Sullivan County Democrat
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Massive Power
Outage Hits Home

By Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY — August 15, 2003 – Sullivan County was not spared from the largest power outage ever to hit the Northeast yesterday.
Just after 4 p.m. on Thursday, lights and equipment across the area began flickering and buzzing. The brownout lasted about 10 minutes before power was lost completely.
At the Democrat’s office in Callicoon, Friday’s paper was just being finished when the computer screens slowly faded.
All but one page was complete, but after several minutes of waiting and a few cell phone calls (made from the much higher elevation of the Beechwoods), it was clear that the Democrat was just one of thousands of businesses – including the newspaper’s printer, the Times Herald-Record in Middletown – that wouldn’t be able to complete their tasks.
All across Sullivan County – and indeed all of New York State, New England, Ohio, Michigan and southeastern Canada – traffic lights weren’t operating, stores were closed, and people were gathered around battery-operated radios to hear the latest news.
In Liberty, a softball game went on as planned, though, when it was discovered that the field’s lighting system worked. Oddly enough, residents of Smallwood and Monticello also kept their lights on for much of the evening.
In Callicoon, the 1906 Restaurant was mobbed with hungry patrons when it was discovered that owners Bob and Rosie DeCristofaro had a gas-powered barbecue grill going.
Between 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday, most residents of Sullivan County got their power back – a far better situation than in New York City, which was still struggling with outages Friday morning.
And the Democrat's Weekender Edition did make it on to newsstands and into the mail Friday morning, thanks to great efforts on the part of employees at the Democrat and the Record.
More information on the outage and its local effects will be in Tuesday’s issue.

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