Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Info / Form for Submitting Damage Assessments

from Toni Hokanson - FOR PEOPLE & BUSINESSES WITH IRENE DAMAGE ---- Here's a link to the damage assessment form. First, fill out the damage assessment form and turn it into Town or Village Hall. Then, take pictures keep detailed descriptions. Save receipts. Utilize your own insurance first. Get at least 2 estimates before hiring. Keep all records. Everyone who turns in a form will be kept up to date on the process moving forward.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Information about the curfew

I spoke with Michael Zierler yesterday to get some answers about the curfew, since he was (maybe "is," I'm not certain) acting as public information officer.

The resolution's intent was twofold, he told me.

First was to prevent people from being out in potentially dangerous conditions because they were curious.  "You can stand outside your house," Michael told me, but "nobody should be out just to see what's going on outside."

The village and town wanted emergency services personnel to be able to focus on things like downed trees and flooding, instead of people "intentionally swimming in the river or accidentally driving through flood areas," Michael offered as examples.

Likewise, the curfew was to keep the streets clear for essential emergency vehicles.  "The entire personnel had been working for 16 hours already," Michael told me, and empty streets removed both a distraction and a potential delay in the form of vehicles.

Police advised downtown businesses to close, and rode up and down the streets announcing the curfew over their speakers.  Notifications were spread via social media, local access cable, municipal websites, and over the phone to anyone who called any town or village office.

There was also a countywide ban on driving, Michael said, although New Paltz police were not stopping people "just for driving."  No checkpoints were set up to stop drivers.

Another underlying concern was the fact that it was impossible to assess roads for damage.  West of the Wallkill, where they won't be checked until the bridge is passable again, there's still a travel ban to the best of my knowledge.

Perfect Timing! Joint Town-Village Meeting Tomorrow 8/31

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 31st, there is a previously-scheduled Joint Meeting of the Town Board and Village Board. Public comment starts at 7 pm at Town Hall. If you have a complaint, question, comment or encouragement regarding Hurricane Irene and the response to it, now's your chance, while the memory is still fresh. Reps from the Police, Fire and Rescue Squads will be there to help field questions.

Agenda -
Public comment
Old business: Floyd Kniffen - annexation
3 outstanding requests for water hookup
Contract with Village for Moriello Park
Update on Park Point project
New business: Crossing Guard
Offices formerly used by NPPD
Aqueduct repair update

Classes Resume Tomorrow at SUNY New Paltz

from SUNY New Paltz: ALL CLASSES WILL RESUME WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31ST! Classroom technology may be limited or unavailable. HAB and SUB staff, please contact supervisors for work locations. Phone service is restored. 2222 and 911 are functional. Records and Registration, Student Accounts, Bookstore, Parking, and Campus Card Services will be relocated to South Classroom Building with limited functionality.

A Message from Mayor Jason West

Thank you everyone for your patience the past few days. The EMT's, police officers and firefighters all thanked us for yesterday's curfew; they said it made a huge difference. It meant they didn't have to respond to their daily number of calls on top of helping evacuate, rescuing stranded people, and dealing with downed trees and power lines, fires, and other emergencies caused by the hurricane. We've lifted our travel bans on most of the roads east of the Wallkill. We didn't know until later this morning which of our roads were safe to drive on. There is a list of closed roads posted on the New Paltz Police Dept. website. Please don't drive around the barricades: it's inconvenient, but they're there for a reason. Until the Wallkill recedes, we can't get crews and equipment west of the Wallkill to inspect those roads. DO NOT move the barricade blocking the bridge, even if the road looks clear. We will unblock the roads when we know they are safe to walk and drive on. So there is still a travel ban on roads west of the Wallkill. I understand how many people will ignore that unless we physically stand there on every street and stop people from driving. However, please help out by not risking your lives by driving down a street we have clearly told you is unsafe to drive on. The person who put up that barricade knows something you don't. They know what's down that road, and took the time to leave as clear a message as they can to anyone who may see it, that they should not go down there. Please respect that. I know a lot of people were inconvenienced yesterday, but it was necessary to free up enough of our very limited, exhausted people and resources to deal with this crisis. We were very lucky; it could have been much worse, and there will be lots of articles written about it. But be proud of your emergency workers. The police, firefighters, EMTs, Red Cross, community volunteers, Trustees and Town Councillors, the public works employees of the Town and Village, the Town and Village Clerks and others were mobilized coordinating our efforts. And everyone involved did a fantastic job.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Absorbing Irene

As the sodden ground tries to absorb the flood waters, we are all trying to absorb the impact of Irene on New Paltz.

I've spoken with many people and some public officials about the state of affairs right now and their impressions of same.  This is, without a doubt, the worst situation New Paltz has faced in well over a generation.

I don't have time to compile what I've learned quite yet, so only two quick time-sensitive items:

  1. South Oakwood has a short closure due to a tree falling on a power line.
  2. The nursing home on Jansen Road had its entrance bridge completely destroyed . . . again.  No vehicle access unless they've finished patching together a temporary solution.

Update from SUNY New Paltz

SUNY New Paltz All Tuesday classes are canceled.

Student Union Building basement, van den Berg Hall, and Haggerty Administration Building are closed. Employees who report to these locations are asked to contact their supervisors for instruction regarding work location.

All other offices are open, but have limited functionality.

Huguenot Street Farm - Irene Damage Photos

Many small animals - rabbits, mice, etc - lost their lives after trying to climb up as high as they could on the tomato plants

Yes, that is the Green Works Regatta "boat". Last time I saw it, it was stationary in a field.

Travel Update

via Town Supervisor Toni Hokanson: Travel ban lifted with a few exceptions. Do NOT drive around barricades, even if you do not see water. Some roads are compromised and some are not yet evaluated. Mandatory evacuations are being lifted on a case by case basis. Recreational use of the Wallkill River is prohibited.

New Paltz Local Farms Hit Hard

Many of our local farms are located adjacent the Wallkill River, and were hit hard by the recent flooding. Reports from Huguenot Street Farm, farms on Springtown Road, and Taliaferro Farm indicate major losses.

Here's a video documenting the damage to Taliaferro Farms on Plains Road.

Updates: Irene /Floods In New Paltz

Dry ice will be available at 3pm from Central Hudson on Rt 9w in Lake Katrine (by the old Mirons) and in Poughkeepsie at Home Depot on Rt 9 opposite Marist Colle

The missing rafters were found early this morning.

SUNY New Paltz - Hasbrouck Dining hall is stocked and serving continuously until 8 p.m. today. Student Union food service venues are closed. The Athletic and Wellness Center will be open from 2 to 10 p.m. The Health Center and Psychological Counseling Center are open and operating on normal hours.

Irene aftermath

This morning my Facebook feed was full of damage reports, relief, and frustration about the Irene effect on New Paltz.  They included:

  • Confusion over the New Paltz curfew by citizens, and anecdotal suggestions of confusion by law enforcement as well
  • Reports about where dry ice is available to people without power
  • Videos of flooding
  • Strong defensive reactions by emergency personnel, suggesting to me that people have been giving some of them crap over the above-referenced curfew
  • Pictures of downed trees
  • Lamentations about not having power
A lot went on yesterday.  Our officials made tough decisions with variable amounts of information.  Reports about actual conditions were contradictory and probably sometimes accurate.  Information about the curfew was also inconsistent.

I hope to be speaking to Michael Zierler, who assumed the role of public information officer of the town and village during Irene, about the response and how well information was disseminated, and to get a more accurate picture of what actually did happen.

From what I know and believe at this point, emergency services did an excellent job, but communication was, as always, a challenge.

Please feel free to comment on your Irene experience - I'm curious how New Paltzians have weathered this storm.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene / Flood News from New Paltz

Village Mayor Jason West and Town Supervisor Toni Hokanson have declared a State of Emergency in New Paltz - it was enacted for 8:00 pm, Saturday August 27th 2011 & shall be in effect til 8:00 pm September 1st, 2011, or until lifted by a subsequent Joint Executive Order of the Supervisor and Mayor of New Paltz.

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein declared all county roads closed to non-emergency services personnel/vehicles early today. Around noon, the Town and Village of New Paltz banned all pedestrian and vehicle traffic except for Town Village official business or evacuation. Both the mayor and supervisor warned residents that due to the massive amount of water all roads must be checked for structural damage - roads may look fine but actually have structural damage. People are urged to stay off the roads and stay away from the river.

Many areas of New Paltz had mandatory evacuations: Springtown, Sunrise, Kaegill, High Ridge, Dug Road, Coffee Rd., Cragswood Rd., Mountain Rest (from 299 to Canaan Rd, which is at 111 Mountain Rest), Rapp Hill, Julia Avenue, Calvin Blvd., Charles Lane, Lewis Lane. Town and Country Condominiums, western most ground floor units. Water Street, single family homes to the south of the box factory, at the intersection of Pencil Hill, Water St., Plains Rd and Mohonk Ave.

At 8pm Sunday, the Wallkill River was predicted to shortly crest 6 feet ABOVE the road on the Carmine Liberta bridge. The cresting record, last set in 1955, was broken by 7pm. This is a VERY dangerous place to be - there are already (stupid!) people in kayaks and tubes that are missing... Seriously people, stay away from the river - we need the police to focus on emergencies - NOT chasing people away from the river.

There is a curfew for both residents and businesses from 7pm Sunday night till 5am Monday morning. There is also a ban on alcohol sales tonight. (This news was Wall Street Journal worthy apparently.) (Gannett too.)

On the SUNY New Paltz campus - Hasbrouck Dining Hall is open till 9:00 tonight. The lines are long but students have been advised to please be patient and stay on campus. Tomorrow, classes are cancelled, and only essential personnel (University Police Department, Food Service, Maintenance and Custodial) need to report to work. There is an emergency shelter on campus at the Health and Wellness Center.

School district - the New Paltz Central School District will be closed Monday, August 29th, 2011. All activities scheduled for the 29th will be rescheduled.

Central Hudson will be distributing dry ice and water on Monday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011 Democratic Caucus Results

Zimet 167
Hokanson 56

Town Council (2)
Gallucci 162
Barry 148
Leverette 81

Highway Superintendent
Marx 97
Johnson 64
Takacs 54
Lecesse 6


Town Clerk
Roseanne Mazzacarri

Town Judge
Jim Bacon

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Democrats fire their engines

The race for town supervisor is starting to shape up for registered Democrats in New Paltz.  Mid-Hudson News reports that the New Paltz Democratic caucus will take place August 23.  In the past it's been held at the high school, so I'm guessing they'll try for that location again.

Once again, the local Democratic party committee is apparently opting not to back the party member who is already in office.  In the spirit of "what's old is what's new," they will be supporting former supervisor and current county legislator Susan Zimet for the job over incumbent Toni Hokanson.

I don't know who else will be trying to get the party nod, but here's a tip:  be prepared to bring a couple hundred of your registered Democratic friends to secure any nomination from the party.  You can be sure that both Zimet and Hokanson will.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Slash Root to Host First Ever Hudson Valley “Hack-and-Tell”

Tuesday August 16th 8:00pm
Slash Root Cafe and Technology Dojo
60 Main Street New Paltz
(845) 633-8330

Forum will showcase local technology innovation
NEW PALTZ, NY – Following a trend among developing tech-sector regions, the Hudson Valley will hold its first “Hack-and-Tell” next week.

Hack-and-tell is a forum in which technology innovators show inventions, programs, or experiments that they are developing or have completed. No sales pitches are allowed.

“The Hudson Valley is becoming one of the fastest-moving growth zones for the nation's tech sector,” said Justin Holmes, founder of SlashRoot. “We're geographically in the middle of the Hudson Valley and proud to be the leader of the regional innovation culture, so it makes sense for us to host this event.”

Applications from interested participants are due Friday, August 12th at 5:00PM here.

you can RSVP on Facebook

New Paltz Caucus Dates Announced

Democratic Caucus
Tuesday August 23rd
New Paltz High School
6:30 PM

Republican Caucus
Wednesday September 7th
New Paltz Community Center
7:00 PM

Two primaries for the village County Leg seat - Democrat and Working Families - will be held on Tuesday, September 13th.