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Warming Centers Remain Open in Montauk, East Hampton Saturday Night

Montauk Playhouse open through the morning, and Town Hall open at least until Sunday at 12:30 a.m.

With about 900 power outages in the Town of East Hampton, officials decided to keep warming centers open through Sunday morning.

Town Hall opened on Saturday morning, followed by the Montauk Playhouse Community Center, to allow people a warm place and to charge up their cellphones. Though attendance has not been low, the locations will remain open.

Bruce Bates, the town's Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, said the Playhouse will be open through the morning, while staff will make a decision about Town Hall, based on attendance at 12:30 a.m. "If we've got nobody there, we're probably going to wrap it up," he said.

Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said only a few people used Town Hall on Saturday.

Town employees are staffing the two warming centers, which are not the same as shelters. "We do not provide cots, we don't have blankets or food," Bates said. "But if people want to bring their own food and hang out, they are more than welcome."

Bates said he and town officials will reassess in the morning whether to continue to keep the warming centers open based on the number of power outages.

"We've been speaking with LIPA," he said. "We're hopping they are going to make excellent progress by then."

Bates responded to some of the criticism the town received regarding not opening a shelter. He said, the town does not have the resources to open up shelter locations all over town in anticipation of a storm. "If we open up East Hampton High School as a shelter, and Montauk gets hit hard, those residents are going to be traveling to East Hampton," he said. "We're doing the best we can," he said.

Diane Patrizio and members of the Human Services Department, which runs the Senior Center and Adult Day Care Center, did "a mass calling" on Saturday to check on seniors and special needs residents, Bates said. Over the years, the department has accumulated a list of clients who need or want to be checked on. The department called them before the storm on Thursday and Friday, as well, to see if they needed anything.

During the calls today, only one person reported having no power, Bates said, "And, he said he had a wood stove and plenty of food and didn't need any help."

Tell us if you used the warming center or why you didn't. Leave a comment below.

Natty February 10, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator? If Mr Bates does not have a plan in place for a shelter to keep people from freezing to death in one of the wealthiest communities in the world, exactly what other emergencies are in his job description? How much could cots and blankets possibly cost?
leeanna erdmann February 10, 2013 at 05:05 AM
"mass calling"?! people are freezing in their homes tonight, huddling with their animals they can't take anywhere....
Sara February 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM
We had fair warning people. Warming centers are great and less expensive to run, but the real problem is getting there after there are 8" of snow and no plows in sight! Roads are horrible why can't they do a better job? Haven't they been doing this for a while? How hard can it be to do your job?
Natty February 10, 2013 at 01:17 PM
East Hampton is a Third World country when it comes to natural disasters. Keeping open East Hampton High School when it is 11 degrees out does not seem like rocket science. I called the police early on and they said they had no idea what to do if somebody loses power/water/heat. They said there was no plan in place. How can it be that there is a plan in place for pot hole repair but not for people freezing?
Concerned Citizen February 10, 2013 at 02:34 PM
What a conundrum this is... The taxpayer (or so we are lead to believe) is fed up, tired of paying too much in taxes. In response to their outcry, governments are drastically reduced... personnel are at an all time low, resources are depleted or in shambles, so the government can proudly proclaim that they have reduced taxes and have spending under control. Enter Nemo - the taxpayer cries, where are the plows, why are there not more warming centers, why aren't there cots, blankets and services being provided to those affected by Nemo? Enter the hard facts - A smaller workforce results in the inability to properly staff warming centers, properly staff snow removal personnel, and properly staff emergency personnel. Equipment has not been replaced or it has become old or poorly maintained; often requiring those working to do the same work twice to achieve satisfactory result Less taxes = less services I don't blame Bruce, certainly don't blame the public employees (in fact I applaud them for all their hard work under the circumstance) I don't blame the politicians who react to the public that demands less taxes and in turn they act accordingly The blame can be placed on those malcontents, who - at the drop of a hat would complain about a free lunch... The reality is, you want less taxes, the end result is you can and will see less services.
Loretta Lynch February 10, 2013 at 05:03 PM
The Highway Dept has been working since very early Friday morning. Steve started at 2 a.m. Friday and went home Saturday night around 5:30 p.m.. His men started very early Friday morning and had a couple of hours sleep between then and last night. They are out there today serving you the people as Stephen would say. He and his men aren't politicians, they are hard workers, working for YOU!
Natty February 10, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Concerned Citizen, Are you blaming the victim and calling them malcontents? Seriously? The accountability lies at the top, not the bottom. Your elitist malcontent theory sounds Romneyesque.
Concerned Citizen February 10, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Loretta, I applaud those who have worked endless hours during Nemo. Our public employees do a great job, they are your neighbors, friends, relatives, all trying the best they can with the hand they are dealt. They don’t wear a political hat, they only do what is expected of them and a great deal more when a crisis strikes. Natty, you took the first shot across the bow on this... instead of being thankful for the services that were available (I suspect you had power all along) you had to attack. I also suspect that even if all the services were there to your satisfaction, you would have found something else to rant about. It would be nice if just once we took out the bashing of public employees and were thankful.
Natty February 10, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Read carefully. No one was bashing public employees. We were critiguing public policy. Plans and policy need to change to address the victims of said policy. Feel free to continue with the ad hominem. Always amusing.
Sara February 10, 2013 at 08:31 PM
It's funny how some people who don't even live in our town know what we are going thru with Nemo. 3cheers to fellow easthamptoner natty!
M Brigid Cavanaugh February 10, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Regarding "a mass calling" on Saturday to check on seniors and special needs residents, do Bruce Bates and Diane Patrizio know how many of these special needs people have Optimum as their telephone provider? If the electric power goes out, how can these folks on the call list be reached?

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