Tags Posts tagged with "Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim"

Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim

In addition to concerns over a proposal to build a house of worship and school on the grounds of Timothy House, village residents have had other issues with the monastery that owns the property, including a storage container that has been outside the historic house for months. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Many St. James residents as well as those in surrounding communities are breathing a sigh of relief after a recent update from the Town of Smithtown regarding a proposed assisted living facility. However, homeowners living near Route 25A in Head of the Harbor and St. James are growing concerned and impatient about a proposed church on the corridor.

Bull Run Farm

Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said in a statement that the Town Board would not move forward with a special exception for a proposed assisted living facility on the former Bull Run Farm parcel on Mills Pond Road.

“We as a board demanded community outreach by the applicant, prior to bringing this application to the board for a public hearing,” he said. “This is something we insist on when large development is proposed in an area that abuts up to residential zoning, and to provide total transparency to the community. In the end, there was insufficient support from the Town Board to proceed with a special exception.” 

Earlier this month residents crowded the second floor of the St. James Firehouse on North Country Road to air their concerns about the possible development of former farmland. An informational meeting was headed up by attorneys for Frank Amicizia. The Fort Salonga developer had proposed a two-story, 97-bed facility on 9.02 acres of property on Mills Pond Road that is zoned residential. The facility would have needed a special exception from the Town of Smithtown.

Residents’ concerns included the proximity to the Gyrodyne property on Route 25A which also faces potential development; 24-hour lighting on the property; increased traffic; and the building not fitting the community aesthetics. Others were concerned about a sewage treatment plant that is proposed for the property, ranging from how it would affect local waterways due to the disposal of pharmaceuticals in the facility to the noise it would make.

Judy Ogden, a Head of the Harbor trustee and spokesperson for the Saint James-Head of the Harbor Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, said, “This is exactly the kind of leadership that residents hope for in their elected officials.” The coalition along with the Facebook group Save Bull Run Farm headed up the opposition against the proposed development citing the plans were not in line with the town’s Draft Comprehensive Plan.

“The supervisor’s comments about the need to protect the bucolic nature of this portion of Mills Pond Road is especially encouraging,” Ogden said.

Timothy House

Less than 2 miles down the road, residents of Head of the Harbor and those surrounding the historic Timothy House on Route 25A were prepared to attend a public hearing Wednesday, March 15, to air their concerns about a proposed house of worship to be built on the property. The day before the meeting, Village of Head of the Harbor officials posted on its website that it was canceled.

According to an email from Head of the Harbor Mayor Douglas Dahlgard, the monastery monks originally submitted an application to the village’s Planning Board in 2021. The application, which included constructing a house of worship and school, was delayed when the monastery decided to change counsel and amend the plan.

Dahlgard said the amended plan will require a special use permit and will also involve a time-consuming process.

“Prior to last week’s scheduled trustees meeting, we decided to delay to give us more time to prepare to properly represent our village,” Dahlgard said.

The mayor added they will be checking with the monastery’s counsel to see what date works for him for a public meeting.

The Russian Orthodox Monastery of the Glorious Ascension, also known as the Monastery of Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, purchased Timothy House in 2018.

The amendments to the proposed 3,341-square-foot building include being situated farther from Route 25A than originally presented and moving planned parking spots from the front of the building to the back.

Head of the Harbor historian Leighton Coleman III said in an email that local residents have concerns about multiple issues regarding the proposed house of worship and school, including the parking lot for 35 cars being situated close to neighbors’ properties.

Among the residents’ concerns are also the impact the construction will have on the historic property, lighting from the parking lot and increased traffic on Route 25A. Many have had issues before the application, including a huge metal storage container on the property that has become an eyesore.

Timothy House, constructed in the 1800s, was once the home of former Head of the Harbor historian and architectural preservationist Barbara Van Liew, who died in 2005. The house was built by a descendant of Smithtown founder Richard Smith.

METRO photo

Smithtown’s seniors in need of minor household repairs can contact the Town of Smithtown Senior Citizens Department to take advantage of the Residential Repair Program. In addition to a series of other household assistance services available to senior citizens, the repair program allows individuals over the age of 60 to save money while maintaining independence longer.

“This is an outstanding service for residents, especially for residents living on a retirement or pension. There is no cost for labor, as you only cover the cost of any parts or materials needed for the repair. Our team of trained professionals are thoroughly vetted, friendly and trusted employees who genuinely love helping our senior community. If you are looking to help out a parent, or you are over the age 60 and have a few minor repairs around the house that need to be taken care of, I would highly recommend calling the Senior Center to schedule a service call,” said Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

The Residential Repair Program provides assistance for tasks that do not require the skills of a licensed craftsman. The Town of Smithtown employs a crew of experienced maintenance personnel who can provide a variety of minor home repair services to senior citizens.

Services can include repairs to leaky faucets, running toilets, replacing light fixtures or hard to reach light bulbs, security and home safety features such as lock replacement, replacing smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and installing bathroom grab bars or indoor railings.

Residential Repair Services: 

  1. Plumbing
  • Replacing washers or faucets for kitchen sinks, wash basins and tubs
  • Clearing clogged sinks
  • Repairing toilet tanks
  1. Electrical
  • Repairing or rewiring lamps and frayed cords
  • Replacing light switches, receptacles or fuses where accessible
  • No appliance repairs (with the exception of water hose connections)
  1. Carpentry
  • Installation of grab bars, safety rails, and handrails
  • Minor repairs to doors, floors, house trim, etc.
  • Installation of shelves and curtain rods
  1. Interior Painting – Primer only
  • No cosmetic work
  • Ceilings where water or structural damage has occurred
  • Patching walls and ceilings
  1. Weatherization
  • Caulking and weather stripping of windows and doors
  1. Exterior Services (WEATHER PERMITTING)
  • Minor patching of concrete, walkways and masonry foundations
  • Clean gutters and drains (Single Story Homes ONLY!)
  1. Crime Prevention & Safety
  • Installation of door and window locks
  • Installation of door viewers (peepholes)
  • Installation of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
  1. Miscellaneous Service
  • Installation or removal of storm windows and screens
  • Repairing of screens

Additional minor repairs must be assessed and receive prior approval from the Senior Center.

Town of Smithtown residents are eligible for the Residential Repair Program if they are homeowners or renters aged 60 and over. There are no labor fees for this program. Clients must either provide or pay for the materials required for each job. Repair requests will be serviced in the order they are received. Jobs requesting the installation of safety equipment will be given first priority. Funding for this program is provided by the New York State Office for the Aging, the Suffolk County Office for the Aging, and the Town of Smithtown.

Tipping is not permitted. Recipients will be given the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to the program.


Contact the Smithtown Senior Center at 631-360-7616 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

An assessment of the job may be needed to estimate work and cost of materials. Eligible clients can choose to provide or pay for materials. Checks or credit cards not accepted.

For further information regarding this and other senior programs, contact the Smithtown Senior Citizens Department at (631)360-7616.

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, front, in the 2022 St. James parade along with Vincent Puleo, former town clerk. Photo by Rita J. Egan

After leading the town for five years, Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) will head up the St. James St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday, March 11.

Supervisor Ed Wehrheim was announced the St. James parade grand marshal at the chamber’s Winter Gala. Photo by Rich Balter

Wehrheim, a native of Kings Park, said when he heard the news, he was humbled and honored. The town supervisor added he is mostly of German and English descent.

“As I told the chamber for that particular day, I will be all Irish,” he said.

The honor will be his first time serving as a parade grand marshal.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “It’s great for the community when the chambers put the parades and events on. I’m looking forward to it.

Kathy Weber, president of the St. James Chamber of Commerce, said the board chose Wehrheim as grand marshal for all his work for the hamlet, including being instrumental in making possible Celebrate Park, which opened in 2022.

“From the roads to the park and all the revitalization, he’s really there for St. James,” Weber said. “We’re so grateful.”

She added it’s apparent how Wehrheim cares about the St. James community.

“It wasn’t even a question as to who should be this year’s grand marshal,” Weber said.

Wehrheim said the town is proud of what has been done in St. James.

“It has resulted in a huge success for the community and the business community,” he said. “To be the grand marshal and go down the newly renovated Lake Avenue will be a great honor.”

The supervisor said after COVID-19 protocols prevented or limited community gatherings for a couple of years, returning to parades, festivals, concerts and more was welcomed. 

The St. James St. Patrick’s Day Parade was canceled in 2020 a few days before it was due to take place. In 2021 a car parade was held, and the 2022 parade was postponed until a few weeks later due to inclement weather on its original scheduled date. According to Weber, it was the first time there was a rain date.

She said this year planning and participation have returned to pre-COVID conditions.

“There are a lot of people and a lot of excitement,” she said, adding that several children will be participating as princes and princesses this year. A resident turning Sweet 16 will also be in the parade handing out candy after her grandmother arranged to make her wish to participate come true.

“It’s a great day to celebrate the supervisor and celebrate St. James,” Weber said. “The feeling in St. James, it’s such a close community feeling.”

The St. James St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 11. The event kicks off on the corner of Woodlawn and Lake avenues at 1 p.m. and continues to the train station.

Hoyt Farm's interpretive specialist Sheryl Brook explains the process of maple sugaring to Hauppauge Girl Scouts Troop 428 during last year's event. Photo from Town of Smithtown

Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve in Commack is gearing up for another season of maple sugaring for families, scout troops and nature enthusiasts to take advantage of. This unique educational program, available to the general public, teaches the ancient process of making maple syrup/sugar, which was passed down by the Native Americans to the Colonists. 

Classes will run on Sundays, Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 5, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person (cash only.) The class is open to both residents and non-residents. It is recommended that guests arrive by 1 p.m. to register for the class as this is a very popular event. 

Hoyt Farm Park Manager Jeff Gumin teaches a group about tree tapping at a previous event.
File photo by Greg Catalano/TBR News Media

“This is one of the best educational programs the Town of Smithtown offers and it’s one that every Long Islander should partake in. The techniques used to make maple syrup are a part of our history that should be treasured for all time. Jeff Gumin, Sheryl Brook and the team at Hoyt go above and beyond in teaching this demonstration. It’s an unforgettable experience, which I highly recommend for the whole family,” said Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

The maple sugaring program is a demonstration, encompassing the history of Native American early life, how maple sugaring was originally discovered, all the way up to the modern day process. An interactive portion of the program enlists the help of younger students to teach the anatomy of the tree, the importance of chlorophyll, and the role of photosynthesis in making maple syrup. 

The Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve maple sugaring program is unique in that Black Walnut trees are also tapped for sugaring, in addition to making maple syrup from Maple trees. Maple sugaring season is approximately three weeks out of the year. In order to produce the sweetest sap, weather conditions must be below freezing at night and over 40 degrees during the day. 

The maple sugaring program began in the late 1970’s, and started with one class. It is now a full blown family-oriented interactive experience, available to the general public, (not restricted to Smithtown residents) appropriate for all age groups. School classes, girl scouts, boy scout troops, kids and adults of all ages are welcome and encouraged to take advantage of this unforgettable experience. 

Hoyt Farm is located at 200 New Highway in Commack. For more information, call 631-543-7804.

Local officials joined together with the Daniela Conte Foundation, Thomas Scully Foundation, Smithtown Children‘s Foundation, Smithtown Central School District, local parent advocate Amy Beach, families and friends to kick off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with the annual ‘Go Gold’ Tree lighting ceremony at Town Hall on Sept. 7.

The tree at Town Hall was adorned in gold bows, bearing the names of local children who are actively fighting cancer, in remission or have since passed away. The lights and ribbons were donated to the Town courtesy of Katia Conte, founder of the Daniela Conte foundation in 2021. Each year, new bows with the names of local kids are added. Additionally, giant gold awareness ribbons, donated courtesy of the Thomas Scully Foundation are on display at the Smithtown Bull Monument, at Town Hall, the Parks Department and at the Highway Department through the month of September. Local mom and advocate Amy Beach was on hand to distribute gold laces as a part of the “Lace up for Kids” partnership, in honor of her son Dylan, with the Smithtown Central School District.

“The month of September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. But as many of the families here with us tonight will tell you, cancer affects us all 24/7… year round. Tonight we kick off a year of awareness. However… We are also here as one community, one family, to let every parent, or caregiver, who has a child diagnosed with cancer know something…You are not alone. We are here to fight for you, cry with you, laugh with you, pray for you and share our love with you. Thanks to organizations like the Daniela Conte Foundation, the Thomas Scully Foundation, the Smithtown Children‘s Foundation and the work that Parent Advocates like Amy Beach do, there are local resources and an entire community of people who are ready to help. Whether it’s financial assistance, help dealing with insurance companies, hospital administrations, a hand getting dinner on the table or an extra hand around the house… You will not go through this alone. That is our promise to you,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim .

Each year, the Town of Smithtown raises awareness for Childhood Cancers in the month of September through various activities and events. These efforts are intended to help fund and raise awareness, identify breakthroughs and fill gaps in the treatment landscape, and direct research to the areas with the greatest need. This year the call for action in addition to advocacy and awareness rang clear from Amy Beach, who spoke on behalf of Katia Conte and Debbie Scully.

Pediatric Cancer has to be funded by nationwide and local groups. We run, walk, shave our heads, play golf, host gala’s and have community involvement to raise research dollars. Leave it up to the parents… As of today, hospitals are still using 30 year old toxic treatments on children that cause a lifetime of medical problems for survivors. Kids deserve the very best in cures, treatments and protocols that science can offer and that means investing in research… When you think about why it’s so important to go gold in September, then think about the statistics and how underfunded childhood cancer really is. And be truly thankful if you haven’t had to endure the worst thing a parent can go through.,” said Katia Conte of the Daniela Conte Foundation.

“The mission of the Thomas Scully Foundation is to  bring A Little Bit of Happiness to children with cancer today, while supporting a cure for tomorrow. The foundation delivers care packages to bring comfort and joy to children, while they’re in local NY hospitals. They also support a cure for tomorrow, by providing A Little Bit of Hope grants. These are given to families seeking innovative treatments for their child… The Thomas Scully Foundation would like to thank the Town of Smithtown, for helping to bring awareness to childhood cancer by going gold for the third year in a row. Not only are you helping to bring awareness but you’re also letting everyone know that you support those children and families who have been affected. We thank you for that,” added Debbie Scully of the Thomas Scully Foundation.

“Less than 4% of the federal budget for cancer research in the United States of America is dedicated to childhood cancer. Solving Kids Cancer is an organization that finds, funds and advocates for breakthrough treatment options to cure children with the most fatal pediatric cancers. They help accelerate new, next generation treatments, including immunotherapy, cancer vaccines and new drugs, by applying an understanding of the entire childhood cancer landscape to wisely invest in innovative projects… This September, we are proud to have the Smithtown Slammers U14 flash girls soccer team participating in their sixth season of Lace Up for Kids, Nesaquake Middle School has been a wonderful partner since 2018 and we are excited to announce that all of Smithtown Central School District schools will be participating again in 2022… Friday, September 16th will be a district-wide Go Gold Day. And we invite all of you as well to care, wear and share your gold throughout this month of September. Last year, we stood in front of this tree, as so many of you pledged support for these Children and their families battling the unimaginable. It has been 370 days… Support is more than a photo opp. Tonight lets shift from awareness to action. Because every kid deserves a chance to grow up. We look forward to many years of partnership, awareness and advocacy until one day, there is a cure. Be Bold. Go Gold,” said Amy Beach, a childhood cancer research advocate and Smithtown parent. 

“This ceremony here tonight, the support and awareness is invaluable to the children we’re trying to support, those to come and to those who we have lost. The Smithtown Children Foundation was founded in 2008. What many don’t know is that the motivation and inspiration in creating the foundation, was a five year old little girl who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and who sadly we lost a year later. While we support the community through a number of initiatives, the plight of childhood cancer awareness, of supporting families who are battling this, is one that is very close to our hearts at the foundation. We are here to provide financial, and emotional support, to provide resources, help for some of the ins and outs for families who are going through this and may be a little overwhelmed. We support your foundations wholeheartedly, we support awareness and we support the individual families to help you in any way we can,” said  Krissy Lonetto, of the Smithtown Children‘s Foundation.

“We all know cancer is an insidious disease. But when it impacts our children, it is especially devastating. Amy’s message tonight really hits home… of turning advocacy into action. That is certainly what we are hoping to do! In the next few days and throughout the month, you will see gold ribbons at each of our schools, and increase advocacy with a path towards action. Also, the Lace Up for Kids initiative in schools and at our East/West football game, will pay particular attention to this cause on Friday night. I applaud all the foundations involved here, and the Town for your continued advocacy.,” sadid Superintendent Dr. Mark Secaur, Smithtown Central School District.

New York State Senator Mario R. Mattera (2nd Senate District) and Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim are teaming up to honor our community heroes with a free baseball and softball clinic for male and female players between the ages of 6 and 18.  This fun event will be run by local school coaches and 10 former Major League Baseball players from the Mets, Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Tigers, Dodgers, Pirates, Blue Jays, and Phillies.

The clinic will be held on Sunday, August 21st at Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park, which is located at 29 Old Commack Road in Commack, from 10:00 AM through 1:15 PM.  Lunch will be available for families and guests during the clinic and players will have lunch after.

The event will include former Major League Baseball legends Frank Catalanotto, Art Shamsky, Oreste Marrero, John Doherty, Sal Agostinelli, Frank Tepedino, Fred Cambria, Adam Greenberg and Don DeMola.  These former players will provide instruction to the young players at various stations throughout the day.

Additionally, the first 500 registered participants will receive Rawlings MLB baseballs provided courtesy of Major League Baseball. A photo booth will also be set up to create a complimentary baseball card for each participant.

As a special component, the Heros 4 Our Heroes foundation will be honored for serving our military, fire, police and medical heroes since September 11th, 2001.

“I am so excited to join Supervisor Wehrheim in honoring our community heroes with a free clinic for our youths. Our American heroes deserve to be celebrated and the Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park, which honors a member of the community who was killed in action during the Vietnam War, is the perfect place to do so.  To do so while also honoring Smithtown-based Heros 4 Our Heroes foundation for all the charitable work they have done is the perfect combination.  It is our hope that the young athletes who attend will be inspired by their sacrifice, commitment and duty, and that their interaction with the players and coaches who are participating will enhance them both on and off the field,” stated Senator Mattera.

“I want to thank Senator Mattera and his staff for coming up with this truly memorable idea to give to the community. This is what Flynn Memorial was created for and I think Danny would agree. It gives me a great sense of joy to facilitate the opportunity for local boys and girls to learn from baseball’s legends and our own community coaches. Moreover, we’re honoring Donato Panico and his incredible foundation Heros 4 Our Heroes, who have done magnificent work helping Veterans and First Responders for two decades. I’d highly encourage families to register their kids for this unbelievable occasion,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

Any resident who wishes to register a player or players is asked to visit FieldofHeroesYouthBaseballClinic.eventbrite.com to register.  Registrations are limited so it is important that every player who wishes to participate registers early.

Heros 4 Our Heroes was started by the Panico family, owners of Panico’s Community Market in Smithtown, following the terror attacks of 9/11. To help, they loaded up a mobile catering truck full of food from their market in Smithtown and drove to Ground Zero. They cooked for 12 straight days at the World Trade Center site and have continued to provide free meals to first responders and frontline workers for 21 years.  They provide over 3,000 heros to firefighters, policemen and veterans every September 11th, distribute turkey dinners on Thanksgiving and served special dinners for Christmas at the VA Medical Center.

“Since September 11th, 2001, the Panico’s have served as an inspiration to the people of Smithtown by serving thousands of complimentary meals to frontline workers at hospitals, nursing homes, veteran’s facilities and dozens of other entities to honor the thousands of heroes who serve us every day.  I am proud to join with Supervisor Wehrheim to show this special organization what they mean to our community and to thank the Panico family for all they do,” added Senator Mattera.

Any resident who would like to donate to Heros 4 Our Heroes should visit www.heros4ourheroes.org and click on the Field of Heroes link on the home page.

Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim

The Suffolk County Village Officials Association (SCVOA) has announced that Smithtown Supervisor Edward R. Wehrheim has been tapped to receive this year’s Outstanding Leadership Award. The award for Supervisor Wehrheim’s commitment to the Villages of Suffolk County will be presented during the annual SCOVA Legislative Dinner & Awards Night on Wednesday, April 13th.  Supervisor Wehrheim joins the ranks of many distinguished leaders throughout Suffolk County including his predecessor, Patrick Vecchio, Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr., Senator Phil Boyle, Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, and Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim

“This is a great honor, one I am deeply humbled by. I have to acknowledge and thank our Town’s administration and incredible workforce for the remarkable support and dedication we produce together on a daily basis. Our incorporated villages are made up of our friends, family and neighbors, with visionary leaders, many of whom have led incredibly inspiring revitalization and environmental efforts. To be recognized by the Suffolk County Village Officials Association in this fashion gives me great pride in the work we’ve done together, and all that we will accomplish in the future,” said Supervisor Edward R. Wehrheim.

The Suffolk County Village Officials Association (SCVOA) is a not-for-profit advocacy organization and information resource consisting of 32 incorporated villages representing approximately 10% of the population. SCVOAʼs mission is to inform, support, and advocate on behalf of the 32 incorporated villages of Suffolk County. The Executive Board of SCVOA works tirelessly in its commitment to create a strong, effective, cohesive organization that promotes an exchange of ideas and strategies that enable village government to faithfully serve over 125,000 Suffolk County residents who reside within the incorporated villages.

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, at podium, and Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim at a press conference Feb. 25. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) and Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) stopped by Smithtown’s senior citizens center to talk about COVID-19 and distribute at-home tests to center visitors Friday, Feb. 25.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone talks with visitors at the senior citizen center. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Before the press conference, county Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) began delivering the 10,000 at-home COVID-19 test kits received by the town courtesy of the county. The kits were distributed on the day of the press conference and Monday to local assisted living communities, faith-based and small food pantries and community centers in the greater township.

Bellone said he reached out to New York Gov. Kathy Hocul (D) for help with continuing aid to vulnerable populations. 

“This was the time to really begin the conversation about how we transition back to normal, to the stage where we are living with the virus, essentially the endemic stage of the virus, and you’re seeing that conversation happening now around the country, as well, which I think is very important,” Bellone said. “As we do that, as we move to that different stage of the virus and manage that risk moving forward, we do still need to be making sure we’re doing everything we can to provide the resources necessary to protect vulnerable populations, senior citizens, those who may have issues with immunity, etc. We need to make sure that things that we know work that are available that they are easily accessible and available to those residents.”

Suffolk officials have been working with various partners such as nonprofits and law enforcement agencies since the beginning of the year to distribute at-home tests, masks and hand sanitizer to the most vulnerable. Bellone said the county has distributed at this point over 200,000 test kits and expects over the next six months that Suffolk will be distributing several hundred thousand more test kits, focusing on the most vulnerable populations.

Bellone added that vaccines, testing and therapeutics have been making a difference.

The county supervisor thanked Wehrheim for his help during the pandemic.  

“Supervisor Wehrheim has been an example of the kind of leadership that you need in unprecedented times, and I truly appreciate his partnership and the work that we were able to do together during the pandemic,” Bellone said.

Wehrheim also thanked Bellone for helping the town ensure that no one went without essentials during the pandemic and for the county’s continued support, especially for those on fixed incomes.

“Now families can visit loved ones in nursing homes with easy access to at-home test kits,” Wehrheim said. “Our older seniors can come back to a great senior community and our great senior citizens department to enjoy socializing. Most importantly, we can get back to living again, safer.”

New phase

Bellone said Suffolk County is moving into a new phase of the pandemic. 

“We just recently went through what I would characterize as the second most impactful wave of this virus,” he said, adding the omicron wave’s variant infection and hospitalization rates were as high as at the beginning of the pandemic and the county once again saw double-digit deaths.

“We know that this pandemic has caused incalculable devastation, and there will be impacts that we’ll be dealing with for a long time to come, no doubt,” he said. “But, what is clear now is — I think a couple things — we’re moving into a different phase, and this virus is not going to go away. It is going to be here with us. It is something that we are going to be living with.”