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Community roundup: Information on home energy efficiency, dangers of texting while driving
Smithtown residents can learn how to help improve their homes’ energy efficiency this week during library presentations of the Long Island Green Homes program.
Representatives from the town’s Planning Department are expected to outline the program, with participating contractors present to answer questions tonight at the Kings Park Branch library at 7 p.m.
Presentations are also planned at the Smithtown Main Branch library on Nov. 20 and the Nesconset Branch library on Nov. 21 — both at 7 p.m.
The green homes program includes a house energy audit, recommendations on improvements to reduce energy costs and low-interest loans that may allow homeowners to make upgrades with no out-of-pocket expenses.
“With the winter coming, the cost to heat residents’ homes is increasing and this program will allow residents to reduce their energy consumption and thereby help them save money,” said Allyson Murray, a town environmental planner.
Since 2011, more than 500 Smithtown residents have received free or reduced-cost home energy assessments, and more than 100 residents have taken advantage of rebates and low-interest loans to upgrade their homes, Murray said.
Smithtown belongs to the Long Island Green Homes Consortium, formed in 2010 with six other towns — Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip, North Hempstead and Southampton — and organizations.
The nonprofit Community Development Corporation of Long Island received a $5 million federal-state grant in 2010 to act as a regional coordinator among the towns. Smithtown received $100,000 per year through 2013, as part of its contract with the corporation.
Murray said the contract was extended in October to allow Smithtown to market and administer the program through November 2014. — LAUREN R. HARRISON
The town of Islip’s Youth Bureau is observing National Teen Personal Safety Awareness Week by distributing wrist bands that remind teens of the dangers of texting while driving.
The free bands which read “DNT TXT N DRV” are being distributed through Islip high schools this week to students. The bands can also be wrapped around a cellphone to block texting.
Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in the state, and texting and distracted driving contributes to 80 percent of accidents, according to the town.
Students are also encouraged to take the Text Free Driving Pledge, which reminds them of statistics such as texting makes a teen driver 23 times more likely to crash.
“Motor vehicle accidents are the leading killer among teenagers in New York State,” said Councilman Anthony Senft Jr., in a release. He said texting and driving “is a significant factor” in eight out of 10 accidents. “We commend high school students who realize and appreciate the serious consequences of texting and driving. Texting and driving is dangerous to everyone in the car and everyone else on the road.”
For more information, contact the Islip Youth Bureau at email@example.com or 631-224-5320. More safe driving resource guides can be found at dmv.ny.gov/youngerdriver/. — SOPHIA CHANG