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ISLANDWIDE / Coat drives successful

With coat drives continuing just two days before Christmas, many nonprofits are saying they think they'll have enough outerwear to keep Long Island's neediest warm in the frigid winter weather.

That comes as a relief to Cecilia Jackson, 22, of Lakeview, who brought her two daughters to Mid-Island Collision in Rockville Centre Wednesday for a toy and coat drive.

"Anything would be a blessing," said Jackson, who said she recently moved to Long Island and needed coats for her children.

Paule Pachter, executive director of the food bank Long Island Cares, said his group has received coats from local businesses such as Mid-Island Collision, where owner Bob Jesberger donated $20,000 of toys and coats to help the needy, and from the Burlington Coat Factory's annual drive.

"We literally have thousands of coats," Pachter said. "We just need to get volunteers to sort them."

The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless also has a good supply of coats, thanks to numerous drives that provide outerwear for them, said executive director Greta Guarton.

"We're still hoping to get more," she said. "The response from the community has been wonderful."

- JENNIFER BARRIOS


HUNTINGTON STATION / Gun program funding OKd

Suffolk lawmakers approved spending $455,000 to run a pilot of the ShotSpotter gunshot surveillance program in Huntington Station.

The program is one long advocated for by Legis. Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor) to combat violence around the troubled Jack Abrams School. Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy on Tuesday agreed to divert unspent 2010 funds from other county programs to fund ShotSpotter.

The program is supposed to allow police to determine the location from which gunshots are fired to within 10 feet and relay the data to patrol cars in real time. Cooper and Levy each said they anticipate ShotSpotter will help Suffolk police respond to gunfire to faster apprehend shooters and save potential victims.

- REID J. EPSTEIN


BETHPAGE / Counties save on services

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy Thursday are set to announce that the two counties have saved $107,000 by combining their purchasing operations to acquire paper for their respective governments.

The agreement, which the executives' press offices said will reduce Suffolk's paper costs by up to 11 percent and Nassau's by up to 23 percent, is the first completed by the Long Island Purchasing Council, a consortium of local governments that aims to lower prices by buying supplies in bulk.

Levy said he expects the paper purchase to be the first in a series of major joint purchases.

"It's nice to show that this has tremendous potential," Levy said. "These results will hopefully convince other municipalities to join in. It's an easy way to save money without cutting a job or a service."

- REID J. EPSTEIN

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