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Photo: Maria Gotay/QNS
Photo: Maria Gotay/QNS
The Bad Old Days on Woodbine Street in Ridgewood.

The devastation that Hurricane Maria caused in Puerto Rico re-entered the news cycle this week when a Harvard study provided a shocking new death toll related to storm, and now one Ridgewood bar owner is springing into action.

While the official death toll estimate from the storm in Puerto Rico was 64, the study estimates that the number of deaths after the storm struck in September 2017 until December 2017 is approximately 4,645 — more than 70 times higher than the official number.

When Sonja Lutnicki, owner of The Bad Old Days in Ridgewood, heard the news of the study, she was personally affected by it.

I’m originally from the Midwest, but my life partner was born and bred in Puerto Rico, so half my family is in Puerto Rico and affected by this,” Lutnicki said. “People are forgetting about the Puerto Rico event, and the Harvard study with a more accurate death toll estimate is bringing the whole event back to the public consciousness. We’re hoping to help a lot of people.”

The Bad Old Days  located at 1684 Woodbine St.  will host a fund raising event tonight, May 31, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. to raise money for the island.

Tickets for the event cost $3, and Lutnicki said funds will also be raised through sales of Sixpoint beer and other cocktail specials, as well as a raffle.

All proceeds raised for Puerto Rico will be donated to the non-profit organization Pepino Por Una Causa, the founder of which is friends with Lutnicki’s boyfriend so they know they can trust that the money will be put toward necessities, she said.


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