Area church becomes designated shelter

EAST LIVERPOOL – Responding to recent power outages that have left residents in the dark – and sometimes in the cold – city health Commissioner Jelayne Dray has initiated a plan to establish an emergency shelter in a local church.

Dray told the health board last week that, as health commissioner, “I try to always do my best at assessing local needs within our community.”

She pointed out that when the city has encountered power outages for several hours, it has created a hardship for some residents, particularly for the elderly and those with infants who have no other family with which to stay.

Saying she thought faith-based organizations would be “very resourceful,” Dray worked in conjunction with the city fire chief and the county’s public health emergency preparedness coordinator to find an appropriate site to serve as a temporary emergency shelter.

The First Church of the Nazarene at 670 Walnut St. will serve as the city’s designated site for voluntary temporary shelter.

According to Dray, “This would only be designated as a short-term, bare minimum shelter that could serve as a great resource for our local community.”

In the event of an incident requiring long-term assistance, the Red Cross would be called to take the lead, Dray emphasized.

She will be working with the church’s pastor to establish a plan so the shelter can be operable by late spring or early summer.

In a related matter, Dray reported she met with members of the county Emergency Management Agency and learned that the city health department was granted $2,424 to purchase 25 cots, blankets, pillows and pillow cases for the newly established emergency shelter.

Dray also issued a reminder that food license applications and payments are due by March 1, saying 45 establishments still need to renew their food licenses.

The results of a 2011 community health study will be offered by Dr. Rosemary Bowler at the board’s April 18 meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. The study investigated the effects of air manganese exposure on adults in the community.

Dray said Bowler also informed her the results will be offered to the public during a presentation at 7 p.m. that night at Kent State University’s Slak Shak.

Dray also noted she is working with the Community Animal Clinic to plan this year’s rabies clinic to be held in May, with a date to be confirmed within the next few weeks.

Board member Dr. Jeff Caldwell reported the annual “Give Kids a Smile Day” will be held March 15 at his dental offices.