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Northern Suburbs Continue To Clean Up After Hurricane Irene

MAMARONECK, NY (WCBS 880/AP) - From Westchester to Dutchess County and beyond, New York City's northern suburbs are still cleaning up from the torrential rains of Hurricane Irene.

WCBS 880's Sean Adams In Rye


Curbside in Rye, you find sopping wet carpets, saturated wallboard, and water-logged electronics.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Nita Lowey promised that FEMA is on the way as they met with flooded-out shop owners.

SEE: User-Submitted Pictures Of Irene's Wrath

"We're going to work as a team, both on the local level and the federal level, to get resources," said Gillibrand, who admitted that FEMA only offers loans.

"For some businesses, a loan is tough because they don't want another loan, but at least those resources are there if they do need to rebuild," she said.

While the loans may provide some short-term help, people are begging for flood mitigation along the rivers and streams.

"We really have to see what we can do to help prevent the damages," Lowey said.

"Water runs downstream and we think the key is retention upstream to hold the water longer," Rye Mayor Doug French said. "We're not going to prevent the flooding altogether, but we can severely mitigate it."

Westchester County Exective Rob Astorino was particularly vexed by the Army Corps of Engineers and situation along the Mamaroneck River.

"Their response was they've been aware of this since the 1950s and we're just wondering at what point will you prepare for a 100 years' storm, but they're doing 70-year studies. At what point do they fix the problem?" asked Astorino. "This stupid red tape's got to come to an end."

Again, the Senator and Congresswoman promise to bring pressure to bear.

WCBS 880's Sean Adams In Mamaroneck


Floodwaters have receded along the Mamaroneck River in Westchester County, but the damage has been done.

In a low-lying section of Mamaroneck, WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams poked his head into a basement swamped with fetid green water that reeked of sewage and fuel.

The furniture was knocked over and submerged, and the waterline went up almost to the ceiling. This was not the home's first run-in with flood waters. The homeowner years ago had to replace the furnace and eletrical panel.

Gloria Chimalia says that every time there's a disaster, promises are made to fix the flooding.

"We had [Sen. Hillary] Clinton around here last time and, you know, she made promises and all your senators and your congresspeople make promises, and I know they mean well. I know it's a hard job, but they really have to get together and do something," she said.

Compounding the problems is the fact that the power is still out. Generators hum everywhere and neighbors were lending a helping hand as they wait for Con Edison to restore power.

WCBS 880's John Metaxas With A Westchester Artist's Sad Story


Among all the trees downed by Hurricane Irene, one particularly stood out - a mighty oak in Katonah.

"I'd say its about 300-years-old. Look at the size of the trunk. It's at least four feet in diameter," said artist Edward Giobbi.

In the middle of the storm, that tree came crashing down on the studio the world-renowned artist.

It smashed the structure and destroyed several dozen of his priceless paintings.

"It just didn't knock it down. It shattered it. It looks like a bomb hit it," he told WCBS 880's John Metaxas.

The 85-year-old says the wreckage reminded him of what he'd seen as an infantryman in Europe during World War II.

As for his paintings?

"I can't mourn over the paintings because they're gone," he said.

WCBS 880's Deborah Rodriguez In Dutchess County


In Dutchess County, there was no getting through Astor Drive in Rhinebeck, or many of the other roads where streams or creeks usually run under the bridges.

But, after Irene, they are flowing right over the top. Jim Austen couldn't get his daughter to work at the CVS in Red Hook.

"It looks like every creek in town has overflowed. This is normally a three-foot-wide creek and now it's 30-feet-wide. So, it looks like Rhinebeck has a 24-hour 'hold period' is my guess," he told Rodriguez.

Right before you get to this overflowed section of roadway, there is massive old tree that came down, whose 6-foot base and root system was loosened up by all of the water.

Major roads including two long stretches of the New York Thruway were closed for Monday's morning rush hour. In some Hudson Valley communities, scores of local roads were impassable while in the North Country, the two main routes around Lake Placid were flooded.

Several deaths have been blamed on Irene.

In Westchester County, one resident was electrocuted trying to help a child who had gone into a flooded street strewn with down wires.

Police say two men were swept down river after their inflatable boat capsized hours after Tropical Storm Irene passed through Westchester County. One was pronounced dead.

Police say the Croton River was moving about 40 mph when the boat carrying five boaters overturned, ejecting them into the water around 8 p.m. Sunday.

Croton Police Sgt. John Barirde says two made it to shore on their own. A third was pulled to shore by police.

Barirde says the other two boaters were swept half a mile down river. One managed to cling to a tree until police boat units from Croton and Westchester reached him.

Barirde says the other man continued to be pulled down river by heavy currents. Police finally approached him by boat, but he did not survive.

In the Albany County town of New Scotland, a woman's body was spotted in a rain swollen creek Sunday afternoon after her husband reported her missing, state police said. In Delaware County, deputies said a woman in her seventies died after floodwaters caused the partial collapse of a motel in the western Catskill Mountain community of Fleischmanns.

(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.)

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