Help on its way; officials outline progress and support services
By Carolyn James
Tomorrow and Sunday, Massapequa Park Village Hall will be open “to comfort our residents as much as possible,” said Mayor James Altadonna. Residents can go to Village hall to charge their phones or just to spend some to rest up and keep warm.
“We understand the stress that many of our residents are under and we have been and will continue to work hard to do whatever we can to assist them get through this ordeal.”
The Village will also be providing ready-to-eat meals for those in need.
As of 3 p.m. Friday, all of the Village streets were cleared of trees and debris to make them passable. The Village hired private contractors to help complete the job.
“After hurricane Irene, LIPA told us that one of the things that caused the delay in getting the power up were the trees in the roadways so we wanted to be proactive and worked from sunup to sundown to make sure the roads were clear.”
Despite that, many were still without power on Friday. Altadonna and Deputy Mayor Jeff Pravato manned the front desk at Village Hall talking to residents who came in with questions and concerns. Some were visibly angry.
“I haven’t seen a LIPA truck in my neighborhood since the storm,” said one frustrated resident. “When are they going to get the power on?”
Altadonna told the resident that the Village has been in constant communication with LIPA officials to try and get an answer to that question. Unfortunately, there was none forthcoming.
“We are all frustrated,” he said. “It seems as if nothing has changed since Hurricane Irene and while we are here trying to be accountable, someone has to hold LIPA accountable.”
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 Village is also offering the chance for residents to go in and charge their cell phones.
The Town of Oyster Bay is also doing its share and is holding a clothing collection drive to help our residents in their time of need, Town Supervisor John Venditto announced. The collection and distribution drive will take place this weekend on Sat. and Sun., Nov. 3r and 4t, and will run between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 5 p.m., at three different locations: Marjorie R. Post Community Park, Syosset-Woodbury Community Park, and Oyster Bay Community Center.
“This storm was devastating for the Town of Oyster Bay, especially communities on the North and South shores,” Venditto said. “The Town has been looking for all possible ways to help our residents, and this weekend, we will be starting a clothing collection and distribution drive, to help protect residents in the increasingly cold temperatures we are facing, until power is restored.”
Residents who need clothing or other items can go to the centers on Sunday.
“It is my hope that organizing this drive along with my Town Board colleagues will help to provide residents in need with warm clothing. In the face of falling temperatures, it is of the utmost importance to do all we can for our fellow residents, until power is restored,” Venditto said.
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
Mangano outlined what is being done and what will have to be done, saying that the Red Cross will be going down the streets hardest hit will food and water for residents. 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.
“Certainly residents keep asking, ‘when will be get power’ and I understand their frustrations but the major concern now as the weather gets colder is for the sick, the elderly and children,” said Mangano. “Be assured that we are working on both short-term and long-term solutions to help bring our residents back to the quality of family life we had here in Nassau County.
And to help do that, event in the smallest way, Mangano announced that the County would be holding a Trick or Treat Community Halloween party tomorrow, Sat. Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building, 1550 Franklin Ave., Mineola. There will also be hot breakfast, water and charging stations available. Candy will be handed out in various offices in the building and prizes will be given out for the best costumes.
“We have seen a lot of pain and devastation,” Mangano said. “But I have also seen high school students collecting food and clothing and doing what they can do the help others. That is an example of the kind of fellowship we have here on Long Island and of which I am very proud.”