Hotel Plan Going Back To Zoning Board

Plans to create a boutique hotel from the former Town Hall building on Route 25A and Stewart Avenue go before the zoning board later this month.

Plans to create a boutique hotel from the former Town Hall building on Route 25A and Stewart Avenue go before the zoning board later this month.

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

Developers seeking to convert the old Town Hall building on Route 25A to a hotel are headed back to the zoning board after town officials cleared the way for an expanded project.

Huntington Village Hotel Partners, LLC last moth secured town board approval to add an adjacent property to the historic overlay district needed for the project to move forward. The wood frame building immediately next door to the existing structure would be demolished and with the additional square footage the developer proposed an expansion of the existing plan. The plan for an 80-room hotel – up from 55 – requires approval of a special use permit, height relief and a parking variance from the zoning board.

A zoning board hearing on the application is set for July 25 at 6 p.m

Anniversary Of First U.S. Flag Commemorated

Huntington Town Supervisor and Huntington Elks Member Chad Lupinacci, at podium,  discussing the history of the Huntington Liberty Flag.

Huntington Town Supervisor and Huntington Elks Member Chad Lupinacci, at podium, discussing the history of the Huntington Liberty Flag.

The sun was shining upon Huntington as the community came together to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Flag in 1777. A ceremony coordinated by the Huntington Elks Lodge 1565 in conjunction with the Town of Huntington was held at Huntington Veterans Plaza located outside of Town Hall.

Huntington’s Veterans Plaza is a unique and respectful location which honors and pays respect to town residents who have served in various branches of the military.

“At our town hall, the American flag stands tall, so we could not be more proud to host this event with the Huntington Elks Lodge and celebrate the symbol of our freedom,” said Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci.

Members of Huntington’s own Sunrisers Drum and Bugle Corps along with scouts from Boy Scout Troop 106 and Cub Scout Pack 66 assisted with the presentation of flags during the ceremony. A special rendition of the National Anthem was performed by the Sunrisers Trumpet Trio.

“The American Flag signifies freedom, liberty and the greatness of this country we love,” Huntington Elks Exalted Ruler, Alyssa Nightingale said. “More than a representation of our nation, the American Flag has become the universal symbol of liberty and freedom throughout the world.”

Among many dignitaries in attendance were NY State Senator Jim Gaughran, Assemblyman Steve Stern, Huntington Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, Huntington Deputy Clerk Stacy Colamussi, Rev. Larry D. Jennings from the Bethel A.M.E. Church, and Huntington Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair Vita Scaturro.

“Our American flag represents everything that we as Americans hold dear – our freedom, peace, security, liberty, our friends and our family,” Gaughran said. “It was humbling to join the Town of Huntington in recognition of Flag Day as we honored our flag in front of the Town of Huntington’s WWII Veterans Wall of Honor where my father’s name is engraved.”

Flag Day, officially designated on June 14, marks when the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution announcing the stars and stripes design of the flag. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is the first and only fraternal body to require formal observance of “Flag Day.” In July 1908 the Elks Grand Lodge required by resolution that June 14 be designated as Flag Day. The Grand Lodge required mandatory observance of the occasion by every Lodge in 1911, and that requirement continues to this day.

The Elks prompted President Woodrow Wilson to recognize the Order's observance of Flag Day for its patriotic expression. But it was not until 1949 when President Harry Truman, himself a member of the Elks, made the proclamation that thereafter June 14 would be a day of national observance for the symbol of our country.

 This year’s ceremony was extra special for the Huntington Elks Lodge as it marks the organization’s 90th anniversary which in turn, means 90 years of celebrating our American Flag.

“Having the opportunity to pay homage to the Stars and Stripes each year for 90 years further reiterates our Lodge’s consistent support of initiatives to engage our community’s patriotism in America,” Nightingale said.

More Eyes In The Sky Coming

Downtown Huntington will get more “eyes in the sky” after its business improvement district board approved funding for additional cameras.

Downtown Huntington will get more “eyes in the sky” after its business improvement district board approved funding for additional cameras.

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

Sidewalks in Huntington villages major streets will get a scrubbing in the weeks ahead and more security cameras will be added to watch over those streets after funding was approved by the Huntington Village Business Improvement District (BID) board.
Board members voted at the BID’s last meeting June 12 to fund a power washing for high traffic areas of the village. Areas to get a thorough washing include Main Street, New York Avenue, Wall and New Streets, said BID president Jack Palladino. The scrubbing “will include gum removal,” and will be done in overnight hours to minimize disruptions to businesses, he added.

The BID board approved spending $17,500 for the cleaning, according to Palladino.

Additionally, the board approved funding to place surveillance cameras at four to six locations in the downtown area.

“We’ve been working with the Town security and Second Precinct police to identify locations,” Palladino said, though he could not pin down when they would be up and running. “We have to get permission of the property owners and then arrange the installation.”

The BID has purchased and maintained surveillance cameras at locations throughout the village for years. Palladino said they have been effective in solving crimes.

“They caught the murder on Clinton Avenue two years ago, and the attempted rape on Prospect Street,” Palladino said. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to increase the number of locations where we have cameras.”

Video feeds from the cameras were used by police to identify suspects in both cases, Palladino said.

Whitman Podcasters Earn Honors From NPR

Students Umema Siddiqui Alina Naseer Efrain Citle-Palestino and Benjamin Joseph were recognized by NPR radio’s Student Podcast Challenge for their submission “Between Two Worlds.”

Students Umema Siddiqui Alina Naseer Efrain Citle-Palestino and Benjamin Joseph were recognized by NPR radio’s Student Podcast Challenge for their submission “Between Two Worlds.”

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

A group of podcasters from Walt Whitman High School earned recognition from National Public Radio (NPR) in a nationwide podcast challenge.

“Between Two Worlds,” produced by members of Whitman’s podcast club The WHIT, was awarded an honorable mention in NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge. The podcast finds commonality in the very different experiences of the three students from diverse backgrounds.

Junior Alina Naseer was inspired by her own life with her parents – immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Pakistan – to formulate the podcast’s topic.

“I thought about my upbringing and how I had to blend the expectations of my parents with being raised in a new country that’s different from their upbringing,” Naseer said.

She enlisted the help of Umema Siddiqui, a junior whose parents came from Pakistan, and Efrain Citle-Palestino, a senior who immigrated from Mexico with his family.

“We all have different backgrounds but we found common ground,” Naseer said. “Even though we’re diverse our families have always pushed us to focus on education and family values.”

Citle-Palestino shared the pressure he felt from his family to pursue education and get into a good college. He said he often felt they were depending on him to succeed.

Naseer and Siddiqui talked about the expectation and difficulty to pray five times a day while attending school.
“Growing up I kinda experienced a culture clash in some ways,” Naseer said. “Whether it be religion food or just tradition.”

“The title ‘Between Two Worlds’ reflects the three of us on the panel because we felt between the worlds of our parents immigrating here and our reality living on Long Island,” Naseer said. “We had to take their expectations and mold them into something that was attainable for us.”

In its first year, the WHIT has established itself as an outlet for student voices through political podcasts and cooking videos.

“The club is student-run so we have free rein to pick the topics we want to discuss, to choose a panel and the questions,” Naseer said. “Whatever we’re passionate about we just run with.”

Benjamin Joseph played a major part in shaping its final form, making the podcast sound professional and fit in the 10-minute requirement.

“It was pretty daunting… But now I’ve become more comfortable and candid,” Naseer said. “It’s less-rehearsed and more natural now that we’ve been doing it a while.”

“It’s really refreshing to be given that opportunity to just express ourselves freely without really having to worry about the influence of teachers or others at school,” Naseer said.

Naseer looks forward to another year with The WHIT and communicating about important issues. She said the club has sparked an interest in her with journalism writing and reporting that she hopes to pursue.

Listen to “Between Two Worlds” and other student podcasts on SoundCloud by searching The WHIT. � 8

Flap Over Farmers Market Resolved

Farmstand favorite Orchards of Concklin returns to the Long Island Growers Market this weekend. It was one of several vendors barred over restrictions only allowing Long Island-based vendors to sell at the market,

Farmstand favorite Orchards of Concklin returns to the Long Island Growers Market this weekend. It was one of several vendors barred over restrictions only allowing Long Island-based vendors to sell at the market,

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

There’s good news for all the produce hounds who were disappointed with the rollout of this year’s summer farmers market in Huntington village two weeks ago. The market’s largest vendor, Orchards of Concklin, is set to return.

The Rockland County-based farm had been sidelined for the first two weeks because of a flap between the market organizer and the town attorney’s office.

Ethel Terry of Southold-based Terry Farms told TheLong-Islander in an email this week that Orchards of Conklin will be back.

Terry cited an email exchange between Huntington resident Daniel Eig and Councilwoman Joan Cergol that seemed to straighten out the controversy.

Concklin’s - a vendor at the farmers market for 20 years - had been advised by Terry that she feared the town attorney’s office would decide to enforce a provision of her contract that specifies vendors must be Long Island-based. Orchards of Concklin never met that requirement, but never had any trouble, according to Terry. Her concern had grown out of emphasis placed on the clause apparently by a town attorney who hand-underlined that provision.

When she was unable to get clarification from the Town, she called off Concklin until it could be resolved.
Resolution apparently came through Cergol.

“I guess I interceded” she said in an interview Tuesday.

Cergol said she spoke to the town attorney and was told as long as the vendors have insurance, the Long Island-based provision has never been enforced.

“I don’t blame Ethel for being cautious,” Cergol said, adding she suggested  to the Town Attorney that “we really need to fix that if we’re not going to enforce it.”

The bottom line, at least for now, is that Orchards of Concklin will be back with its produce, eggs, baked goods come Sunday.

The Long island Growers Market sets up shop in the parking lot adjacent to the Soldiers and Sailors monument building on Main Street in Huntington village, Sundays from 7 a.m. to noon.

*NOTE: Following publication of this article it was learned that the Town has offered an amended contract that would allow up New York State-based growers and businesses to compose up to 25 percent of the farmers market, according to market organizer Ethel Terry.

Lighthouse Music Fest Deep-Sixed

Organizers of the popular Huntington Lighthouse Music Fest held every Labor Day weekend pulled the plug on the event after butting heads with town attorneys.

Organizers of the popular Huntington Lighthouse Music Fest held every Labor Day weekend pulled the plug on the event after butting heads with town attorneys.

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

The popular Lighthouse Music Fest that attracts thousands to Huntington Harbor for a daylong jam over Labor Day weekend has been silenced. At least for this year.

Billed as the world’s only concert performed from the top of a lighthouse, the concert was cancelled by leaders of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society which organizes the annual fundraising event. An announcement posted Tuesday to the group’s website stated they are unable to work with the town officials after strict new rules and communication guidelines were put in place by the town.

Those rules preclude the organizers from communicating directly with personnel from the Harbormaster's and other offices.

“I got an email last week telling me that I can no longer call the Harbormaster's office requesting services, Preservation Society President Pam Setchell said. “They told me I would have to submit requests in writing to Deputy Director Don Spada and they would be taken under advisement.

As producer of the massive concert for the past 11 years, Setchell is used to having a direct line of communication.

“As I’m reading this I’m thinking, ‘I can’t work in real time? I can’t ask the harbormaster a question? I have to go through the Supervisor’s office?’”

That’s too convoluted a way to get things done, according to Setchell.

“A recent lighthouse cleanup event gave us a small glimpse of the challenges of this process” she wrote on the website.

The group was also informed the permit fee would increase from $50 paid in past years to $1,000 this year, but Setchell said that was not a factor.

Town officials, who took a drubbing over the town’s official response to controversy concerning the Sunday Farmer’s Market, responded rapidly with a post to social media. The unsigned post stated the town “wholeheartedly supports the Lighthouse Music Fest, and the Department of Maritime Services has been very responsive” to requests this year.

The post explained the fee increase as an effort to recoup just some of the town’s expenses which it said run over $5,000 for the day.

And while the post stated the Town is “more than willing to work with their event coordinator to proceed...,” Setchell said her group is standing buy its decision.

“This has been a couple of months brewing, and it was a heart-wrenching decision, but it’s too late for this year” she said.

Cross-Sound Catamaran Soon Will Ferry Freight

A 65-foot customized catamaran that will soon ferry goods between Long island and Connecticut made its maiden voyage to Huntington last week.  Long Islander News photo/Peter Sloggatt  (

A 65-foot customized catamaran that will soon ferry goods between Long island and Connecticut made its maiden voyage to Huntington last week. Long Islander News photo/Peter Sloggatt (

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

A customized catamaran built to ferry freight across Long Island Sound made a test voyage to Huntington last week  in preparation for starting regular operations in early summer.

Harbor Harvest’s cargo craft pulled in to a dock behind its future market currently under construction on New York Avenue in Halesite. On board was just a single pallet which was hoisted by the on-deck crane in a test of what Captain Robert Kunkel hopes will be a frequent occurrence.

Kunkel is president of Alternative Marine Technologies and a marine consultant. The business operates Harbor Harvest, a waterfront farm-to-table market in Norwalk, Conn. Once the Huntington location is open, the operation will begin ferrying produce and locally produced goods like bakery products and craft beers across Long Island Sound. The aim is to open up farm-to-table markets to growers, and artisan bakers and makers on both sides of Sound.

Sustainability is at the core of the entire operation. The catamaran runs on electric power and pickups and deliveries at the Huntington market/warehouse will be by electric vehicles.

“No 18-wheelers,” Kunkel said. The boat is run completely on batteries, so there’s no emissions, no environmental impact and no noise.”

Meanwhile, workers are finishing out the building that will house a marketplace with some seating, as well as a warehouse space. The 4500-square-foot space is being finished with a modern, rustic look with wide plank wood flooring, plenty of exposed wood and custom pieces ion steel and wood. One piece is a whimsical tables with a bicycle for a base.

“The guys in the shop like to get creative,” Kunkel said.

So far Kunkel has about $3-million in the project, he said. A federal transportation grant will fund future operations and expansion.

Town Acquires Property For Parking Lot

Huntington town board members authorized a $3.2-million bond to acquire and redevelop the Chase Bank property in Huntington as a parking lot.

Huntington town board members authorized a $3.2-million bond to acquire and redevelop the Chase Bank property in Huntington as a parking lot.

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

Parking-starved Huntington village will soon add more spaces to the inventory with the town’s acquisition of property  at New York Avenue and Gerard Street. The town board last week approved a $3.2-million bond to cover the $3.05-million purchase prices plus estimated  costs to develop the property for parking. The loy is expected to yield 71 spaces, according to a press release from the town.

The vote did not come easy. With bond votes requiring a supermajority of the board, Democrats Mark Cuthbertson and Joan Cergol held out to gain some additonal concessions before assenting.

“We had some leverage because they need four yes votes to bond,” Cergol said. Hoping to answer dissatisfaction expressed by numerous merchants, the dems were able to negotiate a freeze until 2023 on future parking meter fee increases, and gain a commitment that revenues generated by those fees will be dedicated to parking improvements, including construction of a planned parking garage.

Chase bank recently closed its bank branch on the property referring customers to its nearby branch at Main Street and Woodbury Road.

Grower’s Market Opens To Controversy

The Long Island Growers Market at Huntington opened to disappointment for many as one of its largest vendors was shut out.

The Long Island Growers Market at Huntington opened to disappointment for many as one of its largest vendors was shut out.

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

Eagerly awaited by many each summer, the Sunday morning farmer’s market in Huntington village opened to diappointment and controversy last weekend.

Several vendors were absent from the Long Island Grower’s Market on opening day June 2, including it’s largest. Rockland County-based Orchards of Concklin has been selling apples, stone fruits, berries, pies and related products at the Huntington market for over 20 years, owner Rich Concklin said.

Conckin sat it out Sunday because the farmer’s market organizer Ethel Terry had been unable to clarify a question on Concklin’s eligibility since he is not Long Island-based.

The market was established to promote Long Island-grown produce and other products and Terry’s contract with the town states just that. Still, Concklin has participated without anyone making a fuss.

However, when she received the contract form the town attorney earlier this year, the Long Island requirement was underlined, Terry said. Having run afoul of the town last season over health department regulations and vendors providing samples to patrons, Terry said she asked for clarification.

“He sent his insurance in and they approved him, but I felt it would be a violation.

Terry sent a letter to the town board asking for an exception, but when it went unanswered, she advised Concklin to stay home.

Regulars at the market were not pleased.

“I was so disappointed. Turnout was terrible,” a 20-year customer Karen Barasik said. “Concklin bakes pies, they bring fresh eggs, and their quiches are amazing. It’s the largest stall in the market and it was missing.”

While Terry is working to resolve the issue, controversy erupted on social media over the poor vendor turnout. Worse, Terry’s attempts to explain that some vendors were missing because they hadn’t turned in required insurance was met with a sharp rebuke from the town. A post from Huntington’s offical Facebook page put the blame on Terry.

Barasik and others found the town administrator’s comments about Terry inappropriate.

“They insulted her,” Barasik said. “The person who wrote that needs a lesson in business etiquette.

Barasik said the situation could be resolved, simply. “Make an amendment to the contract and let them back in,” she said.

Little Shelter’s Cross Country Run Saves 30 Pups

Little Shelter made a rescue mission to Texas where they saved 30 puppies from probable euthanization.

Little Shelter made a rescue mission to Texas where they saved 30 puppies from probable euthanization.

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center welcomed the arrival of 30 tail-wagging puppies all the way from South Texas where they were facing euthanization.

With its mission to save at risk animals, Little Shelter stepped up to rescue the pups after Texas Best Choices Animal Rescue officials asked for their assistance. The rescue group had saved the puppies from other municipal shelters in South Texas where they were likely to be euthanized, but could not house all they rescued.

“Local rescue is always our primary mission at Little Shelter,” executive director David Ceely said. “But we’re painfully aware of what animal control is like in the south and we have the ability to help those animals. We feel since we have the ability, we actually have the responsibility to help them.”

Little Shelter sent its assistant manager and a volunteer to South Texas to pick up the pups. “It took about four days for the entire trip, but once the dogs were in the van, they had to make a bee-line back to Long Island,” Ceely said.  “They were able to stop a few times and walk the dogs on the way back.”

A Little Shelter volunteer cradles one of 30 puppies rescued from euthanization in South Texas last month.

A Little Shelter volunteer cradles one of 30 puppies rescued from euthanization in South Texas last month.

The van pulled in on Friday, May 24, and Little Shelter staff was ready to greet the new arrivals. The puppies are being held for a two-week quarantine in isolation rooms, allowing them to be medically and behaviorally evaluated before they are introduced to other animals. Ceely is confident all find a home, describing them as cute, friendly, and healthy. A majority are lab mixes, ranging from 12 weeks to six months old.

“If there’s a sick animal at risk, it’s one thing, but to see these healthy puppies that were at risk, it was another thing,” Ceely said. “We knew we could get these friendly puppies into homes very quickly.”

Ceely said shelters in the south have a different perspective on euthanization. Many put down young, healthy dogs, he said

“It’s not unlikely that a municipal shelter down there will put a six month old puppy into the gas chamber. It really is all based on space,” Ceely said. “If they run out of space and a certain animal has been there for a few months, even a puppy, it will be put to sleep.”

Little Shelter’s no-kill mission extends across the country. “Whether it’s on Long Island or New York City or Texas, our mission is to pull animals out of high-kill shelters and bring them to a no-kill shelter,” Ceely said. “We want to get them off the euthanization list.”

Little Shelter hopes the public will help, through adoption, fostering, donating or volunteering. Find out how at littleshelter.com, or visit at 33 Warner Rd, Huntington.

“When you adopt from a shelter you save two lives,” Ceely said. “The life of the animal that you adopt and one that gets to go into the kennel space that’s freed up.”