Disputed trustee tally resolved at last
Village of Manorhaven officials swore in a new trustee early Thursday after more than six weeks of court battles.
James Avena, who won by a single vote, recited the oath of office at 10 a.m. Deputy Mayor Lucretia Steele dropped her appeal, said village Clerk-Treasurer Leslie Gross, who conducted the swearing-in ceremony.
The village certified the results for that contested trustee race, 416-415. The re-election of incumbent trustee Rita Di Lucia, who received 441 votes, was not in dispute.
The victory capped a return to the board for Avena, who has not served there since 2012 and lost two previous contests. He was appointed to the board in 2012, but lost in an election that June. The outgoing mayor then reappointed him to the trustees board, but three days later, new Mayor Giovanna Giunta removed him.
Last year, Avena lost by 15 votes to Giunta. Avena's running mates on the Manorhaven Residents Party -- Kevin Gately Jr. and Priscilla von Roeschlaub -- won seats held by incumbents.
Avena, Gately and von Roeschlaub now are in the majority, putting Di Lucia and Giunta in the minority on the Manorhaven Revival Party.
Avena, in an interview yesterday, thanked his supporters and said he wants to review potential staff appointments. "The three of us are on the board now, we in fact have a bloc of votes," he said, noting, "each one of us is an individualized trustee."
Avena said he would prioritize agenda items and evaluate appointments, but he did not want to comment on specific openings.
Steele was first elected in 2012. Gross said a decision on the new deputy mayor has yet to be made.
The trustee position pays $3,000 a year, Gross said.
Sections of Route 347 upgrade completed
Two projects totaling $56.1 million have been completed in the plan to transform Route 347 into a safe urban greenway, the state Department of Transportation and the governor's office announced Thursday.
A $25.6 million project in Brookhaven was completed Wednesday, including the construction of a third travel lane in each direction near Route 347's intersection with Route 112, DOT officials said in a news release. Landscaping and finishing work is expected to be completed this fall, DOT officials said.
Left turns are no longer allowed from Route 347 onto Route 112 as part of an effort to reduce accidents, DOT officials said.
"The transformation of Route 347 will support businesses, improve safety and keep traffic moving for the hundreds of thousands of motorists who depend on this vital part of Long Island's transportation system," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in the news release.
On July 21, crews completed a $30.5 million reconstruction of Route 347 between Route 111 and Mount Pleasant Road in Smithtown. A third travel lane was added, and all lanes were narrowed, DOT officials said. The speed limit was reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph.
Each project also involved installing bus shelters, traffic and pedestrian crossing signals, and off-road, shared-use paths that included new landscaping and solar and LED lighting.
The projects are part of a larger state effort to improve safety and reduce travel delays on the nearly 15-mile route between the Northern State Parkway and Route 25A.
Construction is ongoing on a $39.2 million effort to renovate the road between Mount Pleasant Road and Terry Road in Smithtown, the news release said.
Veteran pin approved for firefighters
Nassau firefighters who have served in the U.S. military will soon wear a "veteran" pin on their dress uniforms, according to County Executive Edward Mangano and the Nassau County Fire Commission, which approved the allowance.
Mangano presented the first pin this month to Steve Grogan, a former captain in the Lynbrook fire department and a Vietnam veteran who led the effort over the past year to recognize Nassau volunteer firefighters who also served in the U.S. military.
"On behalf of the County of Nassau and the Nassau County Fire Commission, I am proud to present these veteran pins honoring the selfless dedication of those who served in the United States Armed Forces and continue to serve our residents through the fire service today," Mangano said at the service.
The veteran pin will stand alone on the right breast area of the uniform and above any name tag, depending on the particular department.
Town offers courses on natural world
Environmental enthusiasts wanting a crash course in nature can take advantage of Brookhaven's latest summer program.
The town has released its 2015 Summer Nature schedule, which includes classes on living off the land, what it takes to be a park ranger and the importance of trees.
Events will be split between the Marine Environmental Stewardship Center at Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai, and West Meadow Beach in East Setauket.
Brookhaven will sponsor "Living off the Land" Saturday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Cedar Beach and from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at West Meadow Beach.
Anyone interested in learning about the environmental tasks of park rangers can attend a program on Aug. 7 from 10 to 11 a.m. at West Meadow Beach.
Aug. 8's program is "The Giving Tree," where residents can discover how people depend on trees and how trees are used for cleaner air, food and medicine.
That program is from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at West Meadow Beach and 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Cedar Beach. In all, there are roughly 10 programs.
All programs are free, but registration is required.
For more information, call Ranger Molly Hastings at 631-751-6714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caution urged near mosquito spray
Suffolk County is planning ground spraying Saturday morning, weather permitting, in its ongoing effort to control adult mosquito populations, health officials said.
The youth area, main parking area, and the campground at Smith Point County Park, Shirley, are to be sprayed from 5 to 7 a.m. with the pesticide Anvil, officials said.
Some mosquitoes' bites can transmit West Nile virus to people.
The chances of experiencing health effects from the ground spraying are "quite low," health department officials said, but children and pregnant women should avoid exposure if possible by staying clear of the area during spraying and at least 30 minutes after.
Among the "common-sense steps" the department suggests are closing doors, windows and air-conditioning vents during spraying and 30 minutes after.
For details, call Suffolk's spraying information hotline at 631-852-4939 or visit nwsdy.li/sprayings.
Money available for accessibility projects
Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray announced Thursday that a program to help residents with special needs renovate their homes to meet their unique living requirements is still available.
At 11:30 a.m., Murray talked about the program while at 181 Grenada Ave., the home of the Johnson family, whose 7-year-old son, Kaden, has cerebral palsy and must be physically lifted up the steps to get into his home each day.
"As he has been growing, this has become increasingly difficult for the family," Murray said. "The Johnsons are taking advantage of the program offered by the town's Department of Planning and Economic Development to install a lift into the home and to make their bathroom accessible for their son."
The Home Improvement Program for the Physically Challenged is designed to assist homeowners who have a member of their household with a permanent disability and whose homes require handicapped accessibility. Funding is by way of a Federal Community Development Block Grant, and eligible residents can get up to $20,000 to make their homes accessible.
No payback is required.
The town's Planning and Economic Development Department determines eligibility, assists applicants with the required paperwork and inspects the property and makes suggestions for improvements. It also gives a complete construction write-up and estimate, assists in obtaining bids from approved contractors, inspects the work while in progress and certifies that the work has been completed properly before issuing final payment to the contractor.
For more information, call 516-538-7100.