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Roundup: Shellfish areas closed after rains to reopen

Several shellfishing areas ordered shut down by the state after heavy rains last month have been reopened, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Wednesday.

The reopened shellfishing areas are in North Sea Harbor and Sag Harbor in the Town of Southampton, all normally certified areas in the towns of Southold and Shelter Island, and all normally certified areas on the south shore of the Town of Brookhaven that lie east of Nicoll Point.

The state DEC ordered the areas shut down March 31 after heavy rains washed bacteria into the waters.

The DEC reopened several other shellfishing areas last week after testing revealed an improvement in water quality.

Other areas that were shut down on March 31 remain closed, including some shellfishing areas in the towns of East Hampton, Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Riverhead, Babylon, Islip, Brookhaven and Southampton.

For a full list of areas that are still closed, call the DEC’s hotline at 631-444-0480 or call 631-444-0492 during business hours. The information also can be found on the DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html. — JENNIFER BARRIOS

UNIONDALE

HS hosts benefits for choir’s travel expenses

Uniondale High School will host benefit concerts tonight and Saturday night to help raise money for its show choir’s travel and appearance at a national competition in Chicago this month.

The 45-student choir, named Rhythm of the Knight, is slated to compete against about two dozen ensembles from schools across the country at the FAME Show Choir National Finals, being held at the Arie Crown Theater on April 24-27.

The group’s goal is to raise $30,000, school officials said. Ticket sales and donations had brought in $8,000 as of Wednesday.

This is the second consecutive year that the show choir has reached the national contest. Last year, the group placed ninth.

“This year, we’re looking to take home one of the big trophies,” said Lynnette Carr-Hicks, the choir’s director. “The show choir is blessed with a group of very talented and hardworking students who have sacrificed a lot to be able to accomplish such a tremendous milestone, and they deserve the opportunity to show the entire nation just how good they are.”

The show choir’s performance consists of a combination of song and dance routines based around the 1988 movie “Coming to America” -- a fitting theme, Carr-Hicks said, as two of the leading roles are held by students who only moved to the country in the past few years. Those students, Kenyo Baly and Anick Theodore, came from St. Martin in the British Virgin Islands and Haiti, respectively.

“The school district has a lot of faith in this group of talented performers, and their dedication to performing arts makes them exceptional role models for the entire Uniondale community,” district superintendent William Lloyd said.

To reach the national level, the show choir placed third last month in a regional competition at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.

The performances, both at 7 p.m. will be held in the auditorium of the high school, located at 933 Goodrich St. in Uniondale. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. — MICHAEL R. EBERT

ISLANDWIDE

 

DEC urges registration for saltwater fishing

 

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is urging saltwater fishermen register with the state or face a $250 fine.

The recreational marine fish registry “is a vital tool that helps DEC better manage New York’s fisheries,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. There is no fee to register.

The information from the registry, which asks for home addresses, is incorporated with the National Marine Fisheries Service database of recreational marine anglers. It is used to help gather information about fishing activity to set fish quotas, size and bag limits and the length of fishing seasons each year, the DEC said in a news release.

Steve Witthuhn, captain of the Montauk charter boat Top Hook, said the information can be used by the DEC to better communicate with anglers and conduct more accurate surveys of fishermen and women.

“This information will help ensure regulations on fishing are fair, effective and based on sound science,” Witthuhn said yesterday.

The registry was first established in 2011, in response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s mandate that all recreational anglers fishing in coastal waters complete a registry. An initiative under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2013 made the registry permanent.

Anyone fishing over 16 has to get a license. Registration can be made online at https://aca.dec.accela.com/dec/, by phone 888-933-2257 or at a license issuing agent location.

The DEC said its environmental conservation officers issue warnings to those without a license first, but a fine is enforced if a warning is ignored, spokeswoman Lori Severino said. The DEC issued 108 violations in 2013, 142 in 2012 and 5 in 2011. No violations have been issued this year.

The registry is good for one year. — DAVID SCHWARTZ

GARDEN CITY

Board-OKd budget to exceed state cap

The Garden City Village Board has adopted a $55.79 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year that calls for exceeding the state’s imposed property tax levy cap for the village by about 2 percentage points.

The board voted 7-0 on Monday to override the state’s tax levy limit. The board also approved by 7-0 the budget from June 1 to May 31 requiring a tax rate increase of 3.73 percent or an increase in tax of $224 to the average assessed single family home, village spokeswoman Carisa Giardino said. Trustee Theresa Trouvé was absent.

The spending plan allocates $2.1 million for capital projects, $1 million more when compared with last year’s budget. Future projects include improvements at the Golf Club Lane senior center and a face-lift to the Garden City Fire Department headquarters, the first major renovation project at the Stewart Avenue firehouse since the building’s construction in 1953. The village also plans to resurface more roadways, sidewalks and curbs, officials said.

Operating department budgets have increased $420,816, but employee benefits and contingents have decreased $317,582 through reduced staff levels, officials said. — AISHA AL-MUSLIM

 

HUNTINGTON

 

Town sets April as organ donation month

April is organ donation month in the Town of Huntington.

The Huntington Town Board voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve a resolution sponsored by Town Board member Gene Cook for the designation.

Robert Conte, a Huntington businessman and the brother of the late Assemb. James Conte who was a two-time kidney donor recipient, addressed the board at Tuesday’s town meeting, encouraging people to become donors.

“New York State is 49th out of the 50 states when it comes to registry of organ donations,” Conte said. “There are many ways and every way you can become an organ donor. Do not let your religion or anything else stand in your way. It is truly the gift of life.”

Residents are encouraged to sign up to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor either through the New York State Donate Life Registry, when applying for or renewing a driver’s license or nondriver identification card, or at various locations and events held throughout the state each year.

“Look at Jim Conte, what a great guy,” Cook said. “We had him for an extra 23 years because of organ donation. We need people to reach out and do whatever they can to help. If we get the word out it will work out better for everyone.”

— DEBORAH S. MORRIS

ROCKVILLE CENTRE

$42.7M budget to stay within tax cap

The Rockville Centre board of trustees has passed a budget for next fiscal year that stays within the tax cap for the second consecutive year while maintaining all village services.

The $42.7 million budget is an increase of less than $1 million and about 2 percent above the current fiscal year budget.

A portion of the increased tax rate of 4.44 percent is related to the village’s assessed valuation decline, primarily due to successful commercial property challenges, village officials said.

“I believe this budget balances the need to hold down taxes and not impact the services that residents have come to expect and enjoy,” Mayor Francis X. Murray said at Monday night’s board meeting. — SID CASSESE

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