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Highway Department Clears Roads in Southeast; Residents Wait for Power

Tons are in need of dry ice, too.

Monday looked like just another day in Southeast.

Nearly every establishment — from to to to — was open for business. But for the hundreds of residents whose New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) power was out, the day was full of challenges.

At one point on Monday, the number of affected Southeast residents teetered around 2,000. By the early hours of Tuesday, that number was down to 1,700. Morgan Drive, Gage Drive, Foggintown Road, Danbury Road, Enoch Crosby Drive and Cooledge Drive saw the largest chunks of outages — each with numbers in the dozens.

In some cases, residents' frustrations with the lack of power were exacerbated by flooded basements. Tony Lopes, a resident of Fairview Road in Southeast, has been busy pumping two of his neighbors' basements since the storm hit — and keeping a generator running nonstop to ensure his own stays dry.

"36 hours without power," he said. "You call [NYSEG], they don't even pick up."

Lopes plans to keep the generator fueled up at all times, even if that means waking up in the middle of the night for a refill. The machine gives him access to hot water, a running fridge and more.

The frustration was widespread. Southeast Deputy Town Clerk Michele Stancati told Patch around 3 p.m. that nearly a dozen residents called or stopped by the office Monday to complain about NYSEG.

"They [residents] don't like that they [NYSEG] are not given an estimate as to when it [the power] will be going back so they can plan," she said. "We can't get any more information than they can."

Stancati said that Town Board members Robert Cullen and Elizabeth Hudak were on a conference call, which yielded little new information, with NYSEG Sunday. During the call, the company said it would focus on critical areas, such as nursing homes, first, then look to down lines and large outages, according to Stancati.

Southeast Councilman Roger Gross wrote in an email Monday to the online group Brewster10509 that he had spoken with NYSEG workers who were on local roads.

"They are working as hard as they can to get all the grids on line ASAP in Southeast. There is so much clutter to be removed," he wrote. " ... If and when there is more concrete information, I and others on the Town Board will get the word out."

Another challenge is the search for dry ice. NYSEG initially announced that there would be three hours of distribution in Carmel Monday afternoon, but the event fell through. A few residents called the town clerk's office to complain, while others took to Facebook and online venues to express their frustrations.

"... Had NYSEG actually showed up in Carmel, that would have been useful," Southeast resident Shari Brickman Chiara wrote on Southeast-Brewster Patch's Facebook page. "Apparently about 500 people showed up ... only to have NYSEG be a no-show."

Around 3:50 p.m., nearly two hours after the company was slated to begin distributions in Carmel, Cullen reached out to Brewster10509 members. He stated that he had been on a conference call for municipal officials and heard that dry ice would not be issued at that time because of "high demand and limited supply."

Patch was unable to reach NYSEG officials regarding the matter.

Other members wrote that an automated telephone call from Supervisor Michael Rights Monday evening notified them that dry ice, along with water, was available at . State Sen. Greg Ball (R, C - Patterson) also arranged to have 250 bags of the substance distributed in Mahopac that night, according to a press release from his office.

If Southeast residents did travel out of the house Monday to fetch food and water, or search for dry ice, odds are the roads were clear. More than a dozen Southeast employees worked from roughly 8 p.m. Saturday to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

The latter part of the shift consisted of cleaning sticks and debris off roadways, as well as fixing shoulder areas. Before that, town workers paired with NYSEG to remove dozens of down trees across Southeast. Dingle Ridge Road, Starr Ridge Road, Joes Hill Road and State Line Road saw the worst of it, according to two of the department's employees.

Shari Chiara August 30, 2011 at 12:56 PM
As usual the Southeast Highway department did an outstanding job. They definitely deserve our thanks. I can tell you that I'm extremely disappointed in the level of communication that we are seeing from both the Town and the County. While it's nice that Mr. Gross sent an email to B10509 group ... those of us not part of that group or not really having the ability to check email would have no information. Updating the Town and County website would have been much more useful. While the automated call from Mike Rights providing information was a nice thought ... many of us without power, have no phones... so what are they doing to get information to those of us that continue to be affected? Dry Ice is now a moot point as we've gone beyond the times pan for our food to still be good.
Michelle August 30, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Agreed - Southeast Highway Dept rocks! Brewster looks great compared to other areas I've seen. Great job!
Susan Riley August 30, 2011 at 05:03 PM
We had no power for about 15 hours in Fieldstone Pond, but the roads were cleared promptly in the area thanks to the hard work of the Highway Department.
Cheryl Sacchetti August 30, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Awesome job Highway!!! All the hours and hours from Saturday early prep to late Sunday brought a lot of clearance to many homes. Have to agree that some communication other than phone needs to happen. Whether it a walk around to one house on the street and that house does a telephone chain or something. Iam not one on 10509 list. If you can't get to phone, computer because of no power, then how do you communicate? Drive to the homes... A lot of homes.. however, making that physical communication live to live would help.
Ashley Tarr (Editor) August 30, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Thanks for all the great feedback, everyone! Definitely some important things to consider the next time a storm hits.

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