Former Smithtown Town Attorney John Zollo has announced plans to screen as a candidate for the seat Suffolk County Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset) will vacate when Kennedy is sworn in as County Comptroller on Jan. 1.
Zollo, 55, of Smithtown, said Wednesday that he always wanted to run for public office and saw Kennedy's seat as a good opportunity to put his "hat in the ring."
Zollo is among eight candidates who have come forward as contenders for Kennedy's seat, Bill Ellis, chairman of the Smithtown Republican Committee, said Thursday.
Ellis said the other candidates include Kennedy's wife, Leslie Kennedy; Smithtown town planning board member and attorney Paul Damato; Smithtown attorney Vincent Trimarco Jr.; Smithtown Republican Committeeman Bill Marchesi; Kennedy's chief legislative aide Ali Nazir; Donna Crecca, wife of Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge Andrew A. Crecca; Robert Doyle, a retired Suffolk County police detective; and Vito Dagnello, president of the Suffolk County Correction Officers Association.
Ellis said the committee will screen the candidates on Dec. 6 and a special election will take place within 60 to 90 days of the vacancy. -- LAUREN R. HARRISON
Donate toys, treats for shelter animals
The Islip Animal Shelter on Dec. 13 will hold its annual holiday drive for donations of toys and treats for the shelter animals.
Each cage at the shelter, at 210 S. Denver Ave. in Bay Shore, will be decorated with holiday stockings. The public is invited to bring toys and treats to put in the stockings for the animals on Dec. 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shelter is also accepting donations of pet food, accessories such as collars and leashes, laundry detergent and dish soap, and pet beds. The shelter will not accept rawhide bones or treats.
The donation drive also includes raffles and merchandise for sale.
"On behalf of the entire Town Board, I encourage our residents to help bring some holiday cheer to our furry friends in need this year," Town Supervisor Tom Croci said in a news release. "Come down to our animal shelter and donate a toy or treat."
Last year, the shelter gathered more than 200 gallons of donated toys and treats in more than 90 holiday stockings. It also received more than 300 pounds of dry food and 20 gallons of canned food, many Milkbone boxes, and roughly 10 gallons of collars and leashes.
For more information, contact the town at 631-224-5485 or go to the shelter's page at facebook.com/islipanimals. -- SOPHIA CHANG
Volunteers needed to plant dune grass
Long Beach will host a dune grass planting event Saturday and Sunday to improve flood control and to prevent beach erosion.
Residents are being asked to volunteer to plant grass along the beach during the Saturday morning on the West End and Sunday on the East End.
Volunteers should bring work gloves and dress appropriately to plant on the beach. They will be working with city crews.
Planting is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon on both days. The West End meeting spot is at the end of Virginia Avenue. The East End meeting point is at the end of Roosevelt Boulevard.
Volunteers can sign at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- JOHN ASBURY
Convert used kitchen grease into biofuel
The Great Neck Water Pollution Control District is seeking used cooking oil left over from Thanksgiving meals to be converted into biofuel.
Residents can arrange to have the grease and oil picked up on Nov. 28 between 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Officials from the district say that grease and oils can be found in marinades, meat fats as well as cooking oils.
They advise residents and business owners to collect the excess grease and oil and place it in a sealable container. District staff will empty those containers and deep fryers.
For more information, call the district at 516-482-0238 or go to gnwpcd.net.
-- SCOTT EIDLER
3-year NY parks pass selling online Dec. 1
New York State has a Cyber Monday deal for hikers and parks lovers.
The three-year Empire Passport -- the all-access pass to New York's 180 state parks, nature centers, boat launch sites and arboretums, as well as 35 historic sites -- will be available through an online special for $130 on Dec. 1. The three-year pass normally costs $165.
Long Island state parks such as Bethpage State Park, Captree State Park and Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve are part of the Empire Passport program.
"New York's outdoors is the four-season destination of choice for adventure and fun, and a multiyear Empire Passport makes it that much easier for family and friends to explore the parks," state Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said Thursday in a news release. "With our Cyber Monday special purchase, it's like buying two years and getting the third for free. Imagine all the hiking, boating, picnicking, biking, swimming and more that you can enjoy, while making memories that will last a lifetime."
The passport is valid through March 31, 2018. The 55 forest preserve sites operated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation are also part of the program.
For more information, go to http://bit.ly/1vua1r2. -- SOPHIA CHANG
Tax raised about $1B for open spaces
Long Island's East End towns are set to generate a record-breaking amount of money through a 2014 special tax that funds open space preservation, Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. said Thursday.
East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island raised a combined $82.4 million in the first 10 months of the year, representing a 9 percent increase over the same period last year, Thiele said in a news release.
If the pace continues, the towns could generate $98 million this year, which would be the highest annual total in the history of the program, Thiele said.
The Community Preservation Funds in each town are tapped by officials to purchase and maintain open space. They are funded through a 2 percent tax on most real estate transfers on the East End.
The program has raised nearly $1 billion and preserved more than 10,000 acres of farms, wetlands, fields and forests since its inception in 1998.
"This reflects the continued strength and stability in East End real estate and the continued availability to local towns of the necessary revenues to protect community character," Thiele said.
Riverhead saw the largest increase so far in 2014, with its revenue rising 35 percent to $2.9 million. Southampton and East Hampton continue to raise far more than the other towns, a combined $73.2 million so far this year.
-- WILL JAMES
Boys & Girls Club's free Thanksgiving
The Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club at Lincoln House has provided services for underprivileged families for more than a century and is again hosting a free Thanksgiving meal.
Andrea Correale, president and founder of Elegant Affairs Caterers in Glen Cove, will cook her annual feast on Nov. 25, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
This will be the 14th year that Correale has donated the dinner, which in the past has served more than 250 adults and children. The Thanksgiving meal is followed by an ice cream bar, according to a news release about the event.
The club is located at 113 Glen Cove Ave. The dinner is open to the public.
Anyone who would like to volunteer can call 516-671-8030, ext. 105.
-- MACKENZIE RIGG