Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cheder Chabad Outage Makes the News

By Randi Weiner, The Journal News

Little by little, the area’s schools are coming back to life from their “hurrication” — though in at least one city, an official has lost patience with the rate of progress.

Rye school board member Edward Fox complained Tuesday about what he called an “absurd” situation that has left Osborn School still dark. It is just one of a few schools in Westchester and Rockland that have yet to reopen.

Two utility poles in the Osborn School parking lot came down in the storm, taking wires with them. Consolidated Edison workers came to look over the situation Friday, put up cones, then asked the school Sunday to sign a work order to pay for the repairs since the poles are on school property. They promised the school would be back on line by Monday, Fox said.

Con Ed changed course Monday, saying the poles belonged to the school and the school would have to get a contractor to fix them, Fox said.

Fox said he’s spent hours on the phone with Con Ed staff, the governor’s office, the state Education Department, the Public Service Commission and anybody else he could think of to get the poles fixed and electricity back on so the 600 students could get back to class — to no avail.

Eventually, the school hired a contractor, got two poles from Con Ed and the work is progressing, with no guarantee the power would be back in time for school today, Fox said.

Con Ed spokeswoman Sara Banda said crews were on site Tuesday to oversee the work, and reported the problem fixed before 6:30 p.m. Schools Superintendent Frank Alvarez tweeted about 6:45 p.m. that school would reopen today.

“We helped them with the poles ... and did the best that we could to assist them,” she said. The company decided not to do the work because the poles belonged to the school, not the utility company, she said. She said crews have been working to resolve the situation.

All Putnam schools opened Monday. Seven Rockland schools were still dark as of Tuesday: Chedar Chabad of Monsey in Airmont, East Ramapo’s Eldorado Elementary in Chestnut Ridge, Yeshiva Viznitz in Monsey, Prime Time for Kids in New City, St. Margaret’s School in Pearl River, Bais Midresh of Rockland in Spring Valley and Rockland Country Day in Congers were without power as of 3 p.m., with most of them scheduled to be back on line by 11 p.m. today except for Prime Time for Kids. Orange & Rockland Utilities has estimated the business will be back on line Saturday.

Only two schools remained dark in Westchester as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, and both were in Dobbs Ferry. Con Ed crews were waiting on word from the district that debris was cleared so they could finish the work, Banda said.

Though most schools were in session Tuesday, the first day back didn’t go as smoothly as hoped at Scarsdale Middle School. About 8:40 a.m., a ceiling pipe in a counselor’s office burst, setting off the fire alarm. The more than 1,000 students and staff evacuated the building, standing outside for about 20 minutes before the fire department gave the all-clear. The custodial staff was credited for quick and expert work in stemming the water, which damaged the rug, ceiling tiles, wallboard and papers on the desk. The school was not being used as a polling place.

Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News


  1. Why not done? Today!?

  2. i hope the nor'easter doesn't cause more power outages!!!