Mineola Village crews had their hands full with Hurricane Sandy, both before and after the storm hit.
The week prior to the storm making landfall, Mineola Superintendent of Public Works Tom Rini held phone conferences in determining planning beginning the Thursday before the storm, having a plan in place by the weekend in time for Monday when Sandy made landfall.
Among the supplies the village ensured it had on hand was fuel delivery and supplies available and necessary equipment to respond to emergencies and felled trees.
“When the storm did finally begin on Monday, our crews were out, we were out in the midst of it all day,” Rini said during the November 7 meeting of the village board at village hall. “We stayed out as long as we could to do as much as we could until it got to a point where it just became unsafe to be out there.”
Two village tree crews staying out to past 8 p.m. on October 29, removing 40 trees. The village also called on the emergency contractors to supplement village crews.
After seeing the number of trees uprooted and landing on homes, Rini brought in two crane crews consisting of a 120-ft, 60-ton crane, an excavator with a grappling arm and a front-end loader and two tractor-trailers as well as three debris-removal crews, who conducted removal through November 6.
Sanitation crews conducted garbage pickup regardless of whether it was a residents’ pickup day or not, collecting whatever was put out at the curb Wednesday through Friday and then returned for debris and brush collection.
On November 3, the highway department and contractors worked debris removal and crews also began removal of uprooted stumps – a total of 60 that had uplifted areas of sidewalk, curb and gutter areas – completing most by November 4.
The village kept one tree crew with other crews on leaf removal and street sweepers “because we were expecting rain today,” Rini said of the Nor’Easter that night. “By this afternoon we had completed the entire village and gotten all of the debris up off the street where we could where there weren’t still line and pole issues that closed portions of road.”
A total of four plow crews were out Wednesday night as well as sanders during the storm clearing the village roads.
“I think at this point we’re close to 3 inches on the ground,” Rini said. “It just keeps coming.”
On November 5, the village began hauling the debris from its considerable pile at the end of East Second Street, using an 8-cubic yard loader and an excavator on top of the pile, pulling it apart so there would be enough room for all the material that had been collected.
Once the snow was removed, Rini said that there are still some tree locations that sustained enough damage to warrant their removal.
A crane crew was scheduled to com in on November 9 for an isolated LIPA outage where some trees have to be taken out.
“We’ll do our best to minimize that, I don’t believe it will affect any of the residents because we should be able to ground-out from pole to pole where we have to do some work,” Rini said. “It’s been a really difficult 10-day period at this point. We really didn’t need this snow but we’ll do what we can to get this pushed to the side.”
In addition to trees falling in Memorial Park and near the tennis courts, other damages include four trees along the fence line at the pool that came down, a fallen light pole at Wilson Park in the parking lot that snapped at the top and base and landed on a couple of cars. There was also a large pine tree that came down on play structures on Wilson Park.
“I have a great deal of documentation when it comes to FEMA,” Rini said.
Mayor Scott Strauss praised the village workers for their efforts during the storm as well.
“The entire village staff, whether it was department of public works, waterworks, highway, everybody pitched in here. It was nothing short of a massive team effort,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have the staff we have here at village hall.”
In response to a question about backup generators at village hall, the mayor said that he and Rini had met with a Port Washington company and are exploring the possibility.
“I need to have village up and running,” Strauss said. “That’s certainly back on the front-burner and we’re going to do whatever we can to make sure the village hall and the community center is up and running every time we need it up and running.”