Practically gale-force winds on Oct. 27 from what became Hurricane Sandy didn't stop my nephew and his bride from having a garden wedding at their home near Fayetteville, N.C.

Flowering plants in pots kept getting blown over, and it sprinkled an hour before the ceremony, but the wedding went off with just the legal "hitch." And although my Sunday evening flight home out of Charlotte originated in New York, we were only delayed 20 minutes or so. All in all, I felt lucky to escape the complications of Superstorm Sandy.

New York City residents weren't so fortunate. Bobbi Bach, of Blackhawk, told me that her son, David, and his family were evacuated from their building on the Hudson River in Battery Park City, located in lower Manhattan only three blocks from Ground Zero. Hotels that David checked had raised their prices to $1,500 a night and up, she said, so he and his wife, Alatia, and 21/2-year-old son, James, were invited by his ex-wife to shelter in the three-bedroom apartment she shares with her husband and two-month-old baby. Although it was a little cozy, Bobbi said the two families treated their two nights together like an extended sleepover.


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"There was actually no damage to David's building, that's really right on the water," Bobbi said. "It was amazing. They were able to keep their Halloween plans in the building, too."

"It's basically power off, and city shut down from 24th downtown," David reported on his Facebook page Oct. 31. "Somehow, we are on the grid with power in Battery Park."

David is a financial author, television personality, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and founder of FinishRich.com. He has written 12 books, including the Finish Rich series with national bestsellers Debt Free for Life and The Automatic Millionaire. He regularly appears on the Today Show's Money 911 segment on Wednesday mornings, covering financial, consumer and pocketbook issues.

David moved to New York from San Francisco in 2011. He was scheduled to speak at a conference Thursday through Sunday in Santa Clara, providing flights began running again, Bobbi said.

TREE OF LIGHTS: Hospice of the East Bay, a nonprofit agency that helps people cope with end-of-life issues, is sponsoring its 26th annual Tree of Lights ceremonies in 11 locations throughout Contra Costa in November and December. Each light on every tree is symbolic of a life and will shine in honor or memory of a beloved friend or family member.

Blackhawk's Tree of Lights ceremony is at 5 p.m. Dec. 7 just outside the main entrance to Blackhawk Country Club on Blackhawk Road at Blackhawk Drive. The Danville tree will be lit at 5:30 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St. Ceremonies include Hospice Foundation leaders, local dignitaries and choral music.

Lights can be dedicated for a minimum gift of $25. Proceeds benefit communities and the patients and families in care of Hospice of the East Bay. For light purchases and donations, call 925-887-5678, or visit www.hospiceeastbay.org.

Toys for Kids: Danville residents Mike Lippitt and Gerry Price are the organizers of a Toys for Kids collection in conjunction with a racquetball tournament Dec. 15 at ClubSport San Ramon. Dubbed a "Competition for a Greater Cause," the toy collection is in association with Hayward Firefighters. Unwrapped new toys, for children who otherwise might not receive a gift during the holiday season, will be collected at ClubSport San Ramon, 350 Bollinger Canyon Lane, between Dec. 10 and Dec. 15.

The "Charity Shootout" tournament is sanctioned by the California State Racquetball Association and has several skill divisions, including men's A/B, men's open/elite and mixed advanced. For details, contact Mike at mlippitt@att.net or 510-504-2494.

Contact Georgia Lambert at arounddanville@yahoo.com.

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