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West Shore Road Situation, LIPA Response Questioned

As we were warned would happen eventually during a storm, West Shore Road has been destroyed.  On top of dealing with the stress of power outages and gas lines, residents in that area have lost their main artery.

I am glad that the county honored my request to close the road prior to the storm. I will continue to urge County Executive Ed Mangano, and to fight our Legislative majority - who have been causing an unnecessary delay- to get repairs started.

I have been communicating with the mayors of Mill Neck and Bayville and Nassau DPW on detours and school bus issues. I hope that we can get a plan started right away.

I am also seeking some kind of greater aid from our state or federal government to help rebuild so much of Long Island after this devastation, including this important local road.

Sandy Plus Nor’easter

We all know that “Superstorm” Sandy, followed by the freezing Athena, have been a tremendous strain on Long Island. Homes have been destroyed. Families have been displaced. Entire communities have been ravaged. While Nassau County residents have proven themselves to be strong and resilient, this has pushed many people to their limits.

Communities Coming Together

I need to humbly recognize all those who have worked so hard throughout this travail. I have been frequenting the shelters in my district, visiting with people at the Glen Cove Senior Center and hearing concerns from those at the warming centers. I also helped hand out food and water in Bayville to some of those who were the hardest hit. It was inspirational to work with so many caring people, and to spend time with so many brave residents. The lines were long for aid in Bayville. There were many coming to Glen Cove City Hall and the libraries to charge phones and get coffee. Many people sought refuge at shelters. It has been heartwarming to see communities coming together.

I was happy to see that after such a bad storm people would look out for each other, helping their neighbors.

It also has to be said that Nassau County and local DPW crews, along with first responders and all our local elected officials have been going above and beyond for many, many long days now.

LIPA Needs Improvement

As far as the very trying power outages, my staff and I have been on calls for several hours each day with government contacts at LIPA. We have been filing and fielding all complaints and questions from residents of the 18th L.D. and fighting for clear information on what was going on in the field throughout the district.

It was frustrating that even as government officials – our direct number even stopped working and we weren’t getting good responses as the communities got fed up with LIPA and sought the help of their government representatives. Eventually I was forced to demand a neighborhood-by-neighborhood rundown on which areas were out, what the cause of the outage was, and what the ETA was for restoration. LIPA assigned me a representative and we are trying to work through the remaining issues in my district.

My office has been focused, since the start of my term, on emergency response. We have actively promoted “CERT” emergency training and I met with Nassau County’s Director of Office of Emergency Management. Part of what I discussed with OEM Director Craig Craft was how LIPA restoration efforts were supposed to be improving after their failure responding to Irene last year.

I spoke with representatives from LIPA who not only assured me that things were better, but took an aggressive position against my office for looking into the issue.

Tracy Burgess-Levy, LIPA head of government and community relations, attacked my staff because I told local papers I was questioning LIPA’s emergency plans.

Unfortunately, as I feared, LIPA had too much left to be improved after Irene. We have learned this the hard way after Sandy. I am now pressing for a Nassau committee to offer New York State some local details and feedback on what went wrong and what we need next time. It only makes sense that we have some insight into the performance of the only power provider available to Long Islanders.

Our state representatives from both parties have done a good job of pinpointing many shortcomings at LIPA since Irene and during Sandy. I would like to contribute to their efforts and see some real changes.

The Backstory

Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton is hearing numerous complaints and concerns about the power restoration process after “superstorm” Sandy. She said, “Homes in Nassau’s 18th Legislative District have been out of power now for many days. These are homes that include families with children, elderly people and people with serious health concerns who rely on power for critical medical-related equipment. These people have either been displaced from their homes indefinitely or they are forced to stay in the house, braving freezing temperatures and snow with no heat, hot water or lights.”

“Everyone knows that restoring power to so many residents after Sandy is a monumental task. But my job is to make sure that the task is done right —- and done as quickly as possible. There were state hearings and town informational sessions after Irene last year, where officials grilled LIPA on problems with its emergency response plans. I am concerned that many of the improvements that LIPA promised after Irene may have not been implemented,” continued Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton.

Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton is meeting with mayors, civic associations, school officials, community leaders and concerned residents to hear concerns and specific complaints about the restoration process. The legislator’s goals are: 1 - Continue pressing LIPA to address specific restoration issues throughout the 18th L.D.; 2 - Develop a timeline for when power will be restored in each area and information on what the problem is.; 3 - Compile complaints and possible problems with the restoration process, which she will analyze at the Legislature and provide to state officials for a review of LIPA’s service.; 4 - Push for Nassau oversight / feedback on LIPA.

“Nassau residents and other Long Islanders have no choice in power providers. New York state officials have done a good job of pressing LIPA to improve its emergency process. I believe that my colleagues at the county level should be able to help them compile useful information and to perform some kind of constructive oversight capacity. I will begin by holding these sessions and compiling information. Then we will explore creating a formal committee or initiating some reporting effort that can assist New York State, sharing local insight into the problems we are encountering,” said the Legislator.

To contact the legislator, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 571-6218.

News

If you missed the 6th annual champagne party at Coe Hall in Planting Fields, put it on your calendar for next year, because this is the party of the summer. A total of 175 guests attended, and many of them were in costume, a new addition to the popular champagne party. The always ebullient Henry Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, greeted his guests with his date Daphne, a 3-month-old long haired Dachshund, who is a companion for his Great Dane, Lucy.

The 1907 Courthouse building is now known as the Marguerite and Joseph Suozzi Building, marked by a special ceremony held at the North Shore Historical Museum on Sunday, Aug. 3 to a packed house.

“It’s a great day for the Suozzi family and a great day for the museum. We are so grateful for the Suozzi family for this generous donation,” said Brian Mercadante, president of the museum.

Mercandante then gave some history on the building, which was built in 1907 by the Town of Oyster Bay, when Teddy Roosevelt was president and the Gold Coast was in its heyday. He described how it came to be a museum, explaining that Tom Suozzi came up with a plan for redevelopment during his term as mayor of Glen Cove in the 1990s.


Sports

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay will once again be the site of the Long Island’s premiere multisport event – the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 23, and the Runner’s Edge – Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon for youngsters ages 8-13 on Sunday, Aug. 24.

The Saturday main event is a “sprint” triathlon, which consists of a half-mile swim in Oyster Bay harbor, a one loop 15 kilometer bike ride over hill and dale through beautiful Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow, and a 5 kilometer run through Mill Neck and Brookville, “up” to Planting Fields Arboretum and “down”to the finish at back at  Roosevelt  Park.


Calendar

Bayville Car Show

Friday, Aug. 22

Junior Triathlon

Sunday, Aug. 24

Historic Church Service And Tour

Sunday, Aug. 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