Community

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Emma S. Clark Memorial Library. File photo by Michael Ruiz

Setauket’s own Emma S. Clark Memorial Library is making strides to save money just in time for budget season.

The library announced this week it would be migrating its catalog system to be part of the Partnership of Automated Libraries in Suffolk, which runs library services with 49 other libraries across the county. The shared product, according to library Director Ted Gutmann, should increase efficiency and ease of use for both patrons and library employees while also saving money.

“The cost of ongoing maintenance is going to be shared across 50 libraries,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense for us to join this network.”

A spokeswoman for the library said patrons will now be able to create their own usernames rather than remembering long library card barcode numbers and will also have the option to pay fines online and receive text alerts.

“It will be much faster to borrow items from other Suffolk County libraries,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “In just one click, the request is automatically put into other libraries, without the patron having to specifically request an interlibrary loan. The item is then delivered to Emma Clark Library for pickup or can be delivered to other Suffolk libraries as well.”

The cost-saving move comes just in time for the Sept. 16 budget vote at the library, which projected a 0.30 percent change in the tax levy from $5,177,684 last year to $5,192,968 this year. The proposed 2016 library budget saw an increase in employee salary expenditures and material and program expenditures, but a slight decline in costs related to mandated benefits, building and operations funding and estimated income.

Voting on the 2016 library budget is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the library from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the periodical room.

The new system is also more cost effective, both up front and ongoing, the spokeswoman said. The move to PALS should result in an annual 61 percent savings for the library catalog operation costs and will help the library in complying with the New York State tax freeze program. Under the tax freeze program, New York State requires shared services in order to reduce costs and save money — under the tax relief program, if the library complies with the tax cap and shows cost savings through shared resources, qualifying homeowners are reimbursed for increases in their local property taxes on their primary residences.

It is also important to note that during this migration, from Sept. 16 to Nov. 2, patrons will not be able to use the online catalog to request interlibrary loans. They will, however, be able to pick up books themselves at other libraries or they may contact our reference librarians who can place requests on the patron’s behalf. Starting in early November, when the new system is live online, interlibrary loan requests will resume. The library appreciates the understanding of the community — this small inconvenience while the catalog is under transition will lead to more improved services by November.

A screenshot of the town’s app, Huntington @ Your Service. Photo by Rohma Abbas
A screenshot of the town’s app, Huntington @ Your Service. Photo by Rohma Abbas

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) and Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) have announced that the town has upgraded its mobile phone app and has installed Wi-Fi in the Huntington Town Board room, Town Hall lobby and the Dix Hills Ice Rink.

The town recently completed a major revision of its mobile phone app that makes it easier for residents to enter service requests. It also adds a variety of functions that link more seamlessly to the town’s website and to social media. Users of the app will be able to take and upload images; integrate with their Facebook and Twitter accounts; read the town’s news feed; access the town’s mobile website; learn the refuse pickup day for a particular location; and view and find recreation facilities, nearby restaurants, businesses and libraries based on location services. The phone app works on both iPhone and Android devices and can be downloaded at both the Apple App store and Google Play. On both sites, search for Huntington @ Your Service.

Plans are in place to expand Wi-Fi service over the next six months to additional areas and town facilities, including the Village Green Senior Center.

Still digging out from early August wind, rain storm that rocked parts of greater Three Village community

John Morgan, above, from Impact Environmental, clears branches from the entrance of the park at Trustees Park in Poquott. Photo by Giselle Barkley

In the aftermath of the powerful early-morning storm that hit the North Shore on Aug. 4, organizations and volunteers, like Impact Environmental and Ward Melville High School ice hockey students, are battling fallen trees and branches as they cleanup areas like Trustees Park in Poquott.

The volunteers began cutting trees, picking up debris and clearing areas of the park around 9 a.m. on Friday. Few people have used the park for recreational purposes since the storm, as broken trees, branches and other debris still blocked the park’s main entrance. Nick Pisano, a Ward Melville High School student, said he “doubts that [they] could finish [cleaning] today.”

Impact environmental worker Frank DeVivo agreed with Pisano.

“There’s a lot in there and we have several people [helping clear the debris], so we’ll be able to get it done,” DeVivo said. “It’s just a matter of time and organization.”

Two weeks ago, on Aug. 13, Poquott residents voiced their concerns regarding how storm-damaged areas of the village were being cleared following the storm. But clearing those areas, including the park, was difficult. Clearing the park alone cost Impact Environmental around $8,000.

“The village has no money to do any of the prep work,” Richard Parrish, president and CEO of Impact Environmental said. “So we made a decision that Impact Environmental would pay [to clear the park].” This is something we do to help out the village,” Parrish said.

Earlier Friday, the debris extended several feet in front of the park’s entrance. According to Impact Environmental worker John Morgan, the volunteers started their day fighting to clear branches and twigs to clear the area in front of the entrance. Morgan also said he helped clear an additional path by the entrance. With the path cleared, Morgan and the other volunteers could continue picking up debris, including pieces of a 30 to 35 foot birch tree that broke off during the storm.

Morgan cut the broken tree into several pieces, making it easier to clear the main entrance area. Morgan, like Parrish and the other volunteers, was happy to help the community, saying that making others happy made him happy. DeVivo had a similar response regarding clearing the park’s entranceway.

“This is a really well-used park, and they enjoy the ability to get to their tennis courts, and they enjoy the ability to take nice walks,” DeVivo said. “So it’s good to be able to come out here and help out, and help clean it up and get it back to functionality.”

Mayor Delores Parrish also joined the volunteers, later in the day, to help clean and move trees and other debris from the park. According to Richard Parrish, the mayor was bringing a larger vehicle to help transport debris to a landfill.

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Norman Samuels and Herb Mones clean up the Greenway Trail.

By Karen Jillian

“It’s not a surprise that many people are calling the Three Villages ‘Long Island’s Bicycling Capital!’” So writes Herb Mones regarding the Setauket to Port Jefferson Greenway Trail. Mones, a member of the Friends of the Greenway, says “the Greenway Trail [protected open space constructed for conservation and recreational purposes] is a great community resource. Its second phase finished, it has now become “the longest paved greenway in Suffolk County — 3 ½ miles long.”

The Greenway Trail runs between Limroy Lane in East Setauket and the New York State Department of Transportation parking lot in Port Jefferson Station, near Route 112 at Hallock Avenue.

Due to the overwhelming amount of positive results associated with the path, Mones has decided to “engage the community in a program to enhance and beautify the Greenway through monthly cleanups and having the public adopt and maintain portions of the trail.”

A biker enjoys a section of the Greenway Trail.
A biker enjoys a section of the Greenway Trail.

A cleanup was held this past Saturday morning. The 28 volunteers were ably assisted by Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) who believes that “the development of the Greenway has been nothing but a positive asset and resource.”

“When I speak to people in my district about the trail, they mention they enjoy that it connects communities. At the beginning, when a new idea like this is introduced, there is always a level of fear from some in the community until people see what an asset it can be, especially once people use it,” said Cartright.

Local resident and volunteer, Norm Samuels, echoed her sentiments. “People are generally very happy with the trail and use it in many different ways:  walking, running, biking and dog walking. During the right weather I go cross-country skiing! Only complaint some have: no port-o-potty.”

Another hardworking elected official at Saturday’s cleanup was Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).An obvious environmental enthusiast, she said, “I was always excited about this idea of a trail. From social community, health and environmental  perspectives, we are all better for it. The good use of the trail drives out any bad use.”

The volunteers report that “bad use” consists of the occasional strewn trash, which is a light amount. As for people being worried about kids hanging out, non-usage of the trail or any negatives, the trail, has, instead, brought many positive attributes. Usage of the trail is very high. Most people have cleaned up after themselves and their dogs and traffic on Upper Sheep Pasture has slowed down dramatically because of the enhanced safety crossings and alerting of drivers to crosswalks.

But the best may be yet to come. This trail, which began as an acquired stretch of property in the 1960s and had originally been pitched as a bypass to 25A, had, in the 1990s become part of an alternative plan to become a Greenbelt Trail. Today the Friends of the Greenway are working with North Shore Rails to Trails “in an effort to extend the path from Port Jefferson Station to Wading River, which would create a 15-mile ribbon of bike paths,” according to Mones.  Not bad for something that started out over 50 years ago as a paper road for a vehicular bypass!

The trail, though, needs the community for it to survive and be maintained. The next clean up is scheduled for Sept. 26 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. If you would like more information on being a part of this growing community that uses the trail or would like to volunteer, you can call the Three Village Community Trust’s Friends of the Greenway at 631-689-0225.

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The Pax Christi Hospitality Center is on Oakland Avenue in Port Jefferson. File photo

Pax Christi Hospitality Center needs help supplying guests with sanitary products.

The center, which shelters local homeless men and is under the umbrella of Port Jefferson-based nonprofit Hope House Ministries, founded by Father Francis Pizzarelli, has asked for donations of toothbrushes, small soaps and small shampoos, like the ones found in hotel rooms. The items will go to guests who visit the facility for a shower.

Pax Christi is located at 255 Oakland Ave. in Port Jefferson, near the Long Island Rail Road tracks. It is a 25-bed facility for males older than 16 that provides emergency shelter, food and social services. Call 631-928-9108 for more information.

By Jared Cantor

On Sunday, Huntington’s Heckscher Park ball field was home to classic cars of all types at the annual Robert J. Bohaty Memorial Classic Auto Show. From Rat Rods to Muscle cars, there was a vehicle for everyone’s liking. The event is hosted by the Northport Centerport Lions Club.

Bill would limit cars allowed per bedroom

Supervisor Ed Romaine listens to resident concerns at the town meeting. Photo by Giselle Barkley

It’s a battle between the town and landlords as officials and concerned homeowners keep trying to combat illegal housing.

A proposed Brookhaven Town law aims to prevent overcrowding in rental homes by limiting the number of allowed tenants to four unrelated people — half as many as currently permitted — and restricting the number of permitted vehicles at a rental house to one car per legal bedroom plus one additional car. At a four-bedroom rental house, that translates to five allowed vehicles.

The proposal is the most recent in a string of initiatives to prevent illegal house rentals, including a measure that outlawed paving over front yards to make additional space to park cars.

“That’s how bad it was,” Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said during last week’s Brookhaven Town Board meeting.

The housing issue came to the forefront a few years ago with the help of Bruce Sander, the president of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners. In Three Village and neighboring areas like Port Jefferson and Middle Country, residents have spoken against illegal and often overcrowded rental homes that are filled with Stony Brook University students, citing quality of life issues such as noise and overflowing trash.

Romaine said the rules detailed in the proposed law would make it easier for the town to identify rental homes that house more people than legally allowed.

“There are a number of people who have taken over foreclosed houses for sale with four bedrooms,” Romaine said. “They’ve carved it up and put around eight to 10 students in them.”

Sander said students aren’t the issue — landlords are.

“The law department and town investigators are on top of this all the time because the landlord never obeys the laws,” Sander said in an interview, referring to landlords who rent houses to more tenants than legally allowed. “It’s just the nature of the beast; it’s just what they do.”

Sander helped found Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners around three years ago, after he moved to Stony Brook and identified two illegal boarding houses across the street from him. As the boarding houses became disruptive, residents in the area became concerned.

“I saw the value of my house and the value of my property just go down the tank.”

Tracking the number of people living in one rental home has been difficult for the town, but officials hope counting cars will make the process easier. The town’s overall goal is to provide legal housing for students without disrupting their neighbors.

“Stony Brook is a middle to upper-middle income,” Romaine said. “People moving in with their kids expect a certain quality of life.”

One member of the concerned homeowners group said at the town board meeting that he would like the town to focus on property upkeep as well.

“We’d like [the homes] to stay at a level of cleanliness and order that the community has around [the home],” the man said.

While rental housing and landlord issues are not as bad as they once were, Sander said there is more to be done.

“We still have a lot of work to do; these houses are in disrepair,” Sander said during the board meeting. “Some of these landlords just believe that they’re immune and that our group is going to go away. Well no, we’re growing. We have 1,400 to 1,500 homeowners that are standing strong against these illegal houses.”

The public hearing on the latest proposed law is set for Thursday, Oct. 1, at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall in Farmingville.

Retired 2nd Precinct leader to head up Sept. 12 event

The 6th annual Huntington Awareness Day parade will feature longtime commander of the 2nd Precinct as its grand marshal, and will also honor a number of community members from across Huntington Town.

Ed Brady file photo by Rohma Abbas
Ed Brady file photo by Rohma Abbas

Inspector Edward Brady, who retired earlier this year at the helm of the 2nd Precinct, which serves Huntington, will lead the festivities as the parade’s grand marshal on Saturday, Sept. 12, according to a town statement. Honors will also be bestowed on a police officer wounded in the line of duty, a 101-year-old wartime aircraft worker, a volunteer VA chaplain and two families with longtime contributions to the community.

Those honorees include Suffolk County Police Officer Mark Collins, a 12-year veteran of the force who was shot in the neck and hip in March while chasing a suspected gang member who had fled after a traffic stop in Huntington Station; Sophie Sarro, a 101-year-old Huntington Station native who while trained as a seamstress worked during World War II helping to manufacture airplanes for Grumman Aircraft; and Frank LaBarbara, a Korean War veteran and retired owner of an engineering-manufacturing company who has volunteered for many years as a Eucharistic minister at the Northport VA Medical Center.

Also to be honored are the Harris and Sorrentino families. The Harris patriarch, Rufus Harris, is an accomplished mechanic who overcame segregation in South Carolina, moved to Huntington and founded an automobile repair shop, Rufus & Sons, which was one of the first African-American owned businesses in Huntington. The shop included two generations of the Harris family and was in business for 40 years.

The Sorrentino family has been fixtures on the Huntington business scene for many years. Andrea Sorrentino has operated a shoe repair shop in Huntington village for 35 years and his sons, Pasquale and Andre, own an auto body shop. The have been active in civic and charitable affairs, as well as in the Huntington Fire Department, where Andre Sorrentino is a commissioner.  For each of the past five Thanksgivings, the family has given away 300 turkeys to needy families.

Bands, floats, vintage cars, service groups and local merchants will join the march down New York Avenue through Huntington Station from West Hills Road to the municipal parking lot between Railroad and Church streets. The parking lot will also be the location of the annual Awareness Day fair, which will include performances by local artists and booths offering crafts and services. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. and the fair will remain open until 5 p.m.

“We hope that people will come to the parade and stay for the festival, which thanks to the generosity of our sponsors remains a great day of entertainment, free activities for children and a chance to learn about the many organizations offering services to help the community,” said parade founder Dolores Thompson.

The Greenway Trail runs between Port Jefferson Station and East Setauket. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

The Friends of the Greenway is hosting another cleanup event for the Setauket to Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 8 to 10 a.m.

Volunteers who want to help mow, prune, clip and beautify the community hiking and biking trail should bring gloves, trash bags, clippers, mowers, brooms or shovels along with any gardening tools. The helpers can choose an area on the trail to beautify and head straight to work — but please contact Charlie McAteer from Friends of the Greenway at cfmcateer@gmail.com to report the location — or they can report to one of the trailheads for an assigned task.

Participants can also help distribute information to trail visitors at either the Port Jefferson Station end or the Setauket end of the trail.

The Greenway Trail runs between Limroy Lane in East Setauket and the New York State Department of Transportation parking lot in Port Jefferson Station, near Route 112 at Hallock Avenue.

To take part in maintaining the trail apart from the cleanup event, contact McAteer to find out other ways to help.

Members of the Comsewogue High School girls varsity and junior varsity field hockey team dump water on themselves at the second annual ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Wednesday Aug. 26. Photo by Giselle Barkley

As the president of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, Beth Dimino is rarely hit in the face with whipped cream. But on Aug. 26, Dimino sat wearing a large black garbage bag as whipped cream from a pie toss dripped down her face and body — all in support of the second annual ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai.

Hundreds of people attended the event, which aimed to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and money for research into the disease, through the Stony Brook-based organization Ride for Life. People who purchased a ticket could trade it for a chance to throw a whipped cream-filled plate at volunteers like Dimino.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) was one of many, including local school principals and teachers, to participate in the event’s dunk tank or pie-throwing games. For Bonner, supporting the cause is important, as her grandfather died from the rare disease around 35 years.

“It robs your body, not your mind,” Bonner said.

ALS affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing motor neurons to degenerate. People with the disease lose control over their muscles, leaving them unable to speak, eat, move or breathe on their own. The cause of the disease is not yet known.

Bonner jumped at the chance to participate in the event this week.

“Chris just makes you want to [be involved],” she said about Christopher Pendergast, who founded Ride For Life in 1997 and has lived with the disease for more than 20 years. “He just inspired so many people to participate and bring awareness.”

According to Ray Manzoni, a member of the Ride For Life Board of Directors, Pendergast wanted to make this year’s event at Heritage Park bigger and better than last year’s ice bucket challenge, which focused on the ice bucket challenge itself.

Last year’s event occurred during the height of a worldwide trend in which people dumped buckets of ice water over their heads, and challenged others to follow suit, in order to bring publicity to the disease. Lori Baldassare, president of the Mount Sinai Heritage Trust, Bonner and Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), all of whom attended this year’s event, were “instrumental in getting [the event] approved quickly” last year, according to Manzoni. That inaugural event was organized in four days.

Manzoni said this year they added the pie-tossing event, balloon twisting and face painting booths, cotton candy, hot dogs and more.

The Comsewogue girls’ varsity and junior varsity field hockey teams were also at the event. While many of them were dancing to the music there, they also donated money and helped organize the buckets for people to dump water on themselves or others during the ice bucket challenge. The buckets were arranged at the end of the event to spell out “ICE ALS.”

“The goal is to have this and other events that Ride For Life supports and make them bigger and better,” Manzoni said.

Although he did not know how much money the group raised this year, Manzoni hoped it matched or exceeded the amount of money raised last year, $5,000. He added that successful research into ALS can also help research for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, which are more common but have similarities.

According to the ALS Association’s website, the disease affects around 6,400 people annually in the United States alone. Only 10 percent of people who are diagnosed with the disease inherited it, while the rest are affected by the disease at random.

For people and organizations like Ride For Life, these events are important.

The goal is “to build awareness and money so that we can continue [our efforts],” Manzoni said.

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