NJ gov.: Fed insurance program 'has stunk' Teens lose fingers in tug-of-war Memphis renames 3 parks
UNION BEACH, N.J. -- Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday the National Flood Insurance Program's handling of claims in New Jersey "has stunk," complaining that the program has been far too slow to get payments to victims of Superstorm Sandy, with tens of thousands of cases unresolved. The storm hit 100 days ago today.
The governor said excessive paperwork, inadequate staffing, cumbersome audits and the threat of financial penalties to carriers and adjusters is interfering with the timely issuance of payments, prolonging the suffering of many New Jersey residents hurt by Sandy.
"Our local insurance companies have been doing a great job of settling and moving these claims very quickly," Christie said. "The national flood insurance plan has stunk."
At a briefing in hard-hit Union Beach, the governor said only 30 percent of Sandy flood claims had been settled in New Jersey. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency said later Tuesday that the latest data shows 37,000 of 73,000 New Jersey claims, or a little more than 50 percent, have been closed.
Likewise, the agency said more than half of the total 140,000 Sandy flood claims made in all states have been settled, with $3.7 billion paid out to storm victims. In New York, it said 32,000 of 56,000 claims were closed. In New Jersey, Sandy damaged or destroyed about 346,000 housing units, resulting in estimated damage and future storm mitigation costs of $37 billion.
LOS ANGELES -- A simple length of rope tore off the fingers of two teenagers during a schoolyard tug-of-war staged to boost campus spirit at the South El Monte High School campus.
The boy and girl had stable vital signs Tuesday after undergoing hours of surgery, but no information was disclosed on whether doctors reattached their fingers.
The teens lost four fingers each from their right hand, and the girl also lost the thumb on her left hand, Eddie Pickett, a supervising dispatcher with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, told NBC News.
The girl is a senior and varsity soccer player, and the boy is a football player, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.
The rope was wrapped around the students' hands, and it snapped, amputating their fingers, Pickett said.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis City Council has voted to change the names of three parks that honor the Confederacy and two of its principal members.
The council passed a resolution Monday night to immediately rename Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park, located in downtown Memphis, and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, which lies just a few miles away.
The council already had been considering changing the name of the park coined after Forrest, a Confederate cavalryman and former slave trader who is recognized as a member of the first incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan.
The council hurriedly passed the resolution after a state House member introduced a bill that prevents parks named after historical military figures from being renamed.