Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

On Friday, October 26, 2012, an afternoon press conference was held in front of the Schoharie County office buildings.  Assemblyman Pete Lopez, Mayor Matt Avitabile of Middleburgh, Mayor John Borst of Schoharie, and many other officials were there to address their concerns about the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy.  Among other topics, details were given about steps being planned to open the Shandaken Tunnel between the Ashokan and Schoharie Reservoirs to lower the water level at the Gilboa Dam.
At the Municpal Building in Middleburgh, Mayor Matt Avitabile discusses with volunteers the weekend house-to-house distribution in the village of a flyer with emergency contact phone numbers and a notification that, in the event it becomes necessary, the village hall will serve as an emergency center on Tuesday, October 30 after the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting Ready for Tropical Storm Sandy


With Tropical Storm Sandy heading our way and reaching our area by Tuesday, we have all learned since Hurricane Irene. The Village is implementing our revised Emergency Action Plan in case of severe weather this coming week. While conditions are different from the ones that we faced last year, this letter is meant to provide useful information no matter what the effects of the storm are.

There is an evacuation center opening at the Elementary School in case you need to leave your home. This center will be ready for an extended stay with food and supplies. The Village Hall at 309 Main Street will serve as the Emergency Center. Starting Tuesday it will be open past normal hours, up to 24 if necessary. Here, the Village will have food, information, and volunteers ready for anyone that needs it. Both the Fire Department and Department of Public Works are also taking precautions.

In case of an evacuation, there are different options open for your family. Both Cotton Hill Road and Huntersland offer routes to get out in case the Schoharie Creek overflows. The priority for evacuation should come through last year's experience: if you are in the flood plain, you may consider temporary evacuation on Tuesday, it is NOT mandatory. Even if you are not currently planning on leaving, there are steps to take to be prepared in case of severe flooding. In both your home and car, leave some non-perishable food, candles, blankets, and bottled water. You should keep your gas tank full, preferably filling by Monday.

In case you need more information, below are important phone numbers to call:

Non-Emergency and Local Info: 211
Middleburgh Fire Department: 827-5277
Schohare County Emergency Management: 295-2276
Schoharie County Sheriff: 295-8114
Village Office (Local Emergency Center): 827-5143
Middleburgh Elementary School: 827-3677
Mayor Avitabile (cell): 763-6854
National Grid: (800) 642-4272
Middleburgh blog: www.middleburghny.blogspot.com

As with Irene, we will be on top of important information. Information will be given out through various means, similar to this letter and through the news media. In case you hear rumors or are unsure about certain things, please contact one of the numbers in the list to make sure.

We are tracking the storm and hope that the main portion falls south. However, please take precaution even as we hope for the best.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

UPDATED HERE: http://middleburghny.blogspot.com/2012/10/getting-ready-for-tropical-storm-sandy.html

The Village is preparing vital information to be released door to door. This will include where to go, evac urgency, routes, safety precautions, emergency contact, and others based on what we learned from running the response last time. If you would like to help distribute, let me know.

As for some good news:

Through Assemblyman Lopez's office, we have made progress. NYC has agreed to release 600 million gallons of water daily from the Gilboa Reservoir to the Ashokan Reservoir to the south. This will not solve all of our issues, but it will reduce the pressure on the Gilboa and the Power Authority dams. There is excess capacity in the other dams that can reduce our load further should we be inundated.

We are preparing for the worst, even if the storm moves out of our immediate pathway.

We will keep the Village Office open on Tuesday after normal hours, possibly 24 hours as the municipal response center. We will have volunteers, food, and information ready for anyone that needs it. The Elementary School will be open as a shelter. We will monitor and try to open others as we get closer.

For quick updates, you may call or text (prefer text in case I'm in a meeting) me at 518-763-6854. I will try to keep this page updated as much as possible.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Second Volunteer Day Aids Five Projects

The Village of Middleburgh held its second volunteer day after the Fall Festival Parade. Organized by Mayor Avitabile, twenty volunteers came to help on five projects in and around the Village to clean flood damage. Many of the volunteers came from SUNY Oneonta's Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Its Community Service Chair Richard Cebada stated that the group wanted to come back and work on future projects. The Village is planning on planning on another volunteer day in the coming months.
Members of Phi Kappa Psi and Middleburgh resident Steve Fiero help on Straub Lane.

Middleburgh October Meeting Highlights

The Village of Middleburgh held its regular meeting on Monday, October 1st. During the meeting, the Board heard reports on various grant projects involving the Village. This included the next round of disbursements to Main Street businesses. The Village is also applying for a state grant to provide public infrastructure, including sidewalks, to encourage students to walk to school. VISTA partner Donald Osei-Owusu was present to speak about his year interning with the Village. Mr. Osei-Owusu is working with the businesses and charity groups on flood recovery and economic development. Trustee Morton suggested an expansion of the community garden. The Village set the next volunteer day on Saturday, October 6th. The Board also heard ideas from Maureen Blanchard on expanding farmer's market presence in the community while encouraging healthy living through the County. This could include grant money used for new crosswalks and involvement with the Schoharie Fresh program. 

There was a discussion with members of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church about the parking situation near the parish. Residents had complained about the parking situation along Chestnut Lane and Wells Avenue. In the last year, two accidents occurred near the parking lot on Chestnut. Fire Chief Devlin mentioned that parking during services rendered Wells Avenue essentially a one-way street and could hinder response to an emergency. Mayor Avitabile and Trustee Tinker voted to keep handicapped parking on Wells Avenue near the church. Trustees Adams, Morton, and Gruning voted to eliminate parking along Wells Avenue, citing three lots used by the Church that were not usually filled.

Meeting of the Mayors

Cobleskill Mayor Mark Galasso sat down with Middleburgh's Matthew Avitabile and Deputy Mayor Thomas Gruning for an informal chat on Thursday, October 4th. The meeting at the Cobleskill Village office centered around ways the two municipalities could work together. These included Cobleskill's recent success in consolidation efforts. Mayor Galasso explained Cobleskill's improving tax outlooks and further plans to bring the Town and Village governments closer together. The Middleburgh contingent also discussed the possibility of using the Village of Cobleskill police under contract in the future. There were no solid plans, but opened options for cooperation between the two Villages. Mayor Galasso said that the meeting was positive while Deputy Mayor Gruning stated that it was informative. Avitabile and Gruning plan on meeting with Schoharie Mayor John Borst in the near future to discuss similar outlooks.