Nassau begins replacing trees felled by Sandy

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County Executive Edward Mangano on Tuesday announced the start of a tree-planting program to replace thousands of trees felled or damaged in Nassau during superstorm Sandy.

Trees will be planted all over the county, paid for by county capital funds, Mangano said.

"Superstorm Sandy changed the face of Nassau County forever," Mangano said at a news conference in North Hills. "This tree-planting program will continue until we have addressed every location throughout Nassau County that lost trees due to the storm."

The plantings in North Hills are along Searingtown Road and are to continue at a pace of about 120 trees per day if weather and other conditions permit. Removal of stumps left from trees destroyed by Sandy will begin next week, Mangano said. The first series of plantings will include 1,100 trees, including red maples, red oaks and eastern redbuds.

Some Democratic lawmakers and county residents have complained the tree-removal contractor, Looks Great Services Inc. of Huntington, has overcut in East Hills and other areas.

Legis. Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) said: "The community is pleased that the county is replacing these trees, but there are still many unanswered questions as to why so many were recklessly cut down in the first place."

Newsday has reported that Looks Great is among companies subpoenaed by the Nassau district attorney's office, which is examining how the county entered into agreements for post-Sandy cleanup work, as well as oversight and controls for the work. Looks Great also is under scrutiny by the state attorney general's office, which is looking into how cleanup contract work was obtained and the performance of companies that did the work.

A Looks Great spokeswoman has said the company has complied with all state laws and regulations and is complying with all government agencies.The division of the U.S. Department of Labor that enforces prevailing wage requirements of federal labor laws and other laws that apply to federal contracts for construction and provision of goods and services has launched a probe of the company. A Looks Great spokeswoman said the company had sought to involve the Labor Department when it learned that one of its subcontractors' subcontractors had not paid its employees.

The county says it removed 149 trees along Searingtown Road and 189 trees along Shelter Rock Road.

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With Celeste Hadrick

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