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New Rochelle Updates Residents on Storm

The city held a press conference Friday on the work being done and still to be done in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

While there has been some progress in power restoration, there are still about 14,000 New Rochelle Con Edison customers who do not have power.

Mayor Noam Bramson, at a City Hall press briefing Friday, applauded the community spirit he has seen in the last few days.

"We are strongest when we support each other," he said. "But this will be a long haul and difficult to the end."

City Manager Charles Strome III said the number of customers without power is down by about 7,000.

Only two of the city's public schools—Davis and Barnard—are still without electricity, but are expected to be ready for the reopening of the schools Monday.

Three nursing homes are still operating on generators, but Strome said they should be back on the electrical grid at some point Friday.

About 60 New Rochelle streets remain closed or are partially closed. Con Edison has stationed six additional crews to work in New Rochelle, bringing the total to eight. That does not include the mutual aid crews from other parts of the country.

Neither Bramson nor Strome felt the number of crews was adequate for a 77,000-population city.

"We expect that the presence will continue to ramp up," Bramson said, "There may be secondary damage that occurs as repairs are made. We continue to hope for the best, but plan for the worst."

Strome said he doesn't have any specifics from Con Ed as to the final restoration date. The utility company is still saying Nov. 16.

He said if Con Ed can restore power to a large area with a single fix it will do so, and he expects many areas to get restored this weekend.

The priorities continue to be nursing homes, schools and places where public health and safety is a concern. Gas stations have been added to that list.

Because many traffic lights are out, Strome said major intersections will be manned by police officer. At other intersections with non-functioning traffic lights, police have been putting up temporary stop signs.

The Red Cross is maintaining a shelter at Albert Leonard Middle School, 24 Gerada Ln., but it is possible, if the client population declines, it might be moved to the Doyle Senior Center on Davis Avenue. No move would be made until Monday, so residents should continue to go to Albert Leonard for shelter, showers, hot food and electronics recharging.

Strome said there was a concern that with cooler temperatures more people would require shelter, and the Doyle Senior Center could only accommodate 20 people, which is the number the Albert Leonard shelter has as of Friday.

Polling places, for the most part, have electricity so the election Tuesday can proceed. Those still without power will be restored in time for the election.

Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll said he has enough manpower to cover the major intersections that are without power and to cover any occurances.

"In these trying times, you never know what kind of crimes people will commit," he said.

At the gas stations that have power and fuel, things have been orderly.

"I'm grateful the citizens have watched, been safe and taken precautionary measures," Carroll said.

Fire Chief Louis DiMeglio said his fire fighters have been responding to about twice as many calls as before Sandy, many of which are carbon dioxide alerts.

He cautioned residents using generators to keep them about 10 feet from their houses and away from windows.

DiMeglio also said people whose power has not come on yet should unplug their major appliances and wait until they are sure the power has been fully restored before plugging them back in to avoid damaging current spikes.

Alexander Tergis, the commissioner of public works, reported that his crews were out picking up debris at 7 a.m. Tuesday as the storm was winding down.

He said they have been coordinating with Con Ed about which trees can be removed.

Tergis cautioned residents to continue assuming wires that are down are live and dangerous.

"You should stay away from them," he said.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner William Zimmermann said his crews have been moving through the major parks, but not the playgrounds.

While they've finished cleaning up Hudson Park, there are still several boats in the parking lot that are waiting for insurance assessments.

There was significant damage to the rowing club and the sun deck and beaches were severely compromised.

School Board President Chrisanne Petrone said that the school district is working to assure that students and buses can get safely to each school Monday.

"It's still a work in progress," she said, "but ID'ing the routes is really important."

Petrone said. Strome said the city has offered the schools police resources for opening day.

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