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Saturday
Sep052015

No Permit No Liquor Sales - Frederick Fox Arrested At Long Beach Pavillion  

Suffolk County Police have confirmed that Smithtown resident Frederick Fox, 46, was arrested at the Long Beach Pavillon in Smithtown last evening.  According to a Suffolk County Police spokesperson Mr. Fox was operating a concession stand and selling liquor even though his permit to do so had been revoked. Smithtown Public Safety made the arrest and Mr. Fox was then turned over to Suffolk County Police. No additional information is available at this time. 

Thursday
Aug202015

A $9 Minimum Wage For Town Employees? Not Today Says Councilwoman Nowick

archived photo of Councilman CreightonCouncilman Robert Creighton’s proposal for a $9 per hour minimum wage for town employees never even came to a vote at the August 11th Town Board meeting. The resolution was seconded by Councilman Wehrheim and as the vote began, Counciwoman Nowick moved to table the resolution. The five member Town Board agreed, including Mr. Creighton.

In a meeting in his office, Cerighton expressed disappointment and resolve. The disappointment was directed at Councilwoman Nowick, who Mr. Creighton said had supported the idea in discussions. The disappointment was for the young people who work as seasonal help who make below New York State’s $8.75 minimum wage.  Municipalities are exempt from paying minimum wage.

Councilman Creighton acknowledged that his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour would not impact the 2015 seasonal employees. His resolution would become effective in 2016. He also acknowledged that the number of employees affected is small. His resolution was a reaction to his awareness that there was a disparity in the per hour salaries seasonal employees were being paid and how much a wage hike would mean to them. Some seasonal employees have been hired for $8 and others were being paid as much as $15 an hour.  “Honest to God, I believe the kids deserve the $9 per hour minimum wage.” said Creighton. Also in his mind was the $30,000 salary increase for Councilman/Deputy Supervisor Tom McCarthy, and the thousands given to Department heads.

Before making the proposal, Creighton checked with Town Comptroller Donald Musgnug and learned that a minimum wage of $9 for the approximately 150 seasonal hires would cost the town $7,000 less than Councilman McCarthy’s salary 2015 salary bump. The cost to the town for the $9 per hour minimum wage would run $23,000. “This seemed to be the appropriate time. If the resolution passed it would allow the Supervisor to include it in the 2016 Town Budget.” said Creighton.

“Really”, said Supervisor Vecchio. “A minimum wage when most of our employees make much more than that. Mr. Creighton is making a political decision. He is pandering to the families of the kids who work as seasonal help. We are facing a serious challenge in our 2016 budget. To keep within NYS’s  2% cap we are allowed a 0.73 percent increase. That doesn’t cover the increase pension and health care costs.” 

Mr. Creighton pointed to Newsday’s August 16 article by Lauren R. Harrison, “In the article the Supervisor said I am pandering for votes and playing politics. That’s unbelievable. Vecchio calling me a panderer? Everyone knows that Patrick Vecchio is the ‘King of Panderers’.” 

Councilman Creighton pledged to reintroduce the resolution and hopes to see it on the agenda as early as September 8. As of Wednesday, August 19 the resolution was still not in the system. 

Wednesday
Aug192015

Harned Road On County Schedule To Be Repaved

Richard Kerr at intersection on Harned/Jericho/Indian Head and Sunken Meadow ParkwayA drive down Harned Road is never dull. Traffic, pot holes, pavement breaking off and then there’s the roller coaster like part of the roadway you experience as you head north nearing the busy Jericho, Harned, Indian Head Rd., Sunken Meadow Parkway  intersection. The road has been deteriorating for years, but that is coming to an end. According to Supervisor Vecchio Harned Road in Commack will be repaved in October.

It can’t happen soon enough for those who live near the road. Commack resident Richard Kerr has been advocating for the reconstruction/repaving of Harned Road. Mr. Kerr says he has sent emails to Town officials about the road. The message he received back was that the road was a Suffolk County roadway and that it was the responsibility of the county to make the repairs. 

It was Mr. Kerr’s understanding that Smithtown was in litigation with Suffolk County over the maintainence of Harned Rd.  “Not true”, said Supervisor Vecchio “There is no litigation over Harned Rd.  The Supervisor went on to say that there were discussions between Suffolk County and Smithtown over who would maintain the road after it was repaved by the county.

“Having the road fall apart while the town and county fight over who’s responsible is not the way government is supposed to operate.” said Mr. Kerr. There are many other residents who agree with Mr. Kerr. “We pay taxes, a lot of taxes and to allow the road to fall apart is a poor reflection on our leaders and their concern for the public” said one Commack resident who wished not to be identified.

Suffolk County Legislator Kennedy (13th LD) did not discuss with Smithtown Matters whether or not there is controversy about ownership of Harned Rd. She has confirmed with Suffolk County Department of Public Works Commissioner Gilbert Anderson that Harned Road will be repaved and that the work is scheduled for some time in October.

Mr. Kerr seemed satisfied with the news.

 

Thursday
Aug132015

Smithtown Historical Society Restores Homestead Porch

Historic Homestead Porch Restored

In April 2015 the Smithtown Historical Society began groundwork on an exciting buildings & grounds project made possible by a generous anonymous donor. After receiving some much need preservation work, the Judge John Lawrence Smith Homestead was ready for the restoration of its front porch. Once a beautiful gathering spot for the family, this architectural feature was lost over time as the structure underwent multiple renovations. Under the guidance of Mancini Architecture and the craftsmanship of Schoolhouse Remodeling, the physical reconstruction is complete and the house is back to its original glory! “To have this porch be completed, to have this building be completed, is such an achievement for the Smithtown Historical Society.  With this new structure we are now able to tell another chapter of the story of the families that lived here,” said Executive Director Marianne Howard.  “We are very grateful to our anonymous donor, Mancini Architecture and to School House Remodeling for helping to make this dream a reality.” 

Ribbon Cutting: (l-r): Architect Mark Mancini, School House Remodeling Owner & Contractor Matt Fleece, Executive Director Marianne Howard and Town Historian Brad Harris celebrate the completion of the Smithtown Historical Society’s Historic Judge John Lawrence Smith Homestead with a ribbon cutting and community barbecue.A ribbon cutting ceremony announcing the official opening of the porch was the centerpiece of the Smithtown Historical Society’s annual community summer barbecue.  More than 100 community members gathered around the porch to celebrate its completion and to enjoy an all you can eat barbecue catered by Panico’s Community Market. Refreshing Italian ices were also served thanks to the generosity of Uncle Louie G’s of Smithtown. The barbecue was made possible through the sponsorship of Mancini Architecture, Neal and Janice Richman, People’s United Bank, School House Remodeling, Uncle Louie G’s of Smithtown, Dot and Peter Micciche, Carolyn and Jim Borella, and Fairway Market. 

The barbecue was just the beginning! The porch will allow the historical society to use the historic house in many new ways for educational and social programming. Currently the society is working on developing special events to showcase the building’s recent addition. Ms. Howard is confident that the new porch will serve the community well, “It will be such an asset to us and the community for generations to come.”

Monday
Aug102015

The End Of The Nassau Suffolk Lumber Yard

102 W. Main Street 2009 (photo NY Times)Since 2009 the site of Nassau Suffolk Lumber, 102 W. Main Street, Smithtown has been blighted. In 2009 the property owner, North Fork Management, owned by Salvatore DiCarlo violated a Smithtown stop work order and demolished buildings. The site has been in various states of disrepair since. Until now.

During the July 14 Town Board work session the site was the subject of discussion. The property owner, VEA 181st Realty Corp Salvatore DiCarlo, wanted the town to grant a waiver to its demolition plan which called for the removal of the concrete and debris sitting on the property for years. The owner was asking to be allowed to crush the debris and to store it in a berm on the property.  Supervisor Vecchio balked, “NO” he would not support a waiver. The owner had not developed the property and according to Vecchio was “playing the town like an old banjo.” 

one of the many piles of concrete on the site of the former Nassau Suffolk LumberAt that work session the Town Board decided to table the proposed waiver until August 11. Questions arose from residents almost immediately. Residents questioned the impact of grinding up the concrete and allowing it to be stored on the property. New York Avenue resident Kathy Albrecht sent letters to all the Board members expressing her concerns and pointing out possible health issues caused by the grinding. Residents vowed to attend the next Town Board meeting and to express their concerns.

Support for approving the waiver began to disappear with Councilman Wehrheim stating to Smithtown Matters that the Albrecht letter brought up important issues and he wanted to get answers. “Safety first” Councilman Wehrheim explained. After receiving the letter he sent a memo to Russ Barnett, director of Smithtown’s Department of Environment and Waterways. 

Before Councilman Wehrheim received a response Mr. DiCarlo moved forward with the original demolition plan removing the concrete from the site.  Not a week later heavy equipment was moved onto the property and concrete was hauled off the site. 

Residents were not notified, they were awakened to dust and noise as the clean-up began. Calls were made to town officials who responded by contacting Joe Arico at Building Department.  Joe Arico negotiated with the property owner to water the site down during the removal process minimizing the dust. According to Mr. Arico, the Planning Department was very aware of the history of the site and was working with the property owner to make sure everything was being done properly. Mr. Arico said the concrete removal was being done according to the original demolition site plan including the hours of operation. There was no requirement to notify the Town Board nor the residents. “Everything was in order.”

102 W. Main St. Smithtown - August 9, 2015Not everyone felt that this was acceptable. Residents questioned the speed with which the property owner changed his position from requesting a waiver to allow crushing and the 180 degree change to removal of the concrete. “It seems odd that while we were asking for tests on the concrete the owner dropped the waiver request and quickly removed the concrete” said Kathy Albrecht.

Councilman Wehrheim said he too was surprised by DiCarlo’s action saying he had received no advance notice about the removal of the concrete.

It remains to be seen whether residents will show up at the Tuesday, August 11th Town Board meeting. But one thing is apparent, for the first time in six years 102 W. Main Street is clear of buildings, construction debris and blight.