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Business Owner On Impact Of Missouri Floods


Record-breaking floodwaters have soaked the Midwest this spring. A historic, snowy winter and heavy rainfall turned into floods that burst levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Andy Dallwitz lives in the city of Portage Des Sioux in St. Charles County, Mo., just north of St. Louis. He owns several businesses on the banks of the Mississippi, including a bar, a marina and a boat repair company.

Mr. Dallwitz, thanks so much for being with us.

ANDY DALLWITZ: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

SIMON: This has been going on for - what? - more than a month. What's it like for you?

DALLWITZ: We've been underwater since March 17, you know, pretty much out of business.

SIMON: So your businesses are shut down?

DALLWITZ: Yes, completely. My restaurant Saloon, which is 14 feet up in the air, has 4 feet of water in it.

And what really just doesn't make sense is how the government does things, you know? Anybody who lives along the river with a bulldozer can build a levee and keep the water off their property, and it just goes down river. And it's just - I'm sure it's like that all up and down the Mississippi River. The water's got nowhere else to go but rise and go up higher on your neighbor next to you.

SIMON: What about your house, Mr. Dallwitz?

DALLWITZ: My house - it's got 3 1/2 feet of water in it. And my nephew's house has got 5 feet of water in it. And when I bought those houses seven years ago, they had only been wet twice in 20 years. They've been wet four times in the last seven.

SIMON: Mr. Dallwitz, how are you living, sir? I mean, where - may I ask?

DALLWITZ: We're living out of a motorhome. My father had a bus. You know, he did it once in '93, you know? And this is the fourth-largest flood ever in St. Louis. I mean, we're 4 feet from reaching the '93 flood levels.

SIMON: Can I delicately ask how your insurance is?

DALLWITZ: It's high. You know, I mean, we can barely afford it, you know? And the only thing the insurance pays for is the buildings. I mean, we have to redo the grounds and the asphalt and the grass. And I'm right next to another levee, you know, that just protects farmland. And whether that land gets wet or not, they get paid. And it's just not like that in our industry. I just don't feel we're at a fair playing field.

SIMON: I got to ask, Mr. Dallwitz, do you ever think of finally collecting whatever recompense you get from the insurance companies and moving to Arizona?

DALLWITZ: No, I don't, you know, 'cause, I mean, my dad built the place there, and I'm taking after him. And, you know, I want to keep building and leave a place for my son to have, you know, and his kids. We just - you know, we just could use a little help.

SIMON: Andy Dallwitz in Portage Des Sioux, Mo., thank you, sir.

DALLWITZ: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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