Tags Posts tagged with "Governor Andrew Cuomo"

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Every morning when we wake up, we’re reminded that we are still enduring this global pandemic.

Whether you think so or not, everyone’s lives have been impacted by it. Some people have lost loved ones to COVID-19, some have gotten so sick they suffer severe trauma and some haven’t seen their families in over a year. Beyond the physical, businesses have suffered financially, some even closing their doors for the last time. 

But luckily the vaccine has lifted the weight off a lot of shoulders — especially for the young people in our community.

Now that New York State has opened the vaccines to people ages 16 and over, more and more high schoolers and college students are looking to get the jab.

And we think that’s wonderful. They are trusting science and doing so to protect not only themselves, but their elderly or high-risk loved ones. 

We want things to go back to normal for everyone, but the high schoolers specifically.

Remember last year when the Class of 2020 missed out on their final high school sports, senior trips, proms and graduations?

Some of them have even been robbed of the college experience of living in a dorm, taking classes in a lecture hall and meeting new people. 

If we as a whole do not band together to combat this virus, then the classes of 2022, ’23, and ’24 may miss all those key lifetime moments, too.

The Class of 2021 has already lost their junior year — and most likely will not have the same “normal” experiences this spring as the rest of us had.

We know the unknown is terrifying, and people may not agree with getting a vaccine.

But is it worth not getting vaccinated? To constantly live in fear of the virus, or to not trust the medical professionals who saw death every day for more than 365 days?

We don’t think so.

We are grateful and commend these young people for getting their shots. 

The more people who do it, the more we’ll all be able to live as we did before.

Suffolk County Community College students Jason Saravia, Gabrielle Flores, Kecia McKoy and Brian Higgins all received COVID-19 vaccinations at NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement at Suffolk’s Michael J. Grant Campus on April 12 that New York State is taking its battle to defeat COVID-19 to college campuses, offering vaccines for students with direct allocations to schools, colleges and universities.

The Governor greeted each of the students after they received their vaccinations.

“Vaccinations are safe and effective and the best way to ensure that students don’t bring the virus home to family and friends. Vaccinations will also open the door to a return to campus and the college life students have been missing.” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo.

Suffolk County Community College students who would like to be vaccinated can schedule a vaccination appointment by email at: [email protected]. The email must include contact information (cell phone number and college email address). A college representative will call to schedule an appointment.

Photos courtesy of SCCC

File photo

The governor has asked the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to offer assistance in a Setauket vandalism incident that involved anti-Semitic graffiti.

In an April 10 press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) office, it was announced that he directed the task force to offer assistance to the Suffolk County Police Department Hate Crimes Unit in the investigation of anti-Semitic graffiti that was found on playground slides on the grounds of Setauket Elementary School April 4. 

“I am appalled at media reports on the discovery of anti-semitic graffiti on Setauket Elementary School’s playground equipment on Long Island,” Cuomo said in the press release. “This hateful graffiti is diametrically opposed to the values of tolerance and understanding that are pillars of the society we’ve built in New York State, and the fact that it was found in a place of learning for young children makes it even more disturbing. I am directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to immediately offer assistance in the investigation being conducted by the Suffolk County Police Department Hate Crimes Unit, and I look forward to seeing the people responsible for this crime brought to justice.”

In an April 5 letter to school district families, Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said a community member alerted the district that the school’s playground slides had been vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti and inappropriate language. The graffiti was cleaned before students returned to school April 6.

“The district takes these matters very seriously and does not condone the use or promotion of hateful messages or references on our campus or elsewhere,” Pedisich said in the letter. “This type of reprehensible and criminal behavior, and the destruction of district property will not be tolerated.”

The superintendent asked that anyone who had information on the incident to reach out to the district or SCPD. She also encouraged families to discuss the negative consequences of such an act with children.

According to SCPD, there has been an investigation since police responded to the school on April 4 at approximately 12:05 p.m. The hate crimes unit does not believe the incident was aimed at one specific individual.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) File photo by Sara Meghan Walsh

To hear that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been accused of sexual harassment is distressing, but to read that many elected officials would like to see the governor resign or be impeached is just as disappointing.

While all of the women’s allegations should be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly, Cuomo just like any other American deserves due process. Innocent until proven guilty is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. He deserves that process, too.

To ask the governor to resign or impeach him, would not only go against due process, but it would go against the wishes of the majority of New Yorkers who voted him in office.

We understand that Cuomo has exhibited behavior in the past that may seem aggressive or arrogant. The potential that he could have committed such acts is there, but until the alleged victims and witnesses are thoroughly questioned, a decision about his future as New York governor must be put on hold.

No matter what the outcome, this is a lesson for all. For men, it’s time to understand that women are their equals and must be treated as such. Women are not playthings or ornaments to be ogled or fondled at a man’s desire. Females just like males have talents and skills and contribute to society. Just like their male counterparts, they have the right to feel comfortable in their workplace and every space for that matter.

The 20th century is more than 20 years behind us. Women are more than wives and mothers, they are teachers, doctors, lawyers, legislators, journalists, scientists, CEOs and so much more. It is time to recognize and respect the strides women have taken throughout the decades by treating them with the respect they deserve. No person should ever feel uncomfortable in any circumstance, especially in a workplace, because they feel someone will touch them in inappropriate places or talk about uncomfortable topics.

But it still happens. No matter how many sexual harassment trainings there are, there is always someone somewhere who thinks it doesn’t apply to them.

And it doesn’t have to be someone inappropriately touching you or making you do something you don’t wish to do. It could be a remark, a comment, an email or a note. We’ve seen and heard it all. For years, women didn’t want to speak up. They felt like they couldn’t. Now, thanks to the #MeToo movement and other women sharing their stories, they are able to discuss what they’ve been through and people are now listening.

For women, this is a reminder to speak up when we see something inappropriate. If someone crosses the line, it’s OK to say, “No,” or “Stop.” Or, whatever you need to say or do to make the behavior stop. If it continues, have the strength to report the person to human resources and file a complaint. Even in social situations, it’s OK to tell family and friends you will no longer be at social gatherings if a certain person attends.

Of course, as human beings, we all have different boundaries and senses of humor, but if you laugh at a joke that you know women will find offensive, don’t hesitate to say, “I know I laughed, but others may find that inappropriate.”

Last but not least, we must educate our boys and girls. It’s important that they learn that everyone should be treated equally. We must always take their pains and discomforts seriously, ask the right questions to get to the heart of the matter. This way they can forge ahead in life knowing that if they feel boundaries have been crossed, they have the confidence to speak up.

Women and men have been at odds for too long. It’s time to unite. It starts today with respect for all and believing that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

File photo by Erika Karp

By Leah Chiappino

Despite high marks from his handling of the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has recently faced seven allegations of sexual harassment. 

The allegations come after a Jan. 28 report by the state attorney general, Letitia James (D), alleging the governor’s administration undercounted COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.  

Due to these recent developments, many elected officials have called on the governor to resign,  including U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). 

“Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership,” they said in a joint statement March 12. “We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct. Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”

Graphic by Leah Chiappino

U.S. Rep.  Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), an ardent Cuomo critic who is eyeing a run for governor next year, echoed calls for Cuomo to resign. 

When news of the seventh allegation broke, Zeldin issued a statement, also March 12, which read, “Andrew Cuomo has abused the power and privilege entrusted to him by the people of New York, and his most recent remarks could not make this more clear. His continued attempts to discredit the individuals who have come forward, question their ‘motives’ and more underscore just how far he’ll go to dodge any and all responsibility. His actions are inexcusable and unforgivable, and it’s up to each and every New Yorker — legislators, the media and voters — to hold him accountable.”

The congressman also criticized Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes. “The [U.S.] Department of Justice needs to immediately open an obstruction of justice investigation into Governor Cuomo and his administration,” he said in another statement, Feb. 12. “It’s now being reported there has been a direct admission of their nursing home coverup with the intent of blocking a DOJ investigation. The families of thousands of dead New York seniors deserve accountability and justice for the true consequences of Governor Cuomo’s fatally flawed nursing home policy and the continued attempts to cover it up.”

Local state Republicans, have also called on Cuomo to resign. State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James) said that if Cuomo does not resign, the State Assembly and Senate should move forward with impeachment proceedings. “While I did not come to this decision lightly, the time has come for new leadership so that all elected officials can return to doing the work our residents need without the numerous distractions that have plagued our state recently,” the March 11 statement read. “As a husband and a father, the continual unveiling of new sexual assault allegations — now sexual abuse — against Governor Cuomo are simply appalling. Equally important, his administration’s admitted altering of data and misdirection regarding our state’s nursing homes are simply unacceptable.”

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) agreed the governor should resign in light of the harassment allegations against him. “In the wake of numerous sexual harassment allegations and now a deeply disturbing claim of sexual assault against Governor Cuomo, I truly question his ability to lead our state through these difficult times,” he said in a statement, also March 11.  “While I am a firm believer in due process and feel strongly that everyone is entitled to their day in court, these scandals undermine the governor’s ability to conduct his official duties and have irreparably damaged the public’s trust in the state’s top executive.”

The majority of local Democrats are awaiting the independent investigation called for by AG James before making a final determination. 

However, state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport), released a statement in coordination with the Long Island State Senate majority, calling on Cuomo to step down until the attorney general finishes her investigation into the sexual harassment claims. “The gravity of these claims makes it clear to us that the governor cannot lead the state while faithfully responding to multiple investigations,” the March 12 statement read. “This is especially true in light of the impending state budget deadline, the need to continue guiding the state through the pandemic and the fragility of the state’s economic recovery.”

Graphic by Leah Chiappino

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY3), said that if Cuomo cannot simultaneously comply with the investigations against him and govern the state, he should consider resigning. “The governor is entitled to due process on the many serious and disturbing allegations that have been made against him,” he said in a March 12 statement. “I have confidence that the attorney general and the NYS Assembly will conduct thorough investigations. … I believe the governor must seriously consider whether he can effectively continue to govern in the midst of these unfolding allegations.  If he cannot effectively govern with all of the controversy surrounding him, he must put the interests of all New Yorkers first and he should resign.”

State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills), said he supports the investigation by the state attorney general into the accusations against Cuomo. “These allegations of sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and it is imperative that a transparent and independent inquiry begin immediately,” he said. “I also support the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s simultaneous investigation to determine if any impeachable offenses were committed. The committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, all of which is provided under the New York State Constitution.” 

While Cuomo has repeatedly apologized for making his accusers feel uncomfortable, he has denied that he ever groped anyone and has refused to resign.

A March 15 Siena poll, as reported by Politico, indicated that a total of 57% of respondents are “satisfied with the way Cuomo has addressed the allegations” while 32% are “not satisfied.” As for the resignation issue, 50% say he should not leave office, 35% say he should and 15% are undecided.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

The office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a press release Tuesday, Dec. 29 announcing that unemployed New Yorkers will begin receiving extended and expanded federal unemployment benefits next week — the first week these benefits can be paid under federal law. New York is able to provide these benefits immediately due to proactive work by the State Department of Labor to prepare for the federal government finally enacting a bill to extend unemployment programs originally included in the CARES Act that were set to expire at the end of 2020.

The programs extended include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for those not covered by traditional state unemployment insurance; Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides additional weeks of benefits after an individual exhausts the 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance; and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides all New Yorkers receiving unemployment benefits an additional $300 weekly payment.

“This pandemic has created an unprecedented economic crisis, and New Yorkers have waited in uncertainty for far too long. I have repeatedly called on the federal government to do the right thing by renewing critical benefits to support millions of unemployed families through to the end of this pandemic – and now that Washington has finally acted, New York is immediately delivering those funds,” Governor Cuomo said. “In the spring, New York led the nation in implementing federal unemployment programs, and this winter we will once again act swiftly to get money in the hands of New Yorkers who need it most.”

The federal government has extended federal unemployment benefits for an additional eleven weeks through March 14, 2021. New Yorkers currently receiving benefits do not need to call the Department of Labor to receive these extended benefits — they should continue to certify for unemployment benefits in their usual manner and will automatically receive extended benefits. Those whose unemployment benefit year has ended should reapply online. Details of how New York will implement these extensions follows:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – New Yorkers can now receive up to 57 weeks of PUA benefits, with the program extended from the week ending January 3, 2021 through March 14, 2021. New Yorkers currently receiving PUA should continue to certify as usual and will continue to receive their benefits. According to the Federal government, additional eligibility documentation will be required beginning January 31, 2021. The Department of Labor will directly contact claimants who need to provide additional documentation.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – New Yorkers can now receive up to 24 weeks of PEUC (up from the 13 weeks originally authorized in the spring) with the program extended through March 14, 2021. New Yorkers who have exhausted the 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance should continue to certify as normal and will automatically receive up to 24 weeks of PEUC. Individuals who previously exhausted the original 13 weeks of PEUC and transitioned to the Extended Benefits program will begin receiving extended PEUC benefits after they exhaust their EB benefits. The Department of Labor will automatically handle these program transfers.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – New Yorkers’ FPUC benefits will resume the week ending January 3, 2021 and will last for eleven weeks. During that time, all New Yorkers who are receiving unemployment benefits — including traditional state UI, Shared Work Benefits, PEUC, EB, or PUA — will receive an additional $300 payment per week. Per federal guidelines, FPUC benefits will not be backdated, and can only be provided starting the week ending January 3, 2021.

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “The extension of these federal unemployment benefits is a lifeline for many New Yorkers, and we will continue to do everything we can to bring relief to those who remain unemployed due to this unprecedented pandemic. We have paid out more than $59 billion in benefits to over 3.9 million unemployed New Yorkers during this crisis — nearly 28 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in ten months — and we will continue to move heaven and earth to serve our neighbors.”

New Yorkers may be eligible for an additional $100 per week through the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation program. MEUC benefits are provided for individuals who earned at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income but are disqualified from receiving more substantial PUA benefits because they may be eligible for traditional state UI. New York has signed an agreement with the US DOL to offer MEUC benefits and is currently awaiting additional guidance from the Federal government on implementing the program. The Department of Labor will provide more details as they become available.

Additional updates, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, will be posted to the NYS Department of Labor website at www.labor.ny.gov.

New Yorkers who are unemployed are also encouraged to take advantage of the State’s Career Services resource page, view more than 112,000 jobs postings from all regions in the state and across all industries on New York’s Jobs Express website at labor.ny.gov/jobs, increase their skills through the State’s online learning platform in partnership with Coursera, and utilize the State University of New York’s SUNY FOR ALL free Online Training Center.

— content provided by press office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Owners of Huner’s Fitness Advantage in Port Jefferson said they believe they should be considered essential for the work they do helping people remain active and healthy. Photo from Huner’s Fitness Advantage website

After doing heavy lifting to ensure customer and employee safety, gyms can begin to reopen soon.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) announced a gradual gym reopening starting this Monday, Aug. 24. This comes after earlier this week Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said gyms can start to reopen once they receive guidance from local government.

Commercial gyms, such as Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, Retro Fitness and those that require a membership fee, along with indoor classes can restart next week.

Each fitness center will have to pass a county health inspection to make sure the gyms have sufficient procedures to protect staff and customers while following state guidelines established by Cuomo.

Hotel, office, higher education and residential gyms can reopen starting the following week, on Aug. 31.

On Thursday, Aug. 20, the county will host a virtual meeting with facility owners to review guidance, answer questions and provide any clarifications.

“With our infection rate holding steady at or below 1 percent and a robust testing system in place, we are confident we can reopen gyms in a way that is both safe and responsible,” Bellone said in a statement. “I want to remind our residents and gym owners that we are still in the midst of a pandemic.”

Bellone encouraged those attending gyms to wear a mask and follow all safety procedures.

Communal showers, whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms and water fountains and self-serve bars and samples must remain closed. According to the governor’s web site, individual showers and stalls can remain open as long as they are cleaned between use.

Classes are restricted to the most restrictive guidelines, which could either be six feet of distance in all directions from a participant, a limit of 33 percent capacity and no more than 50 people.

Gym owners also must provide sanitizing stations, acceptable face coverings, which exclude bandanas, buffs and gaiters and the limitation of physical contact activities including boxing and martial arts.

During each inspection, businesses will receive a gallon of NYS Clean hand sanitizer.

According to Cuomo, local health departments are required to inspect gyms prior to reopening or within two weeks of reopening, to ensure strict adherence to the state Department of Health guidance.

Indeed, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will begin inspections on Monday, Aug. 24 for commercial and traditional gyms.

“New Yorkers must closely adhere to the guidelines and local health departments are required to strictly enforce them to help ensure gyms and fitness center reopen safely and protect the public health,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning will work with the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to create an online database of gyms and fitness centers within the county.

Before an inspection, gym owners will need to complete the affirmation for each location, which owners can find at the New York Forward website forward.ny.gov, that they reviewed and understood the state guidelines and will implement these protocols.

After owners attest to their safety plans, the county will schedule inspections. Suffolk will send out an email with the date and approximate time for an inspection.

Gym owners need to post a written safety plan describing the ways they are protecting employees and gym members from COVID-19.

Cuomo also requires that gyms use a MERV-13 or greater air-handling system. If the gym can’t operate at that level, the owners need to have a heating, ventilation and air conditioning professional document their inability to use such a system and adopt additional ventilation and mitigation protocols from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo from METRO

In medicine, there is the concept of triage. Essentially, it is prioritization, the assignment of degrees of injury or illnesses that necessitates hard decisions. When resources are limited, and when the number of patients is staggering, medical teams often need to focus on who is in most dire straits. Beyond that, however even more morose, it is prioritizing patients that medical professionals believe can be saved and those who are more likely to die. 

It is not a healthy subject to think long and hard about if you’re not on the front lines of fighting the virus. It is something doctors have learned to do in war zones and during great hardships.

If things do not go smoothly, and if hospitals don’t have the correct amount of resources, personal protective devices, hospital beds and ventilators, then once we reach the peak number of cases, that is where events could lead. 

Photo from METRO

One of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) most recent and most controversial acts as of Friday, April 3, was to sign an executive order saying they would take necessary equipment like ventilators from hospitals upstate which have seen relatively few cases and transport them to the hospitals in the most need. 

That is in itself a sort of triage, a step to prioritize who needs such medical items the most. To say some hospitals, such as Stony Brook University Hospital, which was cited by Cuomo as a coronavirus hot spot, need more resources is to say they will be the ones who will be keeping even more people from dying from the virus. 

People are helping these hospital workers in any way they can. We have seen local businesses and business groups band together to offer food for hospital and EMS workers. We have seen local residents create masks and other personal protective equipment from cloth they had at home. Libraries have come together to 3D print necessary PPE in the form of face shields. We have seen so much good come from our North Shore and Suffolk County community.

But on the smaller end, with the people who are simply staying at home, we have to recognize just how much good that has done.

Cuomo recently stated they are hopeful we may be reaching the plateau in the number of cases New York is seeing. It won’t be the end of the issues. We will likely have to remain isolated for several more weeks, but the amount of good social distancing has done is evident. People simply staying at home, getting the exercise when they can and not shaking hands has likely prevented an even greater overload of New York’s medical systems.

Many people are feeling burdened with a sense they are doing nothing. They are out of work, and they have nothing on their plate. It’s a malaise that settles deep, and we should all be thinking of the people who did not have money at the start of this pandemic, and now have even less since being out of a job.

New York will have to grapple with that. We Long Islanders should not feel like we have simply wasted time in languishing at home. This is society in action, with many thousands of people making sacrifices for the whole. It’s a sort of triage of the self and of society, finding what is more important and focusing on that. We should focus on the people who mean most to us, our friends and family. We should focus on the people who are in the most need and attempt to reach them and offer whatever kind of support. And at the same time, we should focus on ourselves, rest and take some time to think. When this whole thing comes around, all that time we spent in our homes will not have been wasted. It will mean a society that has learned to care for others in a time of crisis.

Photo by © Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

After two years of extensive renovation and with generous support from New York State, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s historic Demerec Laboratory was reborn as a state-of-the-art research facility. Governor Andrew Cuomo cut the ribbon for the building’s reopening on Oct. 30, celebrating how the state will benefit from this new chapter in CSHL research.

“It’s good for Long Island, it’s good for the economy, but also it is doing work that I believe will improve the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people. I believe this work will actually save lives and there is nothing more important than that,” Governor Cuomo said during his visit. “That is the work that the people in this facility are dedicated to and God bless them for that. The state is honored to be playing a small role today.”

The Demerec Laboratory, home to four Nobel laureates, has been both a bastion and compass point for genetics research in New York and the world. Its new research will focus on taking a more holistic approach to treating cancer and the disease’s impact on the entire body.

According to the CSHL’s website, the new center “will enable newly developed compounds to be refined by world-leading chemists to develop next-generation therapies. This research will form a basis for collaboration with private foundations and pharmaceutical companies, while advancing the development of new drugs. 

In addition, the center will support ongoing research activities aimed to develop therapeutics for breast cancer, leukemia, autism, obesity, diabetes and lung cancer. The primary goal of such research activities will include the development of advanced drug compounds targeting underlying biological pathways.” 

To prepare the Demerec building for 21st-century science, it had to be gutted, with extensive renovations of the basement and interior, while leaving the historic 1950s brutalist exterior largely unchanged.

“We really challenged ourselves to preserve the history of the building as much as possible,” said Centerbrook design firm architect Todd E. Andrews, who planned the renovation.

The result is a modern facility uniquely designed for a scientific approach that considers disease not as a stand-alone subject of study but as a complex system that focuses on the patient.

“Too often [scientists] are not looking at the patient and the system of the patient … even though there are obvious signs that we should be looking,” said Dr. Tobias Janowitz, one of the next generation of Demerec Lab scientists and research-clinicians dedicated to rethinking cancer medicine.

Other Demerec researchers will include Nicholas Tonks, who investigates relationships between diabetes, obesity and cancer, and Linda Van Aelst, a neuroscientist who is interested in how sleep and signals from the brain may be impacted by cancer. Semir Beyaz, who studies how a patient’s nutrition can affect cancer treatment, will also join the team.

While the Demerec Laboratory’s faculty hasn’t been finalized, the researchers will be working alongside the rest of the CSHL community — including 600 scientists, students and technicians — to create a distinctly collaborative and cross-disciplinary culture.

Governor Cuomo called the Demerec building and the larger CSHL campus “hallowed ground for scientific research,” after dedicating $25 million in 2017 toward the $75 million renovation and said he is confident the space and its scientists will deliver a new wave of scientific progress.

“We invested over $620 million statewide in life sciences with $250 million in Long Island alone in biotech. Why? Because we believe that is an economic cluster that is going to grow and that is going to create jobs and it already is,” the governor said. “I believe Long Island is going to be the next Research Triangle.“

Renovating a single research facility may seem like a small step toward the state’s goal, but this particular building has made Long Island a scientific hot spot once again.

“While the Demerec building is comparatively smaller than larger projects that the governor has initiated … it is arguably one of the most productive buildings in all of science,” said CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman. “This renovation allows us to really think about where the Lab will take things next. It will have, I hope, a global impact on the research community, especially in the biomedical sciences.

Pictured from left: Laurel Hollow Mayor Daniel DeVita, President of Long Island Association Kevin Law, Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling, President of Empire State Development Eric Gertler, Commissioner of Health for NYS Dr. Howard Zucker, CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, CSHL Honorary Trustee Jim Simons, CSHL Chair of the Board of Trustees Marilyn Simons, Nassau County Supervisor Laura Curran, NYS State Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, NYS Assemblyman Steve Stern, NYS Senator Jim Gaughran and CSHL COO John Tuke.   Photo by © Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo


Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine at his state of the town address April 3. Photo by Alex Petroski

Sharing is a beautiful thing. It can foster friendships and good will, and even net a municipality a $20 million check.

Brookhaven Town was selected June 14 as the winner of the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition, an initiative announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in 2016 that challenged local governments to submit in-depth proposals for reducing the cost of living through streamlining services offered by overlapping taxing jurisdictions like villages, schools, ambulance companies, library and fire districts, towns and counties. Brookhaven was amongst six finalists as of summer 2017, the others being smaller upstate municipalities. Each of the nine incorporated villages within Brookhaven passed resolutions identifying the areas in which a consolidation of services makes sense, and officially pledged partnership with the town in pursuing the projects last year.

“High property taxes are a burden that far too many New Yorkers must bear and we will continue to deliver innovative solutions to keep taxes down without sacrificing the services they provide,” Cuomo said in a statement June 14. “I congratulate Brookhaven for putting forth a creative plan to better serve their community and crafting an innovative model to save taxpayer dollars.”

Some of the projects in the town’s proposal included the consolidation of tax collection and tax assessor services; utilizing Brookhaven’s staffed maintenance workers rather than putting out bids for contracts; creating a regional salt facility to be used during snow removal; using town contracts to buy in bulk for things like asphalt replacement , which yield a better price due to Brookhaven’s size compared to the smaller villages; and creating a digital record keeping and storage system.

“We expect this grant to help us reduce costs to our taxpayers and save our taxpayers millions of dollars,” Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said in announcing the win for the town prior to the June 14 public meeting. “So while we’re delighted that we won, out of all of the municipalities in the state, we were selected — we’re very happy for our taxpayers.”

The supervisor estimated in July 2017 in total, the projects would result in a savings of about $66 million for taxpayers – a return of more than three times the investment made by the state. He thanked town’s Chief of Operations Matt Miner for his work in crafting the proposal, and Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Manorville) for going to Albany to present the town’s plan. Romaine added that winning the grant wouldn’t have been possible if not for the work of the entire town board and other staff members from all town departments.

“We worked very hard — we all contributed,” the supervisor said.

In a 2017 interview, Romaine and Miner both stressed the importance of allowing the villages to maintain their autonomy despite the consolidation of services. The projects will emphasize ways to eliminate unnecessary redundancies in government services while allowing incorporated villages to maintain individual oversight. Romaine also dispelled possible concerns about loss of jobs. He said he expects the phase out of antiquated departments through retirements, stating no layoffs will be required to make the consolidation projects happen.