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Sussex County Schools Closed For Thursday; Openings And Closures For Gas Prevail Countywide Post Hurricane Sandy; Some Eateries And Supermarkets Also Open

Cars line up for gas along Spring Street for the Lukoil in Newton. Credits: Gregg Boonstra
Cars wind their way along lower Spring Street in Newton for the Lukoil. Credits: Gregg Boonstra
Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller


SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – The schools in Sussex County will be closed once again tomorrow, Thursday, November 1, due to continuing difficulties throughout the county from Hurricane Sandy.

The county website read,”10/31/2012 - Emergency Declaration: Schools Closed November 1. 10/31/2012 - Regulation #5 All schools shall be closed on November 1 as conditions are regarded unsafe for the transportation of students.”

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The schools are not the only closures Sussex County residents face. Gas stations are opening, and closing, and then some opening again.

“Be prepared for long lines,” was the note on the county website again, earlier today.

The county had some notes on its website, specifying that certain locations were “anecdotal, unconfirmed.”

Earlier today, during an interview with The Alternative Press, Sussex County Administrator John Eskilson  said anecdotally, Hess in Newton had gas, as well as Quick Chek in Lafayette.

Some locations were open in Newton, due to power restoration there. In addition to Hess, Exxon on Route 206, and Busy Bee in Newton were also listed. However, Busy Bee, the county said, ran out of gas, but the store remains open.

Sussex County resident Gregg Boonstra was one of the residents who purchased fuel at Exxon in Newton.

“I waited about an hour,” Boonstra said of the experience. “They had all grades, and were accepting credit cards.”

Patricia Singer, another resident, said she “couldn’t even get in line at Exxon.”

Singer said Newton Police had to step in to handle traffic, and she was unable to find gas anywhere. Even Fairclough Fuel in Hampton, which had previously served a continual line of customers yesterday evening, only had kerosene this afternoon, Singer added. At that point, she drove home “on fumes,” as she put it.

The Lukoil in Newton was open, and throughout the day today, people waited on lines, stretching from both ends of Spring Street, sometimes in gridlock fashion. Some drivers grew frustrated shut their cars down, restarting their engines as the lines moved. Others, made hand gestures at the cars in front of them, children were heard crying and fighting with each other from within the vehicles, and those passing by on the sidewalks stopped to talk to those they knew on line.

One customer headed in on foot, holding his child’s hand with one hand, and a gas can with another. He told a motorist waiting on Spring Street, “I’m not waiting on that line.”

Lukoil employees filled up his can for him.

One of the employees directed cars coming from Spring Street, by way of Newton’s square.

The Seven Acre Baker on 183 Spring Street advertised coffee delivery to the cars, and posted their number on a chalkboard outside of their store.

Stations in Franklin residents reported were also opened, as well as in Ogdensburg, only for some to run out of gas in some cases.

Many eateries were open throughout the county. In Newton, some Spring Street businesses open included Happy Wok, Trinity Restaurant & Lounge (which advertised on their Facebook Page: “We are open! If you’re sick of playing board games, and sitting in the dark, come hang out with us at Trinity.”), The Plaza, and The Seven Acre Baker.

Also, Thai Nam Phet in Rockaway posted although their Rockaway location was without power, their Newton location at 7 Woodside Avenue was up and running. “Head there for a nice and delicious meal!” they wrote.

In other parts of the county, many eateries are still shut down, including Cravin Thai in Hamburg, which posted on Facebook, “We will open as soon as down wires are cleared.” 

Singer spent time today at Starbuck’s in Franklin. Of the experience, she wrote on Facebook as she was there, “All plugs are full, people sitting on the floor, everyone helping and sharing news and stores. People are good. So crowded. We are becoming one big semi-happy family.”

In terms of places to go, Boonstra said Christ Community Church in Newton at 274 Spring Street had its doors open.  Boonstra clarified the church is in the train station type of building, next to Camp Iliff.

“Christ Community Church has opened their café to anyone who wants hot free coffee, warmth, and TV. They can charge their electronics, access the internet, and there are some limited cooking abilities. Everyone is welcome and it’s free.”

Those without power, a number of agencies, including Vernon Police, posted on its Facebook Page, said that the Sussex County YMCA at 15 Wits End Drive in Hardyston, has invited the public, whether they have a membership or not, to use their showers.  For more information, residents can also call: (973) 209-9622.

For Sussex County Chamber of Commerce members, the chamber has offered its office for electricity and Internet access, to charge cell phones, and other electronic devices, and to warm up, and grab a cup of coffee. The office is located in the Chase Bank building on Route 206 N in Newton (next to Toyota World), and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For The Alternative Press readers seeking accommodations, hotels.com has blocked out eight rooms at a group rate for our readers. $83/King Room/pets allowed/breakfast included, at the Pocono Inn in Stroudsburg, Pa. Contact Alberto Garcia, the representative from hotels.com, directly at AlGarcia@hotels.com.

The Alternative Press of Sussex County will be following up with additional news stories tonight on the county’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

Continue to follow The Alternative Press for post-storm coverage, and The Alternative Press of Sussex County’s Facebook Page for news and information. 

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