August 21st - 27th, 2016
“Scott was a dedicated, beloved public servant who worked day in and day out to improve the lives of his fellow New Yorkers. Scott was always full of big ideas to help solve the toughest challenges of the day, and he was deeply respected for his strong work ethic, candor and fighting spirit. Long Island is a better place today because of his service and dedication to the community.” - NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking on the untimely death of former aide Scott Martella
Scott Martella, a friend and colleague who spent his life in public service
This past week saw the unexpected and tragic death of Scott Martella, a friend and colleague who spent his life in public service. Before the age of 30 Scott had already begun to assemble a list of accomplishments that included being the youngest member in the history of the Smithtown School Board, aide for NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Those were just the titles – his work product was a web of support, behind the scenes advocacy and dedication to tackling some of Long Island’s many difficult challenges. It is truly a setback to our community that we have lost someone as principled, dedicated and hard working as Scott Martella. Our prayers and well wishes are with his family and fiancée as they deal with this most difficult of times.
Below is a collection of quotes, stories, remembrances from Long Island leaders in government, business and local communities who worked with him and knew him well. It goes without saying that this collective loss is deep and heartfelt. Note that these are only a selection of folks as his life touched many Long Islanders. Apologies to those we were unable to reach in time – view this group as merely a slice of his support, influence and good work………
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Scott had wisdom beyond his age and knowledge beyond his years. He was a highly functioning operative in government and politics. If you knew Scott you would know of his love for Shelbi, his town, and his government.
There is quite a void in this world without Scott.... may we remember him and celebrate his life and hard works...and not forget the legacy he left behind in such this short time. A real tragic loss and sad day on LI and for his family and friends.
I first met Scott while he was working on the Brian Foley campaign; an easy smile, quick to learn and dedicated are the words that come to mind when I think of him. We worked on numerous issues together and always with a willingness to do more, help more, with an energy and a commitment that was contagious. He was a bright light that was extinguished much too soon, he will be miss by all who knew him but whose lives were made better by his being among us even for such a short time.
John R. Durso
It didn’t matter who you were, or what you needed, Scott always treated people with kindness, respect and dignity, and he made every effort to address someone’s concern. Not only did he act like it was not a burden, he made you feel like he was happy to help you. His soul radiated goodness and light. It was a blessing to have known and worked with him.
The tragedy of losing a young man like Scott Martella goes deeper than many of us can ever realize. I and the other Long Island State Senators worked with Scott on so many projects and so many events during his time in government that it was easy to forget that this seasoned professional was only in his 20's and that there were countless other individuals and groups who relied on Scott just as much as we did. Sadly, that become apparent after his untimely death.
Countless people from all walks of life here on Long Island; including private citizens, captains of industry, leading groups and elected officials from literally every political party and every level of government, mourn Scott's untimely death and the loss of what undoubtedly would have been a stellar career in government or whatever area he chose. We will long miss this impressive young man who, despite working in some very high-pressure positions, always had a winning smile and an amusing story to share while helping us with our issues.
Hon. Phil Boyle
Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory
The breath was taken out of me when I learned the news of Scott Martella's sudden death. This loss has sent shock waves throughout Long Island and so many of us are left with broken hearts.
I was lucky to know Scott personally and professionally. I first met him 5 years ago when I was fortunate to have him on my campaign team for Suffolk County Legislature. He had many great attributes; talented, motivated and best of all he was a good hearted person.
While we grieve this traumatic loss, let’s be lifted by the lasting positive impact Scott had on Long Island through his generous life in public service.
Hon. William "Doc" Spencer
There are no words for this terrible tragedy. I saw Scott Martella in action countless times helping an overwhelmed and stressed out individual all by herself struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy; working with the owner of a large company cut through government red tape in order to save his business and keep the 200 people working for the company employed; assisiting a local food pantry with donations so it can carry out its mission to help those in need in our commun...ity......and the list goes on and on. I also saw him on the political side and marveled at just how smart, poised and strategic he was for someone so young. Scott was a pro long before he should have ever been a pro. I tried to get him to run for office but he told me he wanted to marry his high school sweetheart and start a family. He knew the importance of balance in life and he knew how to enjoy every waking moment. We all got to see the best of Scott. It's such a shame that we only got to work with him for a few short years. I know there was so much more he had to offer. I will treasure the times I spent with him and always think about what could have been from this fine young man. Please keep his family, his fiance, Shelbi and the other victims of this horrific accident in your thoughts and prayers.
Hon. Rich Schaffer
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Scott Martella, I always found Scott to be helpful no matter what the situation was, Scott would always get an answer back to you. It was hard to believe that he was only 29 years old; he was wise beyond his years. Scott will be missed by everyone who ever had to the pleasure to work with him, he was a young man with a kind heart and a bright future.
God Bless him, his family and friends, he was a pleasure to know and to work with. I am broken hearted that a shining light passed away so young.
Scott Martella was full of life. Professional, smart, candid, genuine and funny.
Every experience I had with Scott we ended up laughing. Scott could call and get me show up at events that I had no intention of going just because of his charm, perseverance, and wit. I am sure he is organizing and charming the Angels right now.
Scott was a wonderful person. May his family find comfort and peace.
Hon. Tracey Edwards
Scott Martella was a dedicated young man who was nothing short of a hero to many. He enjoyed working with the community and lending a helping hand to those in need. He strived on making things better for those who were less fortunate. Scott was very well known for his smile and sense of humor. He never looked at himself as a politician, he was a member of the community.
"This is absolutely tragic and heart breaking. Scott had the world in his hands. Once you got to know him you knew this man was going places in life. He was a kind soul and had a smile that lit the room. Scott may have been under the radar, however he was very much environmentally active in Long Island. Governor Cuomo said it best... "Long Island is a better place today because of his service and dedication to the community." My prayers are with his family, Fiancée and friends. May he rest in eternal peace.
Hon. Lisa Inzerillo
Scott’s great smile and sense of humor never failed to lighten up those of us trying to get government to do anything quickly. No matter what the situation you knew he cared, and would do everything he could to help. He will be terribly missed.
The loss of someone so young, and so committed to public service, is felt not just by his friends and family, but by people who never had the chance to meet him. It is very sad to think of the future and the influence that he could have had.
Scott Martella was a consummate professional and a true gentleman who was taken from us way too soon. Dealing with Scott professionally was always a good experience. He treated everyone with respect and kindness, using his passion, intellect and big heart to make things better. He will be missed greatly. My most heartfelt condolences to his loved ones.
Hon. Jack Martins
That smile. That is what I will remember most about Scott. He always seemed to light up when I saw him. His warmth, and sincerity was evident under any circumstance. Scott always seemed to enjoy what he was doing, I believed that stemmed from his deep confidence and self-assurance. I always could rely on that.
Hon. Michelle Schimel
In a business where warmth and kindness are seldom found, Scott brought both qualities to everything he did. He was a friend and his kindness will always be remembered. He knocked on doors for me during my special election without being asked, and was always rooting for me. I cannot make sense of what has happened so suddenly, but we must keep his love and eagerness to help people in the forefront of our minds to keep his spirit alive.
Hon. Todd Kaminsky
Scott Martella helped me to help my own constituency of Northport. In fact he was proactive, already advocating on our behalf when he saw a need, before I called upon him. Scott's professionalism was expressed with good cheer, a personal touch, and an unmistakable, broad smile even over the telephone. Always a pleasure, Scott.
Hon. Henry Tobin
I had the pleasure to meet Scott Martella when he was first embarking on his political career when I hired him for his first job working for the Democratic Party. Scott's positive energy and professionalism transcended so well I basically hired him via a phone interview when he still was in college in Boston. My gut didn't prove me wrong and he continued to shine as bright as he did on that very first phone call. As much as he rose he never stopped smiling and never forgot the most human and sincere part of public service - that if you love it, it's because you love people. He loved people and as evident this week, the people surely loved him!
Scott Martella was an amazing young man talented beyond his years. His passion for helping the communities on Long Island was unparalleled. Throughout his career, Scott gave 110 percent of himself to everyone no matter how great the task. He will always be remembered for his charm, perseverance, and dedication. The void that he has left behind will be hard to fill. It has been a privilege to work alongside him and he will be greatly missed. Sleep in peace Scott.
Scott was both generous and kind to all. Words cannot convey the grief and loss that is felt for such a great person.
I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Scott Martella. Scott was a great guy that really cared about the people and communities he dealt with. No matter what position he held, he always made himself available, no matter what the issue.
He achieved so much in his career and was a true professional. I would see Scott at everything from charity events to business meetings. No matter what the occasion he always had a big smile on his face, gave a warm greeting and a willing hand, ready to help.
We are truly at a loss, now that he is gone. He was taken away from us at such an early age. I believe there was no limit as to what he could have achieved. To his family and fiancée, I offer my condolences and the following words of comfort: “Those that we have lost have gone to a far better place but remain in our hearts forever”. Scott Martella truly touched us all.
Lionel J. Chitty
For two decades as an American history and government teacher I interacted with over 100 young people a day. In that role, I came to spot the signs of leadership. Scott Martella had them all. His intelligence, command of the facts, focus, organizational skills, drive, sincerity and commitment were outstanding. And, simply put, he was such a nice guy. I am heartbroken that this rising star in government and community service is gone. He gave me hope that politics is indeed a great vocation and calling.
Richard Koubek, Ph.D
Scott Martella was a dedicated young man who was nothing short of a hero to many. He enjoyed working with the community and lending a helping hand to those in need. He strived to on making things better for those who were less fortunate. Scott was very well known for his smile and sense of humor. He never looked at himself as a politician, he was a member of the community. Scott will be deeply missed by all. We lost a great person but more importantly a striving young man who always made a difference.
My deepest condolences to the family.
Scott's work was universally respected by Long Island school leaders. He was insightful and had the ability to understand issues from a number of perspectives. Working with him was a pleasure. Throughout his career, he forcefully advocated, for schools across the region as a school board member and as a representative for Senator Foley and the Governor. His tragic loss leaves an enormous void for all of us.
Scott Martella was a very talented young man in an ugly political world. He was an inspiration to me and to my union members of Plumbers Local Union 200 for the future of the labor movement. Scott will be missed for the genuine person that he was.
I was one of those fortunate people that got to meet Scott, and since the first time that I met him, I could see that he was a very special person because of the love and respect that he had for others. Scott was one of those leaders that never put politics first and was always willing to do the right thing to make a person’s life a better one.
The staff and board of Island Harvest Food Bank are grateful for the support we received from Scott Martella in these past few years.
I first met Scott several years ago when he asked me to work with him on hosting a meeting where one of the Commissioners from NY State would be speaking at our offices at Republic Airport. He provided an introduction for the speaker. His comments were an amazing blend of interesting facts, personal anecdotes, and comments on what had just taken place at the meeting before he got up to speak. He did it all without notes and a big friendly smile. My reaction and that of many in the audience, was to ask, “Who is he, and where did this intelligent, interesting and friendly person come from?” He was a uniquely genuine individual who will be truly missed.
Scott. I dedicate this song to you. I have some hard feelings over losing you but I do find some peace in this song.
Rest in love my friend,
I had the honor of working with Scott Martella in both my capacity as the President of Neighbors Supporting Neighbors Babylon Inc. and as a school administrator. Scott and I would have a conversation that started with discussing the needs of Sandy families in the Town of Babylon and how to get more resources into our hands, and end the conversation with how we can work together to address the issues surrounding the Common Core State Standards and APPR. He was able to speak with the same passion and enthusiasm with each issue at hand.
I knew that when we spoke he was engaged and trying to work with me to figure out how to improve the lives of the families affected by Sandy or educational policies impact on students and teachers. Most of all he was engaged in how to prepare for the future. He was engaged ensuring that all Long Islanders had the resources they needed to live a safe, fulfilling and happy a life on our island.
Scott lived a life of public service and may his legacy be that all of us regardless of who we are and where we come from or how old we are that we can give back to our community to ensure that all of us have the resources we need to live a safe, fulfilling and happy a life on our island.
During his tenure with the Governor's office, I had many opportunities to speak with and work with Scott on a variety of community issues that were important to Kings Park. As a civic, I have found there are times that politicians, or their staff, find it easier to be "out of the office" rather than get embroiled in an often sticky community issue. That was never Scott. Scott always took the call, set up the meeting, or found a resource which could help. Polite, thorough and straight forward are just some of the adjectives which describe him. He made a positive difference in every issue he tackled and in the lives of every person he met. To Scott's family, fiancée and friends, we are so sorry for your loss and will keep you in our hearts.
Maya Angelou said “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”. This is what I will always remember about Scott. Always passionate about his work, compassionate to those in need, a great smile with his sense of humor and let’s not forget a sharp dresser. The world is a better place for having known him…
He had a gift of making each person feel like they had his full attention no matter how many folks were in the room. Scott was indeed special.
He was most certainly a bright star taken well before he was done shining.
Scott and I met on his first campaign out of college in 2008. We were paired to run the field operation for GOTV which I had done before, but he was brand new to the work. There was an obvious learning curve, but Scott was a natural. He always had good intuition and was very easy to work with. There were times when we disagreed on issues, but he was always open to listening and asking questions even if we walked away from a conversation with an unchanged position. He was respectful and never made anyone feel less than. The thing that stands out the most in my memory is how much we laughed. Even though we were working close to 18 hour days, every day for weeks, there was not one day when we did not find humor in the things around us or we would try to outdo one another to see who would laugh harder. He always won. People around us would be jealous hearing me laugh so hard and not being in on the joke. I always say, campaigning with people is like “going to war” together. It creates a lasting connection and I was so fortunate to have Scott as my partner during such an important election.
Every time I saw him at events in the following years we would remember those days when he had just begun. We would be eager to help one another with our current projects because of that mutual respect. There was never a time he and I were in the same room where I didn’t notice his smile lighting up the place and I was just happier to know he was there.
We had a lot of things in common in our personal lives as well and always shared a small piece of our lives. I always believed I would be able to say he started his career working by my side one day when he would be elected into office. He was definitely a genuine soul and I am so sorry for all of the people that will not be touched by him directly. I believe his being will live on through all of us that were.
It’s hard to make sense out of what happened last weekend. I’m furious at the systemic issues that allowed this to happen – like dangerous roads and our overreliance on cars. I’m reflective of my own young life and the need to live life to the fullest. But mostly I’m shocked and sad that we lost Scott so suddenly and tragically.
Scott had a way of lighting up a room while making everyone in it feel important. He was genuine and really cared about people and about improving our communities, in a way that is rare in his line of work. He had so much left to give and this will never make sense, but as a small consolation, perhaps his death will inspire others to live as fully as he did.
Public Service was Scott Martella's thing.
People simply gravitated toward him. He was smart, charming -- and if you forgot to mention it, he'd flash a mischievous grin and remind you to add 'handsome' to the list, too. He was well on his way to becoming tomorrow's go-to guy. His conversations and emails always included one simple question: 'How can I help?' It was a sentence that came from his soul. At 29, he was often the youngest person in the room. He perceived that to be a weakness, and made up for it by over preparing. (First time I met him, he knew more about me than I cared to remember.)
He was laser focused on building a life in public service. He was doing everything he was supposed to be doing, and in the proper order, to boot: He filled his days connecting with disparate groups in an attempt to find the kind of common ground people twice his age had given up on long ago; working on an advanced degree from Columbia, and being available 24/7 in an attempt to make his boss proud. Somehow, he worked in time to run a few marathons a year and serve as a board member for Long Island Cares. At the back of his mind, he was already envisioning marriage to his high school sweetheart. He would worry about how he'd support a family on a public servant's salary, and wonder what more he should be doing to turn his plan into reality. He liked to overthink things with an $18 glass of Scotch.
During his entire presentation of how he planned to earn the right of becoming a leader on Long Island, his youth only raised his hand once. That was to ask why everything was moving so damn slow when there was so much living to do. Public service wasn't simply his passion. It was his mission, and it lit him up from the inside out. He hoped to be a town supervisor someday, because, as he put it, "that's where all the action is" in actually helping people. In the meantime, representing the people of Suffolk County for the Governor's office was a dream come true. Somewhere during that time, he realized he needed experience in the area of communications, and that's when he came knocking on the Fair Media Council's door. His questions ranged from the ins and outs of communications fundamentals to wanting the Cliff's Notes' version of how to deal with media coverage that, at times, pounded away mercilessly at his boss in Albany.
He took these things personally, but he was competitive minded and, ultimately, wanted to know how to win at the game of public perception. He gave of his time to moderate panel discussions at FMC events and worked the room like a pro. He may have, in fact, been the youngest person to ever judge FMC's Folio Awards. Whatever the assignment, he threw himself into it, driven by a work ethic he credited to his parents. When he landed as communications director for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, it was reason to smile. He had manifested the job for himself. Scott Martella didn't simply love Long Island; he coveted it. It was his home, and he was proud to call it his home. That's an element that's been missing around here for a very long time, and it made him a beacon in a sea of darkness.
At 29, he was already anointed an heir apparent on the political scene. He was well on his way of living his fairy tale, and everyone around him wanted to help him achieve it. The dream job, the beautiful wife, 2.5 kids and one picket fence -- well, you get the idea.
It is no wonder that Scott Martella rose to the kind of prestigious public service positions that he held. He was an extremely talented, committed, articulate, thoughtful and most importantly, the kindest person I have ever known in public service. He influenced the dynamic of every environment he encountered in a positive, forthright and honest way.
A great person. A tragic loss.
Scott, you will forever be remembered with the utmost respect for your brilliance, extraordinary wisdom and pure goodness. Your big smile, warm heart and wonderful soul can never be forgotten. Thank you for the honor to know you, work with you, all of your efforts with the SCAC but most of all...your friendship. Rest peacefully.
I was fortunate to work with Scott when I was co-chair of NY Rising for the Oakdale-West Sayville CRZ and he was the Governor's representative for our region. I am now shocked at how young Scott turned out to be because his professionalism and thoroughness made him mature beyond his years. We can only wonder what promise was in store for such a warm and talented public servant but we can be sure that this tragedy robbed us of someone who truly cared.
I first met Scott several years ago when he asked me to work with him on hosting a meeting where one of the Commissioners from NY State would be speaking at our offices at Republic Airport. He provided an introduction for the speaker. His comments were an amazing blend of interesting facts, personal anecdotes, and comments on what had just taken place at the meeting before he got up to speak. He did it all without notes and a big friendly smile. My reaction and that of many in the audience, was to ask, “Who is he and where did this intelligent, interesting and friendly person come from?” He was a uniquely genuine individual who will be truly missed.
Scott Martella was a bright, shining star whose light was snuffed out way too soon. Whether he was representing the Governor or County Executive Bellone, he would always make sure that all details of a press event or special meeting were attended to. He always had a bright smile on that handsome face and a firm handshake to let you know there was substance and character inside that exceptional exterior. There was no doubt that Scott had a bright future and would have risen to a very prominent position in his career.
It is times like this that cause us to wonder why bad things happen to good people. Unfortunately, we too often come up with inadequate answers. Let us all remember Scott's family and fiancée in our thoughts and prayers and let us never forget the memory of someone who believed in the best that government could provide, and let all us work to ensure that those standards are attained. God bless you, Scott. We'll miss you but never forget you.
Long Island lost a true friend with the passing of Scott Martella. Scott was an invaluable help post-Sandy to much of Long Island, and his passion, dedication, and true desire towards helping communities was very difficult to match. He led by example as he encouraged scores of people to “be at the table or be part of the meal” in order to make Long Island the place that it deserves to be. We were reminded this week with heavy hearts of his impact, and will continue to be guided by his leadership.
Scott was a dedicated public official, He will be missed in all areas of public life on LI.
I got to know Scott as a fresh out-of-college “neophyte operative,” and was unsure what to make of him at first. Sometime later we had an opportunity to have a hardcore, in-the-weeds policy conversation, and it became quickly apparent that he was the real deal—smart, perceptive, confident and a quick study. When he became a regional representative for Governor Cuomo, he added a new quality—polish. It was the right job at the right time for a talented up-and-comer.
The privilege of serving in that position is that you have the opportunity to do things each day that can positively impact real lives of real people, often in ways well beyond and far more personal than the implementation of a new policy or the solving of a constituent concern. Scott understood that as well as anybody, and it became a conscious part of the calculus for any action he took during his tenure in the position.
He got the politics, but he also understood how the politics could affect people, and how little things could yield big results. Every life he touched doing the work of public service has yielded a legacy of such vast potential, because of what any of those lives touched might become. Politics was his profession, but people were his purpose.
Just a wonderful public servant. Doing his best for all the right reasons. A true loss for the Long Island community. I think he would have been a future star on the political landscape. Very sad!
Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation”. I believe that my friend, Scott Martella, epitomized this idea. Scott worked in public policy for all of the right reasons, and touched the lives of countless people while trying to make Long Island a better and more inclusive place. It is now incumbent on all of us to keep doing the work we do in order to collectively fulfill his promise.
Few of us had amassed such a noteworthy record of public service by the tender age of 29. Scott's loss is a loss for all of New York, especially Suffolk County. Hugs and prayers to his fiancée, family, friends and colleagues.
Gail Lynch Bailey
It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of pride that we reflect on the life and contribution of our friend and fellow LIincs member, Scott Martella. Our hearts are heavy because we will all miss his leadership, dedication, and of course, his smile. He was a young professional wise behind his years and left Long Island a better place than he found it and many of us are better for having known him.
Scott Martella’s legacy of selfless public service will live on in the public servants, elected officials, and activists that knew him for years to come.
Statement from LINC
My most profound memory of Scott took place on the top deck of a breezy ferryboat on the return trip from Fishers Island after their “Government Day” in the summer of 2014. Scott and I were talking about government and politics with someone we had just met, and it became clear that Scott and I were polar opposites when it came to almost every issue. Our new friend couldn’t understand how two ideologically very different people could get along so well, and then Scott began to explain…
Wherever you were, be it a fundraiser, stakeholder meeting, or in the halls of Albany, as soon as Scott walked into the room, you were infected by his smile. His aura and presence were contagious. He was different. Scott was the kind of person that gave you hope that people still get into politics for the right reasons and still use their power for good. Scott was always there to help, enthusiastically. If he couldn’t, you could count on him for advice, guidance, or simply a dose of reality.
He was such a bright light...Hard to wrap one's head around him being gone...My heart is with everyone. I can't imagine the pain, it's just too much...I can offer my favorite memory of him, though: Running into him jogging through Northport Village all dressed in white and happy to stop and chat a few minutes. I believe that the specific time I got to enjoy this, he had just moved into his apartment down there. What really hit me was his happiness at being a part of that community...He was just thrilled to be there....and we were glad to see him....
Katheryn Thomas Laible
The magnitude of Scott's accomplishments at such a young age was always an amazement, but even more significant was the fact that he was such a well-rounded affable person, who was always a team player. Scott's current and anticipated future contributions will be sorely missed.
Scott Martella, the young man with the biggest smile that lights up a room, has a huge compassionate heart of gold, and the man with the vision to make this world a better place. #payitforward
Let's start a movement in memory of Scott Martella. #ScottMartellaForward
Hi, I'm Ruben, the owner of Oscar's barbershop, the place where Scott got his haircuts monthly. This is about Scott who was a very loyal and steady customer, a very friendly and smart individual which I still can't believe has left us so soon. Two days before the accident he came to me with a smile on his face and said "Ruben, my fiancée and I are going to the Hamptons for the weekend and I need to look my best.” So I went to work. After finishing the cut and wishing him a safe and fun trip as he did for me to my upcoming Miami vacation for the 28th of August, we hugged it out and on his way he went. I'm truly shocked that he's gone and yet he was always here, living right next door to the barber shop. May he rest in peace and my condolences to his fiancée, family and friends.
Completion of Second Track Between Ronkonkoma and Central Islip Announced
Vision Long Island’s Board and staff joined NY State officials as well as local elected officials in Hauppauge this week as Governor Cuomo announced the completion of Phase One of the long awaited MTA/LIRR Double Track project between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale.
MTA Chairman Tom Pendergast provided an update on a series of MTA initiatives before outlining the progress on the second track. Essentially the MTA is on schedule as construction is complete on the line between Central Islip and Ronkonkoma and the remaining track to Farmingdale will open in 2018. The upgrade of a 13 miles parallel track, which has been “discussed for decades”, will enable a higher peak and off peak capacity on the Main Line while decreasing delays associated with malfunction. Often times, service will come to a halt when there is equipment of switch issues, as there is only one track in the stretch which has hourly train service to and from Penn Station.
"New York State is moving aggressively to bring our mass transit systems into the 21st century -- not just to meet the needs of our current population, but to foster smart, sensible and sustainable growth," Governor Cuomo said. "Adding a second track to the Ronkonkoma Branch is a project has been talked about for decades, but was never set into motion. By pairing innovative equipment with our strategy of design-build construction, we are accelerating the pace of these types of critical infrastructure projects to improve Long Island commutes and strengthen the region's economy. Put simply, we are building today for a better tomorrow." The Governor stated that by using the newest technology, rails were laid on the first phase of the project ten times faster than by using antiquated manual efforts, which reduced cost by $2.5 million, and kept the phases’ completion on time.
Phase II work is already underway, which primarily focuses on building the remaining track between Farmingdale and Central Islip, as well as signal installation the entire Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma distance. The MTA awarded design-build contracts for these components in June. In large part because design-build contracting holds private construction management firms accountable for achieving deadlines set by the MTA, the Double Track is on schedule to open as initially announced in 2018.
Improvements to LaGuardia Airport, updates on the 9.8 mile third track proposal from Floral Park and Hicksville, as well as other improvements within the MTA’s $27 billion capital plan were also touched upon. You can read more about the progress being made towards modernizing the country’s oldest commuter rail system in the Governor’s press release
Long Island’s Suburban Poverty Discussed on LI Business Report
LI Business Report by Jim Paymar interviewed Suffolk County Welfare to Work Commission Co-Chair and Vision Board member Richard Koubek and Family and Children’s Association Director Jeffrey Reynolds regarding the sometimes unrecognized issue of poverty on Long Island.
Several reasons why poverty is such a problem were discussed, including the housing crisis of the late 2000’s, disaster, long-term unemployment, a lack of affordable housing, as well as other factors. Koubek discussed why poverty is sometimes hidden, with the average actual cost of living annually being tens of thousands of dollars higher than the federal poverty dollar amount- all states have the same threshold, $24,300 for a family of four. It is estimated that 178,000 people in Suffolk County are between the federal poverty level, and 200% higher than that, household incomes less than $50,000 a year.
Unaccompanied minors and undocumented individuals were mentioned as well, with Reynolds mentioning the worsening of that population. He says that more impoverished areas are more welcoming to those emigrating from other places, with “layering poverty on top of poverty”, with barriers such as a lack of education, employment and affordable housing being accentuated. The high cost of child care was also discussed, with recent data saying that child care is more expensive than the cost of college. Due to a cut of funding, subsidies have been cut towards childcare, with the working poor struggling to either pay for childcare, or face losing their jobs due to a lack of ability to afford the high cost. The high cost of not providing care for mental health issues was discussed as well, with lack of treatment contributing highly to continued poverty on Long Island.You can view the entire interview, with some solutions towards one of Long Island’s most pressing issues here
$18 Million Sewer Expansion Project Moves Ahead in Patchogue
Patchogue Village will be receiving $18 million in state and federal grants that has been set aside for sewer hookups, enabling over 650 homes and other properties to be hooked up to a Village sewage plant at no cost to the residents.
“The money is to serve a dual purpose: to rebuild what was damaged during the storm and make water areas more resilient for future storms,” Suffolk Legislator and Deputy Presiding Officer Rob Calarco said at a meeting this week, where the Village adopted a resolution to accept the grant monies. “Our wetlands have been greatly degraded by the amount of nitrogen pollution going in the Patchogue Bay.” This project is part of a bigger $388 million plan to hook up sewer connections and develop a new sewage treatment facility, connecting 12,000 homes and properties in Shirley, Mastic, Oakdale, and Babylon. The funding comes from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation’s Revolving Fund, HUD’s CDBG-DR program, and the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, and will support the Suffolk County Coastal Resiliency Project for the south shore.
The Intermunicipal Agreement with the county was the first step in the process in moving the project ahead, with the county already putting out a Request For Proposal for engineering. Originally, $3 million would have to be paid by Village residents for the project to come to fruition, however federal and state grants will cover the entire project.
You can read more about the first step being taken to move the Suffolk County Coastal Resiliency Plan into action in the Long Island Advance.
Construction Completed on Nation’s First Offshore Wind Farm
The Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, with construction now completed, will be undergoing testing soon with hopes that it will be connected to New England’s power grid in the next few months, generating enough clean energy to power about 17,000 homes.
“People have been talking about offshore wind for decades in the United States, and I’ve seen the reaction — eyes roll,” Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind said in an interview on Block Island. “The attitude was, ‘It’s not going to happen; you guys can’t do it.’” Years of effort have gone into making wind farms a realistic alternative for the energy needs of the country since 2005, when Congress passed and then-President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act into law, paving the way for the Obama administration to move wind power out of the concept phase and into reality. State governments have also taken a large role into making clean energy a reality and policy. New York’s Governor Cuomo has set an ambitious goal of having fifty percent of the state’s power coming from renewable sources by 2030, with upcoming projects off of the shore of Long Island on the table and coming closer to fruition.
To date, about 5 percent of the nation’s energy comes from land-based wind turbines, with close to 50,000 units installed on land in the past few decades. The turbines are easier and cheaper to build on land. But the wind is also weaker on land, and the power the machines produce there is intermittent. The stronger breezes in the ocean can produce steadier power, potentially helping to balance out intermittent renewable sources like solar panels and onshore turbines.
The nations’ largest wind farm, out of view off of the coast of Long Island is now under review, with plans to build a wind farm that will generate 90 megawatts of energy, powering the South Fork of Long Island. That project could be up and running by 2022. You can read more about Deepwater’s project completion here
Senate Committee Debates Over Regulations for Greenhouse Gases
The US Senate Transportation Committee is in debate over a proposal by the Federal Highway Administration that would measure the value of state and municipal transportation projects by their greenhouse gas emissions.
Differing views are clear, with Chairman Jim Inhofe saying that the FHWA’s proposals would divert time and resources “away from achieving the performance goals set forth in law”, while ranking member Barbara Baxter stressing the need to address carbon pollution. “We cannot have a strong economy unless we have a safe and reliable transportation network if roads, bridges, transit systems, railways, and airports… Similarly, we must protect the air our families breathe to safeguard our health and maintain our quality of life,” Baxter wrote.FHWA is mandated under 2012’s MAP-21 to set performance standards for federally backed highway projects. The FHWA should be announcing whether or not it will include the climate metric later this year. You can read more about the debate on the standards here
Village of Great Neck Plaza Summer Concert Series
The Village of Great Neck Plaza will be continuing their 2016 Summer Concert Series through August, with two more free concerts. The summer concert series takes place on Tuesday nights, starting at 8pm, at Firefighter’ Park (Jon’s Park).
Long Island Premiere of The Rounds in Lindenhurst
The Babylon Arts Center in Lindenhurst will be presenting the Long Island Premiere of "The Rounds"on August 26th and 27th at 7PM. The play is presented by EggSalad Productions, a community of diverse artists dedicated to social justice through experimental performance and creation of purposeful art.
Blue Claw Festival in Mastic Beach
The 12th Annual Blue Claw Festival, hosted by the Mastic Beach Property Owners’ Association, will be held in Mastic Beach at Marina One on Sunday, August 28th from 11 AM to 6 PM. Attendees have the opportunity to enjoy fresh steamed shrimp, crabs, crab-cakes, clams, beer, wine, and soda. Admission is free and attendees will have the chance to enjoy music and dance performances presented on the show mobile and children’s activities such as face painting and sad art. A large selection of vendors with food and arts and crafts will be present as well.To learn more about the event, visit the Mastic Beach Property Owners’ Association’s website.
Westbury Concert Series
The Village of Westbury will be hosting its free evening concert series at the Piazza Ernesto Strada in the Village of Westbury Square on the corner of Post Avenue and Maple Avenue. Free parking for attendees will be available in the Village Madison Avenue parking lot behind Rite Aid. All of this year’s concerts will be held on Fridays from 7pm to 9pm. Featured performers include Dance Visions NY, North Shore Pops, and Sonido Clasico. The series will also include an art event to complement the music. Handmade cards and Paint Night are just a couple of the activities to be held in conjunction with the concerts.
For more information, you can visit the Greater Westbury Council for the Arts’ website.
Long Island’s 4th Annual Car Free Day
You can join the efforts to increase the use of sustainable transportation this Thursday, September 22, 2016 on Long Island’s 4th Annual Car Free Day. Last year, almost 3,000 Long Islanders pledged to go car free, saving 78,000 miles in driving and 39 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Car Free Day was celebrated in over 2000 cities in 40 countries around the world in 2015. To participate in this year’s event, all you have to do is promise to be either car-free or car-lite on Car Free Day by signing an online pledge form. You also receive the chance to win free prizes once you have made the pledge. 511NY, MTA, NICE, Suffolk Transit, HART, Long Beach Municipal Bus, and the Nassau-Suffolk Bicycle Coalition all have information about getting around town without using a car. Vision Long Island is a proud sponsor of this successful event.
For more information on this international event, you can visit Long Island’s Car Free Day website here.
Veterans’ Job and Information Fair- Assistance Needed!
The Amityville Community Resource Center will be hosting a Veteran’s Job & Information Fair on September 27, 2016 from 10 AM - 4pm. The Information Fair will be held from 10-4pm and the Job Fair from 12-4pm. Veterans can get free haircuts and business clothing from their boutique.
Assistance is needed from service providers, schools and vendors to participate in the information fair, and from employers with jobs available. Community members and organizations are encouraged to participate before the event by collecting new or gently used business and casual men’s clothing, business attire for women, and back to school clothing for children.
Jane Jacobs Film to Premiere at Toronto Film Festival
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City will be premiering this September 8th through 18th at the Toronto International Film Festival
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, is a film about cities through the lens of Jane Jacobs, author of the 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Directed and Produced by Matt Tyrnauer, Produced by Robert Hammond, Corey Reeser, and Jessica Van Garsse.
In 1960 Jane Jacobs’s book The Death and Life of Great American Cities sent shockwaves through the architecture and planning worlds, with its exploration of the consequences of modern planners’ and architects’ reconfiguration of cities. Jacobs was also an activist, who was involved in many fights in mid-century New York, to stop “master builder” Robert Moses from running roughshod over the city. This film retraces the battles for the city as personified by Jacobs and Moses, as urbanization moves to the very front of the global agenda. Many of the clues for formulating solutions to the dizzying array of urban issues can be found in Jacobs’s prescient text, and a close second look at her thinking and writing about cities is very much in order. This film sets out to examine the city of today through the lens of one of its greatest champions.
You can learn more about the premiere here.
Upcoming Public Hearings- Suffolk County Bus Cuts Starting in October
Suffolk County Transit will be moving ahead with bus route cuts, with plans to axe 10 routes effective October 3rd in order to bring a $78 million deficit into order. The cuts would be some of the largest in the 36 year history of Suffolk County Transit.
Comment Period Open for South Shore Coastal Storm Risk Management Project
The Army Corps, with the passage of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, has been awarded the funding to complete ongoing coastal storm risk management projects. As such, they have prepared a Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement for coastal storm risk management project that is intended to minimize erosion and increase hurricane protection from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point (FIMP). The $1.2 billion project, which has already replenished beaches on Fire Island, is expected to take place over the next several years, with 30-50 years of contingency plans.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The release of this Draft General Re-evaluation Report/Environmental Impact Statement is an important milestone, decades in the making, which moves New York State and the Army Corps of Engineers one step closer to the construction of the project. I look forward to continuing to work with our federal and local partners to complete this comprehensive storm damage reduction project so we can better protect citizens, businesses and economy of Long Island.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is opening a 60-day review period for the public to submit written comments to assist in the agency’s evaluation of the project changes. Public comments can be submitted by e-mail to either Robert.J.Smith@usace.army.mil or Mark.F.Lulka@usace.army.mil by September 30th. The Army Corp Engineers will also be holding a number of public meetings within the next 60 days to receive feedback on the draft.
Tentative dates and locations for public hearings are :
Further instructions for submitting comments and the report and its associated documents are available on New York District’s website.
Louisiana Needs Your Help
Louisiana suffered a devastating blow once again this month as twenty parishes were drenched with historical flooding, with over 7 trillion gallons of rain overfilling rivers and flooding homes. The unnamed storm is being called the worst US natural disaster since Sandy in 2012, dumping over 20 inches of rain in some areas, with other areas getting closer to three feet of rainfall.
Over 100,000 homes are estimated to be damaged by flooding with over 60,000 being so badly damaged that residents cannot return. 30,000 people were rescued, and thousands are still in shelters. One of the most frightening statistics is that 110,000 have registered for FEMA assistance, with less than a quarter of that amount filing a flood insurance claim- clearly outlining that there will be significant needs and gaps.
As Long Island creeps closer to the 4th Anniversary of Sandy, communities are once again coming together to provide assistance to Louisiana. Several initiatives to assist have started to be planned, with assistance planned in the future as well. Ways you can help:
ER 4 LA Pub Crawl Fund Drive- Sat October 1st 3pm-8pm
Ongoing Drive- Nassau County/Western Suffolk
Several organizations are working together to bring rehabilitation supplies and funds down to Louisiana. Drop off locations, items requested, and more information can be seen on the following flyers.
Over $200 Million in Funding Available for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects
New York State has more than $200 million in expired earmarks and grants available that can now be spent due to provisions in the current federal transportation funding bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST). This money includes over $18 million for projects involving bicycles and pedestrians, as well as other roadway improvements. Parks & Trails New York has assembled a website that explains both eligibility requirements and a map illustrating where each earmark may be used.
Long Island has several million dollars that were earmarked for projects over 10 years ago, with the projects either not coming to fruition, being partially complete, or being funded by other sources. Instead of losing out on those earmarks, funding will be able to be repurposed for other projects within a 50 mile radius of the original project location., that are eligible for Surface Transportation Block Grant funding, and that will be complete on or before September of 2019. The maximum Federal share of funding for the new project must be the same as the share of the original project.
New York State has to notify the Federal Highway Authority of its decision to repurpose the money by August 29, 2016, so the deadline is quickly approaching. You can contact your bicycle and pedestrian coordinator if you have an eligible local project for which you would like to receive funding. For more information or if you have any questions, please call Parks & Trails New York at 518-434-1583, or email Ron Epstein of NYSDOT at firstname.lastname@example.org
State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grants Open Sept 1st
Have you ever wanted to help your community with a problem but didn't know where to start? Maybe it's a run-down park or to help the impoverished in your community. Now, YOU have the power to fix it. State Farm Neighborhood Assist helps identify and address key issues faced by neighbors throughout the United States.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced, philanthropic initiative that lets communities determine where grant funding is awarded. The submission phase is open from Sept. 1-Sept. 15 and you may submit one entry into each of the three program categories: Education, Safety, and Community Development. It's best to submit early - a maximum of 2,000 submissions will be accepted, so there is a possibility of the application window period ending early. All you have to do is submit the cause; you don't have to "run the program."
After the submission stage ends, State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB), a group of college and high school students from across the country, will narrow down the submissions to the top 200 finalists. Once the top 200 causes are identified, they are voted on by you and your community. The voting stage is Oct. 26-Nov. 4 and each person gets 10 votes per day, every day, during that period. Winners will be announced November 30.
The top 40 causes with the most votes will each receive a $25,000 grant from State Farm. For more information about the program and to apply, click here
National Endowment for the Arts Grant
The National Endowment for the Arts has an Our Town grant program that aims to support creative placemaking in downtown communities. In order to be eligible for the grant, there must be a partnership between arts organizations and the government, other nonprofit organizations, and private entities. Projects of two types will be considered: Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning and Design Projects which represent the character and quality of a community, and Projects that Build Knowledge About Creative Placemaking, available for organizations that provide technical assistance to those doing place-based work. Matching grants range from 25,000 to 200,000 dollars. The deadline is September 12, 2016.
To learn more about the grant, and apply, visit the National Endowment for the Arts’ website.
Applications Being Accepted for Environmental Excellence Awards
The Federal Highway Administration is now accepting applications for the 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards. These awards are meant to recognize projects that use FWHA funding to not only comply with environmental regulations, but to achieve environmental excellence.
Nominations are accepted for any and all projects that have used FHWA funding to create an environmentally conscious transport solution. Applications will be accepted until September 15, 2016. Any questions may be directed to EEAawrdsNomination@dot.gov.
For more information about the nomination process, you can visit their website.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Grant
The Housing Trust fund is currently accepting applications for approximately 26.9 million dollars of State and Federal funds for projects relating to housing activities including housing rehabilitation, homeownership, manufactured housing rehabilitation or replacement, well and septic replacement, and lateral connection assistance that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons. Eligible applicants include non-entitlement villages, towns, cities or counties throughout New York State. The 2016 Application for CDBG Housing Activities will be available on the NYS Homes and Community Renewal website and is due no later than 4:00pm on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.
You can contact the Office of Community Renewal within NYS Home and Community Renewal at (518)-474-2057 with any questions, or visit their website.
$16 Million in Grant Money for Energy-Efficient Housing Construction
As a part of Governor Cuomo’s goal to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is offering $16 million dollars for the design and construction of energy-efficient housing. It has been projected that buildings that take advantage of this support will see yearly savings of 9 million dollars.
"Ensuring New York's buildings are constructed to the highest standards of energy efficiency is crucial to both our long-term sustainability and prosperity of the state,” said Governor Cuomo. "Smart choices about efficiency can simultaneously save money and protect the environment. This investment promotes that principle in order to build healthy communities and save consumers hundreds of millions of dollars."
Half of the 16 million dollars will be offered to builders of low-rise buildings, including single family homes, and the other half is meant for builders of mid- and high-rise buildings that consist of apartment units. Applications for this grant money will be accepted through December 29, 2017, or until funding runs out.
More information about the grant and the application process can be found on NYSERDA’s website.
Intern with Vision Long Island!
Vision Long Island is looking for interns! Our staff likes to say we "wear many hats," and interns will have to do the same. Interns will assist with planning, design, outreach, event planning, writing, research, attending meetings, reporting, photography, video and more. Bring your unique skill set to the table! We are looking for energetic and conscientious individuals with an interest in urban/suburban planning from a bottom-up perspective. This is a valuable opportunity to work with great people and learn about the issues impacting Long Island. Strong writing skills a plus.
What's happening on your Main Street this weekend?
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Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
For information, visit their website or call 516-439-5218
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Bow Tie Port Washington
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Cold Spring Harbor
For information, visit their website or call 631-351-3250
Port Jefferson Historical Society
For information, visit their website or call 631-473-2665
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Our Friend in Public Service…….
Scott Martella was a colleague and a friend to a lot of us. The last six years he was omnipresent in the world of connecting local communities to NYS efforts, both formally through his role as the Governor’s representative on Long Island and much more informally through the web of relationships he had developed and many of us also share. He was a regular speaker, connector and contributor at the LI Business Council, Smart Growth Summit, Friends of LI's Sandy relief efforts, LI Lobby Coalition events and scores of other related work. He was a go to guy to bounce ideas off of, share information, problem solve and for creating community access to higher levels of government. He also handled the thorny job of diverse feedback from local communities to varying NYS efforts with diplomacy, calmness and efficiency.
Scott was also a neighbor in downtown Northport so I had the experience of seeing him on the street occasionally after a long day or on my deck for an after hours cigar. For a young age he exhibited wisdom well beyond his years. He often counseled me at times when I struggled through anger management at the disconnect between higher levels of government and local communities or the lack of progress in certain areas. His advice would always be – Eric have patience, work with these folks, most of them want to do the right thing – they don’t always know how to do that but stay engaged and help them get there. He lived his life in public service with that spirit and action. As someone who also seeks to bring a community voice to various levels of government – his approach, demeanor and counsel was not always easy to hear but welcomed and helped me grow as a person. I have no doubt that his public service therapy was bestowed on quite a lot of us.
The past week of collecting emotional, sincere, funny and dynamic stories about Scott from just a small sample of Long Islanders has been a gift for us…. It was a gift he left us. The 500 + people that attended his funeral, and easily the equal number that could not attend but had been touched by his work, don’t always agree on matters and, in select instances, may not like each other. None of that mattered this week as we all rallied around the tragedy of losing our friend in public service. No matter how much experience we each have had in life and work we can learn a lot from our young friend. Let’s carry forth the gift he left for us, help each other and our communities. We may not have the gifts Scott was blessed with but we can do the work, learn a lot from him and each other and honor his memory.
In sadness and hope,
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