Tag Archives: Arkansas

NWA ice storm 2009, again

The temperature in my home is 44 degrees. I’m seeing 46 as the forecasted high, but I’m also seeing 34 as that apex (from more reliable sources, unfortunately). I’m really hoping for that 46-degree mark, since that would warm up my cold house significantly more than a outside temperature still colder than the internal temperature.

KC Power and Light is sending crews to somewhere in Arkansas (more than 100 people) to help.

I’m hearing radio reports that emergency shelters in Fayetteville and Springdale are full (but they’re still serving hot meals).

SWEPCO (AEP) is saying: “The current estimated time for 95% restoration is midnight Saturday. Restoration will proceed as conditions allow.” Carroll Electric states it’s still assessing the damage. (Neither of these power companies serve Siloam Springs, which has its own electric department / company.)

It’s still difficult to find information of any kind. One area newspaper company’s website is still down. I’ve heard via Facebook that NPR is back up, which is good news. Strike that, our local NPR station‘s signal is still down in Siloam — both via the air waves and via the internet.

Along with the above earnest prayer for warm temperatures and a return of power, I’m also (still) praying for the utility workers and other area residents, and a continued lack of wind.

My previous posts about the storm and its aftermath: The first one, the main one and a quick update with projected outage time.

Edited (see above) to correct something I misunderstood.

Ice storm 2009 update

Just heard, via newspaper contacts (Thanks!), that if you (I) don’t have power now, and you live in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, the projection for the return of electricity is 24-48 hours.

I feel better just knowing (Knowledge is power, and all that.). Now we need to decide what to do.

Stay warm!

NWA newspaper (ice storm) news

At the top of one local daily newspaper’s website this morning: “Note from the Publisher: The Morning News was without electricity Tuesday and was unable to publish a print edition. We apologize for any inconvenience. We will publish the Wednesday and Thursday editions on Wednesday and deliver them together on Thursday. Our web edition is up to date.”

This, it should go without saying, doesn’t help people without power and internet.

I know the other (competing) newspaper company (which I used to work for) had to drive to one specific plant to print all the various newspapers and editions, but they did publish print editions today. It looks, however, like that company’s website is down today.

At our house in central Siloam Springs, we’ve been without power for 15 21 hours and counting. The temperature inside has been as low as 48 degrees. We’re hearing reports (online — accessed at someone else’s house, who has power and DSL (the cable internet is out for perhaps all of town?) and via the radio station that’s still transmitting) from power companies in the surrounding area (such as SWEPCO and Carroll Electric), but we can’t find out anything from the local electric department.

Apparently Siloam Springs Electric Department is telling local media outlets they’re too busy to talk (I’ve heard this from multiple sources).

Editorializing: This is not a good policy.

The Siloam newspaper this morning quotes City Administrator David Cameron as saying: “Electric crews were staying on top of restoring power; however, [they] have moved into the ‘damage control’ phase of the storm. This consists of clearing streets from downed power lines, atop houses, etc.”

The article continues: “Other city crews are working to keep the streets clear of trees and ice.”

I have no doubt that city crews are working hard, and I know they’re competent.

Siloam Springs Electric Department has requested help from other crews. They’re not alone; one of the other local power companies (I can’t remember which one, but probably all are in a similar situation) requested help from I think 40 other places.

Siloam has two emergency shelters open, at the National Guard Armory on Main and Lincoln streets (Red Cross), and at Assembly of God church (Genesis House).

This (again from the Herald-Leader) isn’t encouraging: “The armory is being activated for those that will see extended power outages,” Cameron said. (Emphasis added.)

On the television news at 6 p.m. last night (the station was without power for the 5 p.m. broadcast, and we were without power for the 10 p.m. broadcast), a long-time area resident said this was without a doubt the worst ice storm he’d seen. He cited the 2001 ice storm and the much-worse 1978 ice storm, declaring this one much worse again. We remember the spring 2007 storm, which was much milder; it hurt much plant life simply because it transpired so late in the year (March or April?).

The official word from the city of Siloam Springs when we called this afternoon: ‘There is no word. We’re issuing no statement.’

This part goes without saying: Trees are down, power lines are down. Along with prayers for the utility workers and other area residents (and a continuing lack of wind), I’m mourning the loss of so many magnificent trees. I’m trying to imagine what the town landscape will look like once all the trees are taken care of.

I’d add photos, but that would take more time, and this was ready to post at 10:30 this morning, until my location at the time lost power and internet. I’m tired.

Iced tree

In front of the house two doors down from mine:

ice-tree

It’s been sleeting/raining/icing/freezing-raining for about 24 hours now, and the forecast holds more of the same (with some chance of snow thrown in on top) through the night. Across town, friends’ power has been out, and back up. We’re still waiting for ours to more than flicker. Walking outside, you hear the ice creaking and the near-constant limb-breakage. The ice on the grass is nearly thick enough it doesn’t crunch when you walk on it. Arkansas, along with neighboring Oklahoma and Missouri, has declared a state of emergency.

Yesterday, it was forecasted that the entire region would be without power. At the time, I was somewhat incredulous. Now, just waiting. And rather than pondering whether we’ll lose power, we’re starting to ponder a hole in the roof. Our local electric department does have a good track record, though, something I’m thankful for.

Merry Christmas: tree and reading

Merry Christmas!

christmas-tree08

Our Christmas tree this year (above) is not our usual. I’ve always had a live, tall (as in, as tall as will fit and still hopefully not scrape the ceiling) Christmas tree.

Growing up, my mom favored white pines. We always went to the local Christmas tree farm and chose and cut our own. Now, though, we don’t live within range of such a farm (Sigh.), so we’ve been reduced, while living in our present locale, to buying a pre-cut tree at a local store. Except for the past two years, when we didn’t have a tree at all. In 2006 we were traveling for well over a week, which is a situation that doesn’t lend itself to the feeding and nurture of a tree. In 2007, the reason was different but the result the same: No tree for us.

This year we faced a situation similar to 2007’s, but I was really sad at the prospect of another Christmas season without a tree in our home. We thought about buying an artificial tree, but we’re picky about how our tree looks, and we didn’t get around to looking at the right time. Then, two weeks ago, we were at the local craft store for various unrelated reasons when we browsed the fake tree section. They were on sale, 50 percent off. We didn’t see a single full-size tree we liked, but we did spot these small, skinny trees. This four-foot tree will not remain our primary tree in future years, but it beats no tree this year. Best of all, it fulfills my need to read by the light of the tree.

god-with-usThis month we’ve been reading God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas (2007). The book has daily meditations set in the context of Scripture, prayer, illuminating history, and fine art, for each day of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Each week’s reflections are written by a different author: Richard John Neuhaus, Scott Cairns, Luci Shaw, Kathleen Norris, and Emilie Griffin. Histories of the feasts are written by Beth Bevis. It’s edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe.

I was familiar with the work of several of the included authors (including Kathleen Norris), which helped clinch the purchase.

I’ve enjoyed so many aspects of this book thus far. In fact, my two main complaints are: First, the end of the ribbon bookmark wasn’t finished, so it has frayed. Second, the included prayers are in a script font, printed in a pale yellow ink, making them difficult to discern. I think God With Us has been a huge part of why I’ve had a more contemplative attitude this season, rather than merely rushing here and there, my mind filled with ever-accelerating worry about the ubiquitous to do list of the season.

Now if only I could find a book like this that lasted all year. (If you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend this book.)

Alexander named poet for inauguration

Elizabeth Alexander, 45, has been chosen to compose and present a poem during Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration. She’s the author of four books of poetry, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, and a professor at Yale University.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Obama’s appreciation for the written word (both as a reader, and, of course, as a writer). This one speaks louder, however, as evidence of an appreciation of the arts.

This is the fourth inauguration in which poetry will have a home, after those of John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Robert Frost read during Kennedy’s swearing-in, Maya Angelou composed for Clinton’s first term, and Arkansan Miller Fisher had a hand in kicking off Clinton’s second term.

My husband looked for policy statements on the arts from all the presidential candidates last year, and Obama was part of the large majority that lacked any kind of statement about the importance of the arts. Perhaps he’s started to think of creativity and the arts now?

Note: This Washington Post article makes it seem that poetry is a standard part of the inauguration throughout history, but that’s not true. The article makes a big deal of Bush not using poetry during his swearing-ins.

You can read a selection of Alexander’s poetry at her website, or listen to audio.

Election day info

I wrote recently linking to the Benton County, Arkansas website and its sample ballots for today. I was offering information so people could be prepared as they walked into polling booths today.

I’ve just learned, however, that the source I leaned on, the source I depended on, the official source, got it wrong. They’ve got two links to sample ballots, alright, but they’re identical. They, thus, lack a link to the second page of the ballot. Which contains a mixture of local and state ballot issues.

Including (but not limited to):
• State lottery
• Adoption/foster parent rules

Some information on these two.

I would link for you to the website of the local newspaper, which carried all the requisite sample ballots in its print edition, but much of its content remains unavailable online, including this.

Update: The county newspaper’s got them online (which, incidently, you can’t get delivered in this corner of the county).

NWA library awarded

Great, exciting news about a library in my county: The Rogers (Arkansas) Public Library won an award for its collaborative project that will train bilingual teens to help elementary students learn English.

The first winners of the Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved grant, sponsored by Candlewick Press and the Association for Library Service to Children’s Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers Committee, have been announced. The grant honors Newberry Medalist and Geisel Honoree Kate DiCamillo and encourages innovative approaches to engaging traditionally underserved populations in libraries.

Winner: The Rogers Public Library in Rogers, Ark., for its project “Bilingual Teens as Teachers and Tutors,” a collaboration of the public library, elementary and secondary schools, local community college and community services. Americorps volunteers will train bilingual teens to serve as tutors and role models to elementary school students who need help learning English. Most of the Spanish-speaking children are from families of migrant workers who rarely use the public library. The Rogers Public Library will receive a grant of $5,000 as well as a complete Kate DiCamillo library and a signed print from Great Joy.

The quote is from Shelf Awareness (something I may need to subscribe to but saw for the first time today); I found it via Book Junkie.

I love this stuff!

(Psst! I checked, and I haven’t seen this in any of the local papers yet.)