Tags Posts tagged with "Smith Point County Park"

Smith Point County Park

by -
0 1662
File photo by Victoria Espinoza
Suffolk County Police arrested a Westbury woman who drove into the race route during a triathlon and struck a bicyclist, seriously injuring him, on Aug. 6.

Ramona Jakeline Figueroa-Lopez was driving a 2023 Nissan SUV eastbound attempting to leave the parking lot of Smith Point County Park while the area was closed to traffic for the Smith Point Triathlon. The vehicle entered into the race route and struck a triathlete during the bicycle portion of the race at 7:15 a.m.

The bicyclist, a 43-year-old Selden man, was taken via Suffolk County Police medevac to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment of serious physical injuries. Figueroa-Lopez was not injured. An adult female passenger in the car had minor injuries.

Figueroa-Lopez, 29, was charged with Reckless Driving, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and Driving without a Court Ordered Interlock Device, all misdemeanors.

The Nissan was impounded for a safety check. Anyone with information on this crash is asked to contact the Seventh Squad at 631-852-8752.

The sand tiger shark, pictured above, is one of several shark species that inhabit the surrounding waters of Long Island. Photo by Christopher Mark from Wikimedia Commons

Last week’s Fourth of July celebrations brought fireworks, family gatherings, barbecues and interactions between people and sharks.

Independence Day has increased the number of brushes between these apex predators and humans over the last two years, particularly as people head to the beach in larger numbers around the holiday.

Christoper Paparo, Southampton Marine Science Center manager at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. File photo

Sharks go “wherever there’s salt water” and they often follow bunker fish, which can come closer to shore, said Christoper Paparo, Southampton Marine Science Center manager at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. People encounter sharks around Independence Day because “there are more people around state parks on the Fourth of July weekend.”

Despite potential hysteria and concern about the dangers posed by sharks, most of the encounters around Long Island are “minor” and “not life threatening,” Paparo added.

The waters in the area are a nursery for many species of fish, including sharks. Young sea turtles, dolphins and whales also live along the more protected shoreline.

In recent weeks, five people have reported shark bites along the South Shore. In one incident, a shark bit a 15-year-old boy on the heel and toes. He was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Also last week, a 15-year-old girl was injured with puncture wounds from an unknown source at Robert State Moses Park.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, at podium, urged residents to take protective measures to minimize the risk of shark encounters. Photo from Bellone’s Flickr page

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) recently announced that the county would step up its surveillance efforts, adding two high-tech drones at the ocean beaches.

“Shark bites and shark incidents are something that we’re going to have to be addressing on a more regular basis,” Bellone said at a press conference at Smith Point County Beach announcing the new measures. “It’s simply going to be a part of the routine of what we do out here every day in terms of the monitoring that our ocean lifeguards do.”

Surveillance teams go out on wave runners and paddle boards, while lifeguards also use binoculars to watch over swimming areas.

The county will train lifeguards as drone operators.

“This is not a simple thing,” Bellone said. “This is something that requires skill and expertise.”

As county beaches await the arrival of these new drones, the beaches have area fire and rescue available to respond to any needs.

“Our goal here is first and foremost to keep residents safe,” Bellone added, “and to provide a sense of reassurance and comfort, knowing that when you come to the beaches, we have every tool at our disposal ready to assist.”

New surveillance drones, pictured above, will help the county government monitor shark activity along its beaches. Photo from Steve Bellone’s Flickr page

Protective measures

Bellone urged the public to take measures to minimize the risk of shark encounters.

The county executive advised people not to swim at dawn or dusk when sharks might be feeding. He also cautioned against swimming toward schools of fish, which might attract sharks who can’t differentiate between a fish and a person swimming.

“Always swim in a lifeguard-protected area,” he added. “Don’t swim when lifeguards are not on duty.”

People who paddle board, kayak or surf should go out in groups.

The sharks in the area are a reflection of a healthy ecosystem, Paparo indicated.

“You need everything below [a shark] to support it,” he said. “If there are no fish or the water is polluted, you won’t see sharks.”

Sharks rely on other senses besides eyesight to find their prey. A swimmer in murky waters can send the same type of electromagnetic signal a shark picks up from a school of fish on the surface of the water.

The sharks “hone in” on the similar sounds, Paparo added.

Paparo also suggested people should avoid swimming near seals, which are prey for great white sharks. That’s not often a problem around Long Island as seals are more prevalent in Massachusetts.

Taking measures like avoiding swimming in murky waters will “increase the odds of not encountering them,” Paparo said.

A range of sharks swim around the waters of Long Island and can include sand tigers, dusky and sandbar sharks.

“We do have mako, blue, thresher, southern, black tip, spinner, scalloped hammerhead and smooth hammerhead,” Paparo said.

Paparo added that the numbers of bites this year — five so far — are still infrequent, especially compared with injuries people sustain in car accidents or other activities.

File photo

Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives are conducting an investigation after human remains were found on the beach at Smith Point County Park in Shirley on March 6.

Smith Point County Park employees called 911 at 1:35 p.m. after a woman reported to them she had
located what appeared to be a human bone. Police responded and located the bone in the sand. The remains were taken to the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner for autopsy to determine
the cause of death and to make an identification.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Homicide Squad detectives at 631-852-6392.

by -
0 968
File photo

Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the apparent drowning death of a man who was reported missing on Nov. 18 and located off of Smith Point County Park on Nov. 30. Pierre Morris, an employee of H&L Contracting of Hauppauge, was working on a boat at Smith Point Marina when he is believed to have gone overboard on Nov. 18 and was reported missing by a coworker at approximately 3:20 p.m. that day.

Marine Bureau officers were called to Smith Point County Park at approximately 11:40 a.m. on Nov. 30 after a man, who has been positively identified as Morris, was found unresponsive off East Concourse. Morris, 45, of Far Rockaway, was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6392.

Smith Point County Park Facebook

Lifeguards to Stay on the Stands for an Additional Two Weekends

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced an extended summer season at Smith Point County Park. While Suffolk County beaches are not typically staffed with lifeguards post Labor Day, this year lifeguards will stay on the stands for an additional two weekends to ensure the safety of beachgoers.

Suffolk County beaches and parks provide cherished memories and experiences every summer for both our residents and the countless visitors who flock to our word-class shorelines. This year, more than 300,000 people visited Smith Point County Park.

“While Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer, in Suffolk summer is not over, and the joy that summer brings will continue to brighten our days,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “Lifeguards will remain on the stands for an additional two weekends, and I encourage all residents to take advantage of our world-class beaches while the warm weather is still with us.”

 “Keeping Suffolk County residents safe while they use our beaches has always been a priority and we’re happy to extend the Smith Point beach season this year,” said Suffolk County Parks Commissioner Jason Smagin.

Lifeguards will remain on the stands from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM on Saturday, September 10th, Sunday, September 11th, Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th at Smith Point County Park.

Additionally, Suffolk County campgrounds, parks and outer beaches will continue to welcome campers and park goers beyond the holiday weekend.

Unsplash photo

Mark your calendars! The New York Marine Rescue Center will host the following beach cleanups for the summer. Join them in their effort to eradicate marine debris from our local beaches and help save our wildlife. 

Cleanup’s at the following locations will take place on Sunday’s from 6 to 8  pm.: Cedar Beach, 244 Harbor Beach Road, Mount Sinai on July 10, Aug. 7 and Sept. 18; Crab Meadow Beach, Waterside Avenue, Fort Salonga on July 24, Aug. 21 and Sept. 25; and FINS at Smith Point County Park, 1 William Floyd Parkway, Shirley on July 24, Aug. 21 and Sept. 25.

To participate in one of these cleanup’s, call 631-369-9840 or visit www.nymarinerescue.org.

Familia Mendez and family, of Huntington Station, took the trek out to Jones Beach for its annual light show this year. Photo from Mendez

By Angela Palumbo

No matter where one may be on Long Island, there is a drive-thru light show available for you, but make sure to plan some extra time when thinking about attending.

The space above spectators heads glows at the Jones Beach Miracle of Lights display. Photo by Angela Palumbo

Long Islanders are eager to participate in holiday fun, but with the coronavirus pandemic causing the shutdown of many holiday activities, more and more locals are looking for events that are COVID safe and fun for the whole family.

With people turning to holiday light displays to get into the holiday spirit this year, the vast amount of people going to the displays seems to be causing longer wait times than usual.

With the most popular Long Island display being the Jones Beach Magic of Light’s show, normally, hundreds of thousands of people take the trek to Nassau for the colorful, festive experience.

“The $25.00 was well worth the money, especially since it was a safe way to experience some holiday spirit during COVID,” said Christina Seaman Meixsell, from Northport. “It was totally worth it.”

Familia Mendez, from Huntington Station, said she also enjoyed bringing her family to Jones Beach this year.

“We went two years ago to the same show and we decided to go again this year and my kids were thrilled and happy to go,” Mendez said. “The lights and decorations made us feel the feeling of Christmas. They have done an awesome job.”

But is the Jones Beach Magic of Lights display the best option for all Long Islanders? Even with its popularity and success, the Jones Beach show has run into issues this year with longer lines than usual.

Jenna Schmitt from Rockaway, Queens, tried to go to the show on Dec 5, but because of the long line, she and the people she travelled with had to turn around in the middle of waiting.

“We went there at 8:45 p.m. and the opposite side of the parkway was backed up all the way to where the line started,” Schmitt said. “Then, we decided that it wasn’t worth the wait, but we had to sit in an hour and a half of traffic to finally be able to get off of it.”

Because so many people tried to leave the long line, Schmitt said her car never made it to the turnaround, and herself and other cars drove on the grass and took a side street to exit.

Some locals have decided to go to other shows on Long Island that are closer to their homes and less popular to avoid the wait.

One of several light-based creations of the Smith Point Light Show. Photo from Smith Point Light Show website

Alexandra Wasser from Dix Hills prefers the Smith Point Light Show located in Shirley, a smaller display compared to the Jones Beach Magic of Lights Show.

“It brings a jolly mind set to you and it really brings a lot of joy to the Christmas season,” Wasser said. “It’s just a nice way to spend time with family and friends. It’s a quick little bonding holiday activity. It’s great during COVID because you just have to sit in the car and it’s safe.”

The Smith Point Light Show has been a part of the Long Island community for 17 years and is run by the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County and the office of the Suffolk County Executive.

“Planning for the Smith Point Light Show begins in January,” said Tammy Severino, representative of Girl Scouts of Suffolk County. “We work with our light display company to choose our displays for December. We also work closely with the County of Suffolk to ensure all permits and safety measures are in place.”

According to Severino, over 55,000 people attended the Smith Point light show last year. With Long Islanders looking for holiday activities that are COVID safe, event organizers are expecting more people to attend the show than ever before. The Smith Point light show has taken measures to manage potentially longer wait lines than usual.

“Visitors have the choice of pre-purchasing tickets that can be used for any date and time that the show is open, so the option to attend earlier in the week during less-busy times is always available,” Severino said. “Additionally, we have security personnel managing the line and we open a second ticket window on busy nights to facilitate traffic flow into the show.”

Another light show on Long Island is the Riverhead Holiday Light Show, located in Calverton. This show takes place Thursday through Sunday until Dec 21, when it will run every day that week leading up to Dec. 30. Unlike the Magic of Lights show at Jones Beach and the Smith Point Light Show in Shirley, only cars can come through the Riverhead Holiday Light Show, excluding buses and limos.

To avoid long wait times for any of these displays, all of the shows sell tickets in advance and encourage attendees to come during the week.

Angela Palumbo is a Long Island native and recent college graduate from SUNY Cortland with a degree in communications and journalism with a minor in professional writing. Angela is currently studying remotely at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism for her masters in journalism with a concentration in business and economic reporting. 

Stock photo

As a part of a drive-in movie series, Smith Point County Beach will show the movie “Jaws” on June 20, 45 years after the Steven Spielberg-directed film terrified theater goers throughout a country a year removed from a gas crisis that appears tame by comparison to the confluence of today’s challenges.

“Hopefully that will be an experience people will enjoy with their families,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said on his daily conference call with reporters. “Hopefully, they will enjoy it in a safe way.”

Suffolk County is approaching the end of its first full week in Phase One of an economic reopening, even as emotions run high in the county, the country and the world after the killing of George Floyd by a now-fired Minneapolis police officer who is now facing murder charges.

Group gatherings, even peaceful protests, themselves pose a health risk to attendees as researchers continue to try to develop a vaccine for a virus that threatens the health and lives of residents, particularly those with underlying medical conditions.

“We are always going to be concerned with people coming together in large gatherings, where they are not practicing social distancing,” Bellone said. “We want people to protest and express their First Amendment rights, but we want to do it safely.”

The county executive again thanked the community for peaceful expressions throughout the efforts to restart the economy and as protests in urban areas have, at times, led to violent confrontations with police and to rioting and looting.

Bellone said the Suffolk County Police Department is taking the approach that the officers are a part of the community and are not just in place to restrict or police others.

“When people are out there protesting because they have a message they want to get across, ‘We are there to make sure they are safe,’” Bellone said.

While officials remain concerned about the possibility of larger gatherings leading to resurgence of the virus after hard-won gains during the deadly month of April, they are also willing to change their guidance if such gatherings don’t lead to an increase in infections or put a strain on the recovering health care system.

The county can look at these gatherings and see how they affect public health, Bellone said. “We can take something away from that,” he said.

Still, the county executive said he urges residents not to become too cavalier about following rules that have led to an improvement in the overall health of the county, albeit at the cost of a slowed economy and an increase in unemployment.

“After being cooped up for so long” with all the devastation from the effort to flatten the curve and save people’s lives, residents need to think about “how to prevent sliding back in any way,” Bellone urged. “If people continue to be smart and exercise caution, we can reopen our economy safely. We need the public to continue to be smart.”

Viral Figures

The number of new positive tests for COVID-19 was 62, bringing the total to 39,705. That doesn’t include the 14,138 people who have tested positive for the antibody.

The number of people in the hospital with the virus, a figure no one in the health care system over the course of the year is likely to ever take for granted, declined by 16 to 253.

The number of people in the Intensive Care Unit also declined seven to 67.

The percentage of hospital beds and ICU beds with COVID-19 patients, meanwhile, was at 62 and 63, respectively, which are well below the original target of 70 percent or lower.

Another 25 people were discharged from the hospital over the last day.

The number of people who died from complications related to COVID-19 climbed by five to 1,906.

The county distributed another 24,000 pieces of personal protective equipment over the last day. That total has reached over 5.7 million since the pandemic reached the shores of Long Island.