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Emergency shelter available


January 28, 2009
Crawford County Emergency Management Agency Director Kent Barrow said the county has set up an emergency shelter at Hillview Christian Church two miles west of Marengo along S.R. 64 for anybody without electricity. The Salvation Army and American Red Cross are providing food.

The shelter, he said, will be open at least through tomorrow (Friday), and at least 115 people were at the shelter as of Wednesday evening.

Barrow estimated 85 to 90 percent of the county is without electricity, with most of those being serviced by Duke Energy.

The Crawford County Board of Commissioners, at Barrow's recommendation, issued a state of emergency regarding travel. Only emergency vehicles and persons who must go to work should be on the roadways; all others are strongly urged to stay off the roads.

Even emergency response departments are having problems responding to calls.

"They've had problems. They're using four-wheel drives and everything," Barrow said.

Barrow said the county highway department is working to improve road conditions, but crews have been hampered by ice-covered trees.

"The county highway has been out working, cutting trees out of the road, so they could blade them and trees were falling behind them," he said, adding outside crews will be brought in tomorrow to help with tree removal.

Duke Energy officials report making "steady progress" in restoring power.

As of 8 this morning, the utility company had resolved approximately 61,000 of the estimated 95,000 power outages in its Indiana service area.

Officials said the hardest work is still ahead, as crews begin to tackle "time-intensive repairs affecting smaller groups of customers."

Repairs are expected to continue into the weekend.

Duke Energy customers can get storm news updates at http://twitter.com/DukeEnergyStorm.

An informational session scheduled for today at 4 p.m. by staffers from Indiana Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill's office has been canceled. The session was to answer questions about the DTV transition and setting up converter boxes.

In Harrison County, Greg Reas, the EMA director said this morning that few people were taking advantage of temporary shelters so some had been closed.

"We can re-open them or open others if the need comes up," Reas said.

Presently, the only shelters, or "warming stations," as Reas referred to them, are the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Department station in Corydon and the New Salisbury station of the Ramsey Volunteer Fire Department.

Reas said Palmyra United Methodist Church might still be open but phone calls to the church were unanswered.

The YMCA of Harrison County in Corydon is allowing members and nonmembers to use its showers, as well as use the facility to warm up. Lisa Fisher, the Y's executive director, said the facility is open 24 hours to accept people who need a warm place to stay.

Persons using the shelters are asked to bring their own blanket/sleeping bag and pillow, personal toiletries, medications they may need, and snacks (nonperishable food items) and bottled water.

"If things get worse, we have eight or nine other places ready to open," Reas said.

He also reminded everyone to check on their neighbors, especially those who may have decided to remain in their homes even though they don't have electricity.

"You may need to share resources with them," he said.

Harrison REMC reports that the number of customers without power has been cut in half since the peak of the outage, when approximately 18,000 members were without power in the utility company's five-county area.

Officials said restoration could extend at least through the weekend as crews work to resolves outages for the remaining 9,500 members who have lost power due to the storm.

Reas said persons with "true emergencies" should call 911. For other questions pertaining to the storm, call the dispatch center at 738-2195.

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