Government

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Topic of Discussion at Sussex County Freeholders Meeting

72cc0e13d6b644078e3c_all.jpg
County Administrator John Eskilson, Freeholders Vohden, Space, Crabb, and Council Dennis McConnell Credits: Jennifer Murphy
cc324b07475167a99b63_blonde.jpg
Director of Sussex Adult Day Care Center reports that it is closing on December 31, 2012 Credits: Jennifer Murphy
3c09b432c50b6e32c50e_crabb.jpg
Freeholder Director Phillip Crabb listens to the public Credits: Jennifer Murphy
2d2299357aa133878ede_george_gr.jpg
George Graham, Stanhope Councilman reports on Hurricane disaster Credits: Jennifer Murphy
c9bc4653fb8db9f322e7_hap.jpg
Freeholder Director Phillip Crabb issues proclamation about Worldwide NET Cancer Day to Hap Rowan Credits: Jennifer Murphy
bc2b736e51e6cd3a953f_vohden.jpg
Freeholder Rich Vohden responds to the JCP&L communication problem, while Freeholder Parker Space listens Credits: Jennifer Murphy
72cc0e13d6b644078e3c_all.jpg

 

NEWTON, NJ – One of the topics at the Sussex County Freeholders Meeting on Wednesday was Sussex County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which could be likened to the Pentagon’s “War Room." It brought together into one location all the necessary personnel and equipment, to help Sussex County residents battle the ravages of Hurricane Sandy. 

Members of the Sheriff’s Department, the Road Department, Human Services (which provided counseling at the shelters), the Health Department (with public health nursing teams who could advise on any health issues including water and food), and the webmaster Thor Carlson, worked 24/7 for the first week of the storm, in the old Juvenile Detention Center behind the Main Branch of the Sussex County Library. 

Sign Up for E-News

The center is outfitted with long tables with banks of computers, TV’s for input from the outside world, ham radio operators, and a conference room. The Spillman Program is software, currently used by 10 municipalities in the county, which allows all police departments to share data of 911 calls. As soon as a call came in about trees or wires down, the EOC could absorb it and respond, across the disciplines.

Sussex County Administrator John Eskilson said, “The preparation and collaboration was top notch. Since all the necessary people were in one place, we could access information and get the word out in real time.” 

He also said he realized that each of those people had families out there, but in the room, “they never lost focus on serving the public.”

George Graham, Stanhope Councilman reported to the Freeholders that Hurricane Sandy did great damage to the southern part of the county, particularly Hopatcong, Stanhope, Byram, and Andover.  “At this point, there are still 200 people in the shelter at the Hopatcong High School. The high winds came over the lake and picked up velocity, knocked down hundreds of trees and telephone poles. The people in that area lost power for the past 10 days, and now it’s getting cold out there. Tonight, as the snow is falling, we have people in their houses below fifty degrees.”

Graham reported that Red Cross came in with volunteers from as far away as Idaho, Montana, and the Carolinas, and did a magnificent job. They handled the resident end of things, and he and other volunteers handled the meals. He said he saw a convoy of "40-50 work trucks coming in from Georgia to help,” and he thanked elected officials and volunteers who came in to help, especially Mayor Sylvia Petillo, who worked tirelessly throughout the duration of the storm.  

Graham then explained how the communication flowing from JCP&L has created hardships for the residents. They have been releasing numbers day by day of how many residents in the towns can expect to have power back, but without knowing where they are working, people do not have the information to make good decisions.  Freeholder Parker Space agreed, and said, “If people think their power is coming back in a few hours, they will tend to stick it out, if they knew it would be so long, they may have made other plans.” 

Freeholder Director Phillip Crabb said, “The numbers alone don’t help.”

Freeholder Richard Vohden spoke up to underscore the enormity of the problem, as this storm was historic in proportion.  He felt people had to understand the time it takes to cut and remove trees.

Graham said he was not there to criticize their work; his purpose was to ask JCP&L to give better communication so people can make better decisions, since this is the third time in four years that people have been out of power for more than a week. He said he wants to have the Board revisit the Office of Emergency Management plan to resolve the missing information. Graham plans to take this up with the League of Municipalities as well.  

Graham brought to the Freeholder’s attention how hard Petillo has worked for the people of Hopatcong. "She goes out early in the morning to the OEM, visits people at their homes, works at the shelter feeding people, and then, helps clean up.” 

Eskilson added that she worked hard “before, during and after the storm. She is one of the finest public servants I know.”

Eskilson then praised the Municipal road crews, and said he saw one town official out helping with his own saw, clearing the trees. He said having the updated website was an important tool for people in the county. Since the webmaster was at the Emergency Operations Center, he updated the website regarding road closings as soon as the information came in.  Crabb added that they also sent out messages through Twitter and Facebook directing people to the website.  He congratulated the Sheriff’s Department for their foresight in building and operating the center. Eskilson added that “It is a privilege working with these people.”

Water remains available, housed at Sussex County Community College, which is available to municipalities upon request.

In other business: 

  • Sussex County joined in a worldwide effort to spread awareness, by proclaiming November 10, 2012 as “Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day.” 
  • Hap Rowan, Sales and Marketing Director for CP Engineers, LLC, Sparta, was present to receive a proclamation, along with his family. NET stands for Neuroendocrine Tumors, and Hap has been battling them for four years, however, probably went for as long as seven years misdiagnosed, according to his wife, Mary. The symbol for this disease is a zebra-striped ribbon, encouraging doctors and patients “if you think it’s a horse, think zebra,” as a way to think “outside the box” if treatment isn’t helping. NET’s symptoms are similar to other diseases. Rowan thanked the Freeholders, and encouraged all citizens to learn the symptoms, in order to hasten treatment. There will be a concert at the Newton Theatre Saturday night to celebrate the day and promote awareness.
  • Diana Duke, manager of the Sussex County Adult Day Center, reported that she received a letter from Catholic Family Community Services that due to big deficits in their budget, the Day Center will be closing down as of December 31, 2012. She said staff are shocked and are coming to the Freeholders to report that the services are still going to be needed, as there are no other programs in Sussex County to serve adults with Alzheimer’s disease. The staff is alarmed, and still ready to continue working, if they can find the funding to continue. At present there are about 35 families using the center, which will be negatively impacted, forcing people to quit jobs to take care of family members, or worse, people may have to go into nursing homes. CFCS reported that due to Peer Group Funding Cuts, they do not have the money to continue the program. Crabb said they would take this under advisement, and thanked her for letting them know.
  • The closing date for selling the Homestead Nursing Home has been extended to November 30, 2012.
  • The meeting was adjourned, after reminding the public that the office would be closed Monday, November 12 for Veteran’s Day, and Thursday and Friday, November 22 and 23 for Thanksgiving. The next regular meeting is Wednesday, November 28, and there will be a Six County Coalition Meeting on December 5.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Newton

Sparta Police: Obstructed View Leads to Plain View Arrest

January 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Parsippany man was arrested on drug charges after a traffic stop on Route 15.  On January 18 around 9:50 p.m. Cpl. Marc Rubino stopped Christopher Allocca, 21, because he had a large object hanging from his rearview mirror, police say.

When Rubino spoke with Allocca the officer smelled raw marijuana.  He also saw a ziplock bag of pills in the mesh pocket of a ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, January 24, 12:00 PM

Sussex County Library, Louise Childs Branch, Stanhope

Acing the Interview II: Mock Interviews

Business & Finance

Carousel_image_30a4118f95fa8e5e705a_sussex_county_library

Wed, January 31, 1:00 PM

Stanhope

Job Seeker Meet and Greet

Business & Finance

Carousel_image_0a5fcad6243f8a3aa0e5_sussex_county_library

Sat, February 17, 10:00 AM

Sussex County Main Library, Newton

Path to Employment: Starting your Job Search

Business & Finance

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 010

On this week’s AtlantiCast, we take you to the groundbreaking for an expansion to Morristown Medical Center, introduce you to the newest babies of 2018 at Atlantic Health System and share some must-see winter weather tips!

 

Sparta's Mohawk Avenue School Continues Note in Coat Tradition

January 10, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – The Mohawk Avenue School students, staff and families participated in their annual Note in a Coat drive as part of their Mohawk Makes a Difference program.

Having collected more than 150 coats of all sizes, “it has been another successful year,” Guidance Counselor Pam Fauerbach said. The coat donation was only one part of the program. 

The students also ...

Man-flu may be for real!

Man-flu may be for real!
Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES
A study published in the British Medical Journal on December 27, 2017 reporting the results of an investigation into the existence of “man-flu” suggests that flu in men may really be more severe and cause worse symptoms than flu in women.

Abstract of original journal article: ...

Savvy Tips for Making Home Safe for Seniors

Finding out a senior you love experienced a fall in their home feels terrible.  Learning they laid on the floor for hours unable to get up, and that the fall could have been easily avoided feels far worse.  Team Nest Builder’s Marketing Manager knows....her mother-in-law recently fell in her New Jersey home, and she experienced that exact scenario. That’s why today, Team ...

Top Family-Voted Sledding Spots in Sussex and Morris Counties

Snow-bound and down? Team Nest Builder says, “Get out of the house, grab that dusty Radio Flyer sled out of the garage, and head to one of these Sussex or Morris County hills for brrrrrrrreath-taking fun!”

 

MORRIS COUNTY:

Boonton:


Tourne County Park (a portion of the park area an officially designated sledding hill)

Chester:  


Grove ...

OPEN HOUSE Check out this TROPHY 3BR Parsippany Home SUNDAY

It's time to TREAT YOURSELF to a real trophy home!  Seeking a stunning 3BR/2.5 Bath pad with panache in upscale Puddingstone Heights that's both tranquil and private, yet minutes from Morristown?  29 High Ridge Road's your house! And you can check it out in person at our OPEN HOUSE this Sunday, January 14th from 1pm-3pm.  

Located ...

Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders January 10, 2018 meeting

NEWTON, NJ - Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders January 10, 2018 meeting video.

 

Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders January 8, 2018

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ - The video of the January 8, 2018 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

 

O-negative blood in particularly short supply this winter

January 22, 2018

 MONTVALE, NJ  – Because of its severity, New Jersey’s ongoing blood shortage has attracted significant attention – but many people are still unaware that the need for O-negative blood is acute.

As the universal blood type, O-negative can be given to anyone in need. Between dangerous weather, a worse-than-expected flu season, and the ongoing ...

Rutgers Historians Collecting 2018 Women's March Signs

January 21, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Believe it or not, we’re living through history right now. That’s why the Rutgers University Libraries want to collect artifacts and memorabilia from the present day.

If you took part in yesterday's women's march in Morristown, or one of the "sister" marches across the state, you should consider donating your signs and protest memorabilia ...