kept us dry but this year the water cut off our electricity. We had the highest house in town, but it still wasn't enough this year. It completely filled the basement so the floor joists were covered. It didn't go on the first floor."

There wasn't a lot of value in their basement, since they anticipated the flood and moved everything up. The force of the water pushed the basement windows open, which is how the basement became full of water.

The FEMA buy out has been going on for two years, they said. They looked around for new housing ahead of time.

"It was finalized the end of June so we could buy then. This place fit everything we wanted," Rose said. "It's in the country, close to town, on a tar road on a ridge, far from a river (any river of consequence) and is close to heaven. Now if the taxes were cheap like in North Dakota, it would be perfect."

Mike works at American Crystal Sugar and is already in a car pool. Rose works in the fall campaigns and is perfectly happy to be home with the children during the summer.

Mike was raised near Middle River. Rose (Strandberg) is from the Viking-Newfolden area. They say the area is not strange to them since they started married life in Karlstad and their oldest son was baptized at First Lutheran Church. They also lived next door to their present home.

"We hope to meet people," they said. Most weekends they've been cleaning out their old home and getting settled in their new home. After a series of after-flood moves, the kids finally have structure, Rose said.

Nick will be in the sixth grade and Mark is going to be a fourth grader at Tri-County.

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