first_imgEDITOR’S FOOTNOTE:  Any comments posted in this column do not represent the views or opinions of the City County Observer or our advertisersFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare WHATS ON YOUR MIND TODAY? We hope that todays “Readers Forum” will provoke honest and open dialogue concerning issues that we as responsible citizens of this community need to address in a rational and responsible way?Here’s what on our mind today.  we are highly disappointed in the way that an appointed member of the Board of Zoning Appeal members treated a supporter of the Maiden Brew Pub during yesterdays parking variance hearing?  …if our memories serves us right when the owner of K C Timeout Bar went before this same board for a parking variance approval on West Franklin Street he was also treated in a similar manner?  …there is no reason why any member of a public board should be allowed to insult or talk down to citizens that come before them for an approval of a request?  We hope the Mayor will ask for this board member resignation! Todays READERS POLL question is: Do you feel that the Mayor made a wise investment when spent $18 million dollars on the North Main street project?Please take time and read our newest feature articles entitled “LAW ENFORCEMENT, READERS POLL, BIRTHDAYS, HOT JOBS” and “LOCAL SPORTS” posted in our sections.  You now are able to subscribe to get the CCO daily.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected]last_img read more


As Heartland Shows in Suffolk, Dollars and Planning Sense Are Not in the Same Zone

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Rich MurdoccoWhen the shovels finally break through the virgin dirt, the press cameras click, the blue ribbon parts and the courteous applause swells. It is in this very moment that land, once wooded and vibrant, becomes “improved.”But the moment that the fate of the land is actually sealed is when an elected official, in the deciding majority vote, approves a change-of-zone for the parcel. At this time, the policymaker has heard all sides of the debate concerning the vote ad-nauseam – from the “concerned” residents who, most of the time, are looking to protect their homestead, and from the “concerned” developers, who, most of the time, are “concerned” about their project’s progress, and are looking to make good on their sizable investments.Before that vote is cast, the policymakers should have been informed by the municipality’s planning department about the ins and outs of the proposal, answering critical questions such as these: “Can the impacted neighborhoods absorb the after-effects of growth? What are the assessed needs of the community and does this project meet them? How does the public benefit from this zoning change?”Armed with a thoughtful assessment of the project’s merits, the policymaker would cast a vote that has the potential to change the course of history not only for the community, but the region as a whole.Sadly, this scenario is seldom the case. In a system mired down by insider deals and local “politics as usual,” local officials usually vote on zoning changes less on sound planning principles, and more on flavor-of-the-day dealings. To make matters worse, developers often get cozy with advocacy groups, who lobby the local municipality to build projects that fit not only their vision of what a region should look like, but to suit their own interests as well.In Suffolk County, the specter of Heartland looms over the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center in the Town of Islip. The 495-acre site, in development limbo since the 1980s, is slowly moving towards “improvement” of its own. Thanks to an agreeable Islip Town Board and a Suffolk County Executive who, guided by his own development goals of tying the area together with Bus Rapid Transit and other various transit-oriented projects, the $4-billion Heartland project seems to have evolved in a few short years from being a nonstarter in the township to holding the future of not only Islip, but of Long Island as a whole.We could go on, lest we forget the money.  In the end, development is always about the money.In particular, $40,000, which is the ample sum developer Jerry Wolkoff gave to the Suffolk Democratic Committee on the eve of Nov. 3, Election Day. Aside from the timing, what makes this donation curious is why it happened in the first place. Current incumbent Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was not only ahead in the polls by a substantial margin, he had a political fiscal war chest that some villages would envy.Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, told Newsday’s Rick Brand that his ties to Wolkolf go back to when he was a county legislator. “We’ve always had a good working relationship,” Schaffer said, “and I consider him a longtime friend and supporter.”Is Wolkoff trying to leverage his ample resources  to oust the current GOP-led town government? Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Bellone’s foe in the 2011 County Executive race, seems to have mended fences and built bridges with her former political foe since she took office in Islip Town hall earlier this year. With the Town of Brookhaven she’s forged a widely celebrated “regional planning alliance” over the longtime-coming Ronkonkoma Hub Project.This alliance, along with Bellone’s deliberate attempts to cross the partisan line and link up with the GOP in Islip and Brookhaven, speaks to why Wolkoff’s money may be better spent elsewhere. Simply put, Wolkoff may not see the return on investment he was hoping for.Perhaps Wolkoff is looking beyond short-term politics to remind the current regime in Hauppauge that he is still here, and still waiting for his mega-project proposal with its 9,100 apartments, 1 million square feet of retail and 3 million square feet of office space, to be approved by lawmakers. If the approval comes from the GOP or Democrats, it doesn’t matter to him—he just wants that change of zoning.In an ideal world, development approvals should come after a recommendation in a comprehensive, science-backed study and a measured assessment of an area’s needs. Instead, the process has been subverted by those who have the biggest checkbook. Heartland should be built – but only if its expansion is phased in to accommodate changing market dynamics, and scaled down substantively so it doesn’t overburden the area’s inadequate infrastructure.One can bet that residents in the areas Heartland will impact definitely have more than 40,000 reasons why the project isn’t right for Long Island. Unfortunately, none of that matters, because they can’t fill a political coffer like $40,000 can.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.last_img read more


Sabers working to get in game shape ahead of the season

first_imgCONKLIN (WBNG) – The Susquehanna Valley girls basketball team is beginning to prepare for a season that is expected to begin January 4. “As long as we are still able to play its worth it,” said Hogan. For sophomore Brynn Hogan and junior Kaelyn Roloson, they are excited to be back on the court in any way possible. On the court it’s a whole new ballgame having to wear a mask for the entirety of practice. “For us it’s awesome, it’s been a really long seven months without basketball,” said head coach Chad Freije. “To finally be back playing basketball it’s a great feeling. Something we all needed and missed a little bit.” Today, state officials gave low and moderate risk sports the green light to begin. High-risk sports, including basketball have not been cleared by the state. For coach Freije, his first goal for offseason workouts is about getting his team back in shape. “I like it even though it’s a lot at once but it’s good to get back,” said Roloson. “They have them on different days so it’s been pretty easy to juggle them all,” said Hogan. Both girls are three sport athletes which presents a new challenge this school year. They are adjusting to a new schedule, with practice for all three sports during the week. With games hopefully right around the corner, the Sabers are doing whatever they have to do. “We’re trying to ease them back in for some of the drills and conditioning to get them where they need to be come January 4th,” said Freije. “We’re adapting to it, we are just glad we can be here,” said Roloson. last_img read more


UK: H5N1 outbreak may be linked to wild birds, lax biosecurity

first_imgNov 29, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The initial epidemiologic report, released today, on the United Kingdom’s recent outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in Suffolk said the source of the virus is unknown but could have been wild birds.The 24-page report from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), released on the department’s Web site, said the H5N1 virus infected poultry at the Redgrave Farm facility near Diss, then was transmitted by vehicles, people, or other means to a second farm owned by the same company.The outbreak was confirmed at the first farm on Nov 13 and at the second farm 6 days later, according to previous reports.Investigators have so far ruled out the possibility that infected poultry or poultry products, or the vehicles or people transporting them from other counties, played a role in spreading the virus to the commercial farm, which housed turkeys, ducks, and geese.”Wild birds cannot be ruled out as a source of infection,” DEFRA said in a press release today. “To date, there is no evidence of H5N1 infection in the local wild bird population or in GB [Great Britain] as a whole, but the continued surveillance may help clarify the infection status of the wild bird population.”Among other details in the report, most of the infected birds on the first farm were turkeys, but a few ducks were sick as well. The findings suggest an initial introduction of the virus into one of the groups of turkeys, rather than widespread exposure of poultry on the farm.Genetic analysis of virus samples from birds on the two affected farms revealed that the birds were infected from a single source and that the virus most closely resembled an isolate from wild birds from the Czech Republic that was detected in mid 2007, the report said.The isolate is distinct from the one involved in a February H5N1 outbreak at the Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Holton.Samples from poultry on the farms that supplied birds to the two Redgrave Farm facilities tested negative, and all of the birds were hatched in Great Britain, the report said.Investigators identified two key biosecurity concerns. One was that farm workers who traveled between the facilities did not follow simple measures such as changing clothing, disinfecting their boots, and sanitizing the feed buckets they carried to feed birds. Another was that the first affected farm, a free-range facility, was likely to attract not only migratory waterfowl from a nearby ornamental farm but also “bridge” species such as gulls.DEFRA said its surveillance, testing, and epidemiologic work on the outbreak was continuing.See also:Nov 15 CIDRAP News story “H5N1 suspected at second British farm”last_img read more


Januzaj becomes gym bunny

first_img Januzaj enjoyed a stunning breakthrough season under David Moyes last year, but he has struggled to make the United XI on a regular basis since Louis van Gaal took over. The 20-year-old has started just seven Barclays Premier League games under the Dutchman, although a change in formation – and the poor form of Angel Di Maria – means the Belgian has gained more playing time on the wings as a substitute recently. Adnan Januzaj has been spending extra time in the gym in an attempt to bulk up and become faster. Press Association Januzaj revealed recently that he prefers to operate as a number 10, but Van Gaal looks set to continue playing him out wide given that Di Maria is suspended for Sunday’s game against Tottenham. And the slight Belgian has been putting in the hard yards in the gym to ensure he is capable of taking on and beating defenders for pace. “I do a lot of work in the gym. I am trying to be faster and stronger so I can be tougher when I go out on the pitch,” Januzaj told United’s website. “I am doing a lot of short, sharp stuff so, when I turn a defender or go past a player, I can just get a few metres away from them with my acceleration.” United fans are used to watching fast wingers speed up and down the flanks at Old Trafford, but more often than not, they have been subjected to slow, unimaginative performances from their team this season. United may have lost just two of their last 18 Premier League games, but Van Gaal has come in for criticism because of the team’s style of play. Former Barcelona and Chelsea assistant, Henk Ten Cate, who spent a year with Van Gaal while he was doing his training badges, thinks United should stick with his compatriot though. “You have to give him time because, for me, he is one of the best coaches there is,” Ten Cate told talkSPORT. “I worked closely with him for one year when I was going through the stages to get my coaching licence. I saw what he was doing and the only thing he has to do is get used to the way of playing in England. “If the owners of the club gave him that much confidence and that much money to spend, it is not a good thing to say goodbye to the coach after one season because it is starting to become his team. “He needs a little more time but I am almost positive that he is going to surprise Britain with his (style of) football.” Ten Cate admits United’s play has not been up to Van Gaal’s standards so far, however. “I know him well and he is the kind of guy who doesn’t just go for results, he wants his teams to play good football. He has proved that in the past,” Ten Cate said. “Right now at Manchester United the way they are playing is absolutely not good. But it is not the style of Van Gaal.” last_img read more