Merchant Marine school bill planned
Reps. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) plan to file legislation Monday that would ensure funding for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in the event of a government shutdown.
Bishop and Israel announced their proposal Thursday while visiting the Kings Point-based academy.
Both said the measure came in response to the government shutdown that lasted the first 16 days of October 2013 and forced the academy to close and send students home.
“Midshipmen, who are dedicated to serving our country, should not have their education interrupted by a government shutdown, which is no fault of their own,” Israel said.
Bishop, who serves on the academy’s Board of Visitors, said: “We send our best and brightest students to our service academies, including the Merchant Marine Academy, to train our future military leaders. We must ensure that nothing interrupts their education.”
Both lawmakers noted that during the last shutdown the country’s four service academies — the Military Academy, the Naval Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, and the Air Force Academy — stayed open because of the active-duty military on staff who kept working under the Pay Our Military Act. The Merchant Marine Academy is largely staffed by civilians and therefore had to shut its doors during the government shutdown.
James Forde, a 1988 graduate of the academy, said the U.S. Merchant Marine Alumni Association and Foundation supported the measure. “We fully support all efforts that enable the Academy to continue to produce the top United States Merchant Mariners in the world,” Forde said.
— LAURA FIGUEROA
More trains planned for Belmont Stakes
The Long Island Rail Road has vowed to run as many trains as necessary to get every customer home from the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
LIRR officials said Thursday that they will run trains every 15 minutes from 6:27 p.m. until about 10 p.m. westbound from Belmont Park to accommodate race fans attending the Stakes. That’s in addition to four scheduled trains operating from 4:16 p.m. until 5:51 p.m.
The railroad is also running 18 trains from Penn Station to Belmont on Saturday, beginning at 9:45 a.m.
At a Garden City news conference Thursday that included Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and New York Racing Association officials, LIRR president Patrick Nowakowski encouraged race fans to leave their cars at home.
“There’s really only one way to get there, because you don’t want to sit in traffic. And that’s the Long Island Rail Road,” said Nowakowski, who encouraged fans to avoid return-trip crowds by not rushing out of the park. “Make a day of it.”
NYRA officials are expecting up to 100,000 fans to attend the Belmont Stakes, which could deliver the first Triple Crown winner — in California Chrome — in 36 years.
— ALFONSO CASTILLO
Gay fellowship plans weekend celebration
A fellowship that ministers to the gay community and its allies has moved to West Babylon and is celebrating with a weekend of activities.
Long Island Community Fellowship is an independent, interdenominational congregation formed in 2002 to minister to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals and their allies. It had been located in Bay Shore. The new space will house offices, meeting rooms and a sanctuary.
“The goal of LICF is to strengthen the social fabric of Long Island through effective leadership, education and advocacy inspired by the belief of God’s love for all people,” the group said in a statement. “This move marks another step in the journey of faith for LICF.”
This weekend, the fellowship plans to hold a celebration, “The Continuing Legacy of LGBT People in Faith.” Events kick off at 7 p.m. Friday with a community prayer service. Tomorrow at 7 p.m. there will be a viewing of the film “Call Me Troy,” which profiles the life of the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, a worldwide ministry with outreach to the gay community.
On Sunday at 10 a.m., there will be a Founder’s Day service to honor the Rev. G. Shane Hibbs, founder of the group. After the service, there will be fellowship and a luncheon followed at 3 p.m. with a community dedication ceremony. The group is at 411A Lexington Ave.
— DENISE M. BONILLA
Flag Day winners to be honored
At noon Sunday, Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) plans to honor elementary school winners and honorable mentions of a contest held to commemorate Flag Day June 14.
The early Flag Day commemoration at Lynbrook’s Greis Park showcases the K-5 students’ take on honoring the American flag.
“It was a joy to learn how these youngsters feel about their American flag,” Curran said.
Besides Lynbrook, eight other public and parochial schools from Baldwin, East Rockaway, Malverne, Rockville Centre and Valley Stream had students in the contest.
There were 29 winners and 27 honorable mentions from more than 300 entries, which were judged by local veterans, said Curran’s chief of staff Leslie Rothschild.
— SID CASSESE
Tribute planned on Anne Frank’s 85th birthday
In commemoration of what would have been Anne Frank’s 85th birthday, Huntington Town Board member Susan A. Berland is hosting a celebration walk in the town’s Anne Frank Memorial Garden on Sunday. The event will also serve as a celebration of the garden’s fourth anniversary.
“We will pay tribute to Anne’s legacy of wisdom and genuine belief in the goodness of mankind and human nature, despite the ugliness of war and discrimination,” said Berland, who spearheaded the park’s creation. “May her words and her insight continue to teach and inspire for generations to come.”
Attendees will be invited to take a walk through the garden after a program that will include remarks by Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz of Temple Beth Torah and Mary Rosen, a child of a Holocaust survivor.
“One of the things I will be speaking about is her belief in social justice,” Moskowitz said. “Her belief that we need to get involved, that we still can make a difference and that it’s worth fighting for good.”
The program starts at noon at Arboretum Park on Wilmington Drive in Melville. Light refreshments will be served.
— DEBORAH S. MORRIS
Spring Festival planned on Sunday
The Huntington Historical Society is hosting its third annual Spring Festival of Gardens on Sunday. The day includes visiting six gardens throughout the town that have focused on such items as planters, vegetables and swimming pools.
The self-guided tour begins at noon and runs until 4 p.m. Light refreshments will be served at the Queen Anne Victorian home in Centerport that overlooks the harbor.
“We have an assortment of really interesting gardens, and the people who own them have worked on them in an amazing style,” said Pat Ernst, chairwoman of the festival. “It’s amazing to me what people will go through to make their visions come true.”
Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. On the day of the festival, tickets may be available for $35 at the Kissam House, 434 Park Ave. Tickets may be purchased at the society office at 209 Main St. For more information, call 631-427-7045.
Proceeds from the day will help maintain the society’s various properties.
— DEBORAH S. MORRIS
Weekend rally to oppose development
A rally to oppose The Seasons at Elwood — the 55-and-over development proposed for East Northport — will be held this weekend across from where it is to be built.
Preserving Elwood Now and the Greater Huntington Civic Group have organized the event to spread word about the 360-unit development slated for the Oaktree Dairy site and a June 17 public hearing. The subject of the hearing will be changing the zoning on the 36.87-acre parcel from 1-acre residence to retirement community district.
“It’s mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children that are saying, ‘Let’s talk about the pros and the cons of this,’” said Steven Spucces, president of the Greater Huntington Civic Group. “They’re honest taxpaying citizens who have spent the time to understand what a project of this density will do to the surrounding community.”
The rally will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Elwood Road between Hammon and Shelby roads opposite the Oaktree Dairy this weekend as well as June 14 and 15 at the same times.
“We want to awaken our fellow hamlets to let them understand that this could be in their backyard very shortly,” Spucces said.
— DEBORAH S. MORRIS
Nautical Mile fest ribbon cutting
Mayor Robert Kennedy and the board of village trustees have invited the public to a Nautical Mile Festival ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday at noon.
The event will be at the top of the mile, by EB Elliot’s Restaurant, and there will be parking available for guests and dignitaries at the corner of Front Street and Woodcleft Avenue.
“The festival is a celebration of our ongoing recovery and fantastic progress since superstorm Sandy,” Kennedy said. “We hope you will join us to enjoy all the great food and family fun.”
— SID CASSESE
Community garden to be built Saturday
Sustainable Long Island and the City of Long Beach will be hosting the building of a community garden this weekend.
The event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the corner of Riverside Boulevard and East Pine in Long Beach, adjacent to Sherman Brown Park.
Volunteers from Citigroup will join community members to build garden beds and plant seeds at the site.
Some of the benefits of a community garden include increased access to fresh food, preservation of green space, beautification of neighborhoods, increase in property values and reduction in neighborhood crime, organizers said.
For more information about volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 516-873-0230.
— AISHA AL-MUSLIM
Cleanup planned at preserve Saturday
The Seaford Wellness Council is sponsoring its 10th annual community cleanup of Tackapausha Preserve on Saturday.
The event will start at 9 a.m. and takes place along with the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day 2014 celebration being conducted across the United States, organizers said. This year, the cleanup will focus on the northern section of the preserve that extends between Clark Street and Jerusalem Avenue. Volunteers will gather at the Lakeview Avenue and Clark Street entrance for assignment and instructions, organizers said.
The Seaford Chamber of Commerce, the Seaford Lions Club, the Seaford High School’s Key Club and the Friends of Tackapausha are expected to participate, organizers said.
The preserve is a historic 84-acre sanctuary of oak forests, ponds and streams, small mammals and scores of bird species.
The preserve’s 3,000-square-foot museum reopened in April 2012 after being closed for almost eight months. The museum underwent $300,000 worth of renovations.
For more information about the cleanup event, visit the council’s website at seafordwellness.com or call 516-384-8536.
— AISHA AL-MUSLIM
Nassau comptroller to receive award
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos will receive the Civil Rights Award from the Hempstead Branch NAACP on Saturday at the Hempstead Branch’s 33rd annual Freedom Fund Luncheon at Verdi’s of Westbury at noon.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the NAACP in Hempstead,” Maragos said Thursday.
Other honorees include Mel Jackson, head of the Leadership Training Institute in the village, and Pearl Jacobs, president of the Nostrand Gardens Civic Association in Uniondale.
Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the national NAACP, will be the keynote speaker.
— SID CASSESE
Farmers market opens tomorrow
The Northport farmers market opens for the season on Saturday.
More than 25 vendors will sell fruits and vegetables from locals farms, as well as fresh local fish, baked goods, beer, cheese, flowers and pickles.
The market runs, rain or shine, every Saturday until Nov. 22, except for Sept. 20 and Oct. 18 because of village events, according to the market’s website.
It is at the Cow Harbor parking lot at the end of Main Street, overlooking Northport Harbor. The market is dog-friendly.
— MACKENZIE ISSLER
Beautification project on Saturday
The Island Park Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its Downtown Beautification Project tomorrow in Island Park. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the vicinity of Jack’s Pizzeria, 165 Long Beach Rd. Volunteers will clean and power-wash portions of the sidewalks.
Those interested in lending a hand to beautify the village’s downtown area should meet at 9:45 a.m. in front of Jack’s Pizzeria.
Several other community groups will also participate, including the Island Park Civic Association and the Island Park Business and Residential Chamber, organizers said.
For more information, contact chamber president Glenn Ingoglia at 516-432-0500.
— AISHA AL-MUSLIM