Wanda English Burnett - Editor
What would it be like to live
Some residents in Ripley and surrounding counties know the answer
to that if only on a limited basis. After a powerful ice storm
swept through the area last Tuesday into the morning hours of
Wednesday, (February 13 and 14) many residents were left without
power as the weight of the ice began to snap trees causing them
to fall onto power lines.
Power companies - Southeastern Indiana REMC, Decatur County
REMC, and Duke Energy, immediately had crews responding. The
situation was overwhelming, however, as they would make headway
and then have to go back due to more trees falling.
Commissioner Robert Reiners noted that the county highway garage
employees worked in cooperation with electric companies helping
to clear tree limbs and trees. Even with outside resources being
called in, it was impossible to restore power to everyone quickly.
This was definitely the worst ice storm Ive ever
seen here, noted Reiners.
Most people who were interviewed agreed that we just dont
realize how dependent we are on electrical current until it
There is only so much time that you can play hand held
electronic games, board games and color in coloring books,
laughed Amy Copeland of Versailles. Copeland and husband, Sam,
were out of power almost 24 hours last week. She noted that
they were literally cutting their way home on Tuesday,
February 13, when they saw a big blue flashing light
at their home. A tree had fallen taking out their transformer.
Sam and his father, Kenneth, had been assisting the state police
by cutting tree limbs and trees from roadways that day.
The Copelands five-year-old daughter Cierra was hoping
she would be able to go to her preschool on Friday - Little
Blessings - because they were having a Valentine party and dance.
However, that would not happen, as schools in the area closed
for the fourth time last week.
Were better off than some, noted Copeland,
who said her parents, Rosie and Mark Covington, live in Switzerland
County and didnt have electric or water for several days.
The Mike Brandes family were without power several days last
week and made some innovative decisions that allowed them to
stay in their home on 575 E. off 129.
Brandes said his sons, Michael, 15, and Cody, 9, were keeping
themselves busy by enjoying some outdoor sports such as sledding
and ice fishing. They were getting along fine without television,
according to their father.
When the temperature in the Brandes home dipped to 48 degrees,
Brandes said he knew it was time to act. Kerosene heaters were
obtained, which kept the house relatively warm and the water
pipes from freezing. After realizing it might be even longer
than anticipated for the electric to be turned back on, Brandes
obtained a generator to keep his refrigerator and freezer running.
Residents out on South Michigan Road near Holton, noted they
used lots of blankets to keep warm throughout their
48 hour ordeal with no electric. Ive been wearing
layers of clothes, noted Bridget Bush. She also said they
had been letting the water drip to keep the pipes from freezing
in the total electric home she and husband, J.R. rent.
Elaine and Russell Mortara, who live on South County Road 400
E. Dillsboro, (in the vicinity behind Brownings Campground),
were without power for days last week. We stayed one night
- Tuesday, and then went to our daughters home in Bright,
noted Mrs. Mortara. She said they couldnt cook and had
no phone service. I dont know when well have
electricity again, she noted on Thursday afternoon. She
had talked with representatives from Southeastern Indiana REMC,
who told her it would probably be Friday.
While people really want their electricity turned on and quickly,
all were certain the electric companies were doing everything
in their power (no pun intended) to accommodate them.
Theyve really got their hands full, Mortara
agreed, saying she felt they were doing the best possible job
with the weather situation the way it was.
Barry Lauber of Southeastern Indiana REMC told the press that
about 70 people were without power Sunday night, and he hoped
they would be on sometime yet that night or Monday. That was
mostly in the Milan, Moores Hill and Dillsboro area. At the
peak of the storm last Wednesday it was reported there were
more than 11,600 REMC customers without power. By Sunday morning
only 400 to 500 didnt have power and by Sunday evening
that number had decreased even more.
The snowfall on Saturday was a set-back to power crews as they
once again had to navigate the big trucks through the snow covered
roads. Lauber stressed that if you are still without power to
call the REMC at 689-4111 or 1-800-737-4111. The lines arent
nearly as busy as they initially were and you should be able
to get through quickly.he Gilpin home off Tanglewood Road in
Versailles were damaged from the heavy ice.