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AFTERMATH: New Jersey Seeks Relief After Hurricane Sandy

The communities began work on a long relief and cleanup process, even as the grim results of the storm were still being discovered

Many residents sought to put the worst behind them this weekend as they sought relief from the worst ever-recorded storm to slam against New Jersey.

While power returned to most of New Jersey this weekend; Monmouth and Ocean counties remained mostly in the dark, with barely 50 percent of the coastline's communities having any service neary a week after Hurricane Sandy first struck.

New Jersey Natural Gas technicians were making on-the-ground inspections to the company's systems two days after valves were closed to two barrier islands. Embers from fires could still be seen from aerial photography, all near a new inlet that was formed where the Atlantic Ocean breached into the Barnegat Bay, in Mantoloking.

The inspections represent the first step in a "sequential process to restore service," the company said in a statement Saturday.

One-by-one, meanwhile, the lights flickered on for residents of Point Pleasant Boro and other towns, prompting cheers as soon as they realized they regained their electricity after four days of nothing.

In a blog post submitted Saturday evening, Joellen Gillon thanked volunteers from the Ocean City Baptist Church and summed up the feelings of the many who received help.

"They worked tirelessly and with much grace," Gillon writes. "Never forget that community spirit and friendship still exists, and we will pay this kindness forward."

Still, the grim toll of the storm, some say, has yet to be determined.

Police and National Guard continue to stand patrol over the Jersey Shore's once lavish barrier island communities and resorts. "War zone" was a typical label used by those few who were able to return to Seaside Heights and Long Beach Island, and see what was there.

Word has spread that the death toll could rise once authorities report what they saw when after they visited the storm-mangled homes of people who refused to evecuate, even after they were ordered to do so.

Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch-Ford, meanwhile, has announced a Hurricane Sandy Task Force that will pursue and assist local police in investigating looting, burglary, contractor scams and price gouging.

The announcement came amid growing fears of crimes of opportunity, and the presence of State Police and National Guard in portions of Ocean County.

On Friday, in Toms River's Silverton and Snug Harbor neighborhoods, heavily armed police began stopping every vehicle asking for identification. Non-residents were turned away in devastated parts of Bayville as well.

"With regard to people accused of committing looting, scams, and other storm related crimes against persons and property, I have instructed my assistant prosecutors to consider, as an aggravating factor in charging and bail, recommendations that these crimes are occurring to people rendered particularly vulnerable by an unprecedented natural disaster," she said

A week after the massive coastal storm left historic flooding, life for some in Ocean City, Hoboken, Middlesex County and many other places will begin an attempt at normalcy on Monday - even as they continue to deal with gas rationing and long lines at the pump.

Like many schools throughout the state, Ocean City students will return to classes on Monday morning, and a postponed Halloween trick-or-treating celebration is scheduled for Monday evening.

Others, like Toms River, will stay out for another week.

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots in the presidential, U.S. Senate and local elections. Special accommodations will be made in various counties to help people vote early.

Throughout the weekend, the Ocean City community rallied to help themselves and others dig out from the effects of the storm and all the problems it left behind.

A week earlier, on Oct. 29, the marriage of Hurricane Sandy and another massive winter storm system made for a near-direct hit on Ocean City on a full-moon tide. Tide levels were higher than any other ever recorded on the island.

Ocean City was spared the devastation that many shore communities in central and northern New Jersey saw, but the island saw widespread flood damage to homes, businesses, cars and city streets. On Saturday, with a mandatory evacuation order lifted, the cleanup and relief effort began in earnest.

A tractor-trailer from the World Compassion Network based in Warsaw, Ind., pulled up to the Ocean City Tabernacle in the morning. Partnering with the Coastal Christian Church, the Network's volunteers set up a base of operations at the Tabernacle to distribute relief supplies, including food, water and cleaning supplies.

All along Ocean City - similar to what's being done throughout the Jersey Shore - outside contractors continued the work of removing a thick layer of sand from streets on the north and south ends of the island, and sifting it before returning it to the beach.

At the same time, owners were moving sand from their properties to the streeets.

"Our team members have worked long and hard in the days leading up to, during and after the storm," Mayor Jay Gillian said in a Friday message to the community. "That will continue in the days ahead until our beloved community is fully recovered."

Bruce Tyler November 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM
The human spirit never ceases to amaze me. And I truely hope that those creeps that have attempted or tried to take advantage of the people, be prosecuted to the max.
Stacey Biemiller Maisch November 04, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Feel free to link to or copy pics or parts of my blog post about clean-up efforts in Ocean Grove, NJ yesterday. I have blogged for Patch in the past, but am trying to conserve smartphone battery power by only posting once. Still no power in New Providence as lines are severed and under trees that have not been touch since they fell Monday. Salem Rd into Hickory is still impassable. http://fromgrindtowhine.com/2012/11/03/ocean-grove-clean-up/
KB November 04, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Does anyone know where coats and blankets can be dropped off in the Trenton, Lawrence, Ewing, or Princeton area to help our fellow neighbors?
Nose Wayne November 04, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Kathy, Call your local Salvation Army office to see where there is a drop off site.
K27 November 04, 2012 at 04:21 PM
This family has opened their hearts, doors and more, throughout this enire storm. They have helped so many local families, mine included. Shared from The Dog House Saloon facebook page: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DAY 7 HURRICANE RELIEF: The Dog House Saloon & Grill is OPEN ... With extended hours AGAIN on Sunday: 10:30am-1am. We have Power, Internet, Cable, Beverages & a Full Menu. For those of you without power, we are Offering UNLIMITED FREE Hot Coffee,Tea & Hot Chocolate, FREE Fresh Cut Fries and 10% OFF your entire bill! PLUS: COMPLEMENTARY T-Shirts for those who need a change in clothes. Come on Down, Stay warm, Charge up your phones and Hook up to our WiFi! KITCHEN open ALL NIGHT! #201-722-1820 Families in need of FREE Can goods, Ice, Blankets, Towels, Soap, Cleaning Supplies or Additional Assistance please speak with Jess when you arrive. PLEASE Consider sharing this post so that more local families can be reached... ALSO: If anyone knows of any local families in need of a hot meal. Please message me the information and address! We are hoping to drop off as many complementary hot meals as possible, to those in the area still without power. We will be cooking and making care packages all afternoon and hoping to hit the road by dinner time. ♥ http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dog-House-Saloon-Grill-Check-In/175529295856219?ref=hl#!/TheDogHouseSaloonAndGrill
jfc November 04, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Does anybody have an idea where I can donate all these unused, perfect condition sweaters, blankets, PJs, socks, long sleeve shirt, sweat shirt, pants, hoodies, so they can get to the people down the Jersey shore?
Donna Colucci November 04, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Jfc: I do not know where you live, but can take the blankets only if you would like to get them off your hands. They will go to Bayville by Wednesday.
Angela rose November 04, 2012 at 07:05 PM
The Food Bank in Hillside NJ is taking canned foods and other items. Their phone number is (908) 355-3663. I believe this is the main location for NJ FOOD BANK. Thompson Park in Lincroft, NJ has set up the entire area for donations. Go to the Monmouth County Patch and there is more information. I am glad there are people worried about donating and not so much when they will get their electricity back, specially in our area.
wtgodot November 04, 2012 at 08:56 PM
No major in Washington twp - Morris. Is he dead?
Nose Wayne November 04, 2012 at 09:45 PM
It's sad that tragedy brings out the best in people. Why can't we be like this ALL YEAR LONG ? Please help those that are less fortunate than us. STAY WELL,STAY SAFE !!!
Kristianna Costa November 04, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Angela rose November 04, 2012 at 11:06 PM
This is a great place to find drop off locations in NJ. http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/northjersey/
MM November 05, 2012 at 05:03 AM
BMW dealership in Wayne, rt 23 South, have a drive on Monday, Nov. 5 from 6am to 4 pm, together with z100 to collect clothing, blankets, etc and canned food for affected families in NJ.


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