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Ben Lomond community looks out for their own during power shut offs



Public safety power shut offs are underway in parts of California and in Santa Cruz County, about nine thousand people are expecting power shut offs Sunday evening.

While Pacific Gas & Electric officials have set up four resource center locations for people impacted, locals and businesses in Ben Lomond (one of the affected areas) are looking out for community members in need of resources.

At Casa Nostra Italian restaurant in Ben Lomond, co-owner Raffaele Cristallo says his restaurant is prepared with a backup generator to keep business going and that this is not their first time experiencing these types of power shut offs.

“It is always a little inconvenient, we got ready and bought a big generator enough to supply all our fridges for extended periods of time," says Cristallo.

Cristallo says he and staff are on standby with emergency power sources for folks who need to charge their devices as well as bread and water for any impacted locals who come by.

“If people don’t know, they can always come here and of course stay hydrated and be well fed too," says Cristallo.

Other surrounding restaurants said they will have similar efforts for locals in need.

At Highlands Park in Ben Lomond, just down the road from Casa Nostra restaurant, is a resource center set up by PG&E officials to assist residents with water, snacks, portable restrooms, access to power sources and status updates of the impacted areas.

Although the power shutoffs are expected to last through Tuesday, a PG&E spokesperson says teams will be constantly monitoring the impacted areas to assess the possibility of restoring power sooner.

“We do not provide overnight accommodations at these facilities, we understand the hardship, we are looking for the winds to subside, if no damage occurs then we can begin to do that restoration process as soon as it’s safe to do so and get power back on for our customers," says Melissa Subbotin.

In the meantime, Cristallo says he has his own plan if he has to go off the grid.

“We’ve been so used to these things, at home we just turn on candles and we read stories and I tell jokes, otherwise, I guess we’ll just sleep early and wake up as soon as the sun comes up," says Cristallo.

Volunteers at the Highlands Park location say resources are available until about 10 p.m.

Other resource locations are at Costco in Santa Cruz, St. Michael's Church in Boulder Creek and Enterprise Technology Centre in Scotts Valley.

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Jocelyn Ortega

Jocelyn Ortega is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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