Tags Posts tagged with "Brookhaven"

Brookhaven

by -
0 856
Recently, trucks could be seen dredging the pond at East Setauket Pond Park. Photo from George Hoffman

While delays due to COVID-19 stalled plans to improve East Setauket Pond Park, during the last few weeks residents have witnessed work is underway near and in the pond on Route 25A. 

The work is a result of a $1 million clean water grant for the Town of Brookhaven that former state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) secured in 2016. The funds for the water quality improvement project for the pond, which lies on the western side of Se-Port Delicatessen, were tied up by the state during the pandemic.

In addition to the wait, due to rising material costs, the Town of Brookhaven, which was originally slated to add $500,000 to the project, contributed an additional $120,000, for a grand total of $620,000, according to the town’s Highway Department.

The project has included the dredging of the pond for sediment and the repair of the failing bulkhead at the Shore Road park. The stormwater conveying system has been redesigned and is being installed.

The new system will catch contaminated sediments and floatables before they enter the pond. George Hoffman, co-founder of the Setauket Harbor Task Force, said due to the former water treatment structure being faulty, sediment would build up in the water. Stormwater from Route 25A and Gnarled Hollow Road regularly washes into the pond and travels into Setauket Harbor. Sediment can include sand that’s put down on the roads, pet waste, car oils and items that fall off trucks and cars.

Hoffman said the redesign will prevent the stormwater from being drained directly into the pond. The new system will redirect the drainage into underground catchment basins.

“They’re like big cement tombs, and they’ll collect all the sediment, so the sediment shouldn’t go into the pond anymore, it should go into the catchment basins and then there will be periodic cleaning of the catchment bays,” he said. “We think that that’ll have some marked improvement in terms of water quality.”

In turn, he said there will be less floatables such as plastic bags, and an argument could be made that bacteria will decrease in the harbor.

Hoffman said the task force is grateful for the funds from the state and town. He said they are also grateful for the Town of Brookhaven Highway Department.

Hoffman added with the pruning of invasive trees at the park, one day it will be possible for people to see the harbor from the road.

“We have big plans for that park,” he said. “We really see it as the anchor for the improvement of the downtown area.”

The harbor task force has another hope for the future. After clam digging being illegal in most of the harbor for more than 20 years, the members see the possibility that some areas may see the return of clamming one day.

Photo by Julianne Mosher

It was certainly not an “unbearable” day.

On Sunday, Nov. 21, the Town of Brookhaven teamed up with the Red Knights Motorcycle Club NY Chapter 26 for its annual “Teddy Bear Run.”

Each year, the club holds the event to collect donations of new Teddy Bears for thousands of needy children through the Town of Brookhaven Youth Bureau INTERFACE program. 

Bikers from across the Island then ride together from the North to South shores for a participation fee and toy donation.

Stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes were donated at the Terryville Fire Department Headquarters in Port Jefferson Station where hundreds of riders met before heading to their final stop — Painter’s restaurant in Brookhaven.

“I want to thank the Red Knights Motorcycle Club for their generosity and continued support of this program,” said Supervisor Ed Romaine (R). “These contributions will make it possible for so many children in need to experience the joy of opening a gift this holiday season.”

The Red Knights are an international firefighters motorcycle club and have been co-sponsoring the Teddy Bear run for nearly two decades. 

“These guys, their day job is being heroes,” said Councilman Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook). “They spend their off-time getting involved in good causes like this and we really appreciate these guys so much.”

— All photos by Julianne Mosher 

12th annual Polar Plunge: Freezin for a Reason at Mt. Sinai’s Cedar Beach Nov 20. Bill Landon photo

Freezin’ for a reason.

The Town of Brookhaven held its 12th annual Polar Plunge at Cedar Beach this past weekend, where 544 people stripped down and hit the chilled water of the Long Island Sound all for a good cause. 

On Saturday, Nov. 20, volunteers gathered at the beach in their swimsuits and shorts to benefit the Special Olympics which raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics New York athletes in the Long Island region. This year a collective $131,033 was raised. 

“The Polar Plunge is a great opportunity for the community to make a difference in the lives of the Special Olympics athletes,” said Supervisor Ed Romaine (R). “I thank all the volunteers, Town employees, police, fire and ambulance staff who work so hard to support the Special Olympics athletes every year.”

Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 51,000 registered athletes and unified partners across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition and health screenings. 

The organization also partners with about 250 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families and caregivers. 

 — Photos by Bill Landon 

Incumbent Brookhaven Town Clerk Donna Lent is running against Democrat Ira Costell. Lent photo from Town of Brookhaven, Costell photo from Costell

TBR News spoke with Town Clerk Donna Lent (R) and Ira Costell (D) over Zoom on Monday. They will be running against each other as the election for town clerk for the Town of Brookhaven approaches quickly. 

Lent, who is serving her second term as town clerk, has managed day-to-day operations such as issuing death certificates and handicap parking permits, while land-use applications are filed within the office. 

There are three divisions — licensing, registrar and administrative units — in her department alone, and on some days, Lent says up to 200 people will come into the office.

After extensive training, Lent was certified as a registered municipal clerk by the New York State Town Clerks Association in 2017, but before entering public service, she worked as a law office manager and was a small business owner.

Her opponent, Costell, has taken leadership roles in environmental causes such as the Suffolk County Watershed Protection Advisory Committee and served as chair of the county’s Pine Barrens Review Commission. 

He has been passionate about the fight against opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse. Costell is a New York State-certified addiction and recovery coach and has been involved in various recovery committees.

The two opponents came to TBR News Media’s offices to debate their opinions on whose ideas would be best suitable for the town clerk’s position.

The concern of making Freedom of Information Law appeals more accessible to the public is something that Costell said he will actively work on if elected. His main argument is that residents of Brookhaven have been left in the dark when it comes to requesting information from the Town Clerk’s Office.

However, Lent said if materials or records are not able to be provided, there is a reason as to why not. 

“They probably haven’t asked for the records correctly, we are not required to create records for them, we only have to provide what is already existing,” she said. “Sometimes people don’t search thoroughly because there was an aspect of something they weren’t unaware of that we were able to shed light on.”

Rebutting Lent’s argument, Costell said he had very serious questions about the FOIL process as there were nearly 14,000 requests last year in the town’s Law Department.

“I would like to work as part of that process for an audit to figure out how we can streamline that process,” he said.

Costell feels the information on the town’s website is not readily available to residents. 

“When initiating a public hearing notice on the town’s website, the information about the hearing is not connected to the notice, so residents don’t always know about the particulars of what’s being proposed in the public hearing,” he said.

Lent said the Town Clerk’s Office does the public hearing notices, which are readily available on the website as soon as they go up. However, the town clerk does not make the determination on what needs to get posted because the notice is from what the Law Department already drafted. 

“It is incumbent upon the clerk in my belief, to coordinate and collaborate, not to just handle a piece of paper and move it on to the next level,” Costell said.

In regards to communicating with the Town of Brookhaven, he said the software the office is using should be able to have direct sign-ups for people who are interested in a particular issue so people from various areas do not have to rely on someone from a different town to tell them there’s a hearing related to something they are interested in.

However, Lent said there is a sign-up system within civic clerks for alerts and areas of topic. She noted that residents can call her office to be added to get notifications as well. 

Costell believes that the Town Clerk’s Office should have more outreach to the public on a quarterly basis by using town facilities such as senior centers and recreational programs, to help residents navigate the online services or to assist communities that don’t have access to broadband. 

“We have been improving that process, that’s why we changed our software system last February,” Lent said. “There has been a period of adjustment for residents that were accustomed to finding documents within the old system, but if you use the search bar at the top it will take you to whatever you are looking for.”

Disagreeing with Lent, Costell said he thinks the website is hard to navigate and should have the option to be translated to Spanish.

Lent feels her opponent will be biting off more than he can chew if elected as town clerk. “Everyone has hopes dreams and aspirations of what a job may be like, but it’s not until you get into the job that you have to face the reality of day-to-day operations and restrictions,” Lent said.

Ed Romaine. Photo by Kyle Barr

Residents within the Town of Brookhaven could see a 1.89% tax hike for 2022 if the newly released potential budget gets adopted in November, staying within the state’s 2% property tax cap.

According to the tentative operating budget, all major tax districts are structurally balanced, and no fund balance is utilized to balance the budget for the six major tax districts for the fourth year in a row. The total tax levy increase for all tax districts is 1.89%, and the six major tax districts levy increase is 1.85%

Proposed by town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) earlier this week, the $316.8 million budget would restore a total of 36 jobs (4.4%) that were cut last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The town’s 2021 adopted operating budget planned for a continuing pandemic environment and I am happy to report that we have performed as expected financially, with revenues on target in most departments and expenditures expected to meet budget despite the sharp rise in prices for many commodities,” Romaine wrote. “I expect no erosion of fund balance in all major tax districts at the end of 2021, other than the use of surplus in one fund to address hazardous trees throughout the town.” 

Romaine noted that while certain facilities and programs are still not fully open due to the pandemic, he expects everything to be as it was before coronavirus early next year.

“My 2022 tentative budget assumes a return to normal operations beginning in January 2022 with all government services available both in person and virtually,” he said. 

The tentative budget also highlights a growth in the landfill post-closure reserve by $1.2 million to an anticipated $21.2 million, and stabilization of snow removal costs. 

The board will hold a budget public hearing on Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. at Town Hall. 

Photo from the Town of Brookhaven

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro (R) and Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) have announced the completion of two paving projects in Centereach and Selden.

 In the first project, heavily-traveled Hawkins Road was resurfaced from Magnolia Drive in Selden to Wireless Road in Centereach. 

Prior to paving, crews inspected drains and made concrete improvements, including replacing damaged concrete sidewalks, curbing and aprons. 

Crews removed and replaced 5,260 linear feet of concrete curb, 7,552 square feet of concrete sidewalk, 3,675 square feet of ADA-compliant handicap ramps, and 7,514 square feet of concrete aprons, at a cost of $506,900. 

The total cost for this project was approximately $1.1 million.

“Hawkins Road is so heavily-traversed and, as such, was in great need of resurfacing,” said Losquadro. “It had been on our radar for some time and I am very grateful we were able to include its resurfacing in our 2021 paving season.”

Additionally, in another paving project, crews resurfaced three nearby residential roadways: Capri Road, Impala Drive and Lark Drive in Centereach. The total cost for this project was $113,557.

“The town’s investment in infrastructure improvements makes our roads safer for motorists, bicycle riders and pedestrians,” LaValle said. “I thank Superintendent Losquadro and the men and women of the Highway Department for the important work they do all year round for the residents in Council District 3 and throughout the town.”

Photo by Julianne Mosher

Town of Brookhaven pools and beaches will now have stations so people can get their SPF.

During a press conference at Cedar Beach West in Mount Sinai Thursday, July 29, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) announced that new, free sunscreen stations will start to pop up thanks to a collaboration with Northwell Health.

The touchless applicator stations will release the sunscreen so people can use it before they head to the beach — a reminder as soon as they walk in that it’s there. 

Photo by Julianne Mosher

“We can’t stress the importance of sunscreen enough,” Bonner said. “You have to start when you’re very young, you have to prevent the burns and prevent the exposure that builds up over time — even if it’s an overcast day.”

Nancy Uzo, vice president for public affairs at Mather Hospital, said that skin cancer affects one in five adults by the time they hit age 70. 

“If you have had five bad sunburns in your lifetime, your risk of developing melanoma goes up substantially,” she said. 

The free sunscreen program was initiated to generate awareness about how sunscreen can make a difference in the spread of skin cancer and melanoma.  

The program was launched by Creative Advertising Concepts which set up the first sunscreen program, in the City of Long Beach with partner Winthrop Hospital, back in 2017. Currently, CAC manages 13 programs with 11 on Long Island and two in Westchester County. 

The sunscreen dispensers are endorsed by IMPACT Melanoma — a national nonprofit dedicated to working to reduce the incidence of melanoma.

Romaine said that when he was young, he never used sunscreen — and it led to skin cancer later on. 

“I’ve had surgery on my arm, surgery on my head, the tip of my nose from skin cancer,” he said. “It is something that happens if you get too much sun exposure. … You’ve got to protect yourself. We have to say ‘no’ to skin cancer.”

Photo from Town of Brookhaven

At the July 15 town board meeting, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) presented a proclamation to Maryellen Campbell, wife of the late Glenn Campbell, who recently passed away at age 50. Campbell was a lawyer, a disabilities advocate and the first chairman of the Town of Brookhaven’s Disability Task Force. 

At the age of 16, he was involved in a bicycle accident that left him a quadriplegic. The injuries didn’t stop him from attending college and law school, becoming an attorney focusing on disability law, discrimination, elder law, wills, trusts and estates. 

In addition to his law practice, Campbell was active on several advisory boards including the Suffolk County Disability Advisory Board and the Association of Mental Health and Awareness. 

Leg. Kara Hahn helps out in Port Jeff Station. Photo by Julianne Mosher

The Town of Brookhaven came together last weekend to clean up its community.

For its 13th annual Great Brookhaven Cleanup on Saturday, May 15, people from the North Shore, South Shore and Middle Island gloved up and grabbed their garbage bags to help keep their town clean. 

In Port Jefferson Station, specifically, the train car located on the corner of Routes 112 and 347 had a large group of volunteers to help cleanup.

The Chamber of Commerce was joined by members of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association, elected officials, community members and local Girl Scouts joined in picking up trash and brush to prepare the spot for its upcoming summer concert series. 

“I’m really excited to be here today,” said Councilman Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook). “This is a really important project for Port Jeff Station, and I’m really excited to see it start to take shape.”

Kornreich said there are “big plans for the area.”

“It’s exciting for the next few years to see it come to fruition,” he added. 

Last year, the Great Brookhaven Cleanup was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, approximately 1,600 Brookhaven residents helped tidy up their communities. This localized event is part of a greater cause, the Great American Cleanup — the nation’s largest organized cleanup, beautification and community improvement program. 

“The Brookhaven cleanup gives us townwide exposure, which helps our local community,” said Craig den Hartog, PJST chamber member and owner of Emerald Magic Lawn Care. “The more help the better, and it just starts with one person.”

On the Long Island Sound, town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) joined volunteers from Suffolk County Girl Scout troops 1522 and 2755 to clean Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai.

“Thank you to all of the volunteers who participated in this year’s Great Brookhaven Cleanup,” Romaine said. “The pandemic canceled last year’s event, but people came back enthusiastically and in large numbers. It was a success because of the community members who have dedicated themselves to keeping Brookhaven clean every day of the year.”

Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilwoman Jane Bonner joined members of the Relic team at Cedar Beach on Earth Day. Photo by Julianne Mosher

To celebrate Earth Day April 22, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) announced a new initiative that will keep local beaches clean.

Photo by Julianne Mosher

The elected officials gathered at Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai that morning to unveil its new beach cleanup baskets, in which the town has partnered with Long Island-based nonprofit Relic Sustainability.

The group, from Remsenburg on the South Shore, collaborated with the town due to Relic’s Coastal Collaborative project, which encompasses seven preexisting stations across Long Island. 

“Our goal is to collaborate the town, businesses and community members to collaborate in combating beach pollution that is a growing issue on the coast line of Long Island,” said Alex Kravitz, COO of Relic.

The stations give beachgoers the opportunity to take a basket on the beach, pick up trash and deposit it into a trash receptacle.

“What better way to celebrate Earth Day?” Romaine said. “The baskets are 100% recycled plastics. You pick one up, walk along the beach, pick up some garbage and put the baskets back. … We want this in all of our town beaches and we want to keep them clean.”

While Relic Sustainability has seven stations, Cedar Beach is the first in the Town of Brookhaven to utilize its concept. 

Aiden Kravitz, CEO of the nonprofit, said the goal is to reach even more beaches.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner with the Relic crew. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“By the end of the summer, we’re hoping to have a bigger partnership with the county with 40 to 50 stations,” he said. “The goal of the program is to help relieve the pressure of trash on the beaches by stimulating voluntary trash pickup from the community. We view the heart of the program as a collaborative between the town, ourselves, local businesses and the community members — everybody plays a role.”

Bonner said she was excited for the new initiative because of the “tremendous garbage problem, not only on Long Island, but in the United States.”

“I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than to launch a program that addresses the litter that plagues all of our beaches,” she said. “I encourage people who come to Cedar Beach to use one of the baskets and pick up litter before they leave for home. It’s something we can all do to advocate for a better environment.”

Relic also sells organic apparel that gives back to local waters. For every T-shirt sold, they plant five oysters back into Moriches Bay. 

The clothing items are available at relic-design.com.