Flooded Out

The floods in the midwest have seemed far away this spring, especially since I and most of my family no longer live there, but even the great distance doesn’t protect me from being affected by the floodwaters. By chance over the weekend I discovered that Peter Jordan, Carlisle ’14, enrolled in Keewatin Academy. That fact interested me because two of the subjects in my new book, Leon Boutwell and Joe Guyon, attended Keewatin about the same time. My interest piqued, I searched through issues of The Red Man magazine and found that Peter Jordan had not only enrolled in the prep school but had bartered his services as football coach in exchange for tuition. Wanting to find more about this, I attempted to search www.NewspaperArchive.com but was thwarted.

Unable to log in, I went to the site’s home page where I received the cold slap of reality. Their home page informed me that NewspaperArchive.com’s servers are located in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa in an area that is now flooded by the Cedar River. Fortunately, all files, equipment, old newpapers and microfilm are OK. The servers are several stories above the flood waters and newspapers and microfilms are stored in a different building that was built on higher ground. The servers won’t operate because there is no electrical service in the flooded area at this time. Their emergency generators long ago ran out of fuel and fuel trucks cannot make it through the water. This might be an argument for natural gas-powered emergency generators.

Such is the modern world in which distant catastrophes can impact you in unforeseen ways. I guess I will just have to wait to find out more regarding Peter Jordan’s stint as Keewatin’s football coach.


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One Response to “Flooded Out”

  1. Jeffrey Kiley Says:

    Thank you very much for your concern. We are slowly bringing our systems back online, and we should be back to providing a consistent and stable user experience by the end of the day.

    I appreciate your understanding. These have been trying times for all of us in Eastern Iowa.

    I did want to mention that we do utilize natural gas generators as well as diesel. The city cut natural gas services to the downtown district as a safety precaution.

    On a personal note:

    I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. This city is the home to my High School, where I met my wife, where I’m raising my children. Where I had the best moments of my life. Where I have been a part of building the world’s greatest digital newspaper archive. And I am shocked and devastated by the destruction in and around this city I love.

    As most of you probably know, the Cedar River, which snakes through the heart of Cedar Rapids, rose almost twenty feet above flood level, causing a disaster on a never-before-seen scale. The water is just beginning to recede, and the damage is unbelievable.

    A team of dedicated employees and myself made our way into the heart of the disaster on Friday to move our hardware to a better location. The pictures on the news don’t begin to tell the story. As we crossed skybridges linking office complexes in downtown, and watched the raging river below sweep through what once were streets, I realized that a lot of things I love are gone. The Chrome Horse, a local saloon where I took my employees in celebration of a great month just a few weeks ago. Blend, which has the best Prosciutto appetizer in Cedar Rapids. The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the science station. All gone. One of our closest clients, the Cedar Rapids Public Library, was mostly under water on Friday. I’m not too proud to say that a few tears were shed.

    But I wanted you all to know that even though cleanup will take months, the Midwest Spirit is amazing and Cedar Rapids will emerge even better than before.

    I’m very proud of my community right now, the way we have helped each other rather than waiting for help. The deep – and I’m sure exhausting – coverage of the event by our publishing partner The Cedar Rapids Gazette and their TV affiliate KCRG has been at the core of disseminating news quickly and completely, and can be credited with saving lives. The paper was delivered daily, even after their printing press was flooded. Their websites were updated by the minute as the situation progressed.

    And I’m proud of my employees. They worked long and difficult hours to rescue our servers, carry them through a mile-long “ant trail” and relocate them 60 miles away at a dry and secure location. My IT staff has been especially heroic, spending the entire weekend rewiring all of our hardware and preparing the website.

    Thank you for your patience through all of this, and for your thoughts and prayers as we rebuild our great city.

    I will be posting this (or something similar) on our site later today….just to say thank you and update those who have been affected.


    Jeffrey C. Kiley
    General Manager
    Heritage Microfilm
    4049 21st Avenue SW,
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404

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