Moose Lake Residents Still Sifting Through Wreckage of 2012 Flood

By KBJR News 1

August 24, 2012 Updated Aug 24, 2012 at 9:02 PM CDT

Moose Lake, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - 48 year old Moose Lake resident Kathi Criley has been living with her parents in Pine County ever since the June floodwater inundated her basement level home, into which she had poured her life savings.

"We had no idea that the waters were going to keep coming. There was no warning, nothing—no police coming down the street. Before we knew it, we had 6 feet of water, and it was covering everything," said Criley.

After having to retire early from the St. Louis Park Police Department due to an array of medical issues, including limited mobility, Criley says she never expected to see her life's work amount to what she could fit into two bags.

"I was carrying my medications in one bag, and some t–shirts and shorts in another bag. That's kind of what my life consisted of at that moment—it was all I had," said Criley, fighting back tears.

Everything was destroyed.

"...water heater, furnace, beds, a sectional sofa, glider rockers, hover round power chairs," said Criley.

It's the same sad story for many Moose Lake residents.

"They are borrowing money—some have it, some don't. Some are moving out because they can't afford to put appliances back in their house," said former Moose Lake Resident, Peg Vichorek, who was working on gutting her home with her family.

Still, Criley considers herself luckier than most, given the support she's received from friends, family and neighbors.

And, while Moose Lake residents say the community support has been overwhelming, they also admit they feel guilty about relying on a community that has been drained of its resources.

"If the money is there, it should be allocated to the people that need it the most. I don't want to have to rely on my family to bail me out, and take care of me," said Criley.

...hoping the decisions made in Saint Paul won't leave this flood–ravaged community high and dry.

According to Criley, replacing the electrical wiring throughout her house, alone, is estimated at anywhere from $5,000--$8,000 dollars.