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Monday winter storm roundup UPDATED 2:15 p.m.
Updated on: 01.06.14

Editor's note: Due to the countywide travel warning restricting travel to emergency vehicles only, the Brown County Democrat newsroom is a network of kitchen tables today. We'll update this document throughout the day with news about the winter storm and when life might get back to normal. Send questions, comments and closings to newsroom@bcdemocrat.com.

Brown County did not get buried under snow over the weekend, but steady rain, plumetting temperatures and bitter wind did not make Monday very pleasant.

Just after daylight, Brown County Dispatch reported that a woman flagged down an Indiana Department of Transportation truck on 46 East because her car and house keys and cell phone were locked in her vehicle. Turns out, the door wasn't locked. The door was just frozen shut, the assisting officer reported.

At 9 a.m., it was -6 degrees out. On the police scanner, state workers were talking about diesel fuel turning to gel.

Brown County Highway plow drivers were being allowed six hours of rest on rotating shifts, according to radio traffic. They'd been out much of the weekend clearing slush first, then snow overnight.

Brown County Emergency Management Agency Director Sara Vasquez declared a travel warning Sunday night. Travel was restricted to emergency vehicles only until further notice. If power outages were widespread, she told Brown County dispatch that warming stations might be opened.

As of 9:30 a.m. Monday, Duke Energy was reporting two outages in Brown County. South Central REMC showed 120, most in Hamblen and Jackson townships.

Brown County and town offices were closed Monday because of the weather. Other closings and cancellations are posted here: http://www.bcdemocrat.com/index.php?id=15197

Brown County Schools classes weren't scheduled to resume from Christmas break until Tuesday. No word has been received about any school delays yet.

11 a.m. UPDATE:

Highway Superintendent Roger Cline said crews have been working around the clock to clear roads, but a combination of rain, then snow, followed by extreme cold temperatures has presented major hurdles.

The roads have been plowed and crews continue to push back drifting snow, but the roads remain covered with packed ice, most of which cannot be broken up because salt stops working once temperatures dip below 15 degrees.

Cline said they are applying sand to hills for traction, but until temperatures warm, many Brown County roads will remain slick and hazardous. Using salt in sub-freezing temps would be a waste of money, he said.

The temperature as of Monday morning was well below zero. Forecasts are not calling for temperatures to rise to near freezing until Wednesday and Thursday.

Another challenge has been keeping roads cleared of trees. Cline said Bear Creek Road was the worst, but wind and the weight of snow and ice has caused debris to fall in roadways throughout the county.

Sunday’s rain resulted in some flooding. Cline said there is a high-water sign on Orchard Hill Road.

About a third of the county’s gravel roads had been treated with additional gravel as of Monday morning. That work continues.

Cline urges folks to stay home if at all possible. Besides the danger, driving on the roads in these conditions complicates treatment by further packing the ice. He also asked for patience from the public. He promised an all-out effort to clear roads over the next two to three days. “Things just don’t work when it’s this cold,” he said.

11:51 a.m. UPDATE:

In spite of the weather, some stores, restaurants and services are open today.

Shopworth IGA: Owner Diana Biddle, who is currently manning the store by herself, says the store will remain open until at least 6 p.m. Some of the secondary services are closed, like the pizza kitchen and the deli.

Brown County IGA: Manager Bruce Tuxhorn reports the store is closed due to the travel warning. It also is short on several essential items, including bread and eggs. The store did receive a milk delivery this morning, but will likely be closed until at least Tuesday, possibly longer, he said.

CVS: According to employee Abby Snyder, the store will be open regular hours, until 10 p.m. The store is currently out of milk. The pharmacy will remain open until 9 p.m.

Circle K: According to employee Lacy Percifield, the Circle K on State Road 46 between Nashville and Gnaw Bone is open 24 hours a day and will remain open. The Circle K in downtown Nashville will be open until 10 p.m. 

Speedway: The store is open on its regular, 24-hour schedule. An employee reported the company paid for in-town hotel lodging for a staff member to ensure the store would remain open. Its milk supply is down to skim.

BP: The store is open, but co-owner Vicki Payne said it may close early. Its attached restaurants, Broaster Chicken and Noble Roman's, are open and serving.

The Spot (Spurgeon's Corner): Owner Penny Ahrmann says the store near the Brown-Jackson county line will officially open at 4 p.m., but in case of an emergency, she can be contacted at 812-318-0809. The store has six loaves of bread left, milk, eggs, butter, cigarettes and hot coffee. Ahrmann will also be making pizzas for pickup, and sandwiches. 

Needmore Grocery: The store on State Road 45 in Trevlac will be open until 7 p.m. It is stocked with most essentials including bread, milk, eggs and butter.

McDonald's: The restaurant is currently open, but might close by 1 p.m. due to staff shortages.

Subway: The restaurant is open and serving its full menu. However, the management team is evaluating conditions and might close the store later this afternoon.

Big Woods: Big Woods Brewery is closed, but the pizzeria is open regular hours until 8 p.m.

Unable to contact: Calls to the following stores have not been answered, so it is unclear whether they are open: Crouch's Market, Helmsburg General Store.

Brown County Tire: According to co-owner Debbie Guffey, Brown County Tire is currently offering wrecker service, but the shop is closed. Wait times depend on location.

Al's Garage and Wrecker Service: According to office assistant Annette Jones, the garage will be closing at noon. However, the wrecker service is 24 hours and will be running without interruption.

Mother's Cupboard: Daily food service and grocery pickup are canceled, according to a report on the food pantry's Facebook page. There is no word yet on when services will resume as normal.

1:39 p.m. UPDATE:

Brown County Schools students will get at least another day of break, Superintendent David Shaffer reports. Tuesday classes have been called off because of the extreme cold and slippery roads.

2:13 p.m. UPDATE:

Brown County Emergency Management Agency Director Sara Vasquez reported Monday afternoon that poor road conditions continue. The travel status will remain at the warning level through tonight. That means only emergency personnel such as police and medics should be on the “treacherous” ice-covered roads, she said, many of which are only one lane.

“Our county is still shut down,” she said.

Vasquez said the travel status will be reevaluated Tuesday morning, when it might be reduced to a watch. That will depend on temperatures. When they extremely low, available road treatment options do not work well, she said.

Vasquez said county offices will be closed again Tuesday.

Brown County experienced power outages as a result of the snow storm. Vasquez said most of those were short-lived and have since been resolved. Duke Energy reported three outages as of 1:35 p.m. Monday.

As of 1:17 p.m., Monday, SCI REMC had a total of 6,830 members in its seven-county service area without power. Customer Sandy Justin reported she'd had no power in the Country Club Road area since 11 p.m. Sunday.

Many of the outages have been caused by snow that has built up on the lines and turned to ice, said REMC's Maura Giles.

"We are working as quickly as possible, while maintaining the safety of our line crews in these freezing temperatures. It will likely be a day or two before everyone in our service territory has power again," Giles said in a press release.

Vasquez said there have been no requests for a shelter to be open, and one will likely not be opened. If someone does need services, they are encouraged to call 911 or contact Vasquez on her cell phone at (812) 360-4362. Vasquez said people in need will be handled on a case-by-case basis. She assured that if assistance is needed, it will be provided.

Vasquez urged people to stay home, not only for their own safety but to allow state and county highway workers to do their jobs of clearing roads.

3:41 p.m. UPDATE:

According to emergency radio, Brown County Highway Department workers will clock out at 8 p.m., then be back in to hit the roads again at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

This story will be updated.

Obituaries
See Full List »

Alva L. Miller, 81, Columbus
  Father of Marsha Ott and Karen Kincer, both of Nineveh

Alice M. Stines, 81, Taylorsville
  Sister of Leon Thickstun and Joan Dewar, both of Nashville

Jeanetta Estella Waltz, 77, Nineveh
  

  • October 31
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • October 31
    Trick-or-Treat hours set for Nashville
    6 to 9 p.m. Nashville
  • October 31
    Deadline to RSVP for Brown County/Purdue Extension dinner meeting
  • October 31
    Trunk or Treat at Helmsburg church
    6 to 8 p.m. Brown County Community Church, 2370 Main St., Helmsburg
  • November 1
    Annual chicken noodle dinner, craft bazaar at Christiansburg church
    4 to 7 p.m. Christiansburg United Methodist Church, 7372 S. Christianburg Road
  • November 1
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 1
    Annual craft, bake sale at Helmsburg church
    9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brown County Community Church, 2370 Main St.
  • November 1
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • November 1
    Annual bazaar, quilt raffle, bake sale, bean dinner
    10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Goshen Community Church, 2798 Gatesville Road, Bean Blossom
  • November 3
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • November 4
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • November 4
    Government offices CLOSED
  • November 5
    Woodworkers club
    7 p.m. Charlie Roush's Shop, 6987 Christianberg Road
  • November 5
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • November 6
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • November 6
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • November 6
    Salt Creek Trail Committee
    10 a.m. BC Parks & Rec. Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • November 6
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. Helmsburg Elementary School, 5378 Helmsburg School Road
  • November 6
    Rotary Club
    7:15 a.m. Artists Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • November 7
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • November 8
    Second Saturday Village Art Walk
    5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Nashville
  • November 8
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • November 8
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 8
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • November 11
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 11
    Government Offices CLOSED
  • November 12
    Mandatory scholarship meeting at the high school
    6:30 p.m. Brown County High School, 235 School House Lane
  • November 12
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • November 13
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • November 14
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • November 15
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 15
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • November 18
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 19
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • November 20
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • November 23
    Nashville Reserve Officers host chili cook-off
    10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nashville P.D., 200 Hawthorne Drive
  • December 13
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road