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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.

10 comments:

Martin McPhillips said...

A curfew for adults? A ban on alcoholic beverages?

The first is an act of abject imbecility and the second is un-American.

I hope that as many people as could went out and flouted this ridiculous thing. %&$# the bloody health and safety fascists.

What overblown hysteria and presumptuous nonsense.

Mischa said...

The town and village emergency responders don't need to be wasting their time chasing after bozos who decided to go river rafting or drunk-ass people gawking at the edge of rising water.

Right call by West, or whoever made it.

@ Martin McPhilips:
Can we please reserve use of the word "fascism" for cases of actual fascism?

Martin McPhillips said...

The term is "health and safety fascism," and its meaning is clear. And my life is not centered around what "bozos" might or might not do. I will not be confined to my home because some hypothetical idiot wants to swim in the flood. He is going to show up there anyway. If that's how you want to be treated, Mischa, fine. It's not acceptable to me.

notds said...

I got my booze from kingston ^_^

I needed after been stranded in the rosendale part of New Paltz for a few days.

Wow - and a Rosendale cop actually was ticketing people who had made it through the water from their house and was boasting "it's a privilege to travel on MY road!" .. wow some nerve huh?

MiradaWill said...

I must say that I think this move was truly ludicrous and creates many unintended consequences. The last thing we should do during any emergency is close all of the places that one can get food, all the places that one can get fuel, all the places that one can get ANYTHING that you might need in an emergency. TO suggest that to keep us safe we must all huddle in our dark homes without food or water, gasoline, etc. until some town official says its OK to come out is insulting.

I know this cost me dearly. Early in the storm, I lost power. This happens rather frequently so I have a generator to give us a few essentials, but most importantly, run my sump pump. I keep a full 5 gallon gasoline can for it plus keep the 3 gallon tank on the unit full in case. This should be enough as I live 1 mile from town where there are gas stations everywhere.

Once I had poured the last of my 5 gallon can into the machine I set out to the end of Ohioville Rd to get more. BUT - the town thought it a good idea that no one be able to buy gas... All the Gas stations were closed. Now, panic set it... Without gas, I loose my family room in the cellar.

There were many police cars at the College diner, so I went over there to ask what was going on. To my dismay, the Police were threatening to haul the man at the register out in hand cuffs if he didn't close his doors at once. The place was packed with people eating, and more waiting to get in as they also had no power and were looking for a hot meal. The thruway was closed, hotels all full, people needed to eat.

But again, the town officials knew best... Lets close the restaurants to keep everyone safe? The people lined up waiting to get in were just getting back in their cars to go elsewhere... ON THE ROADS. THE CLOSED ROADS. Some cop started yelling that it was illegal to be on the roads and people would be arrested if they didn't go home NOW!

Lets think this through... How are we to go home, as he yelled, NOW, if we cant drive on the freaking roads? And for the people stranded, what were they to do? All the restaurants are closed, you cant buy gas, you cant do anything except sit in the parking lot of the college diner which was apparently forbidden to sell food?!!!! This is completely insane!

I did what others did. I figured they cant chase us all, so I hopped in the car and took off. Now, I had a problem... I am going to need gas desperately soon, and if I go towards New Paltz, I risk being arrested by the posse assembled at the college diner.

Which begs the question, why was the entire police force at the diner during this life threatening ordeal? There must have been 5 or 6 of them. What about the rest of the town? You would think they would be doing something like stopping people from going near the danger of the flooding river! If the river ever makes it to the College diner, we have MUCH larger problems to deal with that those tho illegally eat hamburgers at a diner for heaven's sake!

But, I digress. So, now I have to find gas. Cant go north, must go south. Modena... there is a gas station there. BUT you cant get there from here... Flooded roads everywhere. I thought about crossing a flooded area in desperation, but thought better of it. I truly could not get to a gas station that was not closed by the stupid town officials. Gas stations that had power and everything, but were NOT ALLOWED TO SELL ME GAS!

So I went home and sat in the dark and when my generator ran out of gas, watched my family room get destroyed. We had no food, water, except the water rising in my basement, couldn't cook, nothing. THIS IS JUST PLAIN WRONG.

MiradaWill said...

I must say that I think this move was truly ludicrous and creates many unintended consequences. The last thing we should do during any emergency is close all of the places that one can get food, all the places that one can get fuel, all the places that one can get ANYTHING that you might need in an emergency. TO suggest that to keep us safe we must all huddle in our dark homes without food or water, gasoline, etc. until some town official says its OK to come out is insulting.

I know this cost me dearly. Early in the storm, I lost power. This happens rather frequently so I have a generator to give us a few essentials, but most importantly, run my sump pump. I keep a full 5 gallon gasoline can for it plus keep the 3 gallon tank on the unit full in case. This should be enough as I live 1 mile from town where there are gas stations everywhere.

Once I had poured the last of my 5 gallon can into the machine I set out to the end of Ohioville Rd to get more. BUT - the town thought it a good idea that no one be able to buy gas... All the Gas stations were closed. Now, panic set it... Without gas, I loose my family room in the cellar.

There were many police cars at the College diner, so I went over there to ask what was going on. To my dismay, the Police were threatening to haul the man at the register out in hand cuffs if he didn't close his doors at once. The place was packed with people eating, and more waiting to get in as they also had no power and were looking for a hot meal. The thruway was closed, hotels all full, people needed to eat.

But again, the town officials knew best... Lets close the restaurants to keep everyone safe? The people lined up waiting to get in were just getting back in their cars to go elsewhere... ON THE ROADS. THE CLOSED ROADS. Some cop started yelling that it was illegal to be on the roads and people would be arrested if they didn't go home NOW!

Lets think this through... How are we to go home, as he yelled, NOW, if we cant drive on the freaking roads? And for the people stranded, what were they to do? All the restaurants are closed, you cant buy gas, you cant do anything except sit in the parking lot of the college diner which was apparently forbidden to sell food?!!!! This is completely insane!

I did what others did. I figured they cant chase us all, so I hopped in the car and took off. Now, I had a problem... I am going to need gas desperately soon, and if I go towards New Paltz, I risk being arrested by the posse assembled at the college diner.

Which begs the question, why was the entire police force at the diner during this life threatening ordeal? There must have been 5 or 6 of them. What about the rest of the town? You would think they would be doing something like stopping people from going near the danger of the flooding river! If the river ever makes it to the College diner, we have MUCH larger problems to deal with that those tho illegally eat hamburgers at a diner for heaven's sake!

But, I digress. So, now I have to find gas. Cant go north, must go south. Modena... there is a gas station there. BUT you cant get there from here... Flooded roads everywhere. I thought about crossing a flooded area in desperation, but thought better of it. I truly could not get to a gas station that was not closed by the stupid town officials. Gas stations that had power and everything, but were NOT ALLOWED TO SELL ME GAS!

So I went home and sat in the dark and when my generator ran out of gas, watched my family room get destroyed. We had no food, water, except the water rising in my basement, couldn't cook, nothing. THIS IS JUST PLAIN WRONG.

MiradaWill said...

I agree that if people have no reason to be out, stay home. But I think food, fuel, other basic needs under certain circumstances ARE are reason to get in your car and go to town.

Perhaps they would have rather that I called the volunteer fire department to come pump my house out. Thats what we need... all the volunteers navigating to my house because of the "town decree."

We need places in town to go when there are emergencies. To prohibit businesses from helping the community in times like these does absolutely nothing to make anyone safer! It makes us try to go further than necessary to fill a basic need.

Now I fear the future. Is this whats in store for us now? Whats going to happen the next time it snows, or rains? Of there is a wind storm? Or anything else that these idiots think is a good reason to lock us in our homes? I guess I will now have to store 4 or 5 cans filled in gas in my garage. Yes, that's it...nice and safe... Lets make people stock pile gasoline in their garages and sheds. They'll need it to keep the fridge working as the wont be allowed to buy any food.

This entire episode was a was an example of government incompetence on parade. These people should be held to account. And to whomever thought that the show of force that was on display at the diner was needed during this wickedly dangerous public crises to enforce the order to stop selling food IMMEDIATELY should be fired.

Society has survived for centuries without the need of some government official to tell us what to do when it rains. This was a travesty.

Terence said...

Experiences like yours, MiradaWill, need to be discussed, and so far I haven't seen many people who had setbacks due to the curfew speak out (most people in opposition, like Martin, are angry for philosophical reasons; like Martin, most angry people haven't been willing to say these things in a public forum).

There is supposed to be an opportunity for emergency responders to talk about the plan and its implementation, but I do not know about any further opportunities for the public to speak.

So I'm continuing to encourage people to discuss the issue here. It's more convenient for a lot of reasons to discuss an issue like this online, although as a forum a blog post has serious shortcomings, as well. It is, however, the best we've got so far.

MiradaWill said...

Philosophical objections, I believe, are just as valid in this instance. There are those who seek to simply dismiss criticism because they are "on the other side of the political spectrum." I believe that there are those of us who were perfectly fine with assuming that those in government have enough executive experience to make tie right decisions in an emergency. It is, clearly now, a dangerously wrong assumption.

I have read the reasons for doing this and they make categorically no sense. The supervisor and mayor claim that people were ignoring their order so in order to keep them safe we must close their destinations and then they'll stay home.

There was, however, no way for the public to know there even was an order. We had no power. I had no TV or internet. All I had was an impending household disaster on the horizon. And based on years passed, there was no reason to think there was a government edict cutting me off from basic supplies in effect...We never order the town closed for any reasons. All the town did was force us to now keep driving around looking for needed items.

Those who philosophically disagree, as you call it, have just come to understand that these people have no idea what they are doing before I did, a mistake I shall not make twice. I will go under the assumption from the outset that they have not a shred of common sense and will probably make the wrong decision, and therefore must be prepared to take care of my family regardless of what they say.

A movement must begin to replace them and find qualified people. Its not a party issue...it's one of simple qualifications of which these people, clearly, have none.

Terence said...

Just to clarify my position, when I referred to "philosophical objections" to the curfew, what I meant was people who didn't like the curfew, but didn't have a specific experience during Irene that shaped that view.

You, MiradaWill, don't like the curfew because it actually made your life harder. In my view, that's a different class of argument entirely. People can rant and rave about whether it was the right thing to do and it may not change anything. Specific accounts that support either argument, including yours, are a LOT more useful in the long run.