Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 5:21 PM
Two days after severe weather associated with Superstorm Sandy struck Northeast Ohio, the region is pulling itself together, offering aid to people without electricity and assessing the damage. ideastream's Nick Castele reports.
Today the Red Cross served hot meals and offered beds at the Thurgood Marshall rec center in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood. It’s one of four Red Cross relief centers in the Cleveland area.
Forty people came here for breakfast, and 75 came for lunch. Most have gone when I arrive at mid day, but a few linger. Nearby some men are playing board games.
Yvonne Finley is sitting alone, eating noodle soup and a sandwich. She says her power’s been on and off for 48 hours.
YVONNE FINLEY: “The hot water and the stove, all of them are electric. So that means that my food is no good. So I threw a lot of it out, and I got to throw a lot of it out again when I come back.”
Finley says she walked her son and grandson to school in the dark because the streetlights were out.
A few miles away in East Cleveland, Mayor Gary Norton says he was one of 4,000 city residents without power. He spent the night at his grandmother’s with his wife and kids.
NORTON: “We had a hot breakfast this morning. Her house was great. It was nice and warm, and my family and I were very, very comfortable. And I love my grandmother more today than I have in forever.”
Norton says police officers are directing traffic at intersections where the lights are out. He’s trying to find generators to power traffic signals.
NORTON: “They’re in short supply these days…Lowe’s is out, Home Depot is out, from what I understand. And we think that we’ve located a few at an auto parts store.”
Norton says trees have fallen on some of the city’s many abandoned homes. The city tries to contact absent homeowners when it can—but Norton says he might have to ask the county land bank to just demolish some of them.
Fairview Park Mayor Eileen Patton says her city opened its rec center and senior center for people who need a place to go.
PATTON: “Our residents will be fine if they know. Our problem is, how do we get the word to them because they don’t have electricity?”
Patton says the city has sent out an email blast to residents and put a message out in front of city hall.
First Energy says it could take until the weekend to restore power in some areas.
DURBIN: “I know people are probably getting a little anxious.”
That’s Mark Durbin at First Energy. He says work crews have thousands of repairs to make—and they want to be safe while doing them.
DURBIN: “From a safety standpoint, we don’t want to have any safety shortcuts, regardless of customers without power. It’s something we won’t do.”
And there’s another thing that’ll have to wait a few days. Many cities in the area have put off Trick or Treating until the weekend.
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