Clean up and recovery efforts continue in Guerneville after catastrophic floods

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Guerneville sign on the west end of town is covered in mud.

It tells the past, present, and immediate future of a community where, as flood waters recede, the piles of garbage.

RELATED: Sonoma County begins flood recovery after massive storm

"It's what we do. We get used to it. Learn from every flood," said longtime resident Wendell Joost, who spent part of today knocking out and disposing of drywall turned wet. He owns four buildings in town. He had insurance on only one of them, by choice, and has not paid a premium since 1995.

"I'm ahead of the game," said Wendell. "I knew how much it would cost and how much flood insurance is. It's expensive."

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When we saw Wendell last week, his front porch on 4th Street looked more like a dock, but the water never reached his third story living quarters. Years ago, Wendell used a federal grant helped him to raise the living space out of harm's way. He has a strong response to critics who accuse people like him of using taxpayer money to rebuild in a floodplain.

"Florida takes more money than we do, and we're a bigger state. So let's saw Florida off and give it to Puerto Rico."

Meantime, Guerneville waits for word about Federal Disaster assistance. Plenty of people could use it.

RELATED: Sonoma County estimates $155M in flood damages after massive storm

At the County Emergency office, we found Jennifer Harwood, a mother who works in construction. She moved to Guerneville on Valentines day after her travel trailer burned. Before that Coffee Park.

"I was kind of getting used to losing everything," said Jennifer. "But, this time I lost everything from my childhood. Nothing is left."
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