Malone, NY, residents ponder uncertain future - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Malone, NY, residents ponder uncertain future

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It's been a busy few days for Darrell Lamica as he pumps five feet of water out of his basement. 

"Everything was floating around down here. These tables -- when the water comes up -- tip over, the flowers were all over the floor, my tools were down here," he said.

An ice jam on the Salmon River in Malone forced several feet of water onto Lower Park Street for nearly a week.  It finally broke up late last week, but not before ten homes were evacuated.

While the Lamicas have begun cleaning out their home, it remains to be seen when their neighbors will be allowed to return their properties. Electricity was cut to eight homes and the extent of the damage is still unclear.

"If we get a long stretch it is going to happen again," said Howard Maneely, Malone's Town Supervisor.

The ice jam formed two weeks ago during the deep freeze. And with temperatures expected to drop below zero again this week, emergency officials have taken precautions. They have piled up ice chunks, hoping they will hold back the Salmon River if another jam forms.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that channel is filled with silt," Maneely said.

Flooding due to ice jams has been a constant problem in the neighborhood since the 1990s when silt was sent down stream, reducing the water level from several feet to just a few inches. Due to the costs, the river has never been dredged. But after this year's record flooding, the federal government has informed the town it plans to provide funding to fix the problem. It could help cover the costs of dredging the river or offering home buyouts.

"To alleviate the problem someday they are going to have to dredge this river -- buyout is a quick fix," Maneely said.

The Lamicas say they would seriously consider a home buyout if offered, even though they thought this is where they would spend the rest of their lives. "After this winter, I'll take anything," said Judy Lamica.

"I have my doubts about them fixing the river," added Darrell Lamica.

A family fed up and looking for help before the next big flood.

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