Charles Lane

Senior reporter for Long Island

Charles is a radio reporter, story teller, Excel ninja, database grasshopper, and loves to FOIL records. He's worked for NPR, Deutche Welle, Radio Netherlands, Soundprint, Penthouse, the Religion News Service, and the Catholic World Report.  He's won three SPJ Public Service Awards, a National Murrow, and was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.  He once did 3Gs in a stunt plane, ran the Tough Mudder, and dove 40 meters on a single breath.  Charles is extraordinarily friendly so don't hesitate to contact.

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Superstorm Sandy recovery
1:07 pm
Sat February 21, 2015

Superstorm Sandy Victims Say FEMA's Role Is Fatally Conflicted

Kathy Hanlon and her sons, Sergio (left) and Cristian, were traumatized by Superstorm Sandy. Hanlon says her flood insurance company made life after Sandy even more horrible
Credit Charles Lane/WSHU

After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Kathy Hanlon's life crumbled. Her Long Beach, N.Y., home had no electricity, her family was traumatized and one of her sons was getting sick. On top of that, there was the bureaucratic maze of flood insurance.

"I cried many times because I was so angry when I got off the phone with the insurance company," Hanlon says. "It was demeaning. We had to send them things repeatedly. We had to wait for phone calls. We had to wait for people to come visit the house."

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Business
4:37 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Why Slow Electronic Payments Can Cause Cash Flow Problems

Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wants payments to catch up with real-time life.
Josep M Suria iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 2:17 pm

Electronic messages can circle the globe in an instant these days. But electronic payments can still take days to complete, and that slow pace puts consumers at greater risk of getting hit with late payments, overdraft fees or other costs.

Now, regulators are pushing for faster electronic payments.

Jasmine Dareus, a college freshman, is scrolling through some recent bank statements. "A lot of it was books and stuff like that, like textbooks," she says.

One of those books cost $3.

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54 percent spike in abandoned homes
9:59 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

NY Attorney General Introducing Bill To Combat Rise Of 'Zombie' Properties

New York's metro area has the highest number of "zombie" foreclosures in the country.
Credit Chart courtesy of RealtyTrac

Long Island is experiencing a spike in "zombie" homes—properties that are often abandoned after their owners receive a notice of foreclosure. They can fall into disrepair, reducing the values of surrounding property and serving as magnets for crime and vandalism.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is re-introducing legislation to combat the rise of abandoned properties. The bill is aimed at closing the gap of responsibility when a homeowner defaults.

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Superstorm Sandy recovery
6:41 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

FEMA Vows To Reform Flood Program

United States flags are displayed on flood-damaged homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012.
Credit Credit AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency adopted a number of reforms Friday aimed at helping homeowners who say they are being shortchanged by insurance companies.

Homeowners and elected officials have complained that the taxpayer-funded National Flood Insurance Program gives an incentive to private insurance companies to lowball flood claims by penalizing for overpayments, not underpayments.

FEMA has vowed to create a task force to fix this.

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new rules crack down on aggressive debt collectors
4:00 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Debt Collectors Praise New Regulation In NY

New York finalized new debt collection regulations on Wednesday, making them some of the most debtor-friendly in the country.

The state Department of Financial Services wrote and revised the new regulations with the help of both consumer advocates and debt collectors, pleasing both constituencies.

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