Public schools to reopen Monday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Now that Butler County is a week removed from Hurricane Ivan the pieces are starting to come back together. On Monday, schools will be back in session and everyone will be one step closer to getting back to their normal routines.

The final step to getting schools open will be making sure the roads are safe and Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams said they are in the final stages of doing just that.

&uot;We have worked mostly today on the school bus routes,&uot; said McWilliams. &uot;We will do a trial run on Friday to make sure there are no problems. Any problems we do find we will take care of before Monday.&uot;

McWilliams said with a lot of help all roads were now relatively clear.

&uot;We’ve got all our roads clear for our residents,&uot; said McWilliams. &uot;Our forestry people have sent two teams to assist us with the dirt roads and they have been a tremendous help.&uot;

McWilliams said things are shaping up due to a total team effort.

&uot;We want to be complimentary to all of the city and county workers and everyone else who has gotten out to get our community back where it needs to be,&uot; said McWilliams. &uot;They have all done a great job.&uot;

One major problem had been the amount of trash the storm created. It had been feared that excess garbage would create a bad scene around town. However, through hard work it has been avoided.

&uot;BFI has done a tremendous job of helping us,&uot; said McWilliams. &uot;They will have two trucks working on Saturday. They have gone above and beyond.&uot;

As far as debris MCWilliams asked that people be cautious where they place their leaves and limbs.

&uot;We have had a problem with people putting their debris too close to the road,&uot; said McWilliams. &uot;We want them to put it on the right of way we just don’t want them to put it so close it causes a hazard.&uot;

Butler County Emergency Planner Bob Luman said outside help has begun to arrive slowly but surely.

&uot;We have FEMA people out there right now doing preliminary damage assessments just to get an estimate of what the damage is to the county and city,&uot; said Luman.

Luman asked that people be very cautious if people claiming to be with FEMA come to their door.

&uot;IF people come to talk to you they will have FEMA identification,&uot; said Luman. &uot;Do not give money to anyone that comes to your door. There is no charge for the work that FEMA does.&uot;

There have been widespread questions of what FEMA will do for items not covered by insurance. Luman suggested they play it safe.

&uot;If you have insurance they expect to do whatever they can,&uot; said Luman. &uot;Then if there is something that is not covered by insurance they need to go ahead and call FEMA. That way if the time comes and they find out their insurance does not cover it they may be able to do something.&uot;

The FEMA contact number is 1-800-621-FEMA.

Along with the other strides being made with hurricane relief, more and more people have had thei electricity restored. As of Friday, almost everyone had been given electricity again.

Pioneer spokesman Terry Wilhite said Friday afternoon that about 90 percent of Pioneer members were back on.

Alabama Power spokesperson Jan Ellis said 99 percent of their customers were with electricity at the same time.