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Historic Farmhouse With Barn in Southold Asks $775K

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Feather Hill, an Italianate farmhouse and barn built in 1840, is listed for sale at 195 Beckwith Ave. in Southold.

With this 19th-century duo comes a slice of Southold history. It is believed that Godfrey Hahn, the original owner, built the house and barn in its Italianate architectural style. The Hahn family came from Germany to Boston Harbor, then crossed the Sound and settled in Southold.

Jane Paoli, a certified appraiser and antique restorer, recently restored the house and left a plaque outside detailing its backstory. She explains that the name “Feather Hill” refers to large groups of geese and ducks that used to gather behind the barn when there was a babbling brook there in the 1800’s.

The property has been deemed “historically and aesthetically significant” by several organizations over the years, including Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, which listed it as the “Macombe House” in 1986; the Landmark Society, which appraised it in 2000; and the Southold Historical Society, which says it was the home of T. Bucci until 1999.

The farmhouse has a charming light blue, creme, and burgundy exterior with a low and narrow porch cornering the front and side entrances. The large barn on the property is unfinished and could be used for storage, an art studio, office, or garage space.

There are a total of seven rooms in the house, including three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a formal dining room, as well as a partial, unfinished basement. The home’s charm comes from its fine, custom moldings and other details across many of the walls. Plus, the living room space has a large, built-in china closet.

Feather Hill is located in the heart of Southold’s business district, close to transportation and shopping on the main road.

The asking price is $775,000, not including the annual property tax of $5,363.

The real estate agent listed for the property is Scott Bennett, of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who can be reached at 631-354-8100.

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Nassau County Launches Pandemic Rental Relief Program

rental relief program
Office of County Executive Laura Curran

In the new year, Nassau County will begin helping residents struggling financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic pay their rent, County Executive Laura Curran announced today.

The Rental Relief Program (RRP) will be administered by the Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDC-LI) and cover up to three consecutive months’ unpaid rent beginning April 2020.

“Home matters now more than ever,” Gwen O’Shea, president and CEO of CDC-LI, said in a statement. “The financial burden and uncertainty this pandemic has caused is really unimaginable; especially for households that were struggling prior to Covid. This program will begin to alleviate some of that burden for renters, landlords and our local economy.”

CDC-LI will be conducting outreach to raise awareness about the program in the next two weeks. Then, beginning Jan. 6, potential applicants can complete an initial inquiry form at cdcli.org.

There are specific criteria individuals must meet to qualify for the program, such as making below a certain maximum income, demonstrating a loss of income, and being current on rent before March 2020. Once a person finishes the application process and is deemed eligible, the program will make the rent payments directly to the landlord or homeowner.

“The need for relief has never been greater,” Curran said, “and the County will continue to do all it can to help residents get to the other side of this crisis.”

Nassau will spend $6 million on rent relief, which officials estimate will aid about 900 households, using federal Community Development Block Grant – COVID-19 (CDBG-CV) relief funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The county has also used its federal grant funds during the pandemic for food distribution, small business loans, free PPE kits for residents and businesses, and expanded mental health and support services.

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Congress Blocks Sale of Plum Island in Covid-19 Relief Bill

plum island
The Department of Homeland Security's Plum Island Animal Disease Center is pictured during a tour by journalists Feb. 16, 2004. (Henny Ray Abrams HRA/JDP/Reuters)

Plum Island off the coast of the North Fork will no longer be auctioned after federal lawmakers added a provision in the Covid-19 aid bill that protects the island from being sold.

The bill blocks the planned sale of Plum Island, a former federal research facility off the eastern tip of Long Island that had been due to be sold. Environmentalists have opposed the sale of the island, which is considered a prime wildlife habitat.

“It would have been a grave mistake to sell and develop Plum Island’s 840-acres of habitat, which is home to many endangered species,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. “That’s why preventing the unnecessary sale requirement was a top priority of these negotiations. Now the people of Long Island will have their say in its future — and rightfully so.” 

Plum Island has been home to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center since the 1950s. However, the laboratory, which conducts advanced research on contagious diseases in animals, is set to move to Kansas in 2023, leaving Plum Island’s future in limbo.

The island is also home to rare wildlife species, including about 227 bird species, according to the Nature Conservancy. It is also a historic site, originally Algonquin territory and home to a 19th-century lighthouse and Army post from 1897.

“The Nature Conservancy is proud to have worked closely with members of Congress from across the country and diverse partners to save Plum Island,” Bill Ulfelder, The Nature Conservancy’s New York executive director, said in a statement. “Historically Algonquin territory, the fate of Plum Island was caught in a bureaucratic quagmire for 12 years, but one thing was always clear: the tremendous support for conserving this extraordinary place with a fascinating history.”

Plum Island was slated for sale since 2008. Since then, Preserve Plum Island Coalition, a group of more than 100 historic and nature conservation organizations, formed a campaign to protect it, along with a comprehensive plan for its future that gained bipartisan support.

-With Reuters

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Officials Call for Probe of Oyster Bay Town Raises

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Several lawmakers are urging Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas to investigate whether Town of Oyster Bay workers’ raises were tied to political donations, officials said Monday.

Three New York State senators joined Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) in criticizing letters that they said Town of Oyster Bay Deputy Supervisor Gregory Carman, Jr. sent in September to town employees soliciting political donations.

“We are here to shed light on a culture of corruption in the Town of Oyster Bay and to demand accountability for the taxpayers that call this town their home,” New York State Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown) said at the news conference. “Our families and neighbors have suffered enough during this pandemic. Yet time and again we have seen the powerful and the well-connected attempt to use this pandemic as an opportunity to finance their own political interests at the taxpayers’ expense.”

According to Thomas, Carman sent letters to town employees asking for contributions to the Farmingdale Republican Committee, of which he is the executive leader. Depending on the recipients’ town salary, each letter either asked for $250, $500, or $750. 

In the letter, Carman explained that in the past, the letter would be an invitation to a fundraiser supporting the FRC. The fundraiser could not be held with Covid-19 restrictions, but “we still need your support to ensure Republican candidates are elected to office this November,” Carman wrote.

Carman went on to name outgoing state Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville), who has since won the race in Congressional District 2 to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), as a candidate that funds for the FRC would help elect.

Carman sent more than half of these letters to employees who had just received a raise or promotion, Thomas said, noting that the Town of Oyster Bay has given $665,000 worth in raises to 151 employees since May. In the weeks after the letters were sent, the Farmingdale Republican Committee received more than 70 donations, all from town employees and almost all in the solicited amounts, he said.

“While there is no doubt that many hard-working town employees are well deserving of salary increases and promotions, there is a clear and disturbing pattern,” Thomas said. “We are demanding an investigation by the Nassau County D.A.’s office into this unethical solicitation of town employees.”

Thomas said Carman “was part of the secretive approval process for employee raises and promotions,” noting that as deputy supervisor, Carman has “inside access to confidential employment files, knowledge of private town government records,” as well as the authority to recommend, approve, and deny salary increases, promotions, or favorable department changes. 

Thomas, Curran, DeRiggi-Whitton, State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) and state Sen. John Brooks (D-Massapequa) encouraged any Town of Oyster Bay employees who may have been coerced into donating to come forward to aid the investigation. They noted that New York Civil Service Law protects public employees who report improper governmental action.

“Nassau County residents deserve honesty and transparency from all of their government officials,” Curran said. “Anything less undermines public trust and breeds corruption.” 

Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for Singas’ office, said prosecutors are already looking into the issue.

“We began an investigation last week when we learned of these allegations,” he said.

Town of Oyster Bay officials did not respond to requests for comment. The Farmingdale Republican Committee did, however, issue a statement on the matter.

“All campaign fundraising is done within the letter of the law,” it said. “This is clearly a political stunt by a desperate County Executive and her cronies who want to distract voters from her record of hiking property taxes on 65% of Nassau homeowners.

“It is the height of hypocrisy for a person whose husband was caught red-handed with a sweetheart $240,000 no-bid MTA contract to call for an investigation of another government official,” it continued. “If the County Executive really wants to ferret out corruption, maybe she should start with her own family.”

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Northrop Grumman, Navy Reach $406M Deal to Clean Bethpage Toxic Plume

bethpage toxic plume
(Shutterstock photo)

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have come to a $406 million agreement to conduct a full aquifer protection clean up project to eliminate groundwater pollution at the former Grumman Aerospace site in Bethpage, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

After a decades-long fight to curb what’s referred to as the toxic “Grumman plume,” the decision marks a significant victory for environmentalists, Long Island water districts, and elected officials. The plan to cure the aquifer contamination will span 30 years. 

“It was a long fight,” Cuomo said during his press briefing, “but it will protect the drinking water for the people on Long Island, and it was a really good thing and a big win.”

The project, which Cuomo called “very elaborate engineering, but highly effective,” is set to begin in January. The agreement also contains $104 million in payments in environmental damages, some of which will go toward drinking water treatment plants.

“This is a landmark agreement that deserves to be celebrated by every resident on Long Island,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. “Nassau County will be working collaboratively with the federal and state government every step of the way to make sure these settlement funds are used to help provide clean and safe drinking water for all.”

Northrop Grumman, which was then Grumman Aerospace, co-owned the Bethpage site with the Navy in the mid-20th century, where the manufacturer constructed World War II fighters and the space module that put the first man on the moon. 

During that time, more than two dozen contaminants, most notably Trichloroethylene, or TCE, seeped into the ground’s aquifers that provide drinking water for residents in the area and spread in a plume throughout nearby aquifers over the years.

Since then, Grumman had misled the public and denied that any harmful chemicals were in the water. The Navy only recently began to come around to plans to rectify the situation.

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) said Bethpage Water District “has unfairly shouldered this burden for far too long but has never failed in its mission of delivering clean water to the community it serves.”

He added that he will continue to fight for Northrop to “pay the Bethpage Water District to acquire Plant 4 which will facilitate the cleanup and provide the Water District with needed financial relief.”

“This agreement with Northrop Grumman and the recent agreement with the Navy are dramatic steps forward in this 40-year nightmare,” he said. 

Related Story: Bethpage’s Toxic Plume Creeps Closer To Contaminating More Public Drinking Water Supplies

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Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences Has Covid-19 Vaccines in Trial

applied dna sciences
Applied DNA Sciences CEO James Hayward. (Photo by Bob Giglione)

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna have made Covid-19 vaccines that are now being shipped and administered around the world. However, they are far from the only ones developing and testing the vaccine that people have been waiting for.

In fact, Applied DNA Sciences, Inc., based in Stony Brook, is conducting trials with five of its own Covid-19 vaccine contenders. The company’s subsidiary, LineaRx, Inc., announced a partnership with Takis Biotech, a Rome-based biotech agency, in February and has made some promising strides in the months since.

Dr. James Hayward, president and CEO of Applied DNA, said that the companies’ method involves linear DNA production “that we believe will yield a safe and effective vaccine with fewer risks than other DNA production platforms.”

All five of the companies’ vaccines have resulted in Covid-19 antibody production in mice, Hayward reported in July. The next step, which LineaRx and Takis are tackling now, is to test the vaccine on larger animals.

In mid-September, the companies began working with Engineered Veterinary Vectored Immunotherapy and Vaccines (EvviVas), an entity of Takis, to test the vaccine on cats. This study will take about three more months. 

“Because animals and people can both be affected by this zoonotic virus, and with much of the world’s Covid-19 efforts centered on humans with very little known about its effects on our closest companions with whom we share our homes, we believe it prudent to pursue this avenue for the therapeutic benefit of animals and humans alike,” Hayward noted.

The companies acknowledge that their five “LineaDNA” vaccines, as they call them, are not guaranteed to be approved by regulatory agencies, which would be critical before the vaccines reach the public. However, the companies believe the LineaDNA vaccine is a significant contribution to the holistic scientific approach of combatting the novel coronavirus.

Applied DNA has also been conducting Covid-19 surveillance testing, a method aimed at reducing community spread. Hayward said that the testing “has been seen as a powerful tool to protect classrooms, workplaces, and other populations from Covid-19.”

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Long Island To Receive More Than 40K Moderna Vaccines In First Shipment

moderna vaccines
Moderna's logo is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken Nov. 9. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Long Island’s initial allocation of Covid-19 vaccines has increased to about 69,600 doses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today, after the U.S. Food And Drug Administration’s advisory committee recommended emergency approval of the Moderna vaccine last night.

That means roughly 43,100 Moderna vaccines will be shipped to Long Island distribution facilities, part of the 346,000 going out statewide, after the state receives them next week. Long Island has also been allocated about 26,500 Pfizer vaccines which are already being given to high-risk hospital workers as part of phase one.

“The vaccines are going to be distributed medically, not politically,” Cuomo said. “It’s going to be done by medical facilities, so there will be no politics in the distribution.”

State health officials originally believed that each vial of vaccine held five doses. However, as the rollout began this week, administers are finding they can get one or two more doses out of each vial. Therefore, the number of doses allocated to each region could increase by 20 to 40 percent, officials said.

So far, 19,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated. Beginning on Monday, vaccines will be administered to nursing home staff and residents by CVS and Walgreens staff.

“Our team is optimistic about a safe, effective vaccine that will ensure the health and well-being of our residents, as well as those who are on the frontline of care,” said Stuart B. Almer, president and CEO at Gurwin Healthcare System, which runs Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack. “We are most hopeful of the promise the vaccine holds to reunite residents with their families.”

Phase two of the vaccine distribution, which Northwell Health will facilitate on Long Island, will include essential workers and priority general public, which covers those with pre-existing medical conditions that put them at risk for Covid-19.

Long Island’s Covid-19 positivity rate is 6.08 percent, according to the state’s data, which is a calculated 7-day average. There are 1,007 Covid-19 patients hospitalized on Long Island, which is .04 percent of the population.

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New Year’s Day Events on Long Island 2021

Long Island New Year’s Day
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Make the first day of 2021 a great one. Whether you take a hike in nature, go out for brunch, or both, these Long Island New Year’s Day events can help you feel refreshed for the year ahead.

HIKE AND ANIMAL PRESENTATION

Walk through the woodlands and wetlands of Sweetbriar Nature Center. Then, visit the barn and meet some of the nature center’s animals, including an opossum and owl. $10. Sweetbriar Nature Center, 62 Eckernkamp Dr., Smithtown. sweetbriarnc.org 10-11 a.m.

NEW YEAR’S BRUNCH

Kick off the new year with your favorite brunch dishes and cocktails at Village Idiot Pub in Lake Grove. Village Idiot Pub, 2811 Middle Country Rd., Lake Grove. facebook.com 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

FIRST DAY HIKE: SEAL WALK

Meet at Field 10 of Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center for one of the state’s local First Day Hikes, happening at many state parks on Jan. 1. Educators will be in the parking lot directing people to the seal walk. There will also be a net-zero tour at 10:30 a.m. and a “Discover the Dunes” program at 1:30 p.m. Free. Jones Beach Field 10, 585 Bay Pkwy., Wantagh. jonesbeachenc.org 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

NEW YEAR’S BRUNCH AT THE MANSION

Head to The Mansion in Glen Cove and toast to the new year at this New Year’s brunch event. The Mansion at Glen Cove, 200 Dosoris Lane, Glen Cove. facebook.com 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

FIRST DAY HIKE AND BEACH CLEAN-UP

Help the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society pick up trash at Hallock State Park Preserve, while walking along the beach and monitoring for cold-stunned sea turtles. You’ll get some exercise and support a good cause. All ages are welcome. Free. Hallock State Park Preserve, 6062 Sound Ave., Riverhead. parks.ny.gov Noon.

FIRST DAY HIKE IN MONTAUK

This two-mile hike through Camp Hero State Park in Montauk passes by the remnants of a World War II military base and ocean front cliffs. Free. Montauk Point State Park, 2000 Montauk Hwy., Montauk. parks.ny.gov Noon.

BINGO BRUNCH

Lily Flanagan’s Pub in Babylon hosts a “Hangover Boozy Bingo Brunch,” which includes unlimited brunch cocktails, a brunch buffet, and one complimentary bingo card. $35. Lily Flanagan’s Pub-Babylon, 345 Deer Park Ave., Babylon. facebook.com Noon.

SEAL WATCHING BOAT TOUR

Ride aboard the Capt. Lou VII Seal Watching for a two-hour bay tour. Enjoy this outdoor winter activity with family. The boat has a heated indoor cabin for a quick warm-up break. $40. Captain Lou Fleet, 31 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport. facebook.com 1-3 p.m.

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Northwell Health To Lead Covid-19 Distribution on Long Island

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Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare system, will lead the initiative to vaccinate Long Islanders for Covid-19 in phase two, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in his press briefing today.

Each region in the state is assigned a “vaccination hub coordinator,” a healthcare system that will work with local government, health providers, and others in the community to roll out the vaccine once the state reaches phase two, when essential workers and the high-risk general public will start getting vaccinated.

“This state has paid more than its fair share for Covid with what we went through in the spring,” Cuomo said, “and I want to make sure we do everything we can to be the first state to kill this beast.”

Northwell Health will need to submit a vaccination plan for Long Island to the New York State Department of Health by the first week of January. The health department will then decide whether to approve every region’s plans based on the guidance it has given.

Plans must involve working with government and health organizations, connecting directly to communities, and tailoring the plans to the needs of the region. It must also plan for the “efficient and expedited delivery and administration” of the vaccine and a “fair and equitable strategy” that focuses on communities with lower vaccination rates and poor health outcomes, the governor’s office’s presentation said.

Cuomo called the Covid-19 vaccination program “the most ambitious governmental operation that has been undertaken, period.” He also announced that New Yorkers who have questions about the vaccine can get more information at ny.gov/vaccine.

On Monday, Northwell Health staff administered the first Covid-19 vaccine in New York to a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Phase one of vaccine administration, which is going to high-risk hospital workers and nursing home staff and residents, is now underway across Long Island and the entire country.

The first allocation of the Pfizer vaccine will go to 170,000 New Yorkers, about 26,500 of them on Long Island. More allocations are expected in the coming weeks, including 346,000 of the Moderna vaccines, pending its approval with the Food and Drug Administration. After the federal government allocates the state a certain number of vaccines, the state distributes them to all regions proportionally.

Cuomo said vaccine allocations for phase two will arrive in late January if the federal government stays on the current schedule. Therefore, he wants each region to be fully prepared with plans for vaccinating the public.

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Shoreham’s Carter Rubin, 15, Wins Season 19 of NBC’s The Voice

carter rubin
Carter Rubin and his coach, Gwen Stefani (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)

Carter Rubin, a Shoreham teen who stole the hearts of celebrity judges and viewers across the nation, was named the winner of NBC’s The Voice last night.

The 15-year-old, a sophomore at Shoreham-Wading River High School, soared to the finish line on pop star Gwen Stefani’s team, beating out fellow contestant Jim Ranger, who came in second on Stefani’s fiance, country singer Blake Shelton’s, team.

After the live finale last night, Carter Tweeted a photo of himself on stage just after host Carson Daly announced his win, and wrote: “words will come later. but all i can say is thank you.”

A message on the SWR Central School District Facebook page last night called Carter “a SWR superstar” and said, “You’ve brought pride and joy to your hometown! Thank you Carter! #SWRPROUD.”

Before Carter’s big win, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone also posted on Facebook, wishing him good luck and saying that his performances “wowed us all, showing incredible talent and poise throughout this difficult competition.”

Carter Rubin (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)

The night before, Carter sang “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus and “Up From Here,” and an original song by a songwriter that came on the show. On the night of the finale results show, he and Stefani sang a duet of “You Make Me Feel Like Christmas.”

After getting two of the judge’s chairs to turn in his blind audition, which was pre-recorded and aired in October, Carter chose Team Gwen over Team John Legend. 

He went head-to-head with more than 30 other singers in the Battle Rounds and the Knockout Rounds, making it to the live shows. He then made it to the top 17, top 9, and finally the top 5. All five remaining contestants found out where they placed last night after viewers cast their votes the night before.

Gwen Stefani and Carter Rubin (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)

This is Team Gwen’s first win after joining the show as a judge five seasons ago. The winner of The Voice typically receives a monetary prize and a recording contract.

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