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After all that preparation and quite a bit of worrying, Hurricane Sandy mainly bypassed the Washington area. Sure, there have been power outages and flooding in low-lying areas, but it only takes a quick look north to see that New York and New Jersey bore the brunt of the storm. By Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after the rain stopped in our area, most people who lost power had already had it restored, thanks in part to out-of-state crews who arrived before the storm started to be available to aid power companies in our time of need.

Federal, state and Prince George's County governmental offices and public schools re-opened on a normal business schedule as of Oct. 31; garbage and recycling pick-up is back on schedule, and early voting offices have re-opened in the county as well. The "storm of the century" soaked us hard but there have been just two reported deaths in the state due to the hurricane. We can be thankful.

Utility companies continue to work to restore power outages in Prince George's County. As of Wednesday morning, PEPCO was still working to resolve 2,916 outages, BG&E reported 4,000 outages, and SMECO reported just 10 remaining outages in the county. Things are getting back to normal at a much quicker pace than most of us predicted, before Sandy's visit.

Let's take just a minute as we get back to business to think about the things that mattered most to us as we waited for -- and waited out -- the storm. The family and friends we worked to protect, the distant loved ones who called or texted or otherwise reached out to us to make sure we were safe: those are the people who matter most. Those who turned to their faith as they watched the storm build and then recede can take this time to reflect on what they learned from the hurricane. And if you come across a utilities crew working to restore power to those last homes and businesses, it might brighten their day to let them know you see their hard work and sacrifice, and appreciate it.

"It's an ill wind that blows nobody good," the saying goes. Let's make sure that as we recover from Sandy we reach out to help those who need it most, and to show those we love just how much we care. We can all move forward and create something better right here, now that the storm has passed.