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Roundup: Meeting on underage drinking tonight in Commack
Gathering focuses on underage drinking
Preventing underage drinking is to be the focus of a town-hall meeting tonight in Commack.
Commack Coalition of Caring, a community group composed of parents, school professionals, youth and substance abuse experts concerned about preventing substance abuse, will host the meeting at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Commack High School, at 1 Scholar Lane.
Debbie Virga, coalition coordinator, said the purpose of the meeting is to reduce or eliminate underage drinking in Commack.
“How can we delay the initiation of alcohol use until the age of 21?” she said. “There are many adverse health effects for underage drinking, and it can also lead to other substance abuse issues.”
The event features a panel of various experts, including Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga); a Suffolk County police officer from the Fourth Precinct; Dr. Michael Delman, an internist at North Shore-LIJ Hospital and expert in substance-related addiction disorders; and Pamela Mizzi, director of the Suffolk County Prevention Resource Center.
The panelists will take questions from the audience, said Virga, adding that she hopes the event will be educational. “It’s springtime. A little bit more of the kids want to experiment, and we just want to educate the parents on what signs to look for and what they can do to prevent it,” she said.
For more information, call Virga at 631-858-3623.
— LAUREN R. HARRISON
Nuns to discuss green initiatives
Some 28 nuns from 13 countries are gathering this week in Brentwood for a Peace and Justice meeting on how to solve some of the planet’s problems, including sustainable development.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood are hosting the meeting, which is being conducted in English, Spanish and French. Occasionally, the nuns have spoken in Italian, too, Sister Patricia Johnson, one of the organizers said.
The nuns, all from different branches of the Sisters of St. Joseph around the world, hail from Argentina, India, Mexico, Algeria, Chad, England, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Madagascar, Canada, Haiti and the United States.
“One of the meeting’s goals is to find ways for us to encourage the United Nations to take more action on sustainable development,” Johnson said. In a statement they plan to adopt by the end of the weeklong meeting, the nuns and their congregations will embrace “a special option for those most negatively impacted by globalization.”
“We recognize that many current models of development are neither social nor sustainable. They are based on power, efficiency and unsustainable patterns of consumption,” the statement says. “While continuing to minister to those in need, addressing social, health, educational and spiritual needs, we challenge ourselves to more fully understand the underlying issues that lead to extreme poverty and the degradation of our environment.”
The sisters said solutions will not be “easy or clear. The world is full of pain and suffering, injustice and acts of inhumanity. Yet we dream of something different, a better world where people care for each other and all of earth’s community.”
— BART JONES
Plan on higher slip rental fees dropped
The town of Oyster Bay has backed off fee hikes on slip rentals for boats at the Joseph J. Saladino Memorial Marina at Tobay Beach that in some cases would have doubled the daily fee.
“The supervisor and the board felt it was done on a little bit of short notice, and with the economy being the way it is the decision was made to keep it stable for this year,” Oyster Bay spokeswoman Marta Kane said. “That’s not to say we won’t look into it for the future.”
Last week, the town board reinstated the old fee schedule, which charges tiered fixed rates for boats of up to 25 feet, 26 feet to 31 feet, and 32 feet and longer and charges lower fees for non-holiday weekdays and seniors on non-holiday weekdays.
In March, the town board adopted a new daily slip rental fee schedule that Kane said came at the request of Oyster Bay parks commissioner Frank Nocerino. That structure was to charge resident boat owners $1 per foot and nonresidents $2 per foot on top of a seasonal sticker fee or individual entrance fees.
For an Oyster Bay resident with a 30-foot boat, for example, the weekday slip rental fee would have gone to $30 from $15, a 100 percent increase. The structure also would have done away with senior discounts on daily rental fees while ending the practice of charging higher fees on weekends and holidays.
Asked whether there had been complaints about the fee structure change in March, Kane said, “There was some community input as far as asking about what had happened or why.”
— TED PHILLIPS
Budget with higher costs, taxes OKd
Westbury Village officials have passed a $7.8 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
The budget is 3.4 percent higher than the past year’s budget, representing increased costs, such as for state pension contributions and the hiring of two new code enforcement officers, part of an effort to crack down on illegal housing, Mayor Peter Cavallaro said.
The village raised the tax levy by 2 percent, just shy of the state-imposed 2.02 percent cap for the village, officials said.
A Westbury homeowner, owning the average home with an assessed value of $345,402, will pay $1,012 for the 2014-15 budget year for all village government services.
Village officials said this year’s budget was the most difficult to calculate in recent years, given an increase of $262,403 in year-to-year expenses the village faces, a rise of 3.48 percent.
There is a projected $75,000 increase in the cost of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance premiums. There is also a $45,000 increase in the solid waste tipping fees, as a result of higher market rates for garbage disposal, officials said.
— SCOTT EIDLER