Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Storm blasts through campus - 17 Jan. 2007

There is usually a big lapse between semesters, so I had a while to get info on this story. Check out the other story I did, though, about the two students in a shelter.


The first big ice storm of 2007 hit Green Country with devastating force last week, immobilizing several communities and leaving a layer of thick ice on nearly everything.

University officials cancelled classes at all three branches scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Although the roads around Tahlequah were safe to drive Monday, conditions that commuters might face prompted the cancellations.

“A lot of folks don’t have electricity, no water,” said Neal Weaver, vice president of University Relations.

Administrative offices were open, however, including the essential services like campus police and food locations. The Muskogee and Broken Arrow campuses were operating on a “skeleton crew,” said Weaver, because of worse conditions in that part of the state.

“BA is not a safe campus,” he said.

Much of Muskogee faced power outages early this week, and by Tuesday that campus had minimal power resources.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported more than 9,000 customers without power in Muskogee, and as many as 24,000 across their system.

An automated message at Lake Region Electric Cooperative mentioned more than 9,000 without power in their system, and those with LREC might go without power until Wednesday night.

Residence halls still had electricity Tuesday, but Housing made plans in case the dorms lost power. Residents were encouraged to “evaluate other accommodations,” and the UC basement was set up as an emergency gathering point.

Emmanuel Griffin, Muskogee freshman, said he has a friend in town with an apartment, but he had planed to stay in the dorms and keep busy during the unexpected break.

“We’re gonna play spades - cards and some board games while the lights are still on,” he said. “We gotta make due with what we got.”
Several events scheduled for this week were cancelled, most notably the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Organizers have not rescheduled a date yet. Also cancelled Monday was the Faculty Voice Recital.

Severe weather was not enough to keep away the Oklahoma Blood Institute or its donors - 38 showed up Monday - but the cancelled Battenfield-Carletti Distinguished Entrepreneur Lecture has not been rescheduled.

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