Saturday, January 31, 2009

KY deploys full Army Nat'l Guard for storm cleanup

By BRUCE SCHREINER and BETSY TAYLOR, Associated Press Writers Bruce Schreiner And Betsy Taylor, Associated Press Writers

(See original article here.)

MAYFIELD, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear deployed every last one of his Army National Guardsmen on Saturday, with his state still reeling after a deadly ice storm encrusted it this week.

More than half a million homes and businesses, most of them in Kentucky, remained without electricity from the Ozarks through Appalachia, though temperatures creeping into the 40s helped a swarm of utility workers make headway. Finding fuel — heating oil along with gas for cars and generators — was another struggle for those trying to tough it out at home, with hospitals and other essential services getting priority over members of the public.

The addition of 3,000 soldiers and airmen makes 4,600 Guardsmen pressed into service. It's the largest call-up in Kentucky history, which Beshear called an appropriate response to a storm that cut power to more than 600,000 people, the state's largest outage on record. Many people in rural areas cannot get out of their driveways due to debris and have no phone service, the governor said.

"With the length of this disaster and what we're expecting to be a multi-day process here, we're concerned about the lives and the safety of our people in their own homes," Beshear said, "and we need the manpower in some of the rural areas to go door-to-door and do a door-to-door canvass ... and make sure they're OK."

Staff Sgt. Erick Duncan of Murray said he and his colleagues have been putting in long shifts to open tree-littered roads. Duncan, who manned a chain saw, said he expects the assignment to last quite a while.

"It's a mess and we're just in the city limits," he said. "We're not even out in the county yet. And there's plenty of cities and counties to go to."

Thousands of people were staying in motels and shelters, asked to leave their homes by authorities who said emergency teams in some areas were too strapped to reach everyone in need of food, water and warmth. The outages disabled water systems, and authorities warned it could be days or weeks before power was restored in the most remote spots.

That uncertainty had many appealing for help and officials urging those in dark homes to leave, if they could — many were stuck in place by blocked roads and other obstacles.

The storm that began in the Midwest had been blamed or suspected in at least 42 deaths, including 11 in Kentucky, nine in Arkansas, six each in Texas and Missouri, three in Virginia, two each in Oklahoma, Indiana and West Virginia and one in Ohio. Most were blamed on hypothermia, traffic accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning.

From Missouri to Ohio, thousands were waiting in shelters for the power to return. As far away as Oklahoma, around 10,000 customers still had no electricity.

At Graves County High School in western Kentucky, where 490 sought shelter Friday night, Ruthann Taylor, 23, said she tried to ride out the early part of the storm at home with her 1-year-old son, but it simply got too cold.

"I woke up the next morning and my son was pretty much an ice cube," Taylor said. "I said 'OK, we've got to go.'"

Fuel shortages, a problem since the storm, spilled into the weekend, with radio stations that normally broadcast music telling people where they could get gas and oil businesses ranking customers according to how urgently they needed it.

"We're trying to prioritize to get fuel to hospitals, nursing homes, ambulance services," said David Dunlap, regional sales manager for MFA Oil Co., which has 10 locations in southeast Missouri.

With the power back on in Tennessee's northeast corner, Kentucky residents headed across the state line to get fuel. Obion Co. Propane Gas general manager Ken Walker said he gets five customers on the average day at his shop in Union, Tenn.

He saw 200 in a single day Thursday.

"They are bringing their propane cylinders, camper bottles and whatever else they can to do what it takes to stay warm," Walker said.

The community of Caruthersville, Mo., about 200 miles south of St. Louis, had its own supply of about 8,000 gallons of diesel and another 8,000 of gas. Workers used generators to power pumps to get fuel to power other generators around town, including one that kept the water plant going. Reserve water supplies were on hand in case of additional emergencies.

"I can't feel real good about it until all our people are back in a comfortable environment," Mayor Diane Sayre said.
Betsy Taylor reported from St. Louis. Associated Press writers Roger Alford in Leitchfield, Ky., and Janet Cappiello Blake in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Residents face long, icy wait for power to return

By BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press Writer Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jan 29, 3:25 pm ET

(see original article here)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More than a million homes and businesses were left in the cold without power Thursday in the wake of an icy winter storm could face a lengthy wait for electricity to come back, even as federal help was promised to two states hit hardest by the blast.

President Barack Obama signed requests late Wednesday from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe for federal emergency declarations. Crews — even the National Guard in Kentucky — worked around the clock to resurrect power lines downed by thick ice.
At a mall turned into a staging area in Barboursville, W.Va., crews in hard hats met alongside piles of poles, generators, wire and other supplies to find out where to go first. A convoy with crews from as far away as North Carolina was there to help.

"We're attacking it head on," said Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye. "As long as the ice is still on the trees, the storm is still here."

Utility officials estimated more than 1.3 million homes and businesses from Arkansas to Ohio were powerless, and warned it could be mid-February before some customers had power.
Various charities opened shelters across the region, but with the power out nearly everywhere — including at some radio stations — it was difficult to spread the word. Some deputies went door to door and offered to drive the elderly to safety.

Some huddled next to wood-burning fires and portable heaters to fend off the frigid air. Communities urged people to conserve water because the outages could limit supplies. Those who stayed put in their homes relied on gas stoves to cook food, and emergency officials feared the crisis could escalate as temperatures plunged.

"I'm so worried that we're going to have a death due to hypothermia or carbon monoxide," said John Robinson, the severe weather coordinator for the National Weather Service at North Little Rock, Ark. Space heaters, if improperly used, can generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
In Boone County, Ark., Sheriff Danny Hickman said the jail lost power and its generator failed. The lockup's 23 inmates had to be moved to other jails until utility service returns.

The storm has been blamed for at least 24 deaths so far. Kentucky officials Thursday added two that they called weather-related: A woman who died while an ambulance on the way to her was blocked by impassable roads and a woman who fell on her basement stairs while she was retrieving a kerosene heater. A woman in Indiana died while shoveling snow.

Tony Cipolla managed to keep warm by building a fire at his powerless home near Seneca Park in Louisville, cooking a pot of soup over a gas stove. But there wasn't a long-term plan for Cipolla and his two children, ages 5 and 9, if electricity wasn't soon restored.

"If it'll be a couple days, then we'll be in trouble," Cipolla told The Courier-Journal in Louisville, where temperatures dipped into the 20s overnight.

More than a half-million were without power in Kentucky, where the power outages produced by the ice storm were outdone only by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, which lashed the state with fierce winds last year, leaving about 600,000 customers without power.

"We've got lots of counties that do not have any communication, any heat, any power," Beshear, the state's governor, said Wednesday.

Kyle Brashears' family rode out the storm in their Mountain Home, Ark., home before fleeing to relatives after half an ice-caked oak tree fell into their home.

"It caved the roof in and ripped the gutter off, although it didn't penetrate inside," he said. "I was walking around outside until about 1 a.m. and it was just a nonstop medley of tree limbs cracking off."

After building in Texas and Oklahoma on Monday, the storm moved east, finally dumping more than a foot of snow in some parts of New England. Except for school cancellations and some airline delays and cancellations, the storm lost steam as it moved east.

In Ohio, passengers on an AirTran Airways flight were held up to 10 hours before finally taking off. Travelers in Columbus boarded Flight 373 for Orlando at a little before 7:30 a.m.

Wednesday. Passengers say it took more than four hours for the plane to push out of the snow at the gate, then were delayed even more when deicing wouldn't work as freezing rain and snow fell.

People were allowed off the plane at lunchtime, then got back on board and sat for several more hours until AirTran gave up on the deicing and brought in another plane, passenger Tiara Berger said. AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said the flight probably should have been canceled, and that the passengers will receive free roundtrip tickets.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio; Justin Juozapavicius in Tulsa, Okla.; Daniel Shea in Little Rock, Ark.; Rick Callahan in Indianapolis; Ben Feller in Washington; Ben Greene in Baltimore; Dan Sewell in Cincinnati; and John Raby in Charleston, W.Va.; and Patrick Walters in Philadelphia.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Lighthouse - A Journey in Obedience

Recently I purchased one of those short, round I-Robot vacuums that do all the work for me. It came with virtual walls or lighthouses that keep it within one room. I can set it as a virtual wall to keep it from leaving the room, or I can set it to a lighthouse to have it completely clean that room before moving onto the next. My husband found it amusing that I would watch it clean as that defeated the purpose of having it do the work. Then, I caught him doing the same. What I noticed I found very interesting.

In order to get the layout of the room it would wonder aimlessly until it would hit something. Then, it would turn and go in another direction until it would hit something, turn and hit, sometimes the same something that it originally hit, but now in a different spot. Sometimes it travels from one side of the room to the other without any obstruction. Sometimes it spins in circles when it hits a concentrated spot of dirt until it feels it has been sufficiently cleaned. By the time 45 minutes has passed, it had cleaned the entire room multiple times and then returned to its docking station to be recharged.

I began to notice a parallel between my I-Robot and my life. I thought of the times that I felt I was simply moving along, trying to figure out my course and bumping into walls, then readjusting my aim only to bump into something else. There have been times I felt I was spinning in circles during a difficult part of my journey. There were also times that I felt that I had hit virtual walls where I couldn’t seem to move past something or forward in my life.I much preferred the virtual lighthouses in my life. They are not walls, but guidance through council provided to direct my course during my journey. I consider our modern-day Prophet one of my biggest lighthouses. By listening, studying, pondering, praying about, and practicing the counsel and guidance that he provides to me, I have felt a comfort in knowing that through that obedience I have been properly and safely steered.

One of those councils is to be prepared in storing food. There are many avenues in which we have been directed in heeding that council. One avenue is gardening, another is education. There are tips in frugality and organizing our homes.

Food storage is much more than merely buying and storing food. It is a lesson in obedience, patience, consistency, and faith. Oftentimes, we relate food storage to the story of the ten virgins, assuming that our food storage is the oil. It occurred to me that the food storage is NOT my oil…. But, my obedience to the Prophet of the Lord in obtaining food storage is the oil. The increased patience that I learned in consistently building as my budget permitted is the oil. The faith that I have knowing that regardless if whether or not I will ever get to use the food during an emergency and trusting that I will still be provided for is my oil. The food was the tool that a wise Father in Heaven has used to help me fill my lamp.

Through my journey to build an emergency supply, learn to cook, create menus, and share what I have learned I remember that regardless of these efforts, the real test is in following the council of my Living Prophet. He is my lighthouse to which I can watch and heed his warnings and council in order to avoid the unnecessary walls in my life. I am grateful for that.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bread Recipe

Someone recommended this link to me for making bread.... thought I'd share it with you. Here it is. For your convenience, here is the article in pdf.