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TILTON — It was all hands on deck Sunday in Tilton when the skies dumped 7 inches of rain in three and a half hours.

Village trustees joined public works employees in helping in the midst of the flood conditions.

“There were eight crew members out between public works and village trustees, whether getting pumps out or blocking public roads,” Trustee Ryan Washkowiak said.

Facebook was full of residents’ comments praising the work of the village personnel.

By Tuesday, the lakes that had formed in people’s yards were pretty much gone. There was standing water remaining along a few roadsides and in some yards. But for the most part, things had returned to normal.

Chuck Wolf said two of the properties he owns on Crestwood Street had water standing in the basements.

“We just spent $800 in one of them,” Wolf said, “and I was told my water heater was no good” because of 2 feet of water in the basement. “So we’re going to Menards” to get a replacement.

The neighboring house he owns had 4 feet of water in the basement.

“A lot of that is because ... that alley down there, water backs up. I ain’t got nothing to say about the village. I worked for them for 28 years as police chief.”

Wolf said any house with a basement got water.

About every yard, too.

The yard of Janice and Greg “Flea” Heath on Brickyard Road “was full of water,” she said, pointing to photos on her phone that showed the flooding progress.

Janice Heath was at the Tilton laundromat, where a Boy Scout leader showed up to launder Scouts’ wet clothing, made soggy by the rain when they camped.

Chris Gray, assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 139, based in Sullivan, Ind., said the Scouts took the downpour in stride.

“We’ve got a saying in Scouts: ‘It’s not summer camp unless it’s raining,’” he said.

In other words, the Scouts are always prepared — to get wet.

They were camped at Camp Drake near Oakwood when the downpours came.

“It was quite a bit of rain,” Gray said. “We had a little bit of tent flooding ... just where the tents leaked through. We had to run some clothing down to the laundromat so the Scouts had some dry clothes.”

On Tuesday, the Scouts were in Day 3 of a week-long stay at Camp Drake.

Scouts Jonah Fonner and Gwen McLain, both of Urbana, looked on the sunny side.

“There’s always rain at camp,” Fonner said.

Added McLain, “It wasn’t that bad compared to what it could have been.”

In Tilton, motorists Sunday were warned not to drive through standing water. Washkowiak said one driver learned the hard way. Their vehicle stalled and had to be towed out.

Washkowiak said several residents called the village asking for sump pumps.

He said Tilton had received 15 inches during the past two weeks.

“There is no adequate number of pumps, no adequate number of drains that would alleviate that much rain, especially when you have a cell that hovers over town that long. ... It just starts to accumulate,” Washkowiak said. “I’ve lived in Tilton my entire 22 years, and this is probably the first time I’ve seen water stand the way it did.”

The trustee said the village is in the process of upgrading its sewer system.

“I do know the mayor has got a game plan together on areas of town that need some work,” he said. “That plan is to answer those problems as quickly as we can.”

Our County Editor

Dave Hinton is editor of The News-Gazette's Our County section and former editor of the Rantoul Press. He can be reached at dhinton@news-gazette.com.

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