The Playhouse Construction Challenge
I would like to thank Mitchell Pally and the Long Island Builders Institute for inviting me to their annual Home, Trade & Remodeling EXPO and for having me as one of their guest judges in the Playhouse Construction Challenge – held at the Huntington Hilton in Melville.
Thanks to the generosity and craftsmanship of Alure Home Improvement, Long Island Home Builders Care, Inc, TRITEC Real Estate and the Engel Burman Group, many charities and children will benefit from the joy and laughter that each of the four donated playhouses will bring.
East Northport – As a result of a new social media presence and innovative programs, the Town of Huntington Animal Shelter just completed one of its most successful weeks in years, placing seven dogs, including one who had been a shelter resident for two years.
A Massachusetts woman first noticed Stewy, a Great Dane mix, on the shelter’s Facebook page and began a correspondence with shelter director Jerry Mosca about the dog, who had been difficult to place during his two-year stay because of his size and strength. The woman met Mosca and Stewy in person last weekend. “She fell in love with the dog and took him home,” Mosca said. “She has been emailing me since then and sending me photos, showing me how well he has adapted to his new environment.”
Stewy’s stay at the shelter was the longest of any of the dogs adopted last week, but also on the list was Yoda, a pit bull mix who had been at the shelter for more than a year. And while Massachusetts was clearly the farthest someone came to adopt last week, other dogs moved to new homes in Hicksville, Centereach and Kings Park.
The Town has been at the forefront of instituting cutting-edge programs to help prepare dogs for adoptions, including working with shelter dogs to make sure they have basic obedience skills and instituting play groups to enhance socialization. The Town established the Facebook page to increase awareness of the shelter’s activities; created the not-for-profit Give A Dog A Dream Foundation as a vehicle to accept donations to assist the shelter in meeting dogs’ needs; and recently began a Dog of the Week program, choosing a dog each week for which the shelter’s adoption fees will be waived.
Persons interested in learning more about the Give A Dog a Dream Foundation or in donating to it should visit the Animal Shelter page on the Town’s website.
Two major changes affecting how Huntington residents recycle paper, glass, bottles and electronic waste produced significant increases in 2015. At the beginning of 2015, the Town began single stream recycling, allowing residents to put all recyclables into a single can, which is collected weekly. Previously, residents were required to separate bottles and cans from newspapers, magazines and cardboard and put them out for collection on alternate weeks. As a result of this change, which made recycling more convenient, the amount of recyclables collected increased by just under 10 percent: from 13,327.44 tons collected in 2014 to 14,609.23 tons in 2015.
The second change applied to electronic waste such as televisions, computers, computer printers and monitors. For many years, the Town has accepted e-waste at the Town’s Recycling Center, 642 New York Avenue, Huntington, and in 2013 began a program of allowing residents to call for curbside pickup. On January 1, 2015, a state law took effect making e-waste recycling mandatory by banning the collection of e-waste with regular garbage. The Town and its contracted refuse carters began placing stickers on e-waste left out with regular garbage informing residents of the law and listing the options for disposal, including drop-off at the Recycling Center, curbside pickup, taking it to a participating store and sending it back to the manufacturer. As a result, calls for curbside pickup nearly quadrupled in 2015, with 2,391 calls, as compared to 643 in 2014.
Town of Huntington Parks and Recreation Department will offer a 3 on 3 basketball tournament for children in grades 5 – 8. The tournament will be held on Wednesday, February 17 for grades 5 and 6 and on Thursday, February 18 for grades 7 and 8. Players coach themselves and call their own game under adult supervision. The cost is $78 per a team. Each player receives a t-shirt. Trophies will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
Registration is currently underway at the Parks and Recreation Department, Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM – 4 PM or at the Dix Hills Ice Rink, Monday through Sunday from 8 AM – 8 PM. You can also register online at: www.TOHPARKS.com. For more information call the Parks and Recreation Department at 351-3089.
A new hearing loop in Town Board room improves audio clarity for those with hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Persons with hearing loss should find it a little easier to follow the proceedings in the Town Board Room at Huntington Town Hall, thanks to the installation of a hearing loop that works with hearing aids and cochlear implants to improve the clarity of sound emanating from the room’s audio system.
Huntington is the only Suffolk County town to have such a system, which has been installed at places such as the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Botanical Garden and the city’s two baseball stadiums, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.
The system, which cost $8,000, was installed last November by North East Hearing of Miller Place. Installation entailed placing a copper wire in the floor throughout the room. The wire is connected to a control box and existing audiovisual equipment; the wireless technology magnetically transfers a microphone or television sound signal to the receivers in hearing aids or cochlear implants, improving quality. For those without either hearing instrument who need assistance, headphones attached to a lanyard are available (the headphones are sanitized after each use).
The system was installed after meetings with Halesite resident Len Urban, who frequently attended sessions held in the room – including the Town Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals – but was frustrated by his inability to understand what the board members were saying, even after getting a cochlear implant in 2013. Urban met with Town officials and shared research he had done into various systems. Urban also pointed out that a loop system was preferable to a headset system, which the Town had been considering. “A person with a bulky headset would stand out in a crowd and, therefore, many in need would not use them. A loop system required the push of a button with no fuss or embarrassment,” Urban wrote in a recent newsletter of the Hearing Loss Association of America’s North Shore chapter.
Urban wrote about being invited to Town Hall for a demonstration of the newly-installed system. He was asked how things sounded. “I couldn’t answer because of the large lump in my throat,” he said in the article, “so I gave a thumbs-up and signed, THANK YOU.”
January brings with it more than the New Year. It brings cold temperatures and the potential for high heating bills. Thanks to a new program that is available to Town of Huntington residents, there’s an easy way help lower your energy costs.
For more info and to schedule a free home energy assessment, please call the Long Island Green Homes Initiative at: 800.567.2850 or visit:
Looking for a new way to get into shape for the New Year? Go for a spin or a hike at the Meadowlark BMX Trail in Northport.
Meadowlark Park is nestled within the Veteran’s Park complex between Bellerose Avenue and Middleville Road in Northport and is home to one of the most beautiful, yet challenging mountain bike trails on Long Island. This trail consists of a 6-mile loop with varied terrain and a technical uphill switchback. The park opened in the spring of 2012 and was created through a partnership with the Town of Huntington, Suffolk County and volunteers from Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists (C.L.I.M.B.). — at 85 Middleville Rd, Northport, NY 11768.
In an effort to help provide Town of Huntington residents with more ways to communicate and receive important information, the Town has launched two new Facebook pages:
Huntington Animal Shelter:
Huntington Parks and Recreation Department:
Please "Like" these pages and share them with your family, friends and neighbors. It's a great way to keep informed of the wonderful programs and services that are offered through the Town of Huntington
On Wednesday, December 9th, I inducted 24 new student members and welcomed back 50 returning members of the Huntington Youth Court in a ceremony held at Huntington Town Hall. Now celebrating its sixteenth year of operation, the Huntington Youth Court has 74 members (representing each high school in the Town of Huntington) and has inducted 582 Youth Court members to date.
The Youth Court Program, initiated in 2000, is aimed at holding youth accountable for misconduct and preventing teen violence, while at the same time providing an educational experience about the legal process. The program’s coordinator, Maria Danisi, works with high school volunteers who serve in a simulated courtroom proceeding to determine sentencing for first-time, non-violent offenders. Members rotate in groups of 20 and perform as defending and prosecuting attorney, judge, bailiff and jury.
An average Youth Court participant will hear cases on low-level misdemeanors such as shoplifting or vandalism. The offender has already pleaded guilty to the crime and has agreed to be judged by a jury of his/her peers. The jury may impose a sentence that includes community service, a written or verbal apology to the victim, written essays pertaining to the crime, counseling sessions, a jail tour, mandatory participation in a peer discussion group and mandatory jury duty.
Since the program’s inception, Youth Court volunteers have heard 378 cases and they have handed out an average of 100 sanctions to youth offenders each school year – with a combined total of more than 400 volunteer hours for trials alone per year.
For more information or if you are interested in joining the program, please contact Maria Danisi at (631) 271-5547 or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
(Photo Caption: I'm administering ‘The Oath of Office’ to the 2015 Youth Court Council Inductees)
The Walt Whitman High School Wildcats Marching Band began its show-stopping season with a first-place win in the Long Island band competition held in Manhasset on October 10th, 2015. They followed up with L.I. win with a milestone victory for the record books and I presented the 70 piece band ensemble with a proclamation presentation held at Huntington Town Hall on December 8th.
The Wildcats Marching Band is led by Allen Dietz, the band’s coordinator and co-directors Caitlin Coumatos and David Pettas. Under their leadership, the band scored 78.075 in the Long Island Competition and took top honors in three Caption Awards for: Best Music and Visual Performances and Best Overall Effect. In the state championships, the band brought home their first ever First Place win with a score of 86.4 for: Best Visual and Musical Performances, Best Overall Effect and Best Color Guard.
I am pictured with my fellow Board Members presenting a proclamation to the first ever NY State Champs: The 2015 Walt Whitman High School Wildcat Marching Band at a Town Board Meeting held on December 8th at Huntington Town Hall