- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2003

Even as it began preparing for Hurricane Isabel, the District’s Emergency Management Agency was settling up from February’s massive snowstorm.

Officials yesterday handed out checks totaling nearly $1.4 million to reimburse hospitals, universities, private schools and government agencies. The money comes from the federal government as a result of a presidential disaster declaration issued after the storms.

Metro received the largest single check. The transit agency that operates the subways and most buses in the District, Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs received $778,743.

“Metro deserves a lot of credit. They were out there getting their lots cleared and getting people home,” said Peter G. LaPorte, director of the emergency management agency.

Washington Hospital Center, the region’s largest private hospital, received $57,889.

“Most of the expenses were related to staff overtime,” said Victoria Bayless, a hospital assistant vice president who was the administrator on call during the snowstorm. Under her direction, much of the staff was instructed to remain on duty at the hospital until volunteers could bring in replacements, primarily with four-wheel-drive vehicles.

“We had volunteer drivers but we did compensate them for mileage and ‘per-head fees.’ They transported more than 800 people,” Miss Bayless said.

Hospitals, colleges and universities in the District split nearly $300,000.

Of the $17,871 received by the D.C. public schools, some was used to purchase 1,000 snow shovels used by volunteers to clear sidewalks and parking lots at school buildings. Their efforts enabled schools in the District to reopen Feb. 21, days before most schools in neighboring jurisdictions were able to resume classes.

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