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.”
Governor Christie on the Belmar boardwalk, August 2011
Governor Chris Christie will be making several appearances on the Jersey Shore tomorrow, Thusday, July 3.
At 11am Christie will join Congressman Chris Smith, State Senator Jennifer Beck, Neptune Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley and Dr. Dale Whilden, President of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association for the ceremonial ribbon cutting of Ocean Grove’s newly rebuilt boardwalk.
At 1:15pm, Christie will sign S846/504, a Boating Safety Act which increases the penalties for leaving the scene of a boating accident, at the NJ State Marine Police Services Bureau Station in Point Pleasant Borough. Follow the bill signing, Christie is scheduled to walk the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk.
Would Allow Houses of Worship Same Status as Other Non-Profits in Seeking Federal Disaster Assistance
The House of Representatives voted today to put houses of worship—many of which were severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy but nonetheless continued to serve ravaged coastal communities—on an even playing field with other non-profit organizations seeking disaster assistance.
H.R. 592, the “Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013,” is co-authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ-04) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY-06), and co-sponsored by Peter King (R-NY-02), Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Trent Franks (R-AZ-08), Michael Grimm (R-NY-11), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ-02), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY-04) and Bill Pascrell Jr.(D-NJ-09).
The legislation stipulates that the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief program, is a general government program under which federal assistance following a natural disaster can be rendered using criteria that are neutral with regard to religion. Congress has previously enacted laws providing financial assistance to religious nonprofit institutions, including houses of worship, on terms equal to other eligible nonprofit organizations. The bill now moves to the Senate.
The bill had 10-2 support in the New Jersey delegation. Congressmen Rob Andrews and Rush Holt voted NO.
If passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Obama, the following Monmouth County churches that sustained over $100,000 each from Superstorm Sandy stand to received FEMA funds for rebuilding:
Christ the King (Our Lady of Mt Carmel), Long Branch
Christ the King (Holy Trinity Church, Long Branch)