Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | November 3, 2012

Westfield Town Hall Notes

This won’t be an exiting post if you don’t live in Westfield, but it was very helpful to residents. This is a replay of this afternoon’s Westfield Town Hall. If you want to listen yourself, it will be online in a few hours (info at the bottom).

MAYOR SKIBITSKY

153 roads were blocked in Westfield from trees/power lines down. 10 homes were condemned, 11 garages demolished, and 52 other homes serious damaged. Now 57 of these roads are open. The rest need PSE&G to fix power lines to open them up. The mayor is without power as well, with a generator only operating a refrigerator. One specific intersection alone will take 24 hours to repair. Follow on town’s Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/townofwestfield

Our town is very luck compared to many towns that suffered much worse damage.

PSE&G – Rick Thigpin, VP, Government Affairs

Westfield has 12,400 meters, and 10,000 went out the first night. Currently 7,900 are still out. Westfield gets power from 5 substations, fed by 2 switching stations that suffered catastrophic damage from the Newark Bay storm surge. We have 28 circuits that go into town, and 16 are currently working. They are working on the other 12 this weekend. All the circuits suffered total or partial damage, mostly from trees down.

Normally they have 600 PSE&G linemen, and the brought in an additional 2,300 from out of state.

***Call their number, 800-436-7734 when neighborhood circuit is restored if your power doesn’t come back on.

SENATOR KEAN

High priority: schools, gas stations getting electrified. Working to make sure schools get the 180 days in session. More info on train service should be released Sunday.

FREEHOLDER AL MIRABELLA – COUNTY SHELTER

Go to Cranford, 220 Walnut Street. That’s the county shelter. Averaging 60-70 residents overnight, capacity is 220. They have heat. Pet friendly, meals. Office of Emergency Management – 908-654-9881. Call if you want to volunteer, have questions, etc. They’re set up to house people who need a warm place to stay.

Froelich Public Safety Building on North Street has charging stations for phones.

CENTRAL AVENUE

High priority to open up Central Avenue corridor. Power lines are connected with trees in the area. Waiting for PSE&G clearance to clean it up.

ELECTION DAY/VOTING

County clerk office is open Sunday 8:30-4:30 for voting. Can vote Monday until 3:00 p.m. County clerk says all polling places will be open on Tuesday by power or generator, where you typically vote. County wide 94 polling places are out, including Westfield’s.

ROAD CLOSURES

Regular assessments being done in town, even if you don’t see anyone looking. Comprehensive list maintained and shared – working closely with county OEM, PSE&G. At beginning of storm, 40% of roads were closed in town. Still have 90+ roads closed in some form. Public service working 24/7. Public works starting today to remove trees, especially at schools. Continuing tonight and Sunday.

SCHOOLS – RICH MATTESCH, BOARD OF EDUCATION

Concerns are not just electricity, but kids traveling safely.  Only Jefferson currently has power. Schools were up and ready on Wednesday, aside from electricity. If you live next to or across the street from schools, please don’t push your debris in front of school property as it will interfere with student drop off/pick up. As each school comes online, they’ll reassess readiness and they’ll think about what to do if only some schools are ready.

Concerned about staffing issues as well and whether they’ll be able to get to work.

Schedule if power: Mon-Wed K-5 will have half day schedule (8:30-12:30). Parent teacher conferences are as scheduled, but if you can’t make it, they’ll be rescheduled. Thurs-Fri normal schedule. They’ll advise through Honeywell emergency number as they’ve been doing.

They know that some families will be out of town Thurs-Fri. Kids won’t be penalized for missing schools on those days.

When power is restored, website will be updated and email will go out. Make sure kids have a safe route before taking them. First priority is getting the kids to school safely. They won’t be penalized if they’re not there.

They’ve reached out to the bus company to ensure they have sufficient gas.

Jefferson Elementary school (1200 Boulevard) will be opened at 8 p.m. tonight for heat. It will stay open as needed. No cots, food, charging available. Only heat.

FIRE CHIEF – DAN KELLY

Don’t run fuel powered equipment, including grills, portable generators inside. You could get carbon monoxide poisoning that is lethal in small concentrations. Make sure generators are at least 15 feet outside the house. Make sure back-up batteries are working properly. Attend all burning candles. Call 911 in case of emergency. There have been several incidences of improper usage, and carbon monoxide poisoning that the fire department responded to.

POLICE – DAVE WAYMON

No crime increase directly related to hurricane in town, aside from a few stolen generators.  Odd/even gas  rationing in effect from Gov. Christie.

DOWNTOWN

Working to get it up and running as soon as possible. When it’s running, think of Westfield first to support merchants to help recover from the long closure.

MEAGAN VAL – PUBLIC HEALTH

Call 211 for any general storm related questions, around the clock. Also for public health questions. Contact FEMA 800-621-3362 or www.disasterassistance.gov for help. Disaster mental health hotline open around the clock, with mental health professionals available. Call 877-294-4357.

Water is safe to drink and is not in danger of cut-off, but please conserve water state-wide. To follow further, “like” NJ American Water Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyAmericanWater

ARMORY

Westfield Armory will not be dispensing gas. West Orange and Teaneck Armories are, but they are NOT in Westfield. If they do, they’ll alert through Twitter.

TAXES

Grace period through November 7th to pay taxes.

ORGANIC DEBRIS PICK-UP

Starting today around the schools, will continue with leaves and brush. They’ll separate at their site.

RECYCLING

Attempted to pick up as much as they could last week. Tough with closed streets. They’ll resume November 12 as normal. If you have cardboard, plastic, bottles, etc. bring 9-5 Sunday to Conservation Center and during next week 9-3. Permits not required.

CALL IS RECORDED

In the next few hours, you can listen to this report on http://www.westfieldnj.gov


Responses

  1. […] version yesterday, oops! Hit published instead of “save draft.”  Did you read the town hall notes from yesterday? Apparently 40% of all homes in town […]


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