April 24, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
53°F

Medina man part of Red Cross relief effort

Staff and wire reports

Medina County Red Cross volunteers are working in shelters as far away as New York City to help residents in the Northeast struggling to recover from superstorm Sandy.

One of the volunteers, Bill Taylor, of Medina, said he has been in New York state since Sunday.

Beth Kilchenman

“There’s a lot of downed trees, and the power’s out in most places,” Taylor said via telephone Thursday.

Taylor, who is on a natural disaster volunteer list, said he was helping out at a shelter in Farmingdale on Long Island by setting up cots and distributing food. He said he previously was in the Albany area and the Catskill Mountains.

He said most of the damage there was from the wind, so there wasn’t much flooding.

“If I look close enough through the clouds, I can see a little bit of blue sky,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he’s committed to the Red Cross shelters for three weeks, but he expects everything to wrap up within 10 days.

Beth Kilchenman, executive director of the Medina County chapter of the American Red Cross, urged people to help out areas hurt worse than Medina County by donating blood and money.

According to the Red Cross website, more than 300 blood drives nationwide were cancelled because of the storm. To schedule a blood drive appointment, visit redcrossblood.org or call (800) RED-CROSS.

Monetary donations help the Red Cross to provide shelter, food and emotional support, according to the website.

Thousands of homes and businesses are still without power in Northeast Ohio following this week’s storm. Dozens of residents are staying in Red Cross shelters, and many schools were closed for a third day.

FirstEnergy reports that about 88,000 Ohio customers still were without electricity Thursday evening, with most of the outages concentrated in Cleveland and the western suburbs. The utility said it hopes to have most of it restored by the end of the weekend.

A handful of FirstEnergy customers in Medina County, all in Hinckley Township, were without power Thursday evening.

High winds spinning off superstorm Sandy swiped Ohio early Tuesday, uprooting trees and bringing down power lines. Two people were killed in crashes on icy roads in northwest Ohio.

In New York City, the U.S. Coast Guard has opened the Port of New York and New Jersey on a restricted basis to get gasoline and fuel to the areas hit hardest.

At least 38 people died during the storm, and there were 1.5 million power outages in the city Thursday, down from 2.2 million.