Welcome to September

Erik Flesch & Sara Lomasz Flesch

“In Mazo, love is the greatest force of nature.” “Keep calm and Mazo on.” “A Mazo Grace, how sweet the sound.” #mazostrong

These were just some of the sentiments we saw buoy a community hit by torrential rains and flooding of the Black Earth Creek watershed late last month. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Mazomanie, Black Earth and Cross Plains in western Dane County bore the brunt of more than $100 million in damage caused when more than a foot of rain fell in 24 hours Aug. 20. Our spirits have been lifted witnessing the resiliency with which residents and hundreds of volunteers in the hardest-hit communities have rushed to each other’s aid in the wake of such a sudden disaster.

Homes and vehicles on State Street/County Road Y in Mazomanie are seen under water in this aerial photo taken Aug. 21 by Yvette Kindschi as she flew in a Quicksilver Sport 2S 2-seat light sport airplane piloted by her husband, Mike.

We couldn’t have anticipated when we featured Jan Norsetter’s lovely watercolor, “Sun and Rain on the Sugar River at Lake Belle View,” on last month’s cover that on Aug. 21 we would be getting news alerts warning about dangerously high levels of the Sugar River and Lake Belleville, and that the Belleville dam south of Verona had breached.

And we were in disbelief when we learned that the one fatality in the Aug. 20 rains — Jim Sewell — was someone we knew and had worked with at Taliesin during his service to historic preservation efforts at Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate in Spring Green since the 1990s.

The Voice of the River Valley coverage area spans seven counties in the Lower Wisconsin and Sugar-Pecatonica River Basins of our state’s Driftless Area, and at times it can seem that our communities are worlds apart. However, it is during times of great adversity and challenges like these we demonstrate that we are all neighbors, united.

For information on how to support ongoing recovery efforts, see the Flood Resources page at the Mazomanie Chamber of Commerce website www.mazochamber.org, call the flood helplines at (608) 644-6411 for Mazomanie and (608) 347-8684 for Black Earth, or watch the Facebook pages for the Black Earth, Cross Plains and Mazomanie chambers of commerce.

Happy reading,