11/12/14 11:27am
11/12/2014 11:27 AM

The 180-foot Bounty in an undated photo. (Courtesy photo)

A Maine insurance company has filed a federal lawsuit against the owners of the sailing ship Bounty, claiming they misrepresented the “unseaworthy” condition of the vessel and recklessly chose to sail it into the path of Hurricane Sandy, where it ultimately sank off the coast of North Carolina, killing two people.  (more…)

07/29/14 8:00am
07/29/2014 8:00 AM
Group for the East End's Missy Weiss prepares soil with Victoria Witczak, 9, of Cutchogue, and her sister Julianna, 3, last weekend at Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue.

Group for the East End’s Missy Weiss running an educational class at Downs Farm Preserve on rain gardens in April with the help of Victoria Witczak, 9, of Cutchogue, and her sister Julianna, 3. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that Southold Town has been awarded a $30,000 grant to cover the costs of damages caused by Hurricane Sandy at Cutchogue’s Downs Farm/Fort Corchaug Preserve.  (more…)

02/14/14 7:00am
02/14/2014 7:00 AM

The 180-foot Bounty in an undated photo. (Courtesy photo)

Four days before the sailing ship Bounty sank off the coast of North Carolina, longtime captain Robin Walbridge called a meeting of his crew members in port in New London, Conn.

Some aboard the vessel were concerned.

Mr. Walbridge planned to sail the wooden ship to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a scheduled event on Nov. 10, despite forecasts that a powerful storm called Sandy was moving up the East Coast. (more…)

11/10/13 8:00am
11/10/2013 8:00 AM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | This Flanders home was recently elevated. One East End home moving company said it’s receiving about 100 inquiries a day about raising or moving homes as a result of hurricane Sandy.

Ever since Hurricane Sandy sent storm tides of more than six feet surging across the Peconic Bay shoreline and the South Shore, Guy Davis’ construction company has been busy.

People want their homes lifted out of what are now being designated federal flood plains. Not only that, they want them lifted fast.

“These are folks that were devastated,” Mr. Davis said. “They had three, four, five feet of water in their houses.”

Before the storm, Davis Construction House & Building Movers — based in Westhampton Beach — would get about 10 to 15 calls a day from people wanting their houses raised or moved to other parts of a property or needing their foundations strengthened, Mr. Davis said.

But since the storm hit, the company has been getting about 100 calls a day.

The company’s workload has swelled to as many as 40 projects at a time. In the next few weeks, Mr. Davis’ construction company will begin work on two bayfront properties on Scallop Lane in Jamesport.

“They got flooded out pretty good over there,” he said.

Lifting a home takes roughly six to eight weeks, once the necessary building permits have been obtained.

The first step is a site visit, during which Mr. Davis and his employees survey the property and figure out the best way to redesign the house. The homeowner also consults with an architect, who drafts plans for what the house will look like post-elevation, Mr. Davis said.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Jamesport beach house at left is slated to be elevated in the next few weeks.

Some customers choose to raise the foundation, while others choose to have their houses rest on wooden pilings driven into the existing foundation.

Next, workers disconnect all electric, plumbing and gas lines. Then, steel beams 10 to 12 inches thick are slid beneath the house in grid pattern, placed strategically under load-bearing points to prevent the structure from cracking, Mr. Davis said.

Specialized hydraulic jacks then begin to lift the house at a rate of about one foot per hour, all the while maintaining the same speed — which is critical to preventing damage.

“It can go eight or nine feet [up] in a day’s time,” Mr. Davis said. Most homeowners are choosing to raise their homes above the flood plain level recently redesignated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Now it’s critical to meet FEMA elevations to get out of the flood zone and get the best discounts on your [federal flood] insurance,” he said.

Houses are always lifted higher than final elevations to allow workers access underneath.

The foundation on an elevated house is then raised to the structure’s new height, with pockets left open in the foundation. The steel beams used to lift the house then fit into the empty spaces when the house is lowered. After the house is set on its new foundation, the beams are slid out from under it and the empty spaces in the foundation are patched up.

The process for using wood pilings as supports is a bit different. Instead of lifting up the house and then building up the foundation beneath it, workers use a “railroad track” of steel rollers to roll the house off its footprint, Mr. Davis said.

The wooden pilings are then driven into the ground and the house is rolled back to its original location, lifted and placed atop the new supports.

No house is too big to lift, Mr. Davis said. The company is currently elevating a 18,000-square-foot mansion on Middle Lane in Southampton.

“Size doesn’t matter; we can raise and move any type of house,” he said.

The process may take a while, but raising a house can offer peace of mind to those who have suffered from flood damage.

“They want their house high and dry so they never have to go through that again,” Mr. Davis said.

[email protected]

09/19/13 6:00am
09/19/2013 6:00 AM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO  |

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Construction and heavy drilling machinery has become the norm at Island View Lane in Greenport.

To the editor:

The Sept. 5 editorial entitled “LIPA project can’t be dead in the water” makes three points that warrant clarification from LIPA.

First, the statement made that “… Even after the region’s other utilities had completed their restoration efforts, much of Long island remained in the dark … is not true. The Long Island Power Authority restored 90 percent of its customers after superstorm Sandy within an eight-day period, consistent with neighboring utilities whose systems and customers sustained similar damage. Given the impact of the nor’easter that hit the area nine days after Sandy, which caused another 123,000 outages, LIPA was able to achieve the restoration of 95 percent of all customers within a 13-day period and 99 percent in 15 days. As was published in the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 16, 2012, in the days following Sandy, a study done by the Associated Press indicated that “ … the response to Sandy by utility companies, especially hardest-hit New York and New Jersey, was typical — or even a little faster than elsewhere after other huge storms.”

Second, the editorial references a $500 rate hike that requires some clarification. The rate hike referenced is largely due to increases in power supply costs with the remaining amount due to LIPA’s cost of energy efficiency and renewable programs and an increase in New York State assessments and taxes. It is important to note that, similar to all other utilities, the cost of energy now varies monthly on the electric bill and increases and decreases on a monthly basis based on the actual costs to produce energy, independent of LIPA. Also, the Power Supply Charge in 2013 is $14 a year lower than it was in 2007 and $115 a year lower than it was in 2009.

Third, the editorial references a concern regarding the contractor National Grid has engaged to perform the horizontal direct drilling scope of work between Southold and Shelter Island for LIPA. LIPA contracts work of this nature on a periodic basis, the most recent being a horizontal direct drilling operation under Mott’s Basin in Queens in 2012. LIPA shares the concern of the residents affected by the recent setback and is working with National Grid and its contractor to remedy the solution in a timely fashion. As this type of work is a very complex procedure, LIPA, as it does routinely with other projects similar to the Shelter Island-to-Southold project, has engaged a consulting firm that specializes in horizontal directional drilling work to ensure LIPA’s interest and those of its ratepayers are protected.

Nicholas Lizanich, Uniondale

Mr. Lizanich is vice president, Transmission and Distribution Operations, LIPA

09/09/13 8:00am
09/09/2013 8:00 AM
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Southold Town emergency coordinator Lloyd Reisenberg addresses East Marion residents at Saturday's "Southold Town Responds to Sandy" event at the East Marion Fire House.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Southold Town emergency coordinator Lloyd Reisenberg addresses East Marion residents at Saturday’s ‘Southold Town Responds to Sandy’ event in East Marion.

Emergency preparedness and the importance of embracing mobile technology — especially the use of text messages — were major topics of discussion at the “Southold Town Responds to Lessons from Sandy” event Saturday at the East Marion firehouse.

The free, two-hour presentation included talks by Southold Town emergency coordinator Lloyd Reisenberg and Joanna Lane, an emergency management social media consultant with Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST).

“Sandy was a learning experience,” Mr. Reisenberg said of the superstorm that struck in October. “It’s important that we get the word out to the people in the Town of Southold that if something happens, you do have a team of people behind the scenes trying to make things work. But it’s also important that you help yourselves.”

Ways of helping oneself before, during and after a storm, Mr. Reisenberg said, include purchasing items like generators and flashlights for an “emergency kit,” and learning how to text message friends and family to quickly communicate important information.

Ms. Lane, who lives in Cutchogue and previously worked in film and TV production for the BBC, said it’s crucial that people learn how to text message, no matter their age.

“I hear [from people], ‘Well we don’t text,’” Ms. Lane said. “Well, you need to learn it. It’s not that hard and it’s a lifesaver.”

Text messages use less data than cell phone calls, so texts will go through during emergencies when calls often fail, she explained.

Mr. Reisenberg said it’s also important residents comply with officials when they’re asked to evacuate their homes before a storm hits.

“There could be a situation where they can’t get to you, and you’re putting people in harm’s way by not evacuating,” he said.

In the 10 months since Sandy, Mr. Reisenberg said, the town has compiled a comprehensive list of areas vulnerable to flooding. The town is also looking for funding to install shower stalls at Peconic Community Center, which will serve as one of the town’s main shelters, he said.

Though he didn’t know where the funding would come from, he said the plans are “in the pipeline.”

Town officials are also working to prepare media materials in both English and Spanish to assist the town’s many Spanish-speaking residents, Mr. Reisenberg said.

“It’s not happening as fast we would like, but we have discussed it,” he said.

The event was organized and hosted by members of the East Marion Community Association.

[email protected]

09/04/13 6:00pm
09/04/2013 6:00 PM
TROY GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Rabbit Lane in East Marion was among the streets hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy on the North Fork.

TROY GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Rabbit Lane in East Marion was among the streets hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy on the North Fork last October.

The East Marion Community Association will host “Southold Town Responds to Lessons from Sandy,” Saturday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon at the East Marion firehouse. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. for coffee and refreshments.

The free presentation by Lloyd Reisenberg, town emergency coordinator, will focus on disaster planning and emergency response updates.

Contact Robin, 477-2819, [email protected].

08/01/13 12:00pm
08/01/2013 12:00 PM
DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Hurricane Sandy damaged cars parked on the grasslands at EPCAL.

DEC COURTESY PHOTO | State officials said these Hurricane Sandy-damaged cars were illegally stored on grasslands at EPCAL.

ABC News investigators are reporting Sandy-damaged cars that were being stored at the Enterprise Park at Calverton and elsewhere are ending up on used car lots across the country.

According to ABC News, CarFax “estimates that over 100,000 Sandy-damaged vehicles are now back on the road across the United States.”

ABC’s “The Lookout” team went undercover and purchased one such car from a dealership in New Jersey.

The cars, tens of thousands of which were stored on both private and public property in Calverton for about six months, were total-loss cars that had been flooded out during Sandy and were being stored by auction companies.

An estimated 250,00 cars were ruined by the storm.

How do Sandy cars get out on the road? WATCH:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

07/06/13 10:00am
07/06/2013 10:00 AM
TROY GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Rabbit Lane in East Marion was among the streets hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy on the North Fork.

TROY GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Rabbit Lane in East Marion was among the streets hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy on the North Fork in October 2012.

About eight months after Hurricane Sandy, some Long Island municipalities are still waiting for cleanup and repair funding promised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Southold Town is on that list, but while the town has received the bulk of the reimbursement it requested, it has yet to receive more than $400,000 in funds related to a winter nor’easter that tore up Town Beach and part of Soundview Avenue in Southold .

The blizzard struck on Dec. 26, 2010, causing significant erosion along the bay and ripping away parts of two houses. Much of the asphalt in the parking lot at Town Beach along the Sound also was damaged.

FEMA declared the storm a “major disaster” about two weeks later, and received federal aid requests totaling more than $37 million, according to the agency’s website.

Town comptroller John Cushman said Southold sought $564,268 in storm-related expenses but has received only about $100,000.

The town is also waiting on about $175,500 of the town’s $685,000 claim related to Hurricane Sandy.

Riverhead Town is also waiting for Sandy-related FEMA funds, said Police Chief David Hegermiller, who handled the funding applications.

Donald Caetano, a representative for FEMA, said any funding provided by the federal government through FEMA would be doled out by a New York State management office.

“We don’t pay the applicant directly,” Mr. Caetano said. “We pay the state and then the state pays them.”

Mr. Cushman said the town is working with a state emergency management office to try to resolve the issue.

A representative for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services could not immediately be reached for comment.

Supervisor Scott Russell said the town had also been waiting on FEMA funding related to damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, but that money was recently delivered to the town.

He said discussions about reimbursement for the 2010 nor’easter, like any storm designated a disaster by FEMA, is complicated in that it includes several agencies.

“We have been contacting our representatives at FEMA and the New York Emergency Management with regularity to find out what happened to our reimbursement,” Mr. Russell said.

He said the town has not yet alerted Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) about the missing funds.

“I have waited on contacting Mr. Bishop until I have exhausted all other options,” Mr. Russell said.

[email protected]

06/29/13 1:00pm
06/29/2013 1:00 PM
EPCAL Sandy cars

TIM GANNON PHOTO | EPCAL’s western runway no longer covered with storm-damaged cars.

The runways at the Enterprise Park at Calverton are now car-free for the first time since mid-November, when Riverhead Town inked a deal to allow thousands of storm-damaged cars to be stored on the EPCAL runways until insurance companies could sell them to recyclers.

The cars were total-loss cars that had been flooded out during Sandy and were now owned by insurance companies, which contracted with auto auction companies that auctioned them off to licensed recyclers, such as Illinois-based Insurance Auto Auctions, which had a deal with the town.

While all this was bad news for the owners of those cars, and generated some controversy when thousands of vehicles began showing up for storage at EPCAL, the lease arrangements were good news for Riverhead Town’s finances.

“I’d say we made about $1.8 million all together,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday.

The town had stood to make about $2.8 million if IAA had sought the two three-month extensions allowed in the contract.

The most recent contract with IAA is set to expire at the end of this month, and the last of the cars, which were stored on the western runway at EPCAL are gone already.

The company initially entered into an agreement with the town on Nov. 15 to lease 52 acres at the unused western runway for $3,200 per acre per month for six months.

In addition to extending that deal to the end of June for a smaller area, the town also, along the way, leased out the eastern runway, a move that involved a private deal with IAA and Skydive Long Island in which Skydive, the only business using that runway, was compensated by IAA for the temporary shut down of the business.

In addition to the town leases, land owned by developer Jan Burman and land owned by Mavilla Foods, both at EPCAL, also were leased to companies storing Sandy-damaged cars.

Those areas are now car-free as well.

Unlike the town and Mavila deals, which involved storing the cars on concrete, the deal between Mr. Burman and Copart USA saw the cars stored on grass, which resulted in violations being issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Although Richard Amper, the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, had criticized the town for storing the cars on the runways and taxiways at EPCAL, the DEC said it had no objection to storing cars on pavement.

[email protected]