Devils Lake residents urge community to show support

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor
Tami Tollefson (left) and Julie Schemionek are two of the more public faces of the flood. They are encouraging other residents to join their crusade. “We need residents on board and we need them to be united,” said Tollefson.

Tami Tollefson and Julie Schemionek were at Tuesdays Ramsey County Commission meeting in Devils Lake.

When that meeting concluded, they met in the basement of the courthouse with a couple of FEMA representatives, a young man from EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and Ramsey County employees Kevin Fieldsend and Kristen Nelson.

Tollefson has been battling officials for help to get access to her home, which has been cut off by floodwaters from Devils Lake.

Schemionek’s farm in the same general area has been greatly reduced by floodwater in recent years.

One lives in Dry Lake Township, the other in Pelican Township.

“We found that each township has to do a strategic road plan and give it to Kevin?(Fieldsend),”  says Schemionek.

Schemionek also said there are only two FEMA employees in the region right now, and their plan is to start looking at roads in the region to see if they qualify for FEMA assistance.

For emergency repairs, there should be a minimum PW $1,000 per category, the applicant and facility must be eligible, work must be the responsibility of the applicant, costs must be fair and reasonable and all damaged sites must be identified to your assigned Project Specialist within 60 days of the kickoff.

Both Schemionek and Tollefson meet those eligibility issues, they say.

“All we can do is keep hammering,” added Tollefson. “There’s so many government entitities we’re up against.”

Both women say it’s vital that people come to meetings to show their support for the ongoing water issues.

The Devils Lake Executive Committee is scheduled to meet here soon and a strong show of support is encouraged for that gathering.

The two women say the community needs more momentum in its flood fight, and residents can’t let up. They need to stand together, they insist.

“How we measure success is by sending that lake into freezeup two feet lower than it was the previous year,” adds Tollefson.

“We need residents on board and we need them to be united. That Devils Lake Executive Committee is going to determine the future of the Basin.”