'Sandy' precautions appear few in vulnerable East Providence neighborhoods

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EAST PROVIDENCE — A quick tour of some of East Providence's most vulnerable locations Sunday afternoon, Oct. 28, found little to no visible precautions having been taken by residents of those areas despite forecasts predicting severe weather from the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy.

A full parking lot of patrons gathered likely to watch NFL football at the East Providence Yacht Club located on Waterfront Drive. Houses in low-lying locales on Memorial Parkway at the top of Narragansett Bay were in their usual poses.

Even down as far as the Terrace in Riverside, no homeowners seemed concern enough to board up windows or take in seasonal decorations. In fact only one house was shielded, but it looked to be a "true" vacation home in the area long ago best known for its summer residences.

At its central location on Commerical War, the East Providence Public Works Department left a large mound of sand in front of its headquarters for the free filling of bags. Little was left of the pile Sunday as members of the Boulanger Family from Riverside filled up about a dozen protective sacks.

The Boulangers, ironically, don't own a home abutting the water front. They live off Wampanoag Trail on President Avenue. Years of repaving, however, has lifted the level of the street and made their below-grade driveway, basement and garage a catch-all for water during any rain storms of significance.

"I'm tired of mopping up my garage," Lucien Boulanger said as he filled sand bags at the DPW. "It gets a little old after a while."

It could be a busy few days for Mr. Boulanger. Besides making sure his house stays dry, as the owner of the city-based A-1 Windshield Doctor repair company, he could be called for service by several area car owners needing to fix damage done by fallen tree limbs and wires from Sandy's expected strong winds.

"I'll be ready for whatever happens either way," Mr. Boulanger added.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.