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$2M grant to help cover Irene cleanup costs

More than $2 million in federal grant money is coming to Hempstead Town to cover cleanup costs in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last summer, according to a joint statement from New York’s two senators.

Democrats Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand Friday announced a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to cover 75 percent of the town’s debris removal bills.

Irene’s high winds and heavy rain last August toppled trees and downed power lines across Long Island, leaving about 450,000 residents in the dark. Two weeks later, Tropical Storm Lee dumped more rain on the area.

Resulting damage — $68 million on the Island — was particularly bad in Hempstead, Schumer said. “This money will ensure that Hempstead is compensated for the vast majority of their debris removal expenses that went toward Irene cleanup,” he said.

Hempstead isn’t the only Long Island town receiving FEMA funds. Brookhaven and Smithtown last week secured $4.3 million and $1 million, respectively. The agency also awarded Suffolk County $1.7 million for debris removal.

“This funding will provide much needed relief for Long Island families and businesses,” Gillibrand said.

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