Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weekly Address: Time to Act on the Transportation Bill


President Obama calls on Congress to pass a clean extension of the transportation bill to keep America moving and avoid costing nearly one million workers their jobs.

West Wing Week 09/1/11 or "Goodnight, Irene"


This week, the President led the federal response to Hurricane Irene, made a key nomination announcement, and addressed the American Legion's 93rd annual conference. That's August 26th to September 1st or "Goodnight, Irene."

West Wing Week 09/2/11 or "Dispatches from Asia"


This week we are broadcasting dispatches from travel with Vice President Joe Biden through China, Mongolia and Japan. In between meeting with world leaders, and speaking with locals the Vice President took in the sights, sounds and culture of the far east. Join the Vice President as he opens new channels of communication with China gets to know Mongolian leaders and culture at a traditional Naadam festival and visits Japanese communities recovering from the March earthquake and tsunami before speaking to US troops in Tokyo and Hawaii. That’s August 18th through the 25th or – West Wing Week: Dispatches Asia

Friday, September 2, 2011

'Labor for Your Neighbor' Initiative Launched to Help with Storm Recovery and Clean-Up


Governor Cuomo Will Join Volunteers to Help Storm Victims in Hardest-Hit Areas This Weekend

Governor Andrew Cuomo will be taking part in "Labor for your Neighbor," a Labor Day weekend effort to tap into the good neighbor instincts of New Yorkers and rally volunteers to pitch in on local clean-ups of public and private property following the devastation of Hurricane Irene.

Cuomo said he and members of his family will join New Yorkers who turn out to help their neighbors, bringing tools, elbow grease and volunteers to the Schoharie Valley, Catskills and North Country, where the storm brought extensive damage.

Governor Cuomo has visited each of these regions to assess damage since the storm hit. Clean-ups will take place on Sunday and Monday. Volunteers will be safely shuttled into villages needing assistance, and provided appropriate supervision and equipment.


"In village after village and town after town, we have witnessed the wonderful spirit of New Yorkers turning out to help others in need, " said Governor Cuomo.

"Grocers have thrown open their doors and given away all their food. Customers have come out to clean up local businesses and return them to operation. Neighbors have shared food, clothing and shelter. Through ‘Labor for your Neighbor, we want to stimulate even more neighbor-to-neighbor help on this long holiday weekend. We've given it a name, but there is no copyright on the kindness of friends and neighbors. While government at all levels organizes resources for the great leaps toward full recovery, individual New Yorkers can, with just a few hours of work, help their neighbors take small steps toward normalcy. As an elderly woman in Prattsville told us this week, even someone to help get the mud out of her basement would give her the hope for a new start. "


Cuomo stated that major corporations have already responded to his requests for support of "Labor for your Neighbor. Home Depot, WalMart and other companies and suppliers will supply cleaning pails, mops, shovels, rakes cleaning supplies, food, water and other equipment.

The National Guard and State Office of Emergency Management will supervise the effort.

There are many ways for New Yorkers to volunteer or contribute over the coming weeks. New Yorkers who want to help by making a money donation to recovery efforts can do so through a centralized effort coordinated by United Way of New York State.

United Way has set up dedicated fund that will take donations for charities and voluntary agencies assisting with recovery efforts in the affected communities. One hundred percent of donations will go relief efforts.

United Way will also work with other statewide charitable partners, such as Catholic Charities, United Jewish Appeal, Red Cross, the Food Bank Association, the Community Action Association and others, in the Hurricane Irene Storm Recovery Fund.


Susan K. Hager, President and CEO of United Way of New York State said, "Thousands of individuals and families have been hurt by this storm. Homes and livelihood have been damaged or destroyed leaving many without even the basics: food, clothing, household goods and even transportation. Affected families with school-aged children are especially challenged to ready their children for the start of the new school year. Beyond that all of our neighbors who have been adversely impacted by this storm need our help. United Way of New York State is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo in responding to these needs. "

New Yorkers interested in volunteering or contributing can do so on the Governors website www.governor.ny.gov/laborforyourneighbor. Volunteers will receive specific directions and instructions for the cleanup sites.

Those who wish to contribute goods rather than funds should directly contact charitable organizations in their areas to determine which will accept such contributions and what items are most needed in the storm relief effort.

United Way and the Disaster Relief Centers being set up by New York State with the Federal Emergency Management Administration do not accept non-cash contributions.

Photo courtesy of
http://www.governor.ny.gov/.

'The Unemployment Rate Remained Unchanged'


Statement on the Employment Situation in August

WASHINGTON- Katherine Abraham, Member of the Council of Economic Advisors, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in August.

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 17,000 and overall payroll employment was flat in August. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent, a level that remains unacceptably high. Despite a slowdown in economic growth from substantial headwinds experienced throughout the year, the economy has added private sector jobs for 18 straight months, for a total of 2.4 million jobs over that period.

Clearly, faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. Today’s report underscores the President’s call for Congress to pass a clean extension of the transportation bill to keep workers on the job and keep critical highway construction, bridge repair, mass transit and other important projects moving forward.

Next week, the President will lay out a series of additional bipartisan steps that Congress can take immediately to put more money in the paychecks of working and middle class families; to make it easier for small businesses to hire workers; to put construction crews to work rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure; and other measures that will help the economy grow while still reducing our deficit and getting our fiscal house in order.

Sectors with employment increases in August included health care and social assistance (+35,500) and professional and business services (+28,000). Sectors with employment declines included information (-48,000, which includes striking Verizon workers), construction (-5,000), and manufacturing (-3,000). Local government lost 20,000 jobs and has shed 398,000 jobs since February 2010. State government added 5,000 jobs as an estimated 22,000 furloughed Minnesota state workers returned to work.

The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

Image source: Wikipedia
Author: Executive Office of the President

Permission: Public Domain

Thursday, September 1, 2011

'I'm Pleased That FEMA is Moving Quickly'


Cuomo Announces Federal Disaster Aid Approved for Nassau, Westchester and Rensselaer Counties

Federal disaster assistance is now available for homeowners, renters and small businesses in Nassau, Westchester and Rensselaer counties as a result of damages incurred by Hurricane Irene.

“I am pleased that FEMA is moving quickly to further assess the damages and needs of New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Irene,” Governor Cuomo said.

“I urge residents and small businesses who suffered losses to take the first step on the road to recovery by calling FEMA’s registration number – 1-800-621-3362. If you think you may be eligible you must register with FEMA and you should make that call today.”


Residents and small businesses in a total of 11 counties are now eligible to apply for the following assistance: the Individuals and Households Program, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, USDA food coupons and distribution, USDA food commodities, Disaster Legal Services, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Small Business Administration disaster loans.

At the Governor’s request, President Obama approved an expedited major federal disaster declaration on Wednesday. The counties currently eligible for assistance are as follows:

Individual Assistance (Assistance to individuals and households): Albany, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Nassau, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster and Westchester counties.

Public Assistance (Assistance for debris removal, emergency protective actions and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities): Albany, Bronx, Clinton, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Schoharie, Suffolk, Ulster, Warren, and Westchester Counties. Direct federal assistance is authorized.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program: (Assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards): All counties in the State of New York are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.


Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online athttp://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.


Additional counties may be made eligible for federal assistance as ongoing damage assessments are completed.

Cuomo Requests Federal Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Damage Costs to New York's Agriculture Industry Estimated at $45 Million

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state is focused on helping farmers recover from Hurricane Irene and has reached out to the federal government for assistance. Governor Cuomo has already spoken with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack directly and is formally requesting federal assistance to help farmers get back on their feet.

Governor Cuomo also requested the Secretary visit the region in order to meet with New York farmers and see the damage firsthand. Secretary Vilsack has agreed to the visit, which is expected in the next few days.


Agricultural losses are expected to exceed $45 million according to preliminary estimates with 140,000 acres of farmland lost. Many farms are still inaccessible by road and damage assessments will be continuing.

"Regions of New York are facing an agricultural crisis. New York State has been actively coordinating with our federal partners as we begin to rebuild and recover from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene," said Governor Cuomo.

"The first step was to make sure that FEMA officials saw the effects of the storm in New York firsthand. We thank Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate for visiting the region yesterday. Now, we need the federal government to also focus on our farmers who were hit so hard by this storm."


The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers a number of programs that provide direct assistance to farmers in the wake of a major disaster.

Governor Cuomo requested a natural disaster designation for the following counties: Albany, Broome, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Lewis, Montgomery, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Washington and Wayne.


Image courtesy of http://classroomclipart.com.

White House Briefs


White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

President Obama Tells Congress to Pass Extensions


Passing the Surface Transportation and FAA extensions will keep Americans on the job.

Peninsula Hospital on the Road to Recovery



Revival Home Health Care and 1199 Devise Plan to Save Financially-Distressed Facility

A FROM THE G-MAN EXCLUSIVE

Peninsula Hospital Center sources informed From The G-Man that a meeting was held between investors, revealed to be Revival Home Health Care, and SEIU/1199 members on August 31 at the Union Hall building on West 42nd Street in Manhattan.

Two independent sources confirmed the meeting ran from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and that the sides reached a tentative agreement that there would be a 60-40 split in absorbing financial risks.

The union would take 60 percent -- when broken down amounts to $4.8 million -- and Revival Home Health Care would take the remaining 40 percent, estimated to be $3.2 million. The $8 million total represents money that Revival Home Health Care will invest to help place Peninsula Hospital Center on the road to fiscal recovery.

"The risk factor came into play when Revival Home Health Care proposed they be put ahead of the union, as far as creditors were concerned, and that if their efforts failed, they would be paid back the $8 million invested, first, before any money went to the union," said one source.

"The union didn't accept that because if they were not fully reimbursed, then the $8 million debt would fall on them. Thus, 1199 members felt they would bear a larger share of the financial responsibility and Revival Home Health Care would have nothing to lose in the deal."

By meeting's end, a decision was made that Revival Home Health Care would take over Peninsula Hospital Center and file for Chapter 11 restructuring.

The Plan - Revival Home Health Care owns a home care network that consists of approximately 3,500 patients that are contacted on a daily basis for health updates. Should a patient need to be admitted to hospital, they would be referred to Peninsula Hospital Center.

Revival HHC also owns an ambulance company called Revival Care, which they intend to link directly to the hospital. Plans are also underway to establish an emergency call center at the hospital to allow a greater number of patients to be brought into the facility.

A second source noted that the Brooklyn-based healthcare company has established relationships with a number of nursing homes, many of which would send their residents to Peninsula.

"They also have a network of physicians that would refer their patients to the hospital," said the source.

"Remarkably, Revival HHC feels they can have the hospital census at full capacity in about three weeks."

The Deal - Revival Home Health Care will pay the SEIU/1199 $150,000 a week towards the debt the hospital owes the union, rather than the $250,000 a week requested by the union. The union will continue to work with Revival HHC as long as the monthly payments are made.

Union breakdown of payments from the hospital to the union to sustain funds are as follows: Percentages of payroll - benefit fund is 28%, Pension fund 9.3%, Training & upgrading fund .5%, Child care fund .5% and
Job security fund .25%.

The Peninsula Hospital source stated, unequivocally, that Robert Levine, CEO of Peninsula Hospital Center, and current Board members would be replaced by Revival Home Health Care representatives or other healthcare officials.

"The hospital will definitely be open for 90 days while a three-phase plan is enacted," the source said.

"The first phase will involve taking over and reviewing the finances of the hospital, which Revival said had been poorly managed for years. The second phase will focus on implementing changes to various areas, starting with billing and receiving, to help bring money back into the hospital," the source added.

"Revival will also be working with their partners and existing businesses to bring more patients in and improve hospital services and equipment during the second phase, and the final 30 days will be used to determine if the overall plan has proved to be successful and viable for Peninsula Hospital."

Information on Revival Home Health Care is available at
http://www.revivalhhc.org/.

From The G-Man will continue to closely monitor this story and report on any new developments as they become available.

Image courtesy of http://classroomclipart.com.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

President Praises Petraeus


Readout of the President's Call with General David Petraeus

President Obama called General David Petraeus today on the occasion of his retirement from the U.S. military.

President Obama congratulated General Petraeus on an historic career of service in the United States Army, including extraordinary contributions to our national security in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The President also welcomed General Petraeus’ continued commitment to public service as he prepares to take on his new role as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Photo source: U.S. Military
Author: Monica A. King; DoD photographer
Permission: Public Domain

Industry Leaders Commit to Doubling Engineering Internships in 2012

Commitment Will Add Over 6,000 Additional Opportunities for Hands-On, Technical Job Training for Future Engineers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, in partnership with the Business Council, Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and the American Chemistry Council, announced that 45 industry leaders have committed to double the engineering internships available at their companies in 2012.

Five companies have also committed to increase their internships for a total of 50 committed to this effort. These commitments are part of a greater Jobs Council effort to help address America’s engineering shortage by graduating 10,000 more engineering students from U.S. colleges and universities each year.

These commitments will add approximately 6,300 additional opportunities for hands-on, technical job experience for engineering students.

“Looking forward, this nation is at risk of a significant shortfall of qualified experts in science and math to meet the country’s needs,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini.

“Today’s announcement is about inspiring and encouraging our next generation of engineers. It’s a private sector commitment working arm and arm with the government to accelerate the specialized skills needed for America to retain its technological pre-eminence.”


“For America to stay competitive in the global market, we must train and retain the world’s best engineers,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

“Working together, private industry and the public sector can position the U.S. to continue to lead in science and innovation in the 21st century, creating good jobs and laying the foundation for a robust economy.”

Co-chaired by Intel CEO and President Paul Otellini and Permac Industries CEO and President Darlene Miller, the Jobs Council’s High Tech Education working group has made this issue a critical priority because the engineering gap threatens our role as the world’s leading innovator and hinders our ability to create jobs and compete in a global economy.

From 1990 to 2010, overall college graduation levels in the United States have grown about 50 percent, but during that same period the number of engineering graduates has stagnated at around 120,000.

By contrast, roughly 1 million engineers a year graduate from universities in India and China. This disparity hinders our global competitiveness and threatens our ability to both retain and create high-tech, good-paying jobs here in the United States.

Today’s announcement comes as Secretary of Energy Steven Chu joins Jobs Council Members Otellini and Miller, business leaders and the Deans of the Engineering schools at Georgia Tech, Portland State University, Purdue and the University of California-Berkeley in Portland, Oregon for a regional Listening and Action session to discuss steps the private sector can take to help the United States graduate more engineers every year.

Companies committing today to double their internship opportunities in 2012 are: Alcoa Incorporated, American Express Company, AT&T, Bayer AG, BNSF Railway, Boeing, Broadcom Corporation, Cardinal Health, Carus Corporation, Caterpillar, Conductix-Wampfler, ConAgraFoods Inc., Dell Inc., Duke Energy Corporation, DuPont, Eaton, Facebook, Fluor Corporation, FMC Technologies, General Electric, Intel Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kawasaki Motors Corporation, US., Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging Inc., Lubrizol Corporation, Mastercard, McKesson Corporation, MeadWestvaco Corporation, Nalco Company, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, Nordson Corporation, Power Cubers Inc., Simon Property Group Inc., Spectra Energy Corporation, Special Products and Manufacturing Inc., Sprint Nextel, Suffolk Construction, Sungard, Sunoco Inc., Symantec, TE Connectivity, LTD., Tektronix, Textron Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., and the Xerox Corporation.

In addition, five companies are committing to increase their internship opportunities in 2012. They include: Bechtel Corporation, Chevron Corporation, PCC Structurals Inc., Johnson and Johnson Inc., and Texas Instruments Inc.

More companies are also expected to join the effort in the coming months.

President Obama formed the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in January of 2011 for the purpose of bolstering the United States economy by fostering job creation, innovation, growth, and competitiveness as the country enters a new phase of economic recovery.

The core mission of the Council is to promote growth by investing in American businesses to encourage hiring, to educate and train American workers to compete in the global economy, and to attract the best jobs and businesses in the world to the United States.

Image courtesy of http://www.allfreeclipart.com/construction/.

New Storm Threatens East Coast

A new tropical storm gaining steam in the Atlantic is projected to match Hurricane Irene’s strength within the week.


Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

By Zach Toombs
Anchor: Zach Toombs
Video provided by Newsy.com

Newsy Now: News Round-Up

This is Newsy Now and here are the headlines you need to know.


Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

By Tracy Pfeiffer
Anchor: Christina Hartman
Video provided by Newsy.com

Federal Judge Blocks Alabama Immigration Law

A Federal Judge temporarily blocked Alabama’s immigration law, in need of more time to review the lawsuits filed against it.


Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

By Iris Zhang
Anchor: Christina Hartman
Video provided by Newsy.com

Study: Muslim Americans' Experience a Mixed Bag

A Pew Research Center study published Tuesday shows positive changes within Muslim American communities - but also highlights several shortfalls.


Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

By Tracy Pfeiffer
Anchor: Christina Hartman
Video provided by Newsy.com

President Obama Grants Federal Disaster Declaration for New York

Cuomo Issues Statement Thanking the President for His Support

"I thank President Obama for his quick action granting New York a federal disaster declaration. The damage incurred by Irene has devastated communities in counties across our State, leaving many without homes and towns and villages without essential public infrastructure. All levels of government are working together to help New York recover and we will not stop until the job is done."

Governor Cuomo requested the expedited approval yesterday.

Designations and types of assistance granted by the federal disaster declaration are as follows:

Individual Assistance (Assistance to individuals and households): Albany, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Schenectady, Schoharie, and Ulster Counties.

Public Assistance (Assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities): Albany, Bronx, Clinton, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Schoharie, Suffolk, Ulster, Warren, and Westchester Counties. Direct federal assistance is authorized.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program: (Assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards): All counties in the State of State of New York are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

Other: Additional designations may be made at a later date after further evaluation.


The public assistance granted today will reimburse communities for the costs incurred for debris removal and emergency protective actions taken in response to Hurricane Irene.

The Individual Assistance program will provide the following aid to homeowners, renters and small businesses: the Individuals and Households Program, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, USDA food coupons and distribution, USDA food commodities, Disaster Legal Services, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Small Business Administration disaster loans.

Photo source: The White House
Author: Pete Souza
Permission: Public Domain

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

President Obama at the American Legion Conference


Salutes Extraordinary Decade of Military Service by the 9/11 Generation.

UN: Mutant Strain of Bird Flu Threatening World

The UN's Food and Agricultural Organization says the world risks a pandemic with a new strain of bird flu resistant to current vaccines.


Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

By Tracy Pfeiffer
Anchor: Megan Murphy
Video provided by Newsy.com

Newsy Now: News Round-Up

Millions without power after Irene; Warren Jeffs in a coma in prison; Rebels claim they killed Gaddafi's sons; Michael Vick gets $100M contract.


Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

By Jim Flink
Anchor: Jim Flink
Video provided by Newsy.com

In Memoriam....Army Private First Class Jesse W. Dietrich

From the Executive Chamber of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday, September 2 in honor of a Fort Drum soldier who died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan on August 25.

Army Private First Class Jesse W. Dietrich died of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team stationed at Fort Drum. Private First Class Dietrich was from Venus, Texas.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I mourn the loss of Private First Class Dietrich," stated Governor Cuomo.

"New York will remember the service of this Fort Drum soldier and we will honor his commitment to our nation. I send my sympathies to his family, friends, and fellow soldiers."

From The G-Man would like to honor Army Private First Class Jesse W. Dietrich, his love of country, and his service with the following video tribute. May he rest in peace.


Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

'I Request That You Declare an Expedited Major Disaster for the State of New York'


Governor Cuomo Submits Letter of Request to President Obama

Governor Andrew Cuomo has formally requested an expedited major disaster declaration from the federal government.

The public assistance would reimburse communities for the costs incurred for debris removal and emergency protective actions taken in response to Hurricane Irene.

The Individual Assistance program would provide the following aid to homeowners, renters and small businesses: the Individuals and Households Program, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, USDA food coupons and distribution, USDA food commodities, Disaster Legal Services, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Small Business Administration disaster loans. Cuomo is also statewide seeking implementation of FEMA's Hazard Mitigation program.

Governor Cuomo's letter to President Obama is below:

Dear Mr. President:

Under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR §§ 206.36, I request that you declare an Expedited Major Disaster for the State of New York as a result of Hurricane Irene that began impacting the state on August 27, 2011 and continues.

As of today, at least 26 counties in New York continue to see devastating effects from Hurricane Irene including flooding, power outages, road and bridge closures, and infrastructure damages. Those counties include: Albany, Bronx, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington and Westchester.

At least six confirmed fatalities have occurred statewide due to Hurricane Irene. Areas within these counties are experiencing record flooding because of torrential rains and storm surge. Other rivers such as the Hudson and Mohawk, and the Schoharie Creek continue to impact communities. At least four towns and villages are or were underwater: Fleischmanns, Margaretville, Prattsville and Windham. Also, towns of Middleburgh and Schoharie were completely inundated and underwater with the Middleburgh High School being completely destroyed.

Several dams are being monitored due to rising water levels and two dams had previously been classified as being close to failure. Evacuations occurred in communities and villages that may be affected by these potential failures.

The State of New York continues to try to assist shelters in areas that are isolated because of flooded roadways. Officials are air lifting supplies into isolated areas to continue ongoing shelter operations. NYS Department of Transportation is reporting that some areas are inaccessible for assessment and may remain so for the immediate future.

The State Office of Emergency Management’s Region II office in Poughkeepsie was completely flooded requiring an evacuation of the regional operations center.

In response to Hurricane Irene, I have exercised all State resources, including using the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to use resources from the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Ohio, and Washington.

In response to the situation, I have taken appropriate action under State law and, on August 25, 2011, directed the execution of the New York State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan in accordance with New York State law and section 401 of the Stafford Act:

I declared a State of Emergency on August 25, 2011 for Hurricane Irene, to assist local governments with evacuations of threatened populations and to help provide State resources to local governments that would be unable to respond adequately due to the size and magnitude of this storm system. The State of Emergency specifically cited Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk counties and other contiguous areas. However, Hurricane Irene has impacted at least 24 counties where life-saving measures have been taking place for a minimum of three days.

The New York State Standard Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan was approved by FEMA on January 4, 2011.

Preliminary damage assessments are impossible to perform at this time in these counties due to ongoing life-saving response activities and due to both State and local resources being overwhelmed. I have, however, flown over these areas and saw hundreds of private homes either destroyed or with major damage and an enormous amount of public infrastructure damage that far surpasses the State of New York’s threshold of $25 million. I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary. I am specifically requesting:

    Public Assistance for Categories A - G for the following counties: Albany, Bronx, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington, and Westchester.

    Individual Assistance including the Individuals and Households Program, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, USDA food coupons and distribution, USDA food commodities, Disaster Legal Services, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Small Business Administration disaster loans for Albany, Bronx, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Schenectady, Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington, and Westchester.

    Hazard Mitigation Grant Program statewide.

Additional counties may be added to the above requests if assessments show necessary.

Below is a summary of state and local resources that have been or will be used to alleviate the conditions of this disaster:

    State search and rescue efforts have occurred and are continuing throughout parts of Albany, Delaware, Greene, Rockland, Schoharie, Ulster and Westchester counties. Swift water rescue missions continue in towns and villages that are underwater.

    FEMA staff is working with New York State and local personnel to provide critical shelter commodities. More than 70 known shelters remain open statewide with more than 4,800 occupants. Several shelters are isolated because of flood waters and cannot be reached to provide critical supplies such as food and water.

    The New York State Emergency Support Function #3 has worked major dam concerns through the past 24 hours including the possible overflow/compromise of the Gilboa Dam, Summit St. Dam/Philmont Dam, Potake Lake Dam, Warwick Lower Reservoir Dam, Batavia Kill Watershed Dam, Vischers Ferry Dam and Pepacton Dam. Both Gilboa and Vischers have been classified as being close to catastrophic failure and are being closely monitored.

    The New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs began conducting search and rescue missions on August 28 and continue to do so.

    New York State, local and federal resources were used to evacuate health care facilities that were in the direct predicted path of Hurricane Irene. More than 3,100 patients were evacuated from more than 80 hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities.

    The State Emergency Operations Center has received reports that several farms were impacted by the flood waters causing a large number of dead livestock and potential hazardous waste material due to those deaths. The New York State Emergency Operations Center is working to determine actual number of dead livestock.

    The New York State Agriculture and Markets is receiving reports of sufficient crops and feed loss at impacted farms. Many farms are in need of new feed supplies and fuel to help isolated farms keep livestock alive.

    The State is working with FEMA to try to determine the fastest way to conduct bridge and roadway inspections due to damages from flood waters and debris.

    The State Emergency Operations Center deployed more than 79 personnel from Incident Management Teams and Emergency Operations Center support teams to local governments.

    The State is working with local governments to determine the number of schools that were heavily impacted from flood waters and debris.

    The State is working with local governments to determine the number of contaminated water wells and sewage systems.

    The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has provided generators to State Police stations in Dover Plains and East Fishkill.

    Both the State and Federal resources have pre-staged and are using more than 100 ambulances to assist local 911 centers as needed for life-safety calls.

I request direct Federal assistance for work and services to save lives and property.

In accordance with 44 CFR §§ 206.208, the State of New York agrees that it will, with respect to direct Federal assistance:

Provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements and rights-of-way necessary to accomplish the approved work; hold and save the United States free from damages due to the requested work, and shall indemnify the Federal Government against any claims arising from such work; provide reimbursement to FEMA for the non-Federal share of the cost of such work in accordance with the provisions of the FEMA-State Agreement; and assist the performing Federal agency in all support and local jurisdictional matters.

In addition, I anticipate the need for debris removal, which poses an immediate threat to lives, public health, and safety.

Pursuant to Sections 403 and 407 of the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5170b & 5173, the State agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the United States of America for any claims arising from the removal of debris or wreckage for this disaster. That State agrees that debris removal from public and private property will not occur until the landowner signs an unconditional authorization for the removal of debris.

I have designated Andrew X. Feeney, Director of the State Office of Emergency Management, as the State Coordinating Officer for this request. He will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in damage assessments and may provide further information or justification on my behalf.


Sincerely,


ANDREW M. CUOMO

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Cuomo Creates Storm and Flooding Recovery Task Force

Group Will Coordinate Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts for the Catskills, Upper Hudson Valley and Mohawk Valley

Governor Andrew Cuomo today established the Upstate Storm and Flooding Recovery Task Force, which will be comprised of key agency commissioners and ensure seamless coordination between agencies. These agencies will work together to coordinate rebuilding of infrastructure, economic development, agricultural renewal, power restoration, and assistance with private insurance.

"From repairing roads and bridges, getting power back, helping with insurance claims and working with family farms, state government has rapidly mobilized to make sure that all available resources are in place to help the affected areas recover. This task force will ensure the highest level of state and local coordination to leverage all state resources and get them to where they are needed," Governor Cuomo said.

The task force will be chaired by Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine and President and CEO of the Environmental Facilities Corporation Matthew Driscoll. Full membership of the task force is below:

Co-chair -- Darrel Aubertine, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Markets
Co-chair – Matthew Driscoll, President and CEO, Environmental Facilities Corporation
Joan McDonald – Commissioner, Department of Transportation
General Pat Murphy – Adjutant General, Division of Military and Naval Affairs
Andrew Feeney – Director, State Emergency Management Office
Joseph D’Amico – Superintendent, State Police
Joseph Martens – Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation
Ben Lawsky – Superintendent, Department of Financial Services
Garry Brown – Chairman, Public Service Commission
RoAnn Destito – Commissioner, Office of General Services
Brian Stratton – Director, Canal Corporation
Kenneth Adams – President and CEO, Empire State Development Corporation

As a result of the record heavy rains caused by Hurricane Irene, there is historic flooding occurring in the region that has damaged numerous roads and bridges, destroyed 500-600 homes, and devastated thousands of acres of farmland.

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