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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

April 19 fundraiser to be

held for baby with rare disease

Tom Onorato, the nephew and office manager of Dr. Joseph Onorato Garden City practice All Island Dermatology Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, recently celebrated the birth of a baby boy with his wife Melissa. Both were thrilled when Thomas Kevin Onorato came into the world on September 10, 2013. Despite being born five weeks early, baby Thomas managed to surprise his parents with his indomitable spirit and was sent home with a clean bill of health. A mere four days later began the fight for Thomas’ life.

Stewart Manor budget, mayor’s salary increase

At a time when municipalities are grappling with keeping expenditures down, the Village of Stewart Manor saw not only its 2014-15 operating budget increase, but its mayor’s salary. At a meeting of the board of trustees held on Monday, April, 8, Stewart Manor adopted a budget of $2,418,548.03, a 1.4 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, the board approved a raise of $1,000 for Mayor Gerard Tangredi, bringing his salary to $3,000. The salaries for trustees John Egan, M. Carole Schafenberg, and William Grogan are set at $2,000 each. Deputy Mayor Michael Onorato has declined his stipend.

Salaries and benefits make up 42 percent of the total budget. According to the state comptroller, it’s acceptable for that number to be as high as 65 percent. The total costs of salaries and benefits have actually decreased by around 5 percent from the previous year’s adopted budget.  


Sports

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.

Commitment at Kellenberg

Garden City residents continue to excel while participating in the athletic program over at Uniondale’s Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Each season, coaches of Kellenberg sports pick one player from their squad who has demonstrated remarkable commitment to the team through their hard work at practice and in competition.

The Village of Garden City has a long history of residents who've excelled both on the academic and athletic side of the ledger at Kellenberg. This time around, seniors Kelly O’Donnell (varsity cheerleading), Stacy Madelmayer (varsity girls basketball) and Bryan Salecker (swimming and diving team) have all been awarded the Commitment Award for their outstanding efforts, devotion, hard work and commitment to their respective teams.


Calendar

Dinner & A Movie: In Transition 2.0

Thursday, April 17

School Budget Meeting

Wednesday, April 23

Judi Mark One-woman Show At Library

Thursday, April 24



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