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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

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.

Donald Barrick, Life’s WORC Board Chairman announced that Janet Koch has been hired as the new Executive Director of Life’s WORC, a Garden City-based 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. Koch assumes this leadership responsibility as Peter Smergut retires after 20 years in this position. After a thorough and extensive executive search process, the Life’s WORC Board is confident Koch has the vision and skills consistent with the needs of the organization. She will assume her position as executive director on Monday, Nov. 3.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



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