Ike aftermath leaves Geneseo in the dark

On Sunday night and into Monday morning, Hurricane Ike brought stormy weather to the northeast, leaving Geneseo without power.

According to a Rochester Gas & Electric press release, the storm "uprooted trees dragged power lines to the ground and broke utility poles, knocking out power to 42,000 customers." Power in Geneseo went out at 12:02 a.m. on Monday and was restored in the village around 4 a.m.

RG&E spokesperson Rick Meier attributed the outages to more than one event.

In addition to fallen trees knocking down power lines, Meier said that, "power lines blew together, causing them to short out like a circuit."

During the outage, many tree limbs landed on houses, cars and blocked roadways. Some streets were nearly impassible.

According to Superintendent for the Department of Public Works Jason Frazier, cleanup took roughly a day and a half.

"Most of the damage was from falling limbs," he said. "There were only three trees down. All the rest were limbs or small branches." Frazier reported that the DPW prioritized the blocked streets and cleared them first.

As of Monday afternoon, 10,000 customers had power restored, but RG&E projected that some customers would not have power until Wednesday. Stores along Route 20A, including the WalMart Supercenter and Wegmans, were closed due to the delay in power restoration.

Wegmans Assistant Store Manager Brian Cornuta said that the power was out from 1:30 a.m. until about 1 p.m., leaving the store in darkness for almost 12 hours.

"It's always a difficult decision when we lose power," he said. According to Cornuta, store employees stayed to help with cleanup, which enabled Wegmans to reopen at 3 p.m.

During the outage, students formed a mob led by freshman Matt Harris, who bore a downed branch and led several hundred students across campus and onto Main Street.

"It's not uncommon for a group of students to band together for a common cause, especially in unpredictable circumstances such as a blackout or the first snowfall," University Police Assistant Chief Scott Kenny said. He said that no calls were made to UP for violations surrounding the event, but officers were stationed around campus to ensure students' safety.

"Our officers monitored the groups to make sure roads were crossed safely," Kenny said. "Part of our job responsibilities is to monitor the situation. We were happy that no students were harmed."

The mob lasted until the early morning, but was dispersed when UP informed the marchers that ID cards would no longer grant access to residence halls.

Kenny explained that, "In the event of a power outage, the card system runs on a battery. The more people using the system, the greater the possibility students would be locked out."

There were many varied reactions to the power-outage march. Some, including sophomore Alex Berberich, were in full support. "This kind of beautiful absurdity is something that needs to happen more often on the Geneseo campus," he said.

Others were less impressed by the display. Junior Ray FeDora described the students involved as a group of "mindless, spineless jellyfish."