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Roundup: Grant to United Way funds youth program

The United Way of Long Island was recently granted $1.1 million in federal funding for a program aimed at helping at-risk youth earn degrees while building job skills.
The U.S. Department of Labor funding will aid the YouthBuild Long Island program, which helps local youth earn their high school equivalency diploma while also learning eco-friendly construction skills by building housing for the homeless.

“This federal funding will help the United Way of Long Island continue its great work by giving many young adults the opportunity earn their GED, accrue real construction-related job experience and make a better life for themselves,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who wrote a letter to Labor Department officials in June supporting the United Way’s application for funding.

Since 2009, 140 students have graduated from the local program, with one-third moving into construction jobs, one-third into other careers, and one-third pursuing higher education, Schumer said.

United Way of Long Island officials said they have branched out and also provided training in health industry and mechanical related careers, under the program.

YouthBuild is a national initiative sponsored by the Department of Labor that provides classroom instruction and occupational training to at-risk youth between 16 and 24. Participants typically have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, or have dropped out of high school. — LAURA FIGUEROA

Forte moving, resigns from planning board

Brookhaven Town Planning Board member M. Cecile Forte has resigned from her post and is relocating to Charlottesville, Virginia.

Forte, 68, of Port Jefferson said the October death of her husband after a five-year battle with cancer prompted the departure. “I’m packing and moving out, which is hair-raising to say the least,” Forte said.

Forte — who unsuccessfully ran against former Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko on the Republican ticket in 2011 and lost a bid for Brookhaven Town clerk in 2008 — was the senior member of the planning board, having served 12 years.
Planning board chairman Vincent Pascale made the announcement at Monday’s meeting before thanking Forte for being a hardworking and dedicated leader.

Forte said she’ll miss making planning decisions that impact Brookhaven.

“Just being able to serve the public and recognizing the needs of the community,” Forte said yesterday.

She said her newlywed son settled in Virginia in March.
For 30 years, she worked at Suffolk County Community College, rising to central dean for academic affairs, she said, adding it was there that she found her life’s purpose.

“Guiding young people in their academic and personal goals,” Forte said. “Interacting with them was the most rewarding part of my life. It made the difference between working a job and making a contribution.”

She had kind words for her fellow board members, who oversee all new Brookhaven development. “In most cases, we have done a good job,” she said. “I’m very proud of the work we’ve done.” — DEON J. HAMPTON

Village still bans smoking at business

The Village of Great Neck has extended a moratorium on issuing permits for businesses that allow smoking on the premises.

The village last year instituted an eight-month ban, which expired July 31. The extension lasts through Oct. 31.

Mayor Ralph Kreitzman has said the village must study the issue before deciding to propose a permanent ban.

The board vote on Tuesday night was unanimous, 5-0. — SCOTT EIDLER

Village rejects all bids for new village hall

Asharoken village officials have rejected the 11 bids it received for constructing its new village hall.

The board unanimously voted on Tuesday night to have Village Clerk Nancy Rittenhouse deny the bids and to reissue a new request for proposals, with more alternates so that village officials will have more choices and also potentially cheaper bids, officials said.

Asharoken is slated to receive federal funds to help replace its village hall, which flooded during superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and was left unusable.

The 11 bids were opened on July 25 and ranged from about $1.16 million to $1.96 million, village documents show.

Officials are looking to build the new hall on the same lot as the current building, but not on the same spot, which is prone to flooding.

The proposed design calls for a 3,000-square-foot building, about twice the size of the shuttered Village Hall. The village has about $500,000 toward the rebuilding project, from assigned village funds and donations.

Officials have been notified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that $593,172 has been approved for the project but Asharoken will only be eligible for 90 percent of the funds. — MACKENZIE ISSLER

Storm anxiety talk by hurricane survivor

A Hurricane Katrina survivor and author is to meet with Long Beach residents Wednesday to discuss storm and hurricane anxiety.

Anne Redelfs, a retired psychiatrist who specialized in post-traumatic stress disorder, is hosting a hurricane season anxiety group and giving a lecture about hurricane recovery at St. James of Jerusalem Episcopal Church, 290 W. Penn St. in Long Beach. The lecture is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Redelfs evacuated from New Orleans leading up to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and returned after the storm to study the city and how residents coped with PTSD. She later wrote a book, “The Awakening Storm.”

She will host a weekly anxiety group every Tuesday, beginning Aug. 26 through Oct. 28 at 7:15 p.m. at St. James church to offer emotional coping and stress tips.

Dwight Gooden talks addiction, recovery

Former New York Yankees and Mets pitcher Dwight “Doc” Gooden is expected to discuss his struggles with drug addiction on Saturday at Nassau County’s sixth annual Health, Fitness & Sports Expo at the Mitchel Field Athletic Complex in Uniondale.

Gooden, a four-time All Star who won three World Series titles with the Mets and Yankees, had a long and public battle with alcohol and cocaine dependency.

After retiring from baseball in 2001, he was arrested several times on drug and alcohol counts and on a misdemeanor battery charge for punching his then-girlfriend. He served more than six months in prison in 2006 after violating his probation by using cocaine.

Gooden, who lived in Roslyn for a time while playing for the Mets, is expected to discuss his drug issues and subsequent recovery at 11 a.m. He will also sign autographs and be available for photos.

Gooden and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announced the event yesterday at a news conference in Mineola. “The Health, Fitness and Sports Expo is the perfect, healthy alternative to video games, and a way to get outside to become active and learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle,” Mangano said.

The event will also include golf and soccer clinics, a yoga class and a Zumbathon. A seminar will be offered on administering Narcan, an overdose-preventing nasal spray, and attendees can get tests for their glucose and cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Attendees can also receive free school supplies and healthy food samples.

The Expo takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.


Townwide Fund gets new exec director

The Townwide Fund of Huntington has a new executive director, after the group’s former head moved out of state.

Huntington resident Trish Rongo started in her new position on July 7. Rongo replaced Mary Timmons, who served in the position for about four years, according to a statement and organization officials.

Rongo will be responsible for helping the organization continue its mission of supporting Huntington’s social service agencies and its decades-long tradition of ensuring that “Money Raised in Huntington Stays in Huntington,” the statement said.

She will oversee the operational side of the organization, as well assist board president Jim Powers in furthering the organization’s corporate relationships, partnerships with private and public companies, sponsorships and payroll deductions plans.

Rongo has held various executive positions in professional and volunteer capacities in Huntington organizations. She most recently served as marketing and development manager at the Whaling Museum and Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor.

“We are delighted to welcome Trish to the Townwide Fund as we continue on a journey of rejuvenation and enhanced corporate sponsorship, with the Fund’s growing role as a steward of the social services in the Town,” said Powers, in the statement. — MACKENZIE ISSLER

Village board holds rescheduled meeting

The Port Jefferson Village Board plans to meet tomorrow morning after postponing a meeting that had been scheduled for earlier this week.

The board will meet at 9:15 a.m. tomorrow at Village Hall, 121 W. Broadway.
The earlier meeting, originally scheduled for Monday night, had been postponed because several members had been out of town, Mayor Margot Garant said yesterday.

Garant said the board will vote on several “housekeeping issues,” such as tax warrants. An agenda was not available at press time yesterday.

The village is considering an update of its master plan, but that issue is not expected to be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting, Garant said.

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