TOSSING ANOTHER BRANCH on the city’s rapidly growing pile of leftover storm debris is water foreman, Rich Bolatto. Bolatto and crews made up of Braidwood’s water, sewer and street departments have been out since the morning after last week’s destructive storm hauling away the cut branches left along the roadsides by local residents. The city workers will continue with removing the piles of cut down limbs for the remainder of this week.
by Tonya Michalec Staff writer
It wasn't much of a quiet holiday weekend as the buzzing of chainsaws could be heard in Braidwood as residents continue to clean up after a June 30 severe storm.
Property owner are trying to salvage trees that withstood winds up to 82 mph.
"I was shocked to see my maple tree split almost in half," said resident Jeff Madison. "It was my best one and now it's gotta come down."
Another resident, Gina Baxter, claimed that beyond the scattered leaves and tree limbs that covered her yard, she also received a hole in her roof caused by a broken limb.
According to Jim Hutton, the city's Commissioner of Public Buildings and Property, most of the community's tree damage is ultimately falling back to the guys at the Public Works Department.
"There was no damage done to any of the city's public buildings or properties, but the majority of the residents received a lot of tree damage, which comes back to us for the clean up," Hutton said.
He added that the city's water and sewer plants never skipped a beat as generators kept the wells pumping and lift stations operating. Almostmost everyone in Braidwood lost power during the storm, from as short as 45 minutes to nearly three days. The last ComEd power restoration was completed approximately 63 hours later at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 3.
According to Braidwood Park District commissioner Josh Bolatto, the top eight feet of a pole at North School and West Bergera streets snapped off and was hanging with the light only a foot from the ground. Also main feed lines were down on North Division Street, causing the various power outages seen throughout town.
Bolatto noted there were several tree limbs down in the city parks, including one big limb that fell close but spared the Old Smokey Building. No damage was received to buildings or to any of the park's equipment.
A large tree fell across power lines at the southwest corner of West Cermak and North Walker streets. Wires were just six feet off the ground and a pole across the intersection was left leaning at a 45-degree angle until ComEd crews corrected the situation Thursday.
City Hall and the police department remained operational throughout the power outage thanks to a standby generator.
"We are better prepared than many other towns around us. That credit goes to the past administrations that got these generators in place," Mayor Bill Rulien said.
"Amazingly our State Representative John Anthony called immediately to ask me if we needed any back up generators for our wells," Rulien said. "I thought that was really something."
Make sure to grab a copy of this week's edition of the Braidwood Journal, or subscribe on-line at www.freepressnewspapers.com, to finish reading the remainder of this article.