SUFFOLK/Dredging project nearer for Forge River

After years of looking at ways to deal with the pollution problems of the Forge River and the creeks that feed it, Suffolk officials are anticipating a four-year, $4-million dredging project.

They say the project, scheduled to start late next year, will improve navigation on the river and the tributaries in Old Mastic, Moriches and Center Moriches.

And, in another month, Brookhaven and the New York State Pine Barrens Commission expect to complete their plans to deal with similar problems on the Carmans River to the west, which flows out of Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley.

"The call for dredging is five years old. So, its nothing new, but it is needed," said Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society. "The government is trying to protect the Carmans River nearby, and the least it can do is try and restore the Forge River, which has been badly compromised."

The dredging work on the Forge will combine 10 separate projects, according to Dan Aug, a spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.


SOUTHAMPTON/Health insurance offered to service volunteers

Active volunteer firefighters and ambulance crews in Southampton can now get health insurance through the state's New York Health Insurance Program, although they must pay the full premium.

Town officials, who administer the health program, expanded it to include those volunteers under a provision of state law that allows, but does not require, municipal health benefits to go to first responders.

The Town Board unanimously voted to extend the benefit at its last meeting. Information on the program is being offered by the town's human resources department in Town Hall.


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