City to open, mail likely to go out

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­news.com

For the sec­ond straight day, the mail was not de­liv­ered in Cov­ing­ton on Tues­day, be­cause car­ri­ers were un­able to make the trek from the pro­cess­ing cen­ter in Du­luth in Gwin­nett County to Cov­ing­ton’s of­fice.

Cov­ing­ton Post Of­fice Man­ager Jerry Romero said he ex­pected the mail to be de­liv­ered to­day, but would not know for sure un­til 8 a. m..

While most gro­cery stores and ma­jor re­tail­ers opened for at least most of the day Tues­day, govern­ment of­fices of Newton County and Cov­ing­ton re­mained closed to the pub­lic.

Cov­ing­ton City Man­ager Steve Hor­ton said City Hall would be open to the pub­lic from 11 a. m. to 3 p. m. Wed­nes­day. He said the roads were im­prov­ing as of 3 p. m. Tues­day.

Res­i­dents may also pay bills and con­duct other busi­ness by phone or e-mail, be­gin­ning at 8 a. m. and con­tin­u­ing through 3 p. m.

City Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Billy Bouch­illon said the city was not able to pick up trash Tues­day and would likely not be able to go out Wed­nes­day. There­fore, ev­ery­body’s sched­ule would be pushed back. He said res­i­dents should put their trash cans on the curb when they are able to, and the city would pick them up when it was able to.

Newton County Chair­man Kathy Mor­gan had made no de­ter­mi­na­tion Tues­day af­ter­noon on when county of­fices will re­open.

Both the county and city con­tin­ued to urge peo­ple to stay at home be­cause the icy roads are dan­ger­ous. Pub­lic works crews have been work­ing in ro­tat­ing shifts since 7 p.m. Sun­day to clear streets and re­spond to emer­gen­cies.

Nei­ther Cov­ing­ton nor the county has salt spread­ers, but both have dump trucks they use to spread sand, gravel and a cal­cium chlo­ride mix­ture. Mor­gan said the county still had sand, gravel and cal­cium chlo­ride, but the sup­ply was be­gin­ning to run short.

“We don’t stock­pile for 5 days, only 48 hours. Our guys are hit­ting the crit­i­cal spots, our re­sponse is just like the (Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s), we hit the bridges and ma­jor road­ways. Our crit­i­cal re­sponse is fol­low­ing fire trucks and EMTs, that’s the only time we go off ma­jor road­ways into res­i­den­tial streets,” Mor­gan said. “We can’t clear 1,000 miles of roads.”

Mor­gan said she’s also talk­ing with other govern­ment lead­ers to cre­ate a con­tin­gency plan in case a ma­jor power out­age oc­curs. She was try­ing to lo­cate pub­lic build­ings with bath­room and kitchen fa­cil­i­ties that could house hun­dreds of

res­i­dents.

Re­tail­ers

The county’s gro­cery stores and ma­jor re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing In­gles, Kmart, Kroger, Publix and Wal­mart, opened Tues­day, with many re­as­sum­ing reg­u­lar hours. Un­less the weather gets sig­nif­i­cantly worse, the stores are ex­pected to be open again Wed­nes­day.

Power Out­ages

Snap­ping Shoals EMC had a power out­age Tues­day that af­fected 1,400 cus­tomers, in­clud­ing the Cony­ers Wal­mart. The out­age oc­curred at 12:40 p.m. and was re­paired by 1:24 p.m. It was caused by a ma­te­rial fail­ure and was un­re­lated to the weather, Snap­ping Shoals spokes­woman Leigh-Anne Burgess said in an e-mail.

No other ma­jor out­ages were re­ported. Hor­ton said that the city had a few small prob­lems, most of which were re­lated to driv­ers run­ning into elec­tric poles.

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