Long Beach Island, NJ reopening after Sandy

SHIP BOTTOM, N.J. - November 12, 2012

Schools reopened for the first time since Sandy made landfall, and business owners started the long and difficult task of rebuilding.

"It felt good to get back and see everybody and see how they made out during the hurricane," said student Trevor Middleton.

Elementary students on Long Beach Island were finally back to school Monday. But are all attending class at the Ethel Jacobson School in Surf City.

"It kind of feels good to get to the usual schedule," said Amelia Warfel. "I was worried about my friends in case they were okay or not."

"A lot of the students have been displaced and to have some normalcy back into their lives, it's very important," said the school superintendent, Karen McKeon.

Some students were picked up at shelters by buses. Others, like 4-year-old Maddilynn Bonner, were driven to school by parents.

"We're currently living on the mainland now with relatives," said Sabrina Bonner, "because we don't have utilities or water in our apartment so we can't live there. The transition has been a lot for her, so we want to try to keep school as normal as possible."

LBI's other grade school in Ship Bottom is now a warehouse of donated cleaning supplies, baby items, food, toiletries and clothing available to residents beginning at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.

"Don't be afraid to come in," said Lauren Marchese of the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol. "We don't care who you are, what economic status you come from. If you're from around here and you need food or clothing, it's here."

Outside the school is the pickup spot for free heaters. They are in demand because restoring gas on the island could take weeks, if not months. And for anyone who needs a hot meal or cleaning supplies, a Red Cross Mobile Feeding Station is operating outside Grace Calvary Chuch on 19th Street.

Meantime, Alex Hoffman was pulling up sub-flooring at the Island Shop, a women's clothing store his mom owns in Brant Beach that had 3 feet of water inside. The work is slow and difficult.

"Pretty much just demo everything and then once you demo it you get all the moisture out and from there you just rebuild," he told Action News. "New floor, new walls, paint."

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