Tag Archives: Sandy aid

Fed money to help businesses bounce back after Sandy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

Small businesses in the borough will get nearly $200,000 in federal aid to bounce back after Sandy.

The two-year grant will be given to the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), representatives from the borough announced late last week.

The package is part of the more than $6 million the Small Business Administration (SBA) gave to the state to support its local business recovery efforts after the superstorm.

“Small businesses are what drive the economy in Queens, New York City and the entire nation,” said Congressmember Grace Meng, who sits on the House’s Small Business Committee. “These critical funds will go a long way towards helping those impacted by Sandy get back on their feet.”

The funds will be used for counseling and training programs for business owners, especially in the Rockaways, who lost customers or who suffered damages to their stores from the storm, said QEDC executive director Seth Bornstein.

The nonprofit also plans to offer disaster relief assistance to “women-owned and disadvantaged small businesses in Queens,” and conduct home improvement contractor training workshops.

“Queens was hit so hard by Sandy, and we lost so many businesses and jobs,” Bornstein said. “We especially look forward to working in the Rockaways, as we see the potential to have a really positive impact there.”

 

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Op-Ed: Allow houses of worship to receive Sandy aid


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY U.S. CONGRESSMEMBER GRACE MENG

When Sandy slammed into our region late last year, homes, businesses and mass transit systems were not the only things devastated by the storm.

More than 200 houses of worship throughout the tri-state area – including many here in Queens – were damaged or destroyed as well.

But when these churches, synagogues, mosques and temples applied for disaster aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), their requests were denied because houses of worship are barred from receiving such assistance.

This is wrong and unconscionable. It discriminates against houses of worship – many of which fed, comforted and provided shelter to thousands of people who were adversely impacted by Sandy – and it unfairly treats these institutions differently from other nonprofit entities.

That is why I have spearheaded an effort to change this misguided policy.

After an unsuccessful attempt to attach an amendment onto the Sandy aid package, I joined forces with Congressmembers Chris Smith and Peter King to sponsor legislation that would add houses of worship to the government’s list of private nonprofit organizations that qualify for FEMA assistance.

Working with my two colleagues – and other Republicans and Democrats – in a concerted bipartisan manner, we were able to pass our bill by an overwhelming margin of 354-72.

Although there are some who oppose this legislation due to concerns over the separation of church and state, their worries are without merit. There are precedents for federal aid to disaster-damaged houses of worship. After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Congress overruled FEMA’s refusal to provide assistance to the area’s damaged churches. In 2002, after an earthquake in Seattle, the Justice Department intervened to order FEMA to assist religious organizations that were impacted by the disaster.

The measure is supported by numerous local and national organizations including: the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, American Jewish Committee, New York City Council and Speaker Christine Quinn, Jewish Federations of North America, the Most Rev. William Murphy – Bishop of Rockville Centre, the N.J. State Association of Jewish Federations, National Association of Evangelicals, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Jewish Appeal (UJA) of N.Y. and numerous newspapers and editorial boards.

Now that the legislation has passed the House, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has agreed to take it up in the Senate. I call on all my colleagues there to support it, and I’ve sent a letter to key senators urging them to schedule a vote on the measure.

Sandy was one of the nation’s worst natural disasters. Many houses of worship remain in desperate need of repair, and are still struggling to reopen. It is vital that these facilities be allowed to collect disaster funds from FEMA so that they can rebuild their properties and once again offer critical services to the individuals and communities that need them.

Synagogues, churches and temples cannot wait any longer. The time is now to make this legislation the law of the land. For the facilities that continue to wait, it cannot come soon enough.

U.S. Congressmember Grace Meng is a freshman Democrat representing Queens.

 

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NY extends deadline for FEMA disaster assistance programs


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

An additional extension has been granted for two government programs that financially help Sandy survivors in New York State, announced Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Anyone living in New York City and Long Island, or the counties of Westchester, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster and Sullivan who suffered losses from the storm, including rent, essential home repairs and personal property losses may be eligible for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will have until April 13 to register for FEMA assistance.

The previous deadline was March 29.

Survivors also have until April 13 to register with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for low-interest disaster loans.

Homeowners that apply may be eligible for up to $200,000 to repair or replace damages to their primary residence, and renters can receive up to $40,000 for replacement of personal property. Additionally, businesses and private nonprofits may be able to borrow up to $2 million for repairs and replacement of property.

To register with FEMA, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, seven days a week.

To apply for a SBA loan, visit DisasterLoan.SBA.

 

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Cuomo files proposal for spending Sandy aid


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Governor Andrew Cuomo became the first state leader to file a proposal for federal aid to houses and businesses that were damaged during Sandy.

Cuomo’s state action plan, available for public review at nyshcr.org/Publications, outlines how the state intends to spend its first $1.7 billion dollars allocated by the Sandy aid bill signed into law by President Obama in January.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst storm to hit New York State and our region in recorded history, and its impact devastated homes and businesses across Long Island and the metro area,” said Cuomo. “This plan was put together with the input of homeowners and small businesses in affected communities, and it will serve as a blueprint to guide our housing and private sector recovery.”

The proposal now awaits approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, the agency designated with supervising the federal government’s response to Sandy.

“We have worked closely with the State of New York to identify areas of unmet need and ensure that this first round of CDBG-DR funding helps families and small businesses get back on their feet,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said. “I look forward to building on the partnership we have created with Governor Cuomo to help communities in New York rebuild in a way that makes them stronger, more economically competitive and better able to withstand the next storm.”

Under the proposal, $663 million will be allocated for relief to single family housing, $124 million to multi-family housing and $415 million to bringing back businesses affected by the storm.

If the proposal is approved, the state would also create several programs to help distribute funds. Twenty million dollars would be used in an infrastructure bank, where eligible infrastructure projects can apply for assistance. A community restructuring program would receive $25 million, benefitting communities that have been severely damaged following the storm. Energy related projects would receive $30 million, to help develop critical backup power systems.

“We have been working hand in hand with our federal partners since the day Sandy struck and every day since,” Cuomo said. “The state will provide whatever assistance and collaboration necessary to see that HUD approves these plans as quickly as possible so we can get this aid to the New Yorkers who need and deserve it.”

 

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Sandy aid deadlines extended for FEMA grants, SBA loans


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

The deadlines for two government programs to financially help Sandy survivors in New York State have been extended until March 29.

Anyone living in New York City and Long Island, or the counties of Westchester, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Sullivan who suffered losses from the storm, including rent, essential home repairs and personal property losses may be eligible for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Even if a person has insurance, they should register with FEMA by the deadline in case they later find out their losses are not fully covered.

Survivors can also register with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for low-interest disaster loans.

Homeowners that apply may be eligible for up to $200,000 to repair or replace damages to their primary residence, and renters can receive up to $40,000 for replacement of personal property. Additionally, businesses and private nonprofits may be able to borrow up to $2 million for repairs and replacement of property.

To register with FEMA, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, seven days a week.

To apply for a SBA loan, visit DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 41F. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Wednesday night: Overcast with snow and rain, then snow after midnight. Low of 32 with a windchill as low as 25. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 15 mph shifting to the NNE after midnight. Chance of snow 70% with accumulations up to 2 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queen of Hearts Valentine’s Pop Up Market

Check out the Queen of Hearts Valentine’s Pop Up Market at Veslo in Astoria for a night of fun! There will be shopping, arts, fabulous gifts, a  DJ, complimentary cocktails and yummy cuisine. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Snow alert issued for NYC

Although it will be nothing close to what Nemo brought to the New York City area last week, there is more snow in the forecast. Read more: Queens Courier

New York State pushes banks to release over $200 million in Sandy aid

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that his administration is working with banks to release nearly $208 million in checks already approved for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Read more: CBS New York

Queens man says video, graphic images prove police used excessive force in his arrest

Robert Jackson said that police caused a scar shaped like a horseshoe on the side of his face. Read more: NY1

Obama urges Congress to make government work for “the many”

U.S. President Barack Obama challenged a divided Congress on Tuesday to raise the minimum wage and make government work for “the many” in a State of the Union speech focused on economic fairness for the middle class as the Democrat takes a more assertive tack in his second term. Read more: Reuters

California fugitive is believed to gave died in blaze after shootout

After a shootout and a forest standoff on Tuesday afternoon, Christopher J. Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer sought in the region’s largest manhunt, was apparently killed in a cabin as it burned down around him, but officials said they needed time to sort through the rubble. Read more: New York Times

Pope Benedict makes 1st appearance since resignation

Looking tired but serene, Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was stepping down for “the good of the church,” speaking in his first public appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement of his resignation. Read more: ABC New York

“Banana Joe” named Westminster’s Best in Show

A five-year-old Affenpinscher from the Netherlands named ‘Banana Joe’ was chosen for Best in Show at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Read more: NY1

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast with ice pellets and snow, then a chance of snow and a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 41. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 90% . Wednesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Quintet of the Americas’ Crystal Winter Concert 

Crystal Winter, a concert performed by Quintet of the Americas at the  Catholic Charities Bayside Senior Center, features projected images of crystals, snowflakes, winter scenes and Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night. Songs will include Adam Schoenberg’s Winter Music, Sammy Cahn’s Let it Snow, Quintet of the Americas’ improvisation Starry Night, Silver Bells and more. Audience members will also have the opportunity join the Quintet playing bells, water glasses keys. Concert starts at 12:15 p.m. Admission is free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

House approves $50.7 B in Sandy aid

Sandy victims are one step closer to receiving the relief money they need. After $9.7 billion in flood insurance funds were signed into law earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an additional $50.7 billion in aid. Read more: Queens Courier

NY passes toughest gun laws in country

Less than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to make New York the leader in gun safety, the State Legislature voted in favor of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement, or NY SAFE Act, that would effectively keep weapons away from the mentally ill and crack down on illegal guns. Read more: Queens Courier

Elderly Queens man beaten on J train

An elderly Queens man says he was beaten while riding the subway in Brooklyn last month and police are now looking for the suspect, who was captured on newly-released surveillance video. Read more: NBC New York

Parents scramble on eve Of NYC’s first school bus strike in 33 years

New York City school bus drivers were just hours from walking off the job Tuesday night, and thousands of parents were scrambling to find alternate transportation. Read more: CBS New York

Base of spire installed on roof of 1 WTC

Workers at the rising 1 World Trade Center on Tuesday installed the first piece of the spire that will make the 104-floor skyscraper the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. Read more: ABC New York

One man dies, one hurt minutes apart at New York subway station

One New York man was killed and another seriously injured in separate incidents just minutes apart at a Manhattan station during Tuesday’s rush-hour, authorities said. Read more: Reuters 

Quinn presents vision for improving New York City schools

Christine C. Quinn, the New York City Council speaker and a presumptive candidate for mayor, laid out in a speech on Tuesday a series of proposals for improving the city’s schools, which included replacing textbooks with computer tablets, creating online resources for parents and extending the school day for many students. Read more: New York Times

Obama to unveil gun violence measures Wednesday

President Barack Obama’s broad effort to reduce gun violence will include proposed bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as more than a dozen executive orders aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to stricter gun control. Read more: AP

House approves $50.7B in Sandy aid


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Sandy victims are one step closer to receiving the relief money they need.

After $9.7 billion in flood insurance funds were signed into law earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an additional $50.7 billion in aid.

In a 327-91 vote Tuesday afternoon, January 15, the House approved $17 billion in emergency funding that will go towards addressing immediate needs for victims and communities affected by Sandy.

A few hours later, a final bill that included an additional $33.7 billion for both immediate and anticipated needs was adopted in a 241-180 vote.

“We are grateful to those members of Congress who today pulled together in a unified, bipartisan coalition to assist millions of their fellow Americans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut at their greatest time of need. The tradition of Congress being there and providing support for Americans during times of crisis, no matter where they live across this great country, lives on in today’s vote in the House of Representatives. We anticipate smooth passage when this package moves back to the Senate for final approval and for this long-awaited relief to finally make its way to our residents,” said Governors Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie and Dannel Malloy in a joint statement.

“It’s been two-and-a-half months since Sandy hammered our region, and thousands of New Yorkers continue to suffer from the devastation. Now, they will finally receive the relief that they have desperately needed, said Congressmember Grace Meng. “The battle we had to fight to secure this aid was outrageous. But I’m pleased that the money will finally start to head our way.”

Throughout the day’s legislative session, House members spoke adamantly about the bill. Some stressed the relief money’s urgency, while others objected to unrelated Sandy spending.
In the House, the majority of those opposed to the relief aid were Republicans. The Democratically controlled Senate is expected to say yes to the money next week.

In December, the Senate initially approved the full $60.4 billion Sandy aid package in one lump sum, but the House adjourned before it could follow suit.

After several politicians publicly criticized Speaker John Boehner for the early adjournment, he scheduled a vote on the legislation.

But the $60.4 billion was broken up into several votes, starting with Congress’ January 4 approval of the $9.7 billion.

That part of the legislation temporarily increases the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The $50 billion passed Tuesday includes money for FEMA disaster relief, transit and infrastructure repairs, and other recovery needs.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast. High of 45. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Tuesday night: Overcast with ice pellets and rain, then ice pellets and rain after midnight. Low of 36. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 90% .

EVENT OF THE DAY: NYC Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week has started in NYC. From now until February 9 (Saturdays are excluded and Sundays are optional) participating restaurants have special prix-fixe menus with a three-course lunch for $25 and dinner for $38. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

School bus strike officially announced, will begin Wednesday

Local 1181 representatives announced a strike will begin among school bus drivers on Wednesday, January 16. Read more: Queens Courier

Sandy aid bill moves toward House vote amid gridlock

Area lawmakers hoping to push a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package through the House face roadblocks by fiscal conservatives seeking offsetting spending cuts to pay for recovery efforts as well as funding cuts for projects they say are unrelated to the Oct. 29 storm. Read more: ABC New York

NY passes toughest gun control law in nation

New York lawmakers agreed to pass the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and now dare other states and Washington to follow. Read more: Fox New York

NYC train operators told by union to slow down, MTA disapproves

Subway trains are entering stations more slowly after the transit workers union put out advisory signs instructing drivers to take greater caution, but the MTA says the move throws off subway schedules and is counterproductive to straphanger safety. Read more: NBC New York

NYC to hold off on oversized sugary drink fines for 3 months

Soda sellers are set to get a three-month grace period from fines for violating New York City’s upcoming crackdown on supersized sugary drinks, but a size limit still is set to take effect as planned in March, officials said Monday. Read more: CBS New York

Public takes its shots at Armstrong after reported admission to Oprah

The court of public opinion weighed in decidedly against Lance Armstrong after he reportedly admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to push his cycling career into high gear. Read more: CNN

 

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Friday: Overcast with a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 48. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Friday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Fog overnight. Low of 43. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the East after midnight. Chance of rain 80%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Homesick Hound Dogs

The Queens Kickshaw in Astoria presents the Homesick Hound Dogs — an altcountry/Americana band that couldn’t have happened anywhere besides New York City. With high-energy original songs about love, whiskey and other things that make life awkward and wonderful, the group strives to make the listener feel at home no matter how far home is, most importantly they will make you feel at home in your dancing shoes. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Donations for Sandy victims may not be going entirely to victims and recovery, says watchdog

Victims of Superstorm Sandy may not be receiving all the donations that have poured in for them, according to a disaster aid watchdog group. Read more: New York Daily News

Obama names Queens native Jack Lew as treasury secretary

Queens is coming to the cabinet. President Obama officially nominated his chief of staff, Queens native Jacob “Jack” Lew, for secretary of the treasury Thursday. Read more: Queens Courier

Mechanical error may have been cause of ferry crash

The day after a ferry ride left dozens of passengers in stretchers, the National Transportation Safety Board is slowly finding answers. Read more: NY1

New York City examining DNA errors in rape cases

The New York City medical examiner is reviewing hundreds of rape cases for DNA evidence errors. ABC New York

New York in midst of flu epidemic as emergency room and drug store visits rise

A ferocious flu “epidemic” has New Yorkers rushing to doctors, hospitals and drug stores — with emergency-room visits up 150 percent over last year, city health officials said yesterday. Read more: New York Post

FDA requires lower doses for sleep medications

The Food and Drug Administration is requiring makers of Ambien and similar sleeping pills to lower the dosage of their drugs, based on studies suggesting patients face a higher risk of injury due to morning drowsiness. Read more: ABC News

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 45. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 34. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Japanese Classical Dance for Kids at Resobox

This workshop for kids ages 8-11 at Resobox in Long Island City teaches the 400-year-old nichibu dance popularized in kabuki. Performer and writer Helen Moss leads the class in the elegant Soke Fujima style. All experience levels are welcome, and all materials, including fans and kimonos, are provided. Starts at 5:30 p.m. Classes for ages 12 and above follow at 6:30pm. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYC school bus drivers will not strike Monday: union

New York City school bus drivers will not strike on Monday, a union spokesperson told NBC New York Sunday night, but that doesn’t mean a work stoppage still isn’t possible in the days ahead. Read more: NBC New York

Marketing campaign targets Sandy victims with threats of hefty fines

A firm that cleans up oils spills is preying on Sandy-battered homeowners by circulating an official looking letter threatening hefty fines, angry residents said. Read more: New York Daily News

Teachers irate as Bloomberg likens union to the N.R.A.

Of all the polarizing things Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has said and done over the years, from banning large sugary drinks to supporting congestion pricing, few have generated the sort of viral backlash that has unexpectedly mounted after his weekly radio show on Friday. Read more: New York Times

Obama signs bill for federal flood insurance for Sandy victims

President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that releases $9.7 billion for a flood insurance program for Hurricane Sandy victims. Read more: NY1

Storm panel recommends major changes in New York

A new commission formed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, charged with figuring out how New York should adapt in the long term to cope with worsening storms amid climate change and population growth, has recommended an extensive menu of programs: it includes turning some of the state’s industrial shoreline back into oyster beds, hardening the electric and natural gas systems, and improving the scope and availability of insurance coverage, according to a draft version obtained by The New York Times. Read more: New York Times

Business interest group takes on New York’s run-down airports

Business leaders embarrassed by the sorry state of the city’s airports have formed a new advocacy group to press for improvements. Read more: New York Daily News

Obama taps Hagel for Pentagon, Brennan for CIA

President Barack Obama on Monday will nominate Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, two potentially controversial picks for his second-term national security team. Read more: AP

 

 

Congress approves $9.7B in Sandy aid


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

After the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelming passed 9.7 billion in Sandy aid Friday, 354-67, the Senate unanimously approved it later that afternoon.

The money will go towards flood insurance claims for Sandy-damaged homes and businesses.

A vote on the remaining $51 billion in storm aid will take place January 15.

“Belated as the bill may be, I am pleased the House was able to finally act today on a piece of the vital Superstorm Sandy disaster relief legislation to increase borrowing authority by FEMA on behalf of the National Flood Insurance Program. This action, however, is woefully insufficient in addressing the significant concerns and needs of millions affected by last fall’s storm,” said Congressmember Gregory Meeks.

“Today’s action by the House was a necessary and critical first step towards delivering aid to the people of New York and New Jersey. While we are pleased with this progress, today was just a down payment and it is now time to go even further and pass the final and more complete, clean disaster aid bill. We are trusting Congress to act accordingly on January 15th and pass the final $51 billion instrumental for long-term rebuilding in order for New Jersey, New York and our people to recover after the severe devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” said Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie in a joint statement.

Today’s approval came after several politicians publicly criticized Speaker John Boehner earlier this week for adjourning the House before voting on the $60 billion Sandy relief package.

Following the criticism, Boehner promptly scheduled a vote on the legislation.

President Obama, who urged the House to vote and pass the aid money, is expected to sign today’s approved bill.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain in the afternoon. Fog early. High of 55. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Tuesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 41. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Sandy Hook March and Candlelight Vigil 

We come together to mourn the loss of the children and educators who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, December 14. Among them was 6-year-old Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, son of Francine and David Cole Wheeler, and brother of Nate. Francine resided with us in Sunnyside and, while raising her babies, was instrumental in the formation of a community of young mothers here. We will also gather to support the grieving family of Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who lost her life in a valiant attempt to save her students and colleagues. Please join as we honor them. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Political fight begins in U.S. Senate over Superstorm Sandy aid package

Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Monday began trying to push the $60.4 billion emergency spending plan for Superstorm Sandy victims through Congress by Christmas. Read more: CBS New York

Boy arrested in threat that sent school into lockout

Authorities say a 13-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with an Internet threat that sent Westbury Middle School on Long Island into lockout mode Monday. Read more: NBC New York

Getting books back into the hands of Sandy storm victims in Rockaway

Curling up with a good book has become a luxury for victims of Superstorm Sandy in Rockaway. Adults and children alike lost most of their personal possessions, including beloved book collections built over generations, in a mix of flood waters, sand and fire. Read more: New York Daily News

LIPA trustees vote to hold rates steady

Despite a possible $950 million repair bill from Superstorm Sandy, the Long Island Power Authority will not be raising rates. Read more: Fox New York

Sunnyside man stabbed to death on Staten Island

A Sunnyside man was stabbed to death by his girlfriend’s father, police say, after the two argued during a booze-fueled gathering inside his home early Monday morning. Read more: SILive.com

Newtown students to return to classes in wake of school massacre

The schools of Newtown, which stood empty in the wake of a shooting rampage that took 26 of their own, will again ring with the sounds of students and teachers on Tuesday as the bucolic Connecticut town struggles to return to normal. Read more: Reuters