Schaffer imposes curfew, extends emergency in Babylon

Babylon town supervisor Rich Schaffer announced a dusk-to-dawn Babylon town supervisor Rich Schaffer announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew for neighborhoods south of Montauk Highway. (July 30, 2012) Photo Credit: James Escher

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Babylon town supervisor Rich Schaffer Thursday announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew for neighborhoods south of Montauk Highway. In moves officials said were intended to speed recovery efforts, Schaffer also extended the town's state of emergency by five days and the town board passed an emergency procurement law.

The curfew, which is indefinite, applies to areas of Lindenhurst and Babylon villages south of the highway in addition to the unincorporated neighborhoods of the town. Schaffer said he took the action after Suffolk County police made two arrests in the Fred Shores area for suspicion of looting, though the arrests could not be immediately confirmed with police.

While National Guard checkpoints in the neighborhoods south of Montauk Highway have been removed, he said, regular police patrols will be augmented with 20 State Police troopers in the area.

The state of emergency gives Schaffer the power to extend town workers' hours and will be applied particularly to the Department of Public Works employees working on cleanup.

Under the emergency procurement law, town officials have purchased payloaders, lights and safety equipment without using the normal bidding process. "We don't have the time to bid it out," Schaffer said.

Meanwhile, Federal Emergency Management Agency set up a mobile disaster recovery center behind Bower Elementary School in Lindenhurst where residents can apply for assistance with home damage, lost property or lost jobs.

The center will remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. indefinitely, a FEMA spokeswoman said Thursday night.

Residents should bring insurance coverage information, social security numbers, the address of damaged property and some proof of ownership, such as a phone bill.

Residents said they waited outside in lines Thursday for two hours or more. Residents can also call 1-800-621 FEMA from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. but many in line Thursday said there were long waits to speak to operators.

Residents with smartphones or tables can visit m.fema.gov; online, go to disasterassistance.gov.

The recovery center also has representatives from the Small Business Administration, which provides low-interest loans to people looking to rebuild damaged homes.

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