Local courthouse stays closed hours after power is restored

Why was the Newaygo courthouse closed?

WHITE CLOUD, MICH. - Even though the lights were back on in the city of White Cloud late Thursday morning, the Newaygo County Courthouse remained dark the rest of the business day.

A power outage affected approximately 2,000 Consumers Energy customers in Newaygo County. The power company's public information director Roger Morgenstern said initial power outage reports started coming in around 7:00 a.m. and said all customers in the city of White Cloud lost power at 8:38 a.m. 

Morgenstern says all entities were notified by 9:00 a.m. that power would likely be restored by noon.  Inevitably, power was restored at 11:40 a.m.

A sign on the front door of the court building indicated all cases were postponed and would be rescheduled. Courthouse administrators indicated on the sign: "We apologize for any problems this may have caused".

Several we spoke with who tried to do business at the court building walked away surprised and upset the facility was closed when everybody in town had power.

The day off gave workers at the court building a four-day weekend with the Good Friday holiday coming.

"A situation like today that causes a closing is treated the same as a “snow day” or other inclement weather event or emergency that causes a closure," Newaygo County Administrator Christopher Wren wrote in an e-mail.  "Employees whom are at work will receive pay for the day."

The root problem is the lack of a generator at the courthouse.  Other nearby government buildings including the county building and jail are outfitted with generators to keep the government operating.

"There is not a generator at the County Courthouse, nor is the building currently wired to utilize a mobile generator," Wren wrote in the e-mail.

Wren told us earlier in the day the decision was made to close the courthouse during the power outage because court administrators didn't want employees working in the dark waiting for the power to be restored.
  
Wren said when the decision was made to close the building, they were unsure how long the outage would last despite Consumers Energy posting the restoration time of noon at 9:00 a.m.

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Contact David Bailey: davidbailey@wzzm13.com Follow him on Twitter @DavidBaileyWZZM.

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