Tag Archive | "Suffolk County"

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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BelloneatWLNG

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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March Panel 4
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.

Whalers Baseball Challenged Early

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Pierson shortstop James Sherry waits to make a tag at second base against Southampton last week.

Pierson shortstop James Sherry waits to make a tag at second base against Southampton last week.

By Gavin Menu; photography by Gavin Menu

One week into the spring season and the Pierson baseball team has already gone on a rollercoaster of a ride.

Preparing for a trimmed down league schedule compared to years past, the Whalers have been “fortunate” to open the season with a competitive series of non-league games against larger schools, according to head coach Jon Tortorella, who believes the early challenges will be beneficial for a team expected to make another deep run in the postseason this year.

The Whalers let a six-run lead slip away against Southampton on opening day at Mashashimuet Park last Thursday. Senior ace Forrest Loesch started the game and left after four innings with a comfortable 7-1 lead. James Sherry pitched well in relief, but four defensive errors led to seven unearned runs and, ultimately, a 10-7 win for the Mariners.

Pierson bounced back with an 8-1 road win at Mercy on Friday and capped the week with a 3-2 loss to Westhampton Beach on Monday. The Hurricanes, who expect to make the playoffs in Class A this year, won in walk-off fashion with a tie-breaking run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“Good game, good team,” Tortorella said about the Hurricanes. “They scored two in the first, and one in the bottom of the seventh. They had two outs, and their kid hit a single to right to score the winning run.”

Tim Markowski picked up the win with a complete game against Mercy and Nick Kruel pitched well against Westhampton in wintery conditions, going the distance with his trademark knuckleball.

All in all, Tortorella said his pitching staff has been as good as advertised so far this season.

“I’ve been pleased with our pitching, big time,” Tortorella said. “They’re not in mid-season form and they’re still finding their stuff. It’s nice to see them battle through and gut out some innings even though they don’t have their best stuff yet.”

Against Southampton, a lively home crowd came out for spring-like weather in Sag Harbor and Pierson’s bats were alive during an explosive first inning. Johnny Chisholm kicked things off with a triple, and came home on an RBI single by Loesch. The Whalers batted through the lineup, with Aaron Schiavoni, Loesch, Markowski, Kruel and Jack Fitzpatrick all coming around to score.

Loesch scored again in the bottom of the second, but the Whalers bats went quiet for the remainder of the afternoon, and the defense fell apart late with Sherry on the mound. Southampton scored five runs in the top of the fifth inning, and four more in the top of the seventh. Pierson finished with a total of six errors.

“After Thursday, we really cleaned our defense up,” Tortorella said. “We scored six runs in the second inning against Mercy, and our pitching was the same. I was happy with our defense and how they responded.”

The Whalers will play one last non-league game tomorrow, March 28, at East Hampton at 4 p.m. The League IX season will begin with a three-game series against Smithtown Christian, starting on the road Monday at 4:30 p.m. The series will return to Sag Harbor for game two on Thursday, April 3 at 4:30 p.m. and will wrap up back at Smithtown Christian on April 4, also at 4:30 p.m.

New York State Declares March 17 Pyrrhus Concer Day

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Brenda and Fred

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. presented Brenda Simmons, director of the African American Museum on the East End, with a proclamation declaring March 17 to be Pyrrhus Concer Day in New York State last Saturday.

The document was presented at a program held at the Southampton Historical Museum honoring the 200th anniversary of Concer’s birth. Over 120 people attended the event, including Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley and Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.

Lady Whalers Riding High into New Season

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Leading the Pierson softball team this season will be, from left to right, Kasey Gilbride, Meg Schiavoni, Emma Romeo, Sam Duchemin, Zoe Diskin and Sabrina Baum.

Leading the Pierson softball team this season will be, from left to right, Kasey Gilbride, Meg Schiavoni, Emma Romeo, Sam Duchemin, Zoe Diskin and Sabrina Baum.

By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller

There’s a bright and confident aura surrounding the Pierson softball team as it heads into the spring season. And rightfully so.

The Lady Whalers have returned almost their entire lineup from last year’s team, which advanced to the New York State Class C Final Four before losing to eventual state champion, Frewsburg, in the semifinal round. The returning players include co-captains Kasey Gilbride, Emma Romeo and junior pitcher Sam Duchemin, all who have championship pedigree to spare and high hopes of overcoming last season’s semifinal loss.

“They’re focused, they have their goals set, they know what they want to do,” head coach Melissa Edwards said this week, speaking specifically about her co-captains, who were part of the school’s state championship field hockey team in the fall. “They are the leaders of my team, but this is a team thing. There is an overall family aspect to it. This is a group effort, and they get that.”

Gilbride and Romeo return for their senior years after having played varsity for the last four seasons. Gilbride is the team’s “coach on the field,” according to Edwards, not to mention its best hitter and sure-handed shortstop.

“Kasey overall is the consummate athlete,” Edwards said. “She’s lights out in field hockey, but she’s a very good softball player as well. She has speed and power.”

Romeo, who was injured for most of field hockey season, returns as the starting catcher and battery mate to Duchemin, who should be one of the top pitchers in the league, if not Suffolk County.

“Pitching is the only thing I worry about in the offseason,” Edwards said. “But Sam plays travel all year long, and as long as she is throwing, that’s all that matters. Pitching has to be a year-round thing.”

Also returning to the infield this spring are juniors Sabrina Baum, at second base, and Meg Schiavoni, at third. Freshman Lottie Evans returns at first base, giving the Lady Whalers a formidable, albeit young, infield that is stacked with talent.

“We are a returning squad, but we’re still a very young returning squad with only two seniors,” Edwards said. “Meg Schiavoni has gotten so much better, and Sabrina is so much better as well. Lottie’s so strong, she’s tall, she’s got it all. My infield is insane.”

Edwards is also excited to bring back a strong core of returning players in the outfield, including junior Zoe Diskin and freshman Isabel Peters, who started last year as an eighth grader. Freshmen Cali Cafiero, Maizy Guyer and Mackenzie Beadenbeck will compete for time in the outfield as well.

The Lady Whalers’ charge upstate began last year with a win over Port Jefferson in a three-game Suffolk County Class C Championship series. Port Jeff has moved up to Class B this year, so the only teams that could stop Pierson from another county title are Southold-Greenport and Stony Brook. There are no Class C teams in Nassau County, so a win in Suffolk would advance Pierson straight to regional competition.

There has been a re-alignment with league play this season, and Pierson will compete in League V with all of the Suffolk’s Class B and Class C schools. The league season will begin this Monday, March 24, with a home game against Mattituck at 4:30 p.m.

“It’s pretty neat coming off the run we had last year,” Edwards said. “And there’s an expectation to go back. Kasey, Emma and Sam are doing a dynamic job of keeping everyone focused.”

“Overall this season, we’re very optimistic,” she continued. “Our goal is to go back to states and we’re working hard at it.”

Suffolk County to Create Tick Advisory Committee

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At its March 4 meeting, the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by County Legislator Jay Schneiderman to create a tick control advisory committee. The committee will advise the county’s Division of Vector Control on developing a plan to reduce tick-borne illnesses in the county.

The committee will consist of 12 members, including a person knowledgeable in the area of tick control designated by the commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services who will serve as the chair. Mr. Schneiderman will also be on the committee, as will County Executive Steve Bellone, Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Legislator Al Krupski, the chair of the Legislature’s Public Works Committee; Legislator William Spencer, the chair of the Legislature’s Health Committee, Commissioner Greg Dawson of Suffolk County Parks, a representative of an environmental advocacy group, a public health professional, a representative of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association and a representative of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

In 2013, Legislator Schneiderman sponsored a resolution that requires the division of Suffolk County Vector Control to submit a yearly plan to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 300,000 yearly cases of Lyme disease. There are 1,000 cases of West Nile per year, making it 300 times more likely that a Suffolk County resident will contract Lyme disease than West Nile virus, said Legislator Schneiderman.

“A primary function of government is to protect the health and welfare of residents of Suffolk County,” he said. “This committee will help Vector Control develop a plan to reduce the incidence of tick borne illnesses.”

North Haven Woman Charged in Serial Burglary Case

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By Kathryn G. Menu

A North Haven resident was arrested last week and charged in connection with a string of burglaries in East Hampton in 2013.

On Monday, March 3, Erin Reiser, 32, turned herself into East Hampton Town Police, Captain Chris Anderson confirmed on Wednesday. Ms. Reiser was charged with three counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree, a felony crime, as well as a felony count of possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and two counts of possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a misdemeanor.

According to police, Ms. Reiser was the girlfriend of Justin Bennett, a resident of Springs who was arrested in October and charged in connection with a rash of burglaries on the South Fork. On Wednesday, Capt. Anderson confirmed that Ms. Reiser was in a 2003 Toyota sedan occupied by Mr. Bennett when detectives pulled the vehicle over on Route 114 in October.

“We recovered from the interior of the vehicle jewelry, with some electronics, and that is what these charges are connected too,” said Capt. Anderson.

In November, Mr. Bennett pled not guilty to 25 counts of burglary in the second degree, one count of attempted burglary in the second degree and one count of attempted burglary in the third degree, all felony crimes. According to police, beginning in January of 2013, Mr. Bennett burglarized 25 homes in East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton.

The thefts totaled over $126,000 in cash, jewelry and prescription medications, according to the indictment. Mr. Bennett admitted to police that he suffered from a severe heroin addiction, which led him to commit the crimes.

He has been held in lieu of $200,000 cash bail or a $400,000 bond, at Suffolk County Jail in Yaphank.

The charges Ms. Reiser faces in connection to the case are directly tied to the evidence police recovered from the Toyota in October, said Capt. Anderson, adding that Ms. Reiser’s arrest was delayed as a result of the ongoing investigation.

Ms. Reiser was arraigned on March 3 before East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky, and posted $2,500 bail at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside.

 

 

New York Legislators Call For Two-Year Delay on DEC Plan to Eradicate State’s Mute Swan Population

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Mute swans at the East Hampton Nature Trail on February 17. Michael Heller photo.

Mute swans at the East Hampton Nature Trail on February 17. Michael Heller photo.

By Tessa Raebeck

New York officials have introduced legislation that would impose a two-year delay on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to eradicate the state’s mute swan population by 2025.

Co-sponsored by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor, the bill would halt the DEC plan, which was introduced in December, and require the DEC to illustrate the “actual damage” the mute swan population causes to the environment or other species before exterminating the birds altogether.

“Wildlife experts, rehabilitators and environmentalists do not unanimously agree that exterminating the mute swan population is justified,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement. “In addition, there is debate amongst such experts about whether the planned eradication of the mute swan population is even minimally beneficial to the ecosystem or to our environment. Therefore, it is incumbent on the [DEC] to illustrate the necessity of eradicating this non-native species by demonstrating the actual damage to the environment or other species caused by mute swans.”

Mute swans are a species of swan named “mute” because they are less vocal than other swans. Native to Europe and Asia, they were brought to North America in the late 1870s due largely to their aesthetic appeal. Initially introduced in New York as ornaments on the estates of the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island, mute swans were present in the wild by the turn of the 20th century.

According to the DEC, the mute swan population had increased to about 2,000 statewide by 1993, peaked around 2,800 in 2002 and is now estimated at about 2,200, most heavily concentrated on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley.

A mute swan in East Hampton. Zachary Persico photo.

A mute swan in East Hampton. Zachary Persico photo.

“On the East End of Long Island, the mute swan is often visible in local ponds and waterways,” stated Mr. Thiele. “My office has not received one report in all my years in office that the mute swan is a nuisance or an environmental problem.”

The DEC says the non-native species causes a variety of environmental problems, “including aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation, displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality and potential hazards to aviation.”

Although opposed to the DEC plan, local ecologist Tyler Armstrong said there are ecological benefits to reducing the population. “It would help rare native waterfowl, as mute swans defend large nesting territories and exclude other birds from nesting, as well as competing with native birds for aquatic vegetation, like eelgrass,” he said.

The DEC has conducted “mute swan control activities” since 1993, but not to the extent permitted by the new management plan, which will include shooting free-ranging swans on public lands and private lands (with owner consent) and live capture and euthanasia.

North Haven resident Richard Gambino, professor emeritus at Queens College, said the DEC’s reasons for exterminating the swans are scientifically flawed.

“Everything affects the environment. The question is, do we have a sufficient reason, a necessary reason to kill them off, to exterminate them—and I don’t think we have one here,” he said, calling the plan “extreme.” The aggression shown by swans is evident in all mammals when they feel threatened and it’s arbitrary to call a species “alien” when it has been present for over 130 years, he added.

“If you’ve got a system such as nature—which is the most extreme system, with countless variables changing just about every second—we’re very limited in our ability to predict it,” he said, referring to the chaos theory.

Comments can be sent to the DEC by email to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us with “Swan Plan” in the subject line by February 21.