75 Christmas Boxes & Counting
Thursday night’s “Wrap a Box of Kindness” event, sponsored by the Bridgehampton Parent Teacher Organization, brought many Bridgehampton families out to decorate and pack gifts into shoeboxes. These boxes will be delivered to needy children all over the world.
Operation Christmas Child is a project designed and operated by Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse. It began in 1993 and has grown each year into a worldwide endeavor. All the boxes collected from around the United States are brought to over 130 countries and hand-delivered into the arms of a child – who may have never received a gift before.
Sag Harbor ARB:Â Vets Get Fence
Ralph Ficorelli, commander of the Sag Harbor VFW Chelberg & Battle Post 388, approached the Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board on Thursday, November 13 to request a fence at the VFW in order to ensure the building’s parking lot is reserved for members of the post, rather than the general population, which has been parking there.
Ficorelli, accompanied by a number Sag Harbor veterans, requested a four-foot high, 261-foot long chain link fence, covered in green vinyl for the south and west sides of the VFW.
“The main reason we are doing this is because it is being used as a public parking lot and members down there, we have trouble finding places to park our cars,” explained Ficorelli.
The board had no quandary with the fence, but was concerned about residents on Rysam Street having to look at a green, vinyl chain link fence – which would generally not be approved in a residential neighborhood in the historic district of Sag Harbor.
Ficorelli argued that the green coating would help blend in the fence to the surrounding area and that the VFW intended to plant shrubbery around the fence to help shield it.
The board agreed to approve the fence with the caveat that the fence be shielded with shrubbery and the entry gate on Rysam be made partially of wood in keeping with the residential character of the neighborhood.
In other ARB news, Howard Kanovitz was approved to replace a historic column and repaint the historic residence at 27 Suffolk Street. Kanovitz also has sought to replace the windows, although the board has asked he look into restoration. Sean Murphy was approved to replace French doors at 27 Garden Street, Harbor Heights Gas Station was approved for new signs at their Hampton Street business, Anastasia Cole was approved for a picket fence at 3 Bay Street, Michael Butler was approved for building alterations at 37 Eastville Avenue and Blair and Cheryl Effron were granted permission for the demolition of an existing house at 34 Long Point Road and for a new two-story residence at the same site.
Suffolk Community College:Â Thanksgiving For The Needy
Faculty and students at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts Center will be partnering with the Dominican Sisters Family Health Service located in Hampton Bays to prepare and individually package more than 150 dinners that will assist in feeding those in need for Thanksgiving.
Under the direction of chef/instructor Jerry Dececco, preparation for this event will take place at the Culinary Arts Center located at 20 East Main Street in Riverhead on Tuesday, November 25 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu will consist of roast turkey with giblet gravy, seasoned cranberry bread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans Almondine, dinner rolls, apple pie and pumpkin pie.
New York State Assembly:Â Update On Fiscal Crisis
In accordance with a new law enacted last year to help increase fiscal accountability and transparency in state government, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., a member of the ways and means committee, joined Assembly minority leader James Tedisco and the Assembly Minority Conference last week to formally submit their assessment of New York’s current fiscal condition. The report outlines estimates of the conference’s disbursements for public assistance, Medicaid and school aid, along with estimates for tax receipts and lottery receipts.
“Our state is facing tough economic times ahead that will require us to tighten our belts and exercise true fiscal discipline to ensure New York can weather this fiscal storm,” said Thiele. “Our conference’s report is comprehensive and forecasts a continued decline in state revenues while emphasizing the need for fiscally sound proposals to close the budget deficit without doing so on the backs of taxpayers.”
In its report, the Assembly Minority Ways and Means Committee estimated the public assistance rolls will closeout the current fiscal year with 501,096 cases, that total expenditures for public assistance in the state will be $2.158 billion and that the state share of those expenditures will be $828.8 million. The conference also estimated that public assistance caseload for the 2009-10 fiscal year will be 512,683, with total expenditures of $2.212 billion at a state share of $848.6 million. The 2009-10 estimates represent a 3.2 increase in caseload and a 2.3 percent increase in costs to the state.
According to Thiele, the conference has also estimated the Medicaid rolls will increase by 2.8 percent in the current fiscal year – resulting in a total enrollment of 3.6 million individuals. The ways and means committee expects the state share for the current fiscal year to be $17.7 billion. They also estimate that enrollment for the 2009-10 fiscal year will rise 4.8 percent, for a total of 3.8 million individuals with a state share of $19.4 billion and a local cap of $965 million.
Additionally, the committee forecast state school aid to increase by en estimated $1.9 billion for the 2009-10 school year. The increase would bring total funding for annual state school aid to $23 billion. The estimate is based upon May data provided by the state education department.
The state division of the budget’s mid-year update projects that New York State is facing a $1.5 billion budget gap this year and a $12.5 billion budget gap next year. The minority conference fiscal analysis suggests the gap is likely to be $1.2 billion this year and $11.6 billion next year.
Nature Conservancy:Â Clam Population Recovering
The Nature Conservancy and Suffolk County today announced study results that show early signs of a recovery for the bay’s hard clam population.
Four years ago, The Nature Conservancy, backed by a wide range of public and private supporters, took a chance – embarking on a shellfish restorationÂ to “make the Great South bay Great Again” by restoring its hard clam population.
Hard clams play a vital role in the bay, helping maintain water quality by filtering debris and plankton out of the water as they feed. At the start of this effort the Bay’s clam population was so low that in much of the bay they were no longer reproducing successfully. Â To help boost natural reproduction, the Conservancy-led partnership added over three million adult clams to the Bay in the last four years, creating a network of over 50 sites, or sanctuaries, where adult clams could grow and reproduce without disturbance.
Carl LoBue, senior marine scientist for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island said, “Our summer survey of the bay bottom revealed over 250 million juvenile clams which we believe to be offspring of the adult clams that we have been stocking in the Bay. That represents a 4,000 percent increase in the clam population of the central part of the bay since 2006.Â This is a very positive sign that we are on track towards meeting our restoration objectives. However recurring episodes of brown tide and natural predators are a continued threat. We must continue working with our partners to do what we can to ensure the continued success of this exciting restoration project.”Â
Hard clams once were so abundant that Great South Bay supplied over 50 percent of the entire nation’s hard clams. Today the reported commercial harvest is down by more than 99 percent. Not only does the decline of shellfish have economic impacts, but water quality is also affected.Â Chronic algal blooms (such as brown tide), which negatively impact marine life in the Great South Bay, have been linked to declining clam populations. Clams filter water and help keep the algae in control.
Inspired by its initial success, The Nature Conservancy will continue to work with partners on the Bluepoints Bottomlands Council on additional restoration activities, with the goal of eventually stepping back as nature takes over and the clams become self-sustaining.
Southampton Hospital:Â Recruits Genetic Counselor
Southampton Hospital is proud to announce the recruitment of the first Genetic Counselor to the East End of Long Island. Emily Smith, MS has joined Southampton Hospital this month to develop cancer counseling through genetic testing for ovarian and breast cancer (BRCA 1 & BRCA 2). She will serve as a resource for local physicians to explain the science of genetics, walk people through the decision of having a test and make recommendations on a case-by-case basis.
In the process of genetic counseling, family history and medical records are evaluated. At the patients request genetic tests are ordered and the results are assessed.Â Counseling and psychological support are provided to enable the patient to reach a decision to learn more.Â
Genetic counseling gives people an opportunity to sit down with a trained health professional to discuss their risk for a genetic disease and to help people learn more about the causes of genetic conditions and how they may be affected.
Previously, patients had to travel to Stony Brook Medical Center or Good Samaritan Hospital for genetic testing.
“I am anxious to provide this service to this great community, a service that many other parts of the country have had for more than 10 years,” said Smith.Â She adds that the test results generally take approximately three-to-four weeks with a 99 percent level of accuracy.
“We plan to provide the state-of-the-art care that everyone deserves,” said Smith.Â
Ms. Smith, a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, is a graduate of Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and has varied clinical experience in the Genetic Counseling field.Â According to Frederic Weinbaum, MD, Chief Medical Officer, “Offering this new service to the community is indicative of Southampton Hospital’s direction.Â We are striving to provide the most advanced medical care available and will continue in this direction with the communities support.”
Smith was hired to be working specifically within the Breast Health Center providing genetic counseling for ovarian and breast cancer but she hopes that the department will expand into other aspects of genetic counseling.Â She also plans to hold an informational seminar on genetic counseling during the upcoming Health Insights lecture series this winter.
Additional information is available on the Hospital website at www.southamptonhospital.org or contact Emily Smith to schedule an appointment at 377-3477.