Downed wire leaves part of Port Clinton in the dark

PORT CLINTON Ottawa County Courthouse employees slipped back into the Dark Ages Wednesday.
JACOB LAMMERS
May 24, 2010

PORT CLINTON

Ottawa County Courthouse employees slipped back into the Dark Ages Wednesday.

Employees used flashlights and a pen and pad to do routine tasks after a four-hour blackout left them without the basic technology to do their jobs.

"Everything we need to do is on the computer or phone. It's kind of odd," said Juvenile and Probate Court Administrator Lori Clune said. "The technology makes it easy, but when you lose it, it makes it twice as hard."

About 1,500 Ohio Edison customers were without power in the central and eastern portion of Port Clinton after a primary wire came down about 9:14 a.m. in the 700 block of E. 5th St., said Gary Mortus, Ohio Edison area manager.

The blackout was limited to businesses and residences east of Jefferson Street and south of the viaduct.

The damage to the wire was worse than expected, but crews were able to get the power back on by 1:15 p.m., Mortus said.

The blackout affected Jefferson Elementary, Port Clinton Middle School, Ida Rupp Public Library and the Ottawa County Courthouse, as well as several residences. The library was closed for the duration of the blackout, but reopened soon after the power was turned on.

While the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court did not have any trials Wednesday, the Ottawa County Juvenile and Probate Courts had 10 cases.

The juvenile and probate courts rely on digital recordings and computers to tape proceedings, so during the power outage a court reporter was called in to help transcribe court proceedings, Clune said.