The Scotia-Glenville high school gym was not squeaking with the sounds of basketball shoes this past weekend, but was instead being used as a temporary shelter after more than 35,000 Schenectady County residents lost power in an overnight ice storm on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 11 and 12.
While many Scotia-Glenville residents did not lose power, they provided relief to harder-hit neighbors like Niskayuna and Rotterdam.
About 30 people spent the night at the high school on Friday, according to Siobhan Kent, communications associate for New York's Northeastern division of the Red Cross. Kent said the school was a safe central location that still had the lights on and was able to provide a warm place for people, particularly the elderly and those with young children.
We had people spend the night, as well as those who just needed to warm up for a short time. The district and county worked well together, and we were able to respond quickly for Schenectady County residents, said Kent.
Kent said that an agreement is already in place with the high school as part of the county's emergency management plan so when a crisis arises, emergency services know where they can set up shelters and where they can get food donations in order to serve meals. Kent said the county served more than 400 meals over the weekend.
Major traffic lights were out in the Scotia-Glenville area, including the intersection of Interstate 890 and Route 5.
Matthew Rocco, an employee at General Electric, said that rush-hour traffic on Friday did not ease the situation.
"For the most part people were treating it like a four-way stop, but it was still somewhat chaotic," said Rocco.
Scotia residents Danielle and Jesse Roylance did not lose power over the weekend, allowing them to open up their home to Niskayuna family members who were affected. Roylance's brother in-law Jon Goyette said that his 4-year-old daughter Lauren looked at it like a weekend sleepover with cousins.