Smith Visits Monmouth On Sandy Anniversary

Congressman Chris Smith, center, meet with Middletown Administrator Anthony Mercantante, Public Works Director Ted Maloney, Mayor Stephanie Murray and Committeeman Tony Fiore (right) in the Township's new Emergency Command Center on the 2nd Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

Congressman Chris Smith, center, meet with Middletown Administrator Anthony Mercantante, Public Works Director Ted Maloney, Mayor Stephanie Murray and Committeeman Tony Fiore (right) in the Township’s new Emergency Command Center on the 2nd Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

Congressman Chris Smith visited Howell and Middletown Townships on the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy to assess the progress of recovery and determine remaining needs to be fought for in Washington.

Smith joined Mayor Bill Gato and Deputy Mayor Rob Nicastro at the Mariners Cover community along the Manasasquan River to the the sites of four demolished homes that had been damaged by Sandy and Hurricane Irene in 2011, and one remaining home that is slated for demolition. The homes were purchased by the township with state and federal funding.

In Middletown, Smith joined Mayor Stephanie Murray, Committeeman Tony Fiore, Administrator Anthony Mercantante and Public Works Director Ted Maloney in the Township’s Emergency Command Center from where Fiore directed the rescue and recovery efforts two years earlier in the aftermath of the storm, before touring three sites in the Township still in need of federal support.  While in the command center Smith recalled that NBC’s Andrea Mitchell showed up and asked to interview him. “I told her to interview Fiore because he was the one doing the work. She refused, so I spent the interview talking about him and the amazing work he was doing protecting the lives and property of his community.”  Fiore was Mayor during the recoveries of Hurricanes Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012.

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Posted: October 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Army Corp of Engineers, Chris Smith, FEMA, Howell, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Stephanie Murray, Tony Fiore | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Highlands Hero Gets RREM’d

After Closing On A RREM Grant, DCA Says A New Home For Vietnam Vet Is Not In The Cards

By Art Gallagher

Russell Card Jr removes his "family crest" from his family's home in Highlands in preparation for demolition . Photo via facebook

Russell Card Jr removes his “family crest” from his family’s home in Highlands in preparation for demolition . Photo via facebook

A Vietnam Veteran from Highlands and his 65 year-old wife had their expectations of a new home  crushed last week when their RREM approved builder informed them that a stop work order had been placed on their project by the Department of Community Affairs, with no explanation.   The family had prepared their house for demolition, based upon promises from DCA/RREM, and now fear they will be without a home.

Russell Card, a 72 year-old Vietnam Veteran from Highlands closed on his $150,000 RREM grant on July 28.  He put up his $18,000 escrow to cover the difference between the cost of the project and the amount granted.  Card, his wife Maureen and son Russell Jr, 35, prepared their home (which was built in the 1890’s and in the family since 1933) for demolition.   They moved most of their belongings into a POD on their immaculately maintained property and moved themselves into an apartment the size of the living room in the Bay Avenue house they have lived in since 1986.  By mid-September all the utilities were disconnected at the house and it was ready for demolition before their new home would be built.  The funding for the new home was the RREM grant, a gap grant of $30,000 from Gap Funding Initiative and $17,762 that was remaining from a $55,000 grant Mrs. Card had received from her employer, CareOne, after Sandy filled their home with eight feet of water on October 29, 2012.

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Posted: October 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, DCA, Department of Community Affairs, FEMA, Flooding, Highlands, Housing, Hurricane Sandy, Monmouth County, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Ocean Grove Opens Its New Boardwalk

Dr. Dale Whilden, President of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Assoc, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Sen Jennifer Beck, Gov Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith and Neptune Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley cut the ribbon of Ocean Grove's rebuilt boardwalk

Dr. Dale Whilden, President of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Assoc, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Sen Jennifer Beck, Gov Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith and Neptune Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley cut the ribbon of Ocean Grove’s rebuilt boardwalk

After being twice denied funding from FEMA before finally getting $2.4 million on their second appeal, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association re-opened their boardwalk to the public today with a ceremonial ribbon cutting lead by Governor Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith, Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Neptune Township Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley and Dr. Dale C. Whilden, President of the OGCMA.

“Today is truly a great day for Ocean Grove, Neptune Township, Monmouth County, and the Jersey Shore, and a critical step forward in our recovery from Sandy,” said Smith.”This boardwalk is an integral part of Ocean Grove the neighboring Jersey Shore community, a fact we reinforced during our efforts to reverse FEMA’s original decision at the local level—and yet another at the regional level—to deny critical funding.”

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Posted: July 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Chris Smith, FEMA, Hurricane Sandy, Jennifer Beck, Neptune, Neptune Township, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Belmar’s Sandy debris removal costs questioned by federal auditors

Belmar’s Sandy debris removal costs questioned by federal auditors (via NJ.com)

Federal auditors are questioning more than $500,000 in Hurricane Sandy debris removal costs in Belmar, saying the town awarded two contracts that did not comply with federal rules and lacked paperwork to support other expenses. The Department of Homeland…

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Posted: May 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Belmar, FEMA, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

FEMA extends flood insurance filing deadline by 6 months

FEMA extends flood insurance filing deadline by 6 months (via NJ.com)

Homeowners filing flood insurance claims from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy now have more time to submit paperwork supporting their cases. The Federal Emergency Management Agency — which oversees the National Flood Insurance Program — is extending…

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Posted: April 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, Flooding, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Sandy elevation program backlog will ease by end of summer, top NJ official says

Sandy elevation program backlog will ease by end of summer, top NJ official says (via NJ.com)

New Jersey’s top environmental official said today he expected a backlog of applications for a Hurricane Sandy elevation program to be cleared by the end of the summer. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said roughly 2,…

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Posted: April 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Christie Administration, DEP, Environment, FEMA, Flooding, NJ Department of Environmental Protection | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stronger than the storm?

New Jersey’s economy should be booming with reconstruction. It isn’t.

There should be hundreds of construction workers in Highlands, Union Beach, Sea Bright and other Sandy impacted communities every day.  They are not working and don’t look to be anytime soon.

Short changed by insurance companies/the National Flood Insurance Plan. Arduous applications for aid followed by red tape, bureaucratic incompetence and rules that halt rebuilding.  Expensive and time consuming zoning approvals to rebuild what was there before.  Pleas for help are answered with finger pointing between bureaucrats at different levels of government who are getting paid for their bullshit and going home every night.

“GO, GO, GO, REBUILD, you’ll get reimbursed,” we were told after the storm. We trusted our government. They lied.

Posted: April 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: #STTS, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Christie Administration Asks FEMA To Give New Jersey Residents And Businesses A 6-Month Extension To File Flood Claims Related To Superstorm Sandy

photo by Art Gallagher

photo by Art Gallagher

TRENTON –The Christie Administration today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to grant New Jersey residents and businesses who suffered property damage or destruction in Superstorm Sandy an additional six-month extension to file a complete flood insurance claim, or proof of loss, in connection with the storm. The Administration is asking that the filing deadline be extended from April 28, 2014 to October 28, 2014.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst natural disaster to strike New Jersey in a generation, and the process of rebuilding has been expensive and complicated. Homeowners and business owners simply need more time to file their final flood insurance claims,” said Governor Christie. “Many property owners have begun to rebuild only to find there was more damage than they originally thought. This extension would give New Jersey residents the vital extra time they need to successfully navigate the flood claims filing process and restore and rebuild their properties.”

A proof of loss is a form used by the policyholder to support the amount they are claiming under the policy, which must then be signed, sworn and submitted to the insurance company with proper supporting documentation. An extension of the filing deadline would give homeowners and business owners additional time to evaluate newly discovered damages and costs, obtain proper documentation, and submit detailed information in a supplemental proof of loss.

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Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Christie Administration, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Monmouth And Ocean Senators Ask Congressional Delegation For Sandy Help

Six state Senators representing Monmouth and Oceans Counties have written to New Jersey’s U.S. Senators and Members of Congress asking for help in correcting inequities and inefficiencies in the federal government’s response to Superstorm Sanday.

In a letter dated March 31, Senators Jennifer Beck and Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County, Robert Singer, Christopher Connors and James Holzapfel of Ocean County and Sam Thompson of Middlesex raised six issues concerning Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation(RREM) grant program.

With all those agencies and initials, how could anything be going wrong?

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Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Menendez calls for hearings into post-Sandy flood insurance ‘low-balling’

Menendez calls for hearings into post-Sandy flood insurance ‘low-balling’ (via NJ.com)

MIDDLETOWN – Constituents have told Sen. Robert Menendez that the National Flood Insurance Program is feast or famine – high premiums feast on Jersey Shore residents, while low payouts force tough decisions on homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy…

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Posted: March 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, FEMA, Middletown, National Flood Insurance Plan, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off