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Riverhead downtown sidewalk improvements, teacher honored

Starting April 7, 2014, four miles of sidewalks

Starting April 7, 2014, four miles of sidewalks in downtown Riverhead are to be installed or in some places reconstructed, as well as enhanced with ramps and other requirements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Credit: Brittany Wait


$2.1M to improve downtown sidewalks

Starting today, four miles of sidewalks in downtown Riverhead are to be installed or in some places reconstructed, as well as enhanced with ramps and other requirements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the state Department of Transportation said Friday.

The $2.1 million project is focused on upgrading Main Street’s deteriorated sidewalks and constructing new ones in gaps between Griffing and Union avenues and between River Road and Center Street, DOT officials said.

Depending on weather, construction is slated to begin on the north side of Main Street, proceeding east to west, and is not expected to disrupt access to business, DOT officials said. At some stages of work, parking may be prohibited.

Also in the works are new benches, trash receptacles and bicycle racks, with the Town of Riverhead providing new lighting, the DOT said.

Work is expected to be done by late fall, weather permitting, a spokeswoman said. — PATRICIA KITCHEN


Ex-teacher Keefe honored by NYSUT

David Keefe, a former eighth-grade social studies teacher who has devoted much of his retirement time to union activities, was honored Friday evening in Manhattan as New York State United Teachers Retiree Member of the Year.

That’s in conjunction with the state teachers union’s 42nd annual Representative Assembly, which kicked off Friday night and ran through last night at the midtown New York Hilton hotel. About 3,000 delegates, guests and staff attended.

Following his 2004 retirement after a 37-year teaching career in Hempstead Public Schools, Keefe, 73, of Mineola, was elected to the board of trustees of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, for which he also serves as vice president.

For more than 20 years he was president of the Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association, assuming leadership positions for the retiree association for Hempstead educators after his own retirement. 

Keefe’s work “is an extension of his lifelong commitment to serving union members,” said Kathleen Donahue, vice president of the state teachers union.

“I never retired,” said Keefe a few hours before the ceremony. “I’m out of the classroom, but I never retired.” — PATRICIA KITCHEN


First forum on opioid addiction scheduled

A forum on heroin and other opioid addictions is scheduled for Tuesday in Brentwood.

The Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction forum is to be held at Suffolk County Community College.

The forum is the first of 12 events being held throughout the state to gather input on the rise in opioid use, in order to develop recommendations for legislation aimed at preventing and treating addiction, as well as tackling issues such as drug-related crimes.

In addition to task-force members and local officials, the forum will feature experts in education, law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse, along with individuals who have been directly affected by opioid abuse.

The forum is sponsored by state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), chairman of the bipartisan task force and of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
According to police, there have been more than 200 heroin deaths on Long Island in the past two years, a record for the region.

“Every day we hear of one tragedy after another,” Boyle said in a statement. “It is now time that we galvanize as a unified state to combat heroin and opioid addiction ... We want to hear from parents, teachers, students, doctors, coaches and advocates of every shape and size to get to the core of this heroin epidemic.”

The forum will be at the Van Nostrand Theater from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 631-665-2311. — DENISE M. BONILLA


Free senior ID cards are available today 

State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) partnering with Hempstead Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad and Supervisor Kate Murray in sponsoring a free Senior ID Card Program in Uniondale.

The program will be held April 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Uniondale Public Library, at 400 Uniondale Ave. All Town of Hempstead residents ages 60 and over are eligible receive a free senior ID card.

The wallet-size card includes a photo and the holder’s personal data, physician’s contact information, and emergency contact phone numbers, which could be useful to paramedics in a medical emergency. Allergies and other vital information can also be printed on the cards.

For more information, call Hannon’s office at 516-739-1700 or email — AISHA AL-MUSLIM


Drug, alcohol abuse focus of workshops

A three-night series of workshops will be held this week in Centerport to discuss drug and alcohol abuse on Long Island.

The event was organized by several area organizations and community-based groups, including the Life Center in Huntington, the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency, Seafield, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport and people directly affected by drug addiction. 

Life Center executive director Steve Pinto said the workshops will address different topics each night and the goal is to provide people with “lifesaving information.”
The three workshops are: “Family Education and Support,” “Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For” and “Community and Spiritual Healing.”

The first workshop will be Wednesday, 7-9 p.m., at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport. The next two will be on Thursday and Friday at the same time and location. They are free and open to the public.— MACKENZIE ISSLER



Town to honor 12 difference-makers

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and the town board have announced an awards ceremony at 7 p.m. on Tuesday to honor 12 residents for making a positive difference in their communities.

The annual ceremony will be at the Bennett Pavilion at Town Hall in Hempstead Village.

“These extraordinary honorees are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of \[their\] communities,” Murray said. “Their outstanding contributions make our township a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

Town officials said the honorees were selected from hundreds of nominees put forth by other residents. Town officials said names of honorees will be released Tuesday. — SID CASSESE


Heroin prevention session planned

Long Islanders can attend an information session on heroin and substance abuse prevention on Tuesday in Albertson.

The event, sponsored by state Sen. Jack Martins, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Shelter Rock Library, 165 Searingtown Rd.

A panel of experts -- school officials, law enforcement officers, and treatment providers — are to discuss ways to protect and treat those who are using heroin or suffering from substance abuse.

Residents can pose questions to the experts. Residents who would like to attend should call Martins’ office at 516-746-5924. — SCOTT EIDLER


Bike locker winners to be chosen today

Winners of Hempstead Town’s eight bicycle storage lockers will be picked at 11 a.m. Monday just north of the tracks at Pettit Avenue, between Centre and Bedford avenues.

Supervisor Kate Murray, accompanied by Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad and at least two town council members will pick the eight ping-pong balls with the winners’ names.

Employees from newly opened Merrick Bicycles, which is providing free gifts for all winners, will also be there.

The bike locker program is part of the town’s environmentally friendly agenda, encouraging “green” and carbon-free methods of transportation, Hempstead officials said. — SID CASSESE

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