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After Sandy, official seeks emergency plan formation

Published November 13. 2012 05:01PM

On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, a Walnutport official has suggested the formation of a community-wide emergency plan.

Matthew Newhard, president of Walnutport Borough Council, approached Northern Lehigh School Board on Monday to discuss the concept.

Newhard praised the district for opening up its facilities so that residents in the community who were recently without power could take showers.

He said "even without power, to have a nice hot shower makes a huge difference."

Newhard then broached the possibility of a comprehensive emergency operations plan, which he said would require cooperation between Walnutport and Slatington borough, Washington Township, the school district, and the authorities.

"We've all been caught off-guard for an emergency plan," Newhard said. "There really isn't a plan in place."

Newhard suggested a meeting be held with representatives from each of the respective entities soon, as Sandy is still fresh in everyone's minds, and because winter is right around the corner.

Superintendent Michael Michaels concurred with that sentiment, and added "this is our community; we want to make it better."

Prior to that discussion, Michaels explained the course of action the district took in the wake of Sandy.

Michaels noted that after the district missed the first three days of school the week of Sandy, he decided to reopen the schools that Thursday and Friday.

"It was a place to come for many of our kids, to get a meal, and to come into warm buildings," Michaels said. "I felt the obligation to feed as many kids, provide warmth, and provide education."

Michaels added the district opened its facilities to the community.

"It shows that we are more than just a school," he said. "It also gave us the opportunity to get more things done."

If faced with the circumstances again, Michaels said he would make the same decision.

Also as part of his superintendent's report, Michaels announced:

• That this week marks American Education Week, at which time he thanked the teachers, administrators, and school board members for their dedication.

• That he and his wife have purchased two books; one to be donated to the middle school library, and the other, to be donated to the high school library.

• Announced a holiday dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in the middle school.

• Announced that the school board's reorganizational meeting will be held at 7:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3. The regular school board meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Finally, in observance of Veterans Day, the board, at the request of board President Edward Hartman, held a moment of silence for all our veterans who served our country and did not come back.

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