Winn Parish Recovery Response Update 8-30-20

Yesterday morning the Winn Parish Police Jury (Jury) met with LA Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell. Campbell assured the Jury that he is doing everything possible to put pressure on the power company executives to speed power restoration. He stated, “In my travels through the state to view the damage, Winn Parish is absolutely the hardest hit place I’ve traveled through.”

Roderick Worthy, with Entergy LA, addressed the Jury, assuring them that everything that can be done to restore power is being done. He explained that the hurricane damage is very extensive. The hardest hit was Entergy’s transmission structure. Entergy must get the transmission structure operating first before they can restore power down the lines. Their best estimate for everyone to have power restored is four days. Power will come on in stages, but everyone being restored is approximately four days.

Police Jury President Josh McAllister explained that two systems are working at the same time. #1 National Guard is distributing commodities at the Winnfield Senior High School. #2 the Cajun Navy is providing hot food that is being distributed at the Winnfield Senior High School. Water is also available for pick up.

If you know of anyone unable to travel to Winnfield for supplies, please contact your police juror. Volunteers can report to the Winnfield Senior High School.

District 1
Mr. Phillip Evans | Email
Natchitoches, Louisiana
(318) 646-2045
Details
 
District 2
Mrs. Deionne Carpenter | Email
Winnfield, Louisiana
(318) 302-3113
Details
District 3
 
Mr. Josh McAllister- President | Email
Winnfield, Louisiana
(318) 332-9699 or (318) 729-1727
Details
 
District 4
Mrs. Tammy Griffin | Email
Goldonna, LA
(318) 277-6582
Details
 
District 5Mr. Kirk Miles | Email
Dodson, LA
(318) 413-0754
 
District 6
Mr. Author Robinson | Email
Winnfield, Louisiana
(318) 628-7634
Details
 
District 7
Mr. Allen Michael McCartney- Vice President | Email
Georgetown, Louisiana
(318) 332-7883
Details

Please be patient. Public officials and volunteers are doing their best to help. The police jury is doing everything possible to help everyone in need.


Recovery Supplies Arrive in Winn Parish

Much needed supplies arrived in Winn Parish Saturday, August 29. In a joint effort between the Cajun Navy and American Rescue, food supplies were flown into Joyce Airfield in Winnfield, LA. 

Elliott Weiss piloted the first plane to arrive. Weiss volunteered his time, fuel, and aircraft through American Rescue in coordination with the Cajun Navy to bring non-perishable food items to Winn Parish. Weiss’ plane is 1956 Cessna.

Weiss also took some time to take the WPJ up into the air to get a bird’s eye view of the storm damage. Due to the trees’ density, much of the damage was hard to see in the parish’s outer areas. Damage could be more clearly viewed in the city of Winnfield.

The second plane to arrive was piloted by Bryan Butler from Brenham, TX flying a Piper Lance. Butler volunteered through American Rescue, coordinating with the Cajun Navy to get supplies into Winn Parish. 

Winn Parish Police Jurors and community volunteers unloaded the planes and distributed the food items to the community. 


Winn Parish Comes Together to Begin Recovery From Hurricane Devastation

Calvin residents Dawson Lang, Lee J. Taylor, Kenny Goins, Mike Fern start cut trees to clear Hwy 501 in Calvin

Winn parish is reeling from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Laura last week. Many of the residents are without power and running water. People in the parish’s most rural areas are unable to leave their homes trapped without food and drinking water.

Although the devastation is vast, so is the determination of Winn Parish citizens to help their community. Immediately following the storm people all over the parish could be seen cutting trees in an attempt to clear parish roads. 

First United Methodist Church of Winnfield Pastor Kevin Smith and his wife Jana along with volunteers coordinated by Louisiana Logger Association Executive Director Toni McAllister and Winnfield native Kelley Skains began distributing food to the community Saturday afternoon at the farmer’s market in Winnfield. Volunteer have continued to work countless hours to provide food, water, and ice to the parish. 

Saturday night, cars full of people lined up at the Winnfield Senior High School to receive a hot meal. Early Saturday morning, the effort began again, this time supplying food, water, and ice. Supplies distributed have been donated by groups like the Cajun Navy, KDF Enterprises, LLC, and American Rescue as well as State Representative Danny McCormick from District 1, who arrived from Caddo Parish with a trailer of water and coolers of ice.  The team of volunteers, along with the Winn Parish Police Jurors, also coordinated sending meals out into the parish villages. 

“The heart of this community and its citizens just never ceases to amaze me,” stated Winn Parish Police Jury President Josh McAllister.

Meals will be provided daily, although times will be announced as plans are developed.  McAllister and Skains keep the community updated via Facebook posts about ongoing efforts and encourage people to check on their neighbors in person as many may not be on social media, and some may not have a way to communicate.


Entergy Efforts to Restore Power Update

Hurricane Laura will go down in the record books as the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since 1856 and has tied for the fifth strongest to make landfall in the continental U.S.

At publication Entergy is reporting 4,180 customers in Winn Parish are without electricity.

More than 200 transmission towers were damaged or destroyed by the storm. The transmission system is the backbone of the electric grid and helps Entergy move power from the power plant to the lines serving customers’ neighborhoods. These large lines are like the interstate system. Without these lines in service, it makes it difficult to move power across the system to customers in the affected areas.

Customers with property damage may require special action to speed their restoration:

  • If your property has any water damage, please turn off the electricity at either the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Don’t step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.
  • Call a licensed electrician for advice when necessary. A licensed electrician may need to inspect your property’s electric wiring before Entergy can restore power to a home or business which has water damage from rain or flood waters.

For customers without property damage:

  • Property owners without hurricane damage should be cautious.
  • Look for electrical system damage once power is restored. If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires, or the smell of hot insulation is noticeable, turn off the electricity at either the main fuse box or circuit breaker.
  • Call a licensed electrician for advice when necessary. Don’t step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.

Entergy cannot restore power to a location with a damaged meter base, conduit or weather head (the metal pipe extending upward from the structure with electrical cables inside). They must be repaired by a qualified electrician before Entergy can restore power.

Due to the volume of outages and post-storm assessment status, the red/green lines on our outage maps may show discrepancies. When this happens, we switch to an “area view” and provide detailed restoration updates in the alert banner at the top of the map, updated twice daily.

Here’s how we approach things at this stage to restore your power safely and quickly when conditions are safe:

  • Repairs begin with major lines to the substations, then to the lines and equipment serving neighborhoods, businesses and homes.
  • Service lines to individual homes and businesses will be restored last because fewer customers are involved, and in the case of fewer outages spread over larger areas, it often takes more time to get power back on for them.
  • Significant flooding and other accessibility challenges due to the storm will affect our ability to reach some areas of our territory and could delay restoration in those communities.
  • When restoration starts, keep in mind that if you don’t see us working near you, we may be working on another part of the electrical system that you can’t see but must be repaired to get power to you.

Responding to a major storm and COVID-19 could affect our response:

  • Along with standard storm preparations, Entergy employees are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic by taking additional steps. These include traveling separately when possible, adjusting crew staging locations and increasing the use of drones.
  • Due to the additional measures crews must take, restoration may take longer, especially where there are widespread outages. Additionally, crews will continue to practice social distancing and we ask that customers do the same. For their safety and yours, please stay away from work zones.

Stay Informed

  • We know you want information about your outage. Given the intensity of this storm and the additional need for our crews to follow COVID-19 precautionary measures, hardest hit areas may experience outages for weeks. In addition, restoration may be hampered by flooding, blocked access or other obstacles.
  • In addition to disruption of normal business operations, customers may experience delays when calling our telephone centers, especially from unaffected areas, due to overloading of the system with outage calls. We encourage customers to use these other means to interact with us during restoration:
    • Download our free app for your smartphone at entergy.com/app.
    • Sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 36778 and have your account number and ZIP code handy. The registration pattern is as follows including spaces: REG (account number) (ZIP code). Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage. You can also report an outage online as a guest.
    • Visit the Entergy Storm Center website and our View Outages.
    • Follow us on Twitter.com/entergy or Facebook.com/entergy.
    • Call us at 800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
    • Follow updates in your local news media, like radio, television and newspapers.
    • Once these storms pass, we can fully assess the damage and will have more information to share.

Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in attempts to scam our customers following Hurricane Laura.

  • Entergy never demands immediate payment from customers over the phone. You shouldn’t give your personal information to strangers.
  • If a call sounds suspicious, hang-up and call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) to speak directly with an Entergy customer service representative.
  • If you believe you are a victim of this scam, notify the proper authorities, such as the local police or the state attorney general’s office.

Customer Safety

  • You should stay safe as we restore service outages caused by Hurricane Laura.
  • There is no way to know if a downed line is energized or not, so if you see one, keep your distance and call 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
  • Stay safe and away from downed power lines and flooded areas. Do not walk in standing water and do not venture into areas of debris, since energized and dangerous power lines may not be visible.
  • Customers choosing to use portable electric generators should do so in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Customers must never connect a generator directly to a building’s wiring without a licensed electrician disconnecting the house wiring from Entergy’s service. Otherwise, it can create a safety hazard for the customer or our linemen working to restore power. And it may damage the generator or the house wiring.
  • Restoration workers who discover a generator attached directly to Entergy’s system will work with the customer to disconnect the generator. As a last resort, the restoration worker will disconnect the customer’s service connection to Entergy, which may take an extended time to reconnect due to the extensive restoration effort underway.


Multi-parish Burn Ban Issued Following Hurricane Laura

BATON ROUGE- State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning and Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain have issued a cease and desist order for all private burning, pursuant to authority under R.S. 40:1602, for the following parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Concordia, GrantJackson, Jeff Davis, LaSalle, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red RiverSabine, Union, Vernon and Winn.

Private burning shall only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government. This order is effective as of 8 a.m., August 31, 2020 and shall remain in effect until rescinded.

“The extensive damage caused Hurricane Laura includes several water systems. That means many communities are without adequate water service for potential fire suppression needs,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “This order will hopefully assist local first responders by reducing unnecessary fire calls that they will be challenged to answer due to a lack of infrastructure, resources and personnel already tasked with Laura recovery efforts.”

This ban shall not apply to prescribed burns by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, by those trained and certified by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or by those who conduct prescribed burning as a “generally accepted agriculture practice” as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law

(R.S. 3:3601 et seq.).

Violation of this Fire Marshal order could result in criminal and/or civil penalties.


Hire Only Licensed Arborists to Work on Storm-Damaged Trees

Baton Rouge – As cleanup from Hurricane Laura begins, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., is reminding residents to hire only professional-licensed arborists to perform work on storm-damaged trees.

“Anyone doing tree work in Louisiana is required to obtain a license through the LDAF,” Strain said. “Hiring only licensed-professional arborists protects you, the homeowner, since licensed arborists are not only trained to properly execute tree work, but they must also maintain liability insurance. I also urge you to get a written estimate and, while you may be required to pay a reasonable deposit, you should never pay for the job in full up front.”

“Following hurricanes, we see an increased number of people going door-to-door offering tree services,” Strain said. “When hiring an arborist to remove storm-damaged trees, always ask to see their license and a current copy of the arborist’s liability insurance certificate.”

According to the Louisiana horticulture law: No person shall receive fees, advertise or solicit business in a regulated profession or occupation unless this person holds the appropriate license or permit, or has a regular employee who holds the appropriate license or permit, or is employed by a person who holds the appropriate license or permit. In addition, all licensees are required to place their license numbers on all business-related vehicles that have advertisements on them.

No license is required for someone doing tree debris removal, which includes cutting up and hauling away fallen trees.

Strain added that any work on a tree or portion of a tree still standing will require an arborist license.


CLTCC Closed Through Labor Day Due to Aftermath of Hurricane Laura

Due to the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, all 8 CLTCC campuses will be closed through Labor Day, Monday, September 7. Although our campus buildings are returning to normal, our students, faculty, and staff continue to be without necessities and utilities. CLTCC remains sensitive to these needs, and we will resume the semester as appropriate. CLTCC is standing by to work with our community through relief, recovery, and rebuilding.


Louisiana Declared Major Disaster

President Donald Trump has approved Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for a major disaster declaration following Hurricane Laura.

All parishes have been approved for public assistance category B (emergency protective measures), including direct federal assistance.

Currently only people in five parishes can register for FEMA Aid granting Individual Assistance for people who were affected in  Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis parishes. 

You can read more about the disaster declaration here. https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4559
https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/2660


Laura Slams Winn Parish

Hurricane Laura, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the United States coast, roared into Winn Parish Thursday. Maximum sustained winds in Winn Parish reached 78 MPH uprooting trees, knocking out power and damaging a cell tower.

Many residents are currently without power and cell service. Entergy and SWEPCO have stated that it could be anywhere from four days to two weeks to have all power restored to Winn Parish.

The Winn Parish Police Jury Road Crew began working on clearing trees from roads as soon as the storm passed yesterday. Road Superintendent Perry Holmes stated that he had never seen so many roads in Winn Parish blocked by trees. According to Winn Parish Police Jury President Josh McAllister two National Guard Units were in Winn Parish assisting with clearing roads from downed trees. “I’ve had zero cell service since yesterday, all messages came through last night at one time. I’m not ignoring anyone, I’ll returning calls and messages as fast I can,” stated McAllister early this morning.

Many public offices will be closed today. Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office has water and non-perishable food available.

Citizens could be seen removing trees from roads shortly after the most intense wind passed yesterday.

There have been no deaths reported in Winn Parish but it is clear that property damage is extensive.

 


Crews Continue to Assess Damages, Restore Power in Louisiana as Laura Exits the State

Entergy’s Louisiana storm team is continuing to assess damages and restore power where it is safe to do so after a devastating Hurricane Laura exited the state Thursday afternoon.

Laura made landfall in Cameron, Louisiana, early Thursday morning as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds around 145 mph. The fast-moving storm continued to deliver heavy rain and strong winds as it traveled north across Louisiana and into Arkansas — bringing tropical storm force winds as far inland as Ouachita Parish.

At its peak, the storm knocked out power to approximately 280,000 customers with the hardest-hit areas in southwest and north Louisiana. As of 6 p.m. Thursday, approximately 256,000 customers were without power.

The storm caused significant damage to Entergy’s electrical system across the state. The most extensive damage was in the Lake Charles area, where the eyewall passed directly over, causing major damage to transmission infrastructure, utility poles and powerlines.

By late Thursday, Entergy’s storm team in Louisiana had ramped up to nearly 10,000 and was continuing to grow. While crews, including scouts, vegetation contractors and distribution linemen, among others, have faced accessibility challenges due to impassable roadways leading into Lake Charles, they have been able to inspect portions of the electrical system and perform some work in the field in areas east of Calcasieu Parish and in parts of north Louisiana.

Also hampering progress in Lake Charles Thursday was a chemical fire at a plant in the city of Westlake that forced road closures and increased drive times for some crews who were instructed to avoid the area for their safety.

Entergy will continue to use helicopters and drones to inspect damage to its transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Power must be restored to high-voltage transmission lines and substations in order to reenergize the distribution lines that serve businesses and homes.

Scouts will continue inspecting damages to the system in the coming days. As damage assessments are completed, crews will begin restoring power to critical infrastructure as well as putting together a plan to restore power to the largest number of customers the fastest.

We ask that our customers be patient with us as we work to repair and rebuild portions of the electrical system. It could take several days before we can provide estimated times of restoration and weeks before we restore power to the hardest-hit areas.

Crews will continue to practice social distancing while in the field due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Entergy asks that customers do the same. For the safety of crews and customers, please stay away from work zones. If there is a need to report a service problem, customers should call 1-800-ENTERGY.

Stay Safe

The most dangerous part of a storm is often just after it has passed. There is no way to know if a downed line is energized or not, so if you see one, keep your distance and call 1-800-9OUTAGE (800-968-8243).

Customers choosing to use portable electric generators should do so in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Customers must never connect a generator directly to a building’s wiring without a licensed electrician disconnecting the house wiring from Entergy’s service. Otherwise, it can create a safety hazard for the customer or our linemen working to restore power. And it may damage the generator or the house wiring.

Restoration workers who discover a generator attached directly to Entergy’s system will work with the customer to disconnect the generator. As a last resort, the restoration worker will disconnect the customer’s service connection to Entergy, which may take an extended time to reconnect due to the extensive restoration effort underway.


Winn Parish LDH COVID Weekly Update 8/27/20

According to the Louisiana Department of Health website on August 27, 2020, Winn Parish reported 41 new cases of COVID 19 this week, bringing the parish total of people who have tested positive to 540. There have been five additional deaths in Winn Parish this week bringing the parish total at fifteen.

The latest Nursing Home Report dated  August 26, 2020, reflects Winnfield Nursing & Rehab has one new case among residents and two new case among staff in the last week. Autumn Leaves Nursing & Rehab Center reported three new cases among residents and two new case among staff.

Facility Autumn Leaves Winnfield Nursing & Rehab
Parish Winn Winn
Resident Census 94 72
Total COVID-19 Cases
Among Residents
6 44
New COVID-19 Cases
Among Residents
Since Last Report (8-19-20)
3 1
Total Residents
Recovered
1 33
Total COVD-19 Deaths
Among Residents
0 10
Total COVID-19 Cases
Among Staff
7 20
New COVID-19 Cases
Among Staff
Since Last Report (8-19-20)
2 2
Total Staff Recovered 5 21

You can view the entire report here.

Recent Winn Parish daily testing numbers are shown in the table below.

Collection Date Test Count Negative Test Positive Test
8/1/20 7 4 3
8/2/20 5 4 1
8/3/20 23 20 3
8/4/20 39 27 12
8/5/20 40 31 9
8/6/20 139 125 14
8/7/20 24 19 5
8/8/20 2 0 2
8/9/20 6 4 2
8/10/20 48 38 10
8/11/20 203 192 11
8/12/20 72 60 11
8/13/20 49 40 9
8/14/20 20 11 9
8/15/20 6 2 4
8/16/20 16 12 4
8/17/20 38 30 8
8/18/90 196 186 10
8/19/20 24 17 7

You can view the entire report here.


Clergy Corner with Father Frank Fuller

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make melody. Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn. I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.  For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the clouds. (Psalm 57:7-10 NRSV)

Mornings hold a special magic.  They can set the mood for the entire day, or dispel gloom of night and the folly of yesterday. Our late summer days add extra delight to the moments between the first light and humid heat of the sun.  Those moments are so much cooler than the hours to come will be!

Early morning is a time for prayer.  Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions all include prayer between the first light and the rising of the sun. Besides, it’s quiet.  Especially if only one person in the household or on the block is awake, there’s a cherished quality to the quiet. Dawn may be the preferred moment of prayer for almost everyone.  It can be the moment when each one finds a quiet conversation with God about the day ahead.

Certainly, the dawn found the Psalmist at prayer.  Other times as well, of course; but read how the Psalmist greets the morning!  “Awake, my soul,” he sings.  There’s nothing quiet about this song.  The harp and lyre are involved. Though he doesn’t mention cymbals as he does in Psalm 150, morning is a time for the joyful noise that the Psalmist loves.

Just once as an experiment, if it isn’t your practice, make a joyful noise in the dawn.  It may not include a harp or lyre.  Or any instrument if the available choices include amps and speakers. Always, there’s voice. Sing a morning prayer.  Thanks be to God for the day ahead, for the light of the sun and the cool, of the departing nighttime.  Thanks be to God for the people we love and may see today; for the people we see and learn to love today.  Thanks be to God for the day ahead, for whatever it might hold, and for Christ’s presence with us through it all, good or bad.

And thanks for the voice to sing thanksgiving and praise.

Father Frank Fuller