Newark Advocate (Ohio)
BYLINE: By, L.B. Whyde
NEWARK – As generators hum and chainsaws grind through countless trees down around the city, residents agree trying to get on with their lives is the best thing they can do after weathering the biggest natural disaster to strike the county since the ice storm of 2004.
The December storm left many in the county without power for many days, but in that case, temperatures were brutally cold. As most of Newark soldiers on without power, this time it is doing so in the grip of punishing heat.
So in addition to cleaning up damaged property, residents are grappling to fulfill once simple but now vital needs: food, water, gasoline… and staying at least a little bit cool.
Abigail Reffitt, 25, was out cutting up a tree with the help of family members on the side road to their house on Church Street. She had a wild ride home from the downtown Park National Bank as she left during the storm on Friday.
“It’s the worst storm in my lifetime,” Reffitt said. “I ended up on Granville Road, the closed section, because the closure signs were down. When I got to 21st Street, the road closure signs were up and I had to get out in 3-inch heels to move that heavy thing. We’re are going to get a generator from my father-in-law in Hocking Hills in order to run our freezer and stuff.”
But even those who have generators are facing the prospect of obtaining fuel to continue to run those machines, particularly if power restoration actually stretches into the five- to seven-day range that has been estimated.
Several residents around the county were Tweeting Saturday afternoon that lines at the county’s few functioning gas stations were resulting in hour-plus waits.
The same was true of supermarkets: Wait times at the Kroger in Hebron were also exceeding an hour.
Garry McLaughlin, of Hancock Street, was reminded of the reason why he left Florida when this storm hit. In 2004, he lived through three hurricanes, so he moved back home to Newark.
“This is the biggest storm since the Blizzard of ’78,” McLaughlin said. “Last night was quite reminiscent of 2004.”
But he had enough gas (propane) for coffee and water for bathing, so this time he expects it to be a breeze.
Sue and Ed Robertson, from Florida, had to make an emergency trip to Meijer,, one of the few stores open, in order to get food for 30 people still planning to come to their three-year-old granddaughter’s birthday party.
“We had all the food ordered from Giant Eagle, but they are not open today,” Sue Robertson said. “We are just doing what we have to do.”
Bob and Alice Coyne, of Newark, also waited in line at Meijer to buy the few items they were purchasing.
“The main thing we came for was ice, but there is none,” Bob Coyne said.
Tony Pimentall, 43, and Jamie Miracle, 17, of Newark, were on their second trip to Meijer’s. Earlier they came in for water, batteries and flashlights. On their second trip, Miracle was buying a CD player so he had something to listen to while he was at work at a gas station. While there was no power and the station was not open, Miracle still had to be on hand to guard the building.
“I have no issues, as long as you are prepared,” Pimentall said. “To me this is like a mini vacation.”
“Not to me,” Miracle said. “I need my TV and X-Box.”
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