Port Washington School District programs aimed at preventing substance abuse and bullying have received $25,000 in state funding to support programs that the district’s Safety & Substance Abuse Task Force offers.
“Substance abuse and bullying are two of the most dangerous challenges students face in their teenage years,” State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), who secured the funding, said in a news release last week. “The Port Washington School District is taking an aggressive, proactive approach to teaching students about the dangers of drugs and bullying, and what steps they can take to protect themselves. This funding will support those efforts and help them keep our children safe.”
Kathleen Mooney, superintendent of the Port Washington School District, said that until four years ago, funding for the task force came from Title IV funds as part of the “No Child Left Behind” law, but now the task force relies on school district and outside funding.
With the new funding, “the Task Force can continue its mission of implementing comprehensive school and community approaches fostering a safe and drug-free learning environment,” Mooney said in the release.
— SCOTT EIDLER
Panel OKs $300M for Kansas biolab facility
A U.S. Senate subcommittee has approved $300 million in additional spending on a Kansas facility meant to replace the high-security livestock disease laboratory on Plum Island.
The Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations approved the funding for the construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas. That’s in addition to the $404 million previously slated for the project.
The new appropriation awaits votes in the full Senate and House of Representatives.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said in a statement that the appropriation, granted June 24, “solidifies congressional support for the construction of a modern, world-class facility in Manhattan, which will protect Americans against biological threats.”
The U.S. General Services Administration is seeking to sell Plum Island as the Department of Homeland Security prepares to move the lab to Kansas. The facility is expected to be completed by 2019.
Representatives from New York and Connecticut have opposed the sale of Plum Island, located a mile off Orient Point. Southold Town last year passed a strict zoning plan for the island meant to prevent intense development there.
U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) is a lead author of a letter, expected to be sent this week, asking the appropriations committees in each congressional chamber to repeal a provision requiring the government to sell Plum Island, a spokeswoman for Bishop said last week.
Bishop “is still looking at options” regarding the proposed funding for the Kansas facility, the spokeswoman said.
— WILL JAMES
Grants to aid food, family programs
The Long Island Council of Churches has received a $25,000 grant from the Long Island Community Foundation and a $20,000 grant from the WE CARE Advisory Board of the Nassau County Bar Association for its Emergency Food and Family Support Programs in Nassau County.
In addition, the council has received donations from 17 institutional donors ranging from $50 to $3,000.
The money will go toward buying food and other supplies for the three major food pantries run by council of churches in Freeport, Hempstead and Riverhead.
“We’re doing what we can to help people make ends meet,” said council executive director Thomas Goodhue. The organization focuses mainly on feeding people, but also tries to respond to other needs including medication and transportation, he said.
The council is also trying to assist senior citizens with special dietary needs such as low-salt and low-fat foods.
“There’s been a steadily growing of senior citizens,” he said. “We’re averaging about 50 seniors a months, so the need is quite enormous.”
About 2,000 people make use of the food pantries every month, Goodhue said, adding that the number has increased since the federal cut in food stamp program funding early this year.
“It's a constant challenge to keep up, but we’re keeping up,” he said.
— PRISCILA KORB
'Wildlife nannies' sought to rehab animals
A center that rehabilitates wildlife on the East End is seeking “wildlife nannies” to help feed an influx of young animals orphaned in the summer.
The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center is offering a training class on Sunday for prospective volunteers interested in feeding young birds, deer, opossum, squirrels and other species. The training runs from 10 a.m. until noon.
From March through September, the center houses an influx of young animals that need more intense care than older ones, said Cheryl Steinhauer, development director for the center.
“It’s baby season, the spring and summer,” Steinhauer said. “These babies come to us because they’re orphaned, because the parents or mother have been killed and there's nobody to take care of them.”
Volunteers must be 16 or older and able to work at the center at least three hours a week, according to a news release.
The center, a nonprofit located in Munn’s Pond County Park on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, rescues, rehabilitates and then releases injured or orphaned wild animals from both forks of eastern Long Island.
— WILL JAMES
Donate blood, earn 2 tickets to Mets game
Giving blood on Monday can earn seats for a New York Mets baseball game, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray announced.
“We are thrilled that people who choose to give the gift of life at this event will receive a very special gift themselves,” Murray said in a news release last week.
Hempstead is hosting the blood drive from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. at a New York Blood Center Busmobile in a parking lot between the West Hempstead Library at 500 Hempstead Ave. and the Venus Diner.
Those who donate will receive a voucher for a pair of Mets tickets donated by the blood center.
Donors must be between the ages of 16 and 75, and take a photo or signature ID to the blood drive, officials said. Donors who are 16 must have parental permission and those older than 75 need a doctor’s note approving the donation. Donors should weigh at least 110 pounds and have not gotten tattoos in the past 12 months. For questions concerning medical eligibility, call 800-688-0900.
— SID CASSESE
Village to replace old computer system
The Village of Lindenhurst is getting a new computer system for processing taxes and other operations at village hall.
The current tax package system is antiquated and has been in use for about 20 years, village clerk-treasurer Shawn Cullinane said.
“We’ve been looking to replace the system for some time,” he said.
One motivating push to get it done now is that the current vendor is no longer servicing or supporting the outdated software that the village is using, Cullinane said.
Village officials earlier this month approved paying KVS Information Systems, Inc. of upstate Williamsville $74,006.50 for licensing and services. Cullinane said the entire project will cost $150,000. The money will come out of a 2009 bond for village hall computers and communications as well as the general fund’s equipment and software purchasing budget.
Cullinane said the village chose KVS because it specializes in municipalities. He said officials wanted to act now, as the tax season was just completed, and hope to have the new system fully integrated by September.
— DENISE M. BONILLA
Child car seat safety inspections offered
The 2014 Child Car Seat Safety Inspection Program has been visiting communities across the Town of Hempstead to help residents inspect the installation of their car seats, free of charge.
“With warmer weather … parents will be driving their young children to and from many exciting activities,” making the summer a perfect time to ensure children are properly secured,” Town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement.
Residents can have their child safety seat inspected and, if necessary, technicians will make adjustments during the inspection program.
Inspections are offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are limited and must be made in advance by calling the town Department of Public Safety at 516-538-1900 ext. 7709. Appointments are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The following locations remain in the 2014 summer program:
July: Oceanside, Baldwin, Levittown and Roosevelt.
August: Lakeview, Salisbury, Bellmore and Valley Stream.
September: Island Park, Uniondale, West Hempstead and Wantagh.
Details about the dates and exact locations can be found by calling the public safety department or going to the town website at toh.li.
— SID CASSESE