Think the storm is behind us? Think again.

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Long Island is well known for things like great schools, well-paved highways and low crime rates. But the extent of Sandy’s destruction of the Island’s natural resources is incredible. Visitors often return home with tales of our beautiful parks and the sugary sand of our beaches. There is no calculator around that has yet to total up what it will take to rebuild those once-pristine beaches.

Long Beach has long been known to have one of the most beautiful oceanfronts in the country. The legendary boardwalk has been smashed into thousands of wood splinters, and most of the city beaches’ sand was pushed onto local streets before being plowed into a small mountain that’s as high as a five-story building. Whether the beaches could have been spared much of the destruction is a debate for future politicians.

Six years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asked the previous city administration to contribute $7 million to a project that would have created a high dune along the boardwalk. The City Council responding to the objections of surfers and some residents and chose not to participate in the project. The Town of Hempstead did take part, however, which is why, to the east, many of the beaches in Lido Beach and Point Lookout were spared major damage during Sandy. No doubt the current administration in Long Beach will view the dune issue differently now.

But as we turn our thoughts to the upcoming holidays and family vacations, let’s not forget the thousands of victims whose lives are still in total disarray as a result of the venom of Sandy.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?

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