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Recovery efforts making progress

Getting roads open top goal for officials

November 5, 2012
By Beth Christian Broschart, Melissa Toothman and Brad Johnson - Staff Writers, News Editor (bbroschart@theintermountain.com) , The Inter-Mountain

As a new week began Sunday, the effects of Sandy were still being felt, but local officials said tremendous progress has been made in recovering from the destructive storm.

"The National Guard is still here helping us, and we're glad to have them," Jim Wise, director of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management, said Sunday. "They're helping with food distribution to shelters, and they've also sent some chainsaw teams in and heavy equipment to move debris.

"The Red Cross is also bringing in hot meals for the shelters," Wise said.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Helping prepare meals Sunday evening at Elkins High School are cooks Cathy Collins, Tammy Hedrick, Danna Plum, Andrea Corley and Rosalie Martin. The school has been providing breakfast and dinner for residents without power, National Guardsmen, wood cutters, firemen and linemen since Thursday.

Wise said emergency responders have been working hard to clear Randolph County roads.

"The first goal was to get the roads passable, and the second was to widen the passable area so that emergency vehicles can get through if possible," he said.

"Locally, around Elkins, and up the valley and around the Montrose area, and in Whitmer and Harman, we've made great progress on opening up the roads," Wise said. "However, we're still putting a lot of effort in at Pickens, Helvetia and Monterville. There's still a lot of snow and downed trees there."

According to Mon Power, about 6,574 Randolph County customers were still without power at presstime, with 4,286 without power in Upshur; 3,380 in Barbour; 1,738 in Tucker; 1,100 in Lewis; 288 in Grant County; 16 in Pocahontas; and 10 in Pendleton.

Mon Power's estimates for restoration in Randolph County include Coalton and Norton by today; Harman by Tuesday; and the remainder of Randolph County by Friday.

Power restoration estimates in Barbour County include Philippi, Junior and Belington by today; the rest of Barbour County by Thursday. Restoration of power for the remainder of Upshur County is estimated at Tuesday, and the estimate for the remainder of Tucker County is Thursday.

The Elkins Randolph County YMCA will be open from 5 a.m.to 9 p.m. Representatives said the Y will run its child care service Monday because of the county school closure.

The Y is continuing to offer its facilities for showers and warming for those in the area who do not have power. The daily fee is waived when using the Y for showering and warming.

Classes at Davis & Elkins College will resume at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Registration day has been rescheduled for Nov. 13. Residental students who anticipate challenges returning to campus for classes Tuesday should contact Katie Bright, college retention specialist at 304-642-9364.

Dr. Michael Mihalyo, Chancellor at D&E, said the decision to reopen the college was made because he is confident that the campus in now safe and fully operational.

D&E's executive vice president and chief operating officer Kevin Wilson and executive director of the college's physical plant Ron Selders toured the campus and gave the green light to reopen.

"Despite our speedy recovery here at D&E, we recognize that many of our commuter students, particularly those in outlying areas, continue to remain without power," Mihalyo said. "Commuter students who may still need access to heated housing and/or hot showers are invited to contact the Office of Student Life at (304) 637-1211. Personnel in that office will be happy to help them address those needs."

Meanwhile, shelters in Randolph County continue to provide food and shelter from the cold. Tyrand Cooperative Ministries in Mill Creek has been open since Oct. 29. Meals are available at the site and for take-out. Volunteers have served more than 300 meals per day for those in need.

"We have received so many donations to help provide meals to those in need," said Belinda Toms, director of Tyrand Cooperative Ministries. "We have received donations from Randolph County Schools and the Elkins Lions Club. We are also grateful to Strohman Bread, IGA, Bob's Mini Mart and Dollar general for their cooperation and assistance in getting for to feed others."

Huttonsville residents Patsy Kyle and Crystal Scott said they came to the shelter because Patsy's husband is on oxygen and it requires electricity.

"It was necessary to come here," Scott said. "I have enjoyed meeting new people and having folks to talk to."

Local physician Dr. Farukah Khan said he was at Tyrand Ministries helping out.

"My wife and I decided to get out and help with these affected by the storm," Khan said. "While we were there, the shelter received three truckloads of ready-to-eat meals and three truckloads of water."

Dr. James Phares, superintendent of Randolph County Schools, updated the schools operation status as of Sunday. There is no school for students in Randolph County today. Staff was to report to their schools at 9 a.m.

Phares said Pickens and Valley Head schools were still without power Sunday, and he is hoping both schools will have power restored by today. All remaining schools have power and heat, except Elkins Middle School. Parking areas in all the schools have been cleared.

All schools have food supplies through Friday, and milk can be delivered on Tuesday.

Phares said the following evaluations were made on county school bus routes. These evaluations are for school buses only:

Bus 28A route is approximately 60 percent blocked, serving Coalton and Elkins.

Bus 9A route is approximately 30 percent blocked, serving Valley Head and Tygarts Valley.

Bus 48A route is approximately 50 percent blocked, serving George Ward and Tygarts Valley.

Bus 52A route is approximately 50 percent blocked, serving Coalton and Elkins.

Bus 1A route is approximately 40 percent blocked, serving George Ward and Tygarts Valley.

Bus 51A route is approximately 40 percent blocked, serving Homestead, George Ward and Tygarts Valley.

Bus 25A route is approximately 100 percent blocked, serving Pickens.

Bus 31A route is approximately 50 percent blocked, serving George Ward and Tygarts Valley.

Bus 42A and 33A routes are approximately 100 percent blocked, serving North and Elkins.

Bus 47 A route is approximately 50 percent blocked, serving North and Elkins.

Bus 35A route is approximately 50 percent blocked, serving Beverly and Elkins.

Bus 26A route is approximately 75 percent blocked, serving Beverly and Elkins.

Bus 29A route is approximately 40 percent blocked, serving Jennings Randolph and Elkins.

Bus 30A route is approximately 30 percent blocked, serving North Elementary and Elkins.

Bus 53A, 49A and 66A routes are approximately 100 percent blocked, serving Harman.

 
 

 

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