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SFFD Hosts Dozens Of Out Of State Workers

Village Also Hosting Electricians And Tree Crews

It’s been three weeks since Hurricane Sandy and Nor’easter Athena have ripped through the region, causing millions of dollars in damage and inconveniencing thousands of residents. The South Farmingdale and Village Fire Departments, including the Village Hall have become temporary barracks for more than 100 out-of-state utility workers who are supplementing the recovery efforts on Long Island.

South Farmingdale Fire Commissioner Thomas Mastakouris said within the first couple of days of the storm recovery, many of the out of state workers were sleeping in their utility trucks in vacant parking lots. The temperatures were still at freezing overnight when some of the workers were sleeping out in their trucks.

Village Clerk Brian Harty told the Farmingdale Observer, “The Village Hall and the Village Fire Department have hosted 46 line and tree crew personnel from Georgia and California along with National Grid personnel from the Boston area.” He said 29 are sleeping on cots in the firehouse and 17 are on set up next door in the Village Hall courtroom.

Down the street, the South Farmingdale Fire Department had hosted dozens of electricians from North Carolina for a two-week rotation, and a tree-cutting crew from Ohio. They have since moved on to another assignment, while an electrical crew from Sturgeon Electric of Denver has moved in.

South Farmingdale Fire Chief Ed Purpora said more than 50 cots were set up in their fire headquarters’ second floor conference room to host the rotations of out-of-state workers.

“Usually what happens after a natural disaster, there are contingency plans to help expedite the recovery,” Mastakouris explained; he said this is the same kind of assistance that firefighting and medic crews from across the country participate in when crews out west battle widespread wildfires.

“If it wasn’t for them, we would not be back so quickly,” said Mastakouris about the utilities. “Neighbors were very appreciative.”

The first wave of bolstered assistance has come from tree-cutters and electricians; once the power is back, the island will see a wave of plumbing and heating crews come through to restore water services and hot water boilers to many of the homes that have had severe damage.

Mastakouris said the police and fire departments have received an increase in distress calls, since the hurricane and nor’easter, from residents who are still without heat, reports of hypothermia.

The Observer spoke with Sturgeon Electric’s General Foremen Shane Park and Josh Wanrow about their assignment on Long Island.  

Typically the Sturgeon team, now in South Farmingdale, works centrally located in Colorado. After Hurricane Sandy, Wanrow said their crew was assembled in Colorado and sent to Connecticut. On Nov. 9 they left Connecticut and traveled down to Long Island for their current assignment.

“For the amount of power that was out, it’s devastating to lose that much of the grid,” said Wanrow. He said Long Island Power Authority and National Grid are doing what they can to get things restored.

Park said he overheard one utility worker say about the electric on Long Island, “It’s taken us 50 years to build it and Mother Nature only five hours to destroy it.” He said, “It’s going to take some time to get this all back.”

Each morning the crew receives its assignment from the Long Island utility and heads out to complete the work within Farmingdale and the neighboring communities. Other supplemental utility workers are also stationed throughout Long Island, also completing day-to-day assignments for the power company.

He said although they do not usually spend this much time together when they are working back in Denver, guys come and go, but they have a core group that works takes similar assignments and regularly works well together under deployed circumstances.

“They [the workers] all knew the conditions would be less than comfortable, no hotels; everyone is taking it pretty well,” said Wanrow. He said this is the group that agreed to the conditions, so they could help get the job done.

Like many of the guys in their team, Park and Wanrow have families anxiously waiting for their return back in Colorado. Assignments like this one are likened to a military deployment; the separation is trying and at times difficult. Park’s wife and children are used to his deployments. Wanrow said his family is still trying to adjust to him being away from home.

For many of the workers, this is their first time in New York. Park said, “Everyone has been really nice to us.” Park and Wanrow agreed that one of the best things about this assignment has been the fire department’s hospitality. Park said, “They have opened their door to us and have helped with whatever we need.”

They each have a lot of experience with disaster recovery work, five ice storms, and a couple of hurricanes under their belts. Similarly though, both foremen agree that leaving their families is the worst part of these kinds of jobs.

News

There was a time when people knew what they were eating. Frozen meals, fast food chains and ingredients impossible to pronounce were non-existent. Instead, simple ingredients and meals were all made from scratch.

Joann P. Magri, owner of The Divine Olive, is keeping this way of eating alive. Offering hungry customers with a choice in quality foods and ingredients, Magri encourages customers to make their own meals. With shelves stocked full of 18-year-old vinegars straight from Modena, Italy, to extra virgin olive oils infused with various herbs and flavors, the Divine Olive features a variety of organic and vegan products, all 100 percent natural. It even has handmade spaghetti and fresh bread, which perfectly pairs with all of their other products.

It’s a cute little ‘bug.’ What it represents, however, is anything but cute.

An unusual-looking Volkswagen is toodling around Long Island this month. Painted to resemble the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), the VW Beetle is part of efforts by the US Department of Agriculture to eliminate the pest, which can destroy 70 percent of an area’s tree canopy, according to the agency. Initially, officials held hope for complete eradication from about 23 square miles of LI designated as infested or at risk by 2016. Instead, this “landcape-altering pest” is spreading.


Sports

It will be difficult to top the exhilaration of being crowned Nassau County Champs, but the 2014 Farmingdale Dalers will begin their defense of the title on Sept. 13 at rival Massapequa—whom they beat to claim the crown.

“The attitude is that we have to prove it again,” said Head Coach Buddy Krumenacker, who has been at the helm since 1993. “But I think we’ll be okay,” he added.

Register now as classes fill up quickly and you don’t want to miss out on the chance to join in trapeze workshops at Eisenhower Park’s I.FLY this fall.

 

“I.FLY was designed to give kids and adults the ability to fulfill their dreams of being in the circus,” says instructor Anthony Rosamilia.  “Flying through the air never gets boring.  At I.FLY, we help people create lifelong memories.” 


Calendar

Board of Education Special Meeting

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Movies on the Green: The Nut Job

Thursday, Aug. 28

Warbirds Legends Weekend

Friday, Aug. 29



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