‘We came in Monday morning and nothing worked’


Three days of severe storms have created a number of issues including power outages for businesses and government offices, and longer commutes for some motorists in Jackson County.

On Tuesday morning, Jackson County Courthouse’s main floor, which houses the recorder, treasurer, assessor and auditor’s offices, was unable to conduct business in Brownstown due to problems with their Internet and computer systems.

“The only thing we have functioning is our telephones, which we are thankful they are working, but about all we do can do is apologize to people for not being able to help them,” county Auditor Kathy Hohenstreiter said.

The basement and second floor of the courthouse didn’t seem to be impacted by the problem, though, she added.

“That’s why they are having trouble figuring it out,” she said.

“IT has tried to reboot the system several times, but it hasn’t worked yet.”

The courthouse annex, which serves as the location for the county probation office, Superior Court II, the surveyor’s office, human resources, IT department and emergency management, also was reportedly without computer service. The building’s air conditioning wasn’t working Monday but was restored by Tuesday morning, Hohenstreiter said.

She thought the jail had experienced some issues with its computer system, too.

The problems began with Sunday morning’s storm, which dumped as much as 4.5 inches of rain in the Brownstown area and knocked out electricity.

“We came in Mon-day morning and nothing worked,” Hohenstreiter said.

She said the county’s communications provider, AVAYA, was assessing the situation and hopefully would have them back up and running by the end of the day Tuesday.

“I’ve not heard a time frame, though,” she said. “We were hoping it would be fixed (Monday).”

Without the capability to send and receive emails, print or enter data into the computer system, everything was pretty much at a standstill, Hohenstreiter said.

“We’re doing what we can,” she said. “But real estate transfers, financials, claims, this is all information we would be putting into the computer system. Right now, I’m looking through budgets just to make sure things are filled out right.”

The paperwork will continue to pile up until the computers are working again and all of the data can be entered into the system.

“We’re going to be backed up quite a bit,” she said.

In Seymour, Monday afternoon’s storm caused significant power outages across the city and led to six utility poles along East U.S. 50 snapping, pulling power lines down across several businesses, including Seymour Express Carwash, Royale Auto Sales, Steak ‘n Shake and the Speedway gas station.

Power had not yet been restored to those businesses or to Walmart Supercenter as of Tuesday afternoon. A generator reportedly was brought in by Walmart for refrigeration needs.

Chip Orben with Duke Energy in Seymour said Tuesday that additional crews from Franklin were being sent to Seymour to help replace the utility poles and get service restored.

Some businesses along U.S. 50 had their power restored by Monday night, including Jay C Plus, Taco Bell and Rally’s.

Orben reported 246 power outages in the city remained Tuesday, but that number was down from the 1,340 outages reported after Monday afternoon’s storm.

“We’re doing better in Seymour than we were,” Orben said. “We don’t have any large blocks of customers out.”

Jackson County REMC reported Tuesday afternoon that just 25 of 6,812 customers in the county were without power.

Another batch of storms that rolled through Monday night and early Tuesday led to some additional outages as a result of downed trees and limbs, Orben said.

“We’ve made good progress in Seymour with the exception of that area along U.S. 50,” he said.

“We are hoping in the next six hours to have those issues fixed.”

Some residents reporting outages who live outside city limits may take longer to get to, though, he added.

“We’re working as safely and quickly as possible,” Orben said.

He advised anyone driving on U.S. 50 past the work area to use caution.

Although Seymour was in pretty good shape, Jennings County was a different story, with around 1,300 power outages still Tuesday, he added.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding and support we are seeing for our guys out there,” Orben said.

Flash flooding Tuesday also was causing problems with reaching some areas that remained without power, he added.

“High water creates additional safety hazards for our crews, so we have to take extra precautions,” Orben said.

Any Duke customers experiencing a power outage should report it by calling 800-343-3525. Jackson County REMC customers may report outages at 812-358-4458 or 800-288-4458.

“That way it gets into our system and generates our work orders so that we can get there faster,” he said.

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