$57G in unclaimed tax refunds available
Brookhaven’s top tax official said he has found more than $57,000 in unclaimed property tax refunds.
Receiver of Taxes Louis Marcoccia said in a statement that the unredeemed funds have accumulated in the past two years. He encouraged residents to check a list of the unclaimed funds on the town website, brookhaven.org.
“I will not allow the town to retain this money without first taking all available steps” to deliver the refunds to residents, Marcoccia said in a statement.
The refunds are owed to property owners who overpaid taxes, Marcoccia said. The statement did not disclose how many people are due payments.
Residents were asked to call the town receiver of taxes office at 631-451-9009 if they believe they are owed refunds.
-- CARL MACGOWAN
Responses sought for disaster survey
Babylon Town officials are urging more residents to respond to a survey designed to help shape plans for natural disaster mitigation in Suffolk County.
The survey is intended to gather public input on possible protection projects so emergency management officials “aren’t working in a vacuum,” said Brian Zitani, Babylon’s waterways management supervisor.
“This [survey responses] can help us gauge what projects we need to focus on first and which projects can wait a few years,” he said.
As of Monday, 300 people out of the county’s 1.5 million residents had responded to the survey, Zitani said, adding that he hoped at least 10,000 people would reply before a hazard mitigation draft plan is submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in April.
The survey, which consists of 21 questions and takes about 15 minutes to finish, can be found by visiting the town's website.
-- NICHOLAS SPANGLER
STEM program for children earns grant
The Child Care Council of Nassau Inc. has received $15,000 in grants for the launch of its “Making STEM Accessible” project that promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math literacy for young children.
“Many early childhood educators do not enter the field of early education well prepared in the STEM disciplines, suggesting that professional development in this area can lead to greater opportunity for both the child-care providers and children in their care,” said Joy Connolly, the council’s director of education program services.
Connolly said the push toward STEM learning is designed to introduce scientific language that children will hear later in middle school, which will increase the opportunity for students to become critical thinkers and innovators.
“We’re all scientists,” Connolly said in an interview. “We all enjoy counting.”
The grant, funded by TD Charitable Foundation and Capital One Bank, will supply children with new resources such as books, magnifying glasses, scales and blocks, and mentors with appropriate STEM training. Connolly will oversee the project along with five early childhood specialists.
The Child Care Council of Nassau serves 18 child care providers and about 200 children in Freeport, Hempstead, Roosevelt, Uniondale and Westbury.
Project priority will be given to providers with a Department of Social Services contract to serve low-income families, according to the agency’s website. The project will hold a launch session at its Franklin Square location on Saturday, Feb. 8, where 24 family providers are scheduled to attend.
For more information, call 800-233-3020, or visit childcarenassau.org.
-- SIOBHAN BARTON
Lab, workers donate to typhoon victims
The Brookhaven Science Associates and its employees at Brookhaven National Laboratory donated tens of thousands of dollars to recovery efforts in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan struck three months ago.
“From superstorm Sandy to the tsunami in Japan and now this devastating typhoon in the Philippines, Brookhaven Science Associates and its employees have rallied to help people directly impacted by these natural disasters,” Stony Brook University president Samuel L. Stanley Jr., said in a statement issued by the lab. Stanley serves as chairman of the Brookhaven Science Associates board.
Typhoon Haiyan killed thousands and left almost 4 million people homeless, according to media reports. Brookhaven’s donation will provide these victims with fresh food and water, mosquito nets, tarps and hygiene kits through the American Red Cross.
Members of the Asian Pacific American Association hosted donation-collection tables during lunch breaks at the lab for two months after the typhoon. The lab, which has about 3,000 workers, contributed $10,000 to the Red Cross. Brookhaven Science Associates’ partners — Stony Brook University and Battelle — matched that donation and contributed another $10,000, according to the statement.
“Our corporate philanthropy efforts are ongoing,” the lab’s community relations manager said in an interview. “It’s a great sense of community we have at the lab.”
The 15-year-old association also funded relief efforts after the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina.
-- SIOBHAN BARTON
Food drive looks to help pets this winter
The third annual Legislative Food Drive Challenge has begun, this time focusing on pets. Sponsored by Hauppauge-based Long Island Cares, the food drive will run through March 31.
State Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) has announced he plans to take part in the food challenge, saying pets are the “family members that are most vulnerable to hunger.” In a news release, he said the additional costs of heating a home during winter, as well as the inability to purchase pet food using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds means “some Long Island families have endured many difficulties in securing food for their pets.”
Those looking to donate can bring pet food, pet toys or pet clothing to Boyle’s district office, at 69 W. Main St., Suite B, in Bay Shore, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
-- DENISE M. BONILLA