Trains added for St. Patrick's Day
The Long Island Rail Road is adding 16 extra trains -- 10 eastbound, six westbound -- to accommodate thousands of expected additional customers traveling into and out of Manhattan for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade tomorrow.
The railroad announced it also will enforce a systemwide alcohol ban, in effect from 12:01 a.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday. That ban pertains to trains, platforms and stations, the railroad said.
Four of the additional eastbound trains will be on the Babylon branch, while three are on the Port Jefferson branch and one each on the Ronkonkoma, Port Washington and Far Rockaway branches. For the six additional westbound trains, three are on the Babylon branch, two on Port Jefferson and one on Ronkonkoma. _ JOHN VALENTI
Bidding extended for park cleanup
The bidding period for the contract to clean up an estimated 50,000 tons of contaminated debris from Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood was to end last Thursday but has been extended, town officials said.
The harsh winter has hindered potential contractors' views of the site because of snow, said Eric Hofmeister, Islip Town's deputy supervisor. The bidding is now set to close March 26.
"We feel that it's appropriate to give all of these bidders ample time to do the proper research and to digest all of the responses that we've given," Hofmeister said of the various questions that have been submitted to the town in writing by the prospective bidders. "We thought it would also be prudent to give them the opportunity to see what the fill looks like prior to bidding."
Hofmeister, while saying the town has gotten a "healthy number of bidders," declined to specify a figure. He said the town is not concerned about an extra two weeks tacked on to the already-behind-schedule timeline to clean up the park. Town officials once estimated the first truckloads of debris would be carted out of the park by the end of November.
"It should result in us getting better and more informed bids which, overall, is a good thing for all parties involved," Hofmeister said.
Bid specifications first went on sale Jan. 29 for a $125 nonrefundable fee. Those interested can pick up the papers upon payment from the Department of Engineering at 1 Manitton Ct. in Islip.
Clemente Park, owned by the Town of Islip, is one of four sites in and around the town identified by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota where contaminated fill was illegally dumped. Two former town parks officials -- former Commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr. and his former secretary, Brett A. Robinson -- were indicted Dec. 8 for their alleged roles in helping facilitate the dumping at the park. Four other men and four companies were also indicted on various charges stemming from Spota's probe.
Town officials have not been able to give timelines of how long it will be before work could begin, when it could finish or when the park could reopen. Clemente Park has been closed nearly a year, since April 23, 2014. - SARAH ARMAGHAN
Board approves plan on land program
The Brookhaven Town Board has unanimously approved a formal plan for land acquisition and management, despite concerns it may have been hastily prepared.
The nine-page plan, adopted Thursday after the board had discussed a draft three days earlier, outlines goals for the town's land program, potential funding sources, possible uses of properties and prescribed methods for evaluating potential land purchases.
Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the town had lacked a written plan, leading to confusion about the program.
"We have no policy in place, so this is a starting point," he said before the board adopted the plan. "It's better to have some policy than no policy. . . . This policy may be, for some people, not perfect, but at least it's a policy."
Councilman Kevin LaValle supported the plan, though he said it did not address plans for "water activities," such as kayaking. Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, echoing concerns of several residents who spoke at the meeting, said the plan should have been presented for a public discussion before the board voted.
"I think it's important to give people an opportunity to speak," said Cartright, who said she would organize community meetings to discuss the plan.
Romaine invited residents and town officials to suggest changes, which he said could be incorporated into the plan. - CARL MACGOWAN
PORT JEFFERSON STATION
Free training on drug overdose antidote
Suffolk County health officials plan to offer a free training seminar in Port Jefferson Station on the use of naloxone to treat drug overdose victims.
Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) said in a news release the training session would be held at 7 p.m. on March 31 at Comsewogue Public Library, 170 Terryville Rd.
Participants will learn to recognize an overdose and administer naloxone, an opioid antagonist also known as Narcan, Hahn said. She said she sponsored legislation in 2013 that led to the county Department of Health Services becoming a certified Narcan training center.
"It is important that nonmedical personnel get trained to administer Narcan because it is often the family and friends of a victim who are first on the scene when someone is overdosing," Hahn said in a statement. "I believe that there needs to be as many people as possible trained on what to do if they encounter such a horrific situation."
Participants must be more than 18 years old and must register in advance by calling Hahn's office, 631-854-1650. - CARL MACGOWAN
Museum to host housing seminar
The Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center is hosting a seminar on March 25 on affording a home on Long Island.
When young people find it hard to own a home and choose to live elsewhere, the pool of potential volunteer firefighters dwindles, officials said.
The free event will be held at 7 p.m. at the museum, 1 Davis Ave.
The presentation will be made by Thomas M. Sullivan, mortgage manager at Evolve Bank & Trust in Commack and graduate of LIU Post.
"I want to help my fellow Long Islanders -- especially the volunteer firefighters -- remain in the communities where they grew up," Sullivan said.
The discussion is to include information about first-time home buyer programs, an overview of traditional loan programs such as conventional, FHA, VA, and details on things to consider when deciding whether to buy a house, condo or co-op.
Seating capacity is limited to 50 people.
To attend, send an email to APetrocelli@NCFireMuseum.org or call 516-572-4177, ext. 4. If space is available, walk-ins will be admitted. - SID CASSESE
Service day to honor efforts by local youth
The Smithtown Youth Bureau and Youth Advisory Board plan to hold the 6th annual Global Youth Service Day on April 25, honoring dozens of local students for giving back to their communities.
The event allows individuals and groups younger than 21 to showcase their service learning projects, said Stacey Sanders, executive director of the youth bureau.
The worldwide service day, organized by Youth Service America, was created in 2000 after the group led service days across the country beginning in 1988.
Sanders said the event, which draws participation by millions internationally, recognizes the efforts of young people and their community service activities.
"There are 100 countries across six continents that participate in Global Youth Service Day," she said, and the Smithtown youth demonstrate that they are involved "in something bigger than themselves."
Past Smithtown student projects have included cleaning and beautifying areas around town, creating an anti-bullying website, hosting pet drives for the Smithtown Animal Shelter and volunteering at St. Johnland Nursing Center.
Applications can be downloaded at www.smithtownny.gov/youthbureau under the announcements tab. For more information, call 631-360-7595. - LAUREN R. HARRISON