Reporting Mike Xirinachs
SMITHTOWN, NY (WCBS 880 / AP) - Hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders are now into their third day without electricity and their patience is wearing thin.
That’s especially true in Smithtown where 6,000 of the 10,000 residents are still in the dark.
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Many residents miss hot showers and their refrigerators. Some say it only adds to the frustration to see their neighbors getting their electricity back.
“I can look up the street and see lights,” Hillary Bautista said. “I’m trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel and saying it’s getting closer.”
“I’m paying for something I’m not getting. I want to know who’s going to pay me back,” said Jack Waselo.
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Many trees brought down power lines in Locust Valley and several surrounding communities.
Vito Sanzatta, a supervisor at the Locust Valley Market, has already thrown out up to four dumpsters filled with spoiled food including meat, fish, dairy, and vegetables.
“It’s covered by insurance but it’s just the inconvenience – it’s more of a pain in the neck than anything else,” Sanzatta said. “We’d rather be up and running.”
LIPA says it expects to have 90 percent of its customers illuminated by Friday. The utility is giving priority to nursing homes, hospitals and clinics. Click here to see how many are still without power.
LIPA said it has been busy assessing damage and responding to emergencies. The utility admits communication with customers needs improvement so now they will be calling them to inform them when their power will return.
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It’s quite possible that Irene has left a mess of leaves, twigs, branches, and other debris all over you lawn, in your backyard, and into the street.
In the town of Brookhaven, there will be a special pick-up of the mess. It’s scheduled for next week.
“Residents can take their yard waste to the curb this Sunday night and it will be picked-up during the week. Yard waste must be bundled, bagged, or placed in a 32-gallon garbage can. Same rules that would normally apply to yard waste,” said Brookhaven supervisor Mark Lesko.
Other towns on Long Island are scheduling similar pick-ups for the yard debris.
WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs In Levittown
The sound of generators fills the air in Levittown.
They’re largely understanding and patient, but Joe Bonasori says that won’t be the case, especially next week, if the lights are still out.
“Because I have the kids going back to school. So, right now, it’s summertime. It’s actually an easy time to have this happen. Next week, with shuffling the kids to school, getting them ready. It’ll definitely be a nuisance,” he said.
Adding to the frustration is the fact that Joe’s neighbor directly across the street never lost his electricity.
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At least four Long Island colleges have delayed the start of classes this week as they deal with the effects of Tropical Storm Irene.
Among them are Stony Brook University, Suffolk County Community College, Farmingdale State College and SUNY Old Westbury.
Newsday reports that the schools are either dealing with cleanup and power outages or simply giving students more time to travel safely in the aftermath of the storm.
Farmingdale was slated to open Saturday but will now start on Tuesday. Stony Brook and Suffolk Community will open on Tuesday instead of Monday. At Old Westbury, classes will begin Wednesday instead of Monday.
At Adelphi University in Garden City, students’ move-in day has been moved from Sunday to Monday but classes will begin on schedule on Wednesday.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)