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North state workers assisting in hurricane recovery

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Approximately 30 state Department of Transportation workers from the Watertown region are working in the downstate Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.

DOT spokesman Michael R. Flick said seven crews were dispatched Monday to a staging area at Poughkeepsie. From there, he is unaware to what distressed areas they were assigned.

The Watertown region of the state Department of Environmental Conservation is sending up to 15 people, with their numbers to vary, possibly on a daily basis, said spokesman Stephen W. Litwhiler, with one of the concerns being the hazards of water contamination in flood areas.

Three volunteers from the American Red Cross of Northern New York have been sent into the stricken area, according to Jane G. Gendron, director. They are disaster relief workers, she said.

Any people who anticipate being sent downstate will have an opportunity Saturday to cast their ballot for Tuesday’s election. The Jefferson County Board of Elections announced it will be open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday to allow those people to do absentee voting.

Mr. Flick said load haul, chipping and tree crews were sent, taking a small fleet of trucks and necessary equipment, including portable traffic signals, message boards, cones, barrels and barricades.

“We were getting crews prepared for deployment prior to Monday,” Mr. Flick said, getting the fleet ready to travel and determining what personnel would be available.

More people are in waiting to make the trip to relieve those now working in the relief effort, he said.

Mr. Litwhiler said DEC has up to nine vehicles and trailer equipment on the detail on Long Island and in the Metropolitan New York area.

“Operations staff are operating pumps for pumping out water and cutting up downed trees,” he said. “Environmental conservation police are assisting with public welfare tasks, and forest rangers are assisting with incident command in Albany and on Long Island.”

He said one of the tasks Friday was setting up temporary tank storage for fueling equipment for relief efforts.

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