2013 was an eventful year in Long Beach. Here are some of the city’s top stories this year:
The demolition and rebuilding of the Long Beach boardwalk was among the top stories in 2013. From a farewell ceremony for the previous walkway that was heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy, to Grace Industries winning the bid to build the new structure, to the partial opening of the new Brazilian hardwood and concrete boardwalk, to the calls to demand the Federal Emergency Management agency and other government entities help fully fund the $42 million cost to rebuilding the 2.2-mile structure, the boardwalk rebuilding was a story with many highlights throughout the year.
Councilman Fagen Steps Down
In February, a jury in Nassau County Court convicted Long Beach City Councilman Michael Fagen on charges that he illegally collected more than $15,000 in unemployment benefits. Less than a week later, the Democrat councilman was forced to step down on his conviction for a felony, and attorney and Long Beach resident Eileen Goggin was appointed to fill Fagen’s term that expired this year. Judge Meryl Berkowitz sentenced Fagen to 30 days in prison and five years probation.
Residents Rebuild and Remain DisplacedWhile many Long Beach residents rebuilt and returned to their homes in Long Beach after Hurricane Sandy, many others remain displaced, with thousands of homeowners who still await funds from various government programs including New York Rising. In protest of red tape and other unresolved matters, organizations such as Sandy Victims Fighting FEMA formed and staged rallies demanding that these programs make promised payments.
Girls Volleyball Captures County ChampionshipThe Long Beach High School girls volleyball team (17-2) won the Nassau County title against South Side (14-4) at SUNY Old Westbury in November.
Long Beach Medical Center Remains ClosedThe Long Beach Medical Center was rebuilt after it sustained substantial damages during Hurricane Sandy, but the New York State Department of Health in July refused to allow the hospital to reopen, citing in part the facility’s troubled finances. At the demand of the state, LMBC and the South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside have been in ongoing negotiations about a potential merger. Meanwhile, residents, city officials and others have called on the state to allow LMBC to set up 911 emergency receiving room at the LBHS site, after South Nassau in October received a $6.6 million federal grant to open an urgent care center at the site that has yet to materialize.
Scott Mandel and Eileen Goggin and newcomer Anthony Eramo, all
Democrats, wracked up the most votes for the three open seats in the Long Beach City Council election in November.
They defeated Janna Jachniewicz, Michael Franceschini and Damian Walsh,
all first-time candidates who ran as Republican-backed Clean Slate
Independents. In the race for City Court judge, Judge Roy Tepper, the
Democratic incumbent, defeated Theodore Hommel, a Republican-back
Democrat Sweep Council Elections
Long Beach Police Department continue to investigate a shooting in November in
which 30 shots were fired outside the Channel Park Homes, a 130-unit
public housing facility located behind City Hall, and a 26-year-old
Inwood man was wounded and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Police have not revealed the identity of the wounded man, nor have they
yet make an arrest in the case.
Multiple Shots at Channel Park Homes
State to Fund $13M Storm Protection Project
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in November that the state will fund a $13 million project that will provide more than 6,000 feet of flood barriers for Long Beach’s industrial area that abuts Reynolds Channel and sustained crippling damages during Hurricane Sandy Cuomo said the multi-million dollar project will add about 2,300 feet of bulkheading to an elevation of 11 feet along the bayside to help protect the city’s key infrastructure, including water and sewage treatment plants and electrical systems that were knocked out during the storm. The project will also include a 4,400-foot permanent subgrade flood barrier, or “Dutch Dam,” which can be deployed to a minimum height of 11 feet in the event of a major storm.