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IKE BLOWS THROUGH TRIMBLE COUNTY

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Hurricane remnants leave path of destruction, cause minor injuries Sunday

By Lorrie Kinkade

By LORRIE KINKADE

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BEDFORD, Ky. – Saturday’s bright sunny skies and calm winds gave little warning of what Sunday would bring.

Although forecasters with the National Weather Service had warned of winds gusting up to 35 mph as the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through the Ohio River Valley, the windstorm actually brought winds clocking at twice that speed, according to an NWS spokesman.

The five-hour sustained winds were responsible for the closure of the Milton-Madison Bridge for nearly 12 hours, and took down many trees and large limbs throughout Trimble and Carroll counties.

The bridge, which connects the two counties and the region to Southern Indiana, was closed shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday, after a Madison police officer reported seeing pieces of concrete falling from the structure.

It was reopened Monday morning after an inspection by a state bridge inspector.

The inspector determined the falling material was “filler” and not integral parts of the bridge, and therefore presented no hazard to motorists, said Andrea Clifford of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The bridge will be inspected again later in the week by Kentucky’s chief inspector.

In Bedford, at least four visitors to the 2008 Trimble County Apple Festival were hit by falling limbs, though no serious injuries were reported there. The festival is held on the lawn of the Trimble County Courthouse.

One vendor, however, wasn’t so lucky. John Kopcho, who was hoping to sell geodes, was injured when a large limb fell from a tree and struck his head as he sat in a chair at his booth near Hwy. 421 North in the Trimble County Middle School parking lot.

Trimble County Sheriff Tim Coons said Kopcho was still hospitalized Monday morning, but was expected to make a full recovery.

“He’s a very lucky man,” Coons said. “That was no small limb that came down on him.”

During its Monday meeting, fiscal court reported one local barn housing more than seven acres of harvested tobacco appeared to be a complete loss; another holding as much as four acres of the commodity also suffered significant damage. Emergency Management Director Ronnie McCane also told the court that small fires had occurred when power was restored to lines that had been torn down by the storm.

Houses throughout the county suffered damage that Magistrate David Scott, who also works in residential construction, said will likely account for more jobs than local contractors can complete in a reasonable amount of time.

He warned local residents and business owners to exercise caution when using unfamiliar contractors.

“We have damage in the county well exceeding the $1 million mark,” Judge-Executive Randy Stevens said.

County officials also said they were grateful to everyone who assisted in clean-up, pitching in to keep roads clear and helping their neighbors where needed.

“It really shows the character of the community,” Coons said. “It was amazing how people stepped up to help each other. It was really heart-warming.”