Notes:  ED = Elliott Davis > BB = Betsey Bruce.  >  The levee newscast with video excerpts lasted for almost 3 mins.  Plans are to post the events of MM's Levee Dedication Day, including a casual interview with Betsey Bruce, on Maureen's Nightmare Page asap.


(Lead-in/preview)  Marlene Hedrick, VP Resident:  It's been a long time coming - BB:  A new levee stands guard, protecting VP from its unpredictable neighbor.  Const is not quite complete, but that isn't stopping residents from celebrating.   (Actual newscast)  ED:  A 2-decade-old battle with the Mer River is almost over for VP residents.  Fox News' Betsey Bruce joins us with a look at what's making the difference.  Betsey. 


BB:  Well, Elliott, ton after ton of rock & dirt now stand between the small town of VP & the Mer River, but uh the uh $50M levee is not going to be complete until this Fall.  Life along the Mer is NOT without its drawbacks.  Here in the south end of VP, many residents put up with FLOOD AFTER FLOOD.  Marlene Hedrick, VP resident:  It's just been terrible.  No one knows what a flood does.  I mean it devastates;  it ruins everything u have.  BB:  Today, the river runs serenely just yards from the nearly complete levee.  But winning approval for the more than 3-mile project, finding the funds & completing the job took a joint city/federal effort & the work of 5 Congressmen beginning with Bob Young.  The levee includes massive steel gates like this one to close off roads & even these RR tracks when the Mer River floods.  The US Army COE supervised the work. 


Col C Kevin Williams (addressing the ceremony audience):  It is not an easy project.  We realize that - er &, & we appreciate your dedication & drive to see this thru - BB:  While some property owners still complained about losing their land to the levee, others predict a bright future.  Tory Catanzaro, biz owner:  Without the worry of rising flood waters in our city, new bizs will be looking into our area & moving in as well as families.  BB:  Cgsm Todd Akin sees the investmt as worth while.  Cgsm Akin:  When u have some security, uh certainly then u can build a, an industrial base uh for the city's point of view;  then they can get tax revenue. 


BB:  Had this levee existed 25 yrs ago, VP would've remained dry during the floods of 82, 93 & 94.  Marlene Hedrick:  It's been a long time coming & I think it's time that they can enjoy a little peace & quiet.  BB:  Now fed tax $'s is covering 75% of the cost of this levee.  Here in VP, the city financed $12M using a TIF, a Tax Increment Financing District.  Bizs tell me they're already seeing some benefit.  In fact for some of them, the cost of their flood insurance has already gone down.  Elliott.  ED:  Alright, tku, Betsey.  Some bizs are already seeing a drop in the price of their flood insurance now that the levee is nearly complete.