- Click for Restaurant Directory_____

 

A Sign of Our Times

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Grand Jury Report critical of Smithtown town
gover
nments supervision
of commercial
property demolition…

The Grand Jury Report is public record and available at the link below. It is 40 pages, but double spaced, and well worth the few minutes it takes to read it.

Please feel free to share your comments with us.

Click on link for Full Report

 

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Sign of our Times

By Eric Sailor

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Wednesday
Dec132017

NY Food Distributor Indicted For Obstructing IRS

12/13/2017 12:00 AM EST

 

A federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of New York returned an indictment yesterday, which was unsealed today, charging the owner of a wholesale food distributor with obstructing the internal revenue laws, aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns, and structuring currency transactions, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

 

Thursday
Dec072017

Grants To Provide Legal Assistance For Victims

 

Apply for Grants to Provide Legal Assistance for Victims 

Register by: Jan 5, 2017

Apply by: Feb 1, 2017

Funds are available for civil and criminal legal assistance for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. 

Grants can be used to provide victims with access to appropriately trained legal representation for the broad spectrum of legal issues survivors encounter, such as child custody issues, campus administrative or protection/stay away orders, immigration, administrative agency proceedings, and assistance related to human trafficking. 

Who is eligible to apply? Private nonprofit entities, publicly funded organizations, tribal and territorial organizations, and tribal governments.

Download the solicitation and read it carefully. 

 

More solicitations are coming. Subscribe to get an email when one is released and to see the solicitation release plan. Visit the Awards Page to see who received a grant last year.    

Know someone who would benefit from funding?  Share this message with them.  

 

Twitter icon Follow us on Twitter @OVWJustice


Tuesday
Dec052017

NYS To Install Height Detectors To Stop Over-Height Vehicles On Parkways

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES INSTALLATION OF OVER-HEIGHT VEHICLE DETECTORS TO PREVENT BRIDGE STRIKES ON LONG ISLAND PARKWAYS

Photos of the Detectors Available Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the installation of new technology that will help stop over-height vehicles from entering Long Island parkways in order to prevent dangerous bridge strikes on low parkway overpasses. The $4.3 million project involves installing over-height vehicle detectors at 13 locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“Every bridge strike is not only a danger to the motorists and passengers involved, but also exacerbates the very serious traffic problems that Long Islanders experience every day,” Governor Cuomo said. “With the installation of these detectors, we are moving this region’s parkways into the 21st century with state-of-the-art technology designed to prevent these bridge strikes and improve the safety and reliability of these vital roadways.”

Detectors at the top of a ramp will relay an invisible beam that is set at a specific bridge clearance height for the area. An over-height vehicle entering would break the beam, triggering a warning message on a full color LED variable message sign display. The warning would indicate that the vehicle is over height and alerts the driver of impending bridge strikes ahead. A camera linked to the New York State Department of Transportation’s regional traffic management center will record the incident.

New York State parkways traditionally have bridges that are lower than the standard legal bridge clearance. Commercial vehicles, school buses, tractor trailers and other tall vehicles are prohibited from driving on parkways. Locations for the over-height detector systems were determined from places where trucks have been known to improperly enter parkways.

State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, “At the State Department of Transportation, safety is our top priority and we strive to utilize modern technology to keep our roads safe for all users. Preventing trucks from entering the parkways before striking a low bridge will improve safety for Long Islanders for many years to come.”

Sites that were completed on time and on budget through November are:

  • Southbound Eagle Avenue to eastbound Southern State Parkway in the town of Hempstead, Nassau County
  • Sunrise Highway north service road to westbound Heckscher/Southern State Parkway in the town of Islip, Suffolk County
  • Southbound State Route 106/107 to eastbound Northern State Parkway in the town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County
  • Northbound State Route 106/107 to eastbound Northern State Parkway in the town of Oyster Bay
  • Southbound State Route 106/107 to westbound Northern State Parkway in the town of Oyster Bay

Additionally, truck detectors are being installed and expected to be completed in the spring of 2018 at:

  • Eastbound Interstate 495/Long Island Expressway ramp to eastbound Northern State Parkway in the town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County
  • Westbound Interstate 495/Long Island Expressway ramp to westbound Northern State Parkway in the town of Oyster Bay
  • Northbound Peninsula Boulevard to eastbound Southern State Parkway in the town of Hempstead, Nassau County
  • Southbound Peninsula Boulevard to westbound Southern State Parkway in the town of Hempstead
  • Southbound State Route 135/Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway to westbound Southern State Parkway in the town of Hempstead
  • Southbound State Route 111 to westbound Southern State Parkway in the town of Islip, Suffolk County
  • Northbound State Route 111 to westbound Southern State Parkway in the town of Islip
  • Spur Drive North ramp to westbound Southern State Parkway in the town of Islip

Over-height detector systems were installed on three other Long Island locations in 2014, including:

  • Northbound State Route 106/107 to westbound Northern State Parkway in the town of Oyster Bay
  • Northbound State Route 135/Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway to westbound Northern State Parkway in the town of Oyster Bay
  • Westbound Long Island Expressway to westbound Northern State Parkway in the town of Oyster Bay

Similar systems were installed on five parkways in the Hudson Valley in 2015.

In 2016 there were 30 percent fewer bridge strikes on the Hutchinson River Parkway than there were in 2012. The system has prevented thousands of over-height buses, box trucks, tractor trailers and more from hitting low bridges along the Parkway.

NYSDOT installed a slightly different system in 2011 along the Onondaga Lake Parkway in Salina, near Syracuse, to prevent over-height vehicles from striking a low railroad bridge. That location saw a reduction in bridge hits from several per year, to an average of one per year and has saved hundreds of over-height vehicles from approaching the bridge.

Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in work zones.  In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license. 

For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit www.511NY.org, or the mobile site at m.511ny.org. Follow New York State DOT on Twitter: @NYSDOT. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/NYSDOT.

Monday
Nov062017

Edward Wehrheim For Town Supervisor

Edward WehrheimEd Wehrheim has worked for the Town of Smithtown for over forty-five years. He began his career in the Smithtown Parks Department eventually becoming the director. In 2003 he retired from Parks and was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Town Board.  He has served as a council person on the Town Board ever since. In May of this year Wehrheim declared his intention to run for supervisor and replaced John Zollo as the candidate who would primary the incumbent supervisor Patrick R.Vecchio. Ed won the primary by 87 votes. His platform includes reaching out to community organizations, residents and businesses to develop a consensus on development in the town.

He sees himself as a consensus builder and has pledged to work with all board members promising transparency and equal access to information. He sees his primary victory as a sign that the public wants change. 

If elected supervisor he will embrace the change that the public voted for. He denied the rumors that if elected he would bring back John Zollo, Robert Creighton and Kevin Malloy. Asked if statements he made at debates about providing oversight and exerting control over town departments was a reference to appointing commissioners, he acknowledged that it is something he is considering but not immediately, “After I have settled in, we have two union contracts to be negotiated, after that is done I will look at the feasibility of commissioners.”

Appointments for commissioner positions, according to Ed, will most likely be filled by qualified Smithtown residents. He added that his votes for appointments BZA, Planning Board, etc. have been based on the applicants resume and qualification. Appointing Smithtown residents ensures that appointees are connected to the town.

Ed plans to be a full-time supervisor and will encourage town board members to do the same. “If we are going to embark on true downtown business revitalization and sewering and affordable housing for our young people its going to take a full time commitment by that town board that communicates during the week basically on a full time basis. We have to come to a consensus a lot of money at stake. We need to have a constant dialogue. Can’t force them to do it as a leader I would encourage.” 

Regarding the animal shelter he thinks a public/private operation may improve the operation of the shelter which has seen a great deal of controversy. His plan includes staffing the shelter with current union employees but opeated by a private entity.

During the League of Women Voters (LWV) debate an opponent questioned the town’s poor record of adhearing to property covenants and although he could remember only one time a covenant was discarded (a property in Commack which prohibited markets from being located on the site it was determined the covenant was meant to prevent strip malls) he supports covenant adherence. 

He supports a public/private operation for the Smithtown Animal Shelter. The relationship would be staffed by Smithtown’s union employees and operated by an entity with experience in shelter operations.

On the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center property now the Nissequogue River State Park (NRSP), Wehrheim proposes using some property to build a tech hub. “I’ve been told, there is conflicting information, that there is a 90 acre hub in the center of the 355 acres that is developable.” The rest is to remain open space.  “I believe there could be some decent tax ratables, more than the state is paying now to the school district but am I set on doing that? It’s up for discussion.” 

On the budget Wehrheim commends Supervisor Vecchio for the town’s Triple A bond saying he has done a good job. He would use reserves and bonding to pay for roads and recreational facilities but would not bond without limits. 

He is most passionate about town parks which he acknowledges need remediation as well as a reuse plan. Times have changed there has been a diminshed use of tennis courts and softball fields and an increased need for soccer and lacrosse fields. Wehrheim’s points to his work in the Smithtown Parks Department as evidence of his qualification to improve the parks.

“I do believe, as I have said, that I have the experience dedication and energy to, if succesful to take the seat,  work with whatever board I have. I think I have the leadership skills to make the board work together in an open atmosphere where everyone in town government knows what’s going on. We have Kings Park, Smithtown and Saint James in the planning stages of revitalizing working with the board I think I will be able to get things done.”

Monday
Nov062017

Kristen Slevin For Town Supervisor

Kristen SlevinKristen Slevin is running for Smithtown Town Supervisor to ensure that downtown revitalization benefits residents, helps businesses thrive and does not destroy the small hometown feel that makes Smithtown different from many other towns on Long Island. Kristen may be a newcomer to politics but not activism, during the time she lived in Patchogue she worked with community associations promoting responsible growth and business practices.

She frequently mentions the success that community advocates had ridding downtown Patchogue of its blighted buildings and wants to facilitate that activism in Smithtown. She is quick to point out that she does not want to transform Smithtown into a Patchogue or Huntington. 

Slevin is not one to say what people want to hear; in fact, she is prone to saying I need more information so that I can make an informed decision. I will have to get back to you on that. Although new at politics she has definite opinions on how to improve Smithtown. Her ideas include term limits. She is a fan of Supervisor Vecchio’s fiscal acumen and often reminds people that the long term supervisor was new to town government when elected and has served at the public’s will for forty-six years.She believes that term limits encourages public involvement and allows for new ideas and perspectives.

If elected she plans to maintain control over town taxes keeping within the two per cent tax cap. She is not opposed to bonding or dipping into reserves but only when there are clear benefits for the town’s residents.  

At a meet the candidates forum in St. James, Slevin listened to residents vent about blight and absentee landlords who allow properties to deteriorate to the detriment of their business district. Many espressed the sentiment that the problems didn’t happen overnight and occurred due to lack of oversight, enforcement and a lack of creativity by elected officials. Slevin offered a solution to the problem suggesting a blight tax on properties that were not maintained. The town would set standards and those property owners who don’t adhere to the standards have a blight tax assessed on their property which may be reduced when the property becomes compliant with the town code. A second alternative was to divide the town into councilmatic districts, where one board member elected by the people residing in the district is answerable to the community. Residents would have the benefit of knowing which board member to call about issues of concern and the board member can focus on the needs of the district.

Slevin also stated she would invest in promoting Smithtown’s rich history as a way to bring grant money into the town identifying Long Island’s 50 mile Washington Spy Trail along Route 25A as a model for historic preservation. She supports the hiring of a grant writer for the town. 

A major concern for Kristen Slevin is the lack of participation by younger voters. She is hoping that more people of her generation will vote and some day run for office. 

Sunday
Nov052017

William Holst For Town Supervisor

 

William HolstWilliam Holst is an attorney who has served as a town attorney, as president of the Smithtown Board of Education, as a Board member of the Greater Smithtown Chamber of Commerce, as a Suffolk County legislator in the 12th LD. He currently serves as an attorney for Suffolk County.  Ask Bill why he decided to run for supervisor and he will quickly tell you that he has a long history of involvement in downtown revitalization efforts. As a legislator he worked to increase funding and to get the community involved in planning for downtown revitailzation projects. During his tenure at the legislature Holst worked to bring people together.  

Governor Cuomo and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone have committed funding ($40 million from NYS) for sewering projects for Kings Park and Smithtown and Holst feels he is uniquely qualified to take on the inherrent challenges of the projects and to bring them to fruition.

Holst threw his hat in the race prior to Patrick Vecchio’s loss in the primary. He has not been impressed by front runner Ed Wehrheim’s record on the Town Board,  “I saw no record of fighting for, I don’t see anything in his past nor have I witnessed anything at town board meetings that indicate he is willing to stand up and articulate a distinct point of view on any issue nor has he brought people together to make anything happen.”

“When has Ed Wehrheim challanged a Patrick Vecchio positon and fought for it until it happened? asked Holst. I am afraid that the public is hearing campaign talk, something that sounds good but won’t happen. According to Holst Wehrheim’s idea of overhauling the town code or the Local Waterfront Revitilization Program (LWRP) are issues that have been before the board for a long time without results. The latest master plan, created by the planning department, has not been adopted and yet for years Town Board members have said we are working on a master plan. Why hasn’t Ed fought for its adoption?  He is critical of those who call for changes but do not fully appreciate the work and expense involved in doing the job correctly. 

He is interested in being a successful town supervisor not in being an all powerful supervisor.  He is interested in being a supervisor who gets the job done and that means working with residents and guiding the process of business district revitalization and sewers.  

Running a successful town means working with the professionals who run town departments. When asked about the possibility of having commissioners to oversee departments, he expressed a frustration with Smithtown’s current system which he says places too much control in the Supervisors hand. Holst supports chosing commissioners from within the department leadership and letting professionals do their jobs.

Holst is unhappy about the lack of information the lack of opportunity for residents to comment on town actions.  He believes that a successful town government is one that provides its residents access to information and listens to what they have to say. He found it egregious that at a recent town board meeting it was apparent that board members did not have information about the capital budget. If elected he will make town more government transparent and will promote community involvement.