...then he left to go to a luxury resort to hobnob with fellow Democrats.
Storm Disaster Is Declared in Kentucky
Click to view image: '08153fd95afe-48223725icestorm08.jpg'More than 150,000 Kentucky residents remained without power or potable water on Thursday after last week’s deadly ice storms, prompting President Obama to declare more than 90 counties a major disaster area and order federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts.
The storm has been blamed for 27 deaths in Kentucky, mostly from carbon monoxide poisoning from generators. More than 175,000 homes and businesses served by 55 water systems remained under orders to boil water, emergency officials said.
Making matters worse, because of a recent salmonella outbreak, federal officials on Thursday recalled all “ready to eat” meal kits that included packets of peanut butter. The packets had been distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In a news conference on Thursday, Gov. Steve Beshear tried to send a reassuring message to residents who had received the food packages. He said there had been no reports of food-related illnesses, even though more than 100,000 emergency packages had been given out in storm recovery efforts.
Mr. Beshear said he had eaten one of the peanut butter products and suffered no ill effects. As an alternative, emergency officials were trying to hire a private food vendor to secure hundreds of thousands of prepared meals, the governor said.
“The winter storms of last week devastated our Kentucky communities,” Mr. Beshear said, “but Kentuckians from west to east responded with courage, resiliency and concern for their neighbors.”
More than 4,500 National Guard troops continued clearing debris and going door-to-door, checking on families in the western areas of the state where the storm hit hardest. The troops attached green tape to homes that had food, power and water, and red tape to homes where shortages existed, according to a spokesman for the Kentucky Air National Guard.
In his State of the Commonwealth speech on Wednesday night, Mr. Beshear told of two National Guard soldiers who discovered a disoriented elderly couple during their door-to-door rounds in Hardinsburg.
“Suspecting a problem, they investigated and found the home was filled with carbon monoxide — a level that was twice the lethal dose,” he said. “That visit, without a doubt, saved two lives.”
He also described how the chairwoman of an Ohio County school board converted a middle school into a shelter. And in Murray, Murray State University’s student-run radio station was the only source of communication.
Mr. Obama signed federal emergency declarations last week for Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri after ice and snow were blamed for knocking power out for 1.3 million homes and businesses from the Southern Plains to the East Coast.
But Mr. Beshear asked the president to upgrade the federal response by declaring the counties a major disaster area, which would open the door for immediate financial assistance.
Mr. Obama’s declaration allows the federal government to reimburse states and localities for up to 75 percent of storm-related costs. Mr. Beshear’s office estimated that the storm did more than $50 million worth of damage to the state.
|Liveleak on Facebook|