Hurricane Sandy is howling its way through my neighborhood as I sit at my keyboard, pounding out this column. I sure hope everyone has adequately prepared for the heavy rain, downed trees and power outages that are expected throughout the Northeast. A state of emergency has been declared in the tristate New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area, and severe flooding has already occurred at low-lying areas near the rivers, bays and ocean. If you’re one of those stubborn folks that has not left your home in spite of mandatory evacuation orders, I pray that you, your family and pets survive… Speaking of New York, several hundred Long Islanders participated in the DDI Walk and Motorcycle Run for Autism held in Holtsville on September 23. The event was presented by Developmental Disabilities Institute, a nonprofit organization in Smithtown that provides support to people with autism. Over $35,000 was raised to fund programs and services to the 5,000 families served by DDI’s educational and residential programs, adult day programs and medical services… On October 13, the 10th annual Toy Run presented by Indian Valley H.O.G. rode from Quakertown, Pennsylvania, to the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency in Doylestown. Several hundred riders brought hundreds of toys and gifts to be given to Bucks County underprivileged and foster children during the holidays. That Saturday was a busy day for IVHOG members—they also planned to attend the Iron Eagles Rocktoberfest party at the Lansdale American Legion, as well as helping out at Quakertown Bike Night… The American Legion held its 2nd annual New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Ride on October 8 to raise money for the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, Museum and Educational Center at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. Although rain caused a lower-than-expected attendance on the ride, many supporters showed up in cars at the Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center, where the American Legion and other groups honored soldiers, prisoners of war and those missing in action… The Ride for Hope and Help brought out hundreds of riders October 7 to raise money for Walkers for Knockers, a group of walkers raising money for local cancer awareness and research. Brenda Smith, a customer at Seacoast H-D in North Hampton, New Hampshire, where the ride started, began the ride several years ago to help people in her community that were affected by breast cancer. Breakfast was provided by Texas Roadhouse and at the end of the ride, lunch was served at Ron Jillian’s Bar & Grill in Hampton. The band Drop Zone played while raffles and other prizes were given out. This year’s ride will benefit BreastCancerStories.org and its local My Breast Cancer Support program, and Kate Wenter, a breast cancer patient in need of financial assistance… The Iron Riders MC from Ulster County, New York, worked with local businesses to build a driveway for 10-year-old Andrea Langston, who has cerebral palsy. Andrea is wheelchair-bound and can’t walk or talk, and the driveway to her home was in such bad shape that during inclement weather, the school bus would not drive it to pick her up. Her parents would try to get her to school themselves, but one day they hit a pothole, Andrea fell out of the wheelchair and broke her arm. So the club held a fundraiser in July and, with materials and trucking services donated by Tilcon, Dean’s Paving of Wallkill, Mehlon’s Trucking, Paul Colucci, Barclay Trucking and J.K. Watson Trucking, the driveway was paved. Now Andrea can travel safely… The Boston, Massachusetts, Transportation Department is expanding the city’s scooter and motorcycle parking program in Boston’s financial district. In 2010, 39 parking spots were installed and this latest effort will add 15 more. New York City, however, might beat that amount. Queens Councilman and Harley rider Peter F. Vallone has proposed a bill to let motorcycles park for free in the city. Motorcyclists have been complaining about the number of parking tickets they receive, and the on-street muni-meter system is unworkable for bikes, as the receipts that must be displayed are often stolen, blown away or damaged by rain. Another complaint is that bicycle riders get miles of bike lanes in the city; however, motorcyclists get nothing for their $42.50 in annual registration fees… Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson in Groton, Connecticut has purchased property across the street from the current dealership on Gold Star Highway. Owner Michael Schwartz has owned the dealership since 2004, and wants to move because of being hammered by two floods in five years (and as of this writing, Sandy could make three), plus the new location is larger. The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals granted the two variances necessary for Mike’s to make the move… Papa Joe Delio, founder of Cornerstone Motorcycle Ministry, passed away October 16. Cornerstone is the ministry that sets up The Tent on State Route 9 in Antrim, New Hampshire, every year to serve food and minister to bikers riding to or from the Laconia Motorcycle Rally. I’ve stopped there many times, and greatly appreciate their hospitality and good will. Papa Joe’s wife of 36 years, Dee Delio, has informed us that calling hours will be from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on November 16 at Monadnock Covenant Church in Keene, New Hampshire, and the Celebration Memorial of his life will start at the same place at 1:00 p.m. on the 17th. Give ’em Heaven, Papa Joe!