Disappearing homes in Dutchtown - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Dutchtown, MO

Disappearing homes in Dutchtown

Disappearing homes in Dutchtown
By: CJ Cassidy

DUTCHTOWN, Mo. - As nature closes in on one Heartland couple's home, another former Dutchtown resident says she knows their pain all too well.

The couple we introduced you to last night live along the banks of Hubble Creek in Dutchtown.

After this weekend's rains, they came out to find most of their backyard slipping away.

There appears to be a problem of jurisdiction - the Army Corps of Engineers says it typically gets involved when a problem affects several people, or if there's government land at stake.

The Little River Drainage District that manages parts of Hubble Creek, says it is asking the Corps to investigate, because it doesn't know if the part of the creek closest to Pat and David Barberis' home, is it's responsibility.

The Barberis' feel lost, and Hilda Stephens knows exactly how they feel.

"I said that's our house, and my son was here and he said no it's not," Hilda Stevens says.

She says she was transported back in time, when she saw our report on the disappearing land in the Barberis backyard, Monday.

That's because her house which also sat along the banks of Hubble Creek about a mile away, fell to the same fate more than twenty years ago.

"It was on the hill, and it started sliding. Gravel went down, but my husband didn't want to leave Dutchtown, so we stayed there," she recalls.

So the Stevens waited for the worst, and when it came - all they were left with were photographs of happier times and their memories.

"They never did give us nothing. What can you do? We wrote letters, but we ain't that smart. There's nothing you can do," Stevens says.

It's the kind of ending the Barberises hope to avoid.

Despite a visit from a Little River Drainage District representative Tuesday, the couple's resolve, like their land, is crumbling fast.

"The insurance company told us to pull the home out of here but it's a permanent dwelling can't put a trailer on it and pull it out. We're stuck here," Pat Barberis says.

And that's likely where they'll stay, if you base it on Hilda Steven's experience.

"There ain't nobody would do anything here," Stevens says.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, property owners can apply for a permit to put rocks on their side of the bank and stabilize their land. However that would also cost thousands of dollars, and the Barberises say that's money they simply don't have.

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