Snow, ice brings Owen to standstill

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Officials set up emergency shelters

By Molly Haines

While snow and ice blanketed the county during last week’s winter storm, county and city officials worked to clear roads, give shelter to those without electricity and deliver groceries and medicine to those who were unable to leave their homes.

Owenton First Baptist Church set up a shelter for people who lost electricity during the storm. Victims of the storm were asked to bring their own blankets, but food, heat and all other necessities were provided by the church.

The county was prepared to open another shelter if needed.

The church’s shelter was inspected by the health department. The Red Cross was on hand to provide cots and Angel Food Ministries helped provide food.

Owen County Sheriff Zemer Hammond was busy, providing groceries and medicine for those who had no way to leave their home.

“Even after the roads were pretty well cleared, people couldn’t get out of their driveways,” Hammond said. “I used my personal four-wheel drive vehicle to get to those who were unable to leave. They would call in with a list of groceries or medicine they needed and I would go out to one of the grocery stores and pick those things up for them and deliver them to their homes.”

Hammond said his deputies took about 15 people without electricity to the shelter at Owenton First Baptist.

“Overall, there were about 30 to 50 people at the shelter,” Hammond said.

While some were eager to leave their homes, others refused.

“We tried to get a lot of people to go to the shelter,” Hammond said. “But a lot of them refused to leave their homes and there is no way we can force someone out if they don’t want to leave.”

Hammond also delivered oil for heaters to those who chose to remain in their homes.

“I tried to stress as much as I could against the use of propane,” Hammond said.

With the icy conditions came several wrecks.

“Overall, there were about nine or 10 wrecks,” Hammond said. “Three out of those wrecks were injury accidents, but none of them were fatal.”

Hammond said the biggest problem at first was removing fallen trees and limbs from the roads so the county could get to work on scraping them.

“There are still slick spots on some of the roads,” Hammond said Monday. “But for the most part, the roads are safe.”

Owenton Fire Chief David Lilly said Owenton Emergency Management Director Rick Morgan worked with Owen Electric and other agencies to help restore power across the county.

Lilly said by 9 p.m. Sunday, all power had been restored throughout the county.

Teresa Davis, a magistrate who is also serving as temporary chairperson of the Owen County Fiscal Court, said the magistrates stayed busy throughout the storm.

“We traveled the roads and kept in contact with the people in our different districts as much as possible,” Davis said. “Our main concern was the older people, but we stayed in contact with them and everything worked out fine.”

Hammond said he is pleased everything went smooth.

“I think all of our officials did a great job assisting the county,” Hammond said. “Overall, I think things went very well.”