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Handicap access sought for Selden dog park

The new Selden dog park, in a beautiful fenced setting, welcomes canines large and small. If only it were as welcoming to humans with disabilities.

The Brookhaven Town park, which opened in the summer, "is not handicap accessible," Judy Gerardo told us. "It's really terrible that handicapped people can't have access to a dog park."

The biggest obstacle, Gerardo said, is the gravel parking lot. Maneuvering wheels over such a surface is a challenge, one made tougher by the valleys left in the wake of car tires.

"It's impossible to push a walker or wheelchair through it," said Gerardo, who lives in Lake Grove and takes her German shepherd, Hans, to the park. On the day we visited, she pushed her walker across the gravel, a task made more difficult because the wheels wouldn't spin on the surface. Though the gated park entry has a ramp, the gravel-covered approach made access difficult.

Brookhaven Town is aware of the situation, town spokesman Jack Krieger said. "The Town is currently in the midst of a project that will improve handicap access for this park, which is expected to be completed in the near future," he wrote in an email.

Gerardo said one improvement -- new benches -- arrived in late October. She and other park users had already contributed several vinyl chairs.

Now she's counting on the town to make sure that scheduled improvements include one more thing: Parking spaces designated for people with disabilities.

A section of a Plainview neighborhood remained in the dark as Halloween approached, which didn't bode well for the holiday.

"The streetlights have been off more than a month," resident Diego Pelaez said when he first called us. "I have called the Town of Oyster Bay, the public lighting section. But they haven't fixed the problem, and I'm very concerned because Halloween is coming. It's pitch dark in this street, so it could be dangerous for the children."

The two light fixtures are on consecutive corners of Hope Drive, which left a substantial stretch of the street in darkness.

When Halloween week arrived, we asked the town for a status report on the outages. Town spokeswoman Marta Kane told us the lights were due to be repaired in time for the holiday. One streetlight needed only a new bulb, Kane said, but repairs to the second required new wiring.

With one day to go, Pelaez reported that a town crew had arrived and repairs were underway. The lights, on the corners of Hope Drive at Melody Avenue and Lillian Lane, shone bright as trick or treaters made their way down the street.

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