From the Mayor's Desk.
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy left the neighborhood the state’s mayors were offered the opportunity to participate in telephone conference calls on a daily basis with the governor’s office, the officials working for the power companies and in Union County, the Freeholders and various department heads. Each teleconference lasted about 40 minutes or more and touched on the same topics each day for a total of 3 hours usually consecutively.
The PSE&G Mayor’s teleconferences centered on how many customers had been restored the day before and how many were left to reconnect, what the daily schedule of workers would be working on and where. Generally the call would be followed by an emailed outage report to myself, the chief and the borough clerk. However, it would have outage numbers for Garwood that frequently did not jibe with what we knew to be the case.
Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of the company, said in a media update conference call earlier today that he expected 99% of their customers to have power restored by Saturday night. They did stress today that the only way to be certain the utility company does not miss individual outages and that all power is restored is for customers to self report by calling 1-800-436-7734.
Call number two would usually be with the county Office of Emergency Management that would repeat some of the utility information from earlier. This too usually contained at least one item that was useful, it was one of these calls that I was able to get straight talk about respite care for infirmed residents at the county hospital, Runnells, and that the costs are covered by Medicare and can provide family members a sale, warm alternative for a few days to relieve them of caring for an aging relative who needs nursing home level care. Visit http://ucnj.org/government/runnells-specialized-hospital/runnells-news/support-for-caregivers-available-at-runnells-specialized-hospital-8/ or call 908- 771-5700 for information.
The county call today centered on FEMA issues and individuals should begin the disaster application process by calling the toll-free registration numbers: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. until further notice. Individuals with Internet access now have the option to register on the agency's website at http://www.fema.gov, where other valuable recovery information is also available.
And lastly the third of the daily calls would be with Governor Christie and his cabinet, and each would offer an update on their particular area of responsibility. They would share overviews ofthe status of transportation and mass transit options and conditions, Homeland Security, Social Services, National Weather service updates, availability of gasoline and how voting would be handled just to name some areas which was very helpful to us during the Nor’Easter.
We are back on track to some semblance of normalcy within the borough, school is in session, garbage is being picked up on schedule, the lines are gone at the Hess and the Pathmark has a fairly good selection of bread.
We have a couple of new residents who arrived in the borough just prior to the hurricane, twin boys, and I performed a marriage ceremony today, these are the good things that we can take pleasure in and be thankful for.