Just back from the Gulf

I’m working on an article today about 53 people from four local congregations who returned over the weekend from Ocean Springs, Miss.

Here’s the bottom line: Things down in the Gulf are still real, real bad. The Gulf communities are depending on volunteers to come down and help rebuild their communities and lives.

We don’t hear much about the effects of Hurricane Katrina anymore. So New Yorkers may assume that the need isn’t that great.

The volunteers — from Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church, Emanuel Lutheran in Pleasantville, Woodlands Community Temple in Greenburgh and a few folks from St. Paul’s Lutheran in New City — spent a week doing whatever they could to help eight families in Ocean Springs.

They tore stuff down. They built stuff up. And they spent time getting to know people who have been through a lot.

Most of them plan on going back.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.