Sandy Tops Basking Ridge News for November
Sandy's aftermath and recovery dominate news last month.
On the first day of November, the third day after Sandy, virtually all of Bernards remained without power. Bernards Township police headquarters was running on generator power, willing to charge electronic devices for residents, but the municipal building was without power, as it would remain through Election Day. Police and township officials cautioned that many major roads, including Maple and Finley avenues, remained blocked and traveling still is difficult.
Bernards Schools had been closed on Friday, wrapping up the first week without school. according to the latest update on the Bernards Township website. Halloween had be canceled, as per the governor's directive. There were downed wires everywhere, and no real timeline for when power would be returned to the township. There were no reliable reports of local gas stations open.
Cell phone reception also was spotty through the town. The cell reception tower behind the police station had been damaged during the storm.
Residents settled in for a long haul when, with almost a full week gone since Superstorm Sandy battered the area, more than 10,000 people in the Somerset Hills are without power as of Sunday morning. In Bernards Township, 7,856were without power, down from 9,221 Saturday.
Downed wires that made roads inaccessible to emergency vehicles or _ especially in Bernardsville — impassable to drivers became as much or more of a problem than power outages.
Unforgettable scenes after Sandy, some contributed by readers.
On Tuesday, a full week after Sandy, about 6,500 remained without power in Bernards Township. That number stuck until Wednesday, when the numbers finally began declining, but outages remained around the township at the end of the week.
What could be worse than sitting in the dark and the cold with no idea when your power will be back on? How about being stuck with limited gas, too, especially in towns where many gas stations didn't have the power to tap their gas supplies?
Only two schools, Liberty Corner and the William Annin Middle School, were open for much of the week, as school officials looked ahead for how to make up lost days. Spring break initially was canceled, until the school board met and was discussing other options.
When the Bernards Board of Education finally met after the storm, the public and board members decided they preferred to spread out make-up days for Sandy, rather than just calling off all of the spring recess in April.
The Board of Education settled on its choice of Sandy make-up days and set a calendar for potential snow days at its Nov. 26 meeting.
Even suffering the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy, more than 56 percent of Bernards Township registered voter turned out at the polls on Nov. 6, Election Day, with a majority giving their support to Republicans at all levels. Along with returning incumbents Carolyn Gaziano and John Malay to another three years on the Bernards Township Committee, voters also re-elected Bernards Township School Board incumbents Robin McKeon, Bev Darvin Cwerner and Audrey Cohen Sherwyn.
JCP&L and the governor promised that power would be on in virtually all the state by the end of the second weekend after Sandy, but local officials remained sceptical — and that scepticism turned out to especially be justified in Bernardsville.
Pleas for attention came from households living without power even as most of their neighbors have had JCP&L turn on their power again. Lord Stirling Village also remained in the dark long after other neighborhoods had power back, just south of a royal mess caused by downed evergreens and singed electrical equipment on South Maple Ave., just south of Collyer Lane.
Kings Supermarket in Bedminster, and Rite-Aid in The Hills opened their doors even without lights, but Veneto Trattoria at the Highlands Village Center in The Hills was open from the first day after Sandy, with a generator.
Federal, state and local representatives brought FEMA, insurance and U.S. Small Business Agency representatives to the Bernards Township Library to answer residents' questions about recovering from the damages caused by Sandy and also how to apply for financial assistance.