To the editor:

Before Hurricane Ida and the destruction it caused completely fades from our memory, let's spend a minute reflecting on how fortunate we in Athens were to have been spared the worse of the rain and flooding. The storm was just one of the manifestations of the rapidly escalating number of extreme weather events to hit the country, and the world, this summer.

In one community after another, the destructive effects have been worsened because neither local or state officials took necessary steps to mitigate against potential damage.

Much of Athens is in a flood plain. Have we taken any steps in that direction ourselves? The Hocking River along the length that runs through town used to be regularly dredged. With the absence of this procedure, I've watched as year after year, the channel through which the water runs has narrowed with silt and the river's bed has steadily risen, making the likelihood of flooding every greater.

It took only one night of heavy rain recently for the river level to go from shallow to nearly overflowing. Are we going to be yet another community that says, after a disaster, we just didn't expect it would be this bad?

Sandy Plunkett


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