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STORM PREP GUIDE

An Anton Community Newspapers Supplement • October 23 - 29, 2013

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STORM PREP GUIDE - ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - OCTOBER 23 - 29, 2013

Recovery doesn’t wear a watch

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One year after Superstorm Sandy all but destroyed her home, Massapequa resident Beth Henry sits among what was once her living room and kitchen area. A local charitable group has recently completed work on the house’s wood and sheet rock walls, but there’s still a ways to go before the Henrys can call this home once again.

Superstorm Sandy One Year Later By Chris Boyle

Editorial@AntonNews.com

If you feel like you are struggling with coming back from Hurricane Sandy, call Project Hope We offer free, confidential crisis counseling at a time and place that works for you

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For many people, Superstorm Sandy, which brutally pounded much of the Eastern Seaboard late October of 2012, is a distant memory; most have moved on and embraced their daily routine once again, thankful that their lives and homes remained intact after the passing of the historic storm. However, many of these people are unaware of the shocking fact that there many Massapequa residents who are still displaced from their shattered homes thanks to Sandy; fighting against insurance companies, money issues, and the other myriad factors preventing them from regaining the complacent lives they once enjoyed before tragedy embraced their ordinary lives one year ago. “People don’t know because it’s not out there anymore,” said Massapequa resident Beth Henry of the general misconception about the state of Sandy victims. “There are hundreds of people still not living at home...there are multiple houses on my block that still aren’t fixed, and some have even been abandoned by their owners.” As of early October, 2013, Beth’s Forest Avenue home in Massapequa is still a gutted ruin after the ravages inflicted by Superstorm Sandy last year; however, things are finally looking up for her and her family, thanks to a story of charity and old-fashioned hard work and determination.

Beth, New York City school teacher, and her husband, a New York City Firefighter, moved into the house next to her parents after starting a family seven years ago. Originally born in Brooklyn, Beth became a lifelong Massapequa resident at an early age and always knew that she wanted to raise her two daughters here. “I’ve lived here since I was three when my parents moved to Massapequa,” she said. “I grew up here, but I moved into Brooklyn in my 20’s to be closer to work, but we moved back to Massapequa after we had my daughter seven years ago.” Their home, a 2-story ranch-style, was situated three blocks from a canal; when Hurricane Irene struck in August 2011, the Beth prepared for the worst, packing up the family’s car to the roof with many of their belongings as a precaution. “I packed up almost everything we owned,” she said. “My husband thought I was crazy.” Despite their fears, Irene bore them little ill will; the Henrys only suffered some minor flooding in their garage and little else. So, when Superstorm Sandy came around over a year later, Beth said that she took it a little less seriously based on past experiences. “I was concerned only because he had a big tree in the front and I was worried that it would come down on the house,” she said. “I didn’t think we would be flooded, because I grew up in the house next door and we never had a problem in the past 40 years.”

see SANDY on page 3D


STORM PREP GUIDE - ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - OCTOBER 23 - 29, 2013

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SANDY from page 2D Heeding warnings issued by Nassau County authorities, the Henrys evacuated their home, although Beth was more concerned over the minor inconveniences she was expecting from power outages; she never dreamed that her beloved home would be, for all intents and purposes, destroyed due to intense flooding from the nearby canal. “My sister called me to warm me that it was bad...I didn’t have the nerve to come home for a few days after that,” she said. “When I finally came home, I walked in, and there were still puddles in the house. The carpet had crumbled and the furniture was either knocked over or pulled away from the walls...our rear sliding door had broken, so there was glass everywhere. Everything was ruined. We walked into a disaster.” The Henrys also lost a brand-new car to flooding as well, but that misfortune paled in comparison to the near-total loss of a home filled with a lifetime of personal mementos, memories, and keepsakes forever lost to the raging waters that invaded their abode. “I saved my wedding album, and a few scrapbooks and journals from when my children were babies,” she said. “But I lost furniture that my grandparents had bought me, photo albums, videos, clothes, things the girls made...things that can’t ever be replaced.” Since then, the Henrys have split their time living out of an apartment in Copiague and the home of Beth’s patents next door to theirs, which was less affected by flooding due to being a high-ranch style house. Beth said that they attempted to get restoration efforts underway as soon

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At left: Beth Henry stands outside of what’s left of her Forest Avenue home, one year after Superstorm Sandy swept through the area.

as possible, but — as is the case with many with many homeowners displaced by Sandy — issues with their insurance company have created a severe stumbling block. “We estimated our damages at about $100,000, but we only received $51,000...only half of what we needed,” said Beth, whose family has a valid flood insurance policy for up to $200,000. “I tried to appeal their decision, by no such luck.” Efforts by the Henrys to safeguard against future storms have failed, however; plans to raise their home to prevent damage from flooding were thwarted, Beth says, by guidelines put forth by Nassau County. “Nassau has a rule that a lifter has to have five years of experience, and ours didn’t,” she said. “There are only a small handful of house lifters on Long Island, and they were so busy that it would have taken forever to get another one...it just wasn’t meant to be. So, we decided to move on regardless and just get our lives back.” But when things looked their darkest, the Henrys found help in the form a charitable group known

as New York Says Thank You, that helps families throughout the country rebuild after disasters. Beth said that, thanks to the efforts of the volunteer group, who donated workers and materials such as wood and sheet rock, her family is facing the very real possibility of being able to finally move back into their home by October 29- the day, one year removed, from when Sandy first cast their lives asunder to begin with. “It’s been a complete rollercoaster...I was completely devastated for the first six to eight weeks, crying every single day and not knowing what we were going to do,” she said. “But after that, I became a different person. I became pro-active and took over everything for the house,

calling the insurance company, politicians, FEMA. And I also started a Sandy support group called Sandy Support Massapequa Style, which helps people get the information they need, vent their frustrations, and share their stories.” Despite the trials and tribulations she and her family has faced over the course of the past year, Beth has emerged from the ordeal that Superstorm Sandy has put her through as a different, better person; however, she said, her story, and those of other Massapequa residents like her, are far from over. “It’s a cliché, but you could really say could say that this experience has made me stronger,” she said. “But I think it’s important to know that hundreds of people in Massapequa are still without their homes, and that message needs to be out there- that we’re not okay, that we’re not stronger than the storm, and even when we are finally home, many of us are going to have debt.” For information, please check out the Facebook page of Sandy Support Massapequa Style at www.facebook.com/groups/ sandysupportmassapequastyle.

Would You Be Worried About Receiving A Fair Insurance Claim Settlement If You Incurred A Loss?

Published by Anton Community Newspapers Karl v. anton, jr. • Publisher, 1984-2000 Angela Susan Anton • Publisher Michael Castonguay • President & COO Frank A. Virga • EVP of Sales & Operations John Owens • Editor in Chief EDITH UPDIKE • Managing Editor CHRISTY HINKO • Section Editor Tommy Von Voigt • Creative Director IRIS PICONE • Classified Manager JOY DIDONATO • Circulation Manager ON THE COVER Residents of the Rockaways assess the damage left by Hurricane Sandy

132 East Second St., Mineola NY 11501 Phone: 516-747-8282 • Fax: 516-742-5867 advertising inquiries: advertising@antonnews.com editorial submissions: editorial@antonnews.com © Long Island Community Newspapers, 2013

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STORM PREP GUIDE - ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - OCTOBER 23 - 29, 2013

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Hurricane Sandy Anniversary Stirs Emotions

“Once the Presidential disaster declaration was made, the New York State Office of Mental Health October marks the one-year began the process of writing the anniversary of an event that devasgrant request to receive funds for tated areas of Nassau County. As it gets closer to the end of the month, the Federal, FEMA-funded crisis people will be thinking about when counseling program we chose to call Project Hope,” said Gnirke. the winds and water of Hurricane “Since November of last year, Sandy came through their streets, Project Hope has been providing yards and beaches with an unrelenting force that moved houses off survivors with the support, skills foundations and deposited the wa- and education they need to begin to rebuild their lives. ter-soaked remnants of their lives “Our crisis counselors offer everywhere. “Our crisis counselors the support-centered services of find that many survivors are still information, activities and structure. having emotional reactions that include anxiety, sadness, irritability They help survivors regain a sense and anger. In addition to emotional of control by a developing a plan to take care of self-identified needs reactions, some people find that plus they offer a carefully-trained ear they still feel exhausted and have to help survivors sort out their very difficultly concentrating and makreal and very normal reactions to ing decisions,” said Ken Gnirke, the impact Hurricane Sandy has had director of Project Hope, a crisis on their lives and the community counseling program, responding around them,” said Gnirke. to the needs of Hurricane Sandy Offering free, confidential crisis survivors. counseling, the program initially The anniversary has the potential reached into Nassau communities to be an emotionally-challenging and offered survivors a chance to time for survivors and the many talk, learn coping skills and connect people who have worked to rebuild impacted communities, according to with available recovery-focused resources. Gnirke.

By Christy Hinko

Chinko@AntonNews.com

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“What we see for the most part are similarities among survivors. They have suffered significant loss and it is reflected in their emotional reactions. Their recovery accomplishments are out of sync with the hopes, expectations and goals they had months ago so they are experiencing frustration, anxiety and sadness. Sometimes it is difficult for survivors to acknowledge just how far they have come because it becomes overshadowed by the loss or the frustration of not being ‘back to normal’ yet,” said Hymowitz. Crisis counselors from Project Hope find there are still many people struggling with emotions connected to Hurricane Sandy. The program is staffed by a combination of mental health professionals and paraprofessionals who are from the affected community and are sometimes survivors themselves. Project Hope is an outreach-oriented program with a neighbor-to-neighbor, face-to-face approach. Project Hope crisis counselors continue to receive training throughout the program by experts who are part of the Project Hope staff as well as internationally-recognized experts in the field of disaster response. There are a series of standardized training modules that crisis counselors and project administrators are required to complete. The modules teach them about individual and community reactions to the disaster, delivering crisis counseling services and a number of procedure-related topics. Nassau County Project Hope Coordinator David Hymowitz said, “Something like constant media coverage of a possible storm can cause anxiety for someone who may have been personally fortunate during Sandy but saw the damage if caused to the people and communities around them.” The anniversary can be a “trigger” event. Keenly aware of the potential of trigger events, Project Hope crisis counselors reach out to Nassau communities and be available to listen and provide support for those who find they want to talk about the disaster and its aftermath. “For reasons that range from emotions triggered by the upcoming one-year anniversary to simply not feeling as settled as they believed they would by now, we do receive new requests from Hurricane Sandy survivors for crisis counseling services,” said Gnirke. “There are also different triggers that cause an uptick in survivors seeking out crisis counseling for the first time;

sometimes it’s media coverage of a forming hurricane or a special occasion celebration date coming up on the calendar, but often it’s someone just realizing that they need a help to move forward “ Counselors are reconnecting with people they met just after the hurricane to talk and see how they are coping as the anniversary date draws near. They are also present in the community and available to anyone impacted by the hurricane – even if this is the first time they find they are overwhelmed by what they have been through or seen over the last year. “We know people to be naturally resilient and we help them draw on their resilience to help them adjust to their new normal and manage the stress and anxiety that can come with change,” said Gnirke. “So whether the survivor is someone who can benefit from writing a journal or signing up for an exercise class, our crisis counselors help them identify what may work and guide them through the process to make it happen.” Project Hope crisis counselors teach people to cope through a number of means ranging from helping them understand how normal their reactions are to this very extraordinary event to learning how to prioritize tasks. “When people know where to go to get help and they are confident in the resources they have to draw on, adjusting to their new normal can be a bit easier.” Gnirke said adding, “Whether it’s educating them about available services or listening with ears that truly hear what is being said, our crisis counselors are trained to help people understand what survivors are feeling and they are invested in helping them move forward with strength.” Project Hope staff have worked to build relationships within the communities they serve. “From the Massapequa Public Library which provides space for Project Hope to present workshops for survivors to the Bellmore Knights of Columbus who have allowed Project Hope crisis counselors to be on hand at a number of their events, we have been fortunate with community partnerships, said Hymowitz. “As the program phases out over the next four months, community organizations will be well poised to meet the remaining needs of survivors.” A crisis counselor can meet confidentially and free of charge at a time. To be connected with a Project Hope provider agency in Nassau County, call 800-543-3638 or 877-293-3373.


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STORM PREP GUIDE - ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - OCTOBER 23 - 29, 2013

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STORM PREP GUIDE - ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - OCTOBER 23 - 29, 2013

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When The Power Goes Out, Generators Power Up By Christy Hinko

Chinko@AntonNews.com Over the past year, Long Island homeowners have been talking more and more about generators. After what so many of us experienced during Hurricane Sandy (two weeks without lights, anyone?), we know how important it is to be prepared for emergencies, extreme weather and other things that knock out commercial power. Basically, there are three sizes of generators for residential restorative power: portable, mid-size and standby. The portable generator runs on gasoline, propane or diesel fuel, usually with a pull starter. This size is best for simply keeping the refrigerator and a couple of lights running. “Honda has the largest market share in portable generators,” said Dan Preziosi, owner of Chief Equipment in Hicksville. While no-frills models from a range of manufacturers start at $200, small top-of-the-line models (such as Honda’s ubiquitous 2,000-watt EU2000i) cost $1,000 or more.

“Honda makes the ‘run forever’ motor,” said Ron Volpe of Volko Supply in Garden City Park, noting the company’s reputation for small, quiet, high-quality engines. But a portable generator isn’t for everyone. “Very few people keep and maintain a generator properly, unless they are handy,” Volko Supply’s Vicktor Volpe explained. When buying a portable unit be aware that maintenance means keeping the gasoline fresh, changing the spark plugs and starting the engine periodically, just as you would do with a car. The mid-sized generator, usually with a starter battery, is typically temporarily wired into the home’s circuit-breaker panel. While some homeowners make this a DIY project, it really is a job best left to a licensed electrician, as both your insurance company and town building department will agree. A mid-sized unit capable of running about half of a home’s electric needs (bedroom lights and outlets, refrigerator, freezer, television and other small appliances) costs from $500 to $2,000. Figure another $500 to $1,500 for wiring.

The standby generator, or a whole-house unit, is permanently installed and packs automatic selftest features that regularly check to make sure the unit can quickly take over when the home loses power. Detecting a loss of commercial current feeding the house, the generator roars to life. “The installation of a whole-house generator is not as complicated as most folks might think,” said Ron Volpe. These standby units are hardwired into the home’s electric panel with a transfer switch and also, if available, into the home’s natural gas line, as the primary power source. Without natural gas to the home, the unit will run on propane. “The natural gas [standby unit] offers the most convenience if you have that utility coming into your house,” Ron Volpe said. “It’s the way to go, but it all comes down to dollars and cents.” The whole-house unit sits upon a permanently poured cement slab outside the home. A licensed plumber and electrician are needed for this type of installation, and must meet local codes. Permanent units range from $5,000 to $10,000 or more,

depending on whether existing natural gas lines are available. “Generac has 80 percent of the whole-house generator market in the U.S.,” said Vicktor Volpe. Competitors of the U.S.-made Generac units include highly regarded Kohler, as well as Briggs & Stratton, LIFAN, All Power, Yamaha and Duromax. According to Ron Volpe, homeowners choose American-made generators for whole-house duty because of “the overall knowledge of an American company when it comes to wiring into the American electrical grid.” “Homeowners have become more aware of what a generator can do and how important it is to have one in the event of a power outage, since Hurricane Sandy,” said Preziosi of Chief Equipment. Do your research and know what to look for in terms of specifications, he said. “For instance, buy a generator than can handle starting loads, not just running loads.” Don’t be guided by price alone. “Many less-expensive generators can do more damage than the money you save on the initial purchase,”Preziosi said.

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STORM PREP GUIDE - ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - OCTOBER 23 - 29, 2013

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