The theme of this past weekend’s “Popcorn Day’s” parade in Hamburg was “Standing Together, Standing Strong” and many of the floats had a flood theme.
The local preschool’s float was an ark, with a banner that read “Two-by-Two We’ll Make It Through”. Linda Burdick of Hamburg is worried about local residents who’ve moved away after the flood waters threatened the town, and swamped local roads.
“You know they do come back, but the jobs are in Omaha. The jobs are in Lincoln. The jobs are in St. Jo, Kansas City, We’ve got to get back something in our county for the jobs.”
Flood waters never reached Hamburg, as efforts to shore up a protective levy worked. But many roads, including Interstate-29, are still closed due to the flood, which means Hamburg residents who work in Nebraska City or Omaha moved. Phil Kuhr, the pharmacist at Stoner Drug in Hamburg, says this past weekend’s festival was a very welcome end to a very long summer.
“I’ve never found myself wishing that a season would be over,” Kuhr says. “They said, ‘Those rivers should be back in their banks by the middle of September.’ Man, the middle of September can’t get here fast enough.”
However, this fall ConAgra plans to shut down most operations at its popcorn plant in Hamburg, putting almost 100 people out of work. Kuhr is optimistic Hamburg will survive these tough times and attract new industry.
“I mean, we still have railroad access,” he says. “We still have the interstate access, once they get everything open, so I mean you’ve got all this potential and, you know, it’s all uphill from here.”
Officials in the Hamburg and Farragut schools estimate about 15 students who had been living in Hamburg last year were not enrolled in the district this fall due to flood-related moves.