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Lindenhurst street cleaning takes on drug, alcohol litter

The Village of Lindenhurst sign in 2011.

The Village of Lindenhurst sign in 2011. Credit: Alexi Knock

A recently formed community group in Lindenhurst Village is organizing a street cleaning Sunday that focuses on getting rid of litter related to alcohol and drug use, such as beer bottles and hypodermic needles.

The Lindenhurst Community Cares Coalition, which Lindenhurst moms Judith Raimondi, 45, and Tiffany Salvi, 34, formed in the spring, is hosting the Clean Sweep event and hopes to attract some 50 volunteers and a couple of local Girl Scout troops.

"It's really important for everyone to work together to solve our problems," Raimondi said. "We need to start actively participating instead of just pointing fingers."

Raimondi said she was motivated to start the group, which promotes substance abuse awareness and education, after learning that a childhood friend of her high-school-age daughter had become addicted to heroin. The coalition's monthly meetings have grown from having 30 people in attendance to more than 100 people, according to Raimondi.

Lindenhurst Mayor Thomas Brennan said he supports the cleanup but doubts "they will find what they think they're going to find," noting that if needles were scattered on the streets, village workers would have notified police.

Peggy Kennedy, who works for the nonprofit Suffolk County Prevention Resource Center in South Oaks Hospital in Amityville disagrees, saying that Babylon Town is "littered with drug paraphernalia." According to county and law enforcement statistics, heroin-related overdose deaths rose to a record high of 83 in the county last year and the number of heroin-related arrests increased to 1,266. In the First Precinct, which includes Lindenhurst, arrests for criminal possession of controlled substances have steadily increased over the past four years while drug-related deaths nearly doubled from 5 to 9 from 2011 to 2012.

Kennedy helped advise the Lindenhurst group and said there are 26 similar coalitions in the county.A communitywide event such as the cleanup, "is visible," she said, and shows the group "means business and it's not just talk."

The cleanup starts at 11 a.m. at the village gazebo, North Wellwood Avenue near East Hoffman Avenue. Volunteers are asked to register on the coalition's website, www.lindycares.org.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the meeting location.

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