George Kasimos

There was no stopping Sandy’s mighty storm surge when it washed onto the Jersey Shore, floating homes off their foundations and sweeping them away like trash in the gutter.

The inexorable force of a Federal agency may seem almost as hard to resist. But that’s not enough to discourage some Jersey Shore residents who aren’t happy with FEMA’s new provisional flood plain maps for the area. One shore dweller, George Kasimos, has started a grass-roots group called Stop FEMA Now, and his message has struck a responsive chord, reports the Manchester Patch (“Gearing Up for a FEMA Fight,” by Edward Van Embden).

Writes the Patch: “The advisory flood maps are simply unfair, Kasimos said. Instead of calling on towns to build seawalls or the Army Corps to dredge waterways and rebuild dunes higher, the burden of flood mitigation falls directly on residents, many who can neither afford to elevate their homes or pay the inflated insurance premiums if they don’t, he said.”

“First, let’s change the thinking,” says Kasimos. “In Galveston (Texas) they built a sea wall. In Seaside Heights they’re building a sea wall. Don’t you think it would be more cost effective to build a sea wall, or build dunes higher?”

Kasimos may be tilting at windmills. But for now, his small protest is getting bigger. Too big too fast, in fact: its first meeting outgrew the planned venue when an unexpected crowd arrived, reports the Patch (“Overcrowding Forces Cops to Halt 'Stop FEMA Now' Meeting,” by Edward Van Embden).

“About 100 people crowded into the frozen yogurt shop next door to the sub shop, packing every inch of the place and forcing more still to be turned away at the door,” the Patch writes. ‘With the parking lot full, residents from Toms River, Brick, and other coastal communities parked their cars in faraway lots, making the dangerous trek along the road's narrow shoulders in the rain down. Others ignored the boulevard's posted ‘No Stopping’ signs and simply parked on the side of the road. An apologetic Toms River Police Department Chief Michael Mastronardy asked the crowd to end the meeting quickly to ensure that the residents' safety wasn't compromised.”

“Let's get a safe location,” said the Chief. “Whatever information you have to get out, get it out as quick as possible.”