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January 21st - January 25th, 2013




The Engel Burman Group

Several years ago, the partners that make up The Engel Burman Group came together under the most likely, but telling, of circumstances. They were competing for the same property and decided their needs were better served if they were sitting on the same side of the table. They teamed up successfully for that particular project, and for many more to come. It is this kind of aggressive and open-minded thinking that today typifies the creative energy at The Engel Burman Group.

In a business where you’re known by the company you keep their principals actively network, remaining in touch, in step and involved with the communities they help develop. While their management team is certainly comprised of seasoned real estate professionals, EB finds itself driven, every day, by the youth and energy of the next generation. The combined effect of their collective experience makes for a formidable formula.

The Engel Burman Group was first to build Next Generation housing on Long Island for qualified first-time homebuyers under 40, and they remain committed to providing exceptional yet affordable living solutions for active adults over 55. Perhaps most notably The Bristal family of assisted living communities, New York's platinum standard.

In honot of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day our Quote of the Week and Closing Words both include famous quotes by the storied civil rights leader:

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

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First Baptist Church of Riverhead holds 28th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast

On Monday, January 21st the First Baptist Church of Riverhead had their 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast held at the Hyatt Regency Wind Watch Hotel ballroom in Hauppauge, which this year coincided with the second inaugural of President Barack Obama.  

The annual breakfast event is coordinated each year by First Baptist Church Associate Pastor the Rev. Cynthia Liggon and chaired by the Rev. Charles Coverdale, First Baptist Church pastor. It is a fundraiser for the Family Community Life Center, a proposal to build a community center and workforce housing on land adjacent to the church on Northville Turnpike.

Reverend Charles Coverdale, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, said Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is especially meaningful this year.

"This year is particularly fitting with Dr King's dream -- this is the exact day of celebration when President Barack Obama is being sworn in, as an African American president of the United States. It just happened to fall on the same day, but it's major," he said.

Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, an accomplished pastor, a credentialed theologian and a renowned author, gave an opening speech which related the work of MLK Jr. to the prophet Moses and recalled his own personal experiences with segregation.

Honored at the event were the 2013 MLK Jr. Meritorious Award recipients, individuals who are chosen "by the way they embody Dr. King's ideals, and work tirelessly to make his dream a reality for all humanity," Coverdale said. Among those honored with the award were James Banks, College-wide Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs at Suffolk County Community College, Bishop Harrison Hale, Pastor of the Cornerstone Church of God in Christ, Thaddeus Hill, executive director of Timothy Hill Children's Ranch, Debrah Garcia, director and CEO of Long Island Head Start, and Belinda Alvarez-Groneman, president of Pronto of Long Island, Inc.

The MLK Jr. Freedom Choir performed under the direction of Rosa Palmore, bringing the crowd to its feet.

Riverhead Town Board members James Wooten and Jodi Giglio, along with Highway Superintendent George Woodson and Police Chief David Hegermiller attended the breakfast.  Eric Alexander the Executive Director of Vision Long Island, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, along with Brookhaven Councilwoman Connie Kepert, also attended.  Representatives showed in place of Congressman Tim Bishop and County Executive Steve Bellone, who were in the nation's capital for the inauguration.  Corporate sponsors of this year's breakfast were Stony Brook University's School of Social Welfare, Brookhaven National Lab, Peconic Bay Medical Center, Riverhead Building Supply and Suffolk County National Bank.
The goal, Coverdale said, is to create a community, not church event, bringing together all walks of life including businesses, universities, government officials, and representatives from all houses of worship.

For further reading, please visit the Riverhead Patch.

Huntington Township Housing Coalition holds annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday interfaith service

This past Monday, the Huntington Township Housing Coalition held its annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday interfaith service at the Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center. The service this year focused on hunger, homelessness, and the need for affordable housing.

In celebrating the life and work of Dr. King, the coalition used music and words to encourage attendees to follow in his footsteps. Richard Koubek, president of the Coalition and Vision Long Island board member, advocated for affordable housing in Huntington. He also announced the launch of the Coalition's yearlong campaign to persuade the Huntington Town Board to remove restrictions on allowing accessory apartments.

Koubek said attendees must carry the message that there is a need for more affordable housing on Long Island.

"I really hope that the number of people who came today -- and it's enough to fill [Huntington] Town Hall -- that these people are motivated enough so at the next confrontation over affordable housing they will come out and fill Town Hall," Koubek said.

About 200 people attended the service at the Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center in Commack. The program included readings of King's work on economic justice, hunger and poverty; musical selections by various choirs and prayers in languages including Hebrew, Arabic, Creole and Spanish.

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone spoke about meeting the challenges of affordable housing. He said he supports reopening discussions on the town's accessory apartment law and possible changes to it.

"It's something that's needed right where they live: either for their children, their parents or their single-parented daughter or son."

For further reading please visit Newsday.

Proposed mixed-use building in Farmingdale receives praise from planning board

A mixed-use building with 39 apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail space may rise this year in central Farmingdale, and a planning board member predicted it would lure tenants.

The new project would replace an 85-room Hilton hotel once envisioned as the centerpiece of a revitalized downtown. The hotel was scrapped from plans after developers failed to secure funding for it. Planning board members on Tuesday didn't focus on the loss of the hotel. Board chairman Frank DeStefano said he had wondered whether a hotel would do well in Farmingdale.

The proposed mixed-use building would complement a larger, already-approved mixed-use building, creating a $35 million complex along Secatogue Avenue by the Long Island Rail Road station, developers said. Construction on that building, which has 115 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail space, is set to begin in May.

"We see . . . [the second building] as an enhancement of the project across the street," said developer Anthony Bartone of Farmingdale, "creating a boulevard feel."

On Tuesday, the second mixed-used project was presented to the Farmingdale planning board, which was generally receptive and passed the application along to the board of trustees with recommendations that traffic, parking and pedestrian safety be evaluated. Some residents and planning board members asked how businesses would be attracted to Farmingdale considering Main Street has 20 vacancies. They also worried about a shortage in parking and an increase in traffic.

Developers next must obtain trustee approval on height and density variances in exchange for "development incentive bonuses" that include parkland improvements and buried utility lines, as well as annual payments to the village.

Bartone Properties late last year partnered with Irving, Texas-based development company TDI to build the complex.

For further reading, please visit Newsday.

East Hampton to waive parking fee in order to encourage private sector to create needed apartments

Affordable housing in East Hampton Village got a small but important boost on Friday when the village board considered and then quickly adopted a zoning code amendment that will eliminate a disincentive to establishing second-story rental apartments in the village’s commercial districts.

In the past, when the village zoning board of appeals granted variances from offeet parking requirements, applicants were required to pay $10,000 to a village parking fund for each parking space that could not be provided. However, the village board realized that in order to implement affordable housing, in some cases, strictly applying those requirements in commercial zones “may require variance relief in order to implement affordable housing,” according to the legislation. The amendment “is intended to replace the disincentive with a requirement that covenants and restrictions be imposed that will ensure the continued use of the property for purposes of affordable housing.”

The burden represented by the $10,000-per-space fee had come to the board’s attention when Pat Trunzo’s November 2012 appearance before the Zoning Board of Appeals, at which he made a case for variances needed to convert the second floor of the building he co-owns with his brother at 11 Lumber Lane into two apartments. Mr. Trunzo said that the fee would deplete the money for the project.

At Friday’s meeting, Michelle Trunzo read a letter on Mr. Trunzo’s behalf, in which he urged the amendment’s adoption.

“It is well drafted and well thought-out, providing relief to deserving projects while still leaving the village, through its zoning board of appeals, in control of which applications benefit from its considerable relief. As we hope to be the first to benefit from the proposed amendment, we sincerely hope it may spur other affordable housing projects in the commercial and manufacturing districts to materialize.”

With a seemingly insatiable demand for second homes and the encroachment of those houses into neighborhoods traditionally populated by local residents, the proposed amendment represents “one of the few potential countertrends to a demographic shift that poses continuing threat to the very fabric and viability of the community,” Ms. Trunzo read. The letter complimented the Zoning Board of Appeals for being open-minded and for listening to the public with regard to the need for affordable housing.

Public comment was unanimously in favor of the proposal. Joan Osborne, speaking for the Village Preservation Society of East Hampton, voiced the society’s strong support for “finding ways to create affordable housing units in the village where practical, applicable, and appropriate. . . . As the asset may change hands over time and tenants come and go, it is essential that any property benefiting from relief under this special exception remain affordable,” she said.

Though neither a resident of the village nor speaking on behalf of the Town of East Hampton, Tom Ruhle, the town’s director of housing, also voiced his support. “I believe this to be an excellent move by the village toward making it easier for the private sector to create affordable housing opportunities, in this particular case over a building that already exists.”

Waiving the offeet parking spaces fee requirement is not mandatory, Mr. Ruhle said, “but it’s giving the authority to the board on a case-by-case basis to relax it. I believe from my experience in the town that this can be done and can be maintained in perpetuity affordable.”

Gerry Mooney, who has been managing affordable housing complexes in the town for 25 years, including the recently opened senior citizens apartments at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Amagansett, also spoke in support of the code amendment. Mr. Mooney said that a waiting list for the 175 units he manages grows daily, and that applicants can wait up to seven years for housing. “The reason we have over 350 applicants is because nobody moves. There’s really no place to go, it’s not like there’s a lot of choices out there. And when they hear that there’s going to be a long waiting list, many of them get so discouraged that they don’t even make the application after we send it to them,” he said.

The need has never been greater, Mr. Mooney said, adding that most applicants are now sharing overcrowded housing, and sleeping on couches or in basements. They are also likely to spend half of their income, or more, on rent. “This is not only seniors but also local people, young people who have gotten out of high school and college and would love to live here, near their parents and grandparents. They work in the hardware stores, Starbucks. They’re plumbers, electricians, landscapers, waiters. But most of all, these are our neighbors and they are people that we have a responsibility to, to work with as far as providing affordable housing,” he said.

“This is a baby step for your village government, where we’re proceeding today,” said Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. “The one drawback, as I think we all realize, is the cost of real estate. But this was a first step forward. Hopefully we will be able to build on that as time unfolds.”

For further reading, please visit the East Hampton Star.


Governor Cuomo releases proposed 2013-2014 Executive Budget

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled the proposed 2013-14 Executive Budget and Management Plan that builds on two years of balanced, fiscally responsible budgeting and invests in economic development, education reform, rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy, provides support to local governments and school districts, and includes no new taxes or fees.

The budget covers issues such as education, health care, mental hygiene, energy, transportation, and Hurricane Sandy initiatives. Some of the highlights of the Executive Budget includes the elimination of the $1.3 billion budget gap with no new taxes or fees (the expected gap for 2013-14 was projected to be $17.4 billion prior to the last two responsible budgets), holding spending increases below 2 percent for third consecutive year, increases in education aid by $889 million (or 4.4 percent), raising the minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $8.75/hour, and reforming the Workers’ Compensation system to save employers, local governments and school districts more than $900 million.

Economic Development
The Governor’s proposed budget targets economic development spending to accelerate the commercialization of new technology, launches a third round of the Regional Economic Development Councils, and markets the state’s tourism assets to bolster economic growth. The Executive Budget includes $150 million for a third round of the Regional Council process.

The Executive Budget includes $300 million of new transportation capital funding under the NY Works program. In addition, the Budget provides operating support totaling $4.7 billion to mass transit systems. The MTA will receive over $4.2 billion, an increase of more than $358 million from 2012-13, and other transit systems will receive over $454 million, which reflects an increase of $23.5 million. The Budget includes $307 million in General Fund support for the MTA to fully offset the revenue impact of the reform of the MTA payroll tax that the Governor signed into law in 2011. The Executive Budget includes approximately $85 million in funding assistance for the Thruway Authority, including the state takeover of costs of the Division of State Police Troop T, that helped eliminate the need for a substantial commercial toll increase. For transit systems hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, the Governor has provided a modest boost in operating support. Other downstate transit systems, like Nassau County’s NICE bus, will share a combined $23.5 million increase over last year.   And, keeping to his promise, Cuomo allocated $307 million in General Funds to the MTA to offset the cuts to the Payroll Mobility Tax that Albany orchestrated two years ago. The Governor also proposes to extend a key MTA business tax surcharge for five years.

Unlike the recent draft of NYSDOT’s Capital Plan (or the pre-draft plan), the budget actually mentions “pedestrian” and “bicycling” programs. Although advocates were hoping for a dedicated line that assured a certain amount of money would go to these life-saving, economy-building projects, there is still hope. Of the $300 million in new funding for the New York Works program, $100 million is designated “for all modes of transportation infrastructure” to help “encourage regional economic development and to help leverage private investment.” If language is included to make sure these funds are specifically used to strengthen downtowns (pedestrian, bicycle, equitable transit-oriented development come to mind), that would be a win. The last disbursement of NY Works money went almost completely toward road repaving and bridge replacements, so there is a good argument for this round of funding to flow toward pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure.

Environment and Energy
It also outlines increases support for critical environmental protection and energy programs. The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) will be increased by $19 million to $153 million. The Cleaner, Greener Communities program, administered by NYSERDA to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, will be supplemented by a net $10 million in new state funding. To address a backlog of environmental capital needs, the Budget includes $135 million of new funding for DEC, OPRHP, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Olympic Regional Development Authority under the NY Works program. In addition, the Budget provides the financial platform to implement the Moreland Commission recommendations that will strengthen the oversight and enforcement mechanisms of the Public Service Commission.

Hurricane Sandy Relief
The Executive Budget provides support for Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding projects, programs, and other initiatives. Specifically, the Budget includes appropriations of $21 billion for disaster-related recovery, rebuilding and mitigation. An estimated $30 billion of Federal aid will flow through these appropriations or be directly administered by the Federal government, local governments and other entities. Communities that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, Superstorm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee will be eligible for rebuilding and mitigation grants. Part of the budget also outlines the Recreate NY Smart Home and Recreate NY Home Buy-Out Programs which will ensure that New York rebuilds to modern building standards and, in locations where rebuilding is impractical, provide a voluntary home buyout alternative.

Other Areas
The Executive Budget includes all funds spending of $136.5 billion in the fiscal year that begins April 1, 2013, an increase of $2.5 billion or 1.9% from 2012-13. All Funds include federal funds. It also includes State Operating Funds spending of $90.8 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion, or 1.6 percent. State Operating Funds exclude federal funds and long-term capital spending.

Brownfields programs are on the fence and pending legislative approval, the Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) program will receive $10 million, and the Environmental Remediation Program (ERP) will be reactivated with a $10 - $12 million appropriation.   Question marks remain as to the effectiveness of these initiatives on Long Island.

Human and health services take a big hit with large scale reductions of approximately $350 million. Questions remain from many local municipalities on deeply needed mandate relief but the biggest question is the future of LIPA but for now the lights are on. Stay tuned.

"By making difficult decisions over the past two years we have brought stability, predictability, and common sense to the state's budget process," Governor Cuomo said. "For the third consecutive year we are closing the deficit with no new taxes or fees and putting forward a budget that holds spending growth under two percent. Two consecutive fiscally responsible budgets have drastically reduced the deficit we face in this fiscal year and those we will face in years to come. As a result, we are able to make critical investments to build a world-class education system, support job creating projects in all corners of the state, provide assistance to local governments, and rebuild communities that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy."

A new website has been launched to provide New Yorkers with unprecedented access to information and resources regarding the state budget. To view the briefing book or other information on the proposed budget, please visit the Governor’s website.

Suffolk moves closer to starting $48M sewer project

A Suffolk committee has recommended a final screening process for those seeking to tap nearly $48 million to begin building new sewers and repair failing ones.

Legislator Wayne Horsley of Babylon said he hopes the selection process, more than a year in the making, can get quick approval from the county legislature and that applications for funding can go out in the next month.

"We're the only game in town at this point," said Horsley, though he said he hoped the new county funding could be leveraged to spur grants and loans from the state or federal governments to kick-start a new growth in sewers."

About a dozen projects could be helped by the new county funding, according to officials. Among those projects include the Ronkonkoma Hub, planned to have 880 housing units and up to 200,000 square feet of retail space. The project has received a $1 million state grant to help with sewers, and the county has authorized $21 million in borrowing to build a sewage treatment plant.

Existing facilities that could potentially receive funding include the Northport and Riverhead sewer systems.

The $48 million will come from the sewer assessment stabilization fund, which is financed from a portion of the county sales tax and was created to limit tax increases to 3 percent in the Southwest Sewer District.

Two years ago, then County Executive Steve Levy proposed using money from the fund's surplus to help pay for new sewers to spur economic growth. Lawmakers scaled back his request after budget analysts warned the surplus was far less than the $300 million Levy had projected.

Surpluses available for immediate use total $33.3 million, and another $14.5 million will come in this year, according to budget analysts.

Those seeking funds will be rated based on a number of factors including the public health need, economic development potential and regional impact. Applicants will be graded higher if they have other funding sources.

"This program is more about those looking for a partner rather than seeking a handout," said Jon Schneider, a committee member and an aide to County Executive Steve Bellone. The legislature will have final funding approval. The committee includes representatives of the legislature, the departments of planning and health and the county executive's office.

For further reading, please visit Newsday.

GRACE Communications Foundation announces release of a new paper about food, water, energy nexus

Last Monday, GRACE Communications Foundation, a foundation which helps mobilize and collaborate like-minded non-profits and academic institutions, announced the release of a new paper which illustrates the consequences for public health, our economy and the environment when the food, water, and energy nexus becomes unbalanced.

The paper, “Food, Water, and Energy: Know the Nexus,” describes how and where these systems intersect, how they rely upon each other to function and how they can have a significant impact on each other.

Food, water and energy systems are inextricably linked, and as recent events like droughts, oil spills and increasing food prices make clear, these systems can no longer be viewed in isolation.

“Know the Nexus” provides three case studies that show these interdependencies. The first, Food Waste in the US, discusses the required water and energy to grow crops and raise livestock that is squandered due to overconsumption and discarding food. In the second case, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the paper highlights the complex mix of agencies and regulations that govern the growing and competing demands for food, water, and energy and the need for better coordination. The the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, the final case outlined in the paper, highlights the vulnerabilities of the current energy system, which is not only overly dependent upon water resources and but susceptible to extreme weather shifts and climate changes.

The paper provides examples of individuals, businesses and local governments already benefiting from a “nexus approach” and discusses current legislation and policies which do not account for interconnections in any combination among food, water or energy. In areas such as hydraulic fracturing, the farm bill and energy subsidies, the paper suggests that the nation can do a better job of effectively monitoring the condition or coordinating the management of food, water and energy systems.

“Know the Nexus” urges individuals, businesses and government to take a nexus approach, which requires a strong understanding of the relationships among these three systems. The paper concludes by urging the passage of policies which address the complexity of the nexus at all levels of government, factoring in unique regional characteristics in order to ensure food, water and energy security for an ever-growing population.

“The food, water and energy nexus is a new way of thinking about the systems we depend on and how we can best manage and plan for a more sustainable future,” says Scott Cullen, Executive Director of GRACE. “We hope to stimulate a much broader conversation to help knock down the silo approach of isolated resource management because what we do every day affects the nexus and the nexus, in turn, affects our everyday life.”

For more information on the GRACE Communications Foundation or to read the full paper, please visit the GRACE website.

Post-Sandy rebuilding continues for National Day of Service

A National Day of Service began Saturday around the nation and hundreds of volunteers traveled to help with repairs and cleanup in New Jersey. Organizations throughout the region say they’re using the National Day of Service to get more volunteers signed up for future projects.

On Long Island, home repairs continue throughout Freeport. Vision Long Island has been helping with recovery post-Sandy by doing their part and helping to rebuild homes on the Island.  Over 150 volunteers have come out to coastal communities in Lindenhurst, Freeport, and Mastic Beach to help with clean-up and repairs.

Communities are joining together in the volunteer efforts, such as Rich Cantwell of Friends of Freeport who has organized residents in Freeport to canvass around local neighborhoods, searching for and assisting families who are still in need.

Nearly three months after Hurricane Sandy struck the region, many communities are still struggling to move forward. While significant headway has been made with debris removal, there is still more work to be done and people across the region are doing their part to help.

Vision Long Island is still doing regular weekend clean-ups, if you’d like to volunteer you can contact us at (631)261-0242 or

For further reading please visit Fios1 News.

Call for Outside-the-Box Transportation Solutions in New Competition

The George Mason University School of Public Policy is currently seeking submissions for its inaugural Cameron Rian Hays Competition for "Outside-the-Box" Transportation, Business, and Policy Innovations. The competition challenges young people to think creatively and offer “outside of the box” solutions to complicated transportation policy challenges.

The competition is looking to find answers to transportation challenges such as transportation funding, developing public/private sector collaboration, encouraging multimodal solutions, reducing community and environmental impacts of transportation services, enhancing quality of life through access to jobs and medical care, expanding opportunities for disadvantaged populations, and tackling coming challenges related to demographic changes and generational shifts.

It is open to students and individuals under the age of 35. Group submissions will also be accepted, as long as each individual member of the group is younger than 35. Submissions can be academic work or professional reports pertaining to either the public or private sector and do not need to be completed activities. Research or professional projects as idea proposals are allowed.

The competition will award $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place, and $2,500 for third place. Winners will be invited to attend the Cameron Rian Hays Outside of the Box Conference, which is set to take place in May/June 2013, and present their proposals to a panel of transportation policy experts and an audience of transportation professionals.

All entries are due by Friday, Feb. 15. Additional information on the competition is available online, including how to submit an entry here.

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.

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 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 would like to thank those of you who have helped in the past. Because of your efforts we have been able to help so many Long Island residents through our efforts but there is still work to do.

Vision Long Island is organizing another physical clean-up crews to assist local communities damaged by heavy flooding for this weekend.

This weekend we will be focusing our cleanup efforts in the following communities:

47 Irving Street
Freeport, NY 11520
Saturday at 9 am
For more information please contact Eric Alexander 631-804-9128

Postponed until next week.

St. Andrew's Church
250 Neighborhood Road
Mastic Beach, NY 11951
Saturday and Sunday at 10 am
For more information please contact Jon Siebert 631-615-8430

Dune Restoration Project
Pacific Blvd at the Beach
Saturday at 9 am
New York Ave at the Beach
Sunday at 9 am
Please be aware that dune restoration will involve working with trees which can stain clothes with sap and ruin them. Please dress appropriately.
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. 


The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless hosts “Have a Heart for the Homeless” Candlelight Vigil on February 13th

The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless is holding their “Have a Heart for the Homeless” Candlelight Vigil on February 13, 2013 at 6:00pm at Farmingdale State College.

The Coalition encourages Long Islanders who want to help eradicate homelessness and hunger that exists in our affluent society. Refreshments will be served and there will also be free hair cuts, face painting, story time for children, balloon animals, performances by the Girl Scout Choir and other musical guests, and more.

The vigil will take place on the Great Lawn and Multi-Purpose Room in Roosevelt Hall at Farmingdale State College.  The participation of every person who cares will make a difference. Everyone attending is asked to wear red at the vigil.

They will also be accepting donations of unused baby items, diapers, formula, unopened cleaning supplies,  unopened toiletries, non-perishable food items, new clothing and coats, etc. You can also help by sponsoring the event or having your group conduct collection drives.

If you would like to become a sponsor and have a table at the Vigil, find out how you can help out, or would like more information, please contact (516) 742-7770 or or visit the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless website

Long Island Bus Rider’s Union to host public forum on February 28th

The Long Island Bus Rider’s Union is hosting a hearing on fare increases/bus service that we're hosting on February 28th from 6pm to 8pm at the Ethical Humanist Society in Garden City. The goal is to get the participation of bus riders and to bring the legislators to them.

If you have had problems with your bus service and want your voice to be heard or worried about fare increases and possible service cuts in 2013, or any other issues, the Long Island Bus Rider’s Union is asking people to voice their concerns are this public forum.

There is also a Long Island Bus Riders' Union Incident Report Form which will help the union get a better understanding of the incident and to advocate on anyone’s behalf. Please be as thorough as possible, and remember, if the bus service is so bad that you are forced to take a taxi, please keep a receipt. They will use these receipts to advocate for better, more affordable bus service.

Incident forms can be mailed to LI Bus Riders’ Union, 390 Rabro Drive, Hauppauge NY, 11788 or completed online. For further information please visit the Long Island Bus Rider’s Union website.

4th Annual Celebration of Suburban Diversity banquet rescheduled to March 6th

In the spirit of promoting tolerance and understanding, the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University will be holding the 4th Annual Celebration of Suburban Diversity banquet which has been rescheduled to Wednesday, March 6th 2012  at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale. Long Islanders along the length of the multi-cultural spectrum will come together, as well as the disabilities and LGBT communities.

Some of the highlights of the evening will include awards, art work, entertainment, and inspirational speakers, including keynote speaker will be Robert B. Catell Chairman of the Board of the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC), which will celebrate the strength and opportunities in our differences. Last year's event drew over 500 people and the support of so many major corporations and organizations including Bethpage Federal Credit Union, National Grid USA, Bank of America, Cablevision, Macys, the Horace and Amy Hagedorn Long Island Fund, North Shore-LIJ Health System Foundation, and the Long Island Federation of Labor. A portion of the funds raised at the event will support diversity and sustainability-related scholarships, research and conferences. Last year's Celebration helped the NCSS to underwrite tens of thousands of dollars worth of internships  and grants to community groups, faculty and students.

Long Island's new suburbanites are students, patrons, customers and entrepreneurs of various ages and backgrounds who can revive and sustain our economy and understanding one another is essential to all our success; diversity and sustainability are the keys to our social and economic survival.  The ability of people from different  races, religions and regions to live and work together is crucial to our prosperity.  

If you would like to sponsor, checks should be made payable to Hofstra University Diversity Celebration and mailed to NCSS, 250 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549. For information about the event or sponsorship opportunities, please visit the event page or contact Ina Katz at 516-463-9939 or via email at

Suffolk Theater to host “Back to the 30's” Grand Opening Gala on March 2nd

In celebration of its restoration and reopening, the Suffolk Theater is hosting a “Back to the 30s” Cocktail Party featuring Grammy Award-winning Vince Giordano & his Nighthawks Orchestra, of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” fame, on Saturday, March 2nd.

The evening will feature dancing, food, signature cocktails, costumed characters, video entertainment and many more surprises. The gala starts at 6:00pm with an after party starting at 9:00pm.

The 600 seat Suffolk Theater is a unique Art Deco movie theater located on Main Street in Riverhead, Long Island. R Thomas Short of the New York firm, Harde and Short, was the architect. Mr. Short’s legacy includes eleven movie theaters on Long Island. The Suffolk Theater is the last remaining movie house built by R Thomas Short. The Suffolk Theater is also the last remaining large art deco theater on Long Island. The theater was built as a National Recovery Act project for the Century circuit chain and has now been transformed into a state of the art performance space.

"Pitching Long Island" panel to be held on March 12th

On Tuesday, March 12th, Public Relations Professionals of Long Island, a nonprofit group in the region for professional communicators, will be hosting Pitching Long Island: Who, What, Where, When & Why.

The region of Long Island, surrounded by water with the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn to the west, is unique in its geography, culture, politics, economy, challenges and advantages. From economic development to recreation to education to business and the professions, the people who pitch Long Island are as unique as their surroundings.

Panelists include Vision Long Island’s Executive Director Eric Alexander, Account Director Audrey Cohen of Epoch 5 Public Relations, Vice President Melissa Connolly for University Relations at Hofstra University, Laurie Bloom, Director of Marketing & Communications at Rivkin Radler LLP, and Mindy F. Wolfle, President of Neptune Marketing LLC, as the moderator.

Hear what they have to say about their careers, the techniques they employ in their messaging, their roles as spokesperson, and how they manage the strengths and weaknesses of their organizations.

If you live or work on Long Island, this panel discussion will provide insight on what it takes to market our region.

Please visit the Public Relations Professional of Long Island website for registration and further details.

Help Wanted

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 Put Fall 2012 Internship in the subject heading. For more information, call our office at 631-261-0242.

Theatre Listings

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.

Bay Street Theater
The Long Wharf, Sag Harbor:
The Picture Show presents Fred MacMurray’s The Absent Minded Professor - Friday, January 25th at 8:00pm
The Picture Show presents Fred MacMurray’s Double Indemnity - Saturday, January 26th at 8:00pm
Tickets and more information available here

The YMCA Boulton Center

37 West Main Street, Bay Shore:
Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum 40” - Friday, January 25th at 8:00pm SOLD OUT
The Elvis Show rockCanroll Benefit - Saturday, January 26th at 8:00pm
Tickets and more information available here

Guildhall, John Drew Theater
158 Main Street, East Hampton:
Screening National Theatre Live: THE MAGISTRATE by Arthur Wing Pinero - Saturday, January 26th at 12:00pm
Guild Hall in Partnership with the East Hampton Library presents the Annual Free Winter Film Series: Hospitalite - Sunday, January 27th at 4:30 PM
Tickets and more information available here

Landmark on Main Street, the Jeanne Rimsky Theater
232 Main Street, Port Washington:
Kathy Mattea  - Saturday, January 26th at 8:00pm
Bari Koral Family Rock Band - Sunday, January 27th at 2:00pm
Tickets and more information available here

Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts
71 East Main Street, Patchogue:
No shows this weekend.
Tickets and more information available here

The Paramount
370 New York Ave, Huntington:
Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing Presents: Demetrius Andrade vs. Freddy Hernandez - Friday, January 25th at 7:30pm
Citizen Cope - Saturday, January 26th at 8:00pm
Hot Water Music - Sunday, January 27th at 8:00pm
Tickets and more information available here

Theatre Three
412 Main Street, Port Jefferson:
Lost In Yonkers - Friday, January 25th at 8:00pm, Saturday, January 26th at 8:00pm, and Sunday, January 27th at 7:00pm
Friday Night Face Off - Friday, January 26th at 10:30pm
Raggedy Ann & Andy - Friday, January 25th at 10:30am, Saturday, January 26th at 11:00am and Sunday, January 27th at 3:00pm
Tickets and more information available here

Vail-Leavitt Music Hall
18 Peconic Avenue, Riverhead:
No shows this weekend.
Tickets and more information available here

The John W. Engeman Theater
250 Main Street, Northport:
Wait Until Dark - Friday, January 25th at 8:00pm, Saturday, January 26th at 3:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, January 27th 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.

For information, visit their website.

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.

To arrange a visit, call 516-571-8011 and for information and brochures, visit their website

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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-367-3418

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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-324-6850

Heckscher Museum
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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-351-3250

Hicksville-Gregory Museum
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.

For information, visit their website or call 516-822-7505

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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-224-5402

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.

For information, visit their website.

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.

For information, visit their website or call 516-766-0300

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.

For information, visit their website or call 516-922-5032

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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-473-2665

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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-725-0770

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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-563-0186

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.

For information, visit their website or call 516-671-0090

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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-862-6575

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.

For information, visit their website or call 631-268-2494

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.

For information, visit their website or call 979-233-3526

Palace Galleries
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.

For information, visit their website or call 516-439-5218

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.

For information, visit their website.



Clearview Grand Avenue
1841 Grand Avenue, Baldwin

Bellmore Movies

222 Pettit Avenue, Bellmore

glen cove
Glen Cove Theatres

5 School Street, Glen Cove

great neck
Clearview Squire Cinemas Great Neck

115 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck

long beach
Long Beach Cinema

179 East Park Avenue, Long Beach

Clearview Manhasset 3

430 Plandome Road, Manhasset

Clearview Port Washington
116 Main Street, Port Washington

Clearview Roslyn Theatre

20 Tower Place, Roslyn

Seaford Cinemas

3951 Merrick Road, Seaford


Clearview's Babylon Cinemas
34 Main Street, Babylon

AMC Loews Theatres – Shore 8

37 Wall Street, Huntington

cinema arts centre
Cinema Arts Centre

423 Park Ave, Huntington

Islip Cinemas

410 West Main Street, Islip

Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center
20 Terry Street Suite #121, Patchogue, NY 11772

Sayville Theatre

103 Railroad Avenue, Sayville


The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Smart Talk

Newsletter Editors: Christopher Kyle, Program Coordinator
Contributors: Lucy Ayala, Program Assistant; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director; Elissa Ward, Sustainability Director

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Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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