Joe Fiorelli of Sound Beach snapped this beautiful photo of Mount Sinai Harbor on his way to Cedar Beach on Sept. 23.
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Joe Fiorelli of Sound Beach snapped this beautiful photo of Mount Sinai Harbor on his way to Cedar Beach on Sept. 23.
Send your Photo of the Week to firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Huntington High School senior Alexa Helburn presented a check to the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society during her fourth and final photography exhibition at Cold Spring Harbor on Oct. 10. The funds, raised over the last year and a half, will benefit the Mayan Girls Scholarship Fund created by Helburn that supports Mayan girls in Guatemala to stay in school and continue their education where they learn about sustainable farming and conservation.
In an effort to eliminate 1,4-dioxane in county drinking water, Suffolk County Water Authority has proposed installing additional treatment systems at sites throughout the county, though costs could be high if plans see the light of day.
In a presentation to Suffolk County legislators, SWCA proposed installing 31 new advanced treatment systems at a number of sites where the levels of 1,4-dioxane are higher than the New York State proposed limit, which is 1 part per billion.
Jeffrey Szabo, SCWA chief executive officer, said the authority is continuing to develop technology that will eliminate toxic chemicals such as 1,4-dioxane.
“We have been working with the health department on our AOP (advanced oxidation process) systems and the results have been successful,” Szabo said.
A concern of 1,4-dioxane is that it can’t be removed through conventional treatment methods and involves a complex process of mixing the contaminated water with hydrogen peroxide, treated with ultraviolet light, which then gets sent to tanks filled with carbon where the rest of contaminants are filtered out. The hamlet of Central Islip currently has the sole advanced oxidation process system capable of removing 1,4-dioxane on Long Island.
The authority says that its systems can destroy 1,4-dioxane molecules to virtually undetectable levels. Szabo said there are close to 100 wells in Suffolk County that need to be treated for the toxin.
The proposed plan could take five to six years to install all 31 treatment systems, according to the authority’s chief executive officer and it would cost between $1.5 and $6 million in capital costs alone for each system.
“We are trying to get this done as quickly as possible, there are things still up in the air,” Szabo said.
The authority is waiting on the state Department of Health to adopt an official maximum contaminant level (MCL) standard. According to officials, they expect to get confirmation sometime in early 2020.
Szabo stressed that the authority and other water providers will need time to adjust to the new standards as well as to implement the new systems.
“This will take time, each system has to get approved by the department of health before it can be installed,” Szabo said.
In the case of the AOP pilot system in Central Islip, officials said it took over two years to get approval from the Department of Health.
“We want to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can,” Szabo said.
1,4-Dioxane has been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a likely carcinogen associated with liver and kidney damage after a lifetime of exposure to contaminated drinking water. The chemical has been found in industrial solvents, detergents, shampoos and other products.
In July, the state health department began the process of adopting the MCL of 1 part per billion. The department would become the first in the country to set a limit on 1,4-dioxane. Similarly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has planned to offer $350 million in grants for treatment.
At a forum in February, the Long Island Water Conference estimated the cost of treatment systems for close to 200 water wells contaminated by 1,4-dioxane to be at $840 million.
The authority said it is hopeful it can begin to implement the plan sometime in 2020. In addition, two additional AOP systems are currently in development for pump stations in East Farmingdale and Huntington.
One would have never known there was a garden on the side of Terryville Road in Port Jefferson Station. Vines had strangled the fence that bordered the road, and to anyone without some local knowledge practically anything could be behind those rusting chain links.
Now, those driving past see something completely different — a full garden with planting boxes, a greenhouse and a large sign reading “Community Garden.”
Over the course of Oct. 5, close to 20 community leaders, volunteers and young people looking for high school service hours hacked at weeds, shrubs and vines, quickly bringing the place back to a presentable standard.
The garden property is owned by the Comsewogue School District, and for years had been operated by the Comsewogue Youth Center, according to district officials, but the crew suddenly ceased operations nearly a decade ago. Since then vines overtook the fence, and the site faded from many locals’ memories. While the grass was maintained by the district, the rest of the site was left to its own devices.
“The lady who took care of it eventually moved, and after that it fell to squalor,” said Sal Pitti, the president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association.
As the volunteers moved in, many were surprised by just how well the property had survived after years of neglect. Only a few wooden pieces had to be replaced, such as needing new 2-by-4 lumber for the wooden benches and for a few new planters, along with new Plexiglas for the greenhouse door. Otherwise the civic leaders were pleasantly surprised.
“The bones of this is in relatively good shape,” said Charlie McAteer, civic corresponding secretary. “Maybe it needs some paint, maybe it needs a touch up.”
In just a few hours, a mountainous pile of plant debris had already formed by the gate onto the property.
Local landscaper Kevin Halpin, of Halpin Landscaping, said he was contacted via Facebook by civic vice president, Ed Garboski. The day before the cleanup, Halpin came in with appropriate equipment, and did much of the heavy lifting along with cutting the grass. He said he will come back on request to help with whatever needs doing.
The area, he said, needs that extra effort and TLC.
A number of high schoolers from the area also showed up to lend a hand.
Comsewogue students Sarah Thomas and Briana Rodriguez laughed and joked around as they plied a bundle of rough vines apart.
“It was a huge mess, there were vines everywhere,” Thomas said. “It’s definitely a lot cleaner without all the vines and stuff. I think a lot more kids might come here.”
Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) arrived midday Saturday and immediately started picking up litter from the side of the road in front of the garden gate. She said cleanups like this are good ways for community members to make a difference in an immediate and tangible way.
“They’re usually very effective ways of getting people involved,” she said.
Pitti said he is looking to work with the school district to see if other students looking to get service hours in the future could work in the community garden.
“As much as the kids get into it, they’re welcome to come,” the civic president said.
The civic leaders are looking forward to next spring, where they will start planting vegetables and flowers, hoping that they maintain a staunch group of locals to tend the garden. Once the garden starts growing, they plan to donate the food to neighboring St. Gerard Majella R.C. Church for its food pantry, and if they grow even more, they will share with other churches in the area.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Port Jefferson flotilla, is sponsoring a competition for high school students called Solution for Pollution. Supported by a New York Sea Grant, the competition is aimed at Long Island public and private high school students, who can submit concepts for reducing trash in our waterways and on our beaches. The focus will be on the Long Island Sound, with special reference to associated harbors. The goal will be to create cost-effective methods to return our waterways to a trash-free sea.
Waterway trash pollution is both unsightly and unhealthy. Trash can contain contaminants that are toxic to marine animals and humans. Much of this trash is the result of individuals and governments assuming that the waterways that we enjoy and live near are virtually infinite sinks for refuse. We observe in the water and on beaches piles of trash comprised of plastic bags and other plastic products. According to National Geographic, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean.
Cash awards will be given to the top three winning entries. Entries are due by April 1, 2020, and winners will be announced soon after on May 15.
Go to https://solution4pollution.org for detailed information.
To obtain information on New York State required boating courses or to have your vessel inspected by an auxiliary member, contact the Port Jefferson flotilla by email: email@example.com; or phone 631-938-1705. Visit www.cgapj.org for more information.
Herb Herman is the flotilla staff officer for public affairs, Port Jefferson Auxiliary Flotilla 22-6.
It’s that time of year when deer look to mate, and that can result in dangers for motorists on local roadways.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Environmental Conservation are advising motorists to take care when navigating roads during October, November and December. While deer can be seen all year round roaming around the North Shore, during the fall it’s breeding season.
Two-thirds of the crashes between deer and vehicles occur during the three-month span, according to a press release from the agencies.
In a TBR News Media article from October of 2018, Lori Ketcham, a rehabilitator with Middle Island-based Save the Animals Rescue Foundation, reminded residents that deer don’t hesitate when they are crossing a street, especially in the fall.
“The boys only have one thing on their mind,” Ketcham said. “They’re following the scent so they’re just running. They smell a girl down the street. They run, and they don’t care if there are roads in the way.”
Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV commissioner and chair of the governor’s traffic safety committee, said drivers should exercise extreme caution during the autumn months.
“When you see a deer-crossing sign along a highway, that means deer have been seen at that location and have collided with cars there,” Schroeder said. “Those signs are meant to warn you to be extra cautious when driving through such locations.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said drivers should be alert during both dawn and dusk. The animals tend to be more active during these periods of the day while visibility is also reduced.
The state agencies also recommend decreasing speed when you approach deer near roadsides as they can bolt out or change direction quickly. If you see a deer, look for others as they are herd animals and usually travel in groups.
Motorists are also advised to brake firmly and avoid swerving if they encounter an animal, as swerving can cause collisions. The DEC recommends not approaching an injured animal as they can strike out with their legs or hooves.
Here are a few additional tips in case of a deer collision:
● Move your vehicle to a safe place. If possible, pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If you must leave your vehicle, stay off the road and out of the way of any oncoming vehicles.
● Call the police. Alert authorities if the animal is blocking traffic and creating a threat for other drivers. If the collision results in injury, death or more than $1,000 in property damage, you must fill out an official crash report and send it to the DMV.
● Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, a hood that won’t latch and other safety hazards. If your vehicle seems unsafe in any way, call for a tow truck.
According to the 2018 State Farm Insurance deer-vehicle collision study, it was estimated that there were 1.33 million deer, elk, moose and caribou collisions between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, in the U.S. — down from 1.34 million cited in the company’s 2017 study. New Yorkers had a one in 165 chance of crashing into the animals in 2018, according to State Farm.
A new study in the Sept. 20 issue of Science has found that in the United States and Canada bird populations have fallen a staggering 29 percent since 1970.
Such a dramatic drop has scientists concerned that the decline could be a sign of an ecosystem collapse. Habitat loss is considered a prime culprit.
Huntington resident Coby Klein understands the big picture. He’s an ecology professor at Baruch College and a guide with the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society.
“If the arctic continues to become warmer and drier, it will cause larger and more frequent fires,” he said. “Fires kill birds and destroy nesting habitats and drive down populations of sandpipers, gulls, terns, waterfowl and birds of prey that migrate through or winter on Long Island.”
The best thing people can do, if you really have an interest in protecting birds and the environment, he said, is to vote.
Otherwise, the Audubon Society is committed to transforming communities back into places where birds flourish. Sterile lawns, ornamental species, pesticides and herbicides mean that on a local level, the landscape no longer supports functioning ecosystems.
Klein himself said that he lives on a postage-stamp-sized lot and the only native plant that thrives in his yard is poison ivy. But he notes that the Audubon Society is sponsoring a campaign called Creating Bird-Friendly Communities. The program is designed to educate the public on what they can do to help reverse the damage done and revive disappearing bird populations.
Growing native plants is a key component to re-establishing the ecological functions of cities and towns, according to the society and its experts. And they say the concept is easier on the back and wallet.
To flourish, birds need (a) plenty of food, (b) shelter where they can rest, (c) clean water to drink and bath in and (d) safe places to raise their young. Native plants and the insects that co-evolved around them are vital to a healthy system. The more native plants, the Audubon emphasizes, the more food and shelter. More bugs, caterpillars and seed pods on more public and private land is part of the solution.
The Audubon’s Native Plants Database, which is on its website, suggests plants according to ZIP code. The choices were hand-selected by local experts and include information about the birds and creatures it benefits. Serviceberry, for example, is recommended for Long Island’s North Shore communities. The small, shrublike tree with dense branching produces white flowers in the spring followed by red, purple or black berries. It attracts butterflies and caterpillars, as well as warblers and woodpeckers and about nine other types of birds. The database can be a good first place to explore landscape options.
The Long Island Native Plant Initiative’s website is another good resource. The local nonprofit gathers wild seeds and makes native plants commercially available. It also grows and sells the native plant species to local nurseries to increase availability. Polly Weigand, the executive director, recommends requesting native plants from your favorite garden center to increase demand. It’s goal is to reach more businesses in the nursery industry. Once people get into the habit of providing suitable habitats, birds become less vulnerable and are potentially more capable of adapting to climate conditions, according to the Audubon.
Native gardens, experts agree, are also relatively maintenance free and require little to no special irrigation system or fertilizers or toxic chemicals. So, it saves time and money and is a healthier option for people in the long run.
This fall consider practicing less drastic and costly yard cleanup. The Audubon recommends leaving the seed heads of perennials in the garden and skipping the raking. Leaf litter, they say, is free fertilizer, and a good place for birds to forage for worms and other critters. If tree limbs fall, they say, consider building a brush pile that will provide birds with shelter from the wind and predators. Branches settle and decompose over the seasons and make room for the next year’s contributions.
Plant asters and woody shrubs like bayberry and winterberry this fall. The waxy fruit of bayberry provides an important source of energy to migrating birds. Evergreens, too, like cedars, firs and holly, provide shelter and something for birds to eat in winter. In general, milkweed, goldenrod and sunflowers are important plants for the rest of the year.
“When you plant native species in your home landscapes it’s a protective way of ensuring that invasive ornamental species seeds don’t spread and dominate the rest of Long Island’s landscape,” said Weigand.
Overall, the objective is to lose some lawn, or create pathways through it, and create habitat layers. Tall canopy trees produce nuts and provide nest cavities for shelter. Shrubs and small trees throw fruit for bird food and herbaceous plants supply seeds and a habitat for pollinators. Decaying leaves produce the base of all habitats. It also happens to be where moth pupae live, a favorite food of baby birds.
Start small, the Audubon states, and cluster plants in groupings of five or more of the same species. Pollinators, they say, prefer to feed from masses of the same flower. And remember to include a birdbath or hollowed out rock where rainwater collects, so birds have a supply of fresh water.
In the end, you’ve created a backyard sanctuary and a sure method for healthy, sustainable living.
DONNING DANCING SHOES
F..J. Buncke of the Stony Brook Camera Club caught this snowy egret ‘doing the golden slipper dance’ in Stony Brook Harbor on Sept. 20. The handsome white wading bird sports black legs with yellow feet making it appear as if he is wearing shoes. All he needs now is a dancing partner.
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“Climate change is not a lie, please don’t let our planet die,” a crowd of more than 50 people yelled in unison in front of Suffolk County’s H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge Sept. 27. Students, community groups, environmental activists and elected officials gathered to call for immediate action by governments and corporations on the current climate emergency.
The protest came on the last day of the Global Climate Strike, spearheaded by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who joined some 250,000 protesters in Manhattan Sept. 20.
Kallen Fenster, a 13-year-old middle school student and founder of the youth organization Leadership for Environmental and Animal Protection, spoke on the effects climate change could have on future generations.
“Myself and the others here are like millions around the world that we represent today that are worried for their lives and yours,” he said. “Entire species are dying, our oceans are filthy with plastic waste, our beaches are unsafe to swim in, the air is polluted. What hope is there for my future children, or even worse, theirs?”
The middle schooler called on lawmakers to put more of an emphasis on climate change policy.
“Tonight, we the youth demand that local, state and federal lawmakers put climate policy first,” Fenster said. “We ask every adult to be a climate action hero and advance policy that will protect communities and its families. It will take all of us, it will take work and it will take sacrifices, but we have no choice, we have no ‘planet B.’”
Other youth activists who spoke at the protest had similar sentiments.
Gabe Finger, a 7-year-old elementary student, said he wants more people to take this movement seriously.
“I want people to stop seeing climate change as a political belief and look at it as the dire crisis it is,” he said. “More and more people are seeing that global warming is something not to be ignored. This is not just a fight for the environment, but a fight for our lives — do whatever you can to help because hope is not lost yet.”
Camilla Riggs, a student at The Laurel Hill School in East Setauket, mentioned climate change will affect everyone.
“You may not believe in the science but it doesn’t mean you are immune to it or your children’s children. This is not about us anymore, this is about the future of all of us,” she said.
Elected officials called out the current White House administration, which has dialed back on climate change reform.
“This president has engaged in an assault on all previous efforts to control and contain these greenhouse gas emissions, leaving the Paris accord was an embarrassment, said state Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove). “It is hard to imagine an American president would hire the worst polluters to run the agencies that are supposed to protect us.”
Lavine said despite that, the state has started to move in the right direction in curbing greenhouse emissions. He mentioned the state Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, congestion pricing going into effect in New York City and a ban on single-use plastic as key steps forward.
State Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) said we hopefully haven’t run out of time when it comes to climate change.
“We have to hand [the Earth] over to them responsibly but, to be honest with you, my generation hasn’t been responsible and we have to step up to the plate,” he said.
Elmer Flores, of New York’s 2nd District Democrats, spoke on how climate change is already affecting certain communities.
“Our low-income communities and minority population will disproportionately feel the negative impacts of climate change,” he said. “Research has shown that climate change, if left unaddressed, will worsen or cause unintended health consequences.”
Flores mentioned that when it comes to air quality, Hispanic and Latino residents have an asthma hospitalization rate that’s three times more than their white counterparts.
Cheryl Steinhauer, special events manager of Hauppauge-based Long Island Cares, which helped organize the event with Action Together Long Island, spoke on the importance of calling for change.
“I feel like this is a necessary thing to do. There are a lot of issues at the moment but really this is at the top and most important, at least to me, is taking care of our planet,” she said.
‘Photography helps people see’ ~ Berenice Abbott
By Heidi Sutton
Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack revealed the winners of its 26th annual Photo Contest at an award ceremony and reception on Sept. 18. The highlight of the evening was a traditional slide show of the winning selections from this and previous years. Project Assistant Phyllis Barone handed out the awards for the evening.
Sponsored by the Tiffen Company for the 13th year in a row, this year’s competition drew almost 800 entries from amateur photographers across the country. Of those submissions, 46 photos were chosen to be enlarged, framed and hung on permanent display in the nursing home. The breathtaking images will be on exhibit in the Helen and Nat Tiffen Gallery for a year and will then move up to the resident units.
The innovative event is the brainchild of Dennine W. Cook, chief public relations officer at Gurwin who came up with the initial idea in 1993 as a way of “making [Gurwin’s] bare walls worthy of a smile.”
“Your beautiful photography does more than just decorate the nursing and rehab center; it creates an ambiance that feels like home. It inspires people. It comforts people. It brings joy to people, not just our residents but our staff and visitors as well, every day,” said Cook. ”There aren’t that many things that you can do in this world that have that kind of sustaining impact.”
“This a favorite event of ours,” said President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System Stuart B. Almer before thanking Cook for coming up with the contest and for “beautifying our hallways.”
This year’s winning photos are presented in a modern and stylish wooden frame provided by The Frame Center in Smithtown, as opposed to the silver metal framing of previous years, after Almer suggested the change “to enhance the photos even further.” All future contest winners will have the same frame “so the building looks nice and uniform going forward” he said.
Cook went on to speak of the profound impact these incredible images have made on residents of the 460-bed facility “to whom they mean so much.” She spoke of Debbie, a 60-year-old traumatic brain injury survivor at the facility. “She’s writing a book, she’s committed to getting back out into the world to compete in her second Iron Man. She’s feisty, she’s focused, she’s fierce, and she gets some of her inspiration from your photos on the wall.”
“This contest, although competitive and a great achievement for you as a photographer, is really about the people who get to see your work once it is chosen,” explained Cook.
The annual contest does not accept digital entries, only 8 × 10 prints, which are not returned. However, Cook was quick to assure the audience that all of the submissions will be put to good use. “[The residents] use them in art therapy as painting and drawing inspiration and in crafting classes. It’s become a great resource here at Gurwin and everyone is very grateful.”
This year’s judges, Christopher Appoldt (Christopher Appoldt Photography) and Tony Lopez (Tony Lopez Photography), were given the difficult task of choosing a grand prize winner along with honorable mentions for 12 categories as well as Best in Show, which this year was awarded to Bryan Ray from Half Moon Bay, California for “The Great Migration,” a stunning image of hundreds of wildebeest attempting to cross a river in Africa during a migration to greener pastures. Five additional photos were chosen as Resident Selections.
Added Cook, “All the selections, whether they be Honorable Mentions, Grand Prizes or Resident Selections will be judged, discussed and enjoyed by so many appreciative eyes for years to come and to me that’s the real honor — that your photos will hang for decades here in our resident’s home.”
Entries for next year’s photo contest will be accepted between Feb. 15 and April 15, 2020.
2019 WINNING SELECTIONS
BEST IN SHOW
“The Great Migration” by Bryan Ray
“Drive to the Net” by Elise Rubin
“Skater Boy” by Carolyn Ciarelli
“Shake It Off” by James Napoli
“View from Governer’s Island” by Susan Silkowitz
“Captain America Caleb” by Deidre Elzer-Lento
“Working in the Fields” by Jan Golden
‘Unisphere After Dark” by Leon Hertzson
“Serenity” by Ashley Tonno
“Four of a Kind” by Donna Crinnian
“The Friendly Forest Fairy” by Sarah Wenk
“Glade Creek Grist Mill” by Mike DiRenzo
“Tufted Landscape” by Jeff Goldschmidt
“Horseshoe Falls, Niagara” by Barbara McCahill
LONG ISLAND/NEW YORK CATEGORY
“Melville Pond” by Jeff Goldschmidt
“Croton Dam” by Ellen Dunn
“Never Forget” by Carol Milazzo-DiRenzo
“Solitary” by Jo-Anne Bodkin
“Under Angel Oak” by Carol Goldstein
“From Bud to Bloom” by Meryl Lorenzo
“Night Dreams” by Carol Milazzo-DiRenzo
“Balancing Act” by Alan Sloyer
“Ballerina on Malecon, Cuba” by Roni Chastain
“Waiting for Sunrise, Death Valley” by Ellen Dunn
“Little Miss” by Lora Ann Batorsky
“Callie” by Jill Fanuzzi
“What’s for Dinner?” by Dan Greenburg
STILL LIFE CATEGORY
“Silk Threads” by Jo-Anne Bodkin
“Pink Rose” by Ellen Gallagher
“Mailbox, Italy” by Sondra Hammer
“Sunflower in Window” by William Hammer
“Balloon over Bagan” by Alan Sloyer
“Starry Night in Rome” by Mike DiRenzo
“Lofoten, Norway” by Debbie Monastero
“The Dolomites” by Bobbie Turner
“Snowy Flies” by Janis Hurley
“In Flight” by Adina Karp
“Mama Duck” by Carol Goldstein
“The Vessel” by Alex Horowitz
“Cake Pop” by Chloe Catton
“Lost in the Green” by Stephanie Clarfield
“Cousins” by Howard Antosofsky
“Letchworth” by Rachel Perks
“Tufted Titmouse” by Michael Danielson
“Tall Ships Visit Greenport” by Barbara McCahill
“Harbor Seal” by Jacqueline Taffe