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Eli Ruiz | Democrat
The home of Harold Hilton on Foster Road in Smallwood is one of many damaged by falling trees during the passage of Sandy. Hilton says 11 hemlock trees went down on his property, seven hit or landed on his home. Hilton, who has lived in the home all of his 59 years said, "I've never been so scared in my life to go to sleep in my own home."
Sandy recovery goes on as new storm looms
Story by Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY Restoring power continued to be the number one concern in Sullivan County yesterday as the region slowly recovered from Hurricane Sandy’s passing.
As of midday Monday, around 6,000 people in Sullivan County continued to be without electricity.
That didn’t lead so much to full shelters (the official Red Cross one at SUNY Sullivan, now at the Woodbourne Firehouse, had only a few people in it yesterday, down from more than 100, said Public Safety Commissioner Dick Martinkovic).
But it did lead to frayed nerves and plenty of frustration countywide to the point that officials are calling for a “roundtable” meeting with NYSEG, Central Hudson, and Orange & Rockland.
“The utilities had time to prepare for this storm, but their response indicates that they did not,” said Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. “There’s a responsibility to the public that needs to be met, and this round-table discussion is about making sure that it is.”
In the meantime, local officials, emergency responders and ordinary citizens helped the county survive a storm that at its height had knocked out electricity and/or roads in every single hamlet.
“We have no roads closed in the county whatsoever,” Martinkovic relievedly related yesterday morning.
He agreed, “We do a great job as a community looking after each other.”
The volunteer and paid emergency responders merited his highest praises, thanking them for “an outstanding job in taking care of the public.”
Thousands of trees were cut up, several fires put out and at least seven carbon monoxide poisonings successfully treated during the past week.
Those responders were coordinated from an emergency operations center the county set up near White Lake.
“Our team worked very professionally,” affirmed Martinkovic. “We had the ‘doers’ here.”
Unfortunately, another test of their abilities is headed this way, in the form of a classic Nor’easter.
“I have some concerns about the rain/snowstorm coming on Wednesday into Thursday,” admitted Martinkovic particularly about the possibility of trees with waterlogged roots falling underneath 40-50 MPH winds.
Items to note
• Solid waste fees for storm debris only have been waived by the County Legislature through Sunday, Nov. 11.
• ASB Greenworld, the brand new mulch plant in the Town of Bethel, is accepting clean storm debris of trees and brush to convert into mulch instead of landfilling it. They are located at 848 Lt. JG Brender Highway north of Mongaup Valley.
• To keep people from hoarding gas (which briefly became a problem last week), the county banned purchasing more gas and diesel than was necessary to fill a vehicle, with an allowance for small containers used to get fuel for generators. Ag businesses were exempt from this prohibition. That ban has now been lifted.
• Unless this week’s storm forces a postponement, Sullivan County Legislature committee meetings are running as scheduled on Thursday in Monticello. The committee meetings originally planned for Nov. 1 have been rescheduled to Nov. 13.
• For more information, including shelters and comfort stations, dial 807-0800, or check out the Democrat’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/scdemocrat.