Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Road Closings Announced

The Crenshaw County Commission and engineer will close all County Roads at 8 p.m. tonight.

Hurricane Ivan remains on track

By Adam Prestridge

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 4:40 p.m.

Officials from the National Weather Service out of Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville held a conference meeting over the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) main system at 3:45 p.m. today.

The Mobile weather service reports that Hurricane Ivan has maintained its course and is still expected to hit the Mobile Bay between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. tonight. Ivan continues to fluctuate between category 3 and category 4-hurricane status.

The weather service also reports that the storm surge will be significant and devastating and could be anywhere from 10 to 14 feet.

&uot;We’re looking at possibly a record-breaking storm,&uot; Randy McKee out of the Mobile Weather Service said.

McKee said winds will gradually increase throughout late afternoon and could reach hurricane status in some parts of the state as early as 9 p.m. tonight. The winds will continue to get stronger Thursday morning and throughout the day.

The storm will slowly travel north throughout the day on Thursday with winds reaching 75 mph or more. Hurricane force winds spread out from the eye of the hurricane 105 miles and tropical force winds exceed 290 miles.

Six to 12 inches of rainfall is also predicted, which could exceed that in some counties.

&uot;Flooding will be a problem will be facing during and after the storm,&uot; McKee said.

The weather service is predicting that Dolphin Island and the Fort Morgan Peninsula will be breached as a result of Ivan’s high winds and torrential rainfall.

As for Birmingham and Huntsville, high-wind warnings will be issued later tonight or early Thursday morning. Several tornados and thunderstorms are predicted to spin off Ivan throughout the entire state.

The National Weather Service advices that once a high-wind warning is issued in your area no thunderstorms warnings will be issued any longer, just tornado and flashflood warnings.

Mandatory evacuations issued in Brantley

By Adam Prestridge

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 4:10 p.m.

Mobile home owners in Brantley are being asked to pack up and seek shelter at one of the town’s three shelters.

Earlier this afternoon Mayor Bernie Sullivan issued a mandatory evacuation of all mobile homes within the city limits effective tonight at 8 p.m.

&uot;The major reason for the evacuation is because of the flooding our area is prone to due to the low-lying areas,&uot; Sullivan said late Wednesday afternoon. &uot;We also got some information from FEMA and Anita West (EMA Director) that Glenwood had already started their evacuation, so we decided to follow suit. Most of the owners we contacted were already evacuating.&uot;

Brantley has about 34 mobile homes within its city limits located in a mobile home community on Dianne Street. Six homes are also located next to the Conecuh River.

All city workers are on call in Brantley if their services are needed.

&uot;Of course no one is going to get out during the hurricane,&uot; Sullivan added. &uot;I think we’re going to take a pretty good hit from all indications. If we don’t, it would be great. I would rather error that way. We’ve had some flooding in this area and I wouldn’t be fair to the residents of the information we were receiving.&uot;

Glenwood’s mandatory evacuation of mobile homes was effective today at 2 p.m.

Shelters open to assist victims

By Adam Prestridge

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 3:15 p.m.

Hurricane relief shelters throughout Crenshaw County have already seen a steady influx of residents seeking refuge.

&uot;We’re getting people continuously seeking shelter at the courthouse and we’ve got some people at South Luverne Baptist Church,&uot; EMA Director Anita West said Wednesday afternoon. &uot;We recommended that we use the shelters for people here in Crenshaw County that have unstable housing or live in mobile homes.&uot;

West believes those shelters as well as the others throughout the county will quickly fill up.

&uot;They’ll be full probably by 10 p.m. tonight, at least most of them will,&uot; she said.

Below is a list of shelters:

– Courthouse basement

– First Baptist Church of Brantley

– South Luverne Baptist Church

– Luverne First Baptist Church

– Luverne United Methodist Church

– Glenwood United Methodist Church

– Glenwood Baptist Church

– Glenwood Town Hall

– Rutledge Baptist Church

– Danielsville Baptist Church

– Union Baptist Church

– New Ebenezer Baptist Church

– Luverne Church of God

– Brantley Community Center

– Brantley Methodist Bethany Center

Residents are asked to bring pillows, blankets and a small amount of snack food to the shelters.

AHSAA football games cancelled

By Adam Prestridge

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2:50 p.m.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) announced earlier this afternoon that all Friday night high school football games are cancelled due to pending warnings of flooding and high winds resulting from Hurricane Ivan.

Despite previous reports that makeup games had been scheduled Saturday and Monday, AHSAA officials have nixed those plans.

&uot;We are calling off all of our football games and all other athletic contests scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday because of the weather conditions and aftermath of all the projected winds and rain,&uot; AHSAA Executive Director Dan Washburn said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. &uot;The safety of all the people that are involved with athletic events is a primary concern. All schools statewide will be closed Thursday and many will be closed on Friday, so this should be the most beneficial planning we could do with all the severe flooding and wind damage predicted and the possibility of extended power outages in some areas.&uot;

Below is the AHSAA’s rescheduling plan for the cancelled games:

Officials report that all games, which were to be held or were rescheduled between Sept. 16-18, all of which are region games, will be moved to the tenth week of the season, Oct. 28-30.

No games may be rescheduled prior to those dates.

The games of Oct. 28-30, all non-region games, will be moved forward a week to Nov. 4-6.

Due to the rescheduling, all playoff games have been moved forward a week and will be held Nov. 12, 19, 26 and Dec. 3. The Super Six Championships to be held at Legion Field in Birmingham have also been bumped back to Dec. 8-10.

The rescheduling also hampers other sports as well. The AHSAA advises that all contest scheduled during Sept. 15-18 may be rescheduled at the &uot;earliest convenient dates for participating schools.&uot;

The Alabama Sports Writers Association also reports that all Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) member school football games have also been cancelled. AISA games will also be rescheduled through week 11 and the playoffs will begin on week 12.

This will affect the Luverne/Horseshoe Bend regional contest, Brantley/Ariton match up, Highland Home’s home game against B.B. Comer and Crenshaw Christian Academy’s home battle against Dixie.

BREAKING NEWS: Higher ground

By Adam Prestridge

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1:11 p.m.

Steady, bumper-to-bumper traffic heading north on Hwy. 331 kept Luverne policemen busy most of the day Tuesday.

Thousands of motorists passed through Luverne seeking higher ground as Hurricane Ivan inched its way closer to the Alabama Gulf Coast.

&uot;We had an influx of traffic through our area on 331 south,&uot; LPD Chief Bob Davis said Wednesday morning. &uot;Traffic started getting heavy Tuesday afternoon at 11 a.m. We had to start working traffic lights and were able to clear traffic out by 7:15 p.m. Since then, the traffic has been above normal, but has been flowing well.&uot;

Davis plans to have extra officers on duty throughout the duration of the storm not only for traffic control, but also for debris cleanup and to provide emergency services to the people of Luverne.

The Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Department is also preparing for the worst. Late Tuesday evening, Sheriff Charles West instructed his deputies to fill up all the department’s vehicles with gas in preparations for a shortage.

Crenshaw Community Hospital has also made all the necessary precautions needed in order to make sure it can serve the community.

&uot;We’ve made sure that we are adequately staffed, that we’ll have the doctors coverage we need, we got extra supplies, we ordered extra food and water and we made sure our generator was working properly and fully fueled,&uot; Hospital Administrator Allen Gamble said. &uot;The hospital is prepared for almost every contingency and believes it will be able to provide full service despite any type of disruptions our area may have.&uot;

Gamble said if an individual can’t get through to the hospital due to phone problems people can dial 335-1201 for assistance.

Not only were the roads congested throughout Luverne, but so were the aisles in local grocery stores. Shoppers flocked in droves to their local grocer to stock up on water, batteries, canned foods, charcoal and gas.

&uot;We got a truck load of water last night and we’re trying to keep everything as adequately supplied as we can,&uot; Super Foods owner John Wilson said. &uot;We will stay open as long as we can, weather permitting.&uot;

Local grocery stores weren’t the only businesses in town receiving an overwhelming amount of business. Local hardware stores were ransacked with customers buying out batteries, flashlights, duct tape and plywood.

&uot;The last two days we’ve inundated selling items for the hurricane that’s coming, Luverne Hardware’s Ken Prevett said. &uot;Throughout the six years I’ve been in the hardware business, the past two days have been the busiest days I’ve ever encountered. The phone has been busy and the street trade has been steady. The businesses in town, county and school officials have been boarding up windows and preparing for the storm. They have been buying nails, screws, tools, saws, rubber boots, rains suits and anything else they needed.&uot;

Prevett said the hardware store is sold out of batteries, flashlights, duck tape and rain suits. The store still has tarps, ropes, chains, concrete and various tools.

Lafreda Griffin, Crenshaw County School System Superintendents Kathi Wallaces’ secretary, said that school closed at noon today and will remain closed through Friday. The system plans to re-open on Monday, but the board meeting scheduled for that day has been cancelled and rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 27.

Griffin also said Luverne School will dismiss at 1 p.m. on Monday in order for Tiger football players to travel to Horseshoe Bend to take on the Rebels in a regional contest, which has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Monday night. Brantley is scheduled to play Ariton at 1 p.m. on Saturday on the road and as of press time, Highland Home planned to host B.B. Comer at 6 p.m. on Monday night.