Morning coffee is good sign as Stewart’s reopens in Schoharie

For 50 days, Vicky Palmatier has missed out on a bit of normalcy — a cup of coffee from the neighbor

For 50 days, Vicky Palmatier has missed out on a bit of normalcy — a cup of coffee from the neighborhood Stewart’s Shop — that was taken away from her and hundreds of others by Hurricane Irene.

Today will mark the end of that loss as a new Stewart’s Shop opens its doors at 4:30 a.m.

“It’s going to bring a lot of normalcy back, it’s going to be a big party, it really is,” said Palmatier, who is used to getting a cup of coffee each morning.

Hurricane Irene took out three gas stations including the Stewart’s — two remain closed. The Stewart’s on Main Street was put out of commission and ultimately demolished.

The loss has meant traveling out of town just to get some gasoline and small items like a loaf of bread.

“It’s not easy to just run and grab it out of town,” said Palmatier, president of the Schoharie Little League; he has been busy trying to put the village ball field back together.

Today marks the second post-flood re-opening of a retail store on Main Street; the Little Italy Pizza and Pasta restaurant opened up a couple weeks ago, Village Clerk Leslie J. Price said.

Price said other operations are working toward reopenings, including the J. Lacy Hair Salon she owns on Main Street. The salon was another victim of Schoharie Creek that swept through, reaching the village swimming pool behind the Schoharie County Office building, which remains closed. The post office farther down on Main Street is serving customers as well — albeit devoid of sheetrock on the walls, Price said.

The Stewart’s company purchased a flooded-out home next door to the shop and demolished it as well as the store, making way for a bigger, better one, Stewart’s spokesman Tom Mailey said. “It’s going to allow us to really serve the community better.” There was little if any debate about rebuilding a store in an area that’s seen flooding and could see flooding again, he said. “It’s the right thing to do when you have a place and you’re part of a community.”

A grand-opening celebration will be held at noon on Saturday, according to Stewart’s, including 5 cents off a gallon of gasoline and food specials.

Those affected by Hurricane Irene face an Oct. 31 deadline to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for possible assistance. This includes those who may have insurance money coming, but don’t yet know how much.

“Registration keeps open the possibility of a wide range of assistance,” FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Philip E. Parr said in a news release.

“If your insurance coverage comes up short, or other damage appears later, you need to be registered with FEMA to be considered for disaster assistance.”

Those unsure how to register can take advantage of a Mobile Disaster Recovery Center opening up Friday at the Wal-mart Parking lot in Cobleskill. It will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day through Oct. 24.

Representatives from FEMA as well as the U.S. Small Business Administration will be there to assist flood survivors. Disaster survivors are being urged to apply for SBA loans which are considered the primary source of long-term recovery assistance. SBA low-interest loans are available to qualified renters, property owners, non-profit organizations and businesses of any size that suffered due to the disaster, according to a release from FEMA.

People are urged to register with FEMA before they go to the mobile disaster recovery center via the telephone or on the Internet. To register, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the week.

Those with hearing disabilities can use the TTY number, 800-462-7585. People can also register Online at, or on a web-ready device like a cell phone at

As of Tuesday, FEMA has approved roughly $81 million in disaster assistance for individuals impacted by Hurricane Irene, according to FEMA.

This includes about $1.7 million in Albany County, $1.68 million in Montgomery County, $1.4 million in Rensselaer County, $3 million in Schenectady County and $8.35 million in Schoharie County.

Categories: Schenectady County

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