News from February 14, 2008 issue

Local News
The Crittenden Press (PDF)
(Selected pages from Sections A & B)
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Electric company crews repaired a damaged power line at Curve Inn on Sturigs Road Tuesday afternoon. West Carlisle Street was iced over and lines were down.

Storm recovery continues; many still
without power; no school Thursday
Power company crews, emergency workers and residents were still digging out from under a sheet of ice and snow that hit Marion and Crittenden County late Monday and Tuesday.
Local officials say it was the most widespread natural disaster in this county in more than 25 years.Power company officials from Kenergy and Kentucky Utilities say they are working every available employee, while additional crews and private contractors have been called in from other areas.
Donnie Phillips, the local manager at Kenergy, said this week's storm created a very rare problem for the electricity provider. Power comes to Crittenden County from two main sources, Big Rivers Electric Corp., in Henderson and from Barkley Dam at Lake City.
"We're on a loop and we lost both ends of the loop," said Phillips, who was coordinating 10 crews of more than 50 workers from the local headquarters on South Main Street in Marion. The men came in before 6 a.m., after being out until around 10 p.m., Tuesday night.
"It's very, very unusual that we lose both ends," Phillips said.
The two main trunk lines between Kenergy's main power sources and Crittenden County were repaired late Tuesday, he added.
Kenergy workers were concentrating in Crittenden County on the circuits that come off of the three substations located here. The substations are at Caldwell Springs, Sullivan and Marion. There are four circuits that come off of two substations and three circuits that come out of the Caldwell Springs hub, Phillips explained. The priority Wednesday morning was repairing main circuits coming from those substations.
Kenergy spokesperson Lisa Owen said that 2,400 Crittenden County homes were without power Tuesday.
Kenergy hoped to restore power to about 60 percent of those residences Wednesday, but some areas may be without power for another day or two, perhaps longer.
Phillips said the company is aware of the power outages, but if a resident sees visible signs of a problem, such as a downed line or pole or tree on a line, call the local office at 965-3186.
He said some right-of-ways will need to be cleared of downed trees and limbs, then the lines repaired. Damage is so severe in some areas of the county, that the restoration process could take days. Phillips could not predict when power would be restored for every Kenergy customer.
KU crews were in the Marion and Salem areas trying to restore power to about 1,000 customers still without electricity Wednesday morning. Crews from across Kentucky and elsewhere were brought in to help. Workers thought they would have power restored to many of those KU customers by Wednesday afternoon.
Because KU power was down at the Moore Hill water tower, Crittenden-Livingston Water District had trouble serving everyone in the county. The Moore Hill tower is used to fill the big tower atop Wilson Hill off Ky. 506 in Marion. The Marion tower, which holds 600,000 gallons, went dry early Wednesday morning, according to the water district's Ronnie Slayden. He said some customers may have noticed a loss of pressure or even dry taps after daylight Wednesday. About all that was left in the system was water in distribution lines.
KU had restored power to the Moore Hill pump at about 10:30 a.m., Wednesday and the water district hoped to begin refilling the Marion tank immediately. The Marion tank serves the eastern and southern parts of Crittenden County.

Some other storm notes from Tuesday and early Wednesday are as follows:
Crittenden County Judge-Executive Fred Brown and Disaster Emergency Management Deputy Director David Travis declared a state of emergency early Tuesday morning at 7:30 and notified the governor's office, which mobilized the Kentucky National Guard. Travis was the acting director of DEM most of the day as Director Greg Rushing was out of the county until about 4 p.m., attending required training in Paducah.
The Marion Police Department was set up as the county emergency operations center (EOC) early Tuesday. It was operating on backup generator power most of the day.
Schools let out around noon Monday and will remain closed through today (Thursday). At press time Wednesday, no decision had been made for Friday.
Members of Marion's A Company attachment of the Kentucky National Guard’s 206th Engineer Battalion arrived at 10:39 with four guardsmen and two humvees. Sgt. Frank Murphey was in charge of the relief effort that worked tirelessly all day and through the night evacuating people, directing traffic for work crews and assisting local authorities at a variety of emergency situations.
"This is the worst damage to trees and power lines that I have seen since I started in law enforcement," said Crittenden County Sheriff Wayne Agent.
Volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members were mobilized early Tuesday morning to help clear roadways and evacuate people in rural areas who needed to get to emergency shelters. Few were willing to go to the shelter until about dark Tuesday when it became apparent that many would go another night without power. Most homes in the county lost electricity between 2 and 3 a.m., Tuesday.
U.S. 60 closed at Dyer Hill curve due to falling trees at midday Tuesday and remained closed through Wednesday morning. One tree fell on a rescue vehicle at the scene. A utility pole fell across U.S. 60 near New Salem Church Wednesday morning, closing the road for a few hours.
Red Cross, with local director Geraldine Shouse and crew, arrived in Marion at 11 a.m., to assist the county in providing shelter and aid to those in need. The Red Cross set up its headquarters at Crittenden Elementary School. Marion Baptist and Marion United Methodist churches were ready to open their doors and provide emergency shelter for those in need; however, power was not restored to either building, thereby eliminating their use as emergency shelters. About 40 people sought overnight shelter at the elementary school Tuesday night.
Smoke in the Crittenden Hospital emergency room Tuesday at 12:03 p.m., sent city firemen in a rush to the scene. As it turned out, the source of the smoke was a heat and air unit that overheated. It caused no major problems. The hospital, clinic and new detention center were all operating on backup power systems Tuesday. All surgeries at the hospital and appointments at Family Practice Clinic were cancelled.
A handful of small fires broke out at homes, but none turned out to be serious.
Schools in Crittenden County were called off for Wednesday and may be out more days this week.
Sandy Heady, who works in the office at Kenergy in Marion, said phone calls were coming in constantly, but she had very little information for customers without power. They were advised to call 1-800-844-4832.
Lisa Owen, a spokesperson for Kenergy, said Crittenden was one of several areas in Kenergy's 14-county service area that suffered severely from the ice storm. About 10,000 Kenergy customers were without power in the region, including many in McLean, Daviess, Hopkins and Webster counties.
"Crittenden was the hardest hit," Owen said.
Every available employee was working on lines for Kenergy and Kentucky Utilities Tuesday and Wednesday. The electricity companies called in additional crewmen from Warren Rural Electric Cooperative in Bowling Green and other private contractors to help restore power.
Travis, the DEM deputy director, said he was advised that a major service line from Big Rivers Power had been severed, creating many of the problems in the Crittenden County area.
"Anyone in Crittenden County who is without power should make arrangements for long-term outages," Owen told The Press Tuesday. "It could be one day, two or maybe three before everything is back up."
District Court in Crittenden County was cancelled Wednesday.
National Guard troops, as well as local fire and rescue volunteers went door to door Tuesday searching for anyone in need of emergency service or shelter.
Judge Brown said getting the word out was difficult because the local radio station, WMJL, was down Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Also, most people had no electricity to get messages from WPSD-TV or other television stations.
Marion policemen started going door to door at Creekside and Bellville Manor apartments about 4 p.m., Tuesday looking for people who might need assistance. Everyone who did was taken to the shelter at CCES.
The National Guard's efforts were hindered by a lack of communications equipment. Their vehicles are not equipped with radios that allow them to communicate with one another, and they do not have hand-held devices. To alleviate the problem, county rescue squad members were called to the EOC and asked to give up their spare hand-held radios to the guardsmen operating in the county. Most were reluctant to do so because they were also on duty due to the disaster.
There was a serious accident about 4:20 p.m., just south of Marion on U.S. 641. One of the two vehicles burst into flames shortly after the collision and two people sustained serious injuries.
Crittenden County Deputy Don Perry said the wreck was a result of black ice that had formed as the temperature dropped just before dark.
Linda Tabor of Crayne, a passenger in a Mercury Mountaineer driven by Stacy Hardin, also of Crayne, and Whitley Adams, driver of a Plymouth passenger car, were both seriously injured in a head-on collision. Perry said both were transported out of town for treatment of their injuries. Hardin and a passenger in the other vehicle, Rodney Adams, were treated locally for their injuries.
Both of the Adamses are of Marion.
As temperatures dropped at sundown, road conditions worsened dramatically. Roads were completely covered with black ice, according to law enforcement officials, then it began snowing shortly after 5 p.m. Periodic snow continued to fall Wednesday morning.
Conrad's Food Store and Food Giant were both open early Tuesday, but by late afternoon only Conrad's on the south side of town was operating. The deli was especially busy as people without electricity flocked to town all day seeking a hot meal. Lori Holeman at the deli said they served more than 1,000 meals Tuesday. Getting fuel was another problem for most residents as power outages kept most of the city's gas stations from being able to pump fuel. Liberty Fuels on the south side of town was able to stay open most of the day.

City crews were working to clear North Maple. Members of the Kentucky National Guard go over county maps as they plan Tuesday's rescue mission.

Local brush dump to
stay open for disposal
In the wake of this week’s destructive ice storm, property owners will have tons of debris to dispose of. In Crittenden County, a municipal dump site has been expanded to accomodate disposal.
The brush dump off Bridwell Loop in Marion will remain open all week during regular business hours for dumping, according to Marion Mayor Mickey Alexander. As usual, disposal is free for tree and other brush waste from both city and county residents.
“It will be open as long as we need it,” Alexander said.
Residents should not leave limbs on the curb for garbage collection, and limited manpower will not allow pick-up by municipal employees.
“I don’t think there will be enough people to do that,” the mayor said. “Of course, we’ve got our own cleanup to do.”
Burning is permitted in limited circumstances and under specific conditions. Because of forest fire hazards, burning within 150 feet of woodlands or brush land remains illegal from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., through April 30.
Residents needing to dispose of storm debris on their own property should first notify their local emergency operations center (965-3500) for instructions. To minimize environmental impact, those property owners should not be burn debris until it is dry, at least on exterior surfaces. Small amounts of clean diesel fuel or kerosene, not to exceed five gallons, may be used to aid ignition.
Further information about what to do about damage from a storm, and restrictions on open burning are available at
General disposal guidelines are as follows:
For woody vegetative waste, recycling by shredding or chipping is encouraged. If recycling is not feasible, contact the solid waste coordinator at 965-5251 if you have questions about disposal.
The Division of Forestry can offer advice and/or contact information to address urban trees that have storm damage.  For more information, go to
The Kentucky Office of Insurance offers a brochure, After the Storm Has Passed, online at

Outages create food concerns
Jim Tolley, director of the Pennyrile District Health Department, advises residents to take the following precautions regarding food during times of power outage and after electricity is restored:
A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours, 24 hours if it is half full. If it looks like the power outage will last for several days, 50 pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for two days.
Keep appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer no matter how long the power has been out. The refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees or below: the freezer, 0 degrees or lower. If you are not sure a particular food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer. If you can't do that, throw it out. Do not take a chance.
Throw out any perishable food in your refrigerator, such as meat, poultry, lunchmeats, fish, dairy products, eggs and any prepared or cooked foods that have been above 40 degrees for two hours, because bacteria can multiply to unsafe levels under these conditions.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are safe as long as they are still firm and there is no evidence of mold or sliminess.
If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, read the temperature when power comes back on. If the appliance thermometer stored in the freezer reads 40 degrees or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine the safety.
If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees or below, it is safe to refreeze.
Raw meats, and poultry, cheese, juices, breads and pastries can be refrozen without losing too much food quality.
Prepared foods, fish, vegetables and fruits in the freezer, can be refrozen safely, but food quality may suffer.
Remember, you can’t rely on appearance or odor of the food to determine if it is safe. Food that has thawed or was held above 40 degrees for more than two hours should be thrown out because bacteria may multiply to unsafe levels.
If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while they are still at safe temperatures, it's important that the food is thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to assure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present is destroyed.
Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source before eating.
For infants, if possible, use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water. When using concentrated or powdered formulas, prepare with bottled water if the local water source is potentially contaminated.
To remove spills and freshen the freezer and refrigerator, wash them with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in one quart of warm water.
To absorb any lingering odors, place an open box or dish of baking soda in the appliance.