Cellphone drive would aid soldiers

Suffolk County Legis. William R. Spencer has teamed up with the nonprofit Cell Phones for Soldiers, and is asking Huntington residents to help troops call home by donating old cellphones.

The drive ends on Aug. 15, and there are several drop-off points in town.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to thank a soldier for ... selfless act and let them know just how much their time and sacrifice is appreciated,” Spencer (D-Centerport) said in a statement.

“Our goal is to collect 300 old cellphones in 30 days and, I am confident that our wonderful community of giving people will make that happen,” Spencer said.

Cell Phones For Soldiers was founded in 2004, and since then, the charity has provided more than 204 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed worldwide through its calling card program, “Minutes That Matter,” the statement said.

Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones For Soldiers distributes 7,500 calling cards each week to bases worldwide, care package programs, deployment ceremonies and VA hospitals, the statement said.

“Each year, we have been humbled by the amount of people like Legis. William Spencer, that take the initiative to support our troops,” said co-founder Brittany Bergquist, in the statement.

The collection box locations are at: Spencer’s office, 15 Park Circle, Suite 209, Centerport; Halesite Fire Department, 1 New York Ave.; Huntington Fire Department: 1 Leverich Place; Northport Fire Department: 204 Main St.; Greenlawn Fire Department, 23 Boulevard Ave.; Cold Spring Harbor Library, 2 Main St.; Northport Library, 151 Laurel Ave.; East Northport Library, 185 Larkfield Road; and Harborfields Public Library: 31 Broadway, Greenlawn. — MACKENZIE ISSLER


Hotel developer is newest trustee

Alan Mindel, 43, an attorney and hotel developer who is the newest member of the Village of Lake Success board of trustees, was sworn in Monday.

The Democrat, who ran uncontested in last month’s elections, replaced former trustee Paul Glantz, who chose not to seek another two-year term.

A former Great Neck Estates resident, Mindel owns and operates several hotels, including Viana Hotel and Spas in Westbury, The Inn at Great Neck, Four Points Sheridan in Plainview, and The Adria Hotel and a Best Western, both in Bayside.

Mindel served on the Lake Success planning board for 14 years and was nominated by Lake Success resident Bill Zimmerman, who pulled out of the race.

Mindel said he has a lot to offer the trustee panel based on the lessons he learned from his parents being Holocaust survivors and a no-nonsense attitude. “The way I grew up, you have certain opinions about people in need, or discrimination. You’re more sensitive to it. You also learn that whatever problems we have today ... they don’t compare to walking in the snow in wood clogs for 16 miles ...  that’s tough.”
Mindel said he looks forward to serving his community.

“We operate as the ‘Village Party,’ so we’re nondenominational,” Mindel said. “I’m here to serve as asked. I just happen to be a Democrat. When we come together as a board, the goal is to be productive. I think that would work for the White House.” — LISA IRIZARRY

Seniors can set meetings on homes

Town of North Hempstead seniors looking to sell or improve their homes can get answers to questions about permits and other requirements by visiting a special town building department mobile office.

Seniors can make appointments to meet with building department representatives, or beginning in September they can schedule an evening one-on-one session with Lauren Summa, applicant advocate for Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth.

The meetings with building department personnel are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the following locations:

Great Neck Senior Center, 80 Grace Ave.; Port Washington Senior Center, 80 Manorhaven Blvd.; Clinton G. Martin Park, 1601 Marcus Ave., New Hyde Park; Town of North Hempstead Department of Services for the Aging, 470 Old Westbury Rd., Roslyn Heights; North Hempstead “Yes We Can” Community Center, 141 Garden St., New Cassel; and Town of North Hempstead Building Department, 176 Plandome Rd., Manhasset.

Those who would like to meet with Summa can make appointments at these locations on the following dates and times:

Manhasset Public Library, 30 Onderdonk Ave., Monday, Sept. 15 from 6-8 p.m.; Hillside Public Library, 155 Lakeville Rd., New Hyde Park, Tuesday, Sept. 23 from 6-8 p.m.; Shelter Rock Public Library, 165 Searingtown Rd., Albertson, Tuesday, Sept. 30 from 6-8 p.m.; Port Washington Public Library, 1 Library Dr., Port Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 7 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.; and “Yes We Can Community Center,” 141 Garden St., Westbury, Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 6-8 p.m.
For more information, call 311. - LISA IRIZARRY


Commuter lot gains 13 parking spaces

North Hills has added 13 spots to a parking lot for residents who take the village’s commuter van shuttle service to and from the Manhasset train station.

The lot adjacent to Village Hall and facing Shelter Rock Road had 36 spaces.

The shuttle service opened early last year, and at the lot, a shuttle van makes six trips to the station in the morning and six return trips to the parking lot in the evening. It is free for residents and is timed so residents catch express trains, Mayor Marvin Natiss said.

Increased demand justified the expansion, which cost about $18,500 and is funded through a community amenities fund, with money from developers who abide by incentive zoning laws. Village officials said use of the vans, which can fit up to 20 residents per trip, was up nearly 40 percent in the morning between April 2013 and June 2014.

Natiss said the service appeals to a mix of residents. “A lot of young people commute to the city,” Natiss said. “We’re hoping that more people will avail themselves to this service that the village provides, because it is at no cost to village residents; they don’t have to pay for parking at the Manhasset station.”


S&P raises village bond rating to AAA

The village of Saltaire has an improved bond rating from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services based on its relative wealth, strong fiscal management and a robust local economy.

The Fire Island village’s general obligation bonds are now rated AAA -- up from A+ based on a stable outlook, though the ratings agency warned that acquiring debt from its continued recovery from superstorm Sandy could hurt future ratings.

“The rating reflects our assessment of the village’s very strong budgetary flexibility and liquidity,” said S & P credit analyst Timothy Little in a release.

The ratings agency also cited a “very strong economy” in the metro region, “strong management conditions” and “adequate” budgetary performance as reasons for the bond rating upgrade.

“The stable outlook reflects our expectation that Saltaire will continue to adjust its budget to maintain structural balance while maintaining its very strong reserves,” Little said. “We believe the village’s strong economic and financial indicators stabilize the rating. However, the village continues its post-Sandy recovery, which may require additional debt issuance and use of reserves. If performance were to significantly deteriorate along with reserves, we may lower the rating.” — SOPHIA CHANG

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