Sunday, November 10, 2019

“Disaster Recovery Coalition honors Van Scoy, Thyren for service - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader” plus 1 more

“Disaster Recovery Coalition honors Van Scoy, Thyren for service - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader” plus 1 more


Disaster Recovery Coalition honors Van Scoy, Thyren for service - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Posted: 13 Sep 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Jan Thyren and Gary Van Scoy were presented with the Community Partner Award from the Disaster Recovery Coalition of Luzerne County at a breakfast meeting Friday at Holiday Inn East Mountain. Mike Zimmerman, outgoing CEO at Family Service Association, right, presented the awards. Jan Thyren and Gary Van Scoy were presented with the Community Partner Award from the Disaster Recovery Coalition of Luzerne County at a breakfast meeting Friday at Holiday Inn East Mountain. Mike Zimmerman, outgoing CEO at Family Service Association, right, presented the awards. -

PLAINS TWP. — The Disaster Recovery Coalition of Luzerne County on Friday honored two of its dedicated volunteers for their years of service in the aftermath of the 2011 flood related to Tropical Storm Lee that devastated several towns along the Susquehanna River.

Gary Van Scoy and Jan Thyren were each presented the Coalition's Community Partner Award.

"Gary and Jan helped many people whose homes were severely damaged," said Mike Zimmerman, outgoing CEO at Family Service Association. "By volunteering their time, Gary and Jan not only helped people, they helped rebuild communities."

Zimmerman said the Disaster Recovery Coalition of Luzerne County ties together an existing, proven information and referral service, Help Line, with the Luzerne County Long-Term Disaster Recovery Case Management service, to provide a complete wrap-around of services available to people who experienced flood-related losses in Luzerne County.

One of the programs initiated by the Coalition and with the approval of the Federal Emergency Management Agency — was the House Harvesting Program.

Zimmerman explained that house harvesting began in October 2013, and the Coalition has removed items from more than 25 homes across Luzerne County. The items were first stored at Trion Industries, then taken to 10 different communities — across eastern and central Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey — to aid in rebuilding efforts in areas affected by storms Irene, Lee, Sandy, and other similar disasters.

The items harvested from homes scheduled for demolition included doors, windows, paneling, electrical panels, furnaces, hot water heaters, light fixtures, ceiling fans, kitchen cabinets, counter-tops, sinks, baseboard heaters, showers/tubs, toilets and carpeting.

"The items harvested totaled more than $650,000 in value," Zimmerman said. "Items were sent to Sonestown, Elysburg, Mount Carmel, Paxinos, Shamokin, Catawissa, Eagles Mere, Hillsgrove (all Pennsylvania) and Crisfield, Maryland (Superstorm Sandy)."

Zimmerman said when the coalition was formed, he called Van Scoy, having worked with him as a disaster volunteer with the American Red Cross.

"Gary had served during the (Hurricane) Katrina and 911 response, as well as many others," Zimmerman said. "He had a solid background in disaster response and was a natural for the position with the Coalition as disaster case manager."

Zimmerman said Van Scoy received training on long-term recovery through the United Methodist Congregation.

Zimmerman said Thyren served as the volunteer coordinator, responsible for recruiting and housing for the volunteers who came from across the country to help in the recovery.

"Without the two of them working so closely with UMC and FEMA, we would not have been as successful as we have been," Zimmerman said.

Jan Thyren and Gary Van Scoy were presented with the Community Partner Award from the Disaster Recovery Coalition of Luzerne County at a breakfast meeting Friday at Holiday Inn East Mountain. Mike Zimmerman, outgoing CEO at Family Service Association, right, presented the awards.

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

Fountain City couple fights mold in their apartment - WATE 6 On Your Side

Posted: 21 Jan 2019 12:00 AM PST

A couple in Fountain City has been fighting mold in their apartment for more than a year. It's not a small amount of mold. The damp environment has taken over nearly every wall in their small unit.

The couple says the apartment is unhealthy, but repairs are underway.

In some cases, mold in your home can make you sick, especially if you have allergies or asthma. Whether or not you're allergic to mold, exposure can irritate your eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs. 

Darrell Mull has been fighting a losing battle in beating back mold that has spread throughout his apartment. 

"It's breaking the wall, it feels damp to the touch and the carpet stays wet," said Mull.

Mull is disabled. He contracted viral encephalitis at the age of 16. It's an inflammation of the brain caused by a virus.

"This mold started shortly after the bedroom flooded the first time. You can see, it kept growing and growing and growing," said Mull.

The walls in the living room and dining area are covered in mold too. It's apparent that water has seeped in behind the walls.

"You can see it's a flimsy as a piece of paper. It's all wet. It's no good," Mull said.

Mull and his girlfriend live in Fairhill Apartments.  He pays $450 a month rent for the one bedroom, one bath unit. 

"I'm congested. My nose stays stopped up. I get headaches," said Mull.

There is no central air or heat in the apartment.  Mull says his original apartment managers brought in baseboard heaters last year. Mull says only one of them works.

"Countless things have been ruined," said Mull's girlfriend Heather Burnham. "I have a cat. It has breathing problems because of the mold. It's just not safe for anybody to live here, sleep here and breathe this in."

Burnham says the mold is everywhere.

"There is mold above the door, there is mold in the kitchen. It's everywhere. The corners are the worst because the condensation just builds up," she said.

Knoxville's Codes Department ordered the management at Fairhill Apartments to fix things in October 2017. They were supposed to repair water leakage in Mulll's apartment, fix the heating and air system,  and replace the wet carpets, among other things.  

"That was under old management. They came out made a list of everything that needed to be done, said they had 120 days. Nobody ever fixed anything," said Burnham.

Mull received this letter from Rand Properties at the end of December. It says Mull's apartment complex is under new management. The letter said repairing and upgrading the complex would be made over time. Mull said he called new management, but received no timetable.

"You're on the list," Mull said he was told. "I said, what does that mean? He said, we'll get to it when we can."

Two weeks ago, WATE 6 On Your Side went to the local office for Rand Property Management where we met with two managers. They emphatically said Mull's apartment is "going to be repaired," that "fixing the interior and exterior" of the building is a "priority" and is "on the schedule."

Within days, Rand Property Management had a team or workmen at the complex. Rand said its crew is "working diligently to fix maintenance issues," which includes "water proofing the foundation wall, "removing "all water damage items" inside the units.

Rand Property Management said it's "invested" in "conducting business in an ethical manner." to create "clean, safe, and affordable housing."

"They told me they were very upset with the conditions we were living in and told me that they would make sure everything would be fixed," Mull said.

Mull is expected back in his apartment by the end of this week.

Rand Property Management said they made a visual inspection before they purchased Fair Hill Apartments, but was unable to address any issues until they officially owned the complex, which happened on December 28. 

Mull says Rand Management is keeping him up to date on progress being made to his apartment and is grateful. Rand says other units in the complex that need repairs will be taken care of as well.

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