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October 31, 2012

Cleanup, restoration efforts in high gear across Merrimack Valley


“I wasn’t as worried about this tree as that one,” he said, pointing to a blackened, leafless oak which he said has been dead for at least two years. “I’m going down to pay my taxes today, maybe I’ll mention this to someone.”

Donvito, of Linwood Terrace, said the town has been pretty good at identifying and removing old trees, but that many of the maples planted in his subdivision 50 years ago are ready to be taken down, or at least be inspected.

Trees were down all over the Merrimack Valley, leading to traffic and power troubles for many.

Dozens of trees down in Methuen

In Methuen, according to Public Works Director Ray DiFiore, there were about 50 trees down as of midday yesterday, and 10 streets blocked. Tree crews were cutting up the trees, with the assistance of two, private tree-cutting contractors. The disaster even left City Hall in the dark, with a generator providing enough juice to power phones and some computers, but little else.

DiFiore said a skeleton crew of department heads, mayor’s staff and public works employees were taking care of business as best they could, with all non-essential employees sent home at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, as a service to residents, the city’s landfill will stay open for extended hours through Saturday so people can drop off yard waste and tree debris. The landfill will be open until 5 p.m. all week. There were about 3,000 customers without power in Methuen as of midday yesterday.

Lawrence police and fire departments reported no major problems overnight. There were still spotty power outages throughout the city and other cases, where actual electrical boxes that were ripped off homes needed to be reinstalled by electricians.

“Things are actually in pretty good shape ... Things lined up pretty well for us,” said Fire Chief Jack Bergeron.

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