Some seek shelter from the storms

Tegan Rankin (left) and
Rosa Navarro (right) of Perrysburg, watch friends play video games while staying at the Perrysburg
Heights Community Center in Perrysburg, Ohio. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)

Threatened by record-low temperatures overnight, Wood County residents hunkered down to stay safe from
the cold Monday.
Sites and agencies around the county stand ready if the frigid conditions should cause power to go out or
create other emergencies.
Over the weekend, members of the Perrysburg Heights Community Association announced they would open the
neighborhood’s community center near Levis Commons for anyone in need of shelter.
Jason Craig, PHCA director of operations, gathered food and other supplies for those expected to seek
refuge at the center, which includes a gym, activity rooms and other ways for people, especially
children, to keep from going “stir crazy.” “I’m afraid people will underestimate how cold it will be,”
Craig said Monday.
“I don’t think people know just how cold (minus) 20-degree wind chills are. They just don’t seem to
gather how cold that’s really going to be.”
With snow removal lacking in Perrysburg Heights on Sunday, Craig and his two teenage children rode out
the storm at the community center with a handful of others.
They had even more company Monday, with five adults and 22 children staying the night. It seemed more
like a party than a group looking to ride out bad weather, as Craig said they played volleyball and Xbox
and watched movies through much of the evening.
Those at the center were supported by community donations, with Walt Churchill’s Market providing food
and Anson Pharmacy donating a medicine and supply kit.
“We stayed up all night having a good time,” Craig said.
“For short notice, it was fantastic.”
County agencies are also ready to open shelters should the need arise, whether from power outages or
other issues.
“We’ve already talked to the Red Cross and, should that begin to happen, we would start looking at
opening up some shelters,” said Wood County Emergency Management Director Brad Gilbert on Monday.
In an interview this morning, he indicated “we haven’t gotten any information on a need for it. I did
talk to the Red Cross last night and again they were ready to go with some if we needed them. I haven’t
heard the need yet.”
The number of the shelters would depend on the number of people impacted. Gilbert said that, if small
numbers of people were affected, the Red Cross would likely assist them by getting hotel rooms. If the
numbers were large, “we would look at opening shelters.”
The locations of the shelters “would depend on the outages. We don’t want to pinpoint an exact location
because the shelter that we picked may be in an outage area. We kind of do that at the last minute. The
Red Cross has a number of shelters on their list” that could be opened in exigent circumstances.
Gilbert also indicated they would be checking in with senior centers and other organizations to see if
they were open and helping their constituents.