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Clean Up Begins for Some, While Others Still Without Power After Storm

Several areas still damaged; stretch of St. Mark's Avenue resembles a war-torn country.

While most Bellmore residents experienced some sort of damage, power outage or other inconvenience due to Saturday's rain and wind storm, none have had it worse than the residents on St. Mark's Avenue.

Since Saturday afternoon, residents between Clarendon Avenue and Merrick Road have been living with several downed trees - some resting on damaged homes - and a block of power lines and utility poles are strewn across lawns, driveways, sidewalks and streets.

Louis DiGiovanni of 2354 St. Mark's Ave. said his home was severely damaged by a fallen tree. With portions of his home now exposed to the elements and subjected to water damage, DiGiovanni, his wife and dog have remained in one room of the house, using candles and borrowed power from a neighbor's generator for one light and a radio. While DiGiovanni said he and other residents have contacted LIPA, National Grid and the Hempstead Town Highway Department.

"We've had no power and no heat since Saturday," he added. "We're in a lost land. It's frustrating."

DiGiovanni said the Town of Hempstead told him he was responsible for removing the fallen tree, however he said work vehicles will not be able to make it to his house because of downed power lines and other fallen trees.

According to Hempstead Town Press Secretary Susan Trenkle-Pokalsky, the Town Highway Department is responsible for clearing the roadway, up until a private property.

"When there are power lines involved, we cannot do anything until the power authority gets there," she added.

Hempstead Town was apparently the hardest hit town, confronting more power outages than all other Long Island towns combined. In total, over 300 trees have been leveled onto town property by the storm in the township.

"Crews are working aggressively as we begin a third straight day of tree removal across the town," said Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray. "We are working hard to make all roadways passable and safe for residents." 

Bob and Eve Sendrowitz live two doors south, and in fact, used to live in the home DiGiovanni now owns. Bob pointed out other potential hazards on the street.

"There's trees being held up by wires," Bob Sendrowitz said. "It's frightening."

While their newly constructed custom home was spared, they are without power.

Most of the residents affected have remained in the homes and are sharing generators for power. Sharing, unity and neighborly acts of kindness is nothing new for this block. Back in early February Patch ran a feature on the Blizzard Buddies of St. Mark's Avenue. Most residents are also united in the upcoming opposition of a proposed White Castle on the corner of their block and Sunrise Highway.

St. Mark's Avenue residents are not alone. As of 8 p.m., LIPA is reporting that 484 North Bellmore residents and 634 Bellmore residents are still without power.

LIPA officials said they expect power to be restored to most residents by Wednesday evening, but it could take even longer for people who are still calling in new outages.

"Broken branches are hanging on wires and those wires are coming down," said Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a LIPA spokeswoman, of what's causing the new outages.  "It also doesn't help with the weather we have been getting as far as restoring power."

An additional 15,000 outages have been reported today, Baird-Streeter said.  

Customers should call LIPA's toll-free line at 1-800-490-0075 to report an outage and to receive information updates. Residents who wish to report downed trees on Town of Hempstead roadways and rights of way can call 489-6000.

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