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Obama to see New York's Sandy recovery work

A tree fell onto a house in Ronkonkoma,

A tree fell onto a house in Ronkonkoma, a common sight throughout Long Island in superstorm Sandy's wake. (Oct. 31, 2012) Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Residents in 34 Nassau County school districts will get a 21-day extension to pay school taxes under an executive order Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is set to sign Saturday in response to superstorm Sandy.

School-tax payments due on Tuesday will now be due Dec. 4, Cuomo said in a statement obtained by Newsday. The school districts had requested the interest-free extensions, Cuomo said. He said more districts might be added retroactively.

"This action will help provide extra time and extra peace of mind to many of those New Yorkers whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Sandy," Cuomo said.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama will be in New York on Thursday to view recovery efforts, White House officials said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama will meet with affected families, local officials and first responders.

Cuomo this week estimated damage and economic losses from the storm could total $33 billion in New York State.

Obama traveled to New Jersey on Oct. 31 to meet with Gov. Chris Christie and toured damage areas on the coastline. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg turned down Obama's offer to visit New York during that trip.

As the recovery entered its 11th day Friday and about 150,000 LIPA customers remained without power last night, Cuomo said no "definitive" figure is available on the number of people affected by superstorm Sandy. Aid requests to the Federal Emergency Management Agency may help to determine that figure, Cuomo said. In New York, 154,000 FEMA requests have been filed, he said, adding "that number will go up."

There were some small advances Friday in the recovery effort. Long Beach declared it was safe to drink water from its public system, damaged during the storm. The city's sewage system, which also was damaged, has been restored to 90 percent capacity, officials said.

On Fire Island, year-round residents will be allowed to return to their homes Saturday for the first time since Sandy struck, Town of Islip officials said. A 10 a.m. ferry will depart from the Bay Shore Ferry Terminal to carry residents to such communities as Kismet, Saltaire, Ocean Beach and Fair Harbor.

Residents may visit their homes for four hours to survey damage and retrieve personal belongings. Fire Island fire officials and state troopers will be at the ferry terminal armed with a list of year-round residents, said Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci.

Brookhaven Town said it also was permitting visits Saturday by ferry to its communities, including Davis Park, Cherry Grove and the Pines. The homeowners do not have to be year-round residents, because most of the town's residents with property on Fire Island are seasonal, said Brookhaven acting supervisor Kathy Walsh.

The state Department of Labor and its Suffolk County counterpart said they would hire temporary workers to help in the Sandy recovery effort. The work will consist of removing debris and clearing roadways, among other projects.


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