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Sandy Slays Stewart Manor Trees, Power Lines

Close-knit community rises above devastation to help one another

One by one, Stewart Manor residents began to emerge from their powerless homes on Tuesday, Oct. 30, to assess the damage brought on by Hurricane Sandy. Dodging downed trees, utility poles and power lines, neighbors gathered in clusters throughout the village with dazed looks on their faces. The overall mood, however, was positive. Residents were relieved, knowing it could have been worse, and were at the ready to help one another.

“I just showed [my neighbor across the street] how to light her stovetop so she could perk coffee,” said an Elton Road resident. Appreciating the simple, everyday things helped local residents maintain perspective as news reports of complete devastation of towns like Long Beach rolled in.

Beth Kilcullen, an Elton Road resident whose garage looked like it was pried open on one side with a can opener and appeared to be suspended in midair (see photo) because of a fallen tree whose roots unearthed the garage, truly appreciated how much worse the village could have been hit, as she waited anxiously to hear from relatives who live in Long Beach. Despite her own despair, Kilcullen, who appeared to be the only link to the outside world thanks to her corded landline telephone, opened her front door to all who passed by. She graciously took on the role of telephone operator and receptionist, as neighbors poured into her home to make phone calls and leave messages for friends and family members in the wake of the storm.

“That’s what’s nice about living in a tight-knit community like Stewart Manor,” Kilcullen said. “We all look out for each other.”

In the days before the hurricane hit, Mayor James Kelly, the board of trustees, the department of public works and the Stewart Manor Fire Department worked together to prepare. “The DPW and fire department readied generators and chainsaws, fueled vehicles and had standby crews in place,” said Mayor Kelly. “Our fire department obtained items such as cots, MREs and water. …  The village board met to review our emergency plans and procedures. Information was sent to the residents, advising them to prepare for the impending storm,” he added.

Indeed, Kelly communicated with residents early and often. Prior to the storm, many email alerts were sent to residents, and following the storm, when power and the Internet were down, the mayor reverted to the pony express, hand-delivering letters to all residents to ensure constant up-to-date information.

While clean-up and power restoration is ongoing, the majority of fallen trees were removed soon after Sandy hit. The six-member DPW crew has been heralded in the past for its service to the village but it set the bar even higher this time around.

“[They] were out not only during the storm, but immediately afterwards,” said Mayor Kelly. “Our first priority was to make sure the roads were clear for emergency vehicles. They did a great job, not only in removing trees and branches, but also making sure drains remained clear to prevent flooding. Regular sanitation pick-up was maintained as well.”

There was no rest for the weary, though, as Mother Nature followed Sandy with a knockout punch. Many of the trees and limbs that were spared by Sandy could not withstand the weight of the snow dumped on the region by the unseasonal nor’easter on Nov. 7, just nine days after the hurricane. Once again the DPW and SMFD did their best to prepare. “We went into winter storm mode,” said Kelly. “Plows were readied, as were the salt spreaders. Fire department and DPW standby crews went back on alert and the generators were brought back out.”

At press time, nearly all residences and businesses in Stewart Manor had regained power. Much of the village regained power five days after Sandy but lost it again for a day following the nor’easter. The dead end block of Carlton Terrace between Salisbury Avenue and the LIRR received power late on Thursday, Nov. 8, after 10 days, but a few homes on Elton Road and Fernwood Terrace between Salisbury and Chester Avenues remained without power. “These two blocks were the hardest hit, sustaining broken utility poles … We have been in daily contact with not only LIPA but with the Town of Hempstead and the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management, and all of our elected officials, asking for assistance with power restoration,” Mayor Kelly said.  

Residents whose property sustained damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy can contact FEMA at 800-621-3362 or register at www.disasterassistance.gov. They can also contact the Stewart Manor Village Hall at 516-354-1800 for assistance regarding any insurance or FEMA issues.

News

Michael Stano named to Master Teacher program

Michael Stano of Garden City High School has been named a New York State Master Teacher by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The Master Teacher Program creates a community of teacher experts dedicated to providing a first-rate learning experience for students across New York, and contributes to our efforts to attract and retain the best and the brightest in our STEM classrooms,” Cuomo said.

Stewart Manor Fire Department to host open house

You hear the horn sound multiple times a day, around the clock, but did you ever wonder what happens during the critical moments after a distress call is made to the firehouse? Who are the volunteers who are stopped in their tracks at the sound of that horn and dash off to help a neighbor in need? You’d be surprised to learn that it could be the gentleman you see walking his dog after work in the evenings, the woman you see standing at the bus stop with her children every morning, or even the young man you used to see playing with his friends in front of your house.


Sports

Registration For The Community Garden Begins

If you are interested in obtaining a plot in Garden City Recreation and Parks’ Community Garden, it is now time to register. Applications will be accepted until May 1. Plots will then be assigned for planting around May 10. If more applications are received than the number of plots available, all applications will be put in a lottery and winners will be notified.

Spring/Summer Adult Tennis Registration Forms Available

The Garden City Recreation Department will conduct evening tennis lessons for adults who are residents of the Inc. Village of Garden City at the Community Park tennis facility. The lessons will run for one hour each week in three sessions during the spring/summer months. The registrant has a choice of a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday class and a choice of time. There will be a maximum of four players per court. The dates and fees will be as follows:

Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5

The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This Year Three hunt will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.

Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.


Calendar

Going To The Birds (Sanctuary)

Saturday, April 26

Nassau Coaches Meet

Saturday, April 26

Making A Beautiful Noise

Friday, May 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com