Post-Sandy LI isn't as healed as we think

Some homes along Clocks Boulevard in Massapequa destroyed Some homes along Clocks Boulevard in Massapequa destroyed by superstorm Sandy still have not been rebuilt. Long Islanders received more than $725 million in Small Business Administration home loans. (Nov. 6, 2013 and Oct. 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

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Joye Brown Newsday columnist Joye Brown

Joye Brown has been a columnist for Newsday since 2006. She joined the newspaper in 1983 and has ...

One year after superstorm Sandy, the state of too many local households is more somber than celebratory.

Too many Long Islanders are not back in their homes.

Too many still are scrambling to make ends meet, all the while waiting to be reimbursed for eligible expenses.

And then there are the households caught in bureaucratic traps because they used one funding source rather than another to start the hard process of rebuilding.

It's easy to forget the ongoing damage Sandy still inflicts.

According to a recent Newsday/News 12/Siena College poll of likely Nassau County voters, storm recovery tied for next to last place as an issue.

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That's not surprising. And, had the poll asked about Sandy in Suffolk, the response likely would have been the same.

On Oct. 29, as the superstorm shoved her way across Long Island -- at one point flooding all tunnel and bridge access to Nassau and Suffolk -- household after household coped as best it could.

The misery became communal in the days -- and weeks -- after, as extreme power outages, gasoline lines and paralyzed public transportation systems kept Long Islanders close to home.

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That is, for those who still had a home.

In time, gasoline and electricity would flow again.

Commuters would return to their trains.

Debris would be cleared from yards; felled trees cut and toted away from streets.

Schools, malls, restaurants, movie theaters reopened.

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Even the boardwalk in Long Beach began making its way back, piece by piece, section by section.

A year later?

It can't be coincidence that hardware and other stores seem to be displaying big red gasoline containers and every size of generator; the big sell on one recently was that it is powered by propane rather than gas.

And, in neighborhoods in Nassau and Suffolk, tree trimming and removal firms seem to be making big appearances.

A year after Sandy, most Long Island neighborhoods appear to be almost or maybe even all the way back to pre-Sandy condition.

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But that, of course, isn't really true.

As a region, going back to pre-Sandy conditions can't be enough. Long Island has to keep working to be smarter and far better prepared -- in our homes, our communities and in the fortification of necessary infrastructure -- for the stronger storm certain to come.

But for now, as Sandy's anniversary approaches, it would do well for Long Islanders to pause, reach back and recall the sound and fury.

And especially the feelings of uncertainty and fear.

For too many Long Islanders, those feelings remain.

And the region won't be, can't be healed, until they are, too.

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