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LI fire department site ‘fit the bill’
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s staff was looking for a scenic backdrop for Wednesday’s press event, where he’s elaborating on his plan to restore shellfish in several bays and harbors. It chose the Halesite Fire Department building overlooking Huntington Harbor, one of the choicest pieces of real estate on Long Island to house a public building.
Fire Department manager Larry Northcote told The Point that the governor wanted a public locale on the water that could accommodate at least 150 people, “and we fit the bill.” He added, “We’ve got the best view of any firehouse I know of, so he’s in for quite a treat when he arrives and sees the view of the harbor.”
The department was busily setting up its meeting hall and blocking off parking for the media and the governor’s entourage, Northcote said.
Cuomo is adding details to a $2.05 million initiative he announced in June to support clam spawning sanctuaries and hatcheries.
The fire department was established on the east side of Huntington Harbor in 1901 in what was then a remote part of town. An early Sunday morning fire raged out of control at the Sammis & Dickerson’s boatbuilding shop in December 1900, emphasizing a need for Huntington to add a firefighting location.
The firehouse shares a panoramic coastline with the Harbor Club at Prime and other tony venues.
It’s a fitting bit of scenery where Cuomo can speak about protecting Long Island’s natural heritage.
Tale of two Raias
When Chad Lupinacci announced he would run for Huntington Town supervisor in the upcoming election, some people were surprised. The assumption had been that town council member Eugene Cook would take another run at the job after losing to now-retiring incumbent Frank Petrone by just 843 votes in 2013. But after Cook dropped out of the race, the thought was that Assemb. Andrew Raia would be tapped to run.
Raia, 49, has served in Albany for nearly 14 years. He’s popular and has the right name and pedigree as the son of Jo-Ann Raia, 76, who has served as Huntington’s elected town clerk for nearly 35 years.
That, Raia jokes, is part of why he didn’t make the run.
“I’m not sure my mom thinks that town hall is big enough for the both of us,” Raia, 49, joked Wednesday. As he describes it, there are lots of reasons Lupinacci, 38, is making the run and says there is certainly no animosity between the two close friends.
“I sat with Gene Cook and Chad more than a year ago, we had dinner, and Gene said he was running again,” Raia said. “When he decided not to [in May], it basically came down to Chad getting a call about running before me, and jumping at it.”
So would he ever want to be in town hall, The Point wondered.
“Sure, why not?” Raia said. As supervisor, or assuming his mom’s role as clerk?
Raia said he might be interested in supervisor but sounded more charmed by the clerk position, which comes up in two years. But he’s not rushing the incumbent out.
“My mother’s been in that office since I was in eighth or ninth grade, so I grew up in that office, always seeing how it’s administered and run . . . and I’m good at that kind of stuff,” Raia said.
Elephant in the hurricane
School lunch spotlight
Is the ever-present battle of one-upmanship between New York’s governor and mayor now entering the world of news release-writing artistry?
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, after all, is famous for news releases that include quotations from every supportive corner. But the New York City Department of Education might have topped him Wednesday with a release that included comments from 46 people, with the first coming from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The all-important announcement that drew so much applause?
All students in city public schools can now get free lunches, because the city will receive a larger reimbursement from a federal community eligibility program.
A slew of city, state and federal elected representatives, union officials and advocates had their say, although after a while, the quotes started sounding awfully similar.
Even television host Rachael Ray got into the act, providing a statement of her own.
Apparently, in New York City, there’s now such thing as a free lunch — but only when everyone gets a piece of the pie.
Randi F. Marshall