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Online Resources Increased in Mendham Borough

Additional hours for web updates, new shelter options all part of post-Sandy planning.

In the hectic hours that followed Superstorm Sandy’s devastation of the area, residents of Mendham Borough were looking for information and guidance on where they could get warm, what roads were open and the status of the power restoration efforts on the borough website.

However, the site was not updated during the storm.

“The website wasn’t updated because we didn’t have the power or the manpower to update it,” Henry said at the Nov. 5 meeting of the Borough Mayor and Council.

Responding to that need, Henry said at last week’s meeting of the mayor and council that the borough had assigned extra hours to an employee already on the payroll who will be updating the site regularly.

“We understand now the need to get the information out and reach people’s smartphones,” Henry said.

Henry said that the borough website now has a new sections where residents can sign up for an e-mails list and that the borough will continue to expand their social media presence and research new information delivery systems in order to make sure they keep in touch with their residents. 

Indeed the Mayor's Message on the front page of the site was updated with new information shortly after Thanksgiving and the scrolling banner on the top of the page trumpets the latest updates.

Henry also said on Nov. 5 he would like to see Town Hall open as “a place to get warm and charge up their phones and get information.”

Administrator Ellen Sandman said that despite the hazardous conditions after the storm, Town Hall was open for residents and she was there at her desk.

“It was dark and cold, but we were open,” Sandman said.

Sandman handed out her personal cell phone number to residents who came in for information and the staff did their best to provide residents with information the old fashioned analog way.

Whether or not Town Hall received a generator and becomes a warming station or not will be part of the upcoming meetings the borough plans to have to dissect the storm and the aftermath.

“In the coming weeks we are going to have meetings to discuss what we did right and we could do better,” Councilman Brad Badal said.

Mendham Borough resident Laurie Felber asked it the Garabrant Center could be set up as a shelter in the future.

“We owe a big thank you to the Sisters of Christian Charity for the warming center and I enjoyed taking a nice warm shower there,” Felber said. “But can Garabrant ever be used a warming center? This is a nice central location and with trees and lines down it could be a place people could walk to.”

Badal said that option would be “on the table” during the planning meeting.

chris nicholson November 30, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I saw Ellen Sandman in the parking lot of borough hall at 7am the morning after Sandy hit. She lives in Denville!!! Can't even imagine how long it took her to navigate her way through downed power lines and trees. If this isn't dedication to the community she serves then I don't know what is. Way to go Ellen, Mendham loves you.
Melissa November 30, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Mendham is lucky they had any shelters/warming stations/food service/showers, etc. the residents had not only sisters of christian charity but also had the Brookside fire house - there are MANY OTHER TOWNS who didn't even have that!!
MHRC November 30, 2012 at 07:56 PM
The Mendham Health & Racquet Club had its power restored the Friday evening following the hurricane, and they opened its doors for non-members to take showers, charge up electonics, warm up, have free coffee and tea, and share humor and support with others. We wish to commend everyone who took advantage of this "open house", as everyone who showed up was respectful and helpful and just plain nice. The club wishes to let everyone know that should a similar situation arise in the future then the club will once again open its doors and welcome the general public. Please pass this information on to your neighbors and friends. Thanks, John Tiscornia, owner.
ron simpson November 30, 2012 at 09:32 PM
sure wish I knew about MHRC and Brookside. couldn't signs have been posted?? next time... btw, melissa, exactly how does that information enlighten anyone?
Russ Crespolini (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Hey Kenzie, Interestingly enough all four of the towns I cover are discussing the posting of signs for future disasters. While we published the information about the shelters, warming stations and open businesses on our site, many people lost internet and smart phone capability as the days dragged on. Signs may be one of the changes we see in the future. Thanks for commenting. :-)
Barbara December 01, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Russ- Rotary Clubs and the Red Cross have been partnering on disaster plans around the US. We don't need to reinvent a wheel here. This is just one of dozens of articles explaining how this works. http://www.boothbayharborrotary.org/RedCrossShelterTeam.cfm

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