April 25, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
52°F
test

Shelter set up for Avon Lake residents whose power remains out

AVON LAKE — With prospects of falling temperatures and reports of power not being restored to some neighborhoods until Sunday or Monday, the city and the American Red Cross plan to open a reception center for anyone without heat.

The center opened 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Joseph Catholic Church and School at 2929 Lake Road, according to Rita Price, director of the county’s Red Cross chapter.

“We’re moving the reception center and warming station that was in Lorain to Avon Lake,” Price said.

The Lorain center, which was at Christ Lutheran Church on Clinton Avenue, closed 4 p.m. Thursday.

The Avon Lake center offered hot coffee and other beverages as well as light snacks through the night. A breakfast was expected to be served, Price said.

“It will be well staffed, and people will be well taken care of,” Price said.

Just how long the shelter will operate will depend on the number of people using it.

“We’ll be assessing the needs day by day,” Price said.

The center is open to Avon Lake residents as well as those without power or heat in neighboring communities who need a place to stay overnight.

“With the temperatures dropping and the fact that this situation has extended so many days, we wanted to be sure we were in the area,” Price said.

An estimated 1,500 Avon Lake residents remained without power as of this morning, according to FirstEnergy’s website.

Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said city officials had been told earlier Thursday by FirstEnergy that power might not be fully restored before Sunday or even Monday.

“I find that shocking and disappointing,” Zilka said.

But the utility said it expects to have power restored to all Lorain County households, including another 500 Ohio Edison customers outside the city, by noon today, Young said.

Avon Lake locations still without power Thursday included an area in the eastern part of the city known as the cottage district, and Independent Village, a senior living facility on Lear Road across from Learwood Middle School.

Belmar, Artsdale, Curtis, Morewood and Beachwood streets on the city’s west side remained without power Thursday, as were Jamestown, Williams and Fredericksburg, just west of Lear Road, Zilka said.

The senior complex and school have been without power since Tuesday, as have Eastview Elementary and Troy Intermediate schools.

Avon Lake Schools Superintendent Robert Scott said officials were hopeful all three schools would have power restored by today. The three schools have used three of their five allotted calamity days.

“And this is before the snow comes,” Scott said. “It’s not a good number to be at.”

Scott said he has been in touch with elections board officials about what will be done if power is not restored in time for next week’s election. Learwood Middle School serves as a polling site.

“It has multiple precincts, so they’re looking at contingencies for alternative sites if it comes to that,” Scott said.

Power was restored to Columbia High School on Thursday morning but not in time to resume classes for the day, according to Superintendent Graig Bansek.

High school students were still going to have today off for a scheduled in-service day. The weeklong power outage has used up three of five allotted calamity days for the high school, Bansek said.

The extended outage ruined a sizable quantity of food stored in the high school kitchen freezers that will have to be replaced, Bansek said.

In LaGrange, Rebecca Miller and her husband are among 18 Ohio Edison customers on West Main Street who have been without power or heat since midnight Monday when a tree fell over in a neighbor’s yard, knocking out two transformers.

In the intervening days, the residents, all of whom live just west of the village square, have dealt with the situation differently.

The Millers drove to Michigan to buy a generator to get their power back on until service crews restore electricity to the area.

The couple lost all of the food in their freezer and refrigerator, as did others on the street. They also had
2 feet of water in their basement, which stopped just below their furnace.

“We have one lady who sews quilts, and they were floating in the basement,” Miller said.

Another neighbor, a 93-year-old woman, was without heat but declined offers of heaters, saying she was OK, Miller said.

“We also had a family with a newborn baby who I believe went to stay with family members,” Miller said.

The Millers spent time Thursday with Rebecca’s parents, who live on the north side of LaGrange.

“We came up here to wash clothes, get something to eat and get warm,” Rebecca Miller said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.