Rescue the Grand Tower

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan: Our nation doles out roughly $50 billion annually in foreign aid. Do a little research and you will find America is by far the global leader in aid to other nations.

It is a point of pride and a fitting role for a nation justifiably known as the beacon of freedom. A great deal of good is done for world health through U.S. dollars; benefiting recipient nations directly and the global community indirectly.

International disaster assistance also is supported by the U.S., to the tune of $2.04 billion for 2014. Perhaps all the money will be used wisely and for the good of humankind. We sincerely hope so. But couldn’t some way be found to siphon-off a measly $2 million to help a Southern Illinois community facing possible death and destruction from Mississippi River flooding?

That’s the outlook for Grand Tower, which during the 19th Century was the financial hot spot for Jackson County and a rival in population to both Murphysboro and Carbondale. Ironically, the tiny city (yes, it actually is incorporated as a city) could be destroyed by the very river which once brought prosperity and young riverboat pilot Samuel Clemens, better known today as Mark Twain, to the city’s streets.

Today, however, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ St. Louis District has warned local levee districts they might have to pay toward a permanent fix for a deficiency the federal agency admits was its fault. Pentagon approval will detail the specifics on the “fix” and its costs ...

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