Spencer Bill Bans Drug Store Cig Sales

Legislator William “Doc” Spencer, at podium, announces the passage of a law banning the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in pharmacies.  Photo/Office of Legislator William Spencer

Legislator William “Doc” Spencer, at podium, announces the passage of a law banning the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in pharmacies. Photo/Office of Legislator William Spencer

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

It will soon be a little harder to find a place to buy tobacco in Suffolk County.

The County Legislature voted this week to ban the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. The legislation bans pharmacies from selling or offering everything from cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco to electronic cigarettes, vaping liquid and rolling papers. The law also applies to any retail establishment containing a pharmacy.

Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) said he decided to sponsor the legislation because the negative health effects of tobacco products are “inconsistent with the mission of pharmacies.”

“Selling tobacco products- although they are legal - doesn’t make sense for pharmacies,” Spencer said. “They’re the only products that if used as directed will actually kill people.”

Spencer said that, although some might see the new law as government interfering in business, the bill received “significant bipartisan support.” Legislator Rudy Sunderman (R-Mastic) was the bill’s primary co-sponsor.

Sixteen of the 18 county legislators voted in favor of the bill, while only Legislator Steven Flotteron (R-West Islip) opposed the restriction and Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Hauppauge) abstained from voting.

Suffolk joins Albany and Rockland counties and the five boroughs, which have adopted similar bans.

At a press conference following Tuesday’s vote, Suffolk County Board of Health member Pat Bishop-Kelly praised the effort to get tobacco out of pharmacies.

“Pharmacies are in the business of helping to make people healthier, not contribute to the causes of diseases that cost the lives of over 28,000 New Yorkers each year,” Bishop-Kelly said.

Spencer said large pharmacy chains like CVS and Wegmans already have a self-imposed ban on tobacco sales, and he didn’t think the tobacco restriction would have a substantial negative economic impact on smaller independent pharmacies.

“The numbers just don’t back that up,” Spencer said. “Most mom and pop pharmacies don’t sell cigarettes… there are very few in the county still selling tobacco.”

Pharmacies could have to clear tobacco products off the shelves as early as November, and would face a fine of up to $2,000 per violation if they don’t.

Pharmacies will be able to continue selling FDA approved nicotine products like skin patches, nicotine gum and lozenges that are designed to help people quit smoking.

Students Don Hard Hats For Habitat

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk executive director and John Glenn alumnus Tracey Edwards joins Glenn students who were helping to raise the walls of a Habitat for Humanity home on March 13.  Photo courtesy   Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk executive director and John Glenn alumnus Tracey Edwards joins Glenn students who were helping to raise the walls of a Habitat for Humanity home on March 13. Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Students from John Glenn High School were happy to lend a hand to help build the frame for one of Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk’s future homes.

Glenn students have been involved in Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk’s “Student Build” program since 2012. Those who participate in the club raise funds for the organization and volunteer time building. The program also includes the Commack, Half Hollow Hills, Harborfields, Northport and Huntington school districts.

“It means a lot to them, because it allows them to see the fruits of their labor, especially because the family is present,” Habitat’s executive director Tracey Edwards said. “They can understand how their contributions both financially and sweat equity, actually help a family.”

“When I came to the work site and saw that we had John Glenn students helping, it absolutely warmed my heart,” said Edwards, herself a Glenn grad.

The chosen family worked alongside the students to construct their home. They will be able to move in within a year.

Students from Elwood John Glenn High School on the job helping to build a Habitat for Humanity home.

Students from Elwood John Glenn High School on the job helping to build a Habitat for Humanity home.

Habitat is expanding the program to include more students. Middle school students will get involved by building playhouses for the new homes. Habitat will also offer financial acumen workshops to students about home ownership.

“We will be partnering with educational and banking institutions, so students learn the cost of owning a home and everything that goes into it,” Edwards said. “Anything that we can do to educate our children on the responsibilities and practical applications of becoming an adult and how hard their families have to work to maintain a roof over their heads is a big benefit.”

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk also has a Women’s Build and Vet’s Build set up that brings groups together. In her role as executive director, Edwards’ challenge is bringing in volunteers. She plans to do more with school districts and civic groups.

“Affordable housing is critical, especially on Long Island,” Edwards said. “The more people we can get involved is a benefit to not only them, but also for our region… We are trying to open our doors of volunteerism to anybody”

Currently construction is underway on six homes that should be completed by June. The house Glenn students worked on is a “GeoThermal” house that will be heated and cooled by the earth’s underground temperature rather than gas or oil.

“We are building as much of an environmentally friendly and energy efficient home as possible,” Edwards said. “We are putting in new cesspool systems and they are energy efficient, solar where we can, because not only is it good for the environment but it’s a lower cost to maintain for the homeowner.”

Two Charged In 2016 Gang Killing

Prosecutors last week charged alleged MS-13 gang members Elmer Gilberto Santos Contreras, above, and co-defendant, Anthony Gutierrez-Mesa, not pictured, murdered an 18-year-old Greenlawn resident in 2016 and left his mutilated body in Greenlawn Park.

Prosecutors last week charged alleged MS-13 gang members Elmer Gilberto Santos Contreras, above, and co-defendant, Anthony Gutierrez-Mesa, not pictured, murdered an 18-year-old Greenlawn resident in 2016 and left his mutilated body in Greenlawn Park.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Two alleged-MS13 gang members have been charged with the murder of an 18-year-old whose mutilated body was found dead in a Greenlawn park nearly two and a half years ago.

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini announced last week second-degree murder charges had been filed against Elmer Gilberto Santos Contreras, 23, of Roosevelt and Anthony Gutierrez-Mesa, 23, of Valley Stream for the killing of 18-year-old Estiven Abrego-Gomez of Greenlawn in August 2016.

Abrego-Gomez’s body was discovered on the Little League field in Greenlawn Park at the intersection of Pulaski Road and Broadway with “significant sharp force injuries and blunt force trauma,” according to the medical examiner’s report.

“The injuries in this case are extreme and are very typical of MS-13 violence,” Sini said. “In this case, the victim’s hands were nearly severed.”

The violent murder “hit the Greenlawn community very hard,” Sini said.

Prosecutors said Contreras ordered the murder after Abrego-Gomez was reportedly seen on social media flashing gang signs associated with the rival 18th Street gang. They allege Gutierrez-Mesa “acted in concert with Contreras to commit the murder.”

“The motive here is one that we’ve seen numerous times, particularly by MS-13, where gang members use violence to retaliate against rival gang members,” Sini said.

Police had been reluctant to officially link the murder to MS-13 or gang violence. In an August 2017 interview, then-Police Commissioner Sini confirmed to The Long-Islander the murder was “gang related.” It was the first time law enforcement confirmed gang involvement in the year-old murder.

Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said she hopes the charges make “gang members realize we will not ever give up on any of our unsolved cases.”

“For the past two and a half years, the Suffolk County Police Department’s homicide detectives have relentlessly focused on finding justice for Estiven Abrego-Gomez and to hopefully provide some closure to his family,” Hart said.

Contreras, who prosecutors said is an El Salvadorian citizen, was in ICE custody awaiting deportation proceedings in Virginia, but was brought back to Suffolk County by detectives for a court appearance last Thursday. Suffolk County Court Judge Philip Goglas ordered Contreras held without bail. If convicted, Contreras faces 25 years to life in prison.

An attorney for Contreras did not immediately return a request for comment.

Prosecutors said Gutierrez-Mesa is currently in police custody in Virginia and will be arraigned at a later date.

Town Ends Co-op Trash Collection For Eateries

Workers above bring trash to one of two centrally located dumpsters on one of the last days they were maintained for restaurants in Huntington village. The dumpsters are gone as of April 1 after years of operating at a deficit.  Long Islander News photo/Peter Sloggatt

Workers above bring trash to one of two centrally located dumpsters on one of the last days they were maintained for restaurants in Huntington village. The dumpsters are gone as of April 1 after years of operating at a deficit. Long Islander News photo/Peter Sloggatt

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

Walking on Wall Street could get dicey in the weeks ahead with recent changes to how and when trash is picked up.

The Town of Huntington pulled the plug on a garbage collection program under which restaurants in a core area of Huntington village had access to dumpsters to dispose of their trash each night. Two dumpsters located on Clinton Avenue between Main and Gerard Streets were removed April 1, and restaurants are now being told to put their trash out curbside.

Restaurant owners had paid to participate in the program but according to town officials it operated at a deficit.

“It was intended to supplement curbside collection,” Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinaccci said. “Each of the properties already paid the town refuse tax,” and then made additional payments to maintain the dumpsters. The town paid a private contractor $36,000 a year to place two dumpsters and maintain four-times-a-week pickup, Lupinacci said.

When it began in Feb. 2013, the 12 restaurants that had keys paid from $300 to $360 a year, with restaurants of 50 seats or more paying the higher fee.

The fees were increased to $500 to $540 a year in 2017, but the program still operated at a deficit, the supervisor said. 

“The total paid [by restaurants] was $5,600 which left the town on the hook for $30,000,” Lupinacci said.

An empty space remains where a dumpster dedicated to use by local restau rants stood. Town officials ended the co-op trash program April 1 and return the space to parking.  Long islander News photo/Peter Sloggatt

An empty space remains where a dumpster dedicated to use by local restau rants stood. Town officials ended the co-op trash program April 1 and return the space to parking. Long islander News photo/Peter Sloggatt

Huntington’s environmental waste management director John Clark met with the board of the Huntington Village Business Improvement District (BID) in late January to give a  heads-up. BID president Jack Palladino, whose restaurant Christophers was a participant, said he couldn’t generate enough interest among restaurant owners to keep the program going.

As a result, restaurants will have to hold trash generated after closing time and put it out for curbside pickup at the end of the next business day. The town changed commercial collection pick up hours to get the trash off the street earlier; trash pick up will start at 4:15 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m.

Palladino noted restaurants generate more trash than retail businesses, and the piles of garbage bags and bins are a turn off to restaurant-goers navigating the streets and in some cases, seated outdoors on the same sidewalk space.

“Some of the participating restaurants they created their own problem when they expanded to outdoor dining,” Lupinacci said. And while only participating restaurants had keys, he said the enclosed dumpster areas became dumping spots, and the participants themselves failed to keep the areas clean and neat.

The BID president said he hoped the town would look into changes that take into account the changing face of the village’s downtown.

“Garbage pickup is the same as it has been for 30 years. But it’s not a retail environment anymore,” Palladino said.

On the plus side, he added, “At least we’ll pick up four additional parking spaces where the dumpsters were.”

Huntington Artist, And Educator Stan Brodsky Dies

Stan Brodsky signs one of his paintings in his Huntington studio in one of many photographs by Peter Scheer that document the artist and his work.  Photo/Peter Scheer

Stan Brodsky signs one of his paintings in his Huntington studio in one of many photographs by Peter Scheer that document the artist and his work. Photo/Peter Scheer

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

With more than 75 years as an artist under his belt, Stan Brodsky seemed to be hitting his peak.

The Huntington painter’s expressionist canvases had been featured in solo shows at two New York City galleries and at Gallery North on Long Island in recent years. The Heckscher Museum in Huntington mounted a major retrospective of his work in 2013.

His expressive works, known for their rich hues and emotional impact, hung in many prestigious collections. And well into his nineties, Brodsky continued to work with intensity and commitment.

Brodsky, also an influential educator who taught fine arts for more than 30 years at LIU’s CW Post campus, died last Saturday after a brief illness. He was 94.

Brodsky called himself a “landscape expressionist,” according to a monograph published by New York City-based Lawrence Fine Art in conjunction with its “Stan Brodsky at 91” exhibition mounted in 2016.

A veteran of World War II, he was Brooklyn-born, studied art at University of Iowa and completed graduate studies at Columbia University in New York City.

In his early years he was influenced by the works of the post-impressionist Paul Cezanne, said Susan Rostan, a former student and Brodsky’s biographer. He was attracted to the works of Milton Avery and other abstractionists before finding his own unique and personal expression.

Rostan related a story Brodsky had told her that seemed to define his work.

“Knowing he had fought in France during the war,” Rostan said she thought his views were colored by those dark memories. Brodsky told her he was in a small town walking when he noticed the sunlight hitting the sidewalk.

“He was on the sunny side. On the dark side of the street he saw a crowd of people. He was peering into the darkness trying to make out the figures. There was a funeral home so they were all dressed in dark clothes,” Rostan said. “He was overcome by this feeling of darkness and went right home and tried to put it on canvas.”

Brodsky told Rostan he was struggling, unhappy with the results, and a professor told him to “put it aside. Do what you can.”

“For Stan, that was the moment he realized what it means to be a successful artist. For him it was always about the light, the color,” Rostan said.

One of Brodsky’s expressionist landscapes, “Blue Burst.”  Photo/Lawrence Fine Art

One of Brodsky’s expressionist landscapes, “Blue Burst.” Photo/Lawrence Fine Art

He stayed on that path depicting primarily landscapes with increasing abstraction and expressive color. His work became more abstract relying less on literal depiction and more on color, line and shape to create the emotional response of what he saw.

During his more than 30 years teaching at C. W. Post, Brodsky influenced hundreds of students to pursue their art with the same intensity – “to keep pushing, to learn from mistakes, to find what you love to do and do it with passion,” Rostan said.

Dozens of his former students kept in touch and remained “in his orbit,” Rostan said.

A unique opportunity to see that influence will be on display at a show opening next weekend at the Art League of Long Island where Brodsky also taught. Brodsky’s paintings will hang with works by 27 of his students in the exhibition, “Stan Brodsky and Friends.” The show runs April 13-28 and an opening reception will be held 3:30-5:30 p.m. on April 14.

Officials Weigh In On State Budget

Senator Jim Gaughran, at podium, joins, from left, Legislator Tom Donnelly, Debbie Rimler, Legislator William Spencer, Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Assemblyman Stern Stern, Mileny and her son Diego, Lily Sovuoj, Maria Georgiou, Nelis, Angela Williams at the Tri CYA in Huntington to announce funding for the C.A.S.T program in the state budget.  Photo/Office of Sen. Jim Gaughran

Senator Jim Gaughran, at podium, joins, from left, Legislator Tom Donnelly, Debbie Rimler, Legislator William Spencer, Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Assemblyman Stern Stern, Mileny and her son Diego, Lily Sovuoj, Maria Georgiou, Nelis, Angela Williams at the Tri CYA in Huntington to announce funding for the C.A.S.T program in the state budget. Photo/Office of Sen. Jim Gaughran

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

State lawmakers passed early Sunday morning a $175.5 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year that lawmakers say will increase school aid and restore funding to Huntington town government and community organizations.

Huntington Schools Secure $3.7M Aid Increase

The budget includes a total of $27.9 billion in school aid to districts throughout the state. The figure is a more than $1 billion increase from the previous year.

Huntington’s eight public school districts will see a $3.7 million increase in aid compared to last year’s budget, which State Senator Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) said will help “reduce the burden on overtaxed Long Island homeowners.”

Gaughran said state lawmakers were able to achieve “record funding for school districts.”

In total, Huntington schools are projected to receive $179,028,889, without subtracting building aid, from the state.

The biggest increase percentage-wise belongs to the South Huntington school district, which is in line for a 3.66 percent, or $1.24 million increase, from last year. Harborfields school district will see the smallest increase at 0.63 percent, or $88,458.

Figures for all eight school districts can be seen in the chart below.

Additional Funding For Gang Prevention
During a press conference Wednesday at the Tri Community Youth Agency in Huntington, Gaughran and State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D- Huntington) joined town and county officials to announce the state budget will include $235,000 in additional money of the town’s Communities and Schools Together (C.A.S.T.) program.

Gaughran said $135,000 will go to the Huntington Youth Bureau and the Tri CYA will receive $100,000. Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said both agencies are involved in running the C.A.S.T. program, which “helps kids avoid the pressures of becoming involved in gangs and gang violence.”

“The funding will be used to expand the C.A.S.T. program,” Lupinacci said. “That includes hiring a coordinator and two full-time youth and family specialists.”

The funding designated for Huntington’s C.A.S.T. program is part of a $1.3 million fund in the budget that Gaughran said would be available for communities across Long Island.

Tri CYA regional director Debbie Rimler said the funds will help the program reach over 100 local children and their families, and “provide them with an alternative to violence.”

“Out colleagues in the state legislature said these are exactly the type of programs we need to support,” Stern said. “When we craft a budget it’s ultimately about reflecting our values and priorities.”

 

AIM Funding Restored
Gaughran and Stern both said the restoration of funding for the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities program was an important aspect of the budget deal.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s preliminary budget released in January called for cuts of $1.1 million in AIM funding for Huntington. Gaughran said the approved budget “fully restores the $60 million in AIM funding to local towns and villages.”

He added the restoration was achieved despite an announcement by Cuomo in early February that the state would likely face a revenue shortfall of over $2 billion. Cuomo attributed the shortfall to a decrease in personal income tax receipts caused by the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions.

Lawmakers React To Budget Process
Gaughran and Stern, both relative newcomers to the state legislature said the budget process worked well overall, although Gaughran said he would like to see more “independent voting on policy.”

“At the end of the process the entire budget gets lumped together into one major vote on funding and policy issues,” Gaughran said. “I would like to see less policy in the budget to allow for more thorough debate.”

This year Democrats controlled both houses of the state legislature, something Stern said encouraged “more exchange between individual members” compared to negotiated deals between party leaders often needed to achieve a compromise when Republicans controlled the state senate.

“It allowed for better results for our local communities,” Stern said.

Gaughran agreed.

“This year the budget was driven by the rank and file members, which helped our individual communities,” he said.

In a statement released Monday, Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan (R- East Northport) said the budget highlighted “the disastrous effects of one-party government… New York’s worst nightmare has been realized.”

“By voting for this disastrous spending plan, Democrats have totally turned their backs on local governments and middle-class families struggling through New York’s growing affordability crisis,” Flanagan said.

Apartment Complex Fires Displace Residents

Firefighters in Melville battle a blaze at the Avalon Court complex that took over 120 firefighters from 12 departments to put out.  Photo/Melville FD

Firefighters in Melville battle a blaze at the Avalon Court complex that took over 120 firefighters from 12 departments to put out. Photo/Melville FD

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Over 100 people were displaced after fire torn through two separate housing complexes located just over 10 miles apart.

The first fire ignited around 1:20 p.m., March 23 on the second floor of an apartment complex at 376 Larkfield Road in East Northport, fire officials said.

East Northport firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke in the small attic space above the second floor apartments, according to fire officials.

Fire officials said firefighters were confronted by an intense fire driven by high winds.

According to the National Weather Service, wind gusted to 47 mph on March 23.

Fire officials said it took about 100 firefighters from East Northport, Northport, Commack, Greenlawn, Centerport, Kings Park and Dix Hills an hour and 28 minutes to bring the blaze under control. East Northport Chief Dan Flanagan was in charge of the operation. One firefighter suffered a shoulder injury battling the blaze and was taken to Huntington Hospital.

None of the building’s residents were injured, but approximately 100 people had to be evacuated, according to fire officials.

Many of those displaced were children, said Laura Palacios of the non-profit Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter. She said many of the families displaced by the fire are staying in a hotel that is paid for until April 1, but will soon need to find another place to live.

“They’ve lost everything,” Palacios said. “They need everything to get their lives back on track.”

Fires cause significant damage and forced residents from their homes at an apartment complex in East Northport.  Photo/Steve Silverman

Fires cause significant damage and forced residents from their homes at an apartment complex in East Northport. Photo/Steve Silverman

Palacios said Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter began collecting donations for the victims of the fire after learning children from two families who benefited from the non-profit’s annual toy drive were among those displaced. She said many of the families are under-privileged and participate in the East Northport Head Start program.

Finding new housing is the most pressing issue for many of these families, and Palacios said Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter is collecting donations of cash, checks or gift cards to King Kullen, Stop & Shop, Marshalls or Old Navy to help them get back on their feet.

Firefighters attack the Avalon Court complex fire from a bucket truck.  Photo/Melville FD

Firefighters attack the Avalon Court complex fire from a bucket truck. Photo/Melville FD

The second fire Saturday broke out at around 6 p.m. in the Avalon Court complex in Melville.

Fire officials said flames were shooting through the roof of the building and spreading rapidly when Melville firefighters arrived on the scene. The fire was also driven by Saturday’s gusting winds.

Melville Assistant Fire Chief David Kaplan was forced to call over 120 firefighters from 12 departments to the scene in order to finally bring the raging blaze under control. Firefighters were at the housing complex for five hours to make sure the fire was completely extinguished, according to fire officials.

Fire officials said 17 units in the Avalon Court complex were heavily damaged by fire, smoke and water, and 52 residents were displaced from their homes.

Fire officials said one child was treated and released from Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip after suffering burns to the arm. Two firefighters also suffered shoulder injuries battling the blaze. One was taken to Plainview Hospital and the other was treated at the scene.

The Huntington Town Fire Marshal and the Suffolk Police Arson Squad are investigating both fires.

St. Patrick’s Parade Steps Off Sunday

AOH_COVER.jpg

The 85th annual Huntington St. Patrick’s Parade steps off at 2 p.m. this Sunday, March 10 with Timothy Rossiter leading the way as Grand Marshal.

The parade is Long Island’s oldest and largest St. Patrick’s parade. It is sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Div. 4, Huntington, whose members march in traditional gray morning suits. You may see a top hat and even a shillelagh or two among the formally dressed brothers as they lead a parade of community groups down New York Avenue to Main Street and past the reviewing stand near St. Patrick’s Church.

The sound of bagpipes will fill the air as this year’s parade features an even dozen pipe and drum bands. The schools, scouts, fire departments and other community groups will be joined by 100 Alaskan Huskies and their handlers from Empire Snow Dogs.

Take a look at this year’s St. Patrick’s Parade journal here.

Apartments Going Up In Village

Building owner Anthony Zambratto has received planning board approval to go add a third story and convert second-floor office space to apartments at his property on New York Avenue and Elm Street in Huntington Village. Above are the existing building at left; and a rendering of the proposed addition at right.

Building owner Anthony Zambratto has received planning board approval to go add a third story and convert second-floor office space to apartments at his property on New York Avenue and Elm Street in Huntington Village. Above are the existing building at left; and a rendering of the proposed addition at right.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com 

Plans to add a third story and nine apartments to a building on the corner of New York Avenue and Elm Street in Huntington village are moving forward.

The Huntington Planning Board last week weighed in on the proposed architecture of the building on 356 New York Avenue, which currently houses a Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union on the first floor and offices on the second.

Planning Board Chairman Paul Ehrlich said during the meeting the architecture of the proposed third story appeared “consistent with the rest of the building and the general area.”

Building owner Andrew Zambratto’s planned conversion of the second-story office space into apartments and the construction of a third story was previously approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2017. The plan required a variance from the ZBA for the “increase of gross square footage,” according to town documents.

There was no parking variance required for the project because the building’s current office space requires 40 parking stalls under town code, while the planned apartments require only 34 stalls.

Plans submitted to the town show the NEFCU would continue to occupy the commercial space in the first floor of the building. The existing 4,000 square-foot second floor and proposed 4,000 square-foot third floor would be converted into nine apartments. Planning officials said there would be four one-bedroom and five two-bedroom apartments divided between the top two floors.

Several members of the planning board expressed at last weeks meeting some concern about the design of the exterior of the building’s first floor, saying the brick from the second and third stories should remain consistent across all three floors.

Ehrlich said at the meet the board did not reach a consensus on the architecture, and planning officials said they would notify the building owner to “make some revisions.”

Last week’s meeting was Ehrlich’s first at the helm of the planning board. He was appointed by the town board last month to replace longtime planning board chairman Paul Mandelik. Mandelik led the planning board for around 15 years. Ehrlich, a relative newcomer to the planning board, was first appointed to the seven-person board last February.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the name of Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union.

American Legion Celebrates A Century Of Service

Members of American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244, Huntington Post 360 and Northport Post 694 receive proclamations at Tuesday’s town board meeting in recognition of the national organization’s 100th anniversary.  Photo/Town of Huntington

Members of American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244, Huntington Post 360 and Northport Post 694 receive proclamations at Tuesday’s town board meeting in recognition of the national organization’s 100th anniversary. Photo/Town of Huntington

By Connor Beach

cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Members from Huntington’s three American Legion posts were recognized by the town board on Tuesday in celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary.

Veterans from American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244, Huntington Post 360 and Northport Post 694 accepted proclamations from Councilwoman Joan Cergol to acknowledge each post’s contributions to the community.

“You do so much to help make Huntington a great place to live, a community that thanks and respects those who served our country in times of war and in times of peace,” Cergol said. “Each one of the posts has supported the pillars established by the American Legion a century ago. You have done the American Legion proud, but just as important, you have done Huntington proud.”

The American Legion was first convened in 1919 by World War I combat troops in Paris, France, and officially chartered by Congress later that year. American Legion Huntington Post 360 was established soon after in 1921, and American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244 followed in 1943.

The organization was founded to help veterans dealing with the physical and emotional toll of war work their way back into civilian life, and now has over 2 million members in more than 13,000 posts worldwide.

Over the last century, the American Legion has developed into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. The organization’s lobbying on behalf of veterans has led to the creation of the Veterans Administration, passage of the GI Bill of Rights and spurred research to help veterans deal with PTSD and the effects of Agent Orange, atomic radiation and Gulf War illness.

American Legion posts around the world donate more than 3.7 million hours of volunteer service, assist on more than 181,000 VA benefits claims and cases and award more than $4 million in college scholarships.

Members of the local American Legion posts also help locate, identify and bury the remains of veterans and their spouses, as well as organizing burial services for deceased veterans who died without family.

Cergol, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, called the town’s American Legion posts “integral parts of the community.”

The American Legion posts sponsor local Boy and Girl Scouts, organize Memorial Day parades, and provide food cards to needy veterans and support local food pantries.