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We read letters from our listeners about Liane Hansen's trip to Grand Forks, N.D.


Time now for your letters - and there were many about our trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota to mark the anniversary of The Great Flood of 1997. Several of you wrote to praise the audio slideshow by photographer Bill Alkofer, which is still available for viewing on our Web site,

Although we made the decision not to disclose it, Sarah Smith(ph) wrote in and said:

We should acknowledge that former FEMA trailer resident Rosemary Wharton is WEEKEND EDITION producer Ned Wharton's mother. That is indeed a fact. And keeping it in the family, Ned's sister, Cecilie Sites(ph), listens to our program. During her Sunday run in Bonnie Lake, Washington, she sent this e-mail:

A lump rose up in my throat when I heard Grand Forks Herald editor Mike Jacobs talk about the gratitude he had felt from the Red Cross worker who had traveled across the country to help those in need. Then, tears came to my eyes when I heard the voice of my mother as she described her experience in FEMAville, in her ever positive and helpful way.

I became so engrossed in the program I didn't pay attention to where I was running, and suddenly found myself passing an unfamiliar field filled with about 50 cows all gazing at me curiously. In trying to make my way back home, I ended up running about twice as far I normally do. Thank you so much for the wonderful program and the added bonus of a great workout. Thanks NPR, Liane, and Ned.

We reported that there were no deaths in the Grand Forks area directly attributed to the flood or the downtown fire. Mary Pat Coin(ph) from Shoreview, Minnesota wanted to make the point that there were victims, and wrote about her father:

His nickname was Frenchie(ph) and he worked at Whitey's, the restaurant/bar you mentioned in your story. He was in his 70's when the flood occurred and he had a heart condition. I evacuated him on the Sunday after the city was closed and brought him up to stay with me. He had a heart attack and died the following Tuesday. I am sure my father died as a result of the flood.

And finally, Martha Vanderpan(ph) wrote from East Grand Forks, Minnesota to say:

Thank you for the touching story about the 1997 flood. Although our flood seems insignificant in comparison to what the Gulf Coast endured at the hands of Katrina, it was a big deal to us. We who live here continue to be astounded at the outpouring of love, help, and kindness that occurred in 1997. I hope that we can give back a tiny part of what was given us. Thank you for coming back to see how we're doing. We're doing great.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: You can write to us by visiting our Web site,, and when you're there, click on the Contact Us link.

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