Entries in Superstorm Sandy (13)


Statue of Liberty Reopens on Fourth of July

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the first time since Superstorm Sandy, the Statue of Liberty opened to visitors on July 4.

According to USA Today, the first ferries to Liberty Island arrived at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday with guests able to purchase tickets via the Internet, over the phone or in person at the ferry station.

While the statue and its base were not damaged by Sandy, the docks and pathways were flooded and required repairs. The framework of the statue itself enabled the monument to withstand the intense winds, says USA Today.

USA Today also reports that access to the crown of the statue was sold out for Independence Day. Lines on Thursday stretched for blocks with people trying to catch a ferry to Liberty Island.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


First of 26 Newtown Memorial Playgrounds Opens

iStockphoto(SEA BRIGHT, N.J.) -- The first of 26 planned memorial playgrounds in honor of each of the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting was unveiled in Sea Bright, N.J. on Saturday.

The playgrounds are part of “The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play,” which is spearheaded by New Jersey's Firefighter's Mutual Benevolent Association. They are building the playgrounds both to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, and to help revive communities that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.

More playgrounds are planned in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut communities that are still recovering from the hurricane.

The playground that opened Saturday in Sea Bright honors special education teacher Anne Marie Murphy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Man Arrested Climbing Storm-Tossed Roller Coaster in NJ

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J.) -- New Jersey police arrested a man on Tuesday who scaled an iconic Jersey shore roller coaster that was swept out to sea following Superstorm Sandy, and planted an American flag.

News 12-New Jersey identified the man as Christopher Angelo, 38, who told the station he was trying to raise awareness for victims of the storm.

A police boat met Angelo as he walked to the bottom of the coaster.  The boat brought him ashore, where he was handcuffed and arrested.

The Jet Star, already a Jersey shore landmark made popular by the MTV reality show Jersey Shore, gained new fame when it was tossed into the sea during the storm.

Last week, Congress passed a $9 billion relief package for East Coast areas affected by the storm, after the House balked on voting for a $60 billion aid bill.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


ASPCA Helps Superstorm Sandy Victims Reclaim Missing Pets

ASPCA(NEW YORK) -- Three months after Superstorm Sandy made landfall, devastating parts of New York and New Jersey, thousands of victims still await aid from the government, while lost animals wait to be found by their owners.

Now, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is encouraging pet owners uprooted by the Oct. 29 storm to visit its temporary shelter in Brooklyn, N.Y., and reclaim their missing pets.

“After 45-plus days in an emergency shelter environment, these pets really need to get in a home,” said Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA Field and Investigations Department.  “It’s not healthy physically or mentally.  We’re trying to get these guys out of here and get them into forever homes.”

At last count, there are 137 pets awaiting possible reunions with their owners.  So far, the boarding facility has been successful in reuniting many of the pets displaced by Sandy.

Six weeks ago, the ASPCA opened the boarding facility as a temporary emergency shelter serving the needs of animals seven days a week in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.  About 300 pets -- mostly dogs and cats -- were taken in.  As the shelter prepares to close down its temporary operation, Rickey and his team are trying to find these pets permanent homes.

“We’ve talked to folks who have been struggling for the last month and a half and come and get their pet,” said Rickey.  “For some, tonight will be the first night their family has been complete since Superstorm Sandy hit.”

In the days after Sandy, when pet owners weren’t walking through the doors, the not-for-profit corporation took a grassroots approach to connect owners and their pets by posting flyers, creating public service announcements and uploading photos of lost animals through the website Animal Care and Control of New York City’s lost pets.  As the ASPCA winds down its Brooklyn operations, it’s also encouraging owners who are unable to come to the shelter to search online for their four-legged companions.

“We want to give residents every opportunity to be reunited with their pets,” said Rickey.  “We’re hoping to see a lot of folks throughout the weekend.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


House Scraps Vote on Superstorm Sandy Aid

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a surprise move, the House of Representatives will not vote on Superstorm Sandy aid in the 112th Congress, a GOP leadership aide confirmed late Tuesday evening.  

A vote to provide aid to victims affected by the storm could come later this week during the 113th Congress, leaving lawmakers to start from scratch on a resolution to the standoff.

After the House passed the “fiscal cliff” deal, members from Sandy-stricken areas on both sides of the aisle took to the floor to decry the lack of action.

“We have millions of our fellow citizens who have been badly damaged by a storm called Sandy,” House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said on the House floor.  “Overwhelmingly the United States Senate passed some relief.  I can’t remember a time when we had a very serious storm, tornado, fire, flood where we did not act.  This Congress is apparently leaving town without responding to that emergency.”

The Senate has already acted to provide $60.4 billion to the region.  But many House Republicans outside the damage zone believe the price tag is too high and includes extraneous spending.

“I’m here tonight saying to myself for the first time that I’m not proud of the decision my team has made,” said Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.  “It is the wrong decision, and I’m going to be respectful and ask that the speaker reconsider his decision.  Because it’s not about politics, it’s about human lives.”

In remarks on the House floor, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called the decision “absolutely inexcusable, absolutely indefensible.  We cannot just walk away from our responsibilities.”

Members of Congress booed inside the chamber as the House adjourned near midnight.  The House meets on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. for legislative business, although the floor schedule is unclear.

“The people who have been damaged by Sandy…should be deeply disappointed and yes angry that this Congress would adjourn without addressing the pain of our fellow citizens,” Hoyer blasted.

“I would hope this decision would be reconsidered.  I would hope that we would say to those citizens: we’re here for you, one country, one nation,” he added.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Growers Seek Help Getting Christmas Trees to Sandy Victims

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Christmas tree growers Rob Brown and Don Hilliker had an idea: They would gather Christmas trees from their fellow New York farmers and send them to victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York City’s devastated Staten Island.

Friends and colleagues all agreed it was a great idea and the plan was a go, until Brown reached out to agencies on Staten Island to distribute the trees.  No one seemed to be able to help.

“Right after the hurricane, I called down to the Staten Island Fire Department,” Brown told ABC News.  “I tried two or three times.  But for a while they had no power.  Later, I tried again and was referred to the disaster relief down there.  I was tossed around between several people but was never told anything except that it was a good idea.”

Brown, who has farms in Norfolk, N.Y., understood that Christmas trees were the last thing on relief workers’ minds.

“I didn’t know anyone down there.  I thought I was talking to the right people, but they were just overwhelmed,” said Brown, who’s now in the middle of the busy holiday season.

Brown and Hilliker are longtime members of the Christmas Tree Farmers’ Association of New York.  They have a network of growers to supply the trees for free, and many of them have already agreed to help.  They already pitch in for the annual Trees for Troops program which ships Christmas trees around the globe to members of America’s armed forces.

One association member, Kay Moore, of Groton, N.Y., said she thought Brown and Hilliker had a great idea.

“When we learned what happened down in New York City, we knew we’d help in any way,” Moore told ABC News.  “All growers feel for those who might not be able to have a proper Christmas this year.  If we can help make sure a family has a happier Christmas, we’re going to do it.”

Despite the roadblocks, Brown said he believes his evergreens could make a difference.  If word gets out, he says, the Christmas trees will reach Staten Island.

“I heard over 2,000 had lost their homes and everything else they had and, come Christmas, it’d be nice for these people to have a fresh, green Christmas tree during the holidays.  We just need someone on the ground who’s willing to distribute them,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Superstorm Sandy: Pets Displaced by Storm Get Help in California

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sixty cats and dogs orphaned in Superstorm Sandy are getting a new home, three thousand miles away from the disaster zone in Southern California.

Southwest Airlines and Seaworld teamed up to fly the animals to the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter in California.

“Thousands of animals lost their homes and so we need to move these animals to a shelter on the west coast so we can make room for some of the Hurricane Sandy animals,” said Suzanne Pelisson Beasley of Seaworld.

The flight crew and veterinarians donated their time to ensure the furry four-legged friends arrived safely to their new home.

While the orphaned pets were adapting to their new home, celebrity chef Rachael Ray and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opened a 20,000 square foot shelter in New York to help animals left homeless by the storm.

“The goal is to provide the people who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy an opportunity to bring their pets in and board them for up to 30 days and really just focus on getting their lives back together,” said Tim Rickey, spokesperson for the ASPCA.

To date, Rickey said the organization has helped nearly 16,000 animals in areas affected by Sandy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Long Island Power Authority Head Resigns Amid Sandy Criticism

Long Island Power Authority(NEW YORK) -- The head of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) is stepping down amid widespread criticism of the company in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

In a statement Tuesday, LIPA Chairman Howard Steinberg said Mike Hervey's resignation as chief operating officer will be effective at the end of the year.  Hervey has been with the company for 12 years.

LIPA has received much flack for its slow response in restoring power to more than a million customers after Sandy struck the area on Oct. 29.  As of Wednesday morning, more than 8,000 customers still remain in the dark.

The company said on Tuesday that it had restored power to 99 percent of customers who are able to safely receive power.  But for about 35,000 others who are in flooded areas, customer repairs will need to be done first before LIPA can turn their lights back on.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Children of Couple Killed by Sandy to Benefit from $50K in Donations

Courtesy Wish Upon a Hero(NEW YORK) -- Zoe Everett said she was sitting in her Rutgers dorm room studying for a test on the night superstorm Sandy blew into the East Coast and changed her life.

"Before Hurricane Sandy I was a typical 19-year-old student at Rutgers," Zeo Everett wrote in a post on Wish Upon a Hero's website.  "But then came October 29th.  I was studying for an exam, waiting out Hurricane Sandy and then I received a phone call.  At 11pm on October 29th, I found out both of my parents had been killed."

Everett, 19, the oldest sibling of the Everett family of Randolph, N.J., wrote that her parents, Rich and Beth Everett, were killed by a falling tree on the night Sandy hit the East Coast.

According to news reports, the Everetts were driving home in their pickup truck with their two youngest children from the horse farm the family ran, after checking on the horses as the storm approached.  A gust from Sandy blew a 100-foot-tall tree onto the cab of the truck, killing both of her parents.  Her brothers made it out with minor injuries.

"I finally made it to the hospital in the morning after battling with Hurricane Sandy all night. I  was no longer your typical 19-year-old.  A moment in time, a second of bad luck, changed my life and my sibling's lives forever," she wrote on Wish Upon a Hero.  Everett's siblings are ages 17, 14, and 11.

Employees at the website heard about the Everett family's tragedy from a friend of Everett's.  The website, based in Vorhees, N.J., is a "social helping network," according to founder Dave Girgenti, where people can post their wishes and a description of why they are deserving of donations, and others can donate.

The network sprang into action.

"She's overwhelmed, not only just with losing your parents, but you don't even know where to begin.  She's 19 years old, trying to go to college, and now has the burden of being both mom and dad with three siblings to take care of," Girgenti said.

The staffers, who had never met or spoken with Everett, posted a description of her and her siblings' plight, asking for $5,000 to help the New Jersey siblings buy food and pay bills while they settle their parents' affairs.

Within 24 hours the site had raised more than $50,000.

"We didn't realize we were going to raise this much money," Girgenti said.

Everett and her siblings declined to be interviewed for this article, but she said in a statement that the family was grateful for the generosity.

"On behalf of my siblings and myself, I would like to express our sincerest thanks for the overwhelming support and generosity shown to us.  Wish Upon a Hero has raised funds for my family that have exceeded our wildest dreams," she said.  "The donations have ensured our well-being for the next few months and will hold us over until we are able to access our own funds."

Everett said the children would strive to be as "benevolent and giving" as their parents, and so they would not accept any further donations.

"My family's needs have been met.  We would like to draw attention and further donations to other individuals whose needs have not yet been met," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New York City, Long Island Impose Gas Rationing System

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York City and Long Island drivers will have to check their license plates before attempting to get in line for gas in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Beginning Friday morning, drivers with license plates ending in an even number will only be able to fill up their tanks on even-numbered days; those with license plates ending in an odd number can get gas on odd days.  Vehicles with license plates ending in a letter or other character will be able to buy gas on odd-numbered days.

Commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses and paratransit vehicles, Medical Doctor (MD) plates and vehicles licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission are exempt from the gas rationing system.

"Last week’s storm hit the fuel network hard -- and knocked out critical infrastructure needed to distribute gasoline,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday.  “Even as the region’s petroleum infrastructure slowly returns to normal, the gasoline supply remains a real problem for thousands of New York drivers."

With more than 500,000 customers still living without power in the region, many also need the fuel to keep generators running in these frigid temperatures.

"We have to do something," Bloomberg said.  "This is practical and enforceable and a lot better than doing nothing."

"I think that makes sense.  I think that should have started from the beginning.  I think it would have eased up, and you wouldn't of had this these long lines," a Queens, N.Y., driver told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV.

The long lines for gas are eerily reminiscent of the dark days of the 1979 energy crisis under President Jimmy Carter -- the last time a gas rationing system was put in place.

Officials said something needed to be done so everyone -- both drivers and people using gas to fuel generators -- can have their chance at a fair share.

"This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance, so the lines aren't too oppressive and that we can get through this," Bloomberg said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie implemented a rationing system shortly after the demand for fuel became too great.  Christie has said that the new rules have curbed lines from more than three hours to under an hour.

The rationing system comes two days after a nor'easter blew through the area, knocking out power to those who just got it back from superstorm Sandy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio