Irene in their own words
The impact of Tropical Storm Irene is still being felt by the multitudes whose lives were touched.
The Gazette has been bringing you their stories since the rain started falling and continues to provide updates on the recovery process, most recently telling you where things stand one year after Irene's arrival. Our coverage has included extensive reporting in print stories, photographs from every angle and as much video as we could assemble.
As part of our one-year retrospective, we're also trying something new. This anniversary merited the presentation of this story in a new medium.
The newspaper sent me and photographer Patrick Dodson into the field to record and create short video documentaries that are unlike anything we've done before. We came back with some familiar stories of recovery and loss, but we also found some new voices that either haven't been heard before or haven't had this type of platform to speak.
We traveled from Schenectady to Rotterdam Junction and out to Middleburgh. We talked with farmers, business owners, historians and amateur builders.
The first documentary comes from Rotterdam Junction, where a group of historians are working to preserve a large collection of the community's history that was almost lost as a result of the flood.
The second documentary looks at a small neighborhood in Rotterdam Junction, which is still mostly a ghost town one year later, and at a group of people who want to see the area restored and have taken it upon themselves to work toward that goal.
The third documentary reviews the business outlook for Schoharie County, which wasn't too rosy before the flood. Businesses are returning slowly, but main streets all over the county still have a long way to go.
The fourth documentary revisits the Middleburgh farms toured by Governor Cuomo and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last year. In the year since Hurricane Irene, $277 million in direct aid has gone to communities, farmers, local businesses and individuals. Today, farms are regrowing along the Little Schoharie Creek but the families are constantly reminded that the little creek could again overflow with devastating force.