Blue light, green light: Iowa neighborhoods offer water, laundry service to those in need

Blue light, green light: Iowa neighborhoods offer water, laundry service to those in need
Homes in the Cedar Hills subdivision in Iowa with well water are offering free water and laundry service to neighbors affected by flooding. They use a color-coded light system: If a blue light is on outside a house you can drop off your laundry, and if it's green you can fill up on water via a hose.

Struggling to get by without water in Mills County, Iowa?

Look for the lights.

In yet another example of the generosity and kindness that’s come out of the flooding in Nebraska and Iowa, residents in a couple of neighborhoods near Glenwood are offering well water and laundry service to residents who have been affected by flooding or water restrictions.

“We’re fortunate,” said Dave Meyer, a resident the Cedar Hills subdivision between Glenwood and Malvern. “We have a home to go to, we can take a shower. All they need is water.”

The other neighborhood is the Inglewood Lane subdivision just east of Glenwood on Ingrum Avenue.

Both neighborhoods have set up a coded system with lights outside participating houses: If a blue light is on, you can drop off laundry with your name and number and residents will wash, dry and fold it for you.

If the green light is on, feel free to fill up water jugs with the garden hose outside.

“We’re not asking anything in return, we just want to do that for them,” Meyer said. “Pacific Junction has total devastation. Glenwood is on water restrictions and a boil (order). Each of our houses is on a well.”

Starting last Thursday, at least six homes in Cedar Hills were offering laundry service and more than a dozen were offering clean water.

Inglewood Lane is offering the services from 4 to 8 p.m. each night. The neighborhood has a makeshift sign up.

Megan Kendrick, of Inglewood Lane, said it’s important to conserve water in town — the school district has said it will have to cancel classes if there’s not enough water for the sprinkler systems inside, and kids have already missed so much school because of the snowy winter.

“It’s not going to cost us anything,” Kendrick said. “We’d rather share it than sit here with all this water.”

With the Glenwood water facility offline for what could be weeks, Meyer said his neighbors are prepared to offer help for as long as it takes. They’ve got a collection going for laundry detergent and other supplies.

“Some of these people are still in their clothes that they walked out of their house with four or five days ago,” Meyer said. “If we can give them some clean clothes, that’s small compared to what they’re going through.”

Parts of Interstate 29 have reopened south of Council Bluffs

A limited portion of Interstate 29 has reopened along a stretch south of Council Bluffs that had closed because of flooding.

The Iowa Department of Transportation said Saturday that I-29 southbound is open from the Interstate 80/I-29 interchange in Council Bluffs to the U.S. Highway 34 interchange near Glenwood.

However, the Exit 34 interchange near Pacific Junction (the I-29/U.S. 34/U.S. 275 interchange) is only open to southbound traffic exiting to go east toward Glenwood, the department said.

As of Saturday, the department said other interstate closures remain, including:

» I-29 southbound from the U.S. 34 interchange near Glenwood to north of St. Joseph, Missouri, at U.S. Highway 71.

» I-29 northbound from north of St. Joseph, Missouri, at U.S. 71 to the Iowa 92/U.S. 275 interchange in Council Bluffs.

» I-29 in both directions between the Interstate 680 interchange near Loveland and North 25th Street in Council Bluffs.

» Interstate 680 in both directions from the Nebraska border at the Mormon Bridge to I-29 near Crescent.

Drivers can check updated closure information at or