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Athena Slams Area One Week After Sandy Visit

Overnight storm creates traffic jams, additional power outages as officials work to continue hurricane cleanup

Long Island couldn’t catch a break. Nearly eight days after Hurricane Sandy rocked the Northeast, a nor’easter dubbed Athena rolled in on Wednesday, Nov. 7. Raucous weather dumped snow mixed with rain and sleet, creating hazardous road conditions that made the easiest of trips resemble a scene out of The Day After Tomorrow.

Rush hour last Wednesday on Old Country Road near the Mineola Train Station showcased vehicles jockeying for position, struggling to make their way down slippery, icy roads. According to the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) website, almost 60,000 customers lost electricity into Thursday morning because of Athena, with combined Sandy outages reaching 200,000 across the island by the morning commute. More than 140,000 were in Nassau County alone.

After Sandy arrived in Mineola, LIPA reported almost 12,000 outages in the village. Before Athena hit, Mineola tallied about 800 reported outages throughout the village. Once the snow settled, homes without power increased to 835 as of 5 p.m. last Thursday.

Williston Park has 5,000 without power, according to LIPA. Outages stretched throughout the town.

Other notable totals included but were not limited to Floral Park (3,939), Great Neck (1,791), Great Neck Estates (1,077), North Hills (2,737), North New Hyde Park (3,420), Port Washington (2,203), Port Washington North (1,304), Sands Point (1,121) and Westbury (1,714). LIPA reported that North Hempstead outages reached 38,000. Eight inches of snow was reported in nearby Albertson, according to the National Weather Service.

“[The Nov. 7] storm has caused additional damage and power outages and we will continue to deploy our significant workforce to address all power outages,” LIPA said on its website after Athena hit. “[It] may impede our restoration efforts, because we must also ensure the safety of our workforce. Rest assured that our crews will continue to work as long as, and whenever, it is safe to do so. When possible, we will restore power to customers who have been without power for the longest time. Your safety and well-being remain our number one priority and we thank you for your continued patience during this difficult time.”

About 12,000 workers were out after the storm, trying to restore power. The authority asked that people stay clear of downed wires and be aware of areas impacted by snow, where wires and trees could be covered and dangerous.

Mineola over the last two years has been pummeled by the elements. Hurricane Irene ripped through the village in 2011, the rogue storm on Aug. 15 made the area look like Atlantis and now Sandy, coupled with Athena, pulled no punches. To say the least, it’s been a rough time for Long Island.

As did Mineola with its village hall creating a warming center and charging station, Nassau County and the American Red Cross set up a shelter at New Hyde Park Memorial High School after the shelter at Manhasset High School closed, according to North Hempstead officials.

“We shifted from storm recovery back to storm preparation, all the while doing recovery still,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman said. “Folks are trying to get communication between LIPA, villages and other villages so other people have an understanding of what’s happening, primarily because the frustration from residents is growing to greater heights just based on the time that it is taking to get power up in so many of our communities.”

The town ran two buses on Wednesday to the seven comfort stations in North Hempstead. The vehicles picked up residents who wanted to stay at the shelter because the non-designated shelters are not equipped to have people stay overnight. According Kaiman, the shelter holds about 750 people.

“We’re told that 252 [LIPA] lineman [were working] in our town,” Kaiman stated.

News

In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.

East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.

The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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