Local officials announce curfew and flood debris sites

By Pauline Liu
A dusk-to-dawn curfew is now in place in flood stricken Middletown. County officials, who made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, said the curfew will be enforced by law enforcement officers and military police. A convoy of National Guard arrived in town this afternoon.

Curfew enforcement
A violation of curfew is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to three months in prison and a possible fine. “We’re asking anyone with no business in the area to stay off the roads,” said Director of Delaware County Emergency Services Rich Bell. He explained that the heavy traffic created by curiosity seekers has been hindering clean up efforts. “With the enforcement of the curfew, we can begin getting roads open for emergency access,” he said. Bell did not specify specific hours for the curfew.

Disposal of flood debris
As for the latest on clean up efforts, Jim Eisel, the Chairman of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors announced that the county has designated two “staging areas,” where Middletown residents can dispose of their flood debris. The smaller of the two locations is in Fleischmanns, at the intersection of State Highway 28 and Main Street on the east end of the village. The second location is on County Route 38 in Arkville, which is know as “The Cutoff.”

Hours of operation
Both staging areas will be staffed and are to operate daily from 7am -5pm beginning Wednesday, August 31st. “Please try to work with our staff,” said Delaware County’s Solid Waste Coordinator Susan McIntyre.”The service is being provided at no cost to the residents. For residents who are working with a carting service, we’ll be waiving the tipping fee for flood debris and the service will be provided for the next two weeks.” Middletown Supervisor Len Utter had hoped to set up a third staging area for residents, but county officials said that was not possible.

What can be tossed
According to McIntyre, the staging areas will accept the following flood debris:
C & D (construction and demolition debris), flooring, furniture, scrap metal, tires, TV sets, monitors, paints, pesticides, freon containing appliances including refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners. Some items may need to be sorted.

Water, food and information
In other news, Emergency Service Director Bell said that large companies including Walmart will be donating bottled water to communities. Water and meals will be available at what he described as Salvation Army “feeding stations” at both the Margaretville Methodist Church and the Fleischmanns Fire Hall. “They’re capable of feeding up to 1,000 people,” said Bell. He explained that county officials want to open a service center, where residents can come for one-stop information about social services and other aid.

The announcements were made at a press conference held in Margaretville at the flood ravaged shopping plaza on Bridge Street, with Freshtown as the backdrop. Emergency Service Director Bell explained that the number of county residents left homeless is unknown, but about 60 percent of the county--or 28,000 people--is currently without power. Chairman Eisel opened and closed the event by remarking that the flooding brought on by Tropical Storm Irene on Sunday was by far the worst this region as ever experienced. “The water level in the streams was 54 inches higher than in ’96,” he said. The event was also attended by DVM Commissioner Barbara Fiala, who was representing Governor Andrew Cuomo.“ You have a lot of needs and those needs will be heard,” said the commissioner.