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In the bag: Volunteers finish sandbagging early in Cottage Grove

The view of River Acres resident Sharon Marcotte's home from the Mississippi River side of a dike built in recent days by some 70 volunteers. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente

A big turnout of volunteers helped to complete a sandbagging effort in Cottage Grove's River Acres neighborhood a day earlier than planned.

Volunteers finished bagging sand and building a dike to protect River Acres resident Sharon Marcotte's home from the rising Mississippi River. Marcotte's back door is at 691 feet, the lowest elevation for a home in Cottage Grove. The river is lapping at the edge of her property, her home several feet above that.

Some 70 volunteers worked shifts since Thursday morning to fill nearly 8,000 sandbags and build the dike across Marcotte's backyard. It measures more than 5 feet at its highest point.

All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, to which Marcotte belongs, organized the volunteer sandbagging effort. Church members, Boy Scout troops, city officials, college students, friends and strangers helped out.

Marcotte said she appreciated the assistance and that people who did not even know her came out to help.

The dike will stay in place for several weeks, she said, in case there are multiple river crests.

"It'll stay up through April," she said. "I'm not going to take it down too early."

Some other River Acres residents continued sandbagging over the weekend, but at higher elevations did not need volunteer assistance.

Stay with the Bulletin online for south Washington County flood information.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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