Tag Archive | "Suffolk County"

Suffolk County to Spray for Mosquitos in Southampton and East Hampton

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Salt marshes throughout Suffolk County will be sprayed with pesticides by helicopter to control mosquito larvae on Tuesday, July 8.

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works’ Division of Vector Control plan to use large droplet, low altitude application of BTI and Methoprene between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow. A press release from the Suffolk County Department of Health named the marshes that will be sprayed tomorrow. In Southampton Town: Stokes Poges, Jagger Lane, Moneybogue Bay, Westhampton Dunes, Meadow Lane, Iron Point and North Sea.

In East Hampton Town Napeague, Beach Hampton and Accabonac Harbor will all be sprayed with larvicides.

The Suffolk County Department of Health wrote that no precautions were recommended for this spray, as the helicopters will be flying low and avoiding inhabited areas: “Human exposure from this operation is unlikely and the products involved have no significant human toxicity,” according to the release.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman introduced a bill last year that would restrict the use of Methoprene, a larvicide that has been linked to killing lobsters. Mr. Schneiderman continues to seek support for this bill; similar laws have been passed in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Coram Woman’s Body Found in Montauk

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By Tessa Raebeck

The East Hampton Town Police Department, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Medical Examiners Office, is investigating the death of a woman from Coram that occurred at the overlook parking area along Old Montauk Highway, south of Washington Drive in Montauk.

The woman, Nikole Doering, 37, of Coram, was found deceased in her car at approximately 3:03 p.m. Monday, June 2, after police responded to a report of an unresponsive female in a vehicle.

Ms. Doering had been reported missing by her family to the Suffolk County Police Department on Sunday, June 1.

The investigation is ongoing and does not appear to be suspicious in nature at this time. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the East Hampton Town Police Department at (631) 537-7575.

No To Puppy Mills

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Suffolk County Legislature approved a measure on Tuesday that will require more disclosure from pet stores and prohibit the sale of animals from proven puppy mills.

The law was co-sponsored by Legislator Jay Schneiderman of Montauk and written with the aid of animal advocacy groups and local store owners.  The law prohibits pet shops from buying animals from questionable breeders with violations on their most recent United States Department of Agriculture reports.

Advocates Discuss Lack of East End Youth Services

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By Stephen J. Kotz

East End youth advocates gathered on Thursday, May 29, at the David Crohan Community Center in Flanders to solicit ideas about how Suffolk County could both maintain and improve the services to young people.

The impetus for the forum was the completion of a draft report by an East End subcommittee of the Suffolk County Youth Board Coordinating Council that focused specifically on the East End. The subcommittee was one of four convened by the county, the others being tasked with studying behavioral health issues, teen pregnancy and unemployment.

“There is a lot of agreement that this is an under served community,” said Nancy Lynott, the director of the Southampton Town Youth Bureau in an interview on Monday. She added that while it was reassuring that the county recognized the East End’s special needs, the region must still fight for its fair share of funding.

That will be particularly true in years to come, she said, because of a change in how funding for youth services is doled out at the county level by New York State. “There have been changes that give the county some flexibility in how state funding is used,” she said. “It used to be designated for each municipality, but starting in 2014, it all goes to county” to allocate as it sees fit.

The report, which is due to be completed next month, will be an important tool if East End providers of youth services want to maintain their share of the county pie. “We want to be able to show why East End communities should be getting priority,” she said. “They are aware of our situation, but they wanted not just stories and anecdotes, but hard information.”

What the report found was that it is difficult to get everything from mental health services to employment counseling on the East End because it is so far east of the county’s population centers, there is a lack of public transportation, and services are available on a spotty basis.

“Service delivery is fragmented,” Ms. Lynott added, “with some provided by towns, villages and even the county. We also have 30-some school districts on the East End. So what we have to do is get everybody on the same page.”

Last week’s event was co-sponsored by youth bureaus in Southampton, Riverhead and Southold towns as well as by Suffolk County Legislators Jay Schneiderman, who represents the South Fork, and Al Krupski, who represents the North Fork.

Although the image of the East End is one of wealth and glamor, Ms. Lynott said there is a darkly different reality behind the façade. “We have some terrific wealth out here, but we also have some terrific poverty,” she said.

During her presentation, she said that East End communities routinely turn up in lists of the most underprivileged in the county. Six of the most economically distressed communities in the county found on the East End, with 76 percent of teens between the ages of 16 to 19 unemployed. Seven of the 15 communities with the highest number of uninsured families are also here. East End children also qualify at higher averages for free or reduced-fee school lunches, and young people on the East End “are well above the national average in their use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.”

East End youth are priced out of the housing market and have limited social outlets, the report found. And those who finish school find “they don’t know what they are going to do next and we have we have very little to offer them,” Ms. Lynott said.

“Government doesn’t understand that if you spend $2,000 on prevention, you might save $30,000 to $40,000 down the road” in treatment or jail costs, said Riverhead Councilman Jon Dunleavy, one of several public officials to attend Thursday’s roundtable.

Rachel Toy, a Sag Harbor resident and a recent college graduate, said providing good jobs for local youth is a must.

Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender suggested that local building contractors could be enlisted to launch an apprentice program to help in that effort.

Kerry Laube, a Westhampton Beach Police Department sergeant, said teaching kids about the dangers of substance abuse should be a priority.

Helen Atkinson-Barnes, who runs educational programs at The Retreat, a non-profit that provides shelter and counseling for domestic abuse victims in East Hampton, called on educating young people about the importance of developing healthy relationships. “Underlying a lot of those issues” contained in the report “are unhealthy relationships,” she said.

“First, I want to address transportation,” said Laura Smith of the North Fork Alliance, who said better bus service is needed to help young people get to jobs and appointments.

Improving mental health services was the concern of Andrea Nydegger, who works with the Eastern Suffolk BOCEs on the North Fork. “I have kids who get referred to me constantly,” she said, adding that she tells parents counseling is cheaper than paying for a tutor.

Kim Jones of the East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Force agreed there was a “dire need” for better mental health services, and said that the community had recently learned of the second suicide this year of a young person.

“Our high school students are not asking ‘where are you going to college?’” she said. ‘They are asking, ‘who do you think is gong to commit suicide next?’”

“We realize this is just the beginning,” Ms. Lynott told the gathering. “I hope we can continue these discussions. Maybe we can get some real changes started.”

Court Grants Order of Protection for Victim of Alleged Rape in East Hampton

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Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Jason Lee is accused of raping an Irish student at his rental home in East Hampton last August. Photo courtesy Suffolk County District Attorney's office.

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Jason Lee is accused of raping an Irish student at his rental home in East Hampton last August. Photo courtesy Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

By Tessa Raebeck

A Suffolk County court on Friday granted an order of protection for a woman living in Ireland who was allegedly raped in East Hampton last summer.

Suffolk County Criminal Court Justice Barbara Kahn granted the application, filed by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, for a one-year order of protection against the defendant in the case, Jason Lee, 37, an employee of the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs.

Mr. Lee is accused of raping a 20-year-old Irish student last summer in his East Hampton rental home. He was charged with rape in the first degree in August and pled not guilty in September, after posting $100,000 bail.

The order of protection will not allow Mr. Lee or anyone working on his behalf to contact the alleged victim.

“This court order will provide a level of protection for the victim of this crime, now at home in her native Ireland, who feels that [she] has been harassed and intimidated by visitors in the employ of the defendant, Jason Lee,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a press release.

“We are pleased the court included in the order of protection a specific provision not only barring the defendant from any contact with our victim [but also] importantly, to refrain from communication with her through third parties,” he continued. “This victim has told us she felt intimidated by the emissary sent to speak to her by the defendant, and that she feels she is being watched, increasing her fear and causing her great distress.”

East Hampton Town Police arrested Mr. Lee after coming to his rental house for an unrelated matter, being notified of the alleged rape and finding Mr. Lee hiding in his Range Rover.

Renewable Energy STEM Center Earns Funding

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A two-story, 33,792- square-foot Renewable Energy and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center on the Suffolk County Community College Michael J. Grant, Brentwood campus—the first of its kind in the state community college system—moved closer to reality when the Suffolk County legislature appropriated funding for design and planning of the new facility on May 13. Fifty percent of the $19.5 million center’s funding comes from New York State.

The new facility will house laboratories and classrooms to teach installation, maintenance and repair of solar, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal and other green power technologies, according to Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun L. McKay who said plans call for the building to be solar-powered with geothermal heating and would contain a prototype solar house on rails that could be used indoors or rolled outside to test various renewable energy materials.

“Importantly, “McKay explained, “the second floor of the facility will serve as an incubator in conjunction with Stony Brook University, as well as space for cybersecurity educational and development opportunities.”

McKay said the new building will be sited next to the College’s Workforce and Development Center on the Michael J. Grant Campus.

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Honored

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Stony Brook Children’s Hospital was presented with the Medical Visionary Award on May 8, at Make-A-Wish Suffolk County’s 20th Annual “Bouquet of Wishes” spring dinner. The Foundation presented this award to Stony Brook Children’s for the institution’s meritorious leadership in advanced and innovative pediatric specialty care.

“It is an honor to receive the Medical Visionary Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Suffolk County,” said Margaret M. McGovern, M.D., Ph.D., Physician-in-Chief, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. “At Stony Brook Children’s we value our partnerships with organizations like Make-A-Wish that help us to care for all the needs of the sickest children. It is an organization that does an extraordinary job granting wishes to so many of our pediatric patients.”

“Stony Brook Children’s Hospital is Make-A-Wish Suffolk County’s largest referral source for wish children,” said Karine Hollander, President and CEO, Make-A-Wish Suffolk County. “We see firsthand the results of the treatment Stony Brook provides; enhancing children’s health both physically and emotionally. Together, we work in partnership to heal a child’s spirit.”

Water Quality, Economic Development Top Bellone’s East End Agenda

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Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, WLNG’s Dan Duprey and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone last Wednesday as Mr. Bellone stopped by the Sag Harbor radio station on a tour of the East End. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

During a whistle-stop tour of the East End last Wednesday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone declared that encouraging economic growth and improving water quality remain among his top priorities.

“I’ve always tried to recognize, even when I was a town supervisor in Babylon, there are a lot of regional things that impact all of us locally,” Mr. Bellone said at a panel discussion with local government officials at the County Center in Riverhead Wednesday morning. “What is happening on the East End in a multitude of ways impacts what’s happening on the West End and vice versa.”

Mr. Bellone and representatives from Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island, Riverhead and East Hampton discussed the need for economic growth west of the canal. “We need jobs on the East End that will allow our young people to live here,” the County Executive said. “I think transportation is key.”

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst agreed, saying that public transportation plans “mostly have been sitting on the shelves for dollar and cent reasons and must be dusted off and attended to now.”

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who accompanied Mr. Bellone on his tour, mentioned some improvements that have already been made to public transportation in eastern Suffolk County.

“Now, year-round, for the first time … we have seven-day-a-week service,” Mr. Schneiderman said, in reference to Suffolk County Transit buses now operating on Sundays.

Mr. Bellone and Mr. Schneiderman announced last July that Suffolk County received $4 million in federal funding to expand its Sunday bus service which started in in January 2014. The service is now year-round rather than seasonal in nature.

Mr. Bellone emphasized the need for a good county bus system for workers, for those he referred to as “non-choice riders,” but also suggested that transportation market solutions could be broader-based. He stressed that a good bus system could have wide appeal, and would serve to take some cars off the road during the busy summer season.

“I would love to work with you on developing all those transportation plans,” Mr. Bellone told his colleagues on the panel. The county will be bringing on new transportation experts, he said, whose aim will be to continue to increase and improve train and bus systems.

Mr. Schneiderman discussed the difficulties of living under the New York State-mandated 2-percent property tax levy cap. He added, however, that in order to work around this, Suffolk County has an assembly and senate bill that would install speed cameras in every school district, one per district, within a quarter mile of schools. Mr. Bellone explained that the municipalities would earn ant revenue generated from tickets issued through speed cameras and handle all of the contracts involved. This bill – which also places cameras in Nassau County and increase the number in New York City –passed last week in both the New York State Assembly and the State Senate.

Using innovation and technology to develop a sewer system to improve water quality is one of Mr. Bellone’s main goals, he said. There are 360,000 homes in Suffolk County without a sewer system – using a cesspool systems instead – equal to the number of non-sewered homes in the entire State of New Jersey. Suffolk has received a $500,000 grant from IBM in order to determine the best sewering system for each watershed area and to create a program to assist with the expense of implementing those systems.

During a live interview with WLNG’s Dan Duprey in Sag Harbor Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Bellone discussed his program Operation Medicine Cabinet, which would encourage the safe disposal of prescription drugs in an environmentally friendly way to protect local waters.

This program placed secure receptacles in each of Suffolk County’s police precincts to allow residents to dispose of prescription drugs anonymously. The Sag Harbor Village Police Department has its own drop box on Division Street. Mr.Bellone last month announced the expansion of Operation Medicine Cabinet to senior centers throughout Suffolk County.

The County Executive continued his tour of the East End in Montauk, where he visited with local business-owners and fishermen. Plans to meet with farmers in Southampton later that afternoon were postponed due to weather.

Fishermen aired concerns about methoprene mosquito-spraying during a roundtable discussion with the county executive and legislator at the Clam and Chowder House at Salivar’s Dock in Montauk. The use of methoprene has been linked to killing and stunting the growth of lobsters.

Mr. Schneiderman introduced a bill in July 2013 that would restrict the use of methoprene in estuaries, using alternatives such as Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis (BTI) that has not been shown to harm the development of lobsters or other crustaceans. Similar bills have been passed in both Connecticut and Rhode Island.

There is some debate as to what danger, if any, is caused by methoprene, but Mr. Schneiderman continues to seek support for his bill.

“They started using methoprene in 1996,” he said. “In 1995 there was about 4 million pounds of lobster in the Long Island Sound. Now there’s nothing. The sound is pretty much dead to lobsters now.”

 

Assembly Passes Tax Extension for East Hampton

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The New York State Assembly passed legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. this week that permits Suffolk County to extend the property tax payment deadline for residents of East Hampton Town this year to protect those residents from any penalties.

A computer system error in the town’s tax receiver’s office resulted in more than 5,000 property tax bills from being sent out in time to make the January 10 payment deadline. Because many residents did not receive their tax bills on time, the town approached Assemblyman Thiele, who sponsored the legislation to extend the deadline to January 31 and waive any interest and penalties.

“I appreciate the efforts of Assemblyman Fred Thiele passing legislation to extend the penalty deadline in light of issues that occurred in the town tax receiver’s office in January,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

The bill has passed both houses of the legislature and must be presented to the governor for his signature. Once the bill becomes law, the Suffolk County Legislature must pass a resolution adopting the provisions within 30 days.

East End Women’s Network Celebrates Women’s History Month

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The East End Women’s Network celebrated women’s history month last Wednesday, hosting a panel discussion with local women leaders. The event entitled “Women Making Policy: A Women & Politics Panel Discussion” featured Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne Holst, Southold Town Board Member Jill Doherty and Former Suffolk County Legislator and Deputy Presiding Officer Vivian Viloria Fisher as panelists. Award winning journalist and Islip town Councilwoman Trish Bergin-Weichbrodt served as moderator for the discussion.
Discussion focused around the challanges women face in pursuing leadership positions. Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne Holst pointed to the headway Southampton Town has made with women in Leadership positions in the Town government. However all the panelist acknowledge the challenges women still face in politics and government. The panelists agreed that more women are needed in the political pipeline. Vivian Viloria Fisher stated that “women need to be asked to run” and encouraged the audience to ask more women to run for office.
The East End Women’s Network was founded in 1981. The purpose of this organization is to bring together women of diverse accomplishment and experience, directing women into policy-making positions through the dissemination and sharing of career opportunities; to educate members and the public on issues affecting women on the East End; and to promote the interests, conditions and positions of women in science, business, industry, labor, government, the arts, education and public service.