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Volunteers helped with ice storm issues

By Sherri Ellington Citizens Emergency Response Teams and public works and emergency personnel were thanked for a job well done during the recent ice storm. ’It was really busy Thursday,’ said Lamar EMA director Billy Campbell. ‘We had one commissioner out with the CERT teams at 7 a.m. and the county manager pulled out his chainsaw and went to work.’ Public works crews were out all night on Wednesday and worked into Thursday, with CERT members helping clear the roads of fallen trees and limbs ‘“ only to see more hit the ground. ’They did a good job of cleaning the roads quickly, even of large trees,’ said commission chairman Jay Matthews. ’Everybody pulled together and we dodged a bullet,’ said commissioner Charles Glass, who is a member of one of the local CERT teams. County manager Bob Zellner said the storm response entailed an estimated 180.5 man hours, 24 volunteer hours, 40 tons of M10 screening and 60 tons of number 89 rock spread on the roads to help prevent icing. Pretty much all the county’s equipment was called into use, including a tire loader, bush cutter, four wheel drive and other pickup trucks and a spreader. The county used 149 gallons of diesel and 192 gallons of gas. ’The Lamar Emergency Management Agency worked with GEMA to declare our state of emergency,’ said Zellner. ‘We’re now working with GEMA to see if we can get any federal funds.’ He added that limbs are still on the rights of way awaiting GEMA’s inspection of them to assess the damage across the county. ’There’s so much of it we’ll probably take bids on chipping it,’ said Zellner. Milner’s police department was on the ready, complete with snow chains and a generator. It reported a few tree limbs down along lines that were quickly removed. In addition, of 10 accidents during January, eight were snowstorm related. The public works department kept its generator going to keep three of Milner’s sewerage pump stations running during a brief outage. Only one failed to come back on line when power was restored. It, too, was quickly repaired. ’The Milner Arms apartments were out of power until Friday afternoon,’ noted city manager Harold Wilson. Barnesville’s manager Kenny Roberts noted, ‘There will be some extra costs for staff hours,’ because about 20-25 city employees worked around the clock from Tuesday morning until Thursday afternoon. Calls about downed trees and limbs kept coming in but no major electrical feeder circuits were affected. ’Most outages affected just small groups of houses,’ Roberts said. ‘Everybody was back up by Thursday morning except one resident whose outage report didn’t come in until Thursday morning. We had them back up in an hour.’ The average time power was off for any city resident was about an hour and a half. In past winter events the debris has amounted to hundreds of cubic yards. ’We didn’t have that this time. I’m very proud of our workers and I thank Blakely for sending us a crew we were able to release in just a short time,’ he Roberts. Aldora Mayor Jimmy Matthews said the city did not have any problems as far as he could tell: ‘If anything did happen, the city clerk didn’t call me, so I guess all was well.’ Insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens has said the estimated insured losses in Georgia from last week’s winter storm stands at $25 million and counting. The estimate was based on claims reported by various property and casualty insurance companies. Hudgens emphasized the claims reports are only a partial listing ‘“ not all companies have reported. He suggests property owners contact insurance agents immediately if there is damage to houses or cars; do not delay.

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