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2012-10-31 / Front Page

Believe it—Help Is On Its Way

Curfew set for areas south of Merrick

The Suffolk County Police Department will be enforcing a curfew in Babylon Village, Lindenhurst and Copiague from dusk until dawn beginning tonight and continuing until further notice.

With the exception of residents who can produce proper identification, all motorists and pedestrians are prohibited from going south of Montauk Highway. Montauk Highway will remain open.

Throughout the day officials at all levels of government worked to bring some needed relief to residents who are still without power. At Babylon Town Hall where residents can go to charge their phones, Joe Carvalho of Nassau Avenue, West Babylon said he was grateful to have a place to do that since he is without power. “The good news is that it (the power) seems to be coming back,” he said.

Also charging their phones were Joseph and Matthew Giganti of North Clinton Avenue Lindenhurst, pleased they said that they could continue to text their friends and access the Internet.

The Town of Babylon also has a charging station open 24-7 at the Phelps Lane Annex.

Amityville Village

In Amityville, where police and firefighters have battled floods and fires, efforts to secure the safety of residents were ongoing.

“Unbelievably busy,” was how one police officer described the week.

Amityville Highway crews worked non-stop to clear the streets of trees and debris so that LIPA crews could make it through and restore some of the power.

“Our concern now is for the elderly and those who are sick because the weather is turning cold,” said Diane Sheridan, Village Administrator.

Meanwhile firefighters responded to many calls for rescue and fires. A garage on Ocean Avenue went up in flames and a home at 29 Locust was completely lost. Oct. 29.  That burnt down 2:30 p.m. today, Friday.

Amityville Village Mayor Peter T. Imbert has been on the phone with LIPA officials in conference calls with other Mayors.  “We are doing all we can do to get the latest information and keep everyone informed as much as possible,” said Sheridan.

But despite the assurances of many, some people remained frustrated as they sought to navigate in a life with little or no electricity. In one instance there was even a sense of paranoia, when at approximately 10:45 p.m., APO Joe Slack rang the doorbell of a home on Shore Road to ask about a neighbor whose relatives were calling to check on their welfare. The officer observed a woman look out and Slack shined the light on his uniform to identify himself. At about the same time, a man opened the door armed with an AR-15. He was agitated, said the officer who was able to calm the resident down and advised him of the consequences of his actions. No charges were filed against the resident.

The Amityville Public Library reopened its doors today, Friday, after four days of power outage caused by the hurricane. Children’s services are operating at full speed with IPads and computers for kids to use.

Many Long Islanders were so moved by the devastation and the suffering of families hit hard by the storm that they looked for ways to reach out and help.

In Lindenhurst, one the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, the Lindenhurst Teachers Union took up an effort to collect food, clothing, toiletries and other items for families in need. They were at the Waldbaums Shopping center on Wellwood Avenue where items were being dropped off and brought to the Lindenhurst Firehouse, 225 South Wellwood Ave. Residents who would like to donate items can bring them to the firehouse between noon and 3 p.m. tomorrow.

On Sunday, starting at 3 p.m., residents who are in need of non-perishable food, clothing, toiletries, baby items and such can go to Fireman’s Park where they will be distributed.

“We are just asking that they bring ID with the,” said Lindenhurst Firefighter Bobby Brandenberger.

“Mike Newman of the North Lindenhurst Fire Department said that he and his family are fine but that he became increasingly concerned for some of the youngsters he coaches in Little League who live south of Montauk Highway. He and his wife took a ride there during the week and found one family that was still in their flooded home.

“They hadn’t had a hot meal in two days,” said Newman. “We went out and got some dinner for them; it was just awful.”

And if things are band on the mainland, they are worse further off shore.

Ongoing safety assessments, conducted by Town of Islip, Suffolk County emergency personnel, and HAZ-MAT coordinators reveal Fire Island is currently unfit for reoccupation.

Many buildings are structurally unsound and pose a danger to potential occupants.  The storm has extensively damaged the water supply system to Fire Island and cripples firefighting capabilities.  Many hydrants remain buried by the shifting sands.  The damage to the water supply has also created potential health issues, which must be reviewed and assessed by the Suffolk County Department of Health before any reoccupation efforts can begin.

As safety checks and assessments continue, Islip Supervisor Tom Croci has strongly reinforced the importance that Fire Island remains civilian-free. Designated Fire Service personnel will maintain safe conditions on Fire Island.

Any private citizen attempting to reoccupy Fire Island in violation of the emergency order will be subject to arrest by Islip Harbor Police, the Suffolk County Police Department, or any other empowered law enforcement agencies.

LIPA’S Response           

LIPA and National Grid have restored power to more than 110,000 customers since Monday and 200,000 since Sunday on Long Island who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, a devastating super storm that made landfall along the Northeast on October 29, said LIPA officials.  The storm affected nearly 1 million customers.

            LIPA is focused on intense restoration efforts across Long Island, beginning with restoring critical facilities such as hospitals and emergency services, while also continuing efforts to secure assistance from additional outside crews.

            “The enormity of this storm has strained the resources of all utilities in its path,” said Michael Hervey, LIPA Chief Operating Officer. “As a result, there are significant limitations to the number of additional restoration crews available to assist us in getting the power back on. However, as we continue our outreach over the next few days, we will know more about our access to those resources.

The Feds are here

Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were on Long Island, reviewing some of the devastation and bringing news of help and reinforcements. “Slowly but surely, we will get power; slowly but surely help will be delivered; slowly but surely we will rebuild,” said Gillibrand at a press conference along with Altadonna, N.C. Exec. Ed Mangano and officials from the police department, FEMA and Red Cross

 Mobile EMA units will also be going into devastated neighborhoods to help residents assess damage and file reports.  Residents can reach FEMA at 1800-621-3362 or at www.disasterassistance.gov

The Library’s computers and Wi-Fi are available for all and the Library has set up several areas where patrons can recharge their cell phones and other electronic devices.  See a Librarian if you need assistance downloading a library book to your Nook, Kindle or other device. 

You may need your Library card to access some of these services.  If you do not have a card, or need a replacement card, bring up to date identification and a card will be issued in a matter of minutes.

 Due to travel conditions some of the providers of upcoming programs have reported they may not be able to get to the Library.  Please call the Library at 631-264-0567 for updated program information.

 

The Red Cross is on hand

The Red Cross announced today that it would have trucks going through the neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm bringing food and water. Right now they have cold meals but kitchen units on wheels are on their way to Long Island which will enable the Red Cross to serve hot meals to residents, according to Red Cross spokesman Fred Cooper.

“This has been a week of tremendous effort in trying to help people who have been devastated by this storm,” he said. “But the cooperation we have received from both Nassau and Suffolk County officials has been outstanding and we are sure that things will get better.”



Amityville firefighter wrings out boots at scene of fire. Volunteers were knee deep in water fighting blazes this week. Photo by Joe TurnerAmityville firefighter wrings out boots at scene of fire. Volunteers were knee deep in water fighting blazes this week. Photo by Joe Turner

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