Archive for Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter grips Baldwin City

December 13, 2007

Old Man Winter took a big bite out of Baldwin City in the last week, forcing the cancellation of school, postponement of holiday events and -- worst of all -- canceling Santa Claus' appearance in the annual Light Parade.

But, it could have been worse.

Unlike other cities and rural areas, Baldwin City did not lose power throughout the nearly week-long siege of freezing rain, sleet and snow. Overnight Tuesday, there were reports of 80,000 KCPL customers without power. Baldwin City wasn't among that figure.

Also, while the weather wreaked havoc on holiday events Saturday and Sunday, most of them will go on as scheduled this weekend, with the notable exception of the Light Parade.

And, yes Virginia, Santa Claus will be here Saturday.

"On Saturday, Santa Claus will be at the lumberyard from111 a.m. to 1 p.m.," said Kevin Garber, who along with Ivan Huntoon and Susan Baker of the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce rescheduled the events. "The arts sales will also be there from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and the cookies and hot cider. The give aways from the (Baldwin City) Recreation Commission will also be given away.

"Obviously, there won't be a parade," he said. "We'll turn on the lights to the Christmas tree this week. There won't be a ceremony for it. We decided to do the daytime hours for Santa Claus and the art sale because of the cold weather."

Another event that was postponed Sunday was the Homes Tour and Table Display. Half of that has been rescheduled.

"The Stephens Real Estate Homes Tour has been rescheduled for Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.," said Garber. "There will not be any holiday tables."

Although the Baldwin Community Arts Council won't be having the holiday tables on Sunday, it will have its art sale at the lumberyard from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., just like Saturday.

Garber said this past weekend's events were postponed or canceled after consultations with several people.

"The coordinators of the parade got together with people from the city and it was decided it wasn't safe," said Garber. "We didn't want anyone to get hurt."

As for power, the city had it Tuesday night while other KCPL customers didn't, but it wasn't because of the power plant.

"We did not generate," said City Administrator Jeff Dingman, "but they were there late into the night ready to do so."

Dingman also provided the report from Tuesday night from Rob Culley, power plant supervisor.

"We were on site until 1:30 a.m. (Tuesday) night when the ice storm finally passed," said Culley. "I have five outages recorded and they were limited to mostly tree limbs on secondary house services.

"We had one feeder trip at 12:35 p.m. (Tuesday)," he said. "The North East tripped due to a tree limb falling across two phases near the carwash. It was able to reclose itself within 40 seconds."

As for treating the streets because of the ice, there was nothing out of the ordinary.

"We pretreated before everything hit," said Dingman. "We treated during the day (Tuesday) and are still treating slick spots (Wednesday). We haven't run a night shift or anything and we haven't had any complaints.

"If we had a lot of slick spots develop overnight the police department would tell us, then we'd get someone out if needed," he said. "They usually hit the areas around the schools a little harder, but being that they haven't been in session, we haven't really done that."

With the school closings, Supt. Paul Dorathy has made the decision early on both nights not to have classes the next day. Monday and Tuesday nights, Dorathy decided around 10 p.m. not to have school and got the word out by various means, including the Signal's Web site at www.baldwincity.com.

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