Lights, business in limbo in Arbutus, with exceptions

In Arbutus, many of the traffic lights along Sulphur Spring Road were out and most of the businesses along East Drive were closed as downtown Arbutus dealt with a power outage at noon Sunday.

On the outskirts of Arbutus, every traffic signal on Washington Boulevard going south from Sulphur Spring Road to the Howard County border was out, with the exception of one at the intersection with Ridge Avenue.

The downtown area wasn't completely powerless, though, as a smattering of businesses along the strip on East Drive had power as did several of the traffic lights.


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Kenny Ohl, co-owner of Ravin' Maniacs on East Drive, was one of the few businesses open and with power.

"We're the only one in the area that has power for whatever reason," said Ohl, a Lansdowne resident.

At home, Ohl said he lost power over night, but it was back on by the morning.

Not all of the business owners were so lucky.

Only a few doors down, the owner of Pizza Paradise, also on East Drive, said he lost power sometime between when he went home at 2 a.m. And came back eight hours later.

The owner, who chose to be identified as Ali, said he tried calling BGE, but only got a busy signal.

At noon, he stood outside his East Drive business speaking with Hasan Shea, who owns the Apex gas station.

"My neighbor gave me information that BGE people said after a couple days you will get electricity," Shea said. "A lot of people came in for gas, but now I closed it because I'm helpless."

At the Mars supermarket at Westland Boulevard and Maiden Choice Lane, the parking lot was eerily empty.

A steady stream of hopeful customers turned into the shopping center lot — then turned around after seeing the darkened store and locked doors.

Signs of the storm's power were also evident along Sulphur Spring Road.

The stretch of road that included Arbutus Elementary School and the rear entrance of Arbutus Middle School showed few signs of last night's storm. But numerous trees that bordered the road leading to the complex that includes the Arbutus Library, Arbutus Senior Center and Arbutus Recreation Center were down. Several landed across the fencing along the street.

At the rec center, an uprooted tree lay on its side, its muddy roots drying in the much-anticipated afternoon sun.

Precautions against sewage backups at Cedar Beach

Late Sunday morning, the county sent out an alert to the citizens of the Cedar Beach area in eastern Baltimore County, telling them the Department of Public Works would be turning off the circuit breakers for grinder pumps to homes in that area.

The shutoff was necessary, officials said, to avoid sewage back ups when the power is restored. The Department of Public Works will re-activate the circuit breakers when power is restored. No action by homeowners is necessary at this time, officials said.

Residents of that area are asked to call 410-887-5210 with questions concerning this issue.

Bay Bridge and State Fair open

Maryland Transportation Authority reopened the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (US 50/301) and the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Sunday.

For a complete list of lane closures due to Hurricane Irene, visit http://www.md511.org or http://www.chart.md.gov. Through these websites, Internet users can see the storm from the state's bank of traffic cameras.

Meanwhile, the Maryland State Fair reopened on Sunday at noon after closing Saturday evening. Horse racing, however, was canceled for the day.

Jim Joyner contributed to this story.