May 12th - 16th, 2014
Albanese & Albanese
Albanese & Albanese LLP was established in June, 1949 by Vincent M. Albanese. Since its inception, the firm has continuously provided a full range of legal services to its clients that include major financial institutions, title insurance and professional liability insurance companies, real estate developers, contractors, institutions of higher learning and varied publicly and privately held companies. The firm is one of the region's preeminent full-service law firms, providing its clients with specialized and diverse legal services. Our reputation for excellence derives from our commitment to deliver high quality legal services and individual attention while maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
We can build better, and we have to. We have ports that aren’t ready for the next generation of cargo ships. We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare. We’ve got leaky pipes that lose billions of gallons of drinking water every single day, even as we’ve got a severe drought in much of the West. Nearly half our people don’t have access to transit at all. - President Obama speaking at the Tappan Zee Bridge
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Village of Farmingdale announces expanded Farmers’ Market
Eat Local Long Island is opening an expanded Farmers’ Market in Farmingdale Village on the Green starting Sunday June 1st.
“The Farmers’ Market was previously located adjacent to A Taste of Long Island for the past two seasons and we are thrilled to expand the market and offer residents and the community a great new spot to meet, shop local and enjoy great, fresh offerings, as well as a casual shopping experience at the Village Green”, said Mayor Ralph Ekstrand.
Going into its third year, the market will be bigger and better with about 20 vendors on Sundays starting June 1st from 10am–3pm, rain or shine through Thanksgiving weekend (unless thunderstorms). Local food artisans and vendors, with locally grown and produced, seasonal farm fresh produce, agriculture products and more will be at the market on Sundays. Some of the vendor products expected at the market include artisan breads, soups, barbecue sauce and rubs, gourmet pickles, fruit spreads, fresh eggs, honey, baked goods, sauces, stuffed peppers, East End Wines, Local Craft Beer and many more vendors being added every week.
You can read the full statement here.
President Obama visits Tappan Zee Bridge, urges more investment in transportation infrastructure
As part of his push to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, President Obama has fast tracked the New NY Bridge, a new bridge to replace the crumbling Tappan Zee. Obama announced the plans on Wednesday alongside the banks of the Hudson to fast track the bridge, along with 11 other major projects nation-wide. This initiative will make it easier for projects to start with less bureaucratic hurdles.
“Rebuilding America, that shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Obama said. “One study recently found that over time we’ve fallen to 19th place when it comes to the quality of our infrastructure.”
“Over the past 50 years … our investment in transportation has shrunk by 50 percent,” he added. ” … China invests four times what we do in transportation.”
A 1.6 billion dollar federal loan has been granted towards the 3.9 billion dollar project. The rest of the money is being financed through bonds paid by higher tolls. The project has been in talks for 10 years, and 80 million dollars had already been put into planning the replacement. These plans couldn’t come to fruition due to what New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo called the “Political gridlock, government paralysis, fear and indecision (that) had taken control.”
Both President Obama and Governor Cuomo stated that the new bridge is a necessity. “It’s been unsafe. It’s been in need of repair for many, many years,” Cuomo acknowledged.
“At times, you can see the river through the cracks in the pavement,” the President said. “Now, I’m not an engineer, but I figure that’s not good.
In addition to the more obvious benefits of structural integrity, Obama has pushed the funding for transportation and infrastructure projects as a way to help the economy. Infrastructure projects create construction jobs, and Obama argues that jobs follow good infrastructure. As Obama stated it, “First-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs.”
President Obama's plan is a four year, $302 billion transportation proposal with approximately half of the funding coming from fuel taxes. This proposal would allow states to put tolls on federal interstate highways with additional funding being provided by closing corporate tax loopholes and making other changes in business taxes.
New infrastructure also leads to environmental and transportation benefits. New pipes for water would lead to less waste of our resources, which is particularly important in areas that have been experiencing drought. “Nearly half our people don’t have access to transit at all,” the president said, and new infrastructure such as bridges and roadways can assist in expanding access to transportation.
Vision Long Island supports additional infrastructure spending for our aging roadways and will be working with national organizations seeking passage of a version of this legislation.
For more information you can check out CBS NY's coverage here.
Hearings on Clean Water Infrastructure for Nassau County begin
The first of four hearings on clean water infrastructure was held at the Nassau County Legislature on Monday afternoon. A group of scientists and specialists testified at the hearing, in what amounted to across the board support for a proposed ocean outfall pipeline to be built at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant with federal assistance.
Long Island’s surrounding waters, particularly the West Bays, contain high levels of nitrogen, which cause a multitude of environmental concerns. Eutrophication is the ecosystem’s natural response to the introduction of nitrates, sewage, and fertilizers, and it leads to hypoxia (a lack of oxygen in the water) and algal blooms. These conditions lead to a collapse in the ecosystem, with the death of plant and animal life, and the destruction of the salt water marshes.
The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant serves 40 percent of Nassau County residents, and dispenses 80 percent of the nitrogen found in the West Bays, according to George Pavlou, the New York regional contact from the EPA. The plant discharges into the Reynolds Channel, an area with poor water circulation and lacks tidal flushing. The plant received large-scale damage due to flooding from Super-storm Sandy, and higher nitrate concentrations have been found in the surrounding waters since.
The literal collapse of the salt water marshes could have a large impact in the event of a hurricane, or an extreme weather event such as Super-storm Sandy. These marshes provide a barrier to tidal surges, leading many people throughout the hearing to refer to them as “natural infrastructure.”
The collapse of this local ecosystem is having a large effect on Long Island life, particularly those living near the West Bays in places like Long Beach, Island Park, Lawrence, and Hewlett. The algal blooms produce Ulva, a thick green algae also known as sea lettuce, which washes up on the beaches and gives off a strong odor.
“People call us all the time asking if it’s safe to swim in the water, or eat the fish they caught,” testified Adrienne Esposito, the Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
These are problems that previous generations in the area did not have to deal with, noted Carl LoBue. LoBue, a Marine Research Scientist from the Nature Conservancy, also lives on the South Shore, and related that the changing conditions have dimmed the enjoyment of summer activities such as water sports. He also noted that the collapse of salt water marshes could lead to widespread property damage and more limited use of docks.
The front running solution lies in building an ocean outfall pipeline at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. By running a pipe out into the ocean, the nitrogen rich effluent won’t be disposed into the West Bays, where it lingers and causes such harmful effects.
Commissioner Joe Martens from the Department of Environmental Conservation reveaeled that he had already sent a letter requesting the necessaru funds to build the pipe. The request asks for a FEMA grant of approximately $690 million in public assistance funds as well as an additional $130 million for the purpose of reducing nitrogen in the effluent being discharged into Reynolds Channel in the Western Bays. The letter also asks for the federal government to consider funding the conversion of small treatment plants in Long Beach and and Atlantic Beach to pumping stations aimed at sending effluent to the Bay Park plant.
Martens noted that "Reducing nitrogen is a resiliency issue as well as a water-quality issue," and that "It's going to take the collective voice of all those involved in the Nassau County community, both the environmentalists and the business community, to achieve . . . the ocean outfall pipe."
These funds would be in addition to the $810 million already allocated to improve and upgrade the Bay Park plant, which serves around 40% of Nassau County. The official request was made May 6th in a letter from Commissioner Martens to W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The outfall never would have been placed in the Reynolds Channel if they knew what we know about water circulation today,” Dr Lawrence Swanson, the Associate Dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at SUNY Stony Brook, told the crowd.
In addition to the pipeline, other treatment plants such as the Long Beach Treatment Plant, may be turned into a water pumping station, so that treatment can be consolidated to the retrofitted and renovated Bay Park plant.
Speakers throughout the day unanimously backed the plan, citing it as safe, cost effective, and an opportunity to rebuild critical infrastructure both smarter and stronger.
Many speakers cited the importance of such infrastructure to business, tourism, and residents all over Nassau County. Vision Long Island Director, Eric Alexander, pointed out the importance of reliable and safe infrastructure for new residential projects in Nassau, and that certainty in infrastructure will help boost new business and investments on Long Island.
You can read more on this at Newsday.
Riders and Advocates call for an increase in funding for Suffolk County Transit Bus
Suffolk County Transit was hoping to greet 2014 with a significant expansion of service thanks to an additional $10 million that the County had requested from the state. Instead it was only given $500,000, barely enough to cover inflation costs. Unfortuntaely, this lack of state funding is all too common according to advocates, and is quite unbalanced when it comes to other Counties in our region.
This past Monday, May 12th, supporters delivered 1,500 signed petitions to NYS Senator Phil Boyle’s office calling for more adequate public funding from the state for Suffolk’s sole bus service provider. It was noted that while Suffolk County pays for over 50% of its Bus service with 35% help from the state, Nassau County kicked in only 2% for its service while the sate footed over 50% of the costs.
This disparity isn’t unique though as Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone noted when he wrote that “Other suburban counties such as Nassau and Westchester receive up to five times the amount of state funds that Suffolk County receives,” in a letter to Governor Cuomo on May 10th. Additional funding would be most welcome since recent expansions to service are showing signs of success in Suffolk. Suday Bus Service has proven quite popular as of this past March, with ridership on Sunday rising 97% and some lines showing as much as a 56% increase.
“Suffolk County has done a decent job of supporting its bus system and has shown that if given additional resources they will expand service,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Suffolk County’s New York State elected officials need to do more to support the millions of riders and businesses who depend on the reliability of the system.”
As part of the delivery of the petition, Vision Long Island Assitant Director Tawaun Weber and a number of local transportation advocates boarded the S40 bus in order to get to Senator Boyle's office. "More and more we are seeing that our young people want access to reliable public transportation," said Ms. Weber. "Not only for them to get to school but to allow them access to jobs hereon the island after graduation."
For more on this you can check out the Long Island Press’ coverage here.
EmPower Solar announces winner of Solar Student Competition
This past week EmPower Solar announced the winners of the 2014 Solar Student Competition. Hailing from Sayville High School, Liam Hofmeister and Sarah Walsh of team Apollo’s Suns accepted the honor as well as an all-expense-paid trip to Versailles, France where they will attend the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014. The Decathlon will feature solar-powered homes designed by college students from around the world.
"My mom told me, 'Hey, this looks easy; just make a video," said Hofmeister, "and it quickly became a 40-hour project...There were a couple of late nights working on this, but it was totally worth it," said Hofmeister, son of Town of Islip Deputy Supervisor Eric Hofmeister.
"This was all entirely foreign to me, but it was really fun. I really enjoyed it," said Walsh, who likes to engage in the arts. "It was cool that I got to do something that I wouldn't have otherwise gotten to do."
The second place was Team Green Track from the Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day school, an international team of students who emphasized how solar energy could improve conditions in their home countries. Each member of the second place team received a $400 scholarship. The third place team members, The Green Generation from Wantagh High School, each received $100. Both teams also have the opportunity to intern-for-a-day at EmPower Solar in a department of their choosing.
The winners were announced and awards presented at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, who also acted as a host sponsor for the contest.
Vision Long Island was a guest judge for the competition and is important to engage the youth in the planning of renewable energy across Long Island.
Check out the press release for the event here.
Sustainable Living Film Series To Screen ‘Speciesism’ on May
$50 Million Open For Alternative Transportation Projects
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Transportation are now accepting applications to financially assist alternative transportation projects.
Suffolk County now accepting applications for the Downtown Revitalization Round 12
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone and the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel are pleased to announce the availability of the Downtown Revitalization Round 12 Grant Applications. Eligible applicants must be local business or community groups partnering with a local municipality (town or village). The application incorporates the Panel’s intent to support projects that will have an important and sustainable impact on downtowns and business districts. All applications will be reviewed and scored via a merit based grading system.
State Supports Economic Development With $750 Mil
Announced earlier this year as part of his budget, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially launched the fourth round of the Regional Economic Development Council program this week. Up to $750 million are available in state economic development funds.
NYSERDA Opens $30 Million Cleaner Greener Funding
Applications are now being accepted for $30 million in Cleaner Greener Communities funding.
Long Island Coalition for the Homeless announces Annual Helen Martin scholarship contest
The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless recently announced the creation of the Helen Martin scholarship. The scholarship will grant $1,000 to two individuals who currently are or were previously homeless in order to seek higher education. Award winners will be notified via mail over the summer and announced at the Annual Keys for the Homeless event on October 31st.
Applications must be received by noon on June 19th. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.You can download the application here and read the requirements here. Any questions can be directed to mail Dylan Levene at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Greta Guarton at email@example.com.
Supply Our Students Annual School Supply Drive for the Homeless
The Supply Our Students Drive is hosted by the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH). Each year, they pack hundreds of back packs with school supplies collected during this drive. The back packs are distributed through a network of homeless shelters in late August. Last summer, over 1200 back packs were distributed to kids in need on Long Island. With your help, they can distribute more back packs this year than ever before.
Please help them collect NEW school supplies to fill back packs for children in need. Host a drive in your community, business, school, or office! They will provide collection boxes and informational flyers about the event, and will pick up the boxes. Drives are being conducted now through August 10th. Please let them know if you’re interested in conducting a drive!Please direct all questions to Dylan Levene, (516) 742 – 7770 x 11 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
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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This week’s closing words are a statement released by the Village of Farmingdale addressing the tragic accident in their downtown that resulted in the lsos of five young people. Vision Long Island would also like to express our sincerest condolences to the families who are now coping with the terrible loss of a loved one, and wish them peace in this time of grief.
All residents of the Village of Farmingdale are attempting to cope with the tragic and untimely death of five young people from our community. We grieve with the families who have suffered this unspeakable loss and are attempting to support them in this most difficult time in any way possible. We also pray for the recovery of the persons who suffered injuries in this accident.
Officials at The Village of Farmingdale express their heartfelt condolences to the victims, their families and all in the community.
Mayor Ralph Ekstrand and the Board of Trustees
Newsletter Editor: Mike Koehler, Communications Director