Suffolk County plans to host a series of youth programs on summer nights in response to the hazardous dumping that closed a Brentwood park, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Wednesday.
A Central Islip gym, auditorium and classrooms at the New York Institute of Technology campus will be opened four nights a week under an agreement between the Suffolk County Police Athletic League and NYIT.
“One of the fundamental obligations of government is to provide great parks,” Bellone said at a news conference at the New York Institute of Technology.
Suffolk County’s “Summer Youth Connection” will be free for students of Central Islip, Brentwood and North Bay Shore. Programs will include instructional basketball, hip-hop dance, step dance instruction, mentoring programs and career and college prep.
“I’ve watched this community grow, but I’ve also watched there not be enough for kids to do,” said Nancy Manfredonia, director of the Central Islip Civic Council.
The events will be held at NYIT’s Student Activities Center, at 300 Carleton Ave., Tuesdays to Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., from July 15 to Aug. 19.
Suffolk Legis. Monica R. Martinez (D-Brentwood) said this will be the second summer that Roberto Clemente Park won’t be open to the public. Officials have closed the park because of hazardous materials detected there.
“It’s so important there’s a place for our kids to go here, instead of going to another town,” Martinez said.
— DAVID SCHWARTZ
New protections for famed Stone Dock
Babylon’s Stone Dock, a loading point for Fire Island barges a century ago and a favorite fishing spot more recently, will be protected by new bulkheading, village officials said.
“This is a great project, and when it’s done, it’ll be nice for a long time,” said Highway Superintendent Charles “Skip” Gardner.
Bids on the work, which includes removal and replacement of a nearby timber dock and installation of a new vinyl bulkhead, piles decking system and structural concrete, will be opened Thursday.
Gardner said that work might not begin until after Labor Day because of heavy summer use by fishermen.
“You can cast out to a 25-foot deep hole” from the dock, he said. “It’s a place where you would teach your son or daughter to fish for the first time. There’s trees, benches ... It’s a great spot.”
And, he said, the Stone Dock has history. Heavy metal rings embedded in the stone were once used to tie up supply barges, he said, reminders of a time when the village was a resort area and jumping-off point for the barrier beach islands.
— NICHOLAS SPANGLER
Treasurer resists bill merging positions
Suffolk Treasurer Angie Carpenter has asked County Executive Steve Bellone to delay signing a bill setting a voter referendum in November to make her office part of the comptroller’s office in 2018.
Carpenter, a merger foe, urged Bellone to hold off until he gets new opinions from the state comptroller and attorney general on whether it is incompatible to have the two offices merge. Bellone, a merger backer, has until Tuesday to sign the measure.
In a public hearing last month, Carpenter cited a 1948 comptroller’s opinion that said “the same person cannot act as county treasurer and county auditor.” But Carpenter said she has found more recent attorney general opinions that say consolidation of these two positions ”would erode fiscal checks and balances designed to maintain public confidence in government.”
In a 1989 opinion, the attorney general found “the two positions incompatible in that holding both would merge the payment and auditing functions. The legislature contemplated that these functions would be separate and independent.” A 1994 opinion, involving a husband and wife holding those jobs, found a merger “would erode the separation of these functions and the resulting checks and balances.”
Carpenter, in a court suit last year, derailed a merger referendum on technical grounds. The bill has since been changed so the comptroller office will take over the treasurer’s office, but the merger will not take place until Carpenter leaves office at the end of 2017, when she will be term-limited. Backers say the measure will save more than $1 million, but critics question the number.
Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said the administration will take her request under advisement, but the process to adopt the law this year has been “clean as a whistle, and we fully expect this matter will go to voters and they will approve it.”
— RICK BRAND
Mommy & Me programs begin
East Hills Mommy & Me programs have started at the Park at East Hills, 209 Harbor Hill Rd.
The Swim With Me program started Tuesday for mothers who would like to attend the $60 six-week program on Tuesdays. Your child can socialize with his or her friends while adapting to the water and learning pool safety. In addition, Tuesday classes will be held July 8, 15, 22, 29 and Aug. 5. For those who prefer taking classes on Fridays, they will be held July 11, 18, 25, Aug. 1, 8 and 14. All sessions will run from 10:30 to 11 a.m. at the main pool.
Head lifeguard Stefanie Klapper will teach the classes.
A $175 six-week Music with Darlene Graham program will be held Wednesdays at 1 p.m. for about 45 minutes on July 9, 23, 30 and Aug. 6, 13 and 20 on the theater lawn or inside the theater if it rains or is too hot. Children will sing and dance as Graham sings and plays her original songs.
Another musical program will be offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursdays for eight weeks. The roughly 45-minute classes begin this week and continue on July 10, 17, 24, 31 and Aug. 7, 14 and 21. Music With Little Maestros will also be held on the theater lawn and inside on rainy or hot days. The cost for the eight weeks is $260. Classes are different every day. Children learn about music and language development, and a dance party will teach them to move to the beat.
Registration is open to residents and nonresidents, who must pay higher fees. Registration forms are available at nwsdy.li/mommyme2014.
— LISA IRIZARRY