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Sandbaggers Aim To Stanch Swell Of Black River As Fresh Rains Fall

Ann Kenda
Arkansas Public Media

 Volunteers from Walnut Ridge and Hoxie came together Wednesday to fill as many sandbags as possible to help out neighbors and friends whose homes are in the path of the rising Black River in Northeast Arkansas.
“We’ve done over 1,000 today,” said Chris McDole with the Walnut Ridge street department.


Credit Ann Kenda / Arkansas Public Media
Arkansas Public Media
Volunteers spent hours Wednesday filling sandbags outside the City Shop in Walnut Ridge.

Volunteers cut the tips from road cones and used them like funnels to guide the sand into canvas bags, he said, which create a barrier to the flood waters threatening to seep into basements, garages and homes.  The volunteers included workers from the nearby Peco chicken processing plant, a boys basketball team and just anyone who wanted to help.

Craig Jones, a sales supervisor with Peco, said he decided to come over after the plant shut down for the day due to the flood to help fill bags.
“I feel for people.  I know what they’re going through,” said Jones, who described losing everything in 2011 when a flood sent waist-high water spilling into his house.  
“It was a similar situation six years ago, almost to the exact day,” he said, noting that people seem a little more prepared to come together this time around. 
“These are my friends and neighbors, so it’s good to see people coming together,” said Herb Ginn, a county extension agent with the University of Arkansas’s Division of Agriculture who stopped by to help fill some bags.  He said he’s keeping a nervous eye on 15,000 to 20,000 acres of farm land in the area that may be damaged by the flood. 
Hoxie resident Redda Russell stopped by to pick up sandbags to protect the home that hasn’t flooded yet but is at risk.
“We’re getting runoff from both sides of the river.  It’s going to be bad,” she said. 


This story is produced by Arkansas Public Media. What's that? APM is a nonprofit journalism project for all of Arkansas and a collaboration among public media in the state. We're funded in part through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with the support of partner stations KUAR, KUAF, KASU and KTXK. And, we hope, from you! You can learn more and support Arkansas Public Media's reporting at<>. Arkansas Public Media is Natural State news with context.

Ann Kenda joined Arkansas Public Media in January 2017 from Sudbury, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and previously worked in public radio, commercial radio and newspaper in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She focuses on health, justice, education and energy as part of the Arkansas Public Media team. Her stories can be found on the airwaves, and social media.
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