Bulkhead permit process expedited
The state Department of Environmental Protection plans to speed up the permit process for landowners wanting to replace their legal bulkheads along portions of the South Shore.
The proposed general permit would allow homeowners to remove and replace bulkheads with barriers that are as much as 18 inches taller than the original structure, as well as conduct needed maintenance dredging.
The permit would be allowed on properties along Long Island’s South Shore stretching from the Robert Moses Causeway west to the Queens border. Alterations would not be allowed in vegetated tidal wetlands, along ocean shorelines, including Long Beach Island, all of Jones Beach State Park and Robert Moses State Park barrier islands, state officials said in a news release.
“In the wake of superstorm Sandy, DEC issued an emergency permit for bulkhead repair to expedite storm recovery efforts,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “The new permit will continue streamlined permitting for Long Island residents while maintaining protections for the environment.”
Applicants would have to file a request for authorization that includes details of the intended work, photographs, the location and permission for property to be inspected. It would not require site visits before the work, thereby speeding up the permit process.
The state can order removal or alterations made to any work that could cause an obstruction to boating, a danger to natural resources or public health, according to the draft permit.
Comments on the permit change will be accepted until Jan. 31 and should be sent to Stuart Fox, NYS DEC Division of Environmental Permits at 625 Broadway, fourth floor, Albany, NY 12233. -- EMILY C. DOOLEY
Fresh Air Fund seeks host families
The Fresh Air Fund, a New York City-based nonprofit organization, is searching Long Island for volunteer families to host inner city children this summer in their homes.
Volunteers will be assigned a child for one or more weeks, providing children with an opportunity to experience environments unavailable to city inhabitants.
The program annually transports 9,000 city children, ages 6 to 18, from low-income households to Friendly Towns across the United States. Last year, Nassau and Suffolk counties hosted 95 of these children, which Long Island volunteer leader Martha Mintzer said needs improving.
“We have a long way to go on Long Island,” Mintzer said.
Her successful promotion of the Fresh Air Fund in the county of Fairfield, Conn., prompted her to tackle New York. Since October, she has distributed fliers and published news releases to recruit host families. Without volunteers, she said, programs such as the Fresh Air Fund have the capacity to “fall apart.”
“People are busy and don’t want to take on more responsibility,” she said.
Host families are not paid, but participants such as Lisa Haimes of Old Bethpage find a child’s smile more satisfying than money. Haimes’ family plans to host 10-year-old Abraham of the Bronx for the second time this summer.
“He’s surrounded by drugs and gangs and violence,” said Haimes, a mother of two. “When he is presented with a tough choice and he thinks about us, we want to him to remember he is not limited to his environment.”
The 137-year-old organization was created in 1877 when the Rev. William Parsons asked members of his parish in Sherman, Pa., to invite children from New York City tenements to their country homes for the summer. Fresh air was once considered a cure for a tuberculosis epidemic that affected children living in crowded conditions, according to the fund’s website.
Fresh Air Fund services are free to participating children. To get involved, call 212-897-8900 or go to freshair.org. -- SIOBHAN BARTON
Veterans counselor to visit communities
Town Supervisor Kate Murray announced that the town’s veterans services counselor, Rick Gales, will visit local communities in February and March to speak with veterans about important programs and services available to them.
Murray said the town is proud to help these men and women “get the assistance and benefits to which they are entitled.”
Gales, a Vietnam War veteran and past commander of the Nassau County Veterans of Foreign Wars, plans to visit each of the following locations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: on Feb. 20 he will be at Levittown Hall, 201 Levittown Pkwy., Hicksville; Feb. 24 at Echo Park, 399 Nassau Blvd., West Hempstead; and Feb. 27 at the Uniondale-Hempstead Senior Center, 840 Uniondale Ave., Uniondale; March 4 at the Bellmore Senior Center, 1810 Bellmore Ave.; March 6 at Salisbury Park Ballfields Community Room, Salisbury Park Drive, East Meadow; March 11 at the Cedarhurst Senior Center, Cedarhurst Village Hall, 200 Cedarhurst Ave.; March 13 at the Wantagh Senior Center, 1150 Seamans Neck Rd.; March 18 at the Elmont Memorial Library, 700 Hempstead Tpke.; March 20 at the Oceanside Library, 30 Davison Ave.; and March 25 at the Freeport Recreation Center, 130 E. Merrick Rd.
The Northport VA Medical Center Outreach Team may also be present to review eligibility and enroll members for health care. Veterans should bring a copy of their separation papers.
For veterans who cannot attend one of the above dates, Gales is also stationed other weekdays at the town’s Veterans Information Booth from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at Hempstead Town Hall, 1 Washington St., Hempstead. No appointment is necessary, but residents are urged to call 516-812-3506 in advance. -- SID CASSESE
School hosts forum on online safety
Brookside School in North Merrick plans to host a forum Wednesday about online safety and cyberbullying.
The event is designed to educate parents about “cyber safety,” organizers said in a statement.
The forum was organized by Nassau Legis. Dave Denenberg (R-Merrick), the Community Parent Center of Merrick and Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. Nassau police Officer Sharon Galvin will discuss how parents can protect their children’s online safety, organizers said in a statement.
Galvin “will discuss what parents should know about cyberbullying, sexting and social media,” the statement said. Registration is required and is available by calling Denenberg at 516-571-6219. The forum is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the school, 1260 Meadowbrook Rd., North Merrick. -- PATRICK WHITTLE
Workshops teach assessment appeals
North Hempstead officials plan to hold workshops to teach residents how to appeal property assessments set by the county.
The filing period began Jan. 2 and lasts through March 3. At the workshop, the town’s receiver of taxes, Charles Berman, is expected to review the property assessment grievance process.
The town asks that residents bring a Notice of Tentative Assessment for 2015- 16 that the county issued.
Remaining 2014 Property Assessment Grievance Workshops will be held:
* Monday, Jan. 27, 2-3 p.m. at the Great Neck Public Library, 159 Bayview Ave.
* Tuesday, Jan. 28, 7-8 p.m. at Hillside Public Library, 155 Lakeville Road, New Hyde Park.
* Thursday, Jan. 30, 1-3 p.m. at Bryant Library, 2 Paper Mill Rd., Roslyn.
* Thursday, Jan. 30, 7-8:30 p.m. at East Williston Public Library, 2 Prospect St.
* Thursday, Feb. 13, 7-8:30 p.m. at Westbury Memorial Public Library, 445 Jefferson St.
* Thursday, Feb. 27, 7-8:30 p.m. presented by the Williston Park Public Library in the Assembly Room of Village Hall, third floor, 494 Willis Ave. -- SCOTT EIDLER
Shellfish harvesting OK’d through April 15
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and the town of Southold announced plans yesterday to allow shellfish harvesting from Mattituck Creek through April 15.
During the next three months, harvesters will be able to take shellfish from uncertified land in Mattituck Creek daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
However, shellfish harvesting will be restricted in areas outlined by orange markers.
Harvesting will not be allowed if more than three inches of rain are recorded within a 24-hour period or if the water is in poor condition.
Questions about the status of the area can be asked of the Town of Southold at 631-765-3912 and general questions about the program can be addressed at 631-765-1892. -- PRISCILA KORB