In western KY, still stuck in ice storm's grip - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

In western KY, still stuck in ice storm's grip

AURORA, Ky. (AP) - The power had been out since Tuesday at Lakeland Arbor Village, an independent-living community, and some of the food was spoiling, at least the stuff anyone really wanted to eat.

"I still have some potted meat, but I'm getting kind of tired of it," said resident Ann Smith, 66, wearing a stocking cap that she takes with her to bed.

Across Kentucky, the state hardest hit by the deadly ice storm that has hobbled parts of several states for most of a week, people without power spent another day Saturday crammed into the homes of relatives and neighbors who did. Others unable or unwilling to seek shelter awaited sporadic visits from rescuers, and some still hadn't been reached.

It wasn't all that bad at Lakeland Arbor Village, near the western shore of Kentucky Lake. Not during the day anyway. Two charcoal grills kept safely outside provided hot sandwiches and a generator hummed away, lighting the community room where several people had gathered, and everybody bundled up.

At night, the apartments were pitch black but for candles, lanterns and flashlights that created a soft glow.

"I'm just trying to stay warm and trying to sleep," said Betty Sanders, 60, who donned extra shirts and socks. "It's rough. It's very, very rough."

The ice storm had Sanders longing for her old home in Florida.

"I don't know how much longer I can handle it," she said, her voice shaking despite Smith's efforts to comfort her. "I'm not used to this."

Dorothy Michaels, 87, wore gloves and had a blanket draped over her in her darkened room, where a battery operated radio gave her the latest updates on the outages. She has stayed in bed from sunset to past sunrise since the storm hit and said her hips and backs are aching, on account of her lack of activity.

"I had a real bad night," she said. "I was like whirling dervish. I turned and tossed."

She said her children live out of state, so she plans to ride out the blackout in her small apartment.

In many places across the state, the poorest of the poor were doubling up their families in dwellings lucky enough to have propane heat or the $700 luxury of a generator. Many were anxious about how they will rebound from the unforeseen expense of keeping their children warm in a place not expected to have power for weeks.

At a command center in Reidland, along Interstate 24 about 9 miles outside Paducah, emergency officials and utility crews mapped out where resources should be sent. McCrackon County Sheriff Jon Hayden dispatched one of his deputies to a town called Lone Oak, where he knew lower-income residents would have trouble getting by.

"There's still no cell service and we're getting calls from relatives who want us to check on them," he said.

He was right.

On rural Clinton Road, people have been hanging frozen meat from porches so it won't go bad. Angel Wyant has been eking out the days with the heat from a kitchen frier connected to a handheld propane tank.       "And a carbon monoxide detector," she points out, mindful of the dozens of deaths caused by the storm, several through such poisoning.

The makeshift heater isn't much good when night falls, so Wyant, 32, and her three children have been staying overnight at the home of neighbor Rita Kelly, 53.

"We huddle around the old wood stove," said Kelly, whose two-bedroom aluminum sided house now shelters six people. After days of searching empty shelves, she and her husband bought a generator Saturday and were trying to hook it up themselves so as to avoid the installation fee.

"We about tapped out of money after buying that thing," Kelly said with a weak smile.

Many in Lone Oak, particularly down the more isolated roads, said they never considered going to shelters.

Randy Beeler, 52, climbed the roof of his brother Steve Beeler's home to clear away fallen timber. Power was still out in the small clapboard but they planned to ride it out for as long as needed.

"We just don't ask for much help around here," said the younger Beeler. "We're pretty tough."            

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)      

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