With the exception of a few closed roads and power outages, Spokane-area school officials said the first day of class since last week’s ice storm was a success.
Mead School District Superintendent Bill Mester said a tree toppled power lines on Mount Spokane Road preventing a school bus from picking up 60 students Monday morning.
But, for the most part, students were back. Mester estimated attendance at better than 90 percent.
Spokane School District bus drivers started running their routes late due to icy roads, but transportation manager Joe Madsen said the vast majority of students got to school on time.
Bus service in the district returns to normal today.
Salk Middle School, and Jefferson and Wilson elementaries, lost partial power late Monday. Washington Water Power Co. crews were working into the night to restore electricity.
If power isn’t restored by morning, Madsen said students may be sent to another school or moved to classrooms with power. “We’ll make that determination in the morning,” he said.
In Central Valley, East Valley and West Valley districts, officials also gave Monday’s reopening a thumbs up.
“We had great cooperation from parents,” Central Valley Superintendent Skip Bonucelli said.
All three Valley districts will be running normal bus schedules today.
10,000 still without phones
As many as 10,000 US West customers in the Spokane area remain without phone service or have reported telephone trouble as a result of the continuation of last week’s storm.
“We have doubled our work force in Spokane, re-directing construction crews and bringing in additional technicians from other US West locations,” said spokeswoman Annette Miller.
Miller said employees are working around the clock and will continue to do so through Thanksgiving.
“We hope to have most customers’ service repaired by the end of the week,” she said. “However, it may be several weeks before we are back to a normal schedule.”
Lamonts donates food, clothing
Lamonts stores at Shadle Park and Manito Center have donated $15,000 worth of food and clothing to the Red Cross and YWCA to aid storm victims.
Lamonts’ Silverlake Mall store in Coeur d’Alene donated $1,000 worth of food to the Panhandle chapter of the Red Cross and $5,000 worth of clothing to the Panhandle Clothing Shelter.
Convention Center shelter will be moved
Ice storm refugees holed up in the Spokane Convention Center will be forced to move Wednesday, officials said.
Nearly 200 people who have been staying at the emergency shelter will be transferred to two other Red Cross shelters to make room for the annual mining convention, said Bill Pupo, acting city manager.
The convention is set to begin later this week.
Red Cross spokeswoman Joyce Cameron said there is plenty of room to handle the convention center crowd at the Moose Lodge, 6363 N. Lidgerwood, and United Methodist Church, 10422 E. Main.
“No one will be displaced, only moved,” Cameron said.
The disaster-relief agency has also put out a call for more volunteers and donations to help offset costs. A fund has been set up at Seafirst branches.
The Red Cross has spent more than $35,000 to serve 10,500 meals, Cameron said.
Tons of debris
By Monday night, nearly 6,200 vehicles had dropped off more than 4,000 tons of tree limbs and branches at the free disposal sites set up by the city last Wednesday.
“This is really only the beginning,” Pupo said.
The city hired additional workers and equipment to clean arterials, residential streets and other city properties, he said.
“We’re making progress, but it’s slow progress,” he said, adding that people still need to be extremely careful when walking in city parks.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Staff writers Kevin Blocker, Adam Lynn and Kristina Johnson contributed to this report.