Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hailey residents rally to help each other

Some businesses slow down

Express Staff Writer

    Even as trees continued to burst into flame from time to time on the steep hillside on the west side of Hailey, the town seemed to be getting back to normal Tuesday afternoon after a harrowing few days. Windows were being washed at the public library, new cars have been brought back to car dealerships, and a line of automobiles were waiting in line for servicing at Nelson’s garage on River Street.

We are a family in this valley and it is
never more true than when we go
through a crisis like this.”
Carrie Morgridge

    Construction and landscaping crews are at work around town and a few skaters are making turns at the Hailey skatepark. Main Street restaurants, the Blaine County Museum and most stores were open, but it could take some time before business returns to usual. A CNN News truck was parked at Albertsons. Fire engines are posted at numerous strategic locations around the city, in case the fire again threatens the town.
Atkinsons’ Market in Hailey reported on Friday that the deli department was very busy, with customers stocking up on prepared foods as they headed south due to evacuations. By Tuesday afternoon there was steady line of traffic heading north on Main Street, perhaps due to a lifting of evacuation orders for hundreds of homes in the mid-valley.
Hailey Atkinsons’ Market supervisor Aleesha Bean said on Tuesday that business at the store was “extremely slow” since Monday, but was still open for regular business hours and no staff had been laid off due to the decrease in business. At the entrance to the store, business was booming for three 13-year-old girls who since Sunday have been selling baked goods to raise money for the Wildland Firefighter’s Foundation.
    “We all met when we were in Girls on the Run in fourth grade,” said Dakota King Hutton.
Girls on the Run is a local non-profit organization that encourages young women to make good choices and stay healthy, said Hutton.
    She was evacuated from her home several days ago, and has been staying at the home of fellow bake-sale workers Emily and Leah Thayer.
     “We couldn’t just stand around watching what was happening. We had to do something to help,” Hutton said.  “It is amazing to know that we are making an impact on the situation around us.”
By Tuesday afternoon the girls had raised $765 toward a goal of $1,000, money that they say will be delivered directly to fire fighters.
    “We raised $250 in the past two hours. We have seen many firefighters in the store. When we see them we give them a free bag of cookies and tell them how much we appreciate what they are doing.”
    Shorty’s Diner on Main Street in Hailey was “super busy” Saturday morning, said waitress Courtney Wangberg. She said business was less than usual on Sunday and Monday. The restaurant is operating on its normal business hours.
Wicked Spud on Main Street reported that business was down a little from last weekend, but “holding steady” this week.
    Hailey Coffee Co. on Main Street became a hub of activity over the past week. Fire update notification boards are on the sidewalk outside and customers are finding ways to help one another during the fire. The café is keeping usual business hours and even opened earlier than usual over the weekend.
    “We have had a lot of displaced people coming here, using us as a base and somewhere to meet up and get out of the smoke,” said owner Carrie Morgridge.
    “People are asking what they can do to help, at the café, or anywhere else in the community. They are saying they have rooms, or places for dogs. It goes to show you what a great community we have and how we take care of one another. We are a family in this valley and it is never more true than when we go through a crisis like this,” she said.
    The café lost many staff members when parents under evacuation orders began taking children out of the valley, but the baristas are beginning to trickle back in on Tuesday, Morgridge said.
    Friedman Memorial Airport manager Rick Baird said on Tuesday that morning visibility had improved considerably compared to the last few days, but that seats filled on flights have been “very low."
    Baird said Horizon and Skywest flights schedules are returning to normal, but that travelers should check with air carriers for up to date flight information.

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