VAN BUREN — Frances Barnes wants to dry out her record player.

The family heirloom was a gift from her father to her mother in celebration of their first wedding anniversary. When Barnes, 50, inherited the record player, hundreds of records came with it.

She loves music, but isn’t much of a singer.

"I couldn’t carry a note in a bucket if I wanted to," she said.

The records were destroyed in the town's flood, and the turntable was waterlogged.

Barnes's house has been condemned. She was one of six displaced residents who stayed in Van Buren’s youth and community center Wednesday night, almost a week after the town was ravaged by floodwaters from the Current River.

At the peak of the flooding, the river crested at 37 feet, 8 feet above the previous record, set in 1904. Officials estimated 55 houses had been destroyed through Wednesday morning.

Terry Richardson, 55, who was coordinating relief efforts at the center for the Missouri Water Patrol, said the majority of displaced residents were either staying in nearby motels or with family and friends.

Attendance at the temporary shelter was minimal when breakfast began at 8 a.m. Thursday. Leslie Richardson, 51, mixed an egg wash to make French toast. She works for the National Park Service and is married to Terry Richardson.

Leslie Richardson and other volunteers served about 300 people for dinner Wednesday night.

Lunches, which have averaged about 250 people, have been provided with help from the food industry.

Tyson Foods donated a tractor trailer of frozen chicken, Terry Richardson said, and Colton's Steak House, a restaurant in Poplar Bluff, will serve lunch Friday.

Harvey Stivers, 53, a volunteer firefighter and husband to Barnes, said he had been at the shelter since the couple's house flooded. He has continued to attend to his duties with the fire department.

Barnes was hoping Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers were on their way. She said she wants to stay on the property, even if her house has to be torn down.

Her daughter, Nikkta Stivers, 19, went back to the house Saturday afternoon to recover Barnes’s photo albums. Nikkta Stivers and her father, Harvey Stivers, saved most of the photos, Barnes said.

The house has shifted off the foundation, there are holes in the floor and the roof has collapsed, Barnes said.

She has her photo albums and will probably keep the turntable, even if it won't power up.

"As long as you've got your memories, that's a good thing, I guess," she said.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

  • Assistant City Editor. Undergraduate studying investigative journalism. Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

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