Governor Tours St. Croix To See Progress of Omar Cleanup

Oct. 23, 2008 — As St. Croix continues to clean up from Hurricane Omar, the Waste Management Authority wants you to start bringing your tree limbs and other green debris to their staging site adjacent to Kingshill Cemetery.
With schools open, huge amounts of debris cleared and most, but not all of St. Croix back on the electric grid, Gov. John deJongh Jr. went around the big island Thursday with agency directors and commissioners, to see how cleanup and repair efforts are going.
"I came here really to get a look, firsthand, at the status of the worst hit areas on the east and west ends of St. Croix are doing," deJongh said. "All of the people who have been putting in long shifts over the weekend and this week cleaning up are dong a tremendous job."
This is deJongh's second tour of the island this week. On Monday, the governor and various agencies involved in cleanup gave a detailed public update at a press conference.
By contrast, Thursday's tour was more of an information gathering exercise for the governor.
One stop on the afternoon tour was the green dumpsite set up in Estate Slob by the cemetery, where a steady parade of trucks is piling up a hillock of limbs and leaves.
"The bin sites were the interim location, so residents would have a place to put debris immediately while we prepared this primary location," WMA Executive May Adams Cornwall said. "But now we would like everyone to bring green debris here. Do not bring it to the Anguilla landfill."
The green debris is going to be chipped, ground and composted, then used by the Department of Agriculture, she said.
"Now that the site is set up, I'd like to have people continue to bring green debris here after the hurricane cleanup too. It doesn’t need to be going into Anguilla."
It is important to not bring any non-plant waste to the site.
"It must be entirely green waste," she said. "No 2x4s, no particle board, no metals, no trash; just green matter."
Meanwhile, WMA is beginning to work on clearing the mounds of leafy waste at the island's bin sites. The goal is to grind it up in place, then haul the more compact ground waste to Estate Slob, she said.
Power is not entirely restored, but the dark sections of the island are shrinking quickly.
"We are working right now on the last three poles between here and Divi (Carina Bay Resort)," Water and Power Authority Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said. "Once we’re done, we will have power back from the (D.C.) Canegata ballpark all the way around to Divi."
Public Works is pushing along steadily at cleanup, but it will be some time before every road and roadside has been cleared, Commissioner Daryl Smalls said.
"My goal is to have 90 percent of what needs to be done completed in the next two to three weeks," he said.
Police Commissioner James McCall accompanied the governor on part of the tour and praised the cleanup efforts.
"It's never fast enough," McCall said. "But you can look at other hurricanes and this compares favorably. This was a category two storm, not like Hugo, but a cat two hit Galveston last month and, speaking to colleagues there, they have areas that still do not have power. So I give WAPA Director Hodge and (Public Works) Commissioner (Daryl) Smalls their due. "
Meanwhile, telephone and cable television services are gradually being restored.
The area around Frederiksted's King Street, La Grande Princesse, Estate St. John, Orange Grove St. C Condo, Grove Place, Estate LaReine, Lorraine Village, and Lagoon Street Project have been restored, according to a statement from Innovative. Crews are working to restore service to the Judith Fancy area and some parts of it were restored Wednesday night. Telephone service was restored to the Mt. Washington area. Cable television was more a problem than telephone, according to Innovative.
To date, 2,091 telephone and 1,114 cable outages have been reported as a result of the storm. Major damage to Innovative Cable Television’s facilities in the east end and Salt River areas on St. Croix caused many of the problems.
“While we continue to urge subscribers to call our offices to report their phone and cable service are not in service, we are also calling customers to ensure that their service has been restored in the areas where we have completed restoration work,” Innovative President E. Clarke Garnett said in the company's statement.
For repairs, telephone and cable television customers can call 912 or 778-1742. PowerNet DSL internet customers whose telephone service is restored and continue to experience problems may call 714-3700 to make a report.
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