The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local News

January 3, 2013

Cold weather injuries include falls, strains and fractures

Social service groups need utility assistance funds

ANDERSON, Ind. — It’s been cold, snowy and slippery for the past week now, leading inevitably to falls, fractures, sprains and strains that require medical treatment.

Fortunately, local hospital officials report they haven’t seen any cases of hypothermia or frostbite.

”We have not seen any cases of exposure, but have seen a few falls, broken bones and other ice- and snow-related injuries,” said Joni Brinkman, director of Community Hospital Anderson’s emergency department.

Since last weekend, doctors at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital have treated an average of 10 snow- and ice-related injuries every day, and there’s been a similar showing at St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Elwood, said hospital spokesman Randy Titus.

Some relief is ahead, though, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures could reach 38 degrees by Tuesday, and may be a couple of degrees warmer on Wednesday.

But the longest run of prolonged cold and snow in the past several years has created other problems.

Executives of several local social service agencies said Thursday that funds earmarked to help Madison County residents pay utility bills, and make rent and mortgage payments are being depleted more quickly than expected.

“Our demand has gone up since the cold hit,” said Captain Dennis Marak, who leads the Salvation Army ministry on Meridian Street. “We’re trying to stay on top of that, but funds are low.” He said the agency is applying for grants to help raise additional money in the next month.

Marak said he had hoped to supplement assistance funds with money from Christmas season fundraising, but the Salvation Army emerged from the giving season $90,000 short of its goal.

“I knew going into this year fundraising would be difficult, but not to this extent,” Marak said. “I’m just hoping and praying that people will step up to the plate and help us help other people.”

Other services the Salvation Army provides, such as formula and diapers through its “baby pantry” are also in short supply, Marak said.

Like the Salvation Army, the United Way of Madison County is also running short on emergency assistance funds. President Nancy Vaughan said $60,000 set aside for that purpose was budgeted to last through March.

“I don’t know that we’ll get through February,” she said Thursday. After the fall fundraising campaign wraps up in early February, the United Way will hold a special campaign to raise money for the emergency assistance programs, she said.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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