Flooding cleanup continues across city and county

Cleanup continued this week, following a days-long storm that dumped inches of rain on the region and claimed the life of an alpaca at the Salisbury Zoo.

During the storm, zoo animals were housed in the medical building but the alpacas were let free to find higher ground. One of them, a 15-year-old named Molly, left the herd and was found lying in water, suffering from hypothermia. She was rescued and treated, but later died, said to Director Ralph Piland.

The facility remained closed through Tuesday and Piland said conditions would be assessed on Wednesday to determine when the zoo would reopen, taking into consideration the path of Hurricane Matthew.

Walk Salisbury has been rescheduled for Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. Call the Mayor’s Office at 410-548-3100 for more information.

During the storm, the county’s Emergency Services department asked to use the James M. Bennett High School cafeteria as an emergency shelter, but the cafeteria was unavailable because it was a school day, explained Tracy Sahler, who handles public relations for the board of education.

“(We)offered the JMB auditorium as an emergency shelter for the community, only to find upon entering the auditorium that the overnight storm had flooded it.

“The Wicomico High School auditorium served as an emergency shelter for most of the day instead, and cleanup in the JMB auditorium began. We are assessing the damage and determining the steps needed to restore the auditorium,” Sahler said.

Wicomico Middle School was also damaged.

Principal Kelley Morris-Springston, early this week, sent a recorded message to parents explaining all tiled areas on the first floor have been dried, cleaned and disinfected. The main entrance is open, most of the first floor is in use, and the elevator is operating.

In the main office and health classroom, carpeting is being replaced with vinyl tile.

The main office was expected to open Wednesday, and the classroom by Friday.

The Family & Consumer Science classroom has been moved to the media center, but all other first-floor classrooms are back in use, the principal said.

Wicomico High had leaking in the band and chorus rooms. The condition of two flooded boilers is being assessed, as the rooms are being dried, prior to the boilers being tested later this week, Sahler said.

Chris Demone, who handles public relations for the mayor’s office, said city officials would talk to Maryland Emergency Management Agency officials on Tuesday afternoon about preparations for Matthew, which could cause high wind and more rain early Saturday and Sunday.

Meantime, water levels throughout the city are subsiding from the first storm.

During the weekend, Public Works crews removed debris at West Road to speed drainage of water at the Coty Cox branch, south of Delaware Avenue, Demone said.

Water levels were well above normal at Delaware Avenue and Rose Street, but had started to recede by Tuesday afternoon.

The community was asked to help families from the Delaware Avenue and Canal Woods neighborhoods in need of non-perishable food, toys, furniture, pet food and all sizes of clothing for men, women and children.

Items were initially dropped off at police headquarters and Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services, but Demone said the project was being handed over to the American Red Cross.

The city will schedule a community clean-up day, and the date announced. Anyone interested in participating can call the mayor’s office at 410-548-3100.

Regularly-scheduled bulk trash pickup day is Monday, Oct. 10, but Thursday, Oct. 6, has been added as an additional day. A truck with a claw will be able to take away large items, such as saturated sofas, Demone said.

Another bulk pick-up day will be in the next two weeks to “assist citizens in the disposal of debris and yard waste associated with this storm event,” Demone said.

That date, too, will be determined and announced.

Public Works crews are continuing to clean storm drains so water moves freely. Citizens who notice an obstructed drain should call Public Works at 410-548-3170.

In Wicomico County call 211 to report damage to businesses, homes and mobile homes. Insurance questions can be directed to the Maryland Insurance Administration at 800-492-6116 and 410-468-2000.

At Bennett and Parkside high schools, dates have been chosen to make up homecoming games and dances, postponed due to flooding.

Both schools will have homecoming dances from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, in the Clipper Galley at James M. Bennett High and in the cafeteria at Parkside High School, according to Tracy Sahler, who handles public relations for the board of education.

Wicomico County students will be out of school that day while teachers have a professional day or participate in the Maryland State Education Association Convention.

All tickets to both schools’ homecoming dances have already been sold, Sahler said.

Typically the dance is immediately preceded by the homecoming game, with introduction of the homecoming court and announcement of the king and queen.

“Finding a full weekend with no conflicts with other athletic events, already scheduled homecoming dances, band competitions and other activities, proved to be impossible. So each school came up with a new way to showcase the homecoming court and engage students, parents and the community in cheering on their team,” Sahler said.

Bennett High will introduce the court and crown the king and queen during halftime at the Oct. 7 game against Kent Island High School. The Clipper Marching Band will perform its field show. The game will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Wicomico County Stadium.

Friday will be JMB Spirit Day, with students and staff wearing JMB colors and apparel to school and the game.

Parkside will showcase its court and crown the king and queen at its varsity home game against Washington High School on Nov. 3, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Wicomico County Stadium.

Homecoming activities will follow the halftime performance by the Parkside High School Marching Band.

“We’d like to thank students and parents in advance for being supportive of this decision, as it is the best possible solution to a difficult situation,” said Kimberly Pinhey, Parkside High principal.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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