North Bend Eagle



The show goes on

Storms threaten Old Settlers, damage property

by Mary Le Arneal
published 7/2/08

Mother Nature tried twice to put a damper on North Bend’s Old Settlers celebration, but both times the spirit of Old Settlers won.

Around 4 p.m. on Friday, June 27, a storm blew through North Bend with winds clocked at 70 m.p.h. Bill Granger, Doug Hoops, and Roch and Drew Emanuel were cooking the meat for the barbecue to be held on the lot south of the old popcorn plant. In addition to their smokers, tents and tables were set up for the fund raiser for the new library.

“We knew it was coming,” Roch Emanuel said. “We just didn’t know when.”

Destoryed barn
The barn that previously stored these decoys on the Bob and Michelle Prickett farm west of North Bend was flattened by strong winds.

Steve Wietfeld, who was driving on Highway 79 about four miles north of town, called Hoops to tell him the storm was coming. The men quickly finished what they were doing and went to hold down the canopies. The Emanuels had a 10 by 10 foot screen tent they went inside of and each held down the braces. Hoops, Granger and Rick Hobza tried to hang on to the canopy. The larger canopy had been tied to the legs of picnic tables. A smaller canopy was blown over and landed on top of Granger’s fire. Fearing it would catch on fire, Hoops went over to remove the canopy.

“That’s when they lost everything,” Emanuel said.

The men retreated to a trailer with their supplies in it and waited out the storm.

Emanuel had an apron on and when it was all over he had two inches of rain in his pocket.

After the 20 minute storm, the men emerged to survey the damage. All canopies were lost. Tables were sitting in standing water. But the smokers and meat were intact and all the supplies were still safely in the trailer. Marilyn and Bob Shanahan and Jan Hobza showed up and started moving the tables out of the water and wiping them off. Lon Bohling called radio stations to let the public know that the Smoke Off was still on.

By 6 p.m. workers had arrived and everything was in place. The barbecue continued, without canopies, but with plenty of food.

“We sold out of the ribs and only had a little bit of pork left,” Jan Hobza said. She and Rick organized the event. “We were very pleased with the turn out, and so many people stayed and helped with the take down.”

In North Bend there were trees uprooted and a lot of limbs down. In the old District 92 area there were reports of hail damage to crops and pivots over-turned. Bob and Michelle Prickett lost a 35 by 45 foot barn they had just built last year. The barn was first lifted up and turned over, than blown over in the latter part of the storm. Items stored in the barn were strewn over 100 yards, with some items not yet found. The couple was preparing to go out of town when the storm hit. When they saw the barn being lifted, they decided it was time to go to their crawl space. When they returned upstairs they were surprised to see the barn completely smashed on its side.

“We were just glad the house was intact,” Michelle said.

The east edge of Morse Bluff was the beginning of the harshest part of the storm, with Cedar Bluffs and Valley suffering extensive damage. Nancy Hoops was in the Cedar Bluffs Valley area during the weekend and said fields looked like they do after harvest, with corn stalks broken off near the ground.

On Saturday evening, as the community band was setting up to play, another quick burst of wind and rain scattered the crowd. It was very short-lived and the audience returned to enjoy the Old Settlers concert.
Chamber of Commerce president Steve Grueber said “We were happy that after the storms passed, the weather moderated and it was a very pleasant weekend for Old Settlers.”

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