2013-12-20 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Dan Guarino

More than a year ago, like many, I applied to FEMA shortly after the storm. I was lucky to be living on a second floor when the hurricane hit. But the first floor was demolished. Within days I was advised I had to move. Within two weeks I was told there would be no apartment to move back to there.

Moving, storage fees, truck rentals, expenses of shuttling from here to there. Any assistance would have helped.

Well, after more than a year of phone calls, faxes, letters, conflicting correspondences declines and ‘just disregard that’ messages, I got a final determination.

In the world according to FEMA, I am ineligible for any aid. Why? Because apparently FEMA ‘might’ only cover (some) expenses if you are displaced from your home.

As I advised them that I could not move back to where I was, FEMA told me, I was out of luck.

So apparently I only thought I was displaced all that time! Ten months of bouncing around, shuttling an ever smaller pile of belongings. In less than a year I moved as many times as I had in the past three decades.

But thank goodness I only ‘thought’ I was displaced. Thanks a lot, FEMA, for setting me straight.

With that, let me thank Michael Del Pino for turning his home on Cross Bay into one big ‘can’t miss it’ protest billboard.

As I said, I was ‘lucky’. How many people out there are getting that same “Sorry, citizen, we can’t help you’ letter who have no help, no home and no hope left?

* * * *

Saturday, December 21st, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. join Don Riepe, of the American Littoral Society, for a Winter Birds and Survival Walk at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. It’s free. RSVP: NEChapter@littoralsociety.org or call 718-474-0896.

Time for a shopping break? Get to the American Legion Christmas Party on Saturday, December 21st, from 8 p.m. $15 per person gets you food, beer, wine, music and a great time!

And reserve your table at the Legion’s New Year’s Eve bash. Your $50 a ticket includes a hot buffet, draft beer, wine, champagne at midnight and live music with Wax R Back. Tuesday, December 31, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Be there!

Call Carol 917-930-0546 or Nora 718- 945-5948 for tickets/tables.

Proceeds support the Legion’s veterans’ programs.

Make sure your child is on Santa’s list! The man in red will make a very special Christmas Eve appearance at your house, personally chauffeured by a festive Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department engine.

Call the firehouse at 718-474-6888 (evenings are best) or contact Santa’s helpers at daniel.mcintyre@nyct.com to make your reservation.

Help light up Broad Channel for the holidays! Stephanie Wagner’s working hard to reach her goal of $10,500 to keep those cheery Boulevard lights glowing over the Channel.

You can help by donating to the Broad Channel Cross Bay Lights Fund at www.wepay.com/donations/bc.christmaslights. Or mail a check payable to the BCAC to: Stephanie Wagner 79 West 18th road Broad Channel, NY 11693. Or drop it in the mailbox. This is Broad Channel after all.

According to Margaret Wagner, Stephanie’s mom, Jet Blue donated two tickets valued at $1,800 to the cause. Want to buy a raffle ticket? Contact Stephanie at 718-945-7950 or swagner. bc@gmail.com. They are $50 each and only 100 will be sold! May the odds be ever in your favor.

Margaret reports donations have come from “young and old, near and far…senior citizens dropping off $20 to $100…little children writing thank you notes because they love the lights so much…”

Any dollars raised above the goal will be put towards next year’s lights. Stephanie would like to make the Christmas lights a yearly tradition in Broad Channel.

By the way, Stephanie was honored by the good women of Rockaway WISH recently at a special Ladies Brunch. Stephanie was selected as one of their award recipients for her work in the Broad Channel community after Hurricane Sandy. She shared the honors with one woman from Rockaway and one from Breezy Point.

This week Broad Channel says goodbye to West 12th Road neighbor Mike McLoughlin, who unexpectedly recently passed away. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time. He will be missed.

Preserve and expand our BC history. The Queens Memory Project will be at the Seaside Library at 116-15 Rockaway Beach Boulevard on December 23rd and 30th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., to record your stories and memories of the Channel and other South Queens places.

Get your BC Historical Calendars before the holidays. Stop in at the Bay Gull Store, Rock N Roll Bagels, All American Channel Market and other BC stores. Still only $5 each.

Hope you made it to the annual Children’s Christmas Party at the American Legion last Sunday. Around 90 kids, from newborn to 3rd grade, enjoyed a special afternoon made just for them. The magician, who performed with his snake and parrot, was a big hit. So was the cotton candy that was handed out.

Last minute holiday mailing? The post office contract station at the Bay Gull Store, 1632 Cross Bay Boulevard, is open. Hours are Monday to Saturday 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Check in at the Seaside or Far Rock library branches and check out “Surviving Sandy: The Superstorm That Reshaped Our Lives,” assembled by the student, parents, faculty and staff of the Pascack Valley Learning Center in Airmont, New York. In pictures and words it comprehensively covers the storm from the Caribbean to Connecticut and every place else.

It is the kind of book where you kick yourself for not sending in your storm photos, stories and recollections when they originally send out the call.

Proceeds are already going to groups providing direct relief to Sandy survivors.

BTW “The Girl Most Likely” is now available on DVD at the BC library. Parts of it were filmed in the Channel, posing as Ocean City, New Jersey. Inside note: scenes were almost shot at the library itself, it just didn’t work out.

Got news about upcoming BC events, fundraisers, programs, good deeds, updates and other things? Send it to workingstories@aol.com

Thanks for reading!

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