Hopatcong Borough Still Completely Without Power; Sussex County Update
Friday, November 2, 2012 • 11:35am
SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – While power is being restored, five days later, the Borough of Hopatcong is still without any electricity, or landline phones this morning, and, cell service is still very spotty for residents since Hurricane Sandy.
“There’s no power in Hopatcong,” Borough of Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo told The Alternative Press in an interview today.
Yesterday, Petillo was one of a number of New Jersey Mayors on a conference call with Governor Christopher Christie, and President Barack Obama.
“They’re sending all resources they have to New Jersey, FEMA is moving quickly,” Petillo reported.
Petillo said any resident with damages, should contact FEMA right away to file a report at (800) 621-FEMA (3362).
She also indicated Hopatcong Borough has been attempting to use what resources they have available, such as the school’s Honeywell system, to make an effort to notify residents, however, residents in turn, she has learned, are not receiving the messages.
Petillo asked The Alternative Press to report the following to Hopatcong Residents:
1. Make reports to FEMA for damages right away, as soon as able: (800) 621-FEMA.
2. Hopatcong High School is a regional shelter, open 24 hours daily. Two meals are served daily by the Red Cross, at 2 p.m, and 7 p.m. Pets are permitted, as long as they are kept in crates.
3. Regular garbage pickup is normal. Household garbage (food waste from refrigerators only), can be taken to the recycling center; a garbage truck is there to haul that type of waste away.
4. Voting will still take place for Hopatcong on Tuesday, November 6. Polling locations will be announced tomorrow. Currently, one of the polling places, the ambulance building, was struck by a tree, and cannot be used. For in person voting, residents can go to the Sussex County Clerk’s Office in Newton, if able to navigate there, today until 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Monday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
5. The Borough of Hopatcong has been working closely with JCP&L, and, the utility is in the process of putting poles back up, and removing wires from trees, to make roads accessible. From there, the mayor has been told it will be approximately another seven to 10 days without power, and, for outer areas, approximately an additional seven to 10 days.
6. The Governor said during the conference call, more gasoline will be on its way to New Jersey, however, gasoline is currently limited.
The Alternative Press also reached Hopatcong Borough Councilwoman, Marie Galate.
“We served 400 meals at the shelter yesterday,” said Galate, who has been walking to the shelter to conserve fuel.
Galate has had her own challenges with no power, caring for family members who have health issues, that has require oxygen, and other treatments, needing electricity.
“We’re make-shifting everything,” Galate said. “You’re doing all this stuff to try to make things work.”
Some of those things include residents heading to the lake, and hauling back 10-gallon buckets of water to flush their toilets. That includes cooking meals on the grill. That also includes, Galate said, keeping things sanitary in the midst of dealing without direct sources of power.
“What a luxury it would be to get running water, and electric,” said Galate, who however added, “We’re blessed to be alive.”
Galate said no residents were lost as a result of Hurricane Sandy, though the borough has faced the difficulties they have.
She said Morris County officials who have come to the Lakeside Boulevard area to seek out gasoline, have reported back to Galate, “Nothing is as bad as Hopatcong.”
Galate said one of the other main issues is the substation across the street from the post office, caught fire, and requires repair.
“I can’t get out of where I am,” Galate said, in terms of making attempts to go to other parts of Sussex County, roads are not accessible.
She said one gas station open in Landing was open for two hours, with a line two-and-a-half miles long, and ran out of gas.
In regard to the shelter, Galate said, “It is providing itself.”
Some residents are staying, others are stopping by to warm up, get a meal, and leave with a cup of coffee, and some cookies, and then are returning to their homes.
With some trees down, if it is safe, residents are taking away the wood themselves to heat their homes with wood stoves and fireplaces, she said.
“The community is really pooling together,” Galate said.
Several individuals have contacted The Alternative Press to find out about the well-being of their family members. Galate said those parties should contact the Hopatcong Police Department at: (973) 398-5000, and ask the department to do a well-check. However, a reader did so, and the police department told this person, they are unable to check homes one by one at this time, in order to conserve fuel.
Throughout the county, power outages are also the main concern for many residents, as is finding gasoline. Reports pop up on places, such as Facebook, of residents finding gas in places, and then later, gasoline running out.
In Sussex County, as of 10:22 a.m. this morning, 27,683 JCP&L customers, or 48 percent, are still without power. Municipal breakdown includes (updates frequently on outage map):
- Andover Borough: 174
- Andover Township: 1,883
- Branchville Borough: 33
- Byram Township: 3,074
- Frankford Township: 1,243
- Franklin Borough: 391
- Fredon Township 1,031
- Green Township: 862
- Hamburg Borough: 334
- Hampton Township: 745
- Hardyston Township: 1,551
- Hopatcong Borough: 5,676
- Lafayette Township: 355
- Montague Township: 1,429
- Newton Town: 839
- Ogdensburg Borough: 174
- Sandyston Township: 773
- Sparta Township: 3,375
- Stanhope Borough: 1,443
- Stillwater Township: 1,167
- Vernon Township: 631
- Walpack Township Area: 124
- Wantage Township: 345
Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative reported on its website, at 8:00 a.m. there are still 1,014 members without power. The company wrote, “Addressing the large number of broken poles will slow overall progress as a single pole can take as much as a day to replace. Crews will continue working around the clock. As of this update, we are still shooting for having all reconnected who can be at the end of the day. In a spirit of full disclosure, that might change as we are continuing to find more damage.”
Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative reported 25 broken utility poles during this storm, and only four broken during Hurricane Irene.
Latest County and Municipal Updates (click here for our previous update):
County Level: According to the county website, The Sussex County Clerk’s Office will have extended hours until 6 p.m. today for in-person voting, and tomorrow, Saturday November 3, Sunday, November 4, and Monday November 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. Water and ice will be available at Sussex County Community College until 6 p.m., for JCP&L customers without power. The Countywide State of Emergency expired yesterday night at midnight, and today, all county offices will be open, with Sussex County Transit Operating on a limited schedule.
Andover Township: On The Andover Township Police Department Facebook Page: Newton-Sparta Road, from Limecrest Road, to Sparta, is now open. Non-potable water is available at the Andover Township Municipal Building for Andover Township Residents. The municipal building remains closed until power is on. The Andover Regional School District is closed on Friday, November 2. The township reminds residents to keep generators distant from residences in order to avoid carbon monoxide fumes.
Byram Township: The township posted on its website, the municipal building is open. The township reminds residents to use caution around fallen trees, which may contain downed, and live electrical wires. The township has asked residents to avoid driving on closed roads for their own safety. Blue Diamond has picked up garbage in accessible areas, and, will pick up next on Tuesday, November 6. Byram Township Police Department posted on its Facebook Page: “Byram Township residents without drinking water may pick up a case of bottled water from the Cranberry Lake Firehouse on Rt. 206. Water is limited to one case per family to make sure there is an adequate supply for all our residents in need. Water for non drinking household purposes is still available at the firehouse also. You must bring your own containers to transport non drinking water. Tree crews have been working throughout the Township to clear trees from the roadways that our Department of Public Works can't remove due to wires being mixed in with the branches. Everyone should avoid any areas that have downed wires as these wires could be energized or become reenergized at any time.”
Frankford Township: On Frankford Township’s Facebook Page, posted a JCP&L update from municipal clerk, Patti Bussow. “JCP&L update - Some more residences and businesses were restored late this afternoon, mostly from the area of Blue Ribbon to Morris Avenue. South of that is on a different circuit, which is currently being worked on. Our local JCP&L rep said she could not give us definite restoration times, other than the standard 7-14 days that they are giving all customers at this time. It is extremely frustrating as the Municipal Building is still without power, phones, heat, water, etc, which makes it difficult to communicate and offer services to our residents. Please keep checking this page for updates, and anything we can do to help, don't hesitate to ask. Thank you very much for your patience! And yes, there will be an election next Tuesday and you absolutely will be able to vote.”
Hardyston Township: The Hardyston Township Police Department announced on its Facebook Page, an updated listing of all road closures: ROAD CLOSING UPDATE- Lake Shore Rd East & Crescent Ct- Closed; Tamarack Tr -partially closed; Wheatsworth Rd - at the RT 94 intersection –Closed; Sandpond Rd- Closed; Forest Tr Scenic lk- Closed; and Deerfield Dr -passable -low hanging wires.
Town of Newton: Newton Police posted on its Facebook Page: “Newton Schools are closed Friday 11/2, plan to be open Monday 11/5.” A parent posted on the page as a reminder, Merriam Avenue School is still on early dismissal for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for parent-teacher conferences.
Ogdensburg Borough: On the borough’s Facebook Page, the borough announced The Ogdensburg Fire Department will be providing families without power a hot meal at their firehouse, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sparta Township: Sparta Township Police Department on its Facebook Page, posted some updates to open gas stations in town. Among them: Lukoil on Glen Road is not currently pumping gas, Joe’s Mohawk is pumping Super and Diesel only, and Quick Chek on Sparta Avenue has no diesel. A resident reported on the page, Hess and Quick Chek in Newton are open, with long lines to municipal streets, and around the Bed Bath and Beyond Parking lot respectively.
Stanhope Borough: Rosemarie Maio, Stanhope Borough Mayor, posted this statement on the borough’s website: “Dear Stanhope Residents and Business Owners, While we experience what is expected to be a minimum 7 to 10 day recovery from the JCP&L power outage, please exercise extreme caution if you have to travel through the Borough. Fallen trees, branches and wet leaves make both driving and walking dangerous in some areas of town. The DPW is working feverishly to remove trees, branches and brush from Borough streets, but they cannot move forward with their efforts in cases where fallen wires are involved. Please be patient! If you are without heat and have nowhere to temporarily get warm - or if you need any other assistance as a result of the power outage - please contact the Stanhope Police at 973-347-4533. We will do our best to keep you as up-to-date with information about the power outage as we can. For now, the best we can do is exercise patience and help our neighbors in whatever ways we can. If you have elderly neighbors, please take a few minutes to check on them to be sure they are safe. Please stay safe.”
Vernon Township: The Vernon Township Police Department has posted on its Facebook Page that bottled drinking water is available at the Police Department for Vernon Township Residents. Residents with damage to their homes, can complete a property damage report, and have been asked to do so as quickly as possible at: , to help give FEMA an estimate . In spite of the Governor’s order for Halloween to be held on Monday, November 5, statewide, Vernon Township has not currently changed its celebration from Saturday, November 3. This has been met with mixed reactions from the residents, who have been responding on Facebook. “To all Vernon Residents, Clarification for Halloween: Even though Gov. Christie has announced Halloween be celebrated on November 5th, Vernon Township will celebrate Halloween on Saturday, November 3rd.”
Wantage Township: The township has posted on its website, “Hoping you are faring well in the post-Sandy time frame. Reports are indicating 85% of Wantage has power restored; hoping that is accurate and that they'll get it up to 100% soon! Some updates: If you are still without power, Wantage Town Hall has drinking water and non-potable water available. Call Wantage Town Hall for info: 973-875-7192. You can also come by town hall during regular business hours to re-charge your electronic devices if you need to do so. Wantage DPW will begin town-wide curb-side clean up of branches on November 7. We will continue canvassing town until all is cleaned up. Per Governor Christie Executive Order and confirming order of Mayor Gaechter, Halloween in Wantage will be celebrated on Monday, November 5. The Township Free Rabies Clinic has been re-scheduled for November 16, from 6-8 pm.” The DPW will pick up branches on Wednesday, November 7. For basement floods, residents should call the Wantage Fire Department at: (973) 875-3771, or Colesville at (973) 875-5733.
The Alternative Press will continue to provide reports and updates on the post-Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, as well as news and information on The Alternative Press of Sussex County Facebook Page.