The East End’s land preservation funds continue to rake in money this year as a result of strong real estate sales.
The community preservation funds in the five eastern towns raised a combined $45.76 million in the first six months of 2014 -- about $2 million more than in the same period last year -- Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. said.
Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), who helped create the funds, said the numbers show “the continued strength and stability in East End real estate and continued availability to local towns of the necessary revenues to protect community character.”
The funds draw revenue from a 2 percent tax on most real estate transactions in East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island. The towns use the money to preserve and maintain open space, farmland and historic structures.
Riverhead saw a 69 percent increase in preservation fund revenue in the first half of this year over the same period last year. Southold saw a 31 percent increase.
Southampton and East Hampton continued to generate the bulk of the revenue -- a combined $41 million.
The funds have raised nearly $1 billion combined since their inception in 1999. They are generating more money this year with fewer transactions, indicating rising property values. — WILL JAMES
Fire District gets $170G federal grant
The Garden City Park Fire District has received a $170,000 Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program award to purchase equipment.
Additional funds of $1,000 from the federal grant are also available to help train firefighters up to the National Firefighter Protection Association standard. The money will be used to pay for NFPA textbooks and exam fees for the national Firefighter 1 Exam, a test not typically taken by most Nassau firefighters.
Equipment to be purchased includes 74 complete sets of personal protective equipment which include boots, gloves, helmets, pants, coats, hoods and traffic safety vests. The sets usually cost about $3,000 each.
“Pursuing federal grants improves firefighter safety, enhances services to the community, meets national standards and keeps local taxes down by returning federal funds to New York,” said Tom Devaney, director of operations for JSK, the state’s largest fire grant consulting firm. — LISA IRIZARRY
Land parcel to be turned into park
Babylon Village may soon get a new park. Trustees voted Tuesday night to take over a small open area at the end of Araca Road now owned by Suffolk County.
“We’ll make it a passive recreation area,” Mayor Ralph Scordino said. “You can go down, look at the bay, walk your dog.”
The area has about 150 feet of waterfront and extends about 50 feet back. The village will get the property for free, but the Suffolk County Legislature must first approve the transfer. Village officials said they expected that to happen soon.
— NICHOLAS SPANGLER
Nonprofit gets $50G grant to feed needy
The Long Island Council of Churches has received a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to buy food for its hungry guests in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
“We’re extremely grateful for ... the Foundation’s support that allows us to provide seldom-donated food items for ... [those] with special nutritional needs such as low-salt, low-fat and dietetic foods and supplemental drinks,” said the Rev. Tom Goodhue, the LICC’s executive director. “The grant also allows us to buy seldom-donated baby items such as infant formula, baby food, wipes, diapers and more.”
Goodhue added, “Despite all the support we receive locally ... we need monetary donations to make up the huge gap between these in-kind donations and the needs of the more than 23,000 hungry Long Islanders we feed each year. The Walmart Foundation’s generous grant enables us to accomplish that.”
Freeport Emergency Food Center manager Wally Merna said: “More and more people are coming to us because their ... benefits have been cut. They used to come once a month, and now they’re coming more often.
“Believe it or not, we’re still helping people whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. They’re still living with relatives or friends because they haven’t been able to get back into their homes.”
The LICC, the region’s largest ecumenical and interfaith organization, is a faith-based, nonprofit emergency food and social service agency based in Hempstead. For more information, call 516-868-4989 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— SID CASSESE
Fireworks show will now be on Labor Day
There will be a fireworks show in Brookhaven Town, after all.
The town’s annual summer fireworks display -- postponed on July Fourth due to rain and high winds caused by Hurricane Arthur -- will be held Labor Day weekend at the Pennysaver Amphitheater on Bald Hill in Farmingville.
The Aug. 30 show is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. with concerts by Billy Joel tribute band Captain Jack and classic hits band Uncovered. Admission will be free.
Gates will open at 6 p.m., and the fireworks show is set to begin at 9:30 p.m., according to a news release announcing the event. The rain date is Aug. 31.
The pyrotechnics display will be produced by Bellport-based Fireworks by Grucci. Music for the show will be simulcast on LI News Radio/103.9 FM.
LI News Radio owner JVC Broadcasting is affiliated with Long Island Events, which operates the amphitheater for Brookhaven Town.
For more information, visit www.pennysaveramp.com. — CARL MACGOWAN
Town clerk issues reminder on permits
The Town of Islip wants to remind residents that many of summer’s outdoor activities require a number of state and town licenses and permits, including fishing and clamming.
The town clerk’s office at Town Hall, 655 Main St. in Islip, is open and ready to issue state and town permits and licenses.
Each license and permit has a separate application with minimal fees for most. Residents should bring their driver’s licenses.
“It is imperative, especially during the busy summer season, that everyone follows Town regulations and obtains their licenses and permits in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable time for all residents,” said Town Clerk Olga Murray in a release.
For more details, call the Town Clerk’s office at 631-224-5490. The office is open on Monday and Wednesday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. — SOPHIA CHANG
Help dealing with foreclosure available
Homeowners facing foreclosure can seek assistance at several informational sessions next month in Westbury and Hicksville.
State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) and the state Department of Financial Services announced the department’s “Mobile Foreclosure Relief Center” will visit the Westbury Library, at 445 Jefferson St., on Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Aug. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., officials plan to visit the Hicksville Library, at 169 Jerusalem Ave.
Officials from the department plan to speak with homeowners about their circumstances and can discuss the loan modification process. Homeowners who contend they are the victims of predatory loan practices can address complaints with staff members at the event.
Homeowners are asked to bring copies of their mortgage documents, loan payment records and letters from their mortgage servicers or lenders.
The program is available to the public. — SCOTT EIDLER
Town offers to recycle electronics
Supervisor Kate Murray recently announced the Town of Hempstead’s next E-Cycle program for Aug. 2 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Town Parking Field L2 on Division Avenue, just north of Hempstead Turnpike.
“If you [town residents] have any old computers, televisions or other electronic devices ... to dispose of, I urge you to participate in our e-cycling program,” Murray said in a news release Wednesday. “Let's work together to help save our planet.”
At E-Cycling Collection events, residents can also dispose of most household electronic equipment and, in partnership with Covanta Energy, unused and expired medications. In addition, residents can bring paper records for shredding as they wait and watch.
No businesses or commercial vehicles are permitted. For more information about E-Cycle, call 516-378-4210, or visit www.toh.li. — SID CASSESE
Awareness Day events set for Sept. 6
The 5th Annual Huntington Awareness Day Parade steps off Sept. 6.
The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. with a march down New York Avenue in Huntington Station from West Hills Road to the pedestrian plaza at Olive Street.
A fair will be held in the municipal parking lot on New York Avenue, between Railroad and Church streets. The fair will remain open until 5 p.m.
Grand marshals will be Chris Algieri, WBO light welterweight champion; Korean War veteran Anthony Mastrioanni, a former Huntington Republican chairman and Suffolk County public administrator; and Thomas Jerideau, former chair of the town’s Mass Transit Citizen’s Advisory Council, member of the Huntington African American Task Force, the Huntington Station Revitalization Task Force and, for the past 21 years, a member and chair of the Town’s Board of Assessment Review.
The fair will include performances by local artists and booths offering crafts and services.
Donations sought for Adopt A Bike
The town’s Adopt a Bike program is looking for bicycle donations, as well as aspiring cyclists who need a fresh set of wheels.
The program takes in donations of unwanted bikes in good condition, and employees at the town’s Multipurpose Recycling Facility tune them up and adopt them out.
The program started four years ago, when town staffers noticed that bikes dropped off at the recycling facility for disposal instead caught the attention of people who needed them.
The bikes, of various sizes, are free to town residents at the facility at 1155 Lincoln Ave. in Holbrook, which is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
The town’s Department of Environmental Control has also been promoting the program at different town events such as Earth Day to encourage residents to donate their unwanted bikes.
DEC Commissioner Eric Hofmeister said in a statement, “The Town is always exploring new and innovative ways to recycle, reuse and repurpose. This particular program gives bikes a second life and help someone in need.”
For more information, call 631-595-3630 or visit www.townofislip-ny.gov.
— SOPHIA CHANG
COLD SPRING HARBOR
Pianist to play in concert series
The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory plans to continue its Cultural Concert Series on Aug. 15. The featured musician is pianist Charlie Albright.
The concert is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. at the Grace Auditorium, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1 Bungtown Rd.
There are four more concerts scheduled for the series that runs through October.
“These are musicians that play Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other places throughout the world,” said Jessa Giordano, a lab event organizer. “This is an opportunity to see some great classical musicians play in an intimate environment locally.”
Tickets cannot be purchased over the phone, but seats can be reserved at 516-367-8455.
Tickets will be sold at the door in Grace Auditorium for $20.
— DEBORAH S. MORRIS