Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
Democrat Photo by Andy Simek

THE WATER MAY be gone, but mud, rocks and debris still litter Livingston Manor’s streets, just like so many of Sullivan County’s hamlets struck by the fiercest flood yet.

How Hard
Were We Hit?

By Jeanne Sager and Andy Simek
SULLIVAN COUNTY — July 4, 2006 – Jim Greier is counting on sunshine.
“If we get a few days of dry weather,” the Fremont supervisor said, “we can assess the situation better.”
Even with a federal disaster declaration Saturday, the towns in Sullivan County are reeling with nowhere to turn.
The federal government has yet to provide a number for folks to call to apply for FEMA aid – and Greier said he’s heard money won’t be as free-flowing as it has in the past.
“We know they’re broke after Katrina,” he said.
But Greier and supervisors countywide know they need help.
“It’s hard to say to an owner of a house, ‘You can’t live there,’” Greier said. “But where are they going to go?”
He and Code Enforcement Officer Paul Brustman are still debating what will have to be done in the flooded-out areas of Long Eddy and Hankins – spots where homes may very likely be condemned.
Roadways were the main focus in the Town of Callicoon over the weekend – crews have finally managed to get Route 52 open in hard-hit Youngsville.
The Village of Jeffersonville and Youngsville were decimated in the Town of Callicoon – businesses filled with water, and everything from used cars to hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise were floating.
Fears ran wild Wednesday that the Jeff Dam was going to let loose – Jeffersonville proper was evacuated, and folks down the Callicoon Creek were warned to move to high ground.
But the dam is back in working order – after federal dam inspectors ordered fill be brought in to fix the spillway.
“We back-filled,” Town of Callicoon Supervisor Gregg Semenetz said. “We hauled for two days and got all the material in there.”
The only road that remains closed in the township is J. Young, but the “choke points” are clear in the streams, Semenetz said.
Now it’s time to wait for FEMA.
“In general, the Town of Callicoon is back up and running,” Semenetz said. “Now that we have a federal disaster, maybe we can get some money for what we’ve done.”
That’s what Sal Indelicato is hoping for the Town of Cochecton.
The hamlet of Cochecton was hardest hit, along with Skinners Falls – the Delaware River caused the most damage in the township – and there, residents are already turning to Indelicato for answers.
But he doesn’t have any.
The owners of the Cochecton post office building, which had to be evacuated when water undermined the foundation, placed a call to his office that he said he answered – sort of.
“I called them back,” Indelicato said. “But I didn’t have much to tell them.
“When FEMA gets us a number, we’ll be better off.”
Indelicato said the town itself fared pretty well – damage was done to individual buildings and state and county roads.
The same could be said for the Town of Delaware.
Highway Superintendent Bill Eschenberg watched bridges up and down Callicoon Creek wash away – but they’re all owned by the county.
The only town road covered in water from the Delaware was the dead-end River Road in Callicoon.
Reopened late Thursday as the water receded, the road will have to be repaved next week after Eschenberg completes the town’s already scheduled paving plan.
The town barn – washed out once again by Joe Brook and Callicoon Creek – is “as good as can be expected,” Eschenberg noted.
The sand stockpiled for the winter is gone.
“But we’re G-D lucky for what happened,” Eschenberg said.
The Town of Rockland has considerably more home damage throughout its two major towns of Roscoe and Livingston Manor.
Supervisor Pat Pomeroy said that there are between 75 and 100 homes that had considerable amounts of damage, two of which had to be torn down and several more which will remain condemned until further repairs are made.
Many of the businesses in Rockland have reopened with at least a minimal amount of functionality, with the exception of the Twin Islands Campground, which will not be reopening – at all.
Residents are advised to continue boiling their water until further notice or to take advantage of the water being donated by Leisure Time at the temporary food pantries set up in Roscoe and Livingston Manor.
Pomeroy said that the town is doing its best to help people as much as possible and to get them into warm beds with roofs over their heads.
All roads throughout the township are passable with at least one lane open, according to Rockland Highway Superintendent Theodore Hartling.
The Town of Liberty escaped with very little to show of the massive flooding throughout the county.
According to Town Supervisor Frank DeMayo, most of the damage is restricted to the roads, and even the majority of that is simply washed-out shoulders.
The worst damage, said DeMayo, was some slight debris in White Sulphur Springs.
All roads in the Town of Liberty are open and can be travelled without delays, except at construction sites in the village.
The Town of Lumberland was not as fortunate as Liberty.
With only 45 percent of the town assessed, Town Supervisor John LiGreci said the damage so far was estimated to be about $2 million.
Many local businesses and housing developments were hit hard by the flood, including Turner Realty, the Nylbrook Inn, a local hotel, three separate housing developments and an infirmary.
Also, an entry bridge to one of the housing developments was completely washed out.
On the bright side, Highway Superintendent Charles Hallock Jr. said that the roadways throughout Lumberland “hardly had any damage at all.”
The Town of Tusten is busy getting itself back into working order, said Supervisor Ben Johnson.
Of the five roads closed during the floods, he said four are now fully open to travel, with the last one still partially under reconstruction.
There are a total of 37 houses being cleaned up and rehabilitated, with three others still in need of inspection.
The Town of Highland “dodged a bullet,” according to Supervisor Steve Barnes.
The roads, he said, had suffered more damage during some snowstorms than during this flooding.
Several houses had water in their basements, and all the campgrounds had some damage, but the cleanup is mostly done, Barnes said.
Every campground is running again, and the majority of the cleanup process is just removing the silt and putting it back where it belongs.
The only business with considerable damage is the Springhouse Garage next to the Delaware River, which Barnes says he hopes will get back into operation as quickly as possible.

top of page  |  home  |  archives