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All posts in 2013

01 Jul 2013

Shore Roundup: Fireworks galore all along the shore and ‘Sippin’ on the River’


Fireworks explode over the casinos in Atlantic City in 2012. (File Photo)

There may still be rubble on the ground in Union Beach and Sea Bright, but this week the night skies are going to glimmer festively in the recovering towns. The two boroughs will glow with epic holiday fireworks displays, big shows that are actually sparking concerns about traffic and crowd control.

Tonight, thousands of shells will be launched from a barge near the Driftwood Beach Club in Sea Bright, creating a fantasia of sparkling lights on the water for a charity fundraiser. Although spectators must purchase tickets to watch at the Driftwood, the patriotic pyrotechnics can be viewed for free at the public beach and other spots around town.

“This is either the first or second largest show in New Jersey for the holiday week,” said August Santore of Garden State Fireworks, a company that has produced hundreds of shows, including KaBoom, a Fourth of July fete in Red Bank that was discontinued last year.

30 Jun 2013

Long-term recovery groups gear up to plug funding gaps for Sandy victims

A sign stands in an empty lot on Brook Street in Union Beach six months after Hurricane Sandy leveled the neighborhood. (Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger)

County-based organizations are weaving together a safety net to help storm victims who have exhausted their financial options yet still find themselves short on what they need to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

The long-term recovery committees established in New Jersey at the recommendation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency aim to plug the holes in funding not filled by insurance settlements, federal grants and other resources. Once the size of those gaps are clear, the recovery groups — funded, in part, with money from the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund — hope to fill them.

15 Apr 2013

Home for disaster relief volunteers receives grant from First Lady’s charity

 mary-pat-christie-hurricane-relief-fund.jpgFirst Lady Mary Pat Christie talks about the grants the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund has distributed so far after touring a hub for disaster relief volunteers in Point Pleasant Beach today.

For a week at a time, dozens of volunteers assisting with disaster relief along the Jersey Shore call the second floor of the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church’s education annex home.

With a grant from the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, church officials hope to make that space a bit more comfortable.
The charity, which is chaired by First Lady Mary Pat Christie, awarded the church $31,300 to help renovate the bathrooms, among other upgrades, in a round of grants distributed earlier this month. The Rev. Carl Wilton led Christie on a tour today of the church’s facilities, which can sleep up to 36 volunteers on bunk beds.

20 Jan 2013

Sandy aid network sends funds to neediest N.J. victims as rebuilding begins

mary-pay-christie.JPGNew Jersey’s first lady Mary Pat Christie is shown in this file photo. The New Jersey Relief Fund, put together by Gov. Chris Christie and chaired by Mary Pat has received $31 million in donations so far, 

In the early days after Hurricane Sandy, the Robin Hood Relief Fund and other foundations relied on word of mouth and chance encounters to get money to the neediest people. But as emergency relief evolves into long-term recovery, a more organized network of aid in New Jersey is starting to emerge.
“We’re coming into the recovery and rebuilding phase,” said Cam Henderson, executive director of the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. “The first two months after the storm is the relief phase. Now we’re in the long process of rebuilding. We have a lot of organizations who are getting more organized and systematic about how they’re providing services to folks. We look forward to being a part of that process.”

The New Jersey Relief Fund, put together by Gov. Chris Christie and chaired by his wife Mary Pat Christie, has received $31 million in donations so far, Henderson said. In its first round of grants, which will go out by early- to mid- February, the fund is awarding $1 million to long-term recovery committees.