Aurorans survive frigid temperatures for two-plus days

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- The weather outside was frightful, but residents persevered despite the crummy conditions.

Aurora schools were closed Jan. 6-7 because of frigid temperatures, but Superintendent Russ Bennett said school buses were mechanically OK.

"We had no problems with our buses," Bennett said. "I know some districts had bus issues, but our fleet was fine. Our mechanics came in Tuesday night (Jan. 7) to start all the buses and troubleshoot if necessary, but there were no issues."

Bennett said a water pipe at the high school commons concession stand broke, but he is not sure how much it was affected by the weather. He said it was not a major issue in terms of size of the repair, and it was fixed immediately.

Boys JV and varsity basketball games Jan. 7 against visiting West Geauga were postponed.

Aurora Farms Premium Outlets closed its doors Jan. 6 at 5 p.m. and remained closed until the morning of Jan. 8 because of the cold weather.

Town Hall, though, remained open as usual throughout the week, as did Aurora Memorial Library.

"I don't think we noticed a huge change because other places were closed and school wasn't in session," said branch manager Jonathan Harris, adding that delivery services from other Portage County libraries were canceled Jan. 7.

Police Chief Seth Riewaldt said there were no unusual incidents caused by the weather. Fire Chief David Barnes said most weather-related calls were because of freezing pipes and private property water lines, along with a few squad calls for people falling on the ice.

Ravenna's Center of Hope and Kent Social Services both found themselves leaving the doors open overnight for the first time in their history Jan. 6-8 to help those without a place to go stay warm and out of the below-zero temperatures brought on by the "polar vortex."

Both opted to keep the "warming centers" open until closing time Jan. 8. And the two warming centers had several people come in from the cold.

Jed Wise, owner of Ravenna Oil Co., said the firm handled several calls from customers with furnace problems, a couple of them because they weren't using a winter blend of fuel oil. Without an additive, regular fuel oil can "gel" and clog the fuel line, Wise said.

And cold weather can do a job on older furnaces. "When it gets cold for a period of a couple days, older furnaces and systems can break down when they work all day long to keep up," Wise said.

He said he read "this is the coldest it's been in the first week of January in 28 years."

Rebekah Wright of Wright Heating and Cooling in Kent said the business' phones were ringing nonstop for four straight days last week.

"It's been very busy. We appreciate the opportunity to go out and fix all of those furnaces, and we've had trucks and staff ready to go," she said. "Everybody is on call and ready to roll."

The most common problem Wright Heating has seen over the course of the freeze is neglected furnace maintenance, she said.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Facebook: facebook.com/mike.lesko.378

Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

Record-Courier staffers contributed to this story.

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