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August 27, 2012

Irene memories flood back to area

(Continued)

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Before Hurricane Irene, the county had been working on updating its All-Hazard Mitigation Plan, Bell said. But the storm intensified the effort to revise the comprehensive plan to identify vulnerabilities in the county, such as flood-prone areas, and plans to reduce damages in the future.

“There were a number of lessons learned as we look back to improve our service,” Bell said. The No. 1 effort has been working on improving emergency communications systems, he said, and to that end, the county joined Otsego, Schoharie, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster counties in the Catskill Consortium, which aims to improve communications in the area and leverage funding.

“Disasters don’t happen inside county lines,” Bell said

Margaretville mayor ‘surprised’ by recovery

The business community in the village of Margaretville has made a “remarkable” comeback that has attracted shoppers, Mayor William Stanton said Friday, adding that significant steps have included the reopening of Freshtown, the community’s grocery store, two months ago, and plans to rebuild and open a CVS Pharmacy in about four months.

Stanton said Margaretville has between 24 and 36 businesses, and Irene caused damages to 90 percent of them, with 95 percent now “up and running.”

“We’re coming back very quickly,” Stanton said. “I’m surprised.”

On Thursday, Howard Glaser, director of state operations, visited Margaretville and toured some businesses, Stanton said, and the representative from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office “was astonished with how the village has bounced back.”

Cuomo has visited Margaretville multiple times since Hurricane Irene, including a few days after the storm passed through the area, Stanton said.

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