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Friday
Oct122012

Gail Hessel - KP Resident, Retired Teacher And Author Of "Obadiah Smith House"

Gail Hessel

“When the new Brooklyn County Farm (later to become the Kings Park Psychiatric Center) came to the area in 1885, James saw an opportunity to sell them something they needed, which was water and ice from his pond.” The Obadiah Smith House by Gail Hessel

 

Have you ever driven down St. Johnland Road in Kings Park and wondered about the old house with the sign indicating that it is a historic location? Kings Park resident Gail Hessel drives past the house all the time and admits to not really seeing “it” for a very long time.  The house, according to Gail, was “simply part of the road.” Yet something compelled her to learn more about the Obadiah Smith House and after doing research she realized, “I learned that this house is the beginning and the foundation, if you will, of the hamlet of Kings Park.”

Gail Hessel has penned a book, “The Obadiah Smith House” in which she gives an in depth look at the Obadiah Smith home and the people who have lived there. The Obadiah house was continuously occupied for 300 years with 232 years being occupied by the descendants of Smithtown’s founder, Richard Smythe. Imagine its history and its significance to Kings Park and all of Smithtown.  In addition to the Obadiah home, the book includes the history of what we call “Harrison Pond”.

Gail has written this 35-page book to raise awareness to the significance of the Obadiah house as part of Smithtown’s history.  A second goal is to raise funds to maintain the Obadiah Smith House which is deteriorating and needs many repairs and regular maintenance. The Smithtown Historical Society, in an attempt to preserve the home, took ownership of the house in 1960 but maintaining the property has been a challenge.  The Society is hoping to preserve the house and to someday open it to the public and school groups.

You can be a part of preserving Kings Park’s history by purchasing “The Obadiah Smith House” through the Smithtown Historical Society. The book, which was published by the Historical Society, sells for six dollars. You can contact Gail through the Smithtown Historical Society at info@smithtownhistorical.org

Sunday
Oct072012

Never Empty in Smithtown - What's Cookin'? - Smithtown

What’s Cookin’? – Smithtown

By Nancy Vallarella

What makes Smithtown attractive? Earlier this year I responded, “The people who live here and their commitment to community.” I feel the same way today. I felt this way shortly after moving to Smithtown nearly twelve years ago. Smithtown has and I am most certain, will always be, full of heart. It does a great job keeping tummies full too.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Taking the lead back on September 15th, Yogurtini of Smithtown Yogurtini Smithtown (44 East Main Street) hosted their grand opening with a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. They donated three hours of free frozen yogurt with balloons and face painting for the kids.  Town of Smithtown resident and co-owner Ellen Benziner states why she selected the breast cancer cure cause; “There is no six degrees of separation with incidents of breast cancer on Long Island.” An estimated five hundred Smithtown residents attended the event. In turn they were treated to Yogurtini’s classic frozen yogurt flavors and the more adventurous birthday cake batter, red velvet, peach cobbler, cinnamon bun swirl and pumpkin flavors. Non-dairy and no sugar added yogurt options were available as well as a wide variety of toppings.

In addition to all of the yummy goodness, Yogurtini is dedicated to helping the Smithtown community. They will enthusiastically host your group in their store. If you are looking to raise funds for a non-profit organization, contact Ellen at 631-656-5955 or reference www.yogurtini.com/fundraising.

The Smithtown Children’s Foundation is hosting their 1st Annual Clothing and Food Drive. Stop by the Rinx (660 Terry Road, Hauppauge) on Monday October 8th between 9:00am and 4:00pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, October 9th – 11th between 11:00am and 4:00pm to drop off clothing and food donations. The food donations will provide Smithtown families in need with Thanksgiving meals. They will be accepting the following non-perishable food items: canned corn, boxed potatoes, yams, stuffing, hot cocoa, marshmallows, apple cider, apple juice, canned green beans and turkey VOUCHERS.

Thursday, October 25th, from 6:00pm – 9:00pm the Senior Resource Center of Long Island will host the 7th annual Taste of Smithtown. This event will be held at Mercedes-Benz of Smithtown’s temporary location (587 Middle Country Road, Saint James) while their showroom is under reconstruction. Last year’s event was a smorgasboard of almost thirty of Smithtown’s culinary establishments providing small plate tastings of their best products. Isles of raffle prizes and the company of dedicated community people make this one of the best fundraising social events Smithtown has to offer. Tickets are $25 per person and sponsorship opportunities are still available. At this year’s event attendees will make their checks out to one of three charities being honored; Gift of Life, Smithtown Children’s Foundation and Smithtown Emergency Food Pantry. Contact SRLI at 631-544-6500 or www.srli.info to purchase tickets in advance or inquire about sponsorship opportunities. Food donations for the Smithtown Emergency Food Pantry will also be collected at this event.

There are several food pantries in and near Smithtown. In addition to the Thanksgiving items listed for the Smithtown Children’s Foundations Food Drive, here is a list of staples food pantries are always in need of: dried rice and pasta, canned or dried beans and peas, canned fruits and vegetables, cereals and oatmeal, milk in shelf-stable forms, fruit juices, jellies, peanut butter, tomato based sauces and CASH.

This Sunday, October 7th until November 28th from 9:00am – 2:00pm the Kings Park Farmer’s Market conducts a bi-weekly collection of fresh and canned food donations for the St. Joseph’s Church Food Pantry. The KPFM is located in the municipal parking lot across from the Kings Park Fire Department on Rt. 25A.

Customers who frequent or who have “LIKED” the Tic Toc Café in Saint James on Facebook know they give away dozens of bagels when they have excess late in the afternoon. I know this first hand because I walked back to my car on St. James Day with a giant bag of free bagels. They even asked me which ones I’d prefer. Froze some and shared some with my neighbor. Thank you Tic Toc Café!

Good job everyone who makes Smithtown full and never empty!

Saturday
Oct062012

KPCA - Sewer Proposal Not Good For Kings Park

The idea of bringing a sewer line and its contents from Main Street Smithtown up Rte 25a and connecting them to the sewage treatment plant in Kings Park “stinks”. This seems to be the consensus of the Kings Park Civic Association (KPCA).  At a meeting Thursday evening, members of the association and Kings Park residents gathered to discuss Legislator John Kennedy’s proposal to expand the capacity and upgrade the existing sewage treatment plant in Kings Park.    

According to Kennedy, his proposal to increase sewage capacity for the business areas of Smithtown and Kings Park will help ease restrictions on existing businesses wishing to expand. The proposal will also allow the Town’s downtown areas to favorably compete for businesses not currently located in the Town.  This proppsal is predicted to cost about $80 million.

KPCA is not a newcomer to this issue. At Thursday’s meeting Linda Henninger, chair of the KPCA’s sewer committee, was armed with a file of correspondence regarding the proposal dating back to  2008. She expressed dismay at the lack of information coming out of the Legislator’s office.  “Kennedy doesn’t represent Kings Park and is looking out for his constituents interest, not Kings Park.”stated Henninger.  Members of KPCA would like to have Kings Park’s needs addressed and not be bundled with Smithtown’s needs.  According to both Kennedy and KPCA the cost for Kings Park going it alone would be approximately $20 million.   Listening to residents speak at Thursday’s meeting it is clear they are not pleased with being the recepticle for Smithtown’s sewerage. In addition, KPCA members say they are frustrated that the proposal calls for leeching fields in a designated conservation area.

The trigger for a more active role by the KPCA was learning that the County has invested $1.8 million in its proposal, which includes a study from the engineering firm H2M, giving great detail and credibility to Legislator Kennedy’s proposal.  “Spending that kind of money on a plan that puts leeching fields in a conservation area leads us to believe that this plan is further along and moving faster than we understood.” said Henninger. Association members were unanimous in their call to stop planning and spending money on a plan that they claim is at best “flawed”.  KPCA is calling for the County to review alternative actions that include unbundling the Kings Park Sewer District from the Smithtown Sewer District and finding alternative sites. KPCA Board President Sean Lehman represented the association’s position as being “sewers are good and we want them; however, the proposal to bring Smithtown’s sewage into Kings Park is not in our best interest.  We believe that there are better sites for Smithtown’s sewage than bringing it into Kings Park. The County has not looked for an alternative site even though the Town has a list of twenty one possible sites which they believe and we believe are better.” 

Legislator  Kennedy spoke of his plans at a Kings Park Chamber of Commerce meeting in September.  Kennedy, a passionate supporter of sewering as a way to improve downtown areas in Kings Park and Smithtown, spoke of ongoing negotiations with St. Johnland Nursing Center to establish leeching fields on their property. St. Johnland is planning to increase its footprint on its property creating a continuous care facility and needs to address its waste disposal. This may present an opportunity for the county to access their site.  KPCA is not happy with this proposal and they will fight any proposal to put a leeching field on property that is designated for conservation use. 

Another issue for KPCA is the smell that is associated with the plant. Residents living close to the existing plant complain of horrible smells that reduce the value of their homes. The county has no record of complaints about the existing facility, but stated that there are odor containing structures that could be used to address odor complaints. KPCA  members  expressed a disbelief in the county’s documentation of complaints at the current sewage treatment facility off St. Johnland Road.  At least one resident in the audience, a gentleman, who lives near the facility explained in detail his complaint about the plant and an exchange of emails with Senator Flanagan regarding odors at the site.   A change in his work shift caused him to be home during the day when he noticed a terrible stench.  At first, thinking it was a cesspool problem, he checked his and a neighbor’s cesspool. After talking with the neighbor he realized that this was not an isolated incident the oder was coming from trucks dumping at the plant. 

While both sides are far from agreeing on the sewer proposal they do agree that sewers are the way to go.

 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct022012

Fairfield Hosts Congressional Candidates Forum

First Congressional Candidates, incumbent Tim Bishop (Democrat, Working Families) and challenger Randy Altshuler (Republican, Conservative, Independence) participated in a candidate’s forum at Fairfield in St. James on Monday.  The forum was moderated by Joyce Rosenthal of the League of Women Voters of Smithtown. The format was question and answer with time allotted for closing statements. Candidates were asked to give detailed answers to questions in support of their positions. Although the forum started off with some confusion Rosenthal kept the candidates on topic.

There wasn’t much disagreement between candidates. Asked to identify three priorities both agreed on “jobs, Social Security and Medicare.” Both candidates agreed that there are real problems with Congress and that blame for its dysfunction can be assigned to both parties.  Bishop placed blame on recently elected “Tea Party” members who he said were unwilling to compromise for bipartisan solutions. 

Both candidates hold the position that the federal debt needs to be addressed through bipartisan action and “everything needs to be put on the table”.  Everything includes loopholes but neither candidate offered specifics.  Bishop, voted for sequestration (automatic spending cuts), he explained that at the time of the vote there was no other option. His choice at the time was, vote yes on a package that included sequestration or allow the United States to default on its financial commitments. Altschuler expressed concern for a $16 trillion debt and the impact it has on the children and grandchildren of the people in the room. 

Both candidates stated a willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion and to cross party lines. Altschuler pointed to Bishop’s record of voting along party lines in almost 95 percent of his votes. Bishop countered that he votes with one mindset; how his vote will impact on the middle class family like the one he grew up in. 

On the topic of veterans both candidates expressed their profound respect for those who serve in the armed forces and committed themselves to doing everything possible to provide needed programs for veterans.  Altschuler acknowledged the work Bishop has done and added a commitment to do more to educate veterans about the services that are available to them. 

On the issue of taxes Altschuler said, “Taxes are bad” and talked about the negative impact taxes have on job creation and how taxes are forcing young people to flee Long Island. Bishop talked about the top twenty employers in Suffolk County being very reliant on tax dollars and that there has to be some thought as to how to cut taxes without having a negative impact on jobs. Bishop stated  that when it comes to Romney’s plan for the economy the numbers just don’t add up, ” you can not increase funding for defense, shore up Social Security and Medicare and reduce taxes at the same time.” Bishop mentioned that the Grover Norquist  “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” which Bishop stated Altschuler signed (requires signers to oppose all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and to oppose reductions of deductions and credits, unless matched by dollar for dollar by reducing tax rates) prevents the closure of loopholes considered a tax increase as being an obstacle to finding real solutions. Altshuler addressed the defense budget committing to a strong national defense but emphasizing the need to spend money wisely by reducing waste and redundancies in the defense budget.

How did the audience respond to the debate? After the debate there were still some people unsure of who they were going to vote for. The primary issue for most everyone was “JOBS”. One woman who preferred not to give her name said “we all know people who have lost their job and can’t find another job. Both candidates talked about the importance of jobs but neither offered specifics. We pretty much got what we expected from the candidates no specifics about how they were going to get people back to work.” 

There were people who knew coming in to the forum who they were going to support. One retiree, a marine veteran of the Korean War, praised Tim Bishop for the work he has done for all veterans.  One woman said that even though Bishop has been in office for ten years and has experience it might be time to elect someone else.  There were people who expressed concern over Altschuler’s history of outsourcing jobs and some who expressed concern over Bishop’s history of voting with Congresswoman Pelosi.  

One thing is certain, the people in the audience were listening and they will be voting!

 

 

Tuesday
Oct022012

Former Library Trustee Rose Palazzolo Wants Her Position Back!

My name is Rose Palazzolo. I am running for election on October 9, 2012. I was a Library Trustee from 2008 to 2010. I have asked that you vote for me in 2010, 2011, and now again in 2012. The reason I was not re-elected was #1 - The Library Union interviews the candidates and the decides if they believe you agree with their agenda they will back you. They will tell your Union Members to vote for you. They will tell the patrons who to vote for whom live in their neighborhood if they live in Smithtown.

                   #2)  They send post cards to all active members of the CSEA Unions who live in Smithtown, and were former or current members of the Smithtown School District, The Smithtown Library District, the Town of Smithtown and the County and the State.

                    #3)  Since the turnout of voters is  usually small they were able to reelect Nesconset Trustees with no trouble at all.

                    You might say, how does Rose know that? I know that because they put the CSEA Emblem on the other candidates Flyers who they want elected.

                     I am beholden to you the Smithtown Library user and the Smithtown Tax payer. I am not beholden to the Library Union.

                     Smithtown Library was short changed because of the power of the Nesconset Trustees and other Trustees who were not fair in how the Smithtown Library was built. They claimed there was not enough money to complete the second floor.

                      However, they found the money to change the elevation of the Kings Park Library Building for 1 point 2 million dollars besides giving them a new entrance and a basement. They gave Commack a new Basement and they put the Library Offices on the Second Floor in Nesconset which supposed to be used for storage only.

                      These changes were agreed to in February 2009. by all the Library Trustees Which was to make more space at Kings Park and Commack and the offices were to stay at Smithtown.

                       The Library Trustees in 2010 were dominated by the Nesconset Trustees and in December 2010 the last month I could vote because I was defeated they put the offices into Nesconset not for the $89,000.00 they claimed it would cost but for $200,000.00.

                        They found money for all changes but not for the Second Floor at Smithtown main, which now has a flat roof and looks like it is only one story from the out side. They took away the Historical look of the Library. The Smithtown residents do not realize what actually happen as no one from Smithtown Civic Association ever came down to here about what was happening. The residents from the Smithtown Branch where the Library is located never came to a meeting. The residents who came the meeting were mostly Nesconset residents a few from Kings Park and a few from Commack, and you could count them on your hands. The only time Kings Park Residents turn out was when Kings Park Civic Association came down with their own Architech and told the Library Board what they wanted. I was Head of The Buildings and Grounds Committee but a meeting was arranged withe the Kings Park Civic, Dave Flynn and some members of the Library Board of Trustees to make changes to  the Library Plans for Kings Park tomake Kings Park Civic happy. However, no one cared that I was unhappy with the plans for Smithtown Main The power of politics.If Kings Park Civic did not complain that building  would look different today. Do not forget, President Vallone comes from kings Park and he wanted a second floor added to Kings Park and was told they couldn’t do that as there was no basement big enough in that building to put on a second floor.

This is why I want you to elect me, so you can read in the minutes my motions and how I voted on other motions. The best thing you can do is to try to attend at least two meetings a year. The August meeting  is the most important meeting, If more residents attend then the Library would be more accountable to you.and me.

Sincerely

Rose Palazzolo