Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column
Exterior lights at the Islamic Center of Long Island, in Westbury, went dark a few months ago. PSEG Long Island restored light to one and told members that repairs of the other three would follow.
But the lights stayed dark.
And as the holy month of Ramadan approached, the darkness took on a new urgency: Daily prayer services would begin at nightfall, after the day's fast is broken. When those services got under way in late June, members leaving the mosque near midnight would emerge into a night with only one functioning light -- and the red and green of a nearby traffic signal -- for illumination.
Members of the Islamic Center had made several calls to PSEG in the weeks leading up to Ramadan, according to Habeeb Ahmed, first vice president of the center, all to no avail.
"Every night we have 300 to 400 people praying until midnight, and the driveways and the yard of the mosque are always dark," Ahmed said in his initial email to Watchdog. The steps from the building to a driveway presented a particular hazard in darkness, member Imran Zaidi said when we visited.
All four lights are working again.
The light fixtures required new bulbs and photo cells, PSEG spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said last week. A crew was dispatched the day we called, and Ahmed said repairs took 30 to 45 minutes.
"They came and fixed them the same night and it has been great for all concerned," he wrote in a subsequent email to Watchdog. "The Muslim community thanks you for creating a safe environment for so many families with small kids."
More than five years ago, Verizon installed a new utility pole in our backyard next to the old one, which they told me was leaning too much and could come down during a storm. After a few years with both poles, we started calling Cablevision and Verizon. Many workers have come and changed something, but the pole remains. If the old pole was dangerous five years ago, is it not more dangerous today?
-- Emil and Marianne Iannaccone, Dix Hills
The leaning pole is gone.
Verizon dispatched a crew to remove it after Cablevision and PSEG Long Island workers moved their equipment to the newer pole.
We called Verizon first because it is often tasked with removing old poles, but can't do so until other utilities have taken off their equipment. Company spokesman John Bonomo told us the pole couldn't be removed until both PSEG and Cablevision took care of their equipment. So our next calls went to those companies, and both dispatched crews that same day. PSEG officials said their workers confirmed the company's equipment already had been moved.
A day later, Marianne Iannaccone sent us an email peppered with exclamation points.
"I have great news!" she wrote. "Verizon workers came early this morning and all work is complete! The pole is gone!"
Residential customers with general inquiries for PSEG Long Island can call 631-755-6000, while downed wires or power outages can be reported at 631-755-6900. Residents with Verizon-related issues can call 1-800-VERIZON.
Come on in. In New Hyde Park, the doors at a North Hempstead senior citizen facility now open at the touch of a button.
An automatic door opener has been installed at the Clinton G. Martin Park building, town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said.
The need for automatic doors came to our attention in the winter, when Mineola resident Michael Vezzi told us the building didn't have an accessible entrance. Adding to the difficulty of getting in or out: There's a vestibule, so it's necessary to negotiate not one set of doors but two.
"Getting into the building requires two people," Vezzi told us. The town indicated at the time that it would investigate accessibility issues at the site and "work to identify measures to correct them."
Last week we received a letter from Vezzi reporting that "automatic doors were installed." We followed up with the town, where Trottere reported the work was completed in May at a cost of $3,850.
Light's on. And in Brentwood, Egbert Bennett Jr. called last week to report that his two-year-long effort to get a street light on Third Street, where it ends next to the train tracks, has paid off: Islip Town installed a light Tuesday.
According to the town, his request had been put on hold until a survey of town lighting was completed and energy-efficient lighting was installed.