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Sleepy Hollow Rebuilds and Aids Queens

Donations and a fire truck are among the items expected to ship out for the borough's storm-ravaged coast.

Still recovering themselves from superstorm Sandy’s vicious punch, Sleepy Hollow residents and officials are stepping up efforts to help neighbors in Queens who were hit even harder.

Drives are under way to collect essentials for communities along the borough’s devastated southern coast, which suffered widespread flooding, prolonged loss of power and shortages of food and water. Village officials agreed Tuesday to virtually give away a 20-year-old surplus fire truck to aid recovery work in Broad Channel, one of the island communities severely raked by the storm.

“This is not another country,” Mayor Ken Wray said in urging support for the relief efforts. “This is our front yard.” And as tough as things were in Sleepy Hollow these past two weeks, he suggested, Long Island was slammed even worse. “We had it bad,” the mayor said, “but we didn’t have a wave come through our house.”

Wray spoke at a regular meeting of the board of trustees. In addition to assessing Sleepy Hollow’s post-Sandy recovery and other items, the trustees voted to buy four new anticrime surveillance cameras and consider hiring a full-time emergency medical technician on ambulance calls.  

But Sandy’s pummeling a fortnight ago remained a central focus of village concern. As it did throughout the Northeast, the storm took down trees, wires and power to homes and businesses here.

The mayor, saying he believed “power is on throughout the village,” asked any resident who has not had electric service restored to notify village hall.

Wray criticized Con Edison’s recovery operation as “disorganized.” While “we all feel better that the lights are back on,” he said, “we shouldn’t forget that they really did a poor job.”

“Yes, we’re better off than Long Island,” Wray said, “but that’s not an excuse for them.”

To help those Long Islanders, the board voted to charge the ravaged seaside community of Broad Channel, on Queens’ southern shore, only a nominal price to acquire the village’s onetime pumper truck. A 20-year workhouse, the pumper was rendered surplus this fall after the $600,000 purchase of a replacement truck. The older vehicle attracted no bidders when it went on the block at $28,000.

“Our truck would be perfect for them,” Trustee Jennifer Lobato-Church said in proposing the sale. She also noted that Fire Chief William Ryan has been collecting donated items—canned goods, batteries, flashlights, water, diapers, paper products and more—anything that would be useful to the storm-tossed residents of lower Queens.  

Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio said donations may be left on the second floor of village hall, 28 Beekman Avenue, any weekday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

In his Sandy status report, Giaccio also announced that Kingsland Point Park and its Sleepy Hollow Dog Park had reopened. He advised residents with storm-related damage claims that they can contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by phone, 1-800-745-0243, or by visiting the agency’s website, fema.gov

In other action, the board of trustees approved, after extended discussion and support from Police Chief Gregory Camp, the purchase of four surveillance cameras.

In total, the cameras carry a $7,000 price tag and three video recording devices would be priced at $27,000, for a $34,000 outlay.

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