Written by Ken Mastro and Matt Spillane
Now that everyone in Lewisboro has power again following Hurricane Irene, residents can turn to seeking aid for damages and continuing clean-up around town.
Power was restored to everyone in town on Sunday, Sept. 4, according to NYSEG, nearly eight days after people first lost electricity in Lewisboro. Some Verizon land phone line service is still out, however, and one resident told The Ledger on Sept. 4 that Verizon officials told her it may remain out until Monday, Sept. 12.
With limited resources and manpower last week, residents and town employees worked together to make due in the storm’s aftermath and get the town up and running again.
“In general, every department in this town came together,” Highway Superintendent Peter Ripperger told The Ledger this week. “Our employees are our best asset.”
Mr. Ripperger estimated that there was easily a minimum of 70 trees down in Lewisboro that needed to be cleaned up, and 28 sections of roads had been closed by police immediately following the storm.
“We had a lot of roads closed,” Mr. Ripperger said. “We didn’t have a lot of utility trucks. My men came in at 6 p.m. Saturday and left late Monday night. We’re still on clean-up. The roads all did get open. The emergency system that the town of Lewisboro put into effect absolutely came together. All of our resources were strained to the max.”
Westchester County has been declared a disaster area by the federal government so federal disaster assistance is available for homeowners, renters and small businesses in Lewisboro. Call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) registration number, 1-800-621-3362, or register online.
FEMA has opened a disaster recovery center at the Westchester County Center’s Little Theater. It is for helping residents and businesses to file for disaster aid. It will operate from 8 to 8, seven days a week, until further notice, and parking fees have been waived.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked FEMA and the Department of Agriculture for waivers that would “allow homeowners, businesses and farmers to retroactively enroll in federal flood insurance and crop insurance programs,” according to a press release.
Slow response by NYSEG, town?
State Senator Greg Ball, 40th District, and Assemblyman Robert Castelli, 89th District, were both critical of NYSEG’s overall response time. Mr. Castelli noted that, as of the afternoon of Aug. 30, Con Edison was able to restore power to 73% of its customers in his district while NYSEG had only restored it to 16%. Sen. Ball is calling for a state Senate hearing to investigate “the response management and communication failures and shortfalls following Hurricane Irene,” according to a press release from his office. (READ MORE)