Crossroads counties work to recover, battle mosquitoes
Sept. 2, 2017 at 8:45 p.m.
Updated Sept. 3, 2017 at 10:03 a.m.
One week after Harvey arrived, Crossroads counties have made some headway rebuilding their communities.
Power continues to be restored, but a rising problem of mosquitoes has become a concern in some areas.
Water boil notices are still in effect in some areas, but others are coming close to getting water service back to normal.
Since the water boil notice has been lifted Friday, everything is going as planned for the school year to begin Tuesday, said County Judge Pat Calhoun.
"Everything is getting better," Calhoun said.
There is still no estimation on when power will be fully restored and numbers still haven't changed.
"I give them all the credit in the world for doing what they can and working every day," Calhoun said.
Calhoun says power to about 85 percent of the city and 60 percent of the rural county has been restored.
The city of Goliad also sprayed for mosquitoes Friday night throughout affected areas.
Calhoun said clean water is available for some services to those who need it.
Goliad Memorial Auditorium is offering its facility to wash clothes, take showers and enjoy a hot meal.
The Bum Phillips Charities also has organized "Operation BBQ Relief," where volunteers are making more than 20,000 meals for those in surrounding areas in need of a warm meal.
Calhoun said the county will be discussing how to set up a relief fund to get donations to the organization.
Refugio County is still running on generators but is starting to get power for the hospital and schools.
"They are currently working on critical infrastructure lines that run to hospital and schools so we get those up and running," said Kristen Newman, public information officer for Hurricane Harvey response in Refugio County.
More than 190 people are working 24/7 on power, debris removal, fire and rescue and EMS.
The county is still under a water boil notice, and the curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. continues.
The American Red Cross is providing shelter at the Expo Center in Refugio for 42 residents with food, water and a place to sleep.
"The shelter can hold up to 200 people, and there is still plenty of room," said Newman.
H-E-B arrived Thursday with its mobile kitchen to provide food to residents at the local H-E-B parking lot, 206 S. Alamo St.
A few convenience stores have opened to the public but require cash only.
Newman said a mosquito spray was dropped from a plane over the county Saturday morning.
"A generous donor was kind enough to do an aerial spray for mosquitoes in Refugio County," Newman said.
The city is discussing getting trucks to continue to spray the area.
Jackson County Sheriff A.J. Louderback said AEP and JEC continue to work on getting power restored.
"We have over 95 percent of our residents back with power," Louderback said.
AEP still expects power to be restored by Sunday evening.
Louderback said water is still in good shape, and they are starting to resolve an issue with mosquitoes.
The city of Edna began spraying Friday and will continue until the issue is resolved.
Trash pickup will resume its regular schedule starting Monday.
Louderback said it's great to see things getting back to normal for the county.
"Things are drying out, and everything is getting better every day," Louderback said.
Calhoun County will begin aerial spraying for mosquito control at noon Sunday in the most populated areas.
Electrical hazards and risks have slowed the progress of returning power, and Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow said safety for the workers is important.
"There is no timeline as to when all power will be restored, but they are working hard on it," Whitlow said.
Only 50 to 60 percent of Calhoun County has power, but businesses are starting to open.
"Those at H-E-B and Walmart have done a wonderful job," Whitlow said.
As businesses return to order, a concern for a lack of fuel is surfacing.
"We are working on getting more fuel, but only time can help," Whitlow said.
While the county may be lacking power and fuel, the city acted very quickly to spray for mosquitoes.
"The city did a great job and provided trucks to spray for mosquitoes on Monday," Whitlow said. "They are continuing to spray in priority areas of the county right now."
With power almost fully restored, schools in DeWitt County will begin the school year on Tuesday.
A curfew for the county remains in effect from midnight to 6 a.m. until further notice.
DeWitt County Sheriff Carl Bowen said he is impressed with how much the community has come together.
"We are doing what we can to take care of our own," Bowen said.
Businesses are open for the most part, but gas stations in the county are running on empty, he said.