Phone outages linger in Bald Knob

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Residents along Stony Creek Road have been without telephone service for almost three weeks as a result of disastrous flooding in the area.

Stony Creek resident Leslie Bishop said at least 12 families have been without phone service since Aug. 22 - the day the flood hit. On top of that, Bishop said many families in the area have been doubly frustrated by BellSouth, their local telephone service provider.

Bishop said all 12 households - along with their friends and families - have called BellSouth's repair center, the state Public Service Commission and Congressman Ernie Fletcher's office. But it has been difficult to get an explanation of why their phone service has been out for so long, or what caused the outage.

"Because it's hilly here, cell phones don't work," said Bishop, explaining some of the ways residents have been inconvenienced.

Furthermore, Bishop and others don't understand the hold-up in telephone service when other utilities like water and electricity were restored the day after the flood.

"We're just trying to figure out why," she said.

Dave Weller, regional manager for BellSouth, said Wednesday morning he was unaware that many people were without telephone service and that all lines in the area were intact. By the afternoon, he said he'd spoken with a service representative and learned the outage had been caused by a frayed telephone line on Stony Creek Road.

Weller said damaged roads have slowed telephone repair workers' progress, because they haven't been able to reach some areas. More cable has been ordered and Weller said he was hoping it would be delivered later today.

"We're hoping to get everybody's service restored by the first of next week," said Weller. "... I wish we could do it faster."

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