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St. James Fire District Bond Results

Please find below a statement from St. James Fire District Board of Commissioners:

“On behalf of the entire St. James Fire District, we would like to thank those community members who came out to vote today in our bond election. We are disappointed that the proposal was defeated by a vote of 459 yes votes to 775 no votes. As commissioners, we will now regroup and begin discussions of what our next steps might be. We will continue to keep the community informed throughout the process. As always, we will continue to respond to all emergencies in the quickest manner possible, as it is our duty and privilege to protect the residents of St. James.”


St. James Residents To Vote Today On Fire District's Proposed $12 Million Bond

Residents living in the St. James Fire District will have the opportunity to vote on the $12 million capital bond today. Voting will take place this afternoon between the hours of 3 and 9 PM at the Jefferson Avenue Firehouse. An additional polling station has been set up at the Fairfield Housing complex for residents in the 79th ED. 

If the bond passes, residents will be approving the construction of a new 22,458 square-foot facility at the Jefferson Ave. location and the closure and sale of the fire house and property on 25A. Fire District commissioners are unanimous in their support for the bond. According to the commissioners, in 2016 the Jefferson Ave. facility sustained water damage that caused significant damage to the structure’s weight bearing walls. The volunteers who serve at the facility are forced to get gear, run across parking lot and load up at the same time vehicles are entering the parking lot. This has proven to hazardous and a near miss incident occurred when one volunteer fell and was almost run over by a fire truck exiting the facility. The district responds to approximately 1,300 calls annually with the majority of the calls EMS calls.

New construction will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will provide accommodations for for firefighters during storms and emergencies. A meeting room which the public will be able to access is also part of the proposal. 

Commissioners have announced that regardless of the fate of the bond, the 25A fire house will close.

Not everyone within the fire district agrees with the proposal. Some volunteers at the 25A location question the plan to consolidate services into a new Jefferson Ave. facility. They question the impact of consolidation on the community north of the St. James Train Station on Lake Avenue.  “when seconds matter how will the response time impact on someone in cardiac arrest when the train is in the station and the gates are down on Lake Avenue,” asked a fire fighter who asked not to be identified.  There is also the sentiment that commissioners are discounting the impact future development at the Gyrodyne site will have on the Fire District and its ability to respond to emergencies. 

The 25A site has its challenges. Donated by the Butler Family to be used as a fire house, the building is outdated. The traffic on 25A has at times been difficult. Newer, larger vehicles are not easily parked and the building is not up to current building standards. All of this can be addressed say opponents of the bond. “ Fires and emergencies are addressed by personal and equipment not fire houses,” stated one volunteer. 

If approved property owners will see an increase in fire district taxes from $118 to $198 annually depending on current assessed value.


St. James Fire District Explains Their Referendum


Residents of St. James have the opportunity to vote on the St. James Fire District’s proposed $12.25 million capital bond Tuesday, September 19 3-9 pm at the Jefferson Avenue Firehouse. 


LI Native Living The Dream In Florida And Hurricane Irma

By Stacey Altherr

Sarasota Florida - Google ImagesWhen I decided to leave my home on Long Island to move to Sarasota last year, many friends questioned me as to why. Aren’t you worried about how brutally hot it gets in the summer? Aren’t you concerned that the high school won’t be as high achieving as the one here in Miller Place? How about the hurricanes? 

My answers were no, no, and, uhmm…

Storms always brought me anxiety. Partly, it is because I was spent much of my career as a news reporter and had to be at work –or actually be out covering – during storms. The bigger the storm, the more likely I would be somewhere up to my ankles in water getting quotes from fellow LIers, terrified that car would stall or run off the road. 

So, I figured that anxiety would follow me but at least I could be home and frantic. Seemed like a good trade-off. 

But this Irma. She was a beast. And she was headed right at Naples, planning on skipping up the west coast like a petulant child until her “Category Fiveness” slammed into my new hometown. 

Should I stay? Should I go? Phone calls from friends and family urging me to leave finally swayed me. I packed up my 15-year-old and headed toward the east coast—the Cocoa and Melbourne area.

The friend I was planning to stay with was evacuated since she lived on the river, so we ended up in a hotel, where, because of the kindness of staff, filled with homeless and others stranded by the storm.

Even the local juvenile detention center had to be evacuated, and took over most of the third floor where we were staying.

Throughout the night at our hotel in Cocoa, we had no less than five tornado warnings, forcing us down the staircase (no electricity meant no elevator) in the dark with our flashlight, only to have the danger pass and trudging back to our room. The wind howled all night. I peered out the window, too afraid to sleep, as things flew by – from palms from the trees to the 10-foot rain gutter pried loose above our room from the unrelenting wind.

Sarasota dodged a bullet. It fared well after Irma bent east over land. But as we all know by now, other parts of Florida were just devastated. The beautiful Florida keys, a place I love and one day dream of retiring, has been ravished by the wind and water. Irma went all the way up through Tampa, where storm surges caused extreme flooding. The storm continued its destruction up the middle of the state and across Georgia and South Carolina.

Yet, Long Islanders are not immune to hurricanes or any storms. Superstorm Sandy, which never even reached hurricane status, cut a huge swath of destruction across our beloved island, putting much of the south shore underwater for weeks. Snowstorms take lives and rattle us, as well.

In California, it is wild fires. In Mexico, an earthquake. 

No matter where we live, we must accept that natural occurrences will happen. I guess living in Florida, among white sandy beaches and flip-flop temperatures all year long, comes with a price.

For the next storm, though, I think I will catch a plane back to Long Island.


Stacey Altherr is a former Newsday reporter now living in Sarsasota, Florida. Her beats included Smithtown, where she covered governmental affairs.  She now runs a café in Longboat Key near her home and writes freelance. Altherr has won many awards, including a 2010 Society of Silurian Award for community service journalism for a multi-part series, “Heroin Hits Main Street,” and a third-place National Headliner Award for public service for a multi-part year-long investigation on spending at fire districts on Long Island.



Congratulations to 2017 Summer Volleyball League Champions

Smithtown Recreation has announced the 2017 Summer Volleyball league champions as well as second place finishers.  The format of play is the best of 5.


Sand DiggazVolleyball Monday night:   Champions - Sand Diggaz  18-7

                                    Second Place - Leftovers    16-13

Sand Diggaz won the first two games, while the Leftovers won the next two games. In the final game, the format of play was changed from a 25 point game to a 15 point game, due to darkness. Sand Diggaz rallied back to capture their first Championship win.

ShenanigansTuesday night:                     Champions - Shenanigans 29-3

                                                 Second Place - Sand Gnats  23-9

 Shenanigans took the championship in four games.

Why Not UsWednesday night: Champions: Why Not Us

                Second Place - Not Too Intense

Why Not Us took the championship in three games.


Congratulations to 1st and 2nd place winners.  Please contact the Recreation office at 631-360-7644 if you are interested in the winter volleyball league.