Nearly a week after Hurricane Sandy and with a harbor suffering from nearly $30 or $40 million worth of damage, Atlantic Highlands Borough Administrator and OEM Coordinator Adam Hubeny finally got some good news.
Thompson Electric trucks—three of them—rolled past his office in the municipal building on First Avenue Saturday morning. The biggest need Hubeny had at that moment could be summed up in one word: “Electric, electric, electric,” he said.
Electric for residents to feel normal again, electric to light up the unique restaurants and charming boutiques on First Avenue, and electric to fully assess and clean up the damage to the Atlantic Highlands harbor.
“It’s this guy,” Atlantic Highands Councilman Peter Doyle said, crediting Hubeny with keeping the town’s post-Sandy efforts moving. Hubeny dismissed it immediately.
“Our employees are doing a tremendous job. They’re working 12-hour shifts. They’re really dedicated. We have six employees who have lost their homes to flooding and yet they’re still working. That tells you about their character right there,” Hubeny said.
The town was fortunate compared to neighboring Bayshore municipalities, but it has a long road ahead, according to Atlantic Highlands Harbor Commission Chairwoman Jane Frotton. It was Frotton, retired from the Red Cross after a 30-year tenure, who placed the harbor damage at $30 or $40 million--not including the damage to the boats that were tossed around like toys in the parking lot. Two of the town's iconic restaurants, the Shore Casino and Sissy's at the Harbor, were throttled by the storm.
“It reminds me of the disasters I used to go on, from California to Puerto Rico,” Frotton said.
Even after the 1992 storm that devastated the harbor, she never anticipated something like Sandy in her hometown.
“No,” she said. “Not like this.”