Jun 30, 2020
Marker Commemorates Wyoming African-American Homestead Town
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JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A new historical marker commemorates a community established by African-American homesteaders in southeast Wyoming.
The marker recognizing the former town of Empire in Goshen County can be found at the Dwyer Junction Rest Area on Interstate 25 north of Wheatland in Platte County.
The marker is a collaboration between the University of Nebraska’s Center for Great Plains Studies and Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails.
Empire dated to 1908. Founders Charles and Rosetta Speese used the Enlarged Homestead Act to claim 320 acres of public land. Other African-American families joined them, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported.
Empire's population approached 60 within a few years but the community became a target of racially charged local disputes. The community broke into factions and farming difficulty caused the town to be largely abandoned by 1920.
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Kentland, Indiana homeowners struggle to recover after unprecedented flooding
KENTLAND, Ind. (WLS) -- Some northwest Indiana homeowners who were hit hard by flooding last weekend are waiting with uncertainty about cleanup and repairs to their homes.
The main issue many homeowners in Kentland have is not having flood insurance to pay for damage cleanup. Many residents don't have it because the majority of the town is not on a flood plain.
While Kentland town officials say they are working on it, the problem is some homeowners say they need the help now.
After last weekend's torrential rain storm, Kentland town officials say they got eight inches of rain in 24 hours that flooded and forced many out of their homes.
Sheryl and Terry Davis said the floodwaters in their backyard rose above two feet. The floodwaters have receded, but left behind tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
"It's just tremendous what it done to the house," Terry Davis said. "We don't know what to do."
The couple said they've been turned down by contractors who are afraid their insurance won't pay.
"I told them we cannot pay for it, we need to get assistance and they said well, when you get assistance, we'll come," Sheryl Davis said.
Sheryl said they never thought they would need flood insurance given the fact the majority of the town is not on a flood plain.
"Who would have known this would have happened?" she asked. "I've been here 45 years and nothing like this has ever happened."
Town leaders say they are aware and have since declared a local natural disaster to get help funding for residents.
"As they're doing the cleanup, we're trying to work behind the scenes so they have an answer sooner than later on what type of assistance we can get for them," said Mike Rowe, president of the Kentland Town Council.
But for Sheryl and Terry, time is not on their side. With no funding coupled with the fear of mold and other aftermath dangers growing, they say they can only wait and hope.
"I just have faith in God that he is going to help us and that's what I count on: prayer, faith and hope," Sheryl Davis said. "That's all I got."
Kentland town officials are now asking all residents with damage to report it online at www.in211.org.
They can fill out an assessment to see if they meet the qualifications for state or federal help.