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Community news roundup

State awards grants for energy studies

Brookhaven National Laboratory and a Stony Brook heat pump manufacturer have received state grants to develop new technologies that would improve energy efficiency.

The Upton laboratory received $100,000, and ThermoLift Inc. in Stony Brook is getting $483,000 from the state Energy Research and Development Authority’s Advanced Buildings Program.

The program awarded $4.8 million in awards this month to a dozen companies, agencies and colleges throughout the state, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Brookhaven lab is studying the feasibility of boosting the output of common baseboard heating systems through the use of fans or educator systems.

ThermoLift is developing a heat-pump, air-conditioning and water heater device that would replace heating and cooling systems in residential and commercial buildings. The design — which uses chemical energy stored in natural gas and thermal energy generated in and around buildings — is expected to reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent, the company said on its website.

“As we work to encourage innovation statewide, these public-private partnerships will help homeowners and businesses save money by reducing their energy footprint,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This investment will help grow the state’s clean energy economy and better protect the environment at the same time.”

City funds holiday light replacements

Long Beach will give $5,000 to a West End business association to replace West Beech Street holiday lights destroyed by superstorm Sandy.

The Historic West End Business Association is raising money to purchase new lights for the street, which is a main commercial thoroughfare in the neighborhood, city officials said.

The City Council unanimously approved a $5,000 matching grant for the association on Tuesday night.

The money will come from the City of Long Beach Relief Fund, established last year in response to “the outpouring of financial donations” received by the city after Sandy, officials said.

“The business district along West Beech Street has annually hung holiday lights in the late fall and winter and most of these lights were damaged or destroyed during superstorm Sandy,” said a resolution the City Council approved Tuesday.

Ground broken for fire training facility

Construction is set to begin on a half-million-dollar training facility for the Dix Hills Fire District station just south of the Long Island Expressway.

Yesterday ground was broken to begin building the facility at 590 Deer Park Ave. that will help volunteers hone their skills without leaving the district.

“We’ll use the facility for some live fire training, regulatory training, firefighter removal and survival training, rope drills, a maze confidence course,” fire Commissioner Larry Feld said. “Training to enhance the abilities of our firefighters.”

He added having a facility in the district allows training throughout the year instead of the few times the county facility in Yaphank is available.

The two-story, 27-foot-tall, 2,170-square-foot prefabricated building on a cement slab was proposed earlier this year. The building should be up by mid-January and ready for training by March.

Feld said the district has been setting aside money for the facility in its Capital Reserve Land and Building Fund for about 10 years, so there will be no increase in fire district taxes. He said the project has come in $3,000 under budget at $547,000.

New Town Hall bike lockers up for rent

Riding a bike to work can be a good idea, but not if you have no place to put it when you get there.

But one small answer to the problem might be found right next to Riverhead Town Hall. The State Department of Transportation has given the town four bicycle lockers — plastic containers big enough to hold not only a bicycle but also a helmet, tire pump and rain gear.

A big sticker on the side of two of the lockers next to Town Hall explains that they are part of the DOT’s Rideshare program, which encourages ride sharing and alternate methods of transportation. Its website is

The Riverhead Town Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to file the paperwork needed to accept gift of four bike lockers, and officials said more could eventually be put up by the railroad station, court complex and other locations where they might be in daily demand.

The lockers — which can be used only for bicycle storage — will be rented out on a first-come, first-served basis in the town clerk’s office. They will be free to town employees and $20 a year to everyone else. There will also be a refundable $10 key deposit.

So far, at least two town employees have expressed interest in renting them.

Sessions to examine rezoning proposal

Great Neck will hold two information and work sessions Monday on a proposal to rezone two main streets in the village.

The sessions will focus on a rezoning proposal for Middle Neck and Steamboat roads. Under the plan, mixed-use developments would increase along Middle Neck Road, and the types of residential uses would increase along Steamboat Road. The proposal would also aim to change “existing distressed and incompatible commercial properties” along Steamboat Road to “appropriately scaled residential uses.”

The sessions will be held at 5 and 8 p.m. at Village Hall, 61 Baker Hill Rd., in Great Neck.                                                                                                                                                 — JENNIFER BARRIOS

Small Business Saturday aims local

Amityville, Babylon and other Long Island villages will mark Nov. 30 as Small Business Saturday.

Many businesses will offer extended hours and discounts, said Amityville Chamber of Commerce president Joanne Goodman.

“By shopping locally, you are investing in our community and helping to foster a climate that is more likely to attract entrepreneurs and new investment,” Amityville Mayor James Wandell said in a statement.

The day was created by American Express as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to help small businesses cash in on holiday shopping.                                        — NICHOLAS SPANGLER

Judge to help call Brookhaven election
A State Supreme Court judge who blocked a planned referendum on a controversial Suffolk County merger proposal has been tapped to help determine the winner of an unresolved Brookhaven Town Council race.

Justice Carol MacKenzie is scheduled to hear arguments in Central Islip on Monday regarding disputed ballots in the 4th District race between Democratic incumbent Connie Kepert and Republican challenger Michael Loguercio Jr. Democrats have challenged 16 ballots and Republicans 32 ballots.

In unofficial results, Loguercio led Kepert by 94 votes, but Kepert pulled to within 11 votes when absentee ballots were counted. Republican-backed candidates won five of seven town board races on Nov. 5.

MacKenzie, 66, a Huntington Republican, often has stepped in to decide election disputes.

In September, she blocked a November referendum on County Executive Steve Bellone’s proposed merger of the comptroller’s and treasurer’s offices. In her ruling, MacKenzie said the law authorizing the vote “was not legally adopted” and therefore “null and void.”

In August, MacKenzie blocked Suffolk legislature candidate Anthony Gralto from running in the Working Families Party primary because he named the party incorrectly on nominating petitions. — CARL MACGOWAN

‘Trashion Show’ returns for round two

North Hempstead’s “Trashion Show” is having an encore.

The event last year had some students shimmying down a catwalk in outfits they made of recyclable materials, such as lampshades or newspaper clippings. The second show will take place at 7 p.m. on Jan. 16, at the “Yes We Can Community Center” in New Cassel.

Students from some school districts within the town can design and showcase clothing and accessories made entirely from recyclable material, or items that would have ended up in a landfill. Those school districts include: Carle Place, East Williston, Great Neck, Herricks, Manhasset, New Hyde Park/Garden City Park, Westbury, Port Washington and Sewanhaka. St. Mary’s Elementary School in Manhasset and the Notre Dame School in New Hyde Park are also included.

The town said the Trashion Show will be sponsored by Hirshleifers of Americana Manhasset. Pieces from the show are expected to be shown in March at the community center’s gallery, and the State Capitol in Albany.

Finished work must be sent to 802 West Shore Rd., in Port Washington, by Jan. 10.

Rules about the Trashion Show can be read at                 — SCOTT EIDLER

Ambulance company gets new director

Det. Sgt. Jack Thilberg, second in command on the Shelter Island police department, has been named by the town to succeed Joy Bausman as director of the town’s emergency medical services ambulance company.

The town purchased the entire ambulance service for $1 in 2012 from the American Red Cross after Red Cross officials said it no longer fit into their operating plans. While the town got about $1 million in equipment, it costs about $250,000 a year to run the EMS unit.

Bausman retired earlier this year, and the town board tapped Thilberg to head the volunteer service. Supervisor Jim Dougherty said the added position would not interfere with Thilberg’s duties in the police department.

“He’s very qualified. It should work well,” Dougherty said.

Thilberg joined the town police force in 1989 and now serves as its executive officer. A certified master diver, he is the department’s dive team leader and also the department’s training instructor.

Robert Delagi, director of emergency medical services for the Suffolk County health department, told Dougherty that he has worked with Thilbeg for 30 years, and that he was “well versed in all aspects of emergency care.”

Dougherty said his work with the EMS unit will be administrative, rather than having to respond to emergency calls, which might conflict with his work in the police department.

Philippines typhoon relief concert set

The Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor will hold a Philippines relief concert Sunday night, with all the proceeds going to assist victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which left thousands dead or missing and more than 4 million homeless.

The theater is donating its services, and all of the artists are performing for free. “We’re all volunteers,” said theater executive director Tracy Mitchell. “Once the word got out, people called to volunteer to perform.”

Suffolk Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) and Peconic Public Broadcasting radio host Bonnie Grice will host the concert, and the radio station will simulcast the concert live on 88.3 FM.

The doors to the 299-seat theater on Long Wharf open at 7 p.m., and there is a $25 suggested admission, although producer Gary Hygom says people should feel free to give more. All proceeds, including revenue from a raffle, will go to the Red Cross.


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