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Citizens, businesses cut losses after storm

July 3, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

For many stores and homes, the power outages from Friday's storm not only meant going without TV and air conditioning, but also a loss of perishable food.

"We counted our losses and threw it in the dumpster. We didn't want to make anybody sick by salvaging it," said Keith Brown, store manager of Kroger in Elkins. "We are in the process (of getting more shipments) - we've had some but not all."

A manager for Walmart in Buckhannon told The Inter-Mountain, "We did lose quite a bit." She did not have any figures for the store's losses as of Monday.

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"Actually, we're getting pretty well back replenished," she said, adding that some supply trucks have been coming in.

She said the store now has milk and other perishable food items. "(We) have enough to fill counters," she said.

Candace Queen, manager at Kroger in Weston, would not provide details for losses, but said employees were working to get the store open again as soon as possible.

"We still have trucks in route - we don't have everything completely here yet. At this point in time, perishables are very slim," she said.

Meanwhile, Shop 'n' Save of Belington was trying to get back to normal as well.

Manager Donna Sinsel said by Saturday, the Belington Shop 'n' Save had to throw out meats, deli items, dairy and most frozen items. She said employees "worked all day Saturday unloading and throwing stuff away."

Still, while dealing with the losses, the store made a contribution to the community.

"We donated what ice we had to the emergency squad and fire department and Office of Emergency Management," Sinsel said.

Sinsel told The Inter-Mountain on Monday that her store was expecting a shipment of ice from Fairmont, but hadn't received it yet. She said milk also was a little scarce.

"We've got meat, deli, milk. ... (We're) trying to get our trucks in early on Tuesday morning. We're in business; it's slim business," she said. "We had major losses, we're still totaling."

Bob Breitinger, director of operations for CGP Foods, which is the parent company for Shop 'n' Save, said perishable foods could be restocked in Shop 'n' Save stores sometime today.

"We have trucks coming in," Breitinger said.

Grocery businesses weren't the only ones to lose something as a result of the storm.

Blair and Sandy Thrush, of Charleston, traveled through Elkins Monday to get away from the power outage that still looms over their area and much of the state. They said they lost "bags and bags" of perishable food items, and they were headed toward Canaan Valley "to get away from the power shortage and the heat."

Todd Pingly, of Jimtown, said he was lucky because he had several generators and didn't lose anything.

"I feel bad for the older people," Pingly said.

Rock Cave resident Ronald N. Buckton also had a generator - but he had a tough time getting gas.

"I'm able to keep the freezer going for about six hours a day, (just) don't open the lid," Buckton said about his efforts to keep his food from thawing and going bad.

Sarah Howard, of Buckhannon, said her family didn't have a generator, but they still tried to salvage perishable foods.

"We saved what we could by putting everything into the freezer to try and keep it longer. When it started going bad, we grilled it. I have to say, grilled hot pockets are amazing," Howard said.

Howard said her first concern was to ration what she and her family had, and the biggest scare was how utilities would remain out.

"I was putting filtered water into anything that would hold it, even leaving a bathtub full," she said, adding that the storm and the high temperatures were hard to take.

"We lost our minds first with the heat," she said.

Bekke Florence, of Elkins, said her first reaction to the power outages was to "get my kids to relatives with power," especially when she heard the area could be without electricity for several days.

Some residents lost more than just food as a result of Friday's storm. Some lost time at work, and income. Some also had property damages.

"The awning on my camper, one side tore off," Carolyn Healey of Montrose said.

Others weren't too worried by the storm and its aftermath.

Laura DePriest Stackpole, of Buckhannon, said, "The only thing that we lost was the time we spent hunting gas for the generator."

Stackpole said she thought, "Bring it on," when she heard the power could be out for days.

"It isn't ideal, but I think that it gives people a wake-up call and reminds them of everything they take for granted," she said.

"Plus, it teaches a lesson that we can always be prepared for things like this when they happen."



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