January 6 - January 12, 2014
Albanese & Albanese
Albanese & Albanese LLP was founded in 1949 by Vincent M. Albanese, with the belief that every client, regardless of the issue, deserves the very best representation.
The Firm is one of the region’s preeminent full-service firms, providing its clients with specialized and diverse legal services. Their reputation for excellence derives from our commitment to deliver high quality legal services and individual attention while maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness. They provide the ideal combination of tradition, innovation and sophistication. Their clients include major financial institutions, liability and title insurance companies, real estate developers and owners, construction contractors, universities, publicly and privately held companies, entrepreneurs engaged in all aspects of business and individuals.
“We’re gutting the first floor and whatever still needs to be gutted, we are putting in sheet rock, we are insulating, we are running electric, we are doing everything we can to make sure that tonight they can sit on the couch with some heat and feel like they’re home.” - Kim Skillen of Neighbors Supporting Neighbors commenting on a mutual aid home rebuilding through Friends of Long Island
Mangano, Elected Officials Sworn Into Office Across Long Island
2013 is now a part of the past, and Long Island’s new class of elected officials have been sworn to serve.
His colleagues in the Nassau County Legislature took their oath of office on Jan. 6. Newcomers Laura Curran (D-Baldwin), Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck), Donald MacKenzie (R-Oyster Bay) and Laura Schaefer (R-Westbury) joined incumbents Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead), Robert Troiano (D-Westbury), Carrie Solages (D-Elmont), Denise Ford (D-Long Beach), Francis Becker (R-Lynbrook), Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence), Vincent Muscarella (R-West Hempstead), Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), Delia Deriggi Whitton (D-Glen Cove), Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa), Dennis Dunne (R-Levittown), Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), Rose Marie Walker (R-Hicksville), Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) and Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow).
First term Huntington Councilwoman Tracey Edwards was sworn into office on Jan. 5. She joined fellow incumbents Supervisor Frank Petrone and Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, and fellow newcomer Highway Superintendent Peter Gunther.
Former Nassau Legislator Judi Bosworth officially took over as North Hempstead Supervisor on Jan. 5. Newly-elected Town Clerk Wayne Wink and incumbent Board members Viviana Russell, Angelo Ferrara and Lee Seeman were also sworn in.
In the Town of Islip, incumbent Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt and Councilman Steve Flotteron officially began another term on Jan. 6.
Incumbent Supervisor Sean Walter, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, Councilman John Dunleavy, Assessor Laverne Tennenberg and Highway Superintendent George Woodson were all again sworn into office.
Vision Long Island board and staff were on hand for these ceremonies and look forward to working with our public officials in the coming year.
Friends Of Long Island Join Forces To Rebuild Home Amid Snow, Cold
A special delivery left Gina Bonner in tears arrived with a house full of guests.
Informative Public Comment hearing held for Ronkonkoma HUB
On Thursday, January 9th, Brookhaven Town Board met in order to hear public comments and information on the proposed $475 million Ronkonkoma HUB project spanning 53.75-acres including and adjacent to the Ronkonkoma train station.
Thursday’s meeting was born three years ago as an agreement between Towns of Islip and Brookhaven in September 2011. Then Supervisors Phil Nolan and Mark Lesko teamed up to fund a sewage treatment plant and other infrastructure they hoped would encourage private business and MacArthur Airport expansion. An earlier version of the plan garnered a Smart Growth Award from Vision Long Island in 2009 for then-developer VHB thanks to its ambition of providing a variety of transportation options in the area. The current plan has been allocated significant public transportation and sewer infreastructure.
Built around the Ronkonkoma LIRR station, the development would combine rental and permanent housing with office, retail and meeting space. The tallest buildings would neighbor the LIRR station as others shrink as the distance builds. Plans called for three- and four-story residential buildings, along with a three-story average for commercial buildings, 195,000 sq. ft. of retail, 360,000 sq. ft. of office space, 60,000 square feet of flex space including convention space, and 1,450 housing units set at market rate, in addition to senior and assisted living units.
The plan in its current incarnation is being proposed by the master developer, Setauket based Tritec Real Estate Company, who is also currently building the $100 million New Village at Patchogue. The company has stated that it hopes to break ground on what it hopes will be development opportunites that will bring high-end housing and live entertainment to the area. However, if approved, they will first need to purchase the property from the eight owners who control a majority of the 54 parcels in the area. Though they hope to enter into a "friendly agreement" with the owners, Tritec has not ruled out eminent domain as a "tool of last resort."
Thursday's meeting was held in order to consider five actions: a land use plan, an environmental impact statement, a Ronkonkoma Hub Urban Renewal Plan, the adoption of a town code amendement for the district, and a rezoning of the parcels to accomodate the development. No votes were taken but public comments were heard with support coming from local groups such as the Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Association, the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce, and the Holbrook Chamber of Commerce among other local residents and businesses. Several local regional interests also spoke such as the LI Housing Partnership, the Community Development Corp, the LI Builder's Insititute, Plumbers Union, Carpetnters Union, LI Regional Planning Board, the Rauch Foundation, and Vision Long Island.
Most of the comments were in support of the project with a roughly three to one margin in favor of the proposal. Most of those in favor referenced economic development, cleaning up the blighted area by the train station, and a hope for increased property values. Most opposed raised concerns about traffic congestion and the abuse of eminent domain laws.
The expected cost of around $475 million will be covered by Tritec who will also combine funds with governmental agencies to pay for improvements to a local sewage treatment plant that can handle 1.1 million gallons per day, which is greatly in excess of what the project is estimated to need.
You can read Vision Long Island's testimony from the meeting here. Written comments on the project can be submitted until February 10th.
You can check out News 12's coverage of the meeting here.
Glen Cove theater to reopen in April
The Glen Cove downtown movie theater will reopen in April of this year. The new theater will see a $1 million renovations which will include the addition of digital projectors, new seating, marquee and concession stand, and a children's game room.
When the theater shut down in March of 2012, it left the city of Glen Cove without an anchor to drive foot traffic into the downtown, affecting local businesses. Jay Levinson, who owns other movie theaters on Long Island, leased the Glen Cove theater for 15 years.
"In a big town like Glen Cove there should be a theater," said Jay Levinson, a self-described "movie fanatic.” Levinson also operates two other theaters, one in Merrick and one in East Northport.
In an effort to attract people from other communities, Levinson has been talking to restaurant owners and other businesses about promotions that would offer diners and clients free movie tickets, concessions, and other perks.
The theater went into foreclosure and was closed a month later. Commercial real estate investor Robert DiNoto, of the Huntington-based DiNoto Group, bought the mortgage note in June and took over ownership of the theater in October. DiNoto, with the help of Ralph Suozzi, the mayor at the time, looked at both national and local operators before deciding on Levinson.
"It needed a local presence, someone that's really going to be on top of it to run it the way it needs to be run to ensure it's going to stay," DiNoto said. "Although that meant a great deal less in terms of money for us, we were able to get someone to get in there and open sooner."
The Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency, which Suozzi chaired, last month finalized a tax break deal for the theater in which DiNoto's company will make a payment in lieu of taxes, called a PILOT, lower than what it would pay in property taxes. The reduced tax liability allowed DiNoto to charge a lower rent to Levinson. Suozzi said DiNoto would pay a $65,000 PILOT, with annual increases, for 15 years.
The Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency gave the theater a tax break deal, one would involve payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, which will allow DiNoto to charge a lower rent to Levinson. The deal was finalized in December.
"The theater is the anchor of the downtown," Suozzi said. "It's really important for the youth, not just the businesses . . . it's also really important for the psychology of the community."
The reopening of the Glen Cove movie theater will hopefully would revitalize the town and bring business back to Glen Cove, which according to local sources has been down 30 percent since the theater closed. The six-screen theater will keep its name, Glen Cove Cinemas, and play first-run movies.
For further reading, please visit Newsday.
Economy, Schools, Weather Top Governor Cuomo's State Of The State Address; Long Island Lobby Coalition Delegation visits lawmakers
Job growth, education and disaster recovery were three key parts of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday.
Speaking to thousands in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center up in Albany and thousands more online, Cuomo said 2014 would be a “banner year” his fourth annual speech.
A nearly twenty member delegation from the Long Island Lobby Coalition and friends visited Albany’s lawmakers and viewed the State of the State address. Visits included NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, NYS Senator’s Jack Martins, Phil Boyle, NYS Assemblymembers, Bob Sweeney, Edward Hennessey, Charles Lavine, Steve Englebright, Harvey Weisenberg, Chad Luppinacci, David McDonough, Andrew Raia. LI Lobby Coalition members included among others CCE's Adrienne Esposito, LI Federation of Labor's John Durso, LI Building Trade Council's Pete Zarcone, Friends of LI's Jon Siebert, Huntington Chamber's, Pete Berpuglia, Empire State Future's Peter B. Fleischer, Workforce Development Institute's Michael Harrison, Tri-State Transportation Campaign's Nadine Lemmon, LI Business Council's Bob Fonti, Local 338's Joe Fontano, Suburban Millenial Institute’s Jeff Guilott, Office of Governor Cuomo's Scott Martella, and Vision's VP Trudy Fitzimmons and Eric Alexander.
Post-Sandy forum held with LI Storm Recovery Czar Jon Kaiman
On Thursday, January 9th, a community focused event sponsored by Friends of Long Island, including Neighbors Supporting Neighbors and Adopt a House, was held with recently appointed Long Island Storm Recovery Czar Jon Kaiman in order to address concerns about when resources will be received by those who need them.
In response to a sense of overwhelming frustration on the part of homeowners who have seen numerous delays and red tape when trying to rebuild. Mr. Kaiman promised the that money to pay for future work will be delivered "Hopefully, within a matter of weeks. The money is going to start flowing, and you will be getting money now directly for the reconstruction."
Kaiman face a tense and occasionally contentious crowd of over 500 anxious people that demanded answers in response to when they would receive rebuilding funds. Many people have been living with what were supposed to be temporary solutions since the storm hit over a year ago and were hoping for a clean time table on when they could expect delivery of promised resources.
NY Rising, the state agency temporarily in charge of distributing the funds, has received approval from the federal government to begin the task of paying out the roughly 6,000 claims by homeowners for the work needed for recovery. The funds are expected to pay for approximately 50% of the total costs of repairs. Funds will also be allocated to help pay mortgage bills for displaced residents who are struggling to also rent out apartments while they wait to rebuild.
Vision Long Island, who attended and spoke at the event, would like to applaud Kim Skillen, Theresa Dipietto and the Adopt a House team for being able to pull together so many community members to host a productive and informative forum.
Groups urge Congress to restore commuter tax break
There is currently a big push from advocates of public transportation to get Congress to restore the Commuter Tax Benefit, which expired at the end of December, in order to prevent further fare hikes. If the tax break is not restored it could mean, on average, costs of up to $1,300 a year for Long Island Railroad passengers.
Over twenty transit groups, including Vision Long Island, from the tri-state area were signatories to a statement that was released on Wednesday, asking lawmakers to renew the Commuter Tax Benefit when Congress reconvenes this week. Through this tax break, riders are able to pay the cost of their fares with as much as $245 in pretax dollars each month through employer-administered programs such as WageWorks. After the benefit expired, the allowed amount of deductible income was went down to $130 per month. Motorists, however, who commute by car will still be allowed $250 to pay for parking costs.
"When riders no longer have the option to use pretax dollars for transit passes, transit systems may face decreased ridership, which often leads to fare hikes and service cuts," the groups, including the nonprofit Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the LIRR Commuter Council, said in their statement. "Restoring and enacting permanent parity for transit riders, and making that parity retroactive to January 1, establishes a balanced and progressive fiscal policy."
In a separate statement, LIRR Commuter Council chairman Mark Epstein said giving bigger tax breaks to drivers "sends exactly the wrong message to people who have made the responsible decision to use public transportation to travel to work."
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) led an effort in Washington, D.C., to extend and increase the full Commuter Tax Benefit as part of a package of tax breaks considered last month, but it was blocked by GOP lawmakers. Schumer said Wednesday he is working on bringing the issue up for a vote again in the Senate "as soon as humanly possible."
"No one questions that this tax benefit is critical to New York and New York commuters," Schumer said.
For further reading, please visit Newsday.
PBS Tunes Into Poverty Situation In Suffolk County on January 12th
Long Island may be an affluent region, but poverty is still a very real issue.
Have A Heart For LI's Homeless At Farmingdale State Candlelight Vigil on February 13th
Wear red and join Long Island Coalition for the Homeless at Farmingdale State College on Feb. 13 to support your homeless neighbors.
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 "Vision Long Island Internship" in the subject heading. For more information, call our office at 631-261-0242.
What's happening in your downtown this weekend?
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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“I have decided not to seek re-election to the United States Congress in 2014. I am forever grateful to my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for the past 18 years. As I plan for the next chapter of my life, I look forward to resuming my role as a citizen activist for the causes and principles that are so close to my heart.
I am very proud of the many accomplishments I have achieved during my time in Congress, and am grateful to my family, my staff and all the countless volunteers and supporters with whom I have worked with through the years. The most important goal for any elected official is to help make residents’ lives better than they were, and as I enter my last year in office, I hope that together we continue to achieve that goal. Although I will not be seeking re-election, my staff and I will continue to work hard and advocate for my constituents.”
- United States Representative Carolyn McCarthy
Newsletter Editor: Mike Koehler, Communications Director
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