Methow Valley News trying to get paper out without power [The Wenatchee World, Wash. :: ]
(Wenatchee World, The (WA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 22--TWISP -- How do you put a newspaper out without electricity during a community crisis?
Don Nelson, editor and publisher of the Methow Valley News is trying to figure that one out.
Winthrop, Twisp, Carlton, Pateros and outlying areas are all without power and with limited phone and Internet service. Okanogan County PUD officials say its power system to the communities is a total loss and it could be several days if not weeks before full power is restored.
Nelson said he retreated to Seattle over the weekend because the Methow News office was without electricity, phone, email or other Internet service. He returned Sunday night with a generator and a new Verizon phone -- his old AT&T service has been spotty and working intermittently since the outage -- and was attempting to wire the newspaper's computers into the generator Monday morning.
"There's lots of things to figure out. We're trying to figure them out two minutes at a time," he said. Reporters have been out gathering stories with pen and paper and bringing or phoning them in so office staff can type them in on a cell phone with Internet service to get stories on the paper's Facebook page.
He said the paper is relying on community members to send in their personal stories while reporters focus on sorting out rumors and anecdotal stories and provide accurate information about emergency services and canceled or postponed events.
Many stories are heart-breaking and gut-wrenching.
Some newspaper staff and columnists are among those who lost their homes to fire, he said. He hopes to get an edition of the weekly paper out this week that will be all fire news.
"There's a high level of coping going on. We're basically all camping out. We've all had to park our emotions for awhile," Nelson said.
Okanogan County PUD power lines were severely damaged Thursday night by the Carlton Complex fire. PUD officials said Monday power could be restored to some areas including Twisp and Winthrop by next week. Areas south of Twisp may be without power for much longer.
Reach Rick Steigmeyer at 509-664-7151 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog Winemaker's Journal or follow him on Twitter at @steigmeyerww.
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