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Roundup: Island Harvest joins national food drive

Island Harvest Food Bank, Long Island’s top hunger relief group, plans to team up again this year with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) for its Stamp Out Hunger campaign tomorrow.

As the nation’s largest single-day food drive, postal carriers nationally will collect nonperishable food items from homeowners.

Locally, all proceeds will benefit Island Harvest in providing food support to more than 300,000 Long Islanders — including 110,000 children — who face the risk of hunger daily.

To participate in the food drive, leave nonperishable food items such as canned goods, pasta, rice, boxed juices, etc., (no glass items) by your mailbox before your regularly scheduled mail delivery tomorrow. Your postal carrier will do the rest, Harvest officials said.

The food will help replenish Long Island’s food pantries, soup kitchens and other programs aided by Island Harvest.

“Every donation ... will help Island Harvest make sure that a child won’t go to bed hungry, or a senior citizen won’t have to choose between buying medicine ... [or] food,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president and chief executive of Island Harvest.

Walter Barton, president of NALC Branch 6000, said: “As postal workers, we are connected to the community and often see the need for food assistance firsthand. We are happy to have this opportunity to give back to the community and help ease the burden for the thousands of Long Islanders who are affected by hunger.”

— SID CASSESE


GLEN COVE

Hospital targets lung problems

Glen Cove Hospital has opened an outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program for people who suffer from lung problems.

The new program, which started last week, represents a new investment in the hospital after nearly a year of local turmoil over parent North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System’s plans for the facility.

The hospital plans a ribbon-cutting today at a room in the hospital outfitted with exercise equipment.

The program helps people with a variety of lung ailments — including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and lung transplant patients — to strengthen muscles needed for breathing through specialized exercises, said Thomas Howard, a respiratory therapist and director of the program.

“We need to help them live and lead better lives,” Howard said. “A lot of times, when people can’t breathe they don’t go out of the house, they don’t take care of themselves and that’s what pulmonary rehab hopes to do. It helps to get them back into life.”

In addition to exercise, patients also receive education on how to deal with lung problems.

Two classes with three patients have already filled up and a third is expected to fill up by next week, Howard said.

North Shore-LIJ system’s plans to convert the hospital into an ambulatory center drew sharp criticism from residents last year. The health care system’s officials subsequently committed to maintaining the facility as a full-service center, even as the staff shrinks from 1,300 a year ago to about 600 by the end of 2014.

Mayor Reginald Spinello praised the hospital’s move.

“The hospital opening up a pulmonary rehab center is another example of them realizing their obligation to the community and responding accordingly to its needs,” Spinello said in a statement.
— TED PHILLIPS


SMITHTOWN

Deputy clerk moved to planning board

Smithtown Town Board members voted unanimously to transfer deputy town clerk Maureen Sussillo as secretary to the town planning board amid reports of “personal turmoil” in the clerk’s office.

The board voted 5-0 Tuesday to transfer Sussillo effective immediately. She would work in the town planning department. Sussillo will maintain her salary of $80,442.81, per the vote.

Smithtown Supervisor Vecchio said Sussillo was transferred due to “personnel turmoil in that office over the last year or so,” but declined to comment further.

Councilman Thomas McCarthy said only that Sussillo “will be a wonderful addition to the planning department.”

Neither Sussillo nor Russell Barnett, town environmental protection director and head of the Smithtown Administrative Guild — a union representing town administrators — could be immediately reached for comment. SAG’s attorney Paul Dashefsky declined to comment.

Smithtown Town Clerk Vincent Puleo said the transfer was “a total blindside ... There was no friction between Maureen and I,” he said. “If she had a problem, maybe she should have brought her union rep in and we could have squared it away.”

Puleo said he planned to ask for a replacement, since Sussillo was responsible for town board minutes and agendas, and that his department will be busy with distributing new parking passes and issuing various different licenses.

Vecchio, who partly blamed Puleo in the temporary loss of his office last year after Vecchio failed to sign a written oath of office, said there were no plans to fill Sussillo’s deputy clerk position.
— LAUREN R. HARRISON


SETAUKET

Ribbon cuttings for greenway trail

A pair of ribbon-cutting ceremonies tomorrow will mark the opening of two new sections of a greenway trail from Setauket to Port Jefferson Station.

With the addition of the new sections, the trail will run for 3.3 miles from the Setauket Post Office to Hallock Avenue and Route 25A in Port Jefferson Station.

Ceremonies will be held at 11 a.m. at Route 25A and Limroy Lane in Setauket, and at 1 p.m. at state routes 112 and 25A in Port Jefferson Station.

The trail — including a 1.5-mile section that opened in May 2009 — is open to walkers, bicyclists and joggers and features benches and landscaping improvements built by local Eagle Scouts, said Charles F. McAteer, chairman of Friends of the Greenway. The trail closes at sundown.

“It’s become a very good community asset. We’re finding that it’s used literally dawn to dusk,” McAteer said. “People will be able to walk into those [communities] and not have to use their automobiles, and that was the intent.”

The trail is on land owned by the state Department of Transportation, which once had planned to build the Port Jefferson Bypass along the route.

When those plans were scrapped, the state agreed to help community leaders develop the greenway trail. Construction was paid for with $2.1 million in state funds secured by Assemb. Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and $5 million in federal funds contributed by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), McAteer said.

— CARL MACGOWAN


MERRICK

Prostate cancer screening planned

Assemb. Dave McDonough (R-Merrick), in conjunction with the Integrated Medical Foundation, is sponsoring a free prostate cancer screening event tomorrow.

The screening will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Merrick Public Library, 2279 Merrick Ave. The program is open to men ages 40 and older who have not been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Appointments are necessary and are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information or to make an appointment, call McDonough’s office at 516-409-2070.
AISHA AL-MUSLIM


FARMINGDALE

Relocated farmers market opens June 1

An expanded and relocated farmers market will be operating on the Village Green on Sundays starting June 1.

Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said the market was in the entrance to a parking lot adjacent to A Taste of Long Island at 211A Main St. for the past two seasons and is moving south next to Village Hall.

"We are thrilled to expand the market and offer residents and the community a great new spot to meet, shop local and enjoy great, fresh offerings," he said.

At the new location the market will feature more than 20 local food artisans and vendors with locally grown seasonal farm fresh produce. Last year, there were about 15 vendors. In addition, A Taste of Long Island plans to offer craft beer and New York State wine this year.

The market will operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Thanksgiving weekend.

A Taste of Long Island owner Jim Thompson and his daughter, Courtney Citko, will be running the market for the third year.
— BILL BLEYER

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