City, county business returns to normal

0
Cindy Rowland of Duke Energy (front left) and Nancy Chance of Good Samaritan Network look over home addresses as (back row from left) Mike Alley of Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency, Noblesville Assistant Police Chief Scott Kirby and Carmel firefighter Joel Heavner look at power outages across the county at the Emergency Operations Center on Jan. 7. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Cindy Rowland of Duke Energy (front left) and Nancy Chance of Good Samaritan Network look over home addresses as (back row from left) Mike Alley of Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency, Noblesville Assistant Police Chief Scott Kirby and Carmel firefighter Joel Heavner look at power outages across the county at the Emergency Operations Center on Jan. 7. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

City update

It will be business as usual today in Westfield, according to Mayor Andy Cook.

“All roads and streets are open – most of them in neighborhoods have been plowed several times,” Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said, adding motorists are advised to use discretion when traveling. “We’re putting down salt and hope Mother Nature raises temperatures.”

Cook said the biggest problem with snow removal is cul-de-sacs and “the lack of space or where to put the snow.”

While there were a few slide-offs, Westfield had no major police or fire calls during the storm.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Cook said.

Cook said the storm required additional contracted plowing services in addition to the full public works arsenal. The financial impact on the city is not yet known.

“You don’t worry what it takes – the cost to get it done,” he said. “You don’t get to a point where you’re going to stop.”

 

911 is for emergencies

Officials said a major issue is residents calling 911 for information and not emergencies.

“Other callers came in just to help with general information,” County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt said.

Heirbrandt said the calls were nonstop during his time at the county dispatch center Tuesday.

“They were the phone up left and right,” he said.

Residents seeking information are asked to call the non-emergency dispatch line at 773-1282.

“It ties up the lines and could mean the difference between someone able to get in with an emergency call or not,” Sheriff Mark Bowen said.

 

County Status

Hamilton County government offices and courts are open for business today after being closed for Jan. 6 and 7. Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman said the last time she could remember the county being closed for multiple days was approximately six years ago during a storm around Valentine’s Day.

“We’ve been lucky. It’s Indiana, its snows,” she said.

The county reopened for business on Jan. 8. Altman said the biggest impact of the closure was on the county court system.

“Court dates have to be rescheduled,” she said, adding all those affected were notified. “Normal operations will absorb those costs and salt, sand and overtime for crews and maintenance.”

County plows are working 12-hour shifts and will continue through the weekend.

“The main problem has been north-south roads drifting,” she said.

Altman thanked the dedication of employees and said all essential personnel came in when needed.

“When we’re closed, we’re not really closed,” she said. “There’s a lot of need when we open the emergency operational center.”

County employees that were non-essential will be paid for their lost days at work at regular rates according to Altman. She said the commissioners discussed the subject years ago about not paying employees or having them use personal days during snow emergencies.

“We don’t want to put employees in harms way or sliding off and being an impeder for first responders and plowing,” said Altman. “We didn’t want them choosing between having to lose pay or risking safety.”

 

Working together

Altman said conference calls were made sometimes four times a day involving all jurisdictions and departments.

“It’s really nice to see how everybody has come together. Ideas came up that were implemented,” Heirbrandt said.

The Hamilton County Emergency Operation Center served as the headquarters of the county’s combined efforts and brain trust.

“Seven years ago this room didn’t exist,” said Tom Sivak, Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency executive director.

Sivak said the center focused on situation awareness and resource coordination.

“The operational center opened because of the extreme cold,” he said. “It was a bigger event than what we thought.”

“It’s very dynamic. We have all the players in the same room. All are able to stay on the same page and work together,” Bowen said.

Duke Energy worked with the operation center and provided information to local officials on areas without power for welfare checks.

“It was the first activation to this level,” he said. “Immediately we can help manage everything.”

While the county EMA might play “Monday Morning Quarterback,” Sivak said there were no items that fell through the cracks or were forgotten thanks to planning and coordination.

“We’re never satisfied. With activations like this we are able to learn,” he said.”Individual municipalities south of 216th Street can handle this on their own really well.”

 

Sheriff update

“It’s been a very challenging 72 hours and we’re certainly not out of the woods,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be out in the next 24 hours.”

Bowen said roads are 90 percent passable in the county.

“Winds have died down which have helped tremendously,” he said. “Roads are still snow covered, icy and treacherous.”

The county has downgraded its travel advisory but is asking people to only travel for work or emergencies. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than a dozen property damage crashes were reported and more than 100 slide-off crashes were investigated.

“There’s a lot of slide-offs and property damage accidents because of more people being out,” Bowen said, adding there have been no major incidents within the county.

 

Shelter response minimal

Three different emergency shelters were open during the storm. Carmel High School was the first and Sivak said 12 used the shelter its first night and no one was there when it closed. Four took advantage of the Fall Creek Intermediate School shelter in Fishers on Jan. 6. Each closed a day later on Jan. 7.

Shelter – four the first night, 12 in Carmel – none when it closed.

On Jan. 7, the first collaborative shelter in Hamilton County opened at the 4-H Fairgrounds. The idea came from Tom Rogers, animal control officer, to offer a site for residents and their pets. Sivak said Red Cross staff assisted people and CERT and Hamilton County Animal Control cared for pets.

“It was a reality; people weren’t leaving because of their pets,” Sivak said. “Those without power have gone more than 12 hours or longer. Temperatures could be as low as 23 degrees”

Bowen said he has mixed feelings about the public’s response to the emergency shelters.

“I’m not all together surprised to find there are a lot of generous people in the community. They have other options and means to spend nights in hotels,” he said. “Folks that need help don’t be afraid to ask. There are resources out there.”

 

Caring for the elderly…

Meals on Wheels Hamilton County Executive Director Beth Gehlhausen said direct contact was made with their clients to ensure no one went hungry after the weather caused the organization to cancel food deliveries on Jan. 6 and 7.

“We let clients know about the situation and check on them,” Gehlhausen said, adding road conditions and driver safety caused the cancelation.

Every fall the organization provides four emergency meals that can be eaten out of the container or warmed up. Gehlhausen said the packages are prepared by professionals and distributed in case of emergencies like this.

“Most of our folks keep things on hand. We deliver meals Monday through Friday so most have cereal and mile and items that are easy to prepare,” she said.

In addition to making sure clients had food, Meals on Wheels checked on living conditions.

“Some clients might not be in the best homes. We want to make sure they know how they can get some help,” Gehlhausen said.

 

… and the animals

Executive Director Rebecca Stevens said the Humane Society of Hamilton County did “pretty good” with the limited staff and volunteers that can make it in during the storm today to make sure the more than 250 cats and dogs in their care were clean, fed, walked and warm.

“Every animal received the care and love they needed,” she said. “We have the best staff and best volunteers around.”

In addition to caring for pets under her supervision, Stevens said the most important thing for the public to remember during cold weather is to keep their pets inside.

“With temperatures as frigid as they are, a dog house doesn’t matter. That’s not enough. Any bowl of water outside is going to freeze. If it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s too cold for them,” she said.

 

Schools granted relief

Schools forced to cancel classes due to winter weather last week will not have to make up the days. The Indiana DOE informed schools that canceled classes on Jan. 6 and 7 will not have to make up those days if a waiver is submitted. Noblesville Schools was closed Jan. 6 through 8. Jan. 8 was supposed to be a professional work day for staff members with Jan. 7 slated as the day students were to return from winter break. The closings delayed the start of the district’s second semester.

 

Next disaster imminent

While officials continue to deal with wind chill and snow, they are planning on the upcoming natural event – flooding.

“We’ll deal with flooding, that’s coming next,” Heirbrandt said.

“I’m very concerned about the next weather event,” Altman said. “More concerned about temperatures spiking and then having a major rain event.”

The forecast is still days away, but officials are tracking a rise in temperatures and potential rain fall, which would not be absorbed at this time and slide right off the snow.

“We have no idea where it’s at now,” Sivak said of the forecasted rain. “We don’t know how much.”

“We’ll have to monitor as temperatures rise and snow melts. We anticipate flooding situation,” Bowen said. “Highway department agencies are addressing those concerns with flooding.”

Flooding is a critical issue within the county.

“We had a few fatalities last spring with people trying to drive through high water,” Bowen said.

 

Keep us in the loop

Have photos or stories you want to share about how you spent the snow day or the conditions around your home? Email robert@youarecurrent.com

Share.

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City, county business returns to normal

0
Cindy Rowland of Duke Energy (front left) and Nancy Chance of Good Samaritan Network look over home addresses as (back row from left) Mike Alley of Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency, Noblesville Assistant Police Chief Scott Kirby and Carmel firefighter Joel Heavner look at power outages across the county at the Emergency Operations Center on Jan. 7. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Cindy Rowland of Duke Energy (front left) and Nancy Chance of Good Samaritan Network look over home addresses as (back row from left) Mike Alley of Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency, Noblesville Assistant Police Chief Scott Kirby and Carmel firefighter Joel Heavner look at power outages across the county at the Emergency Operations Center on Jan. 7. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

City update

It will be business as usual today in Noblesville, according to Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear.

“All roads are open. Most are passable, relatively speaking,” he said. “Drifting has been a problem. It coming across the streets makes it difficult.”

The salt and brine mix the city spreads on roadways does not have an effect when temperatures were as low as they are.

“We’re anxiously awaiting warmer temperatures,” Ditslear said.

Another issue with clearing roadways is cul-de-sacs.

“There are 500 in the city, which makes it especially challenging,” Ditslear said.

While there were a few slide-offs, Noblesville had no major personal injury or property damage accidents during the storm.

Ditslear said the city closing of two days should have little impact because conditions also caused closures for businesses and construction.

“Waiting two days shouldn’t affect projects,” he said. “Yes, it is an inconvenience but it’s so bitterly cold.”

Ditslear said the storm was “so unusual” that additional contracted plowing services were hired by the city. The financial impact on the city is not yet known.

“I’m proud of our street department. They have worked 24-7 for four straight days,” said Ditslear. “It’s our responsibility to keep people safe.”

 

911 is for emergencies

Officials said a major issue is residents calling 911 for information and not emergencies.

“Other callers came in just to help with general information,” County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt said.

Heirbrandt said the calls were nonstop during his time at the county dispatch center Tuesday.

“They were the phone up left and right,” he said.

Residents seeking information are asked to call the non-emergency dispatch line at 773-1282.

“It ties up the lines and could mean the difference between someone able to get in with an emergency call or not,” Sheriff Mark Bowen said.

 

County Status

Hamilton County government offices and courts are open for business today after being closed for Jan. 6 and 7. Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman said the last time she could remember the county being closed for multiple days was approximately six years ago during a storm around Valentine’s Day.

“We’ve been lucky. It’s Indiana, its snows,” she said.

The county reopened for business on Jan. 8. Altman said the biggest impact of the closure was on the county court system.

“Court dates have to be rescheduled,” she said, adding all those affected were notified. “Normal operations will absorb those costs and salt, sand and overtime for crews and maintenance.”

County plows are working 12-hour shifts and will continue through the weekend.

“The main problem has been north-south roads drifting,” she said.

Altman thanked the dedication of employees and said all essential personnel came in when needed.

“When we’re closed, we’re not really closed,” she said. “There’s a lot of need when we open the emergency operational center.”

County employees that were non-essential will be paid for their lost days at work at regular rates according to Altman. She said the commissioners discussed the subject years ago about not paying employees or having them use personal days during snow emergencies.

“We don’t want to put employees in harms way or sliding off and being an impeder for first responders and plowing,” said Altman. “We didn’t want them choosing between having to lose pay or risking safety.”

 

Working together

Altman said conference calls were made sometimes four times a day involving all jurisdictions and departments.

“It’s really nice to see how everybody has come together. Ideas came up that were implemented,” Heirbrandt said.

The Hamilton County Emergency Operation Center served as the headquarters of the county’s combined efforts and brain trust.

“Seven years ago this room didn’t exist,” said Tom Sivak, Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency executive director.

Sivak said the center focused on situation awareness and resource coordination.

“The operational center opened because of the extreme cold,” he said. “It was a bigger event than what we thought.”

“It’s very dynamic. We have all the players in the same room. All are able to stay on the same page and work together,” Bowen said.

Duke Energy worked with the operation center and provided information to local officials on areas without power for welfare checks.

“It was the first activation to this level,” he said. “Immediately we can help manage everything.”

While the county EMA might play “Monday Morning Quarterback,” Sivak said there were no items that fell through the cracks or were forgotten thanks to planning and coordination.

“We’re never satisfied. With activations like this we are able to learn,” he said.”Individual municipalities south of 216th Street can handle this on their own really well.”

 

Sheriff update

“It’s been a very challenging 72 hours and we’re certainly not out of the woods,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be out in the next 24 hours.”

Bowen said roads are 90 percent passable in the county.

“Winds have died down which have helped tremendously,” he said. “Roads are still snow covered, icy and treacherous.”

The county has downgraded its travel advisory but is asking people to only travel for work or emergencies. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than a dozen property damage crashes were reported and more than 100 slide-off crashes were investigated.

“There’s a lot of slide-offs and property damage accidents because of more people being out,” Bowen said, adding there have been no major incidents within the county.

 

Shelter response minimal

Three different emergency shelters were open during the storm. Carmel High School was the first and Sivak said 12 used the shelter its first night and no one was there when it closed. Four took advantage of the Fall Creek Intermediate School shelter in Fishers on Jan. 6. Each closed a day later on Jan. 7.

Shelter – four the first night, 12 in Carmel – none when it closed.

On Jan. 7, the first collaborative shelter in Hamilton County opened at the 4-H Fairgrounds. The idea came from Tom Rogers, animal control officer, to offer a site for residents and their pets. Sivak said Red Cross staff assisted people and CERT and Hamilton County Animal Control cared for pets.

“It was a reality; people weren’t leaving because of their pets,” Sivak said. “Those without power have gone more than 12 hours or longer. Temperatures could be as low as 23 degrees”

Bowen said he has mixed feelings about the public’s response to the emergency shelters.

“I’m not all together surprised to find there are a lot of generous people in the community. They have other options and means to spend nights in hotels,” he said. “Folks that need help don’t be afraid to ask. There are resources out there.”

 

Caring for the elderly…

Meals on Wheels Hamilton County Executive Director Beth Gehlhausen said direct contact was made with their clients to ensure no one went hungry after the weather caused the organization to cancel food deliveries on Jan. 6 and 7.

“We let clients know about the situation and check on them,” Gehlhausen said, adding road conditions and driver safety caused the cancelation.

Every fall the organization provides four emergency meals that can be eaten out of the container or warmed up. Gehlhausen said the packages are prepared by professionals and distributed in case of emergencies like this.

“Most of our folks keep things on hand. We deliver meals Monday through Friday so most have cereal and mile and items that are easy to prepare,” she said.

In addition to making sure clients had food, Meals on Wheels checked on living conditions.

“Some clients might not be in the best homes. We want to make sure they know how they can get some help,” Gehlhausen said.

 

… and the animals

Executive Director Rebecca Stevens said the Humane Society of Hamilton County did “pretty good” with the limited staff and volunteers that can make it in during the storm today to make sure the more than 250 cats and dogs in their care were clean, fed, walked and warm.

“Every animal received the care and love they needed,” she said. “We have the best staff and best volunteers around.”

In addition to caring for pets under her supervision, Stevens said the most important thing for the public to remember during cold weather is to keep their pets inside.

“With temperatures as frigid as they are, a dog house doesn’t matter. That’s not enough. Any bowl of water outside is going to freeze. If it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s too cold for them,” she said.

 

Schools granted relief

Schools forced to cancel classes due to winter weather last week will not have to make up the days. The Indiana DOE informed schools that canceled classes on Jan. 6 and 7 will not have to make up those days if a waiver is submitted. Noblesville Schools was closed Jan. 6 through 8. Jan. 8 was supposed to be a professional work day for staff members with Jan. 7 slated as the day students were to return from winter break. The closings delayed the start of the district’s second semester.

 

Next disaster imminent

While officials continue to deal with wind chill and snow, they are planning on the upcoming natural event – flooding.

“We’ll deal with flooding, that’s coming next,” Heirbrandt said.

“I’m very concerned about the next weather event,” Altman said. “More concerned about temperatures spiking and then having a major rain event.”

The forecast is still days away, but officials are tracking a rise in temperatures and potential rain fall, which would not be absorbed at this time and slide right off the snow.

“We have no idea where it’s at now,” Sivak said of the forecasted rain. “We don’t know how much.”

“We’ll have to monitor as temperatures rise and snow melts. We anticipate flooding situation,” Bowen said. “Highway department agencies are addressing those concerns with flooding.”

Flooding is a critical issue within the county.

“We had a few fatalities last spring with people trying to drive through high water,” Bowen said.

 

Keep us in the loop

Have photos or stories you want to share about how you spent the snow day or the conditions around your home? Email robert@youarecurrent.com

 

 

Share.

Current Morning Briefing Logo

Stay CURRENT with our daily newsletter (M-F) and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox for free!

Select list(s) to subscribe to



By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Current Publishing, 30 S. Range Line Road, Carmel, IN, 46032, https://www.youarecurrent.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact