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Islip playground honors Madeleine Hsu, Sandy Hook victim

Madeleine F. Hsu, 6 was among the students

Madeleine F. Hsu, 6 was among the students killed when a gunman opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.


Park dedicated to Sandy Hook victim

An Islip Town park ravaged by superstorm Sandy gained a new playground built this past weekend as a memorial to Madeleine Hsu, 6, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.

Hundreds of volunteers worked since Friday morning at the West Islip Beach and Marina to ready the park for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place Sunday, town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia said.

The renovated park is part of the Sandy Ground Project's Where the Angels Play Foundation, a nonprofit where police officers, firefighters, teachers and others came together to build 26 playgrounds in parts of the tri-state area affected by superstorm Sandy. More than $200,000 in donations were used to complete the project, which included new sidewalks and curbs, refurbished bathrooms, a new playground and an array of landscaping.

Each park is dedicated to one of the 20 children and six educators who were killed on Dec. 14, 2012, in the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting and is built around their likes, including their favorite colors.

The Islip Town board unanimously approved the donated project at an April 22 board meeting. Islip Town Councilman Steve Flotteron became the liaison to the project after he was approached last year by a member of the foundation, Birbiglia said. — SARAH ARMAGHAN

State group honors town ZBA chairman

The chairman of Brookhaven Town’s zoning board of appeals has been honored by a statewide planning group.

Paul DeChance, of Miller Place, received the New York Planning Federation’s David Allee Award as the state’s outstanding ZBA chair at the nonprofit federation’s conference in Saratoga Springs in April.

The group’s newsletter said DeChance, a private practice attorney, was recognized “for his ability to somehow manage to treat his position as ZBA chair as another full-time job. He was commended for his ability to conduct meetings in a pleasant, even-tempered manner, even on the occasions when ZBA hearings prove contentious.”

DeChance joined the Brookhaven zoning board of appeals in 2003 and has led the panel for five years. Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said in a statement that DeChance “works tirelessly on behalf of the residents of Brookhaven to ensure that the ZBA makes reasoned, responsible land use decisions, and runs his department in an effective and efficient manner. This is an honor that is truly well deserved.” — CARL MACGOWAN

Clinic to offer free rabies vaccines

The Town of Babylon is hosting a free rabies vaccination clinic on Saturday.
The free rabies vaccines are sponsored by Last Hope, Inc. Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation in Wantagh. The town’s animal shelter will be offering $25 pet microchips at the clinic.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Babylon Town Animal Shelter, 51 Lamar St., West Babylon.

Town residents are encouraged to license their vaccinated dogs during the event. Costs are $5 for an license with proof of spay/neuter and $15 for a license for pets that have not be altered.

Cats must be in carriers and dogs must be leashed and social. Fees must be paid for in cash. For more information call 631-643-9270 or email — DENISE M. BONILLA

Meeting to focus on town developments

A conference centered on Long Island’s downtowns will be held Friday in Port Washington with development experts and government leaders.

The North Hempstead Business and Tourism Development Corp., a quasi-governmental agency, will hold the conference at the Harbor Links Clubhouse in Port Washington. The event runs from 8:15 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Lawrence Levy, dean of Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies, will moderate.

Vanessa Pugh, Deputy Commissioner of the Suffolk County Office of Economic Development, will address attendees, as will Kevin Law, president and chief executive of the Long Island Association.

Speakers will discuss a range of revitalization strategies, from streetscape improvements, to arts initiatives.

Anyone interested in attending can register at — SCOTT EIDLER

Town hots spots now featured on app

The Town of North Hempstead has announced a new feature for its mobile app that allows residents to find nearby entertainment spots.

A new feature powered by “Yelp,” a popular site that offers reviews and recommendations of restaurants and other services, will let residents locate nearby hot spots.

The feature, called “What’s Around Me?,” searches restaurants, retail and recreation spots, and other places surrounding the user’s location.

The “My North Hempstead” app is free and was introduced to residents earlier this year. It can be downloaded through iTunes and Google Play. It also lets residents alert the town’s 311 Call Center, access schedules for garbage and recycling collection, and book tee times at North Hempstead’s Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington. — SCOTT EIDLER

Shelters to provide free services for pets

The Hempstead Town Animal Shelter and Almost Home Rescue are teaming up to help pet owners with the cost of spaying and neutering through a new “Training Wheels” program Saturday.

The two shelters will hold a free spay and neuter clinic for pit bulls and pit bull mixes at the Roosevelt Avenue Pool, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The procedures will be performed by the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter’s veterinarian, with the assistance of vet technicians and volunteers.

The two shelters are also offering free microchipping and free vaccinations. Reservations are recommended but not required, town officials said.

“We encourage those residents to take advantage of” the program specifically for pit bulls and mixes, said Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray.

The event is the kickoff to the larger “Training Wheels” program, which aims to help pet owners with unexpected veterinary expenses and difficulties training their pets. Assistance will include sharing information and offering advice on training, and providing toys and food when necessary.

The Roosevelt Avenue Pool is located at 14 Hart Ave., Roosevelt. For more information or to make an appointment, call Almost Home Rescue at (631) 627-3665 or email

For more information about the town shelter, call (516) 785-5220 or visit — SID CASSESE

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