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"I am not taking this as a personal offense. I am talking about the thousands of people in my district, the hundreds of thousands in the New York, New Jersey area. Within 10 days of Katrina, 60 billion was appropriated. Nine weeks after Sandy, not one dollar. These Republicans have no problems finding New York when they are out raising millions of dollars. I am saying anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to Congressional Republicans is out of their mind because what they did last night is put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It as an absolute disgrace." - Long Island Congressional Representative Peter King speaking on the decision to postpone the vote for the Sandy Relief bill
“It is a failure. It is a disgrace. I believe it was a dereliction of duty. I believe government matters and the functioning of government matters, and to leave New York and New Jersey and thousands of people in this holiday season on their own and abandoned is wrong. Go ask any family in Lindenhurst, in the Rockaways, in Staten Island if the delay bothers them" - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking on the decision to postpone the vote for the Sandy Relief bill
"Unfortunately people are putting politics ahead of their responsibilities... You do the right thing. Enough with all the politics. We respond as Americans, at least we did until last night... it was disgusting to watch. In our hour of desperate need, we've been left waiting for help six times longer than the victims of Katrina with no end in sight. Sixty-six days and counting, shame on you. Shame on Congress." - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaking on the decision to postpone the vote for the Sandy Relief bill
House GOP pull Sandy aid bill from the House floor
On Tuesday, House Republicans pulled the emergency supplemental disaster aid bill for Northeast states damaged by Hurricane Sandy from consideration on the House floor. Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has indicated he will adjourn the House for this Congress, allowing the Senate Sandy supplemental spending bill to expire. The entire Congressional delegations, both Republicans and Democrats, from NY, NJ, CT, are angrily objecting and urging the Speaker to reconsider.
The decision is a stunning reversal since just hours before New Jersey lawmakers were preparing for floor debate Wednesday as outlined under a strategy promoted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia. New York-area lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, erupted in anger after learning that the House Republican leadership decided to allow the current term of Congress to end without holding a vote on aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
New York Representative Peter King, said late Tuesday he was told by the offices of both Cantor and Boehner that they had decided to abandon a vote this session. In remarks on the House floor, King called the decision “absolutely inexcusable, absolutely indefensible. We cannot just walk away from our responsibilities.”
The Senate approved a $60.4 billion measure on Friday to help with recovery from the October storm that devastated parts of New York, New Jersey and nearby states. The bill includes $11.5 billion for the FEMA’s chief disaster relief fund and $17 billion for community development block grants, much of which would help homeowners repair or replace their homes, another $11.7 billion would help repair New York City’s subways and other mass transit damage and protect them from future storms. Some $9.7 billion would go toward the government’s flood insurance program and $13 billion for infrastructure projects to protect against future storms, including fortifying mass transit systems in the Northeast. Republicans said that however worthy such projects may be, they are not urgently needed and should be considered by Congress in the usual appropriations process next year; that such drawn out spending undercuts the urgency of the aid package.
Most importantly, the majority of the money in the $60.4 billion bill — $47.4 billion — is for immediate help for victims and other recovery and rebuilding efforts. The aid is intended to help states rebuild public infrastructure like roads and tunnels, and help thousands of people displaced from their homes.
After criticism from Northeast Republicans, the House of Representatives is expected to take up an aid package on Friday meant to address those still reeling in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Lawmakers will consider $9 billion in immediate assistance for flood insurance and will weigh another $51 billion in broader aid on January 15. The Senate, which had already approved the larger Sandy plan that the House refused to consider, is expected to sign off on the scaled-back version on Friday as well.
Sandy was blamed for at least 120 deaths and battered coastline areas from North Carolina to Maine. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the hardest hit states and suffered high winds, flooding and storm surges. The storm damaged or destroyed more than 72,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey. In New York, 305,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed and more than 265,000 businesses were affected. The victims of the storms need this aid, the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people are relying on the passage of the bill. Dropping the bill would not only be a great disappointment, but irresponsible.
Victory for Long Island Lobby Coalition: Schumer announces critical extension of commuter mass transit benefit
On Thursday, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced a major victory in his efforts to extend the Commuter Mass Transit benefit through 2013. The provision will allow riders of mass transit to use up to $240 a month, tax free to pay for their commutes. Schumer fought for this extension to be included in the final fiscal cliff package, which was backed by bipartisan support. This extension will help put money back in the pockets of hard-pressed commuters.
The $240 per month mass transit benefit will fully cover the monthly cost of riding all major mass transit systems in New York City, including subway, bus, and express bus, and will cover most of Metro North and Long Island Railroad commuting costs. According to TransitCenter, in the New York metro area, commuters saved over $200 million in 2010 because of the transit benefit and employers have saved over $45 million since the benefit went into effect in the New York area. Approximately 15,000 companies in New York offer the transit benefit covering more than a half a million employees. And in 2010, employers nationwide saved about $300 million in payroll taxes, money that can be reinvested to create jobs.
“With commuting costs on the rise, many New Yorkers pay hundreds of dollars a month traveling to work alone,” said Schumer. “The last thing the people of New York needed was an extra burden on top of their monthly commuting fares. In a package that has some major flaws, the extension of the transit benefit – used by New Yorkers more than anyone else in the country –is a real victory that keeps more money in commuters’ pockets and give them some much-needed relief as they work to make ends meet.
Mark Epstein, Chair of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council said “With the extension of parity between transit and parking pre-tax benefits, Congress has now recognized that transit commuters deserve treatment equal to those who drive to work. We thank Senator Schumer for continuing to fight for tax benefit fairness for those who use mass transit to commute to work here in New York whether it be by the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North, or New York City buses and subways.”
In 2011, employees whose monthly mass transit fees were less than $230 were able to deduct the full amount of their commuting costs from their paychecks, tax free, through an employer benefit program. Until 2009, commuters who drove to work received a greater tax break than those who took mass transit. In 2009 the mass transit benefit was almost doubled from $120 per month to $230 per month, creating a savings of over $1000 per year for commuters. Currently, 500,000 commuters in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area, and 2.7 million commuters nationwide take advantage of the benefit. Schumer was able to have the benefit extended in 2011, but in year-end negotiations, Congressional Republicans failed to include tax extenders in a year-end payroll tax cut deal.
Schumer authored the original legislation that passed as part of the economic stimulus package in 2009, that allowed employers to offer their employees up to $230 per month in transit benefits tax free, equal to what they were offering tax-free for parking costs. The transit benefit reduces a commuter’s transportation costs by a third or more.
This shift is a victory for the Long Island Lobby Coalition which pushed to keep the tax credit. We thank Senator Schumer for his success in keeping public transportation benefits available to help local commuters.
Online retail stores creating tough competition for the declining mall business
Malls and shopping center stalwarts are closing stores by the thousands and there aren’t enough large physical chains opening stores to take those vacant spaces. Physical retailers such as Circuit City, Borders, CompUSA, Tower Records, Blockbuster, to name a few, are showing signs of serious economic distress. The evidence is clear, there is an e-commerce revolution and online retailers are gaining share in retail categories, leaving very little room for offline retailers in the retail market, and impacting commercial real estate. The problem, however, is that the quantity of commercial real estate targeting retail continues to grow, albeit slowly. Rapidly declining demand for real estate amid growing supply is a recipe for financial disaster.
There are very few thriving physical retailers these days outside of the daily consumables markets. An analysis of the National Retail Federation’s list of the Top 100 retailers in 2012, which focused on merchandise retailers that would likely be located in malls, removing grocery, drug, restaurant, and online retailers, revealed some disturbing information regarding the health of some of the leading physical retailers in the United States.
The analysis focused on three measures of retailer health: total sales growth, comp store sales growth, and number of stores. Total sales growth is mixed and is negative for 20% of the sample. Comp store sales growth, which is the key measure of retailer health, is also mixed and a quarter of the sample is negative. Finally, store counts are stagnant. The number of top retailers who shrank their store count is roughly equal to the amount that have expanded it and very few are expanding aggressively. The scariest piece of analysis is that some of the largest retailers in the U.S. do not look very healthy, which makes it more likely that their more marginal physical competitors are struggling even more.
Supply is exceeding demand. The result of this is very high vacancy rates and sluggish rents; declining retailer health is directly impacting malls and shopping centers. The recession was the catalyst, but competition from online retailers can be the continued driver along with a steadily declining mall business.
Most real estate professionals understand that profound changes are afoot. The Wall Street Journal reports “Green Street Advisor, an analysis firm that tracks REITs, has forecast that 10% of the roughly 1,000 large malls in the U.S. will fail within the next 10 years and be converted into something with far less retail. That’s a conservative estimate; many mall CEOs predict the attrition rate will be higher”.
Continued bankruptcies among historic mall anchors will increase the pressure on these marginal malls, as will store closures from retailers working to optimize their business. Hundreds of malls will soon need to be repurposed or demolished. Strong malls will stay strong for a while, as retailers are willing to pay for traffic and customers from failed malls seek offline alternatives, but even they stand in the path of the shift of retail spending from offline to online.
And in an ironic turn, many of these online brands are experimenting with offline stores but with one important twist. Some online retailers are expanding into a few small, physical locations but not mall locations. Instead, they are selecting lower cost, non-mall locations, keep their inventory small, and using emails to their online customers to drive foot traffic. They do this because a consumer’s purchasing typically expands after a visit to their physical store, and the costs are not high given their low inventory and lower rents and staffing costs. If this trend expands, it will provide further challenges to malls.
These malls are becoming ghost towns. They are not viable now and will only get less so as online continues to steal retail sales from brick-and-mortar stores.
Neighbors step up to make recovery after Hurricane Sandy possible
The volunteers and first responders of Hurricane Sandy are nothing short of heroic. Months after the storm hit, local communities and their residents are still stepping up and helping out anyway they can. For these reasons and more the LI Herald chosen them as 2012 People of the Year.
West Fulton Street resident Doug O’Grady has made the two-hour drive to Long Beach from Shelter Island, where he has been staying with his wife and two children since Hurricane Sandy, each morning for nearly two months. He drops his kids off at Lindell School, then heads over to the Waldbaum’s parking lot, where he waits by the Geico trailer and organizes a group of volunteers to help residents gut their homes. Just days after the storm, O’Grady, a burly 44-year-old trustee of New York City Carpenters Local Union 45, put the word out that he was assembling teams to help residents gut their flooded homes, and was surprised by the number of responses. Since then, he and hundreds of volunteers, which include fellow carpenters, Mormon missionaries, members of Hofstra University’s equestrian team, have helped roughly 100 residents.
Bryan Murphy from Lafayette Terrace, a real estate broker at Remax Innovations, who was displaced when his home was damaged, said that when he saw his neighbors gutting their homes on their own, he created a Facebook page, Sandy Help LB, to match volunteers with people who needed help. Since then, Murphy has expanded his efforts, creating a not-for-profit, Sandy Help Home Recovery Fund Corp., to help homeowners who are under-insured rebuild their homes.
“Doug and Bryan have, since the Tuesday after the storm, stepped up and helped people muck out and gut their homes,” said Michigan Street resident John McNally, an environmental program and communications officer for the Rauch Foundation, who called for more resources to assist the city’s cleanup effort at Vision Long Island’s Smart growth summit in November.
“When [O’Grady and Murphy] realized how great the need was, they reached out and started organizing others to help with this work. Their good deeds continue to this day … if ever there were symbols of selflessness and compassion for others, these two men are it.”
The first responders, firefighters, police officers, sanitation workers and city officials, are also commended. If it weren’t for the bravery of the Long Beach Fire Department, officials said, the city could have suffered the fate of Breezy Point. A fire raged in the Canals and destroyed eight homes, and even when it is was not safe to do so, fire officials made a decision to respond.
In the days after the storm, as residents’ patience with the Long Island Power Authority’s restoration efforts grew thin, City Manager Jack Schnirman explained, “We focused on problem solving, not finger pointing and blame. Rather than running around, screaming that LIPA was the worst, we acknowledged their problems and got a team of LIPA managers in our Building Department. They stayed there for over 10 days, and they worked around the clock with our staff to get Long Beach up and running as fast as possible.”
The Long Beach Police Department, meanwhile, with help from the National Guard, state and county police, worked to maintain public safety, which included instituting a curfew as fears of looting increased. “The efforts of the Police Department to maintain public safety and social order will stand as one of the city’s biggest accomplishments following the storm,” Schnirman said. “Long Beach had all of the potential ingredients for a breakdown in social order. It’s also important to note that at that time we didn’t know how many fatalities the city was going to have.”
And while urban search-and-rescue teams were deployed, there were, incredibly, no fatalities. With Long Beach Medical Center out of commission, the city, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, launched a temporary hospital where more than 1,000 patients were treated for storm-related injuries and illnesses.
The heroes of Hurricane Sandy brought trays of food, cleaning supplies and blankets to tenants, many of them elderly, who were trapped in homes and high-rises with no power. They risked their own lives and set aside their own disasters in order to help the people of their community. It is their passion and generosity that has given members of their community hope and a chance at recovery.
For more stories and further reading, please visit LI Herald website.
Rebuilding Update: FEMA extends deadline for STEP program to January 18th
In a move aimed at helping homeowners who were affected by Superstorm Sandy FEMA has extended the application deadline for their STEP 2 program to January 18th. The program provides basic repairs to homes damaged during Sandy so that homeowners can move back into their homes quicker. More than 14,000 people have signed up for the program so far.
For more information on the STEP program itself you can dial 211 in Suffolk County or call 1-888-684-4867.
Town officials and business owners of Riverhead optimistic about downtown revitalization
Ever since the opening of the Long Island Expressway over 30 years ago, the Main Street shopping district in Downtown Riverhead has been in a steady decline. Customers were learning that they could easily travel elsewhere to shop and overtime, stores began closing down.
While the opening of the aquarium and the hotel on East Main Street were small successes and optimistic signs of more progress to come, it was not enough to reverse years of stagnation.
However, an infusion of grant money along with the construction of new stores, restaurants, and housing are giving the redevelopment effort in Downtown Riverhead a much needed boost.
By spring, the newly renovated Suffolk Theater is set to reopen on East Main Street as well as SummerWind Square, a four story mixed use building with 52 units of workforce housing, a restaurant and 5,700 square feet of retail/commercial space. That will finally put enough people in the downtown area every day to ensure it will continue to grow, Town Supervisor Sean Walter said.
A $250,000 state Main Street community renewal grant, which Walter said will fund up to 45 new rental units above stores and at least six commercial renovations, has helped Riverhead’s downtown redevelopment efforts gain some traction.
“You have to reach a critical mass,” he said. “We’ve got it now. We’re following the Patchogue model.”
Patchogue, like Riverhead, had a stagnant downtown. But a wave of new development, including new condominiums and the reopening of a movie theater, kick started the local economy.
Some of the problems may have rooted from the opening of the Long Island Expressway in the 1970s, which provided shoppers an easy way to get to malls and avoid parking problems. Some have cited the growth of major chain stores a few miles away on the Route 58 corridor, a busy shopping area that looks more like Centereach or Huntington than rural Riverhead. Others said the small mom and pop stores simply cannot meet the demands of a changing market and group of shoppers.
Town planners point out that Riverhead doesn’t have shoppers regularly walking in the downtown area. But the area is booming, it’s not the same place it was just a few years ago and the situation is expected to change when 600 people come out after attending a movie in the Suffolk Theater, and hundreds of others are living in apartments above the stores.
For further reading, please visit the Newsday website.
2012 progress, 2013 goals
Vision Long Island's Executive Director recently had an op-ed published in Long Island Business News. It is reprinted in its entirety below.
At the recent Smart Growth Summit, a call to action was answered for our local municipalities to assist Long Beach and other hard-hit communities. That call was answered along with a pitch for volunteers as hundreds of Long Islanders helped out in impacted areas over the last eight weeks.
Despite the hurricane and other barriers to progress, we were able to collectively move a number of projects forward and lay the groundwork for meaningful public and private investments.
Here are some of the highlights from 2012:
1. Transit-oriented developments advanced with approvals of 600 more residences to a total of nearly 7,000 over the last six years. Notable successes include projects in Farmingdale, Central Islip and Patchogue.
2. Changing road designs to make our streets safer included the passage of Complete Streets legislation in Suffolk County and the Town of Hempstead. The smart growth movement pushed New York state to change high-accident roadways of Main Street Smithtown and Hempstead Turnpike toward safer designs.
3. Investments in infrastructure pre- and post-Sandy. Support has grown for expanding public and private resources for wastewater, transportation and energy infrastructure. Nearly $10 million was awarded for direct investment in downtown and infrastructure projects from the state.
4. Expanded presence in Albany. The LI Lobby Coalition brought over 50 organizations to Albany to ensure a Long Island voice for a joint small business, civic, environmental and transportation, human service and smart growth agenda. In addition to state budget changes, the coalition was able to get the “Sewage Right to Know Act” passed.
5. Local leadership sought out more smart growth solutions for youth, seniors and small businesses. Local polls showed an increase in support for smart growth projects thanks to favorable consumer preference, demonstration of local successes and ongoing outreach.
For 2013 we have much more work to do:
1. Support human needs including folks living in flooded-out housing. As the winter months get colder, emergency housing will take precedence, and options like using foreclosed homes as temporary shelters could be considered.
Even before Sandy, the Suffolk Welfare to Work Commission’s “Struggling in Suburbia,” report was the first thorough analysis of working families in recent years. There will need to be leadership to address these equity issues that often do not make it onto regional agendas.
2. Prioritize infrastructure investments. Federal and state resources that will come to LI for infrastructure and rebuilding need to reach the communities for which they are intended. New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released a report detailing an $89 billion gap statewide in funding for our towns and villages regarding wastewater and transportation infrastructure needs.
3. Many downtown projects that grow our economy are awaiting approval. Despite victories in recent years, there are over 14,000 units of housing in nearly 20 pending smart growth projects across Long Island.
The small business community prioritized downtown business hubs in the SBA funded “Small Businesses in a Struggling Economy” report from the American Communities Institute at Dowling College. This study has legislation and policy recommendations from small business input that will be advanced in 2013.
4. Coordinated bottom-up planning. Local officials, small business leaders and community organizations need to continue to shape the decisions of their neighborhoods while working collaboratively with regional authorities and plans.
To help plan for future storm response, we need to reformat our communication network with an emphasis on community-based sharing. People trust their municipalities, small business districts, churches and other local sources. These are the folks that any new system should build off.
This has been a year of great stress on our region but also one of community leadership and inspiration. We are going to need to work together to meet the needs of our communities, small businesses and our region’s infrastructure in 2013.
NEA accepting applications for FY 2013 Our Town grant
The National Endowment for the Arts is currently accepting applications for their "Our Town" grant program. The grant is aimed at rewarding creative placemaking projects with amounts numbering between $25,000 and $200,000.
Our Town will provide a limited number of grants for projects that contribute toward the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. Our Town will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to improve their quality of life, encourage greater creative activity, foster stronger community identity and a sense of place, and revitalize economic development. You can read a more in depth description of eligible products here.
Applictions for the grant must be submitted by January 14, 2013 by 11:59 pm EST. The application must be submitted electronically through the feederal government's online application system Grants.gov. It is strongly recommended that if you are interested you apply at least 10 days in advance to give ample time to resolve any issues that you might encounter. Late applications will not be accepted.
For more information on this grant please contact OT@arts.gov.
Ben & Jerry's Foundation providing grants for constituent-led organizations
The Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program supports non-profit grassroots, constituent-led organizations across the country that are using direct action, grassroots community-organizing strategies to accomplish their goals. Proposals will only be considered if they are aligned with the Foundation’s broad interests in social justice, environmental justice and sustainable food systems. Only organizations with operating budgets less than $500,000 may apply. In making funding decisions, they focus on the types of activities and strategies an organization uses for creating social change. Although the Foundation appreciates the value of direct service programs in meeting individual and family needs, we do not fund such programs.
Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) status, or who have a fiscal agent with this status are eligible to apply.
Funding: Selected recipients will be awarded up to $20,000 for a one-year period.
Deadline: Letter of Interest may be submitted January-March for consideration in the 2013 grant cycle
National Grid announces Sandy Recovery Program to help repair or replace broken heating systems
National Grid is reaching out to natural gas customers who have been most seriously impacted by Hurricane Sandy on Long Island and New York City with a Customer Assistance Program. Eligible customers include property owners whose home has not been declared uninhabitable by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and National Grid has placed a warning tag on boilers, water heaters or furnaces, (meaning that the equipment is unsafe for relight and operation until repair or replacement is made) are eligible.
National Grid can offer assistance to residential gas heating customers based upon the income guidelines listed in the document linked here. They have also released a Value Plus plumber list, available here. To participate with the program, customers can choose their own licensed plumber or select a plumber from this list. National Grid has also partnered with an agency (HeartShare) helping with this program.
The two tiers listed below are programs for residential customers:
Tier 1 Contact # is 1-877-MY-NGRID (1-877-696-4743)
Heating equipment (boiler, furnace, water heater) replacement based upon HEAP income guidelines. This is an outright grant from National Grid.
Tier 2 Contact # is 1-877-MY-NGRID (1-877-696-4743)
Heating equipment (boiler, furnace, water heater) replacement based upon income guidelines above HEAP income guidelines with an upper income limit. Please note that the tier 2 income chart is available on the document linked in the second paragraph of this araticle. The grant from National Grid is determined partly by the household income and the cost of the equipment.
Important: Please note that they cannot accept customer phone calls to the residential program.
If you know of anyone that needs assistance from these programs, please have them call directly to the 800 numbers above.
Though the above programs are designed for residential customers there is also help for commercial customers:
Tier 3 Contact # is 1-855-496-9359
National Grid is offering commercial gas customers grants that include heating equipment, buildings and inventory. Assistance varies based upon needs. There is an agency (RAM) helping with this program to help determine the amount of assistance available.
For additional information, please visit the web site link of http://www.nationalgridsandyrelief.com/. Please be sure to review all relevant documents to find out what aid you are available to receive.
Volunteers needed for Clean Up this Weekend
Dear potential volunteers who have not yet signed up for a community for this weekend.
Vision Long Island is organizing another physical clean-up crews to assist local communities damaged by heavy flooding for this weekend.
Thanks for your past help of Sandy impacted residents but much work still needs to be done. I know that with the holiday season, it may be hard for you to come out but any time you could donate would be greatly appreciated.
This weekend we will be continuing our cleanup efforts in the following communities:
FREEPORT: 38 Morton Ave
Freeport, NY 11520
Saturday at 9am For more information please contact Eric Alexander 631-804-9128
LINDENHURST: 96 Bayview Ave, West
Lindenhurst, NY 11757
Saturday at 10am
709 South 7th Street
Lindenhurst, NY 11757
Sunday at 10am
For more information please contact Elizabeth Alexander 631-375-4414
MASTIC BEACH: St. Andrew's Church
250 Nighborhood Road
Mastic Beach, NY 11951
Saturday and Sunday at 10am
Volunteers to serve meals:
Saturday. 5pm to 7pm and Sunday, 2pm to 4pm For more information please contact Tawaun Weber 516-810-0771
LONG BEACH: Long Beach Ice Arena
150 W. Bay Ave
Long Beach, NY 11561
Sunday 9am and 12pm
For more information please contact Eric Alexander 631-804-9128
Please provide your own supplies needed for clean-up: Industrial bags, rakes, hammers, shovels, gloves, masks, heavy boots. We may have many of these items available but it is safer to have them ready to go just in case.
SIMPLY CONTACT INFO@VISIONLONGISLAND.ORG OR CALL 631-804-9128 SO WE KNOW WHO IS SIGNING UP
Contact Speaker Boehner to let him know to pass Sandy Relief for Long Island!
Vision Long Island understands that Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut all have residents who are still suffering from the disasterous Superstorm Sandy. We invite you to stand with the numerous civic leaders, small businesses, organizations, elected officials and residents from impacted communities who have decided to say with a unified voice that we need relief now and not just when it's politically expedient.
You can contact Representative John Boehner (R-OH), the Speaker of the House, and demand he bring this extremely urgent bill to successful passage by calling 202-225-0600, faxing 202-225-5117, or by sending mail to the following address:
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
1011 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington, D.C. 20515
You can see the full text of the letter Vision has written below.
If you would like to sign on to this letter please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities to host James Howard Kunstler talk on January 6th
The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA), a non-profit organization dedicated to understanding, celebrating, and preserving Long Island’s cultural heritage, is hosting James Howard Kunstler’s talk on Rescuing the American Township from its Own Recent History in January.
Kunstler, a vocal critic of placeless architecture and urban planning, is the author of several books - including The Geography of Nowhere and Home From Nowhere - that challenge us to rethink how communities can be built by drawing on successful historic precedents. The talk will be on January 6, 2013 at 3:00pm at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Grace Auditorium. Admission is $20 and reservations are required, to reserve a seat or for further information please call (631) 692-4664 (weekdays only).
Town of Oyster Bay to Host Model Train Show for Hurricane Relief Efforts on January 13th
The Town of Oyster Bay will play host to a model train show for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, at the William P. Bennett Hicksville Community Center, located at 128 West Carl Street in Hicksville, on Sunday, January 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Town Councilman Anthony Macagnone announced. The model train show, coordinated and run by Trainville Hobby Depot, will feature exhibitors and train clubs from across Nassau County. All funds raised at the event by Trainville Hobby Depot will be donated to the American Red Cross, towards Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation to many residents within the Town, as well as island-wide, fund raising events such as this are essential to help those in need,” Councilman Macagnone said. “I encourage residents to come out to Hicksville Community Center for this entertaining model train show. Not only is this an exceptional fund raising opportunity, but it is an opportunity to shine a light on local businesses around the County, who are doing what they can to assist those in need.”
The Model Train Show will be coordinated by Trainville Hobby Depot, with assistance from Hicksville’s Boys and Girls Club, the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, and the Northwest Civic Association. Operating Model Train Layouts will be on display with no vendor sales taking place.
For more information about this event, contact Trainville Hobby Depot, at 516-433-4444.
Author David Sprintzen to hold book signing at Book Revue on January 17th
Author David Sprintzen will speak at Book Revue in downtown Huntington and sign his new book, Critique of Western Philosophy and Social Theory, on January 17th.
The main subject of discussion will be the crises of contemporary civilization. Sprinzten’s book, published by Palgrave Macmillan, consists in an extensive analysis of the personal, social, political, religious, and cultural dimensions of our current situation, followed by a series of practical proposals for constructive responses.
The book signing will take place on Thursday, January 17th, 2013 at 7:00pm. All books signed at Book Revue events must be purchased at Book Revue. If you purchase the book prior to the event please save your receipt. If you have purchased the book from somewhere else you can still get your book signed, we just ask that you make a purchase in our store of equal or greater value.
For more information please visit the Book Revue website.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we "wear many hats," and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.
To learn more or apply, send a resume, cover letter and writing sample to email@example.com. Put Fall 2012 Internship in the subject heading. For more information, call our office at 631-261-0242.
Check out what downtown theaters and performing arts centers are playing this weekend! Consider visiting a local bar or restaurant, or doing some shopping before or after the show.
Landmark on Main Street, the Jeanne Rimsky Theater 232 Main Street, Port Washington:
David Wax Museum in Concert - Saturday, January 5th at 8:00pm
The Ugly Duckling and the
Tortoise and the Hare - Sunday, January 6th at 11:00am and 2:00pm Tickets and more information available here
The John W. Engeman Theater 250 Main Street, Northport:
A Christmas Carol - Friday, January 4th at 8:00pm, Saturday, January 5th at 3:00 & 8:00pm, Sunday January 6th at 2:00pm Tickets and more information available here
Museums in or near Long Island downtowns:
The Garden City Historical Society
109 Eleventh Street, Garden City
Founded in 1975, The Garden City Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the historic character and ambiance of the Village of Garden City, and educating its members and the public in preservation and history related matters. The Society owns and operates The Garden City Historical Society Museum at 109 Eleventh Street, an original 1872 A.T. Stewart-era “Apostle House” listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which was deeded to the Society by the Episcopal Diocese. The Society maintains an Archive of over 1,200 artifacts and a Historic Structure Survey of pre-1935 residential and non-residential structures in the Village of Garden City. It offers periodic lectures and presentations, and publishes a newsletter. The Society’s A. T. Stewart Exchange (consignment shop) on the lower level of the Museum offers unique items for sale. The shop (516-746-8900) is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays (Tuesday is senior citizen discount day) and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove
The museum is a center for research on Long Island geology, Native American archeology and natural history. Current exhibits feature, “The Seasonal Round”, an exploration through Long Island Native American life throughout the seasons. Exhibits on Long Island’s glacial formation, landform change and cultural evolution are on display. Prehistoric artifacts and audio descriptions add to the story of Long Island migrants, their lifestyles and interactions with newcomers such as Europeans. The museum has special educational programs to accommodate field trips and science research on the history of Long Island.
Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum
Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor
The museum explores the relationship between Long Islanders and the sea through. It details the history of the regional whaling industry, whale conservation and the history of Cold Spring Harbor as a maritime port. A new exhibit, “Right Whales”, highlights the biology, history and decline of the Right Whale. Exhibits featuring New York’s only fully-equipped 19th century whaleboat, ship logs and correspondence as well as whaling and maritime artifacts. Art programs are available for all ages.
East Hampton Historical Society
101 Main Street, East Hampton
The headquarters for the East Hampton Historical Society, the house is an example of life in the post-colonial era in the East End. It features historic furnishings and crafts built by local craftsmen of the time. The Historical Society also has four other museums and town houses including one of New York’s first educational academies and a colonial town government meeting house.
2 Prime Avenue, Huntington
Located in Hecksher Park, the museum features collections of European and American paintings which spans over 500 years of Western art. Photography has become a growing part of the collection as well. Current exhibits include “A Way with Words: Text in Art”, which displays the incorporation of text in visual art and “Coming of Age in America : The Photography of Joseph Szabo”, which portraits adolescence of Long Island through time with a look at summers spent at the beach. The museum also features educational experiences for students and adults and will exhibit Long Island’s best young artists in April.
Intersection of Heitz Place and Bay Avenue, Hicksville
The museum includes a history of the Heitz Place Courthouse and a collection of earth science materials to describe the natural history of the area. It features one of the few remaining Long Island lock-ups and is one of the few remaining courthouses standing from before Nassau County split from Queens. The earth science exhibit in the museum has recent additions of a Mosasaur skull, prehistoric amber and the horn of a Triceratops horridus. The educational program at the museum offers experiences in paleontology, dynamic earth processes and investigating butterflies and moths.
Islip Art Museum
50 Irish Lane, East Islip
The museum is the leading exhibition space for contemporary art on Long Island, featuring work from international, national and emerging local artists. It is said to be the best facility of its kind outside of Manhattan. Current exhibits feature “Jam Session”, a holiday exhibit featuring paintings and sculptures influenced by music. The museum’s store features one of a kind jewelry, crafts and art work. Educational opportunists are also offered at the museum through its Cultural School of Arts.
Long Island Maritime Museum
88 West Avenue, West Sayville
Featuring 14 acres with 9 historic buildings on the West Sayville waterfront, the museum preserves Long Island’s maritime history and heritage. It is committed to research, preservation and interpretation of the region’s nautical history and the relationship to Long Island’s natural history. The Elward Smith Library houses racing trophies and records of over 500 wrecks and groundings in the Long Island waters. The other buildings feature rotating exhibits of maps, photos, newspapers and personal accounts of maritime history. Also highlighted are boats and materials left behind by the US Life Saving Service.
Museum of the Village of Rockville Centre-Phillips House
28 Hempstead Ave, Rockville Centre
The museum is a restored 19th century Victorian home which displays life in Rockville Centre in the 19th and 20th centuries. It features furnishings, antique kitchen tools, carpentry tools and clothing of the time period. The museum is considered one of the finest small museums in the state and there is never an entrance fee for special events or exhibits.
Oyster Bay Historical Society
20 Summit Street, Oyster Bay
The Earle-Wightman House built in 1720, gives a picture of life in Oyster Bay during the colonial period and its transition through the mid-20th Century. It features an 18th century garden, maintained by the North Country Garden Club, holds ornamental plantings as well as herbs used for cooking, medical purposes and fragrances. Exhibited are postcard, photograph, map and newspaper collections. Current exhibition, “Women Wearing History: The Force Behind Fashion”, details women’s influence on the textile and fashion industry in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Port Jefferson Historical Society
115 Prospect Avenue, Port Jefferson
The Mather House Museum, the headquarters of The Historical Society of Greater Port Jefferson, and features several exhibitions of local artifacts. The museum complex features the 19th century home, a country store, a marine barn, a tool shed, the Spinney Clock Museum and the Thomas Jefferson Perennial Garden. Exhibitions feature ship models, period furniture and paintings, vintage tools and clothing, antique dolls, taped oral histories, 250 antique clocks and other examples of life in the 19th century.
Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum
Main and Garden Streets, Sag Harbor
The museum details Sag Harbor’s whaling industry through the 19th century and its impact on the culture and development of the area. It details how the whaling industry brought migrants from all over the globe and turned the port into an international destination. Artifacts left by whalers, antique tools, harpoons, captains’ portraits, antique furnishings and children’s toys are all on display at the museum.
Sayville Historical Society
Edwards Street, Sayville
The museum is the headquarters to the Sayville Historical Society. The museum aims to foster historical spirit, encourage historical research and to preserve historical materials. The museum features products of both Sayville and other Suffolk localities. The Society holds 4 historic buildings, 1,500 items of clothing, 1,000 photographs, a map collection and numerous classic furnishings. Its collection is constantly growing and tours of the Edward Homestead offer a view at the area through its history.
Sea Cliff Village Museum
95 Tenth Avenue, Sea Cliff
The museum presents changing exhibits on the history and culture of Sea Cliff. It strives to raise community awareness by preserving artifacts, photographs and costumes relating to the unique historical background of the village. It contains 287 photos taken by Long Island postcard photographer, Henry Otto Korten. Currently exhibited, “Then and Now…” displays a range of artifacts and costumes over a 125 year span. Exhibits include the Connor Cottage, Victorian Kitchen, and a historical town diorama.
Smithtown Township Arts Council
660 Route 25A, Smithtown
The Council aims to enrich the township and surrounding area’s quality of life through celebrating and supporting the arts in everyday life. It is a goal to make art accessible to people of all backgrounds. It Mills Pond House is a valuable place in its preserved traditions as well as its evolving and unique influences. Current exhibit, “Winners Showcase” displays the artistic development and achievements of the region and nation. Classes in jewelry making, poster design, scrapbooking, pottery, drawing and several other skills and topics are available. The Council has also partnered with local downtown businesses to display local artists’ work.
Southampton Historical Museum
17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton
The Southampton Historical Society was created to preserve the town’s history as well as history from the surrounding area. Its Rogers Mansion Museum features year round exhibits, a research center and education programs for children and adults. Current exhibits include “Shopkeepers of Southampton: Photographs by Davis Gaffga”, which gives a detailed look into historic businesses which helped shape downtown and community. Its research center allows for visitors to conduct research with a professional research assistant. Collections feature antique furnishings, a classic parlor room and dining hall and photographs of the 1938 historic hurricane.
Freeport Historical Museum
350 S Main Street, Freeport
Housed in a Civil War cottage, the museum chronicles Freeport's history through the 20th century. On display are a spinning wheel from the town’s oldest house, vaudeville-era items, waterfront memorabilia, a 1930s television and a 1777 13-star flag. The museum holds a collection of historic postcards and high school yearbooks from the early 1900s to present day.
117 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck
The museum features highly distinctive collections of antiques, artworks and fine furnishings from around the world. It is a premier art dealer dating back to 1971 and features expertise in 17th to 19th century works. The gallery experience offers the opportunity to not only view fine art but to purchase a piece which stands out.
Long Beach Historical Museum
226 W. Penn Street, Long Beach
The museum, operated by the Long Beach Historical and Preservation Society, is a classic Craftsman-style summer villa. The house built in 1909, features large stain glass windows which are a hallmark of classic Long Beach estates. The house and backyard are furnished with local artifacts, including an original broadwalk bench, photographs and archaeological findings. The garden features original stock rose bushes.
Regardless of political affiliation, as a Long Islander you have to applaud Representative Peter King for standing up to the leadership of his own party when it comes to aid for his constituents. In case you missed it, here is a clip of him from earlier in the week speaking truth to power.
If you are unable to view the video above, you can do so here.
Newsletter Editors: Christopher Kyle, Program Coordinator; Michelle Dutchen, Communications Director Contributors: Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director; Tara Klein, Policy Director
Elissa Ward, Sustainability Director; Lucy Ayala, Program Assistant
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