Village Beacon Record

A group of kids decked out in Pokémon attire as they search for Pokémon in town. Photo from Benjamin Harris

By Rebecca Anzel 

The latest trend sweeping the nation is a throwback from the 1990s with a modern-technology twist: a augmented reality Pokémon game played on smartphones, and residents of Huntington are not immune. Hundreds of kids, teenagers and adults alike took to the streets this week to interact in this new game.

This latest offering from Pokémon evolved the franchise beyond the original cards, television show and video games. Pokémon GO allows players to create an avatar, called a trainer, and walk around their neighborhoods catching various Pokémon. Players can battle one another and get free in-game items from locations chosen by the game.

“Seeing all these people in my town is so new and great, especially when we can all bond over the same thing,”
— Gerard Anthony

The game is getting people of all ages out of their houses and into their neighborhoods. The only way to catch Pokémon is to walk around searching for them, and players have been posting on social media about how far they have traveled around their neighborhood.

One 22-year-old Greenlawn resident said she saw more than 50 kids hunting for Pokémon at parks in Northport and Huntington in one afternoon.

Megan McLafferty introduced the game to two kids she babysits because she thought, “it would be a fun activity to do outside with the kids — and they loved it.”

She said the kids really enjoyed searching different spots for Pokémon.

“I like that it gets you outside, it gets you moving, and it gets you to interact with other people,” she said in an interview. “It seemed like a lot of people were in big groups together [searching for Pokémon].”

Gerard Anthony, an 18-year-old Northport resident agreed that Pokémon GO is a great game to play in groups.

“Seeing all these people in my town is so new and great, especially when we can all bond over the same thing,” Anthony said in an interview. “I am able to go into Northport by myself and meet a new group of people each day.”

The only way to catch Pokémon is to walk around searching for them, and similarly, the only way to get a refill of free in-game item, like pokéballs is to go to Pokéstops.

One of those stops is the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in East Setauket. Director Ted Gutmann said once he discovered this, he had to try it. “I caught a few in my office,” he said. “So they’re here!”

The library is busy this time of year because of its summer reading program, but Gutmann said being a Pokéstop is attracting more visitors than usual.

A man captures a Pokemon. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
A man captures a Pokemon. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

“The hope is, once they get in here, they’ll stop and read a book or attend one of our programs,” he said.

Gutman added that the library had tried its hand at augmented reality a while ago, implementing the technology in its newsletter. It abandoned the effort because it was not getting enough use at the time, but now that Pokémon GO is increasing the popularity of augmented reality, he said the library may revisit the project.

“There are lots of opportunities to use the technology beyond the game,” he said.

Port Jefferson’s Main Street is also a huge attraction for players. With a multitude of Pokéstops and gyms, the promise of Port Jefferson tempted Chris Aguilar, 23, to travel from Riverhead two days in a row.

Aguilar said there were so many people in the streets on the first night he was in the area, July 13, that mobs of trainers were crossing the streets. They did not begin to clear out until about 2:30 a.m.

“This game is bringing people together in an unprecedented way,” he said. “It’s like an age gap doesn’t exist between players,” who can speak to each other on almost an equal level about the game and trade tips.

Other local hotspots to catch Pokémon include Heritage Park  in Mount Sinai and Sylvan Ave. Park in Miller Place.

Just two days after the game’s release, players were spending an average of 43 minutes and 23 seconds per day playing Pokémon GO, a higher rate than popular apps including Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp.

According to SimilarWeb, an information technology company that tracks web analytics, Pokémon GO has so many daily active users that it is projected to soon have more users than Twitter.

But some people are concerned about the safety risks associated with Pokémon GO.

Pedestrians are now wandering around towns, with their eyes faced down at their smartphones. Law enforcement agencies, institutions of higher education and public transportation systems have spoken of the dangers of walking around consumed by a smartphone.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) held a press conference Tuesday to remind residents to exercise caution while playing.

“The safety and well-being of our residents, especially children, is our highest priority,” he said in a statement.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini echoed his sentiments at the event.

“There have also been accounts of people using the application while driving,” Sini said. “We are encouraging not just parents, but all users, to practice caution to avoid injury to self and others.”

Stony Brook University also contributed to the conversation, reminding students to watch where they are walking while playing.

Mark Szkolnicki, a student of the university, said that he is always careful.

“I grew up in a bad area, so the whole mugging-for-phones thing has been something that I’ve been cautious of forever,” he said. “But I worry for the youth because it’s a cool concept and it could really grow, but those kinds of obstacles really put a downer on the whole gaming community.”

Stony Brook Office for Marine Sciences Secretary Christina Fink agreed. She said it is important to keep in mind that if players are going hunting for Pokémon at night, they should go with at least one other person.

Reporting contributed by Victoria Espinoza.

From left, postdoctoral associate Yuanheng Cai, biological research associate Xuebin Zhang and plant biochemist Chang-Jun Liu in the BNL greenhouse. Photofrom Brookhaven National Laboratory

By Daniel Dunaief

It provides structural support, allowing gravity-defying growth toward the sky. While it offers necessary strength, it also makes it more difficult to get inside to convert plant biomass into fuel.

Lignin is the major component that makes cell walls harder. Plants can tolerate the loss of lignin, but dramatically reducing it or altering its structure could severely affect its growth, which makes any effort to modify lignin challenging.

Seeking to balance between the plant’s structural needs and the desire to gain access to biofuel, Chang-Jun Liu, a plant biochemist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, added a step in the synthesis of lignin. “Most studies in this field rely on knocking down or knocking out one or two biosynthetic pathway genes,” said Liu. “We added one more reaction” that competes for the precursors of lignin formation. Liu said he and his collaborators figured that adding that last step in the production of lignin, which is a natural part of plant cell walls, would have the least effect on plant growth while it can effectively reduce lignin content or change its structure.

Liu said he redirected the metabolic precursor by using a modified enzyme he created over the course of several years. The enzyme diverts biosynthetic precursors away from making lignin. Plants typically have three types of lignin, called S, G and H lignin. In a wild-type aspen tree, the ratio of S to G is two to one. This change, however, altered that, turning the ratio to one to two. The general perception is that increasing G lignin would make the cell wall structure stronger and harder, making it harder to release simple sugars. The surprising finding, however, was that reducing S and maintaining G greatly enhanced the release of sugar with digestive enzymes from aspen cell walls.

Scientific partners including John Ralph at the University of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center confirmed the alteration of lignin structure. Liu tested his enzyme in his earlier work on the flowering plant Arabidopsis. When it worked, he moved on to aspen trees, which grow rapidly and can thrive in environments where typical farm crops struggle to grow. The aspen experiments proved more fruitful in part because these trees contained more S lignin, and the enzyme he developed preferentially blocked the S lignin. The aspen trees with the modified enzyme can yield up to 49 percent more ethanol during fermentation, compared to controls.

Using infrared light at the National Synchrotron Light Source, Liu and his collaborators were able to see an increase in the production of cellulose fibers, which are a primary source of sugars in the cell wall. This may contribute to the release of simple sugars. Liu will continue to explore other possibilities. Other lignin researchers applauded these results.

Liu’s “approach will definitely have a great impact on the cost reduction of cellulosic biofuels,” Dominique Loque, the director of Cell Wall Engineering at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, explained in an email. “With no impact on biomass yield and a reduction in recalcitrance, it will reduce the conversion costs of biomass to fermentable sugars.”

While this research, which was recently published in Nature Communications, shows potential commercial promise, Liu and his team are working to answer basic questions. He is interested in further testing his approach in grasses and different trees to determine the effects on lignin content, structure, cell wall digestibility and plant growth. The trees in this experiment were grown in a greenhouse, where scientists could control light and temperature and mimic the natural environment without natural stressors, like insects or fungus. Loque suggested that Liu’s approach can be “easily and quickly optimized to alleviate potential issues such as susceptibility to pathogens” if they exist.

Liu has planted 150 of these altered trees in the field. So far, he said, the biomass yield is not compromised with these experimental plants. “Field tests will allow evaluating the impact of engineering on predators, pathogens and other stresses,” Loque said. Liu was able to create this enzyme after developing an understanding of enzyme structures using x-rays at the NSLS. In that research, Liu was able to gain a better knowledge of how the enzymes that occur naturally worked. Once he knew the structure and method of operation of the enzymes in the lignin pathway, he could make changes that would alter the balance of the different types of lignin.

Liu lives with his wife Yang Chen, a teacher’s assistant in Rocky Point Middle School and their two children, 16-year-old Allen and 14-year-old Bryant. For the last few years, Liu and his family have added hiking, table tennis and tennis to their recreational repertoire.

Liu is encouraged by these findings and is extending and expanding his studies and collaborations. He will work with a Department of Energy sponsored Energy Frontier Research Center. He will also pursue more applied studies to explore the more efficient use of cell wall biomass to produce biomaterials or bio-based products. He is forming a collaboration with Stony Brook’s material science team and with the NSLS-II. “Plant cell wall represents the most abundant biomass on Earth,” Liu said. “Understanding its synthesis, structural property and efficient way in its utilization are critical for our future bio-based economy.”

Lee Zeldin, center, announces his support of two House bills to help addicts and prevent others from using drugs. File photo by Victoria Espinoza

The fight against opioid abuse took a step further this week as U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) plugged new legislation. The freshman congressman is a co-sponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which plans to spend $8.3 billion in funding to help combat widespread drug addiction, especially to heroin.

CARA passed through the House of Representatives last week with a bipartisan vote of 407 to 5.

Zeldin, who is a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, said he has been a proud supporter of this bill for more than a year now.

“As a co-sponsor of CARA, I have been a vocal supporter of this bill since it was first introduced at the beginning of last year,” he said in a statement. “Over the past year … I have worked closely with our local community, hosting multiple drug task force round tables here on Long Island, to bring together local elected officials, law enforcement, health professionals, community groups, parents, concerned residents and those in recovery, to discuss and develop a more localized solution to address this crisis.”

Zeldin has held heroin events in Smithtown and Brookhaven to meet with community members and keep the discussion open.

The specifics of CARA include $80 million in funding to help prevent and treat addiction on a local level through community-based education, prevention, treatment and recovery programs; $160 million for the expansion of medication-assisted treatment options; and $103 million to establish a community-based competitive grant program to address and treat the problems of heroin and opioid addiction and abuse. Additional funding will also help supply police forces and emergency medical responders with higher quantities of naloxone, known more commonly as Narcan, a medication that is proven to reverse an opioid overdose.

“We must always continue our fight to provide local communities with the resources necessary to help stop and prevent drug abuse through treatment, enforcement and education.”
—Lee Zeldin

Another part of CARA’s funding focuses on pain management and prescription.

According to the bill, the Department of Health and Human Services is required to assemble a Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, which will review, modify and update the best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and examine and identify the need for, development and availability of medical alternatives to opioids.

The grant aspect of CARA is connected to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. CARA is set to amend that bill to authorize the Department of Justice to award grants to state, local and tribal governments to provide opioid abuse services, including enhancing collaboration between criminal justice and substance abuse agencies; developing, implementing and expanding programs to prevent, treat or respond to opioid abuse; training first responders to administer opioid overdose reversal drugs; and investigating unlawful opioid distribution activities.

CARA currently has 44 co-sponsors and is set to go to a vote in the United States Senate.

The North Shore is not immune to the heroin crisis. According to a New York State Opioid Poisoning, Overdose and Prevention Report from 2015, Suffolk County has the highest heroin-related overdose fatalities of any county in New York.

Zeldin said he hopes the Senate will act fast to approve the bill.

“I implore the Senate to act quickly to pass this bill, so that we can start providing the necessary resources to those in need,” he said. “While there is not just one piece of legislation that will solve this crisis, we must always continue our fight to provide our local communities with the resources necessary to help stop and prevent drug abuse through treatment, enforcement and education.”

Suffolk County police car. File photo

Suffolk County Police Seventh Squad detectives are investigating a car crash in Rocky Point that killed a Mount Sinai man yesterday morning.

Jeffrey Kitz of Mount Sinai was driving his 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer south on County Road 21, approximately one-and-a-half miles south of Route 25A, when he lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle crossed the northbound lane and crashed into the woods. Kitz, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check, and the investigation is ongoing.

Cheick Diallo addresses the crowd after being selected by the Los Angeles Clippers. Photo from Sara Stelzer

By Clayton Collier

The NBA was a dream worth the wait for Cheick Diallo; even if it meant waiting a little longer than anticipated.

Diallo, at 6 feet, 9 inches, 220 pounds, widely expected to be a late first-round pick, was selected 33rd overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. The 19-year-old forward’s draft rights were acquired by the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the 39th and 40th overall picks. A 2-for-1 is a hefty price to pay in any exchange, but Pelicans general manager Dell Demps knew they had to get Diallo.

“You talk to people and say, ‘Is he a good kid?’” Demps said. “And they say, ‘No, No.  He’s a great kid. He’s a phenomenal kid.’  In our interview process with him, when he walked out of the room, everybody just thought, wow.  We all said, ‘Did you hear that?  Did you listen to this guy? You want to root for him.’”

Cheick Diallo blocks a shot for the University of Kansas. Photo from Sara Stelzer
Cheick Diallo blocks a shot for the University of Kansas. Photo by Jeff Jacobsen

Demps said that first phone call with Diallo was one to remember.

“We talked to him on the phone, and he was so fired up and we were so fired up,” he said. “We were sitting there screaming and yelling on the phone.”

Rev. Ronald Stelzer, head basketball coach at Our Savior New American School, Diallo’s high school in Centereach, made a point to be at the Barclays Center to see his star pupil get selected.

“I was so happy to see how he reacted when he got picked,” Stelzer said “He was really excited and happy; beaming. Sometimes kids get picked a little later than expected and they get all mopey. Cheick had this child-like exuberance to have this chance to play in the NBA now.”

Diallo goes to New Orleans following his freshman year at the University of Kansas, where he averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per game, while also amassing 0.85 blocks per game, ranking 12th in the Big 12.

“I was surprised Cheick didn’t go in the first round based on preliminary reports I got,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said in a release. “The big thing is he was able to go 33rd and that will hopefully put him in a position to sign and get a guaranteed contract.”

Minimal collegiate playing time aside, Diallo was a highly sought after talent out of high school. The 2015 McDonald’s All-American picked up offers from the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Syracuse University and Villanova University, among others, before eventually deciding on Kansas.

A native of Kayes, Mali in Africa, Diallo came to Our Savior New American as a 15-year-old freshman. It wasn’t until a few years later that Stelzer said his coaching staff began to see professional-level talent out of Diallo.

“By his junior year, we knew he had something really special,” he said. “We have a lot of kids who have had talent, but he had a little extra athleticism. Combine that with an extremely hard worker, and he just launched.”

 Cheick Diallo during his high school years with Our Savior New American head coach Rev. Ronald Stelzer. Photo from Sara Stelzer
Cheick Diallo during his high school years with Our Savior New American head coach Rev. Ronald Stelzer. Photo from Sara Stelzer

Diallo’s former college rival, Buddy Hield, also went to the Pelicans with the sixth overall pick. The reigning John R. Wooden Award winner now joins a rotation that will include Diallo and All-Star big man Anthony Davis.

“That mix of speed and athleticism and power is a great combination,” Stelzer said. “It’s the kind of situation where [Cheick] could make an immediate impact.”

Stelzer said his assistant coaches and Diallo’s host family were essential in getting Diallo from high school onto the next stage.

“We’ve been blessed, and we have a lot of people who have contributed in a team effort to make it possible,” he said. “I wish him the best. It was a pleasure to coach him; he’s a fine young man.”

File photo

Though political fighting and manipulation of the media to wage a war may seem like a 21st-century concept, Clinton and Trump will not be breaking any ground this summer and fall when the mud inevitably continues to fly.

By Rich Acritelli

With the presidential election of 2016 upon this nation, it has been a hard fight between former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump. Today, Americans are watching these opponents utilize “mudslinging” and “deceitful” techniques to gain votes, but these tactics have been used almost from the start of this republic.

When President George Washington decided to retire after his second term, his vice president, John Adams, and the former secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, ran for presidency in 1796. Both of these men liked each other personally, but detested each other politically. This was during the establishment of political parties between the Federalists (Adams) and Democratic-Republicans (Jefferson).

Alexander Hamilton was a dominant leader within the Federalist Party who believed Adams was not psychologically capable of being president. Hamilton urged Federalist politicians from South Carolina to withhold any votes that would help Adams win the election; Hamilton wanted Thomas Pinckney, a Federalist from that state, to become the next president. If Pinckney won, Hamilton estimated it was possible for Adams to gain enough support to be a runner-up as a vice president. Hamilton was unable to achieve this political scenario, and Adams won the election. Jefferson became his vice president from the rival Democratic-Republican Party.

Hamilton again threw his influence into the presidential election of 1800. Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied, and Congress decided the contest. Hamilton supported his chief opponent in Jefferson, due to his notions that Burr was a political tyrant, and motivated congressional leaders to vote for Jefferson to become the third president of the United States. This was also the last election that sought “a winner take all” process for the presidency and vice presidency. The government established the system of running mates elected together to represent either party in the White House after that.

In 1860, the country watched a junior politician in Abraham Lincoln seek the highest position in the land. He was a self-educated leader, a respected lawyer and a one-term representative in Congress. While he did not have the political clout of the other candidates, he served within the Illinois General Assembly. Although it is believed slavery was the cornerstone of his values, he pushed for revisions within the tariff, free labor, the Transcontinental Railroad and the Homestead Act of 1862. He ran against many strong Republicans, and while he defeated William Seward from New York, he later made his rival into a trusted member of his cabinet as secretary of state.

During his failed attempt to win a seat in the U.S. Senate against Stephen Douglas, Lincoln debated he would never support the expansion of slavery in the new states and territories. It was these property rights concerns that the southerner never forgot when Lincoln decided to run for the presidency. When he proved to be a serious candidate, Democratic newspapers that opposed the end of slavery, wrote that Lincoln was “semiliterate, ignorant, an uncultured buffoon, homely and awkward,” according to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Although Lincoln was perhaps our greatest leader, both Republicans and Democrats were highly unsure about his motives and abilities to lead the nation at the cusp of the Civil War.

Though political fighting and manipulation of the media to wage a war may seem like a 21st-century concept, Clinton and Trump will not be breaking any ground this summer and fall when the mud inevitably continues to fly.

Board hires first executive director to help facility grow

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe is located at 5 Randall Road in Shoreham. File photo by Wenhao Ma

By Desirée Keegan

Marc Alessi lives just houses down from where inventor Nikola Tesla stayed when he was in Shoreham.

When Alessi held public office as a New York State assemblyman, he worked to secure state funding to purchase the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, to ensure it would be preserved and remain in the right hands.

Years later, he’s getting even more involved.

“I would drive past the site and look at the statue and think, I could be doing more,” Alessi said.

Now, he’s the executive director for the center’s board and is responsible for planning, administration and management, while also helping the science center develop and grow during its critical period of renovation, historic restoration and construction on the grounds of the former laboratory of Nikola Tesla.

Marc Alessi will help the Tesla Science Center become an incubator for innovation. Photo from Marc Alessi
Marc Alessi will help the Tesla Science Center become an incubator for innovation. Photo from Marc Alessi

“Marc has a lot of energy, enthusiasm and he’s got a lot of spirit, and I think those are qualities that will help to bring attention and help us to move forward in our efforts to make the science center more well known,” board of directors President Jane Alcorn said. “He’s been part of our past and has always shown an interest, so he’s knowledgeable about what we’re doing.”

Alessi, an entrepreneur, brings a lot of knowledge in areas that no other board member has, Alcorn said.

The Shoreham resident is an attorney with Campolo, Middleton, and McCormick LLP, is a former executive director for the Long Island Angel Network, helped establish Accelerate Long Island and currently serves as chairman and founding CEO of one of their portfolio companies, SynchoPET. He also serves on the board of directors of the Peconic Bay Medical Center and the Advisory Council for East End Arts.

“I believe I work for Nikola Tesla as much as I work for the board,” he said. “It’s my mission in life, whether I work as their executive director or not, to make sure he has his place in history. People were just floored by just what he was trying to accomplish, but if you just look at what he did accomplish, like remote control and x-ray and neon, and the alternating current electricity, [you could see] all that he did for humanity.”

One thing he would like to emphasize, that many may not know about Tesla, was how he tore up his royalty contract in an effort to ensure all people, not just the wealthy, would have electricity.

“Invention, technology and innovation doesn’t always have to be about personal enrichment,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just about improving the world around us.”

First for the center is turning the laboratory into a museum and preserving the site as a national historic landmark, which would be a tremendous tourism draw. Aside from the museum, a cinder-block building will add community space where civics and other local groups and robotics clubs can meet and utilize the space, which will also house educational opportunities.

“I would drive past the site and look at the statue and think, I could be doing more.” — Marc Alessi

Alessi was recently named executive director of the Business Incubator Association of New York State Inc., a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the growth and development of startup and incubator-based enterprises throughout the state.

Which is exactly what the Tesla Science Center is working toward.

“I can’t walk around my community without feeling a bit of his presence and a bit of a responsibility to make sure this site is preserved in perpetuity, and educates people about him, what he’s about and what is possible,” he said. “The whole board and the community is interested in seeing the Tesla’s of tomorrow have a place to come and be able to create. To try to invent.”

Alcorn believes that with Alessi’s help all of their ideas can come to fruition.

“He has a wealth of knowledge and connections with many people and many areas of business and government and incubators that will be of great help in sharing our goals and encouraging others in making this happen,” she said. “He does definitely share many of our ideas, but he also has plenty of ideas of his own.”

Alessi said he specializes in taking an idea and making it a reality, but with this site it means more than that to him.

“By celebrating Tesla you’re celebrating innovation, that’s at my core and DNA,” he said. “We’d love to see a maker space or an incubator where other folks in the community, not just students, can come in and have access to the tools that are necessary to make high-tech inventions. That will be great for our community. It’s about the Tesla’s of tomorrow. We want to empower that.”

Concrete barriers at the edge of Mount Sinai Harbor along Shore Road will not be removed as part of a project to improve the area’s stormwater infrastructure. Photo by Rebecca Anzel

By Rebecca Anzel

The Town of Brookhaven will start construction next month on Shore Road between Mount Sinai-Coram Road and Rocky Hill Road in an effort to alleviate the negative impact of stormwater runoff in Mount Sinai Harbor.

“This is one project I identified really early on when I took this office three years ago,” Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro (R) said. “I think if you’re a resident of Long Island, or this case specifically, the North Shore, you understand this is a very serious problem to our quality of life, our recreation opportunities and our health.”

Brookhaven is installing a series of 10 leaching pools along the road to capture stormwater before it reaches the harbor.

Paid for by a New York State Department of Transportation grant worth $382,560, the project will take almost three months to complete.

Losquadro became highway superintendent right after Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and before Superstorm Sandy in late October the following year. There was a lot of damage to the coast from both storms, he said, and none of the repair work had been done by the time he took office.

Currently, a lot of stormwater runoff is flowing into the harbor from the roads and rooftops in the area, bringing with it chemicals, sediment, debris and other pollutants. This is an issue plaguing 75 percent of impaired bodies of water in New York State, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website.

To fix the problem, the town is installing a series of 10 leaching pools along the road to capture as much stormwater into the ground as possible before it reaches the harbor. Water enters these catch basins and percolates into the ground gradually, filtered through a natural process. Each one has a capacity of more than 3,000 gallons.

Two bioretention areas will also be installed to naturally filter out any toxins from the water that does make it to the harbor, much in the way wetlands do. An existing discharge pipe will be removed.

The town will be resurfacing nine roads in the area, including Shore Road, in addition to the stormwater project. Photo by Rebecca Anzel
The town will be resurfacing nine roads in the area, including Shore Road, in addition to the stormwater project. Photo by Rebecca Anzel

Losquadro said residents have asked if a concrete breakwater put along the edge of the harbor some years ago will be removed as part of this project. Because the harbor’s ecosystem has reestablished itself around that concrete, the DEC does not want it removed.

“I have to say it was kind of surprising to me, but I understand the DEC’s point,” Losquadro said. “They feel it would be more injurious to the environment to dig that out and replace it than to just leave it as it is.”

The town will also be resurfacing nine roads in the area, which Losquadro said are in “deplorable condition,” this fall. The cost, about $900,000, is not covered by the state grant.

Mount Sinai resident Julie Bernatzky walks along Shore Road often.

Although the project is starting a year later than planned, as a result of a delay following a change in the region’s DEC director Losquadro said, Bernatzky is happy for the upgrades, although she hopes the construction will not disrupt her route.

Losquadro said traffic in the area should not be any more disrupted than during any other project. Because the area the town will be working in is tight and there is not a lot of room on the side of the road, one lane of Shore Road may need to be closed.

By Wenhao Ma

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe celebrated Nikola Tesla’s 160th birthday Sunday outside his only remaining laboratory in Shoreham. Hundreds of people joined the celebration to honor the inventor of alternating current electricity and neon lighting.

The center has been holding Tesla’s birthday celebrations since 2013, when it completed its purchasing of the lab. Jane Alcorn, the president of the board of directors, said she believed that it’s important for people to remember Tesla.

“He has contributed so much to modern society,” she said. “Every time you turn on an electrical light or any kind of electrical appliance, it’s because Nikolas Tesla developed the alternating current system that we use today.”

The center also connected online with another Tesla birthday celebration that was taking place in Serbia, at the same time, and the parties greeted one other.

Alcorn and other board members are looking to build a museum on the site that would be dedicated to inventions and new technologies.

According to its website, the museum would complement the educational efforts of the schools within this region, as well as the community outreach activities of other prominent science institutions.

“He’s a visionary,” Alcorn said. “His ideas and what he saw coming in the future and the way he inspires people today to be visionary are all testaments to how important he is.”

England’s vote to leave the European Union last month will impact the world. Stock photo

By Wenhao Ma

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union three weeks ago has caused mortgage rates to decline in United States, and North Shore financial advisors and real estate agents see Brexit’s impending global changes as good and bad.

A North Shore real estate agent said following Brexit, U.S. mortgage rates have greatly decreased

The value of British pound dropped rapidly after England’s vote on Thursday, June 23, and was significantly lower than the U.S. dollar next Monday. With the change of value in currencies, offshore money has started to flood into the United States, which leads to a drop in mortgage interest rates, according to James Retz, associate real estate broker for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Cold Spring Harbor.

“It’s only been a few days since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union,” he said. “[But] several lenders here have posted lower interest rates for long-term fixed rate mortgages.”

Up until Thursday, June 30, the average 30-year fixed rate had fallen under 3.6 percent and the 15-year fixed rate was more than 2.7 percent.

Retz ruled out the possibility of domestic factors causing low rates.

“I am not aware of anything that has happened in the USA to make the rates drop,” he said. “Until Britain’s vote to leave the European Union a few days ago, mortgage rates were static.”

Besides mortgage rates, Brexit hasn’t yet had much impact on Long Island’s economy. But experts do a predict small influence on local tourism.

“There will be a small negative effect on students and tourists visiting Long Island as the dollar has strengthened against the pound,” Panos Mourdoukoutas, professor of economics from Long Island University, said. “But it will benefit Long Islanders visiting the U.K.”

Mark Snyder, owner of Mark J. Snyder Financial Services Inc., shared that opinion.

“Locally, Brexit will likely mean less foreign tourists coming here since it’s forcing a rise in the dollar’s value, but might make for good international travel deals,” he said. Snyder is not certain of Brexit’s long-term impact on international or local economies.

Mourdoukoutas didn’t sound optimistic on the future of Brexit. “In the long term, Brexit could lead to the break up of EU,” he said. “That’s bad news for the global economy, including China.”

Michael Sceiford, financial advisor at Edward Jones’ Port Jefferson office, thinks otherwise.

“The U.K. is about 4 percent of the world economy and it doesn’t leave the EU immediately,” he said. “So we believe the economic impact is likely to be much less than the market reaction suggests.”

Sceiford believes that it may take three or more years before Britain actually departs. According to an article he submitted, this extended time can give financial markets a chance to absorb the new reality and give investors time to ponder their long-term strategy.

“The Brexit may not be a positive development for the global economy, but we’ve gotten past bigger events in the past, including wars and other political crises,” the financial advisor said. “As the British themselves famously posted on their walls during World War II, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’”