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LI roundup: Superintendent to leave school district

The Tuckahoe School in Southampton. (Nov. 1, 2002)

The Tuckahoe School in Southampton. (Nov. 1, 2002) Photo Credit: Doug Kuntz

TUCKAHOE

Superintendent to leave school district

Tuckahoe Common School District Superintendent Chris Dyer announced Monday that he will be leaving the district to take a job with the Susquehanna Central Valley School District in upstate Conklin.

The Susquehanna school board approved Dyer's hiring at its Oct. 15 meeting. The district wants Dyer to start by Jan. 5; contract negotiations are underway.

Dyer will remain in Southampton until an interim superintendent can be selected by the Tuckahoe board of trustees, he said.

Dyer has been with the Tuckahoe district since August 2010 and oversaw the Tuckahoe School serving parts of Tuckahoe, the Art Village, Shinnecock Hills and Southampton Village, according to the district website.

He said he pursued the job in Conklin to be closer to his family in Pennsylvania, where he is from originally.

Tuckahoe and Southampton school district are attempting for the second time to merge operations. - JOHN ASBURY

BROOKHAVEN

LED lights to replace traffic signals' bulbs

Brookhaven has started installing LED lights in traffic signal devices to replace thousands of outdated incandescent bulbs, the town highway department announced.

More than 1,500 bulbs on 121 traffic signals have been replaced so far by the department's traffic safety division, and all town traffic lights will have new light emitting diode bulbs by the end of the year, Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro said in a news release.

LED bulbs reduce energy consumption by more than 80 percent and can last 25 times longer than conventional bulbs, the highway department said.

"The incandescent lightbulb has been in use, almost unchanged, for more than 135 years," Losquadro said in a statement. "This change in technology represents a milestone in infrastructure improvement."

Losquadro said cost savings vary among traffic signals, but the new bulbs are expected to pay for themselves in a year to 18 months. At some intersections, monthly costs have declined to $35 from about $200, he said. - CARL MACGOWAN

HUNTINGTON

Call to expand test program for rape kits

Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) said the FBI and National Institute of Justice should expand a program that tests rape kits to reduce the backlog of untested DNA samples nationwide.

The federal program launched in August allows law enforcement agencies to submit 30 untested kits, called sexual assault forensic evidence kits, at a time. Israel sent a letter to the FBI and institute directors Monday asking that the number of kits accepted be expanded. He also asked that they launch a pilot program to analyze other types of forensic evidence beyond biological testing.

Israel said at a news conference at Suffolk's Second Precinct that there are an estimated 400,000 rape kits around the county that have not been tested. He said each kit costs $1,000 to $1,500 to test.

He said the existing program is a start. "Thirty is good, but how many years will it take us to eliminate the backlog?" he said.

Suffolk County had no backlog of untested rape kits as of August, Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said yesterday. Nassau County police said the number of untested or backlogged DNA evidence was not available.

Natasha Alexenko, founder and spokeswoman of Natasha's Justice Project, spoke of her experiences after being raped at gunpoint in 1993 in New York City.

Alexenko, of Bay Shore, went through the rape kit exam, which she described as a "very invasive gynecological exam." The kit sat "collecting dust" for 91/2 years, she said at the news conference. "I felt like I was being re-victimized," she said.

Her assailant was caught when he was picked up for jaywalking in Las Vegas and his DNA matched what was in her rape kit. - DAVID M. SCHWARTZ

UNIONDALE

Domestic violence workshop at Hofstra

Hofstra University will host a domestic violence workshop Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Axinn Library.

The conference will focus on how communities, police and corporations respond to domestic violence.

A panel called "Survivors of Domestic Violence and their Memories" will include five women who will share their experiences as victims of domestic abuse.

Other panels will focus on domestic violence education, prevention and state and community response.

The seminars will be held at the 246 East Library Wing, on the library's second floor on the South Campus, 123 Hofstra University.

The seminars are free and open to the public. For information, call the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669. - JOHN ASBURY

GLEN COVE

Budget hearing stays open until Oct. 28

Glen Cove City officials have kept the public hearing on next year's proposed budget open until their Oct. 28 meeting.

About a half-dozen people spoke at the City Council budget hearing Oct. 14.

Mayor Reginald Spinello's proposed budget for next year would raise residential real estate taxes 1.17 percent -- a $38 increase for a home with an assessed value of $500,000.

Commercial taxes would decrease 0.84 percent -- an $80 reduction in taxes per $500,000 of assessed value.

Spinello has proposed a $72,441,567 budget for 2015, which represents about a 3.6 percent hike from this year's budget of $69,923,027.

The proposed budget includes a 1.64 percent tax levy increase, below the state's tax levy cap of 2.46 percent, Spinello said.

The public can comment on the proposed budget again at the Oct. 28 meeting. A final vote is scheduled for that night. - MACKENZIE RIGG

GARDEN CITY

Mental health talk at LI Ethical Humanist

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Queens/Nassau and the Dave Nee Foundation are hosting a discussion on mental health at the Long Island Ethical Humanist Society, 38 Old Country Rd., Garden City, Wednesday from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Young professionals and mental health experts will be on hand while those attending share their stories to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness in the nation, the organizations said in a news release.

The alliance is a grassroots organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, according to the release. For information, go to namiqn.org.

The Dave Nee Foundation, based at Fordham University in the Bronx, works to eliminate the social stigma associated with depression and suicidal thoughts so that vulnerable young adults will seek treatment, according to the release. It works within the legal sector with law students, bar associations and law firms to promote treatment. To learn more, go to daveneefoundation.org or lawlifeline.org. - SID CASSESE

SMITHTOWN

Disabilities institute now offers mini golf

The Developmental Disabilities Institute Monday unveiled a nine-hole mini golf course at its Meadow Glen campus in Smithtown.

The course will offer adults served by the institute the opportunity to develop social skills and improve self-esteem, officials said in a news release.

"Playing miniature golf provides many health benefits such as stress relief, light cardio exercise, fresh air, and the increased use of gross motor skills," Steve Gagas, the institute's recreation manager, said in the release.

The course was donated by the family of Ryan Finn, who attends the Meadow Glen day program.

Day programs assist adults served by DDI with education, personal skills development, recreation and job training services, officials said.

"With the generosity of the Finn family, we are able to provide this amazing course to the individuals we serve," said Brian Cabezas, the organization's director of Adult Day Services.

The institute is a nonprofit with more than 30 locations on Long Island. It is the largest provider of services for individuals with autism on Long Island and provides special educational, vocational, day and residential programs, as well as health care services for more than 5,000 children and adults with autism or other developmental disabilities. - SID CASSESE

SUFFOLK COUNTY

Community college student open house

The Suffolk County Community College system plans to hold an open house Nov. 2 for prospective or recently accepted students. The open house will be held at all three campuses from 1 to 3 p.m.

Interested students and their families can tour the facilities and meet with faculty, administrators and current students to discuss the college's more than 70 degree programs and 30 certificate programs. They can also learn about financial aid and scholarships. Veterans are encouraged to attend and learn more about special programs and services.

"Prospective Suffolk County Community College students and those accepted will discover that making a personal visit to a campus is critical to the college decision making process," Joanne Braxton, dean of enrollment management, said in a news release. "We look forward to having students and their families join us to learn about our academic programs and student support services."

The open house is free, but participants should confirm their attendance. To visit the Ammerman Campus in Selden, contact the Babylon Student Center at 631-451-4022. For the Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood, contact the Sagtikos Arts & Sciences Building at 631-851-6719. To tour the Eastern Campus in Riverhead, contact the Peconic Building at 631-548-2512. - SOPHIA CHANG

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