Flooding in Colorado – September 2013

9/13/2013 Devastating Colorado Flooding – UPDATE!!!

An update from an Empire State College CDL student, Anthony J. Francher:

Much of Colorado is flooded and damaged, Estes Park is a unique story because it is a true mountain town. The flooding begins and passes through this town and destroyed many structures roadways, water systems. The issue at hand is that we are now close to the terms of an “island.” There are 4 ways in and out of Estes Park, CO: Hwy 34, Hwy 36, Hwy 7, and Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain NP and over the continental divide. That route closes at night because at the 12,000′ + elevations, we accumulate snow and ice and they must close it. RMNP is going to continue to work with local authorities to keep it open as long as possible. There are sections of the road that are beginning to break as well.

It will be a bottleneck driving and transporting food and supplies into Estes via TrailRidge and takes an extra 6-8hrs going all the way around the Rocky mountain range and then up the west slope and over into Estes. I will try and keep you updated. There are at least 17 individuals uncounted for not including some fire and rescue personnel in the canyon of HWY 34.


More photos, courtesy of Anthony Francher:

truck driving through cracked road









Here is a message from one of our CDL instructors/mentors:

February 12, 2013: I am at “ground zero” in Boston.   Never lost power, thankfully.   However, we are into our 4th post-blizzard day w/o our Boston city back street having been plowed yet (as are 1/2 of city residents).  The drifting was so bad that the 600 pieces of snow removal equipment of which the city boasts consists mainly of plows, which are essentially useless against 4-5′ drifts.   Thus, heavy front loaders and trucks to haul away the snow are very, very slowly trying to clean side streets of the city (already quite narrow as they were originally formed from cowpaths back in the 1600’s)   

Thanks for asking,
Glenn I.

Message to our instructors, from David Caso

Hello Instructors!

As you are likely aware, a major storm has hit the Northeast impacting large numbers of people. 650, 000 households were without power on the weekend. Although power companies are trying to get power back to people, it is a slow process.

Have you been affected by the storm? Please let us know how we can support you.

As you are interacting with students, please be conscious of this and remain sensitive to their circumstances with an appropriate amount of flexibility. As we become aware of student impacted by the storm we will contact you. In the meantime, contact us with any questions by contacting cdlinstructor@esc.edu or calling 800-847-3000 ext 2270.

Update from David Caso, December 11, 2012

Just sharing with you an update from David Caso, Director of Student Services from Center for Distance Learning:

I am writing to briefly update you on the experience we have had with students affected by Hurricane Sandy and to ask for a few minutes of your time with a brief survey. First, a few tidbits I thought you should know…

  • The Center for Distance Learning communicated directly with over 1,200 students who were in affected areas.
  • There were 5 faculty affected who teach/Mentor for CDL for at least a portion of their responsibilities
  • Ultimately the college  secured $120,000 to donate to students college wide who are in need, this included cash and books
  • CDL was able to support nearly 100 students who had requested money/books through us
  • Special accommodations were made for students in a variety of circumstances
  • Support was shown for affected instructors while they were recovering

Students have been very grateful for the support.  To help us get a more complete picture of your experience, please take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Sandy_Follow_up

Thank you for your time and dedication to your students. You have certainly helped ‘make lemonade out of lemons.’


Resources and financial assistance are available!

Empire State College is here to support YOU during this difficult time!

We are here to support the college community affected by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. A website,  http://www.esc.edu/hurricane, has been created to help those facing the unimaginable hardships caused by Hurricane Sandy.  

On that website, you will find the different kinds of resources and assistance such as: (click on each link for more information)

Emergency Educational Grant (due November 27, 2012 at 5PM),

General Disaster Relief Resources – phone numbers, hotline, restoration centers

Health and Mental Health Resources – for faculty members, staff and students 

Emergency Housing – locations of emergency housing/shelters

Food Resources – food programs and hours

Financial Assistance – for those affected by the hurricane

There is also a link for those who wish to offer their help:  http://www.esc.edu/hurricane/help-opportunities

From Marnie Evans, Metropolitan Center in New York City

Nothing is “back to normal.” Hurricane Sandy has affected some Empire State faculty, professionals and staff too! On November 8, 2012, Marnie Evans, Director of Academic Review at Metropolitan Center, NYC shared with us what she has experienced:

There was a difficult time with no water, power, heat, elevator or Internet.  Luckily my land line worked, so I had a telephone, and I have friends who never lost any services and after two days I went there for a visit and a meal, so my inconvenience was not what many faced.  Our services at home came back on Friday night.  The office was not open until Tuesday, so I’m glad to be back at the office with some semblance of normal days.  After two days I went to a friend’s apartment for a shower, a visit and a HOT meal, but then was home to track the phone and sleep.  Cold, but connected with family and friends.

Sharing the experiences and thoughts: November 6, 2012

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is still affecting many of our Empire State employees and students. There are 900 students who live in the affected areas. As of November 6, 2012 we have received more than 300 responses to a survey that was placed in the announcement section of ANGEL for our faculty and students to fill out regarding their experience after Hurricane Sandy.

 In the survey, we also asked if anyone would like to share with us their experience, feelings and thoughts; and here are some from Empire State College students:

November 6, 2012:

In these trying times, we need to be patient with one another.  Even those, like myself, who did not lose any loved ones, possessions, or power, we need to remember we are also experiencing stress and to give ourselves time to recover too. Thank you. – Michelle Hampton, student

Hurricane Sandy has once again shown/reminded us of how vulnerable we are to nature’s wrath. In a moment our lives can quickly transform from reality to nightmare and finally history. The things we cherish daily can be gone in a flash and the most painful part is the permanent injury to people or loss of lives. Homes, cars, furniture, and other objects are replaceable, human lives are not. So, we shouldn’t focus on the loss of these items. Let’s pick up the pieces, rethink our strategies to combat future hurricanes and rebuild on higher ground in some instances. We are hurricane survivors, New Yorkers and can make it happen! – Linval Taylor, student

Writing you actually made me feel better for now, at least. There are people further south of Baldwin NY who have been hit harder, much harder. – Azima Lewis, student

There are some things I would like to express. First, how frightening it was after the few days without service, no access to gas, a limited amount of food and loss of complete access to communication services. Yes, I initially had food but after a few days all the food in the freezer had thawed, so it to be thrown away. It is still somewhat chaotic. Gas is being rationed and there are still those without electrical service. I was finally able to contact my family, get some sleep and of course access the internet, but I am still a little concerned about the gas rationing and possible getting some assistance to have the food which was lost replaced. – Cynthia Coles, student

Thanks for touching base & the offer of assistance. – Joy Wilhelm, student

Sharing the experiences and thoughts: November 5, 2012

At the beginning of November 2012, a survey was placed in the announcement section of ANGEL for our Empire State College faculty and students to fill out regarding their experience after Hurricane Sandy. 

Some of the respondents would like to share with us their experience, feelings and thoughts (permission granted by respondents):

November 5, 2012:

My teachers were compassionate about the situation. And living and working in the New York City area, it was very welcomed and comforting knowing that they were and are on my side with all the support. – Mark Apostol, student

Lost cell phone service and since I have phone, cable, Internet with my cable company EVERYTHING was out of service so as of yesterday 11/4/12 just got back service and was able to start my classes thanks for asking. – Vincent Novelli, student

For all those students and families who are still without power, and a place to call home, my heart and prayers go out to you.  Stay strong! – Arlene Schouenborg, student

Hurricane Sandy was an experience I will never forget. I live in Manhattan across the street from the East River and looking out my window and seeing the water covering the cars in front of my building and just praying that everyone is safe.  Going through this, not having power, my cell phone service was not working, hot water and having your food getting spoiled because of the power being off makes me appreciate what I really have.  I am so grateful that my family and I have made it through and we are safe and healthy.  Now we are trying to adjust back to our normal life and still waiting for all the power.  The neighborhood needs so much work but I am sure things will get better. – Jacqueline Barrer, student

I really miss not being able to do my schoolwork at home at my own desk.  Maybe ESC should set up a cloud storage area so we can access our completed work remotely if power is curtailed to our normal devices. – Alice Townsend, student

Thank you ESC faculty for checking on us in the Tri-State area affected by Hurricane Sandy. Your concern is much appreciated. – Angela Wallace, student

Thanks to all the people who are out helping the helpless. – Christine Chang, student

For six days I was without power, going to sleep early, one would think you wake up well rested…. but every noise startled me… makes you doubt if you actually locked the doors.. I did learn how to navigate in the dark and found that it’s probably the only time I did not need my glasses…. We made it through this one, now let’s see what happens this Wednesday…– Eileen Green, student

It was a scary moment.  You usually take things for granted and brush off warnings as I and my family did.  It could have been worse, but we are grateful to our friend and family that supported us in those moments of need. – Madeline Gonzalez, student

I view this as a test of strength and will.  Our ability to look outside the box when our normal view is skewed or blocked. – Stephen Gervasi, student

This has been tough, not so much on me but lots of folk in Staten Island and close to the water.  We as a nation need to think how to manage the rising tide of water, climate change and what NYC will do. – Matthew Parisi, student

The entire Westchester county and the City and Staten Island need help. They need more than just blankets. They need shelter and a place to stay. They are living in devastation. We need the power back on in these areas. It is getting dangerous in intersections. They need help. We gotta force the power companies to work harder to get these people back to normalcy. It’s almost been a week… – Gabrielle Finly, student

Long Island, particularly the Babylon area where I am from, was extremely devastated.  I was actually fortunate in that my property was not heavily damaged or flooded, but we still lost all of our power, heat, hot water, food, cell service, etc. I also lost use of my car and was stranded for several days in my cold, dark house. Friends of mine actually living right on the water have lost so much more. Some have lost their entire life’s worth of hard work, memories and other valuables.  As difficult as it is to get past your own hardships, being cold and hungry and feeling helpless, it is also very trying and emotional draining trying to be there for your friends and loved ones that are in worse situations than yourself. All I can say is please pray for all of us that have been so hard-struck by this catastrophe. – Linda Hearon, student

Students: sharing our experiences and thoughts – November 4, 2012

At the beginning of November 2012, a survey was placed in the announcement section of ANGEL for our Empire State College faculty and students to fill out regarding their experience after Hurricane Sandy. 

Some of the respondents would like to share with us their experience, feelings and thoughts (permission granted by respondents):

November 4, 2012:

After my family and I have regained our power last night and we were finally able to have Internet and television, we realized how lucky we were by just losing power and internet. Our hearts, prayers and thought are with all the people that have suffered even more devastation. My family and friends in NY, NJ – we are thinking of you all and hoping for the best. – Rosemarie Fitzsimons, student

Please keep Staten Island, my community in your prayers.  Any donation is GREATLY needed.  We got hit VERY hard.  Many lost lives and many lost their homes. – Carol Competiello, student

I am glad that my family and friends were not hit as bad as many families that were closer to the coast. – Mallory Maitland, student

I live in Brooklyn.  I have many friends and family living in New York and New Jersey.  The devastation was/is horrendous.  If you can donate even just a dollar to relief efforts, it would be greatly appreciated. – Carmella Dellaporte, student

Our family is all alive. We will get the power back soon. We are very lucky. Prayers to all that are in a much more serious situation. – Debra Rissetto, student

The worst part of the whole storm, for me, was that my father (who I haven’t seen in almost 2 years) was planning on visiting me in NYC for the first time. Our family time was marred by power loss, and all-round chaos. – Anna Ficek, student

Wednesday afternoon, I returned home after three straight days in Manhattan. My town had received extensive damage from Sandy. I did not realize the difficulties my wife and daughters had endured when the police evacuated the general area. Being stuck at work I was unable to help my family. We are not in a flood prone area and I thought they were safe at home. I am also a volunteer fire fighter in a neighboring town and when my fellow fire fighters heard the evacuation message for my block, they arrived with my engine, made the scene safe for the evac. and helped my family out of the house. It was not just me, it seems when natural disasters occur, people band together. It is when supplies run short do we see them turn on each other. Ever wait for gas two and a half hours? – Michael Pariti, student

I am okay. My tree fell on my neighbor’s new extension. Some families in my neighborhood lost all their possessions. I have been lucky. – Theresa McCarthy, student

I wish for everyone who lost their home or a loved one during this time.  Just know that God is able and he will see you through this very difficult time.  – Marion Johnson Herbert, student

Sandy took a lot from so many in my area. I’m lucky to be able to have my home, with minimal damage.  Power is wonderful, but if I need to go without it, so that others can get the help they need, so be it.  Please do all you can to support the true victims of this storm. Thank you. – Barbara Davis, student

Hurricane Sandy was called category one hurricane with the pressure of a category 4. The span of distance and speed of traveled making this a worry. As I am an emergency response team member we all mobilized and was on standby. We watch as homes caught on fire. Flooding increased by the minute. Power going out and people looting. Lastly the worst of all – death. The increasing struggle leading to people to give it all they got or some ways exhaust all resources. Repairs are being done at the fastest possible before the rebuilding. For some lost all they had. My uncle is a NYPD officer as well as other family members and he lost his home. We weren’t worried about the home, just him. Day in and day out I have worked hard and pushed myself beyond the limits. We had to deal with heart aches, being shot at, fights, comforting, threats and more. A lot of people didn’t heed the warning yet evidently there are more worries than what meets the eyes. Fought long and hard so none of us are planning to give up now. – Daniel Gonzague, student

I hope that the ESC faculty, students, and staff are safe and sound. – Kathleen MacIntyre-Ross, student

This experience has been more testing than I ever could have imagined.  If not for the kindness and generosity of friends and relatives, I surely would have lost more than just the frozen goods in my refrigerator and a few strips of siding on my roof.  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. – Vinita Kapoor, student

I feel compelled to report on my sister’s situation. She resides in Staten Island, NY where Sandy storm hit pretty hard, leaving my sister, nieces and my 3-year old nephew on a shelter for two days due to flooding and no power. They are currently staying with in-laws and they were unable to travel upstate to my home due to shortage of gas. In the process my nephew became very ill due to his epilepsy and was admitted to hospital for two days. After 4 days, I can sleep for I know that my family is safe and warm. However, my sister and I have donated to others who have suffered long term lost. Despite this brief adversity, we feel blessed. My prayers are with all those families who are still trying to find a positive solution in Sandy’s aftermath. – Marines Hernandez, student

Adversity brings us together