Irene: One Year Later - Rebuilding in northern NY - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Irene: One Year Later - Rebuilding in northern NY

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UPPER JAY, N.Y. -

Bob Trumbulls lived in his home in Upper Jay, N.Y., for 65 years. Then Tropical Storm Irene came through.

"It certainly has been an upheaval," Trumbulls said.

The 90-year-old now lives in Elizabethtown. He loves the new cabin in the woods far away from the Ausable River, but misses home.

"When you raise seven children in a home, there's another value that you can't replace," he said.

The Trumbulls are one of more than five dozen families in Essex County to ask for buyouts from FEMA. They were offered a home buyout after a major flood in 1996, but didn't take it because their home meant so much to them.

"Probably if I think now, it would have been the smart thing to have done," Bob Trumbulls said.

The town of Keene was also hit hard by the storm and has for the most part rebuilt. But some homes still need some work and others are just completely gone.

"The atmosphere is very positive," said Bill Ferebee, R-Keene Town Supervisor. "Again, it's a tight community, they're just looking to get back to normal; their sleepy little town."

But the future of the town's fire station is still up in the air. Half of it washed away during the storm. FEMA approved nearly three quarters of a million dollars to help rebuild a new $2 million firehouse on safer ground. But days before the ground breaking, FEMA took half of the funding away based on a technicality that elected officials say is unfair. The news means the firehouse may not be built until next year. Right now Keene's fire trucks are being stored in various barns and garages around town.

"And that all equates to response time. When you need these guys you need them now, not an extra three minutes to go get their trucks," Ferebee said.

The United Way of the Adirondacks says even a year later hundreds of residents still have unmet needs as they try to recover from the storm. That's why it has formed the Long Term Disaster Recovery Group.

"Anything from physical damage to emotional needs, to housing issues, to all kinds of human service needs," said John Bernardi of the United Way of the Adirondack Region.

While Bob Trumbulls is glad to be in a home where flooding will never be an issue again, he is sad to leave the community where his family has lived since the Revolutionary War. A road is even named after them.

"I don't think it will ever be quite the same," he said. "And I think Upper Jay is a town that is gone."

A storm that even as time goes on will never be forgotten.

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