After the Storm….

I just tried to take a look at Central Hudson’s Storm Central page and in particular the Outage Map. But it seems our utility company is down and out right now. I was hoping to see all the triangles gone indicating that now everyone is fully powered up.

Last week was certainly a challenge for all of us particularly for those with no power and no school open for their kids. (We had some dramatic exclamations of parental relief on the Facebook page when we finally were able re-open the lower and middle school for Thursday.) Everyone was pleased to be back.

I hope by now everyone is back on the grid and fully recovered.

This time the dire weather predictions were accurate and with the snow (21 inches in Millbrook) came with the crack of riven tree limbs and the bang of transformers blowing.

Beware the Green Triangle!

Communication was a challenge. Some of us had no internet, landline, or cell phone for a while.  On Sunday folks used up their battery life to plan for the week. In the end we did a fair job of getting the word out about what was closed when and keeping people as up-to-date as possible. At one point facilities manager Steve Mallet – who had driven back from Boston to take care of things – drove to my house to deliver information. High school teachers without power at home came to work anyway. They brought their children with them and lower and middle school teachers helped out with supervision.

We used everything short of smoke signals to get the information out – the website and the school answering machine (when we could), Facebook, Twitter, the radio stations and cancellations.com.  The problem here was the patchwork of connectivity and the difficulty that admin had communicating with each other let alone the whole community. We welcome any magic solutions for doing a better job next time around.

When all means of communication short of carrier pigeons are down it’s a problem.

Steve found the cause of the problem

And checking on the state of the power meant a 5am visit to both Kenyon and Gilkeson (thank-you Steve) and then the round of calls to activate the announcement.

In the end it was Steve who tracked down the source of our Gilkeson problem when he identified a downed tree across Boardman Road. Once alerted, Central Hudson got the tree crew to work and – Fiat Lux! – power was on and school could open on Thursday

I am grateful for all the efforts people made to help us get through the impact of the storm. And I thank all of you for your patience and support.

My own power was restored on Thursday night but I was at the NYSAIS conference for heads of school at Mohonk for part of the week. So other than tree work to be done and the freezer contents I had to throw away (all that home-made tomato sauce, butternut soup and curried eggplant) I had it easy.  And when it comes to long-term disruption I hope our teacher made homeless by Hurricane Irene is finally back in her house. Many in our community lost more than power in that storm.

The storm also meant we had to postpone the traditional Halloween prek and kindergarten parade and the all-school pumpkin carving and dress-your-senior-as-a-monster fashion show. But they happened anyway.

And I have a clean refrigerator.

See you at Fall Festival Reimagined on Saturday November 19th.

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