Eintime Conversion for education and research 06-18-2007 @ 04:58:10
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New Jersey cleaning up from deadly nor'easter

By Wayne Parry, Associated Press Writer

ATLANTIC CITY — As floodwaters from a brutal nor'easter slowly receded in parts of New Jersey, disaster response teams fanned out to begin the process of tallying the damage.

Five days after the storm hit, its wrath was being felt in ways big and small — from neighborhoods in Bound Brook and Paterson where some residents were still unable to return to their homes, to a West Windsor library where a rare collection of documents on the history of broadcasting was soaked and in danger of being lost.

The death toll in New Jersey rose to three when a body believed to be that of a 44-year-old Mahwah woman was found in a submerged car in the Ramapo River.

Police said they believe the body retrieved from the vehicle on Wednesday was that of Mary Patricia Wagner, who had been missing since Sunday as she drove home from a party.

As of Thursday morning, there were 1,037 residents still living in emergency shelters due to the storm, and 40 communities — most on or near cresting rivers — remained under a state of emergency.

"The water is receding, but it's going to be a long process," said State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones.

Parts of several major highways also remained closed due to flooding, including routes 23, 46, 80, 280 and 20.

Acting Gov. Richard Codey formally asked President Bush to declare New Jersey a federal disaster area on Wednesday. If the president approves, the state would receive emergency aid to help clean up damage from the storm and help displaced residents.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which inspected hard-hit Bound Brook on Wednesday, sent six teams to Bergen, Passaic, Middlesex, Essex and Burlington counties on Thursday to help tally damages to public and private property.

Burlington has counted $7.7 million in damages, county spokesman David Wyche said. The toll includes damage to Mount Holly's municipal building, where the police department was flooded. Dams, roads and bridges also suffered damage from the storm, he said.

Just outside Princeton, the building housing the David Sarnoff Library took on nearly two feet of water in its basement — a level the staff had never expected.

The water damaged a rare collection of laboratory notebooks, technical reports, manuals, and manuscripts from the early days of radio, television and electronics.

The library rushed to hire a document repair company to try to dry them out and save them.

"We saved these files in the first place because of their importance in documenting the birth of modern communications, from broadcast microphones to color TV picture tubes, from satellite communications to the microchips that surround us in cars, computers, and cellphones," the library's director, Alexander Magoun, wrote in an e-mail seeking donations to offset the cost of the emergency repair work.

"These unique collections represent the patrimony of RCA staff creativity in research, development, engineering, and producing the communications and information technologies used around the world."

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