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Diner Debris Cleanup Gets Delayed by Asbestos Regulations

Kerhonkson, New York – Carol Mitchell, the owner of destroyed Rainbow Diner, lost love as well as livelihood when her diner burned on 2nd July.

Almost 6 months after that, Mitchell is stuck with all those damage still – without any fire insurance or ending in sight.

Mitchell, who is 27 years old, attempted to get rid of the mess along the major thoroughfare of Kerhonkson. Then a contractor said he was ready to remove all those debris from the burned site, but in exchange for authorization for selling the scrap metal. Mitchell thought that was fine.

“I was removing the diner for our community as quick as I was able to. I tried to get rid of that,” Mitchell said.

However, the state DoL (Labor Department) halted that work. The July demolition was halted by the Labor Department. They also stopped all the works till an authorized asbestos abatement contractor comes in handle the area. What resulted was a gridlock.

Mitchell says an asbestos abatement contractor would cost at least $80000, which she is not able to afford. In addition, the two-acre parcel along Rte 209 would cost $53800, according to town overseer Carl Chipman. Therefore, the problem remains as it is.

“I am doing the very best that I can. It is not a nice picture,” Mitchell said. She was operating the Rainbow Dine with her hubby George Haralobopoulos.

Elected authorities complain that the state was uncooperative as well as unresponsive regarding the needs of the community.

“There is a greater hazard to our people from the trash and the rats than that could have been because of asbestos,” said Chipman.

According to the state, it is just looking out for people’s well-being.

“Those steps were essential to make sure that the public is safe,” said Leo Rosales, the spokesman representing the state Labor Department.

Terry Bernardo, the county legislator, says asbestos should not be allowed to become airborne if it really poses a health threat.

The gridlock would be broken down if the asbestos treatment requirements are waived by the state – as what was done for Hurricane Sandy victims – or if public funds are available for cleaning up asbestos.

Still, there is likely no money from the state to be used for this, says Kristen McManus of the office of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill.

Mitchell hopes to know by this month end whether a public assistance or a waiver would be made available for her.

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