- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2003


Anna Anewalt woke up early yesterday to find her neighbor’s gigantic willow tree lying on top of her minivan.

Soon, the elderly Greenbelt woman’s son and a neighbor arrived to slice the tree up with a chain saw.

“That’s what the cats used to get up on my roof,” she said as the men dragged the branches to the end of her driveway.

Mrs. Anewalt came to Greenbelt as a young wife and mother in 1957. She has lived in the house on leafy Lakeside Drive ever since.

Greenbelt was largely spared from Hurricane Isabel’s fury. Lakeside Drive was coated with wet leaves and branches early yesterday afternoon, but few of the residents along the street reported major damage.

At the library in downtown Greenbelt, a public works crew cut up a tree that had fallen in the parking lot. Across the street, a woman walked around a yard, picking up small tree branches and depositing them in a plastic trash bag.

The fall of the willow tree did not damage Mrs. Anewalt’s minivan. The tree was big, but not heavy, she said.

Mrs. Anewalt is surprised Isabel didn’t do more damage.

In the hours before the storm, her son, Eric, nailed plywood over the picture window in front of her brick home, and she cleaned the steps into her basement.

“Wouldn’t you know, I didn’t get a drop of water down there,” she said.

• • •

Caliss Johnson and his friend, Kevin Young, were the only two persons left at the shelter at Banneker Recreation Center yesterday afternoon. A D.C. official said 36 of the 40 persons staying in the city’s three shelters stayed at Banneker.

Thursday afternoon they got off a Metro bus near Howard University, trying to get home to Anacostia from work at a construction site in Maryland, but quickly realized they had reached the end of the line.

“I stood at the bus stop for two hours, and then it started pouring down. They left a lot of people stranded,” Mr. Johnson said, referring to the Washington Area Metro Transit Authority.

“We were particularly worried about getting caught outside. At one point, it poured down so heavy, we’d have been soaked,” Mr. Johnson said.

Instead, they beat the worst of the rain by ducking into Howard University Hospital. By 6:30 p.m. a Metro police officer drove them to the shelter on Seventh Street NW.

“The police helped transport a lot of people,” Mr. Johnson said yesterday before heading home on a Metro bus.

• • •

The Home Depot at College Park was bustling with a mix of shoppers recovering from the storm and those who were catching up on home-improvement projects.

“[Isabel] didn’t affect me other than I had two days off from work,” said Jeff Pacy, a Georgetown resident who still had electricity at his home. “I’m taking advantage of it and getting some errands done that I’ve neglected.”

Not everyone was as lucky as Mr. Pacy.

Dorothy Esters of Brentwood made the trip to Home Depot for essential supplies.

“I’m looking for [kerosene] lamp oil and batteries,” she said. “I picked up these flashlights because they were on sale.”

Home Depot had a large display of 6-volt floating lanterns for $11.98 at the front of the store. Miss Esters picked up two.

Miss Esters says she was fortunate because the damage was minimal. A neighbor’s tree hit the side of her house, but caused no damage.

Mary Bukoski, who lost her electricity in College Park around midnight, was buying a propane tank for her grill.

• • •

Joey News, 39, of Mount Airy, whose home was flooded, parked his Dodge Ram pickup outside the Home Depot in Silver Spring hoping to sell an extra generator he owned and buy materials to fix up his basement.

“I can use $500 more than I can use this generator,” said Mr. News, who was parked for less than 10 minutes before he had a sale for the generator, which was in the house when he bought it. He had purchased a larger generator for his home.

Alex Mondale, 51, and his wife, Sally Weber, 48, of Takoma park, paid Mr. News $400 for the generator.

“We were out of electricity for three days last time [in August when all the power was out] and should have bought a generator then,” Mrs. Weber said.

• • •

David Crooke spent the better part of yesterday talking with his insurance claims representative, getting estimates and taking photographs of his car. This time it was Mother Nature, not vandals, who struck.

When Mr. Crooke, 26, emerged from a friend’s condo on 14th and R streets in Northwest he found his Silver 2000 Hyundai Elantra crushed by the weight of an old tree. A car parked directly in front of his didn’t get a single scratch on it.

The massive tree extended the width of the one-way street, stopping cars from traveling along the quiet Shaw neighborhood street.

An office manager for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Arlington, Mr. Crooke knew Isabel was on the way and tried to err on the side of caution by parking his car on the opposite side of the street from where the tree stood.

“My gut feeling told me to swap sides and should something happen, it probably won’t be too bad,” he said.

The Alexandria resident said, “I was headed home around 11:30 p.m. and I saw my car. I had to stay put, you know, things happen for a reason. I could have been in an accident on the road going back to Virginia.”

It was busier than usual at Tysons Corner Center after a delayed opening at noon yesterday.

“It’s almost like the holiday season,” said Eric Kulczycky, a spokesman for the McLean shopping mall. “It’s gotten busier and busier since we opened.”

The mall did not lose power during the storm and did not suffer any damage except for some lost trees around the property.

Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor department stores remained closed yesterday because they use a different power source and were without electricity.

Denise Barnes, Chris Baker, Donna De Marco, Judith Person and Jeffrey Sparshott contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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