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Nov. 13 Sandy Update from Cedarhurst Trustee Ari Brown

Gives update on electricity and what the village has been doing.

Update, Nov. 13, 6:10 p.m.

Power just went down again in much of Cedarhurst...Homes and business area.

LIPA says it "was a forced shut down."

Village hall went back on just now ... 6:22 p.m.

Once again, they did not even have the courtesy to let 1,500 customers or even Village Hall know that they were doing this ... especially at night, causing the train signals to go out, while the train was still running. 

We will keep monitoring the situation and let you know.

**** ****

Update, Nov. 10, 9:15 p.m.  

Though many of us in Cedarhurst have our power restored, we MUST NOT FORGET those that still dont have power or heat and or a place to live. I am so proud of our community at large, almost everyone has extended themselves in one way or another. Please have in mind that though many have had their power restored, those in the flood areas may have lost their boiler / furnace and are living without heat. 

Please continue to check on our elderly neighbors...many of whom will want to stay put...Please be as convincing as possible to get them into a warmer environment, help shop for their food, etc.

- Chances are, if you know of anyone that lives north of West Broadway, they most likely have suffered some type of water damage. The closer they live to Peninsula Boulevard, the more damage sustained...PLEASE check on these neighbors.

I stopped by Village Hall today after shul, and of course found the Mayor, JoMarie Capone and or Administrator Sal Evola, manning the phones, doing everything possible for our residents. WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO UNTIL EVERYONE IS RESTORED. 

RESTORATION: I, as well as our Chief of the Building Department, Wayne Yarnell, as well as his assistant, Luke Magliaro, are available to you for any construction related questions and advice that you may have. Please call 516.295.5770.

**** ****

Update Nov. 9, 3:16 p.m.

To Our Friends and Neighbors,

Today is looking brighter. Many blocks have been restored.

- The Mayor instructed everyone in Village Hall to call all residents on blocks that we are not sure if they have power.
- Please email me and let me know which blocks do not have power — verify first.

Some of the streets or balance of streets:

Roselle, Fifth, Arbuckle, Balance of Centre, Balance of Washington, Balance of Oak, Rugby, Summit, Oceanpoint, LeRoy, Balance of Westminster, Roberts Lane, Oxford, Lincoln, Livingston, Trucks working on Arlington, Argyle, Carman, Columbia, First Ave. — NEED to Confirm if it's the whole block (Kenny Shapiro, let me know if Dad has power...called his phone, no pick up)

- We need all info possible ... updates so that we can get them powered up
 
Senator Skelos and Mayor Parise: 

This one is worth repeating. As we all know, Mayor Parise has been here in Village Hall throughout the storm, if not here, touring the village and making sure 
all is under control. The mayor worked until late last night with Senator Skelos office to switch gears and get power — going a different route...seems to have worked.

Sen. Skelos, unlike any of the other elected officials (McCarthy, Gillibrand and Schumer) actually toured the Five Towns, stopping in several locations as well as in Cedarhurst to hear peoples concerns. As always, he was calm and put us at ease ... always there for us. Thank you.

The crews have been working 'round the clock, patrolling the village, trimming trees, collecting debris.

We WILL continue to deal with this as if no one has power ... EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR RESIDENTS ARE IMPORTANT TO US. 

Years ago, when the Mayor first asked me to join the Board of Zoning Appeals, he told me that one of the most important things for me to understand is that the Village, its residents and staff, are like family to him and should be viewed as such ... We truly do feel that way.

We are all available for you at 516.295.5770

**** ****

Update, Nov. 9, 7:45 a.m.

To Our Residents — Neighbors of Cedarhurst,

Last evening saw the lights go on in much of the "ABC" streets and LIPA tells me that the majority will be illuminated by days end...Once again, I add the disclaimer of saying that they have not been forthright heretofore.

Mayor Parise has been working through the night with Sen. Maj. Leader Dean Skelos and staff to try and ensure that this nightmare ends sooner than later.

We know there are many questions as to electrical inspections and installation of new breaker panels and furnaces. We suggest a visit to our building department where our unbelievable team, led by Mr. Wayne Yarnell, will be more tan happy to advise. I will also be in Village Hall to assist towards this venue.

We will continue to be here — there for you our friends and neighbors — you wont be forgotten, whether we have power or not (in this case it's "not").  

Please feel free to call us at 516.295.5770 — Thank you.

**** ****

Update, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.

LIPA:

  • Though I have been on the phone with almost every living soul that works for LIPA, I have not received any consistent reports as to what the "new" schedule will be.
  • Having said that, Several blocks have 'lit-up" today, such as Park, Oakwood, Monroe, Church, Linwood, Park Place and Kensington. 
  • Aside from the newly restored blocks, many of the blocks and homes that lost power to the snow storm have been restored.
  • LIPA has given me a schedule of the remaining blocks, but I would hate to convey that message, due to my lack of trust in the veracity of their claim...Let's hope.
  • You all shouldn't feel so bad, I can assure you that I will be the very last house that will be restored ... it will be LIPA's revenge for my incessant harassment.

Our Elected Officials:
 
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy: I called 516.739.3008 and spoke with Toby Nussbaum, a person I know well and respect (so please don't harass her). I explained that though the Congresswoman seems like a lovely person, in all my years living in Cedarhurst as a resident and as an appointed and elected official (in many capacities over 15 years), I can honestly say that I can count on one hand the amount of times that I have seen her in our village. I continued by saying that two of the times were for photo ops whereby the Congresswoman presented us with a check on July 6, 2009, for $142,500 for village improvements and a repeat photo op (for the same check). To date, the check has still not cleared, tied up in Federal red tape.

When we receive a check from Sen. Skelos (and it's always for considerably more) it is always good, always a simple process. I'm certain you all understand that the State pool that the senator is drawing from is miniscule compared to that of the Congresswoman, yet, Senator Skelos is there for our community in every way. I continued by saying that we are not looking for funds, but just an appearance to her own district that has been devastated. It is truly shameful that she has not come to the Five Towns, especially Cedarhurst to check on her constituents that are suffering. There have been no phone calls to village hall, no letters of concern, no calls to the Mayor, NOTHING at all. SHAME!. We in Cedarhurst should have equal standing to those that suffered in Katrina and in other like disasters. On an economic standpoint, Cedarhurst is the most financially sound, lowest tax rate, lowest vacancy rate, most heavily trafficked shopping district and downtown in all of the south shore of Long Island ... at least check on us in that regard ... again ... Silence. Mrs. Nussbaum said that she has only heard from one or two of the constituents over the past two weeks regarding our area and that is why we have not received the same attention as other areas. At least I received a "I will get back to you."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: 631.249.2825
Sen. Chuck Schumer: 631.753.0978
I spoke with both offices and spoke with two nice kids, both of whom couldn't wait to get me off the phone ... barely knew where Cedarhurst was located. I once again said that I truly have NEVER seen either senator in Cedarhurst. If you come to the area, and don't come to the heart of the Five Towns, which is Cedarhurst, where everyone gathers, shops and unites for prayer and concerts, then there is truly something wrong. I expressed my dismay that here we have two senators — that even if we give them a pass for ignoring us thus far, how can we still be ignored during this monumental crisis??? We have not heard a peep in any capacity, in any way shape or form. If Mayor Parise can spend 25/7 in Village Hall at 88 years young, then certainly Sen. Gillibrand at half the age, can find five minutes in her schedule to see if her constituents in her district are alive. Don't be fooled by what anyone will tell you, they will make up fake stories of appearances ... IT IS NOT TRUE.

PLEASE reach out to each and everyone of these officials, ALL of whom said that "near to no one have called" to complain about any issue over the past two weeks. I'm sure this is a lie as well. We must be vigilant and let them know how angry we are ... that we on Long Island, especially in our district, pay the lion's share of the State's budget, only to get a fraction back in return. If we are to support the rest of the State, at least don't ignore us when we are in need. ALL three of them have been an absolute zero during this crisis. They have all gone into semi crisis mode trying to dispute my assertions, even having a local reporter call and harass me that I'm being a racist because I brought up Katrina...TRULY Shameful. 

A bit of housekeeping:  

I would like to thank so many people and groups who HAVE been here — there for us ... I'm sorry if I miss a few...
 
Monsignor Rahilly of St. Joachim always comes in to give us encouragement, Daniel Burg and the Red Shul for bringing us breakfast and lunch, the many shuls and residents that call and come by to say thank you, the SHOMRIM patrol and the Auxiliary Police who have helped us patrol the streets, All of you who have kept us updated on very localized street lightings and goings on. I know I can speak on behalf of the Mayor and Board when I say how proud I am of our residents, our neighbors and friends for uniting during this crisis.

I pray that the next few days finds us in better shape, with power and heat and a bit more comfortable. BUT, we must remember not to forget those who will still be having a rough time, remember those who have been with us and those that have ignored us.

Again, PLEASE only call me in Village Hall (295.5770) ... I cant possibly respond to the hundreds of emails and texts that come in every few hours ... though I do appreciate the concern.

**** ****

Update, Nov. 8, 7:30 a.m.
 
You just can't make this stuff up...
 
What do we do now???
 
1. The crews have been out all night salting and sanding and clearing the roads of all debris. Mayor Parise had sent them out in preparation, as the snow began to fall. In that regard, we are in great shape. Unfortunately, many, many tree limbs have snapped off onto overhead wires and into the middle of the streets ... due to the fact that the limbs did not shed their leaves as yet, and were weighted down due to a heavy snow-sleet mix.

PLEASE STAY CLEAR OF ANY LOW HANGING OR DOWNED ELECTRICAL WIRES. DONT EVEN ATTEMPT TO DRIVE OR WALK UNDER THEM!

2. PLEASE, I implore all of you who are physically able: Take a half hour of your day and knock on one or two doors of your elderly neighbors. They have been kept trapped in their homes due to fear and hope that the lights and heat will just come back on. They are not moving around and will deteriorate further. Please keep knocking, bring some war food and blankets, and if you can, bring them to our Village Hall to warm up. This will be one of the most important things we must all do.

3. LIPA and Others: Dont know what to tell all of you. They are reporting 60,000 new outages. I will tell you for a fact that they are blatantly lying to all of us. They have no idea who is out and are shooting from the hip. I am being asked, "Dont you guys have any political pull?" Truth is that no one has more "pull" than our Mayor; we just find that most of our elected officials have lost power themselves. Former Sen. Al D'Amato lost his childhood home and many of the state senators are in equally bad shape.

The honest truth is that if we were in Louisiana and of a different ilk, we would see the president...that is a cold fact. He has not been here at all,and this is certainly an equal or greater disaster (than Katrina) considering we are the financial capital of the world. I know I am going to take heat for making this political, but many have short memories and after this is over will forget and not hold certain people and organizations accountable. DONT FORGET!!! this will happen again, and we must put pressure at a higher level. Congresswoman McCarthy couldn't find her way to Cedarhurst with navigation. The check she gave us a few years ago has still not cleared while the monies we get from our Sen. Dean Skelos is always appreciated and always consistent. The Congresswoman has not even made a single call to her constituents to see if we are alive ... shameful. This is NOT about politics, it's a WAKE UP call to not be complacent and let those b..trds get away with this. 

I removed my Village signature line on this transmittal, because I am simply stating my (not village) personal opinion, NOT on behalf of the village or board members.

Having said that...

...I need to get to Village Hall with the Mayor and Board who haven't left the scene yet. Our Village staff and especially our Building Dept chief Wayne Yarnell and our Super of our DPW, Frank Parise, have worked tirelessly throughout the last couple of weeks...Thank you!

We will keep you updated...for what ever that is worth.

Please everyone, try and just call me at 516.295.5770 I am inundated with hundreds of emails, calls, and texts and find it almost impossible to get to them all. A call to me here at Village hall will allow me to pace myself and work for you to get power restored. 

On behalf of the Mayor and the board, I want to reiterate that we are truly here for you, through good times and bad, not always telling you what you want to hear, but always an honest answer as we know it to be...as we are told.  We will keep fighting...

**** ****

Update, Nov. 7, 7:10 p.m.

I will make it short and not so sweet:

The board and I have been on the phone all day at Village Hall with LIPA, on the intermunicipal conference calls and calling the municipal hotline. 

All day they were telling me that we were on target for tonight's "turn on", now I'm getting static.

Residents have been calling the general # and have been told that they shouldn't expect anything before the 10th to 12th.

My last few dozen calls were not as promising. No one told me anything as to  a change of date, but they now are hinting to needing more time to completion due to the storm that they knew was coming all along.

We have been sitting here, yelling and screaming, day and night, trying to get honest answers and are disheartened that we cant bring comfort to you our friends, neighbors and residents. If it's not being selfish to mention,on a personal note, I feel terrible for my own wife and 7 children to have to endure this nightmare. The Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Trustee Lanzilotta, Village Admin. Sal Evola, also dont have power.

I wish I could tell you something more concrete, I just dont know. We will continue to stay here through the night and drive them crazy at LIPA.

OTHER ISSUES:

a) As I stated earlier: LIPA has been sending out notices regarding electrical inspections. I will give you my unofficial opinion; unofficial because no one at LIPA, Town of Hempstead, or the County can seem to get on the same page with this issue. Again, this is just my personal opinion based on all that I have gleaned:

If your house and or electrical panel and or boiler was submerged, then you will need a certified electrical inspector or a licensed electrician to certify for LIPA that the house has been remediated and or currently safe to have power restored. If you have not sustained this flood damage, then that would not be required...Again, that's my personal opinion. LIPA may send inspectors, door to door, unsolicited, asking to inspect your home. PLEASE, you must have someone in the home with you and credentials must be checked and verified for your personal safety. I personally will not let them in my home unless I am personally there.

Another issue that has come up is pipes freezing: It would take a sustained "in the wall temperature" of less than 30 degrees for the pipes to freeze in the wall. The weather forecast does not show signs of that condition to occur. Friday will be in the 60 degree range ( you cant make this up). IF, you are nervous of your pipes freezing then do the following.

a) Shut the house water main
b) Find the lowest valve in the cellar and open that valve and drain said valve (water line) into an open (large container.
c) It would help if you opened both hot and cold water handles on a kitchen or bathroom faucet to help drain / move the water. Opening several faucets will help further.
d) The boiler and hot water heaters also have a low valve to drain, BUT, I would only drain those as a LAST resort

Generators: 

a) Purchasing a generator may help the process of keeping the house warm and making living conditions a bit more bearable.
b) A novice electrician can easily "power up" the house through the installation of an additional 30 amp circuit, which will alleviate you from having to run wires throughout your home.
c) A 5 gallon tank of gas should last for a full 24 hour cycle for the typical Five Towns home, on condition that the generator is shut off for a few hours during the day and night.
d) Believe it or not, prices have come down in the last few days, as demand has diminished. I have seen some 3,500 watt units go for $400 at Auto Zone on Burnside Ave.
 
Please everyone, try and just call me at 516.295.5770 I am inundated with hundreds of emails, calls, and texts and find it almost impossible to get to them all. A call to me here at Village hall will allow me to pace myself and work for you to get power restored. 
 
On behalf of the Mayor and the board, I want to reiterate that we are truly here for you, through good times and bad, not always telling you what you want to hear, but always an honest answer as we know it to be...as we are told. We will keep fighting...

**** ****

Update, Nov. 7, 11:15 a.m.
 
a) The balance of Central Avenue and Cedarhurst Avenue as well as the #5 school have been powered up last evening. At least now the intersections will be illuminated at night.

b) LIPA is still telling me that we will be powered up by days end...Let's Pray. 

c) The Shomrim patrol reported that there are in fact undercover police cars in the area...they noted an incident whereby an officer interceded.

d) ELECTRIC INSPECTIONS: Everyone will have power restored. Homes that had their electrical panels submerged should have a licensed inspector / electrician inspect their panel. LIPA may be sending inspectors to inspect all homes, whether in flood zone or not, whether damaged or not, to inspect homes throughout the island. My own PERSONAL opinion (NOT that of the Village) is that I will not allow anyone in my home flashing a badge. If you do decide to let them in, have a second person present and carefully examine all credentials.  The Village of Cedarhurst is not requiring these inspections unless a home has been severely damaged or under construction, as would be the case — storm or not.

e) VERY IMPORTANT: We have heat and power in Village Hall. Please stop by to warm up and please notify the seniors that the senior center is open...please knock on their doors and check up on our greatest generation.

f) People have been calling asking about why our elected officials (higher up the ladder) aren't doing anything...why they aren't showing concern. While it's true your president doesn't care, we do have two great public servants that have been working tirelessly on our behalf. Mayor Parise, as you all know has not left village hall, doing all that is possible. The other is our Senator Skelos, always makes himself available. Here is a guy that leads the State Senate and instead of running around campaigning, was in his district, there for his friends, neighbors and constituents. I sent the Senator a quick text with my morning concerns, he responded within a few minutes that he his trying to do everything possible for us all.

Whether the power goes on sooner or later, you all have us here, there for you, in the spirit of what the Mayor has always tried to convey to all; that is, a small time, old fashioned village, where neighbor is there and concerned for one another.

**** ****

Dear Friends, Neighbors and Residents,

Once again, we are all here at village hall, calling and fighting to get answers from LIPA. The latest as follows:

a) I spoke with Senator Skelos's office several times and they are fighting on our behalf.

b) I have been on the phone with LIPA Municipal, on the intermunicipal conference calls and on the "private line". LIPA is still sticking with the "by Wednesday night timetable to be illuminated.

c) I have received many calls from our residents concerned about electrical certification. Though LIPA is requesting this, they have no jurisdiction in our village to make such a demand, especially regarding homes and structures that had no flooding. More so, how could they even ask for this if they have already powered up many homes. This seems to be another "Cover their a-- protocol. Again, we in Cedarhurst will not request this certification. We will require that certification, as we always do, for any home or structure that is being renovated, newly built and in this case for ANY HOME THAT HAS HAD THEIR ELECTRICAL PANEL SUBMERGED.

d) I have also received many calls regarding a mandatory flood evacuation: My understanding that is that the County Executive had made a suggestive evacuation to friends and family, due to the impeding NorEaster.

e) I hope and pray that tomorrow finds us all safe and warm in our re-energized homes.

I received many, many notes of thanks and encouragement from our relatives, one of which I wanted to share - below:

Hi Ari - 

I don't know if you remember me but I once showed you plans for my house at Carlyle Street about 15 years ago. 

In any case, I showed up to the meeting at Village Hall yesterday and kept quiet in the back row. What I wanted to tell you was that I was outside in front of my house on Sunday night for 15-20 minutes and the following patrols passed me and asked me what I was doing:

1. Cedarhurst code enforcement
2. NY State police in an unmarked mini van
3. Nassau County Police
4. Nassau County auxiliary
5. Shomrim

And some we saw more than once.

Whoever last night thinks we are not safe does not realize we are safer than we have ever been.

Keep up the good work and hopefully this will be behind us sooner rather than later.

Best,
Yehuda

Please everyone, email me any questions. Please avoid texting or calling me on my cell. it is difficult for me to try and respond to the hundreds of calls and texts...thank you. I am also available at Village Hall at 516.295.5770.

Please disseminate this message to all of the school, church and organizations, Thank you.

Once again, thank you to our leader Mayor Parise and JoMarie Capone for their tireless efforts on our behalf. 

A special thanks to Yaacov Gade and the Aux. Police for adding that extra bit of security to our dark nights.

**** **** 

To my village friends, neighbors, residents,

Thank you to those that attended our Village Board meeting last night. I know the conditions were a bit uncomfortable, with the lack of heat and proper lighting, BUT, we were there together, and that is exactly how we will get through this.

My Italian grandmother used to to have these wonderful Italian and Jewish sayings and proverbs. One in particular always comes to mind in good times and bad: "You can always tell the nature of a person in sickness and in wealth." In other words, some people, when they have money and lose it, or had good health and become sick can go in one of two directions; they can become bitter or angry or be thankful that they have what they still have and carry on ... with a smile, courage and grace. My grandmother was one of those people, a wealthy furrier from Milan who lost much life and family in the Holocaust. She picked herself up and with my mother who, was also born in Milan, came to America and started over. My grandmother lived with us my entire life, suffering through strokes which caused her to be immobile and only communicate in Italian (couldn't remember any other language). I NEVER remember anything but the kindest words from her, NEVER a complaint, always a blessing from the words that left her mouth, never bitter or angry, never blamed others. 

What I'm trying to express is that, yes, we are all suffering from this horrific storm/tragedy, but we, unlike many of those in the Rockaways and Staten Island, have our lives and families, unlike those that perished and lost "everything." As far as my residents of Cedarhurst are concerned, you all have a board, led by our hero, Mayor Andrew Parise, who is and will continue to be there for you all. 25/7.

Please let us all rise to the occasion, not fight with one another, work together as we have seen many do in our community.

Update:

1. We had our Village board meeting last night attended by village residents that filled the board room. We discussed the current situation of lack of power, what the village had done for preventative measures prior to the storm and most important, what will be done to improve communication and technical infrastructure — such as:
- Natural Gas generator for village hall
- Robo-calling calling device
- Better presence on multimedia such as Facebook and the like
- Updated phone systems

2. LIPA, throughout every call has been telling us that they still target much of the Cedarhurst restoration by Wednesday evening. This doesn't come from a quick call to a secretary at LIPA, but through a direct municipal line and conference calls with LIPA chiefs dozens of times throughout the day.

3. Our village staff continues to knock door to door checking on the elderly, clearing debris and respond to emergencies.

4. Our village staff, along with the Aux. Police and the Shomrim, lead by our neighbor Yaacov Gade, continues to patrol the streets.

5. The Mayor, met yesterday with most of the state senators, the County Executive, Senator Skelos and former U.S. Senator Al Damato, all of whom are personally suffering as we are/have... Sen. Damato lost his Island Park home. The Mayor used all of his personal and political might to advocate for us all...They all said that they are doing everything possible and will continue.

6. We will continue to be in Village Hall to answer any questions as truthfully as we know and understand.

Sincerely,
Ari Brown 

Rabbi Lipchitz November 09, 2012 at 06:25 PM
The abuse of the generosity provided by our local gasoline station demonstrated by the LCFD, Nassau County police and public officials was appalling. Jumping from in front of their neighbors as they patiently waiting in line to fill their family’s SUV fleets was disgusting. These people should be ashamed of themselves. When people who volunteer and are entrusted to protect their community abuse this trust is brings disgrace upon the decent men and women who serve for service sake. Rabbi Lipchitz
JustaMom November 09, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Dear Mr. Brown - Westminster Road, over 4 ft. in the street ...no police car...no Village Reps...No Nassau County...No FEMA, no Red Cross - Only one Indiana cadaver dog, the street sweeper (who couldn't go around the dozens of dead cars) and, thank goodness, our hard-working Sanitation workers.
JustaMom November 09, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I'm a bit confused - the LCFD member who gets up at 2 am, jumps into his own car to get to the station to respond to an emergency & the police officer who puts their life on the line for ALL of us shouldn"t be afforded a simple courtesy?
robert terranova November 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM
thanks to Ari and 5 patch for the recent updates all we ned now to get back to "normal" is 5 t snatch!
Gail November 12, 2012 at 05:33 PM
AGAIN - It's Day 13 and we have yet to see anyone Village, Town, County, State, Philanthropic, etc....... in the Northwest corner of Cedarhurst. Some of us are getting a little tired of hearing of "Cedarhurst" as it refers to the Central Ave. shopping area only. We pay all the same taxes as our neighbors on the other side of W. Bdwy. and are feeling neglected.

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