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  • Staff Photo by Bruce Preston

    Carol Menard of Nashua was happy to be able to make a pot of chili on her electric stove on Saturday morning after being without electricity for almost a week.
  • Staff photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Bill Zebuhr offloads debris he cleared from his yard on Southgate Dr in Nashua, Friday afternoon. The residents of Southgate Dr discovered Friday they they weren't even on PSNH's map of Nashua. Residents from the street collected their debris to be chipped into the woods nearby.
  • Staff photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Bill Zebuhr offloads debris he cleared from his yard on Southgate Dr in Nashua, Friday afternoon. The residents of Southgate Dr discovered Friday they they weren't even on PSNH's map of Nashua. Residents from the street collected their debris to be chipped into the woods nearby.
  • Staff Photo by Bruce Preston

    With power restored to his street on Friday night, Scott Martinage of Nashua turned his attention to cleaning up trees in for his neighbors and himself on Saturday.
Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nashua’s final few grateful to have power restored; City begins damage assessment

Sitting in their living room and preparing for a seventh-straight night without power, Frank and Carol Menard noticed their ceiling fan slowly begin to circle Friday night.

“I just said, ‘I think power’s back on!’” Carol said, with excitement.

She and her husband retold the story as they worked outside all day Saturday to clean up the fallen trees and brush around their house on Southgate Drive, a tiny dead-end road off East Dunstable Road near the Massachusetts border.

Southgate is always one of the last streets to have power restored following any significant outage, Carol said, but this storm was the worst.

The snowstorm brought more than a foot of heavy snow to many New Hampshire towns, hitting hardest in Greater Nashua and Manchester.

The storm caused 237,000 outages at its peak last Sunday, but nearly all had been restored as of Saturday morning.

Public Service of New Hampshire reported about 180 customers still without power at 9 a.m. Saturday. Most were individual houses in Nashua and Derry, but the company said all customers were expected to be restored by Saturday night.

Carol Menard said even though the residents of Southgate Drive are “pretty used to it,” her husband said this storm was the worst they’d ever seen.

Frank Menard said nearly every tree in his yard has either fallen and already been taken away or will have to be removed in the coming days. Even the family’s old tree house was left broken and disfigured, after Carol Menard’s father built it for her children in the 1990s.

“My daughter (in Washington) cried when she saw that picture,” Carol said.

But the Menards keep a good attitude about the power outage. Admittedly, that’s easier since her family has a generator and has had heat, cable and a few lights over the last week.

On Friday and Saturday, a number of neighbors got together to have a let’s-clear-the-street party with their own chain saws and a wood chipper. The city and state have always been slow to respond with help, Menard said, if they do at all.

Kathi Martinage, 57, and her husband, Scott, 52, have lived on Southgate Drive for seven years and feel the same way.

“The sad thing is we’re always the last to get help,” Martinage said.

Instead of waiting and complaining, however, Southgate Drive residents have relied on each other.

“We work together and help each other out,” Martinage said. “I have great neighbors. It’s comforting. We take a lot of pride in our homes.”

Neighbors packed into a truck several times this week to buy gasoline for their generators, or if one person went alone, he brought everyone’s gas cans to fill up, Martinage said.

The same cooperative effort was true of neighbors on Island Drive in Merrimack.

The small neighborhood often suffers outage problems when a storm hits, and its residents also deal with occasional flooding issues, due to the close proximity of the Merrimack River and surrounding Horseshoe Pond.

“Everybody in this island usually watches out for everyone else,” said Jeanne Pinet, who lives at 28 Island Drive with her husband, Alan.

She woke him from a sound sleep at 5:30 Friday morning because she was so excited to have power restored, Alan said.

Alan and Jeanne Pinet, 62 and 59, were also out on Saturday to clean up their yard. Jeanne is a habitual gardener and her “pride and joy” – a Japanese maple tree – was partially split from the storm, but the couple said it might be fixable.

They made it through the storm despite a broken generator, which busted after Alan accidentally shut it down incorrectly on Monday.

Kathi and Scott Martinage also had a broken generator, and some of their electronics suffered from the storm as well. Their washing machine, TV, alarm clock, kitchen fan, and a number of lights are all useless from the power surge.

Still, the restoration of power was a huge relief, Kathi said.

“We were so exhausted. It’s just nice to relax and read and be able to see again,” she said.

The neighborhood plans to kick back and take advantage of a lazy Sunday after the long week.

“Tomorrow we’ll be vegetables on the couch and watch the Patriots,” Carol Menard said.

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com. Joseph G. Cote also contributed to this report.