Edgemont Family Thankful For Community's Help

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Theresa Travalino, 83, tends to her husband Dean, 95. The family members have been struggling in their Edgemont house without power for 11 days. Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

EDGEMONT, N.Y. — Edgemont resident Theresa Travalino didn't realize how exhausted she was until she was finally able to sit down.

Travalino, 83, is not supposed to be on her feet a lot. But after the power went out Oct. 29 from Hurricane Sandy, she didn't have much choice but to look after her bedridden husband, Dean, 95. Her daughter, Joy, has been temporarily staying at their house to help care for her father, who has dementia and needs constant attention.

"What do you do when something like this happens?" Theresa Travalino asked Thursday as she sat in her living room, still cold and dark as it has been for the past 11 days.

The Travalinos' home is one of about 3,000 Greenburgh sites that remained without power Thursday afternoon after last week's hurricane. Theresa Travalino said Town Supervisor Paul Feiner recommended they go to the Atria senior living facility, which has been opening its doors to people without power, but even the Atria wouldn't provide the kind of care that Dean Travalino needs.

Joy Travalino said she couldn't believe the lack of response to her parents' situation. Frequent calls to Feiner and assisted-living facilities were no help either — Dean Travalino can move only with the help of a medical lifting device.

"I know there are people who are worse off. He may not have lost his house, but he's really vulnerable right now," Joy Travalino said about the risk her father runs for catching pneumonia in the cold house. "This is a dangerous situation for him to be in."

Joy Travalino reached out to Robert Bernstein, a director of the Edgemont Community Council, who immediately publicized the issue on the council's Facebook page. Council member Aubrey Graf-Daniels volunteered to gather donations from the community and take them to the Travalinos' house.

The biggest help has been the food, Theresa Travalino said. Many Edgemont community members offered to provide warm meals for the Travalinos.

"It was an amazing outpour of support that I never dreamed would happen," Joy Travalino said.

Graf-Daniels said the Community Council now plans to put together a list of families who are in situations similar to the Travalinos' for future crises. Town officials seem to have forgotten about those who need the most help, Graf-Daniels said.

"I email Paul Feiner every single day about this, but he just forwards my emails into his chain letters," Graf-Daniels said.

Joy Travalino said that if her brother's neighbor hadn't donated his generator to them this week to run overnight, she doesn't know what they would have done.

"There is no plan in this town for the disabled. That's the scary thing," Joy Travalino said. "If they can't handle this, what's going to happen if there's a real disaster? And this is just the beginning of the winter season."

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Comments (6)

OnlyInGreenburgh:

Our residents assist each other without the need to have Paul Feiner soaking in the glory. I want to speak to WestHelp. The reason it is uninhabitable is because Feiner wants it that way. He has allowed it to, rather has aided in the lack of security which is why sinks and bathtubs and stoves, etc. are missing. The units were left unlocked so everything was stolen. The Town is responsible for the property yet he has not diverted any manpower to maintain the units. Why? Because he wants it to fall into a state of disrepair in support of his want to demolish the existing units so that he can lease the property to an assisted living and/or facility for the disabled at half the rent he was receiving from Westhelp. Why, again? Because this is his way of saying "I'm sorry" to the immediate neighbors of the property who lost in the lawsuit against Valhalla schools. Don't forget, Greenburgh taxpayers paid to have the Westhelp property constructed for affordable housing, yet Feiner wants to tear it down for a private for-profit use. He might be the only knuckleheaded elected official who wants to tear down beautifully constructed affordable housing when everyone is trying to figure out how to build such housing. THIS MORON NEEDS TO GO. He is out of touch, insensitive to those in need (even though he claims to be the "angel" for the disinfranchised, LOL), inept, irresponsible, corrupt, etc., etc., etc. Dirtbag is the best word I can find for him right now.

Pat McGuire Leavy:

My apologies but I am going to complain here. The Town of Greenburgh has NOT done enough. Paul: I emailed you for help to find firewood on 10/31 explaining that I had been almost everywhere and it was sold out, driving was an issue and could you please advise. You recommended Home Depot, Costco and Underhill?? I explained that many many people were looking as well with no luck. Next day I fled Hartsdale because we were freezing and mostly because I knew if I stayed and things got any worse, I would be in big trouble for help. I left to stay with family in Queens were there was NO GAS AT ALL. I could not get information from the town regarding my Con Ed electrical service status and Con-Ed was publishing incorrect information. I drove everyday on fumes from Queens to CT ( did not stop in Westchester) to fill up, come back to H'dale, drop my child to school and then go see if I had power, head back to Queens.

While I did this I saw you on Ch 7 news, NBC?, read numerous tweets, FB postings blah blah about your outrage at Con-Ed but I could NOT FIND any organized efforts in a concise way to communicate information or important information, hotlines and such anywhere in one place. Only through my efforts via internet could I get real information about what was happening in Greenburgh. Who had lights? Who had an extra generator? Who was in danger and needed assistance? Where was gas? Firewood? I did know to go to the Library to get warm and charge my phone. I did know that TDYCC was open I did know that you added an "angles" program but WHERE IS THE TOWNS ORGANIZED EFFORT TO ASSIST? The 1st phone # you published for Con-Ed was incorrect. 1800 coned??

I am back in my home today with power but I knew about it only through communicating with the 1 family left on my block who stayed behind. Con-Ed still reports to me that my power is OFF.
Terrible. With all of the social networking you use Paul, you would think you would have used it to communicate in an effective, useful, manner. There could be real time updates and information so that those who had the means to connect could get helpful useful info.
and this "In response, both Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner, a Democrat, and a spokesman for Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, a Republican, said the WestHELP property is in no condition to house anyone and that, even if it were, the county has no lack of rooms for people seeking shelter.
"The place isn't ready for occupancy," said Feiner in an email.
Feiner said the 108-unit WestHELP facility needs to be cleansed of mold and that many of the units don't have sinks, bathtubs and other necessary fixtures. The town, which has a 30-year lease for the facility, has issued a request for proposals from private companies to convert the property into affordable housing, he said."

REALLY? What would it take to organize a team to go in and clean it so that people can at the very least have a temporary place to stay and I don't just mean the people of Greenburgh! I have been staying several miles from Rockaways/Breezy and I can tell you that these people need places to stay. Some are trying to find rentals and places in classrooms for their children. The efforts by the general public downstate put this town's efforts to shame.

Also, for people without power here with pets this has been a particularly bad nightmare. Why haven't they been able to find help? Why hasn't the town contacted the vets, animal hospitals or shelters and organized an effort to temp shelter pets so that PEOPLE can find places to stay as they have been told they can not accept pets?

I have rotting food from 2 refrigerators and 1 freezer in my driveway. Friday is my usual pickup. I dragged it to the curb and them realized that today is recycle? Wow. I just dragged the stinking mess back. TUESDAY is my next pick up. Is it too much to ask for the town to be proactive enough to realize that thousands of residents without power have rotting food laying around and efforts should be made to change garbage pickups?

I could go on but I will stop here. The Town of Greenburgh has NOT DONE enough.

I will extend my help in anyway possible to anyone in need. Please feel free to contact me @ pattymcguire@gmail.com and I will do my very best to help get you info, offer you a warm bed, food, clothing, gas, check on your home, pick up your mail, clean up your downed trees or seek out a generator for you.

DBsRedVett:

Day 11 or 12 lost count still not power..... We had the same up here on South Healy, my neighbor and I where worried about this older gentleman down on S. Healy, she went to see if he was ok. He stood there in a bathroom freezing, shaking, guess he was trying to eat in the dark, cause had food all over him. We call Services, they sent an officer, they gave him a blanket and left him there. Still the next day we talked about him, at night she was worried, she cooked up some canned soup, went down to him, sat in his kitchen with him, a flash light, while on the phone with Paul Feiner, he had officers there, but took an hour, they took him out and brought him someplace. Barney's sister called and said because of his meds. he is 88 years old, they brought him up to Mount Kisco Hospital where he will stay until power comes back in our area. We only know of this gentleman because of our walks with the dogs, we would always see him alone. Mr. Feiner, I don't always stick up for you, Here I Will, other town manners I can't every since the town did us wrong up here on Elizabeth Street. We still have lots of people here refusing to leave, they are all worried about there homes, we only rely on ELECTRIC, we have no other source, like most home with Gas, for some reason, Con Ed has always refused to run gas lines to this area, maybe now Mr Feiner can get on there backs out this, it's only about 18 homes. And we have lost power with every storm now, after the first big snow storm back in 2010, something needs to be done

Dean T:

I can't express enough my gratitude for ECC's help, especially since I live 45 minutes north and suffered through the storm as well.

But it saddens me to see this kindness turned into a political statement. My father has always been fond of Paul and has appreciated his support for Hartsdale residents and businesses.

Paul worked hard to secure the assisted living places and he has no control over Con Ed. This is an unusual case requiring unusual equipment that is hard to acquire or move in a pinch. I am sure that the Town's seniors office, County Office of the Disabled or the State could improve their response. This should be a teaching moment and a moment of appreciation for ECC, but not a political moment.

GeoffLoftus:

Paul, if what's said about you is true and it's relevant to the story (and Aubrey Graf-Daniels's comment about your chain e-mails is both) then it's not a personal attack. It's a statement of fact. Just because you don't like the fact doesn't convert it into a personal attack.

paulfeiner:

The town has tried hard to give attention to the elderly/disabled.
We have a house angels program--have over 25 residents who have offered their homes to the elderly/disabled who are out of power. Some have even picked up the elderly--driving them to their homes. Last weekend I spent over six hours at the Greenburgh Library --matching up some of the elderly with house angels.
I have contacted assisted living facilities - some of the frail elderly have temporarily moved into these units -receiving services until their power is restored.
We have opened up a shelter at the Theodore Young Community Center and multipurpose center that has provided shelter for the elderly. Those with special medical needs should contact the police -they can provide families with recommendations that could be helpful.
Our staff and I have personally contacted the elderly offering help.
I have reached out to Con Ed to also provide special help to those who are bed ridden.
The ECC should be commended for helping the Travalino's. They are terrific people. The ECC is wrong about trying to turn something nice that they did into a personal attack.

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