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Roundup: Romaine's State of the Town, Pathfinder Awards

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward Romaine talks about the

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward Romaine talks about the proposed 2014 budget during a meeting at town hall in Farmingville on Oct. 1, 2013. Credit: Ed Betz


Romaine to speak on state of the town

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine will deliver his annual State of the Town address Tuesday at Town Hall in Farmingville.

He is expected to outline plans for the coming year during the 3:30 p.m. speech, which is open to the public. A town board meeting will follow at 5 p.m.

The board is scheduled to set a public hearing on a proposal to require carbon monoxide detectors at all commercial buildings in Brookhaven. The move follows the death last month of a restaurant manager at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station. An autopsy determined he died from carbon monoxide poisoning when the deadly gas escaped from a faulty flue, Suffolk County officials said.

The town board also is expected to set a public hearing on amending the town’s law regulating signs along local roads. The amendment would affect political signs, signs on public property and illegal signs. — CARL MACGOWAN


To GOP boss, cancer benefit hits home

Brookhaven Republican chairman Jesse Garcia disclosed last week that he underwent 18 months of chemotherapy in 2008 and 2009 for chronic lymphatic leukemia while running the town party.

Garcia made the disclosure in an email in which he solicits donations for him and his son J. Alex, 8, who together are shaving their locks as part of a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser at the Centereach Fire Department on March 14.

The nonprofit group raises money to benefit children with cancer.

Garcia and his son are calling themselves the “Stickmen” team. Garcia, who has had a mop top since high school, said his son convinced him “it was time to raise money in a very public way filled with fun and laughter.” To donate or for more information, call 888-899-2253 or go to the Stickmen page on the foundation’s website at BRAND



Pathfinder Awards honor women today

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray will commemorate Women’s History Month with the town’s annual Pathfinder Awards at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion at Town Hall in Hempstead Village.

The town will honor 10 outstanding women committed to their neighbors and their community, officials said in a news release.

Awards will be presented in the categories of Arts & Entertainment, Business, Community Affairs, Education, Health Services, High School Senior, Humanitarian, Volunteer and Town Employee.

Melissa Connolly, vice president for university relations at Hofstra University, will be the keynote speaker. — SID CASSESE



Teen writing contest set for town’s 350th

Smithtown teens will be able to contribute to the town’s 350th anniversary festivities next year by participating in a high school creative writing contest.

Students may submit a poem, short story or essay with the theme “Smithtown in the Year 3000.” Winners in each category will have their work buried in a time capsule in 2015 when the town’s anniversary events begin, organizers said.

The contest, created by the Smithtown Youth Bureau, Youth Advisory Board and local news blog Smithtown Matters, is limited to high school students who live in or attend school in Smithtown, Kings Park, Commack or Hauppauge.

“Our youth board wanted to do this idea because they feel there are so many young people in the town who are always looking to express themselves through various ways, and writing, they felt, was a good way to express themselves,” said Kelly DeVito, executive director of the Smithtown Youth Bureau.

Judging the contest are English professors Katie Amella, at Stony Brook University and Kenneth Wishnia at Suffolk Community College’s Grant Campus; along with Kasey Forst, a creative writing teacher at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip.

The deadline to submit entries is March 17 and winners will be announced on April 12. Winners will also get prizes. Submission guidelines and release forms can be found online at under the announcements tab.

For more information, call the youth bureau at 631-360-7595. - — LAUREN R. HARRISON



Moody’s likes ruling on tax-challenge pay

A New York State Court ruling last month that halted a shift of tax certiorari liability is a positive development for the credit ratings of the local governments affected, Moody’s Investors Service said last week.

The state Court of Appeals ruled as unconstitutional legislation passed by Nassau County that would have shifted $60 million annually onto school districts, taxing districts and municipalities, including Oyster Bay, Hempstead and North Hempstead.

Moody’s said in an analysis that school districts, which receive about 65 percent of property taxes collected in the county, would be the biggest beneficiaries. Strong credit ratings translate into lower borrowing costs.

Tax certiorari payments are made to property owners who successfully challenge their tax assessment. The school districts benefiting the most are Great Neck Union Free School District, Port Washington Union Free School District and Hempstead Union Free School District, which have a large number of commercial properties, Moody’s said.

While the ruling is a positive for hundreds of local governments, it’s a negative for Nassau County, the ratings agency said. The county has a $298 million liability for the refunds and along with the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority owes $972 million for past tax certiorari claims that were paid, according to Moody’s. — TED PHILLIPS

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