Debris removal to go on through October

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The city of Greenville has entered into an agreement with the Corps of Engineers to administer the cleanup of an estimated 7,000 trees that were downed by Hurricane Ivan.

The Corps has contracted with Phillips & Jordan, Inc., a Tennessee based-firm, to clean up the estimated 50,000 cubic yards of debris in the city with the contractor expected to make two passes through Greenville, hauling the vegetative matter to three sites for disposal.

Since the contractor cannot come on private property, it is vitally important that residents get their storm debris moved to the curb so that it can be picked up during the first or second pass.

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&uot;We’re on our first pass and I’m going to say that by the middle or end of next week we’ll be through with our first pass,&uot; said John Wilkins, project coordinator for Phillips & Jordan, Inc., who has nine different crews picking up debris in the city. &uot;We’ll start our second pass on Monday, Oct. 11, and we hope to be finished with everything by Oct. 23rd or 24th.&uot;

To insure proper clean up it’s important that residents sort their debris when carrying it to the road to make sure the crews can dispose of it properly.

&uot;Please segregate the materials,&uot; Wilkins said, adding, &uot;If vegetative material is contaminated with sheet metal, household goods or other material then the grinder won’t take it.&uot;

Wilkins said his crews will be picking up all trees, limbs and stumps, but there may be some material left behind.

&uot;With this type of material you’re going to have leafy debris and pine straw, but anything like limbs, sticks or chunks of a tree, my guys are going to get that,&uot; he said. &uot;My understanding is that the city is going to come in behind us and get the small stuff.&uot;

Greenville Public Works Director Milton Luckie said the city crews should be back to their normal routine of picking up debris once Phillips & Jordan finishes their second pass near the end of October.

&uot;After the second round that they do then the city will go back to our regular limb and leaf pick up at each residence,&uot; Luckie said. &uot;I know in some places it might be more than others but if they’ll bear with us we’ll get this town back to normal and we’ll get it cleaned up as quick as we can.&uot;

Power restored

As far as getting the city back to normal, Alabama Power was pleased to report all customers are now with electricity.

&uot;We have all the power restored,&uot; said Alabama Power spokeswoman Jan Ellis. &uot;As of Friday 99 percent of the power in the state was restored. Most of those without power were not capable of getting power from us.&uot;

Ellis praised her company’s workers who braved the elements for working around the clock.

&uot;I think the guys did a great job,&uot; said Ellis. &uot;Considering a terrible storm went through and then eight days later all the power was restored they did a great job. This was one of the worst storms the state and this company have ever seen and they worked through it.&uot;

Alabama Power workers plan to continue the hard work by traveling to other areas to restore power.

&uot;We are sending some of them to Georgia,&uot; said Ellis. &uot;We will also send some of them to Tampa.&uot;

As for Pioneer Electric Cooperative, it is also reporting 100 percent back in operation.

&uot;We’re back 100 percent,&uot; said Terry Wilhite, PEC spokesman.

&uot;We were at 99 percent by Saturday. Going from not a single meter turning following the storm to every member having electricity restored eight days later is a remarkable feat.&uot;

He did point out that the job or recovery is not complete.

&uot;There’s a lot of cleanup and permanent work still to do to get the system fully restored,&uot; he said.

He also praised the PEC employees and the additional crews from other electric cooperatives that helped restore the system.

&uot;You just can’t say enough about the crews,&uot; he said.

&uot;Several of our linemen had just gotten back from pulling storm duty in Florida following Hurricane Charley. Some of our out-of-state co-op partners marked their 40th day of storm duty while they were with us.&uot;

Wilhite said the commitment from these out-of-state workers amazed him, even when one became a new father while here working.

&uot;One of the guys from North Carolina got the call that his wife was in labor while he was here,&uot; he said. &uot;He had about a 480-mile trek home. From what I hear, the baby was born before he got there. This just shows the sacrifice and dedication these individuals have to leave their families and come help us.&uot;

Wilhite also thanked the community for its support of the PEC employees and the ones here working.

&uot;Our community really pulled together,&uot; he said.

&uot;We are grateful for all the local businesses, churches, community groups and individual members who helped us.&uot;

Schools back in session

For students in the Butler County School System Monday brought mixed emotions. On that day, students returned to the halls of the city and county schools.

While the students were probably happy for a small break, they likely would prefer that there off days not be triggered from a hurricane. The return to school for the students meant an official return to their daily routine. It also represented another step in the county’s recovery from Hurricane Ivan.

The delay had taken longer than expected because road conditions were not satisfactory in some areas.

The Butler County Board of Education and the Butler County Commission both had concerns about certain bus routes. After intense investigations to make sure every road and every bridge was safe the schools were finally ready to reopen.

The Butler County Board of Education decided earlier it would be better for all schools to begin at the same time rather than when each school was ready. Monday that day finally came.

Butler County School Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed said things were officially back in order.

&uot;The schools are ready,&uot; said Reed. &uot;Basically we just had a lot of mess to clean up. Our biggest concern was making sure the schools and everything else was safe.&uot;

Reed said most of the work involved in getting the schools ready revolved around cleanup and minor repairs.

&uot;We had to repair some of the damage like getting water off the floors and making sure the roads were safe,&uot; said Reed. &uot;We also had to fix the broken windows and other things of that nature.&uot;

Reed said a lot of effort had gone into preparing the schools for the students return from people in and outside of the school system. Reed said no matter where the help came from they were extremely grateful.

&uot;It took a lot of effort,&uot; said Reed. &uot;I would like to thank all of the maintenance workers as well as the city and county workers that helped clear the roads and get the schools ready. They were a tremendous help.&uot;

Schools will go on with their schedules as planned. Events cancelled due to Hurricane Ivan may or may not have been rescheduled. Please check with your respective schools.

Fort Dale Academy returned to school on Monday, Sept. 20, 2004.

The County

Crews from the Butler County Road Department are now working on cleaning up the county roadways.

They had gone through and opened the highways up so school buses could get through and are now returning to make a more thorough clean up effort.

County Engineer Dennis McCall completed the inspection of the county’s bridges and found no serious damage to any of the structures.

Butler County EMA director Bob Luman said FEMA representatives are working in the area now.

&uot;We have been told they are out there talking to people about the damage they received and trying to work with them,&uot; he said. &uot;We encourage people to call 1-800-621-FEMA if they haven’t heard from them to make sure they are aware they received damage. They need to be sure FEMA knows about them.&uot;