Local towns escape the wrath of Sandy

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By Geoff Samuels
Monday around noon on Main Street Margaretville, there was a light rain falling from an overcast and foggy looking sky; nothing too unusual.

The only outward signs that there might be something more about to happen were the boarded up windows on the front of the Granary Building on Bridge Street, and some plastic and plywood nailed up around the corner on the Ice Bar’s front door.

Entering the nearby Freshtown Marketplace that day, something else was apparent. The bottom shelves of all the isles were empty, and things around the store looked like they had been hurriedly pushed around.

Back around the corner on Main Street at the Cheese Barrel, there weren’t any products on the lower shelves either. Sue Ihlo, proprietor of the store, said that she wasn’t too worried about water coming down Main Street like it did in last years’ Hurricane Irene, but she did bring whatever food she had in a freezer in the basement up stairs. “If I get some water down there now” she said, “it won’t really matter.”

Likewise, owner and proprietor of Margaretville Liquor Steve Yaekel said that he had moved things up from his basement the day before and was also considering emptying his bottom shelves. Yaekel said that he was more worried about the box wines getting dirty than anything else. Pete and Carol Molnar, proprietors of the Village Suites, were in the store that afternoon. They both said that they had moved all their furniture up to the second floor saying, “We had $175,000 in damage from last years’ storm, and we don’t want to go through that again.” Another customer quipped on his way out the door, “you can always wipe the mud off the bottles.”

We dodged another bullet
At nine a.m. on Tuesday morning, the streets of Margaretville were damp and almost carless with only a smattering of small twigs and leaves to show for the big wind that had rumbled through the night before. Margaretville resident Phil O’Beirne of Frank Lumia Real Estate Plus hurried across Main Street. “We dodged another bullet!” he exclaimed as he skipped onto the sidewalk.

On the corner of Bridge and Main streets Margaretville Mayor Bill Stanton stood with Village Board Trustee Dave Budin. “Look up there” said the mayor pointing upward towards a parting of the grey clouds, “That’s blue sky.” Most of the talk between the two men was about the power still being out in Pine Hill, Fleischmanns, and Roxbury. Stanton commented that the electric had been out on both Pavilion and Pakatakan roads in Margaretville but, “They got’em all back on” he said.

Robin Tischmacher, owner of Summerfields Restaurant and the Ice Bar seemed ecstatic as he walked by the bar’s boarded up door on the way to his other establishment. “This is great” he said with a big smile on his face, “I don’t think we could have dealt with another storm like last year…..I don’t care about the nails I put in the front door, I’m going to get a new one any way” he added.

A quick look at the East Branch of the Delaware River as it flowed under the Bridge Street bridge and anyone could see that it wasn’t anywhere near flood stage. Although the streets were basically empty Tuesday morning, there was a sense that most folks were relaxing at home after staying up late into the night listing to the thundering wind and watching CNN or the Weather Channel while other areas of the Northeast got hammered. Indeed, we had dodged a bullet, and a big one at that.