Jacksonville survives Leon; Meals on Wheels deliveries resume on Friday
Feb 04, 2014 | 1310 views |  0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite all the trouble winter storm Leon caused, Emma and Carlee Deason couldn’t have been happier with the white stuff. They built a snowman in their front yard Wednesday. ABOVE: Emma and Carlee pose with their creation. Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
Despite all the trouble winter storm Leon caused, Emma and Carlee Deason couldn’t have been happier with the white stuff. They built a snowman in their front yard Wednesday. ABOVE: Emma and Carlee pose with their creation. Photo: Anita Kilgore/The Jacksonville News
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Some 45 recipients of lunches delivered by Meals on Wheels volunteers missed their meals on Wednesday and Thursday because of snow and ice that accumulated in the city. Somehow though, those volunteers got through with the lunches on Tuesday, before roads became a sheet of ice.

Virginia MacRae, who coordinates drivers for the program, said Regional Medical Center-Jacksonville, which prepares the meals, had some employees who couldn’t make it into work those two days because of the condition of the roads.

“I called each one of them (food recipients) to make sure they had food, and they said they could get by,” said MacRae. “We sent out double portions on Friday so that they would have an extra large meal for the weekend.”

Police Chief Tommy Thompson expressed his relief that there were no major accidents in the city.

“When it tuned to ice, nobody could move in it, and we had to get our 4-wheel drive Blazer out,” said Thompson. The national guard came out that night and helped us out.”

Thompson said the Blazer is a military surplus vehicle his department acquired several years ago.

Thompson cited one accident, which was outside the city limits on Cedar Springs Road when the car a woman was driving overturned three times and ended up in a ditch.

“The air bags deployed, and she wasn’t injured bad, but she was injured from the tumble she took,” he said. “They transported her to the hospital. The rest of the accidents happened when cars ran into ditches or into each other. Nobody got hurt.”

Fire Chief Wade Buckner said his usual six to eight calls per day doubled during the storm. Firefighters received 16 calls on Tuesday and 14 calls on Wednesday, three of which were structure fires. The department made around 30 runs between Tuesday and Wednesday.


Slideshow: Winter Weather in Jacksonville



In one incident, firemen were dispatched to a structure fire on Maple Lane off Alabama 21. The structure suffered significant damage. They also helped put out a structure fire in Piedmont. Assistant fire chief Chris Roberts said no one was injured in either incident.

Jacksonville firefighters also helped get workers to Regional Medical Center and let stranded motorists wait out the storm at the station.

“Having that additional staffing early on and having them already in the station rather than the way we normally operate -- that made a big impact,” said Bucker.

Winn-Dixie store manager Michael Vickery said his store was busy but sporadic.

Vickery said several of Winn-Dixie’s customers walked to the store on Wednesday, while others drove. The store worked with a limited number of employees and closed at 4 p.m.

“We wanted to make sure everybody was safe,” Vickery said.

About 10 people left their vehicles and walked to the local Hampton Inn, said property manager Sandy Powell. That hotel sold out Tuesday and Wednesday, she said.

Kitty Stone Elementary School reheated vegetable soup for students who were marooned until late in the day. Kitty Stone and Jacksonville High were empty by 5 p.m., and their employees and students were home for the night.

“While they were with us, they were in a safe, warm environment,” Jacksonville City Schools superintendent Jon Paul Campbell said. “There was not a sense of panic. The kids were great. The teachers were phenomenal.”

The Jacksonville Wal-Mart was the only Wal-Mart in the county to close during the storm. It closed at 10 a.m. Tuesday and reopened on Wednesday.

Alabama 204 and some roads in the Pleasant Valley area were difficult to navigate on Tuesday, even in a humvee.

All city streets were open at 3 p.m. Thursday.
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