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March 16, 2010

Continuing Storm Clean Up

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

Electricity is still out for about 39,000 PSE&G residents, most of them  here in Bergen County. One could say that the outage number is rather high, but considering that yesterday the number stood at around 83,000, workers have made dramatic progress in trying to return life to normal. Boil water advisories are still in effect for many communities in our immediate region. While Dumont, our nearest neighbor to the east, has a water advisory up for it, New Milford does not. Schools, as you would guess, are still closed all over Bergen County, including here in New Milford.

I drove around yesterday with the intention of checking on homes of members of Saint Matthew’s, and was glad that of those I could reach, there appeared to be little to no damage. One family was very, very lucky as trees fell in their front and back yards, but the only damage they received was to their gutter. However, driving around in order to see these homes was hard — streets are still blocked by trees and fallen power lines. I have about seven or eight homes to visit or drive past this morning. Driving up north was a little hard yesterday; I hope this situation improves today.

My reason for the drive by is that I was unable to make contact with a number of congregants, so I figured I would just burn a little fossil fuel and drive past homes. It is still very shocking to see huge trees strung out across streets. Yesterday in my travels, I drove by Concord Street here in New Milford, but the road was blocked by a rather large oak. It is almost surreal to see these huge, beautiful trees just laying in the middle of the road.

Flooding here in New Milford has subsided and those who were effected are completing their clean up. However, in a number of our communities in Bergen, Passaic, and Morris Counties, flood waters are still rising and are expected to crest sometime today. Officials say that even after the waters begin to go down, this process will take some time.

Here at church, the fallen pine tree in our yard is scheduled to be chopped up today at 1pm. I will be back here at church to do what I can to help.

I was asked by a member about my family in New York — my brother is doing fine; my father’s house is without power; Con Edison expects to get power up and running in his neighborhood by Friday. Maybe.

Continue to pray for our neighbors as we all try and rebound from this incredible devastation.

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