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North Salem Daily Voice serves North Salem, NY

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Behind the Scenes at the North Salem Shelter

NORTH SALEM, N. Y. - North Salem’s official town hall team is still operating from the Daniel Road NSVAC building. Supervisor Warren Lucas, Chief of Police Tom Howley, Highway Superintendent Ward Hanaburgh and Town Clerk Veronica Howley were settled into working spaces on the second floor. Meanwhile, NSVAC Captain Maria Hlusko was manning the busy phone and NSVAC President Kurt Guldan was doing anything and everything else.

Downstairs, a dozen North Salem residents -- just a few of the 1,888 who were still without power Tuesday night -- were established at tables, using cell phones and Wi-Fi. One man commented, “This is my office now.”

Outside, Receiver of Taxes and Ladies Auxiliary member Karen Roach, was giving information and directing traffic as people arrived in search of ice and water. “For me, the worst part of being ‘powerless,' is not being able to wash my hands,” said Diane Finnegan, waiting for ice.

The night before, longtime resident Arthur Klamka, dropped in to cook seven marinated racks of lamb for a hungry audience.

North Salem resident Rocanne Iarriccio, who owns the catering company, Daily Dish, came to Daniel Road with food donations and whipped up some lunches and dinners as well.

Iarriccio’s omelets were “the best I ever tasted,” said shelter-seeker Maria Kucer. “You take five ingredients and make a meal. Someone brought in some cucumbers. Rocanne looked at them, said, ‘They’re right from the garden,’ and in five minutes she made cucumber salad. People were nuts about it.”

“Food makes people feel better,” said Iarriccio. “There are very few essential things in life. Gathering around a fire and eating -- that’s how civilization started.”

Patricia O’Neill was driving by on her way to Woodstock about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday when the radio announced that the eye of the storm was approaching. “Then I heard on the radio that there was a shelter at the North Salem Ambulance Corps. I went there and knocked on the door. The man who answered (Kurt Guldan) said, ‘Are you driving? Come in and make yourself at home.”

O’Neill ended up staying three days. “Everyone was wonderful -- Pete, Kurt, Maria, Karen -- everyone,” she said. “What a sense of safety and security. I’d never met anyone here, but now they are my family.”

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