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Life After Sandy: Recovery Continues In Seaside Heights

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By Syma Chowdhry

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ (CBS) – Six months after Superstorm Sandy made landfall, the boardwalk in Seaside Heights needs to be repaired and the Casino Pier’s Jet Star rollercoaster is still in the ocean.

“It’s heartbreaking, but just to see the progress they have made, I know we are definitely going to be back this summer. And it’s exciting to start new and fresh,” says Maria Mastoris.

Casino Pier officials hired contractors to remove the ride from the water, and they believe half of their rides will be ready by the summer.

“Memorial Day is coming up very soon, but we just want them to know they are open and you don’t have to go to any other beach – Seaside will be here,” adds Mastoris.

With Memorial Day only weeks away, it’s going to be a round-the-clock effort.

“It looks not like a finished product here, but they haven’t seen the progress that’s been made.”

And progress has been made for those folks who have been displaced since Sandy.

“I’m anxious to get back,” says Jean Colabella, who has been living at Point Pleasant Manor for months.

We interviewed her a month ago, before her FEMA assistance came to an end.

Now, the Red Cross is helping her until her home in Normandy Beach is ready in a few weeks.

“I have no furniture to put the stuff in; now, I’m shopping. I can’t get anything but the necessities, so I can put some things back,” Colabella explains.

“Things started getting worse, then they got better,” says Tammy Rasiewicz, who has been living at the motel as well, though not for long.

Before the storm, she was renting an apartment in Lavallette, but she lost everything.

Tammy and her two sons fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs, but relief comes Friday, when she will move into a new apartment.

Even though both women have dipped into their savings and still have a lot more money to spend, they keep a positive attitude.

“Thank God you have a house to go to; a lot of people lost their homes,” Colabella says.

“There is sadness, joy and then recovery. So it’s like, ‘thank you God,’” Rasiewicz agrees.

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