‘Our hearts are breaking for them’ – Kathy Hochul

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul thanks National Guard members stacking sandbags in Kendall by the Bald Eagle Marina. The National Guard has been helping in Kendall since last Saturday and could be in town for another week.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 May 2017 at 7:26 am

Lt. Governor says eroding shoreline, threatening homes along Lake Ontario is ‘cataclysmic’

KENDALL – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul met with some property owners along Lake Ontario on Thursday, as well as local officials and about 50 members of the National Guard.

One couple from Hamlin told her the lake has been devouring their land, forcing them to cut off their deck after two of their trees toppled into the lake. Rick and Mary Davis said they fear their house is next, as the lake erodes the shoreline.

Hochul said so many other residents are vulnerable from the high waters.

“Our hearts are breaking for them,” she said. “This is their life savings. We cannot solve this problem overnight.”

National Guard members stack sandbags at the Bald Eagle Marina in Kendall, which has lost 350 to 400 feet of its beach. The marina was able to put in a new breakwall after getting an expedited permit from the DEC a week ago.

The lake is up nearly 4 feet since January, and is about 2 feet higher than normal. It is wreaking devastation on the south shore. The Quebec province in Canada also is being inundated with water. Quebec has evacuated nearly 3,000 residents due to flooding. The Lt. Governor said the lakeshore flooding and erosion is a “cataclysmic situation.”

April had record-breaking rain with 6 inches, followed by more downpours in May. Hochul said that rain, plus big outflows from Lake Erie, are the prime factors in the high lake levels, not the controversial lake management plan from the International Joint Commission.

Hochul said it will take a reprieve from the rain to help bring the water levels down.

“We’re doing everything you can but you can’t control the weather,” she said in Kendall at the Bald Eagle Marina. “We’re hitting it from every approach that we can.”

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley meet with members of the National Guard filling sandbags at the Kendall Highway Department garage. These Guardsmen are from the 107th Air Force in Niagara Falls.

The Guardsmen were filling sandbags in the Kendall Highway Department, while another group stacked them near the shoreline to help fight flooding.

Hochul thanked them for their service to the lakeshore residents. The flooding is devastating to homeowners and businesses along the lake. Hochul said the state is bringing in resources from many agencies, including the Department of Environmental Conservation, Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, the State Department of Financial Services, and other state officials.

Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata said many people have stepped forward to help lakeshore residents.

Kendall has filled more than 47,000 sandbags and distributed them into the community. Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata said the flooding has many residents deeply worried as the lake chews away at their backyards, getting closer to their homes.

Cammarata thanked the many residents for helping fill sandbags. He praised the National Guard, and a group of inmates form the Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica. Local businesses, and the Ladies Auxiliary have stepped up providing meals for the people helping with the big sandbag effort.

“We have the whole community involved with this one focus of helping our fellow neighbors,” Cammarata told Hochul and other officials who stopped at the highway garage t see the sandbagging effort.

The town supervisor also praised Highway Superintendent Warren Kruger for managing the operation, which includes a growing list of residents seeking help. Kruger and the Highway Department put a chute on the back of salt trucks, and that innovation has allowed the town to drastically speed up the pace of filling the bags, approaching 6,000 a day.

National Guard members from Niagara Falls fill 50-pound bags on Thursday. The National Guard arrived in Kendall last Saturday and is expected to stay for about another week. There are also National Guard Army units from Geneva and Rochester filling and placing sandbags in Kendall.

“Know that everyone appreciates what you are doing,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul told the Guardsmen on Thursday. “These bags are bringing hope to the residents.”

The National Guard has been in Kendall for nearly a week helping with the sandbag effort. These sandbags are being placed at the Bald Eagle Marina to help fight flooding.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley thanked the National Guard for helping the lakeshore property owners.

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