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In one N.Y. town, Sandy took out power but not ingenuity

October 31, 2012|By Brian Bennett
  • An electrical transformer and power lines rest in the yard of a house in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Massapequa Park, N.Y.
An electrical transformer and power lines rest in the yard of a house in the… (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )

BABYLON, N.Y. -- Mike Haynes' phone keeps ringing. He is a real estate appraiser and super storm Sandy has made him a wanted man. Many pending real estate transactions in the area require another inspection, to make sure the storm didn't do enough damage to change the value of the house.

The power is still out in his part of town. To keep his phone charged -- and the calls from banks and agents coming -- Haynes has run an extension cord from his neighbor's generator across a few puddles into his house.

Set on a rise 250 feet from the Atlantic Ocean, Haynes watched water rise on three sides of his house Monday night as Sandy came ashore during the peak high tide.

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It was eerie, he said, because the rain never came down hard, but the water came up quickly, a storm surge pushed by an extreme high tide and topped by 20-foot waves.

Haynes' son, Max, 6, and daughter Riley, 4, slept through the whole thing.

"Kids are  resilient and they get used to anything," Haynes said. "As long as you have a good supply of candy and a battery-powered DVD player."

But kids also get antsy. So Haynes was relieved when he heard Max's Tae Kwon Do instructor, Master Kim, was opening the gym in town for workouts.

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Electricity isn't necessary for martial arts, apparently. With the doors open to let in light, Yong Hwan, 30, a two-time national Tae Kwon Do champion in Korea, led Max and three other kids in a vigorous workout Wednesday afternoon.

It was the only storefront on Babylon's main drag that was open for business. Relieved parents watched as the kids jumped, kicked and rolled on the blue and white mats.

"We're blessed," said Noel Skelton, 41, watching his 4-year-old, Joel, launch a high kick. Power has been restored to Skelton's house further inland, and he just picked up his mother. She didn't want to be alone in the dark any longer.

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brian.bennett@latimes.com

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