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May 4, 2011

Flooding states of emergency extended

County hopes continued struggle will lead to state aid

PLATTSBURGH — Harvey Blanchard had no choice but to flee the flood.

"The water was up to my door, and I have no power," he said. "I had to get out."

He found refuge at an American Red Cross shelter at the Crete Memorial Civic Center.

"Thank God for this place," said Blanchard, 60, who has called Lakeside Apartments on Margaret Street home for the past 15 years. "These people are the best. I eat better here than I do at home."

EMERGENCIES CONTINUE

Heavy rains Tuesday raised water levels again.

City of Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak extended the city's State of Emergency for five days, and Clinton County also renewed its declaration.

States of emergency set to expire were given new life in the Village of Keeseville and the towns of Champlain and Chazy.

Rouses Point is expected to renew its emergency status upon expiration May 7, according to Clinton County Office of Emergency Services.

"Let's all hope for an extended reprieve in the weather conditions in the near future," Kasprzak said.

Effort is ongoing to assess damages that can be submitted to New York state in hopes of having a state disaster declaration made, "and to support a request that has been placed to the State OEM (Office of Emergency Management) for individual assistance," according to a news release.

ONLY A BACKPACK

Blanchard was one of many residents of four complexes on North Margaret Street deemed uninhabitable by inundation, and power was cut off to 101 units in all.

Most moved in with family and friends, but some went to the temporary emergency shelter set up at the Crete.

Blanchard has spent his nights since last Saturday sleeping on a cot there.

"I slept pretty good last night. It's not too bad," he said.

Tuesday, he went to the Salvation Army to get some extra clothes, as he could not get to his apartment for supplies.

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