Kendall senior citizens shrug off power outage

Photos by Tom Rivers: Ellen Smith, manager of the nutri-fair site at Kendall, serves coffee and snacks before lunch today. She encouraged more senior citizens to attend the group, which meets Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 March 2017 at 1:21 pm

‘It’s hard for the younger people who are always on the computer. But I never used one.’ – Fred Conradt, 85, of Kendall

Fred Conradt urged people to be patient during the power outage.

KENDALL – Kendall residents are nearing 48 hours without electricity. Fred Conradt, 85, just shrugs his shoulders.

Conradt spent his first eight years without electricity. His house didn’t get it until 1939.

“It’s hard for the younger people who are always on the computer,” Conradt said. “But I never used one.”

He joined some of his friends at the Kendall Town Hall today for lunch and card games. The Town Hall is a nutri-fair site on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Conradt said older residents don’t mind occasional inconveniences when the power goes out.

Kendall remains the hardest hit from the electricity outages. Nearly the entire town remains without power, 1,276 of the 1,279 National Grid customers. The company says it expects to have Kendall restored by 11 p.m. today. But on Thursday, National Grid said Kendall would be back by 10 p.m. last night.

Conradt said he is willing to be patient.

“Think about it, it’s quite a job to set a pole and then change all of the wires,” he said.

He feels fortunate to have natural gas so his house isn’t freezing.

Ellen Smith, 80, is the manager of the nutri-fair site. She said the temperature in her house is down to 54 degrees. The high temps are in the 20s today and could drop to 9 degrees tonight.

That worries Melissa Blanar, director of the Office for the Aging in Orleans County.

Her staff reached out to 300 senior citizens without electricity on Thursday. Many are staying with other relatives, or their power is coming back.

The OFA directed them to warming centers and the Red Cross shelter at Medina High School.

But so far, there have been few takers. Blanar said the plummeting temperature tonight is a concern if the power outage continues.

She also worries some people may try to keep their houses warm in unsafe ways, perhaps by keeping a stove open.

The Kendall Town Hall is one of four warming centers in the county. The others are at the Lyndonville Fire Hall, Hoag Library in Albion and the Eastern Orleans Community Center at 75 Public Square in Holley.

Amy Richardson, the Kendall town clerk, said only a few residents have used the Town Hall as a warming station since it was designated as a spot on Thursday. She said a couple residents came in to charge their phones.

Many Kendall residents also have lost phone and cable access. Even the Town Hall’s phones are out of commission.

“Many of the residents are independent and have generators,” Richardson said.

Fire Chief Mike Schultz said the Fire Department pumped three basements on Thursday and two this morning. He said the residents are persevering through the extended outage, but he worries about the very cold temperatures coming tonight and over the weekend.

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