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Lackawanna Day 3: Mayor questions lack of state help

The New York National Guard, which has been assisting with snow removal in South Buffalo, had not yet made it to Lackawanna late this afternoon, but Mayor Geoffrey M. Szymanski said he was anticipating their arrival within a few hours.

“The National Guard, right now they’re working on some disasters in Cheektowaga with flat roofing and seniors. When that situation is (taken care of), they’ll be heading in our direction,” Szymanski said.

Earlier, the mayor had expressed frustration the National Guard’s focus appeared to be solely in South Buffalo, at the expense of other snow-impacted communities, like his.

“It’s aggravating a lot of residents, not just in Lackawanna, but throughout, because only South Buffalo was hit hard in the city,” he said then.

A few hours later, Szymanski said the state was really beginning to “step up.”

“The governor’s office has been in constant contact with myself and my commissioner. It’s just a matter of timing and other situations that are constantly popping up during this disaster everywhere,” the mayor said.

“We, also, are constantly adjusting to stituations as they arise, which sometimes alters the direction we are trying to go in, because we have so many emergencies to take care of,” he added.

Meanwhile, some Lackawanna residents are taking extraordinary measures as they attempt to respond to an unprecedented emergency situation.

Tommy Hagemean said he shoveled five feet of snow in front of his home, as well as the home of an elderly neighbor, despite, himself, wearing a pacemaker.

“I’ve got to watch what I’m doing with the shoveling and everything,” he said.

John Dorowski, who lives across the street from Our Lady of Victory Basilica, was shoveling his driveway while wondering how he would bust through to the street.

“Thank God I was able to get gas for the snow blower. What can you do anyway? There’s no place to go because there’s a driving ban,” he said.

On Colton Avenue, a stone’s throw from Lackawanna City Hall on Ridge Road, was a solid mass of snow. That didn’t keep Fred Johannes from shoveling around his house, where his car was buried in white while maintaining a positive attitude while waiting out the snow.

Szymanski said city crews have been doing what they can to make progress plowing through Lackawanna’s snow clogged streets, particularly the major arterials, including Ridge Road, Abbott Street and South Park Avenue, which are partially open, but only for emergency vehicle access.

Efforts have even begun to start clearing some side streets. He also expressed gratitude to the Town of Tonawanda highway department for the loan of a loader and dump truck. The said he also was awaiting the arrival of contractor from Albany to provide additional help.

– Harold McNeil