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Timothy Bolger

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.

Gwen Verdon’s Former Quogue Home With Atlantic Views Asks $8.9M

This oceanfront home and former U.S. Lifesaving Service station previously owned by actress Gwen Verdon is listed for sale for the first time at 84 Dune Rd. in the Village of Quogue.

Built in 1870 on a 1.1-acre lot, this five-bedroom, three-bathroom home has 3,963 square feet of living space. The home boasts old-world charm, modern amenities, catwalk to the beach with a raised deck and seating area on top of the dunes, and a detached bungalow. Tony winner Verdon, who starred in Broadway and film adaptations of Damn Yankees, the movie Cacoon, and many other things, lived there until 2000.

The house features an eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, living room with a fireplace, and sun room. Outside it has a wrap-around mahogany porch, in-ground gunite pool, expansive lawn, and an outdoor shower. It comes equipped with central air conditioning and a three-car garage.

The house was originally built as a station for the U.S. Lifesaving Service, a predecessor to the U.S. Coast Guard, until it was decommissioned in 1915. It still has the original U.S. Life Saving Station sign, a boat room, original flooring and various memorabilia from its Life Saving station days, according to Dan’s Papers.

The property is about two miles from downtown Westhampton, the Westhampton Long Island Rail Road station, and falls in the Quogue School District.

The asking price is $8,950,000, not including the $30,402 in annual property taxes.

The real estate agent listed for the property is Enzo Morabito of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who can be reached at 631-288-6244.

Related Story: The South Fork: Not Just A Playground For The Rich

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Long Island Native Says He Was Fired For Being “Too American”

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A marketing executive originally from Long Island alleged that he was fired after complaining that his bosses discriminated against him for his age, wearing khakis, and being “too American.”

Gray Hollett reportedly filed an Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint this month against his former employer, Boydon World Corporation, a global executive search company where he was hired as vice president of marketing in 2006. He was canned in January.

“I believe that my age, national origin, and complaints about discrimination were unlawful factors in the decision to terminate my employment,” the 61-year-old wrote in his complaint, according to the New York Post, which first reported the story. “I felt ‘shaken’ by these unsubstantiated attacks.”

Headquartered in Westchester County, Boydon has more than 65 offices in 40 countries. One in five American workers age 40 and older say they have faced discrimination based on their age while at work, according to the 2019 Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace study.

Hollet, who lived in Connecticut at he time, claimed that Jörg Kasten, a Germany-based managing partner, called Hollett “too American,” said Hollet needed to be “more European,” criticized Hollet for wearing khaki pants, and suggested Hollett dress more casually like younger colleagues. 

In addition, Hollett claimed Nick Robeson, a UK-based managing partner for Boyden, told Hollett it was “time to retire” after what Robeson called an “outdated” marketing decision. Hollett said he was fired in January after repeatedly complaining to the company’s CEO about the alleged ageism and anti-American discrimination. 

A Boyden spokesman told the Post that the company “stands by its record of diversity.”

The EEOC has 180 days from the date of the Oct. 1 filing to complete its investigation. Once completed, Hollett can either request an administrative hearing or for the agency to issue a decision based on its findings. His attorney can then file a federal lawsuit.

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Long Island Mixed-Use Housing Developers Race To Meet Increasing Demand

Mixed-use, transit-oriented developments like the proposed Ronkonkoma Hub project aim to keep young professionals on Long Island.

Mixed-use developments that blend housing and commercial real estate long built separately on Long Island are transforming not only the region’s communities and downtowns, but also its biggest industrial park, experts say.

While transit-oriented housing — apartments within walking distance of Long Island Rail Road stations and other transportation hubs — has made inroads in recent years, plans are now in the works to construct such buildings in the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge. 

“It is the most exciting project I’ve been involved in in my career,” Joe Campolo, a board member of the Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island (HIA-LI), told attendees of the group’s annual trade show, which was held virtually Wednesday and Thursday.

The HIA-LI changed the name of the Hauppauge Industrial Park to the LI Innovation Park last year as part of its plan to reimagine the business district — the second largest industrial park in the nation after Silicon Valley — and foster the next generation of technology companies. The apartment component of that plan was hatched for the same reason local municipalities are embracing mixed-use developments: to offer affordable housing to stem the Brain Drain — the Island’s young professionals moving away due to the high cost of living.

Sixty-seven percent of millennials — people born between 1981 and 1996 — are thinking about moving off LI, according to a nextLIstudy, yet millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce in the next five years, a Deloitte survey found, noted Terri Alessi-Miceli, president and CEO of HIA-LI.

“It’s critical to build places for them to live, to work, to play,” she said.

The HIA-LI housing plan advanced earlier this year when the Town of Smithtown reclassified zoning in the industrial park, allowing developers to apply for special exemptions to construct apartment buildings with ground-level retail space. Campolo, who’s also managing partner of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP, a Ronkonkoma-based law firm, said the change could lead to as many as 1,000 apartments in the industrial park. Plans also include a greenway connection, quality-of-life amenities, business incubators, an advanced manufacturing hub, and a workforce training center that will address filling job openings in biopharma and finance, among other issues.

Campolo shared details of the project during a HIA-LI trade show webinar titled Long Island Transformational Projects: Economic Growth for Business and our Economy, which offered an update on some of the region’s largest mixed-use developments.

The multi-million-dollar New Village project has helped bring its downtown back to life but a high-density development won’t cure all of Long Island’s housing needs.

DEMAND OUTPACING SUPPLY

The gap between the number of housing units needed and available on the Island is forecast to nearly double over the next decade from more than 51,000 five years ago, according to Robert Coughlan, co-founder of TRITEC Real Estate Company, an East Setauket-based developer.

Yet TRITEC, one of the region’s leading mixed-use housing builders, has added just 2,531 new multi-family home units to the region in Patchogue, Ronkonkoma, Lindenhurst, and Port Jefferson that were the culmination of 17 years of work, he added. Despite the progress, community opposition persists from anti-development Long Islanders known for Not In My Backyard sentiment, commonly known as NIMBYs.

“NIMBYism … is usually led by, in our humble opinion, misinformed and misguided people and groups,” Coughlan said. “Often these people are the same people that are getting up at public hearings and saying, ‘our prices are too high on Long Island, our taxes are too high’ … They often don’t realize that multi-use housing in their neighborhoods will raise the value of their own homes and provide alternatives for their family members.”

He pointed to historical shifts in local housing needs. Forty years ago, more than half of households on LI were nuclear families — couples and their children — and households of single people living alone made up about 10 percent of the population. Now, nuclear families make up about a third of households and singles comprise a quarter. The population shift drives the need for more multi-family housing. 

“If we don’t increase supply to meet demand, we will chase populations away,” he said.

Of course, erecting apartment buildings doesn’t happen overnight. It can take millions of dollars and three to five years of planning before even getting approval to start construction, he noted. New Village at Patchogue took eight years to get done before it opened in 2014.

Russell Albanese, chairman of The Albanese Organization, the Garden City-based developer behind the Wyandanch Rising project that is midway through building the Wyandanch Village development, added that government backing is key to getting anything this big completed.

“You cannot build affordable housing without an [industrial benefit agency] benefit for a project and you can’t do it without New York State and their housing programs,” Albanese said. “It’s very challenging but also there’s great reward in being involved in community building like this.”

A rendering of what Wyandanch Rising could look like someday, with plenty of affordable housing options within walking distance of the LIRR. (courtesy BHC Architects)

ACCELERATED TRANSFORMATION

The change in LI’s housing landscape comes not only amid a demographic shift, but also a confluence of economic, social, and governmental changes rippling across Nassau and Suffolk counties since the coronavirus pandemic arrived.

The changes include an increased residential real estate demand as New York City residents move to the Island to flee the virus, an accelerated shuttering of retail storefronts as shoppers were forced to buy online to avoid COVID-19, and the rise of local government agencies modernizing their building permit application processes with online meetings as public gatherings are limited, noted Mitch Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute.

Pally added that the changes come as the New York Islanders are midway through the construction of their new home, UBS Arena, being built at Belmont Park in Elmont, which will both bring the team home to LI after a stint in Brooklyn and allow fans to take the LIRR to see games — something that was not possible when the team played at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.

“In two years, you’ll be able to … walk out of either Bob Coughlan’s TRITEC apartment in Ronkonkoma or Russ Albanese’s Wyandanch apartment and go to the Islander game by train,” Pally said. “What a transformation of Long Island that will be for people in Suffolk County to be able to get to and from the new Islander facility at Belmont by train. It will transform the relationship with the Islanders with many people who either cannot get there or don’t want to drive there.”

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NY Limits Activity in Lawrence, Inwood Amid COVID-19 Hot Spot Response

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran points to the Cluster Action Initiative map where the orange and yellow zones cross over from New York City during a news conference on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

Parts of the Five Towns area of southwestern Nassau County will have new restrictions starting Friday as part of a New York State crackdown to curb the spread of coronavirus in communities with high infection rates.

The state’s co-called Cluster Action Initiative is aimed at containing COVID-19 hot spots in Brooklyn, Rockland, and Orange counties, which face the strictest rules and have been marked as red zones by health officials. But buffer zones around the targeted communities bleed across the New York City line, with less stringent orders in orange zones such as parts of Lawrence and Inwood, and yellow zones like Cedarhurst. Lawrence has the highest infection rate in the county.

“The infection rate in the hot spots is five times the overall infection rate,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, noting that the state’s overall testing rate remains at about 1 percent. “We want to make sure the infection rate in the hot spots does not spread. The spread is inevitable if we do not control the hot spot.”

A recent spike in infections after a summer lull has been a somber reminder that the virus is still spreading, especially in places where large groups gather for religious or other reasons without adhering to public health guidance.

In Lawrence and Inwood’s orange zones, capacity at houses of worship is called at 25 people, gatherings are limited to 10 people, schools to be remote-learning only, indoor dining is prohibited, only four people per table are allowed for outdoor dining, and high-risk non-essential businesses such as gyms and personal care must close.

In Cedarhurst’s yellow area, houses of worship are capped at 50 percent, gatherings are limited to 25 people, and weekly coronavirus testing is mandated for all students, teachers, and staffers at in-person schools. But businesses remain open and dining is not effected. The rules for both zones last 14 days.

“There are currently no red zones in Nassau County,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Wednesday, noting that there have been “spikelets” in some communities. “We want to keep it that way.”

The viral spread has been especially acute in the Orthodox Jewish enclaves such as Brooklyn, Rockland, Orange, and the Five Towns areas where the governor says social distancing and mask-wearing have not been adequately enforced.

A drop in infection rates prompted some people – including, but not limited to, Orthodox Jews – to become more lax about mask-wearing and social distancing, several members of the Orthodox Jewish community told Reuters.

“It’s critically important for everybody to buy into this,” said Aaron Glatt, an associate rabbi at an Orthodox congregation in Woodmere and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside.

-With Reuters

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George To The Rescue Assists Long Island Family, Nonprofit Staff, and Healthcare Heroes In New Season

George Oliphant is the host of George to the Rescue. (Photos courtesy of NBC)

Three groups of Long Islanders got surprise renovations from benevolent home improvement contractors who donated their time, materials, and efforts in the latest season of NBC’s reality show George to the Rescue.

In season 11, which debuted last month, host George Oliphant’s transformations include a Merrick family’s bedroom and bathroom, the home office of a Floral Park-based nonprofit’s telecommuting program director, and Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital staff break room known as the Lavender Lounge in Manhasset.

“This was the most challenging and the most meaningful George to the Rescue season to date,“ said Marni Sabia, vice president of Lifestyle Production for LX.TV, which produces the show. “Our projects were completed during the COVID pandemic and required a different approach, including social distancing, the use of PPE and other steps to ensure the health and safety of each project team. Through it all, George never missed a beat.”

The home improvement series follows Oliphant and his team of contractors and designers taking on perplexing home improvement projects for families facing their own personal challenges within their homes or work spaces that they can’t address on their own. It has featured many Long Islanders over the years since the show launched in 2010.

In an episode that aired on Sept. 26, George completes a bedroom and bathroom makeover for a widow and her family, including a young son coping with the neurological condition AFM.

In an episode airing Oct. 10, George completes an office design and makeover for the members of the Hance Family Foundation, which teaches females of all ages how to think positively about their bodies, their skills, and their relationships. Long Island parents Jackie and Warren Hance founded the nonprofit after losing their three daughters in the 2009 wrong-way Taconic Parkway crash that left eight dead. Chastity Riese of Riese Design in Northport, Green Apple Painting in Planview, and Aboff’s Paints in Huntington came together to donate materials and labor for the project.

And in an episode airing Oct. 17, George renovates NSUH’s Lavender Lounge that offers relaxation, therapy, team building, and other stress-free activities to the hospital’s frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are so grateful to the team at George to the Rescue for recognizing the needs of our healthcare workforce and partnering with us to make this important space so warm and welcoming,” said Jon Sendach, executive director of NSUH. “We now have a fitting space to help our teams rejuvenate during their workday.”

George to the Rescue airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on NBC.

Related Story: George To The Rescue Transforms Lindenhurst Warehouse Into Sensory Gym

Related Story: George To The Rescue Makes Home Accessible for Merrick Dad

Related Story: NBC’s George to the Rescue Helps Massapequa Mom

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Long Island Food Bank Opens New Bethpage Location

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A local food bank opened a new location Monday in Bethpage to help feed the increasing number of Long Islanders struggling to keep food on the table amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Long Island Cares – The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank, which dubbed its latest satellite location a “super pantry,” is modeled after an ordinary supermarket.

“This new and first of its kind storefront super pantry will allow the public the option to pick the foods they choose in a safe and user-friendly environment,” the nonprofit said in a statement. “The location is COVID safe and participants will make their desired selections and the product will be safely packed on site by a Long Island Cares employee.”

With 18 emergency pop-up food distribution sites and five satellite locations across Nassau and Suffolk counties, Long Island Cares is one of the largest nonprofits dedicated to fighting food insecurity in the region.

Such groups have seen a dramatic increase in demand due to rising unemployment sparked by the COVID-19 crisis and an ensuing economic downtown. Long Island Cares reports in the past four months, 74,000 people have visited a food bank for the first time ever, adding to the nearly 260,000 Long Islanders that relied on local food banks annually before the pandemic.

At the new food bank location, clients will have access to pet, personal, household, and nutritious nonperishable and frozen food items. Each family will receive a minimum three-day supply, or a total of nine meals. The pantry is open to the public to use once per month.   

The new food bank is located at 386 N. Wantagh Ave. in Bethpage. It is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

Related Story: Despite Progress, Homelessness and Hunger Persist on Long Island

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Suffolk Pols Eye Upping Smoking Age To 25

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Suffolk County lawmakers are considering a proposal that would raise the age to buy cigarettes, cigars, vaping products, and other tobacco goods on the eastern half of Long Island from 21 to 25.

It would be the strictest law of its kind nationwide. Proponents and critics of the bill are sounding off on the bill Tuesday during a public hearing on the topic during the county legislature’s monthly meeting. If enacted, the county would fine retailers caught selling such products to anyone younger than 25.

“The smoking age should be increased in order to protect Suffolk County’s young people from making such a significant decision until such time as their brains are fully developed,” according to the bill authored by Suffolk Legislator Samuel Gonzalez (D-Brentwood). That’s because the prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain responsible for rational decision making — isn’t fully grown until age 25 and smoking impact its growth, studies show.

Suffolk raised the age from 19 to 21 in 2014 and Nassau County followed suit in 2018. New York State raised the smoking age from 18 to 21 in November. And a month after that, President Donald Trump raised the smoking age nationwide to 21.

Suffolk has a long history of enacting legislation that is later enacted by the state and federal governments, including a 2000 ban on driving while talking on cell phones that was later enacted by New York State and a 2003 ban on the diet supplement ephedra, which  was later adopted by the Food and Drug Administration.

Besides impacting brain development, studies also show smoking can cause cancer, lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Increasing the legal smoking age to 25 would decrease the prevalence of tobacco use by 16 percent, according to a 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine.

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New Mexico Added To NY COVID-19 Travel Advisory List

Passengers on a train from Florida stop and register with officials at Penn Station during an effort to screen out-of-state travellers and enforce the state's 14-day coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

New Mexico has been added to the list of states from where travelers to New York State must self-quarantine for 14 days to curb the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

The list includes areas with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. No states were removed from the list this week.

“We have to stop the spread before we go backwards on the progress we’ve made,” the governor said.

The list now includes 34 states, plus Guam and Puerto Rico. New York City has set up checkpoints at bridges and tunnels to ensure travelers from other states fill out the required contact tracing paperwork or face fines.

The full, updated travel advisory list is as follows:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware 
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island  
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming 

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Long Island Caterers Urge Cuomo To Allow 50% Capacity

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Catering hall operators rallied Friday in Hauppauge to call on New York State officials to amend coronavirus restrictions to allow 50 percent occupancy at catering halls.

The caterers, who have filed a class action lawsuit seeking permission to fully reopen and launched reopennyvenues.com to spread their message, said their businesses are essential to hosting weddings, sweet 16s, and other milestones that were put on hold amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has capped the crowd size at 50 for such events, but caterers say they can safely host larger crowds, and if they’re denied, they may go out of business — further hurting not only caterers, but also bakers, DJs, photographers, limo drivers, and other companies tied to such events.

“Without private and public events, our cultural, political, economic, and physical landscapes have been dramatically altered,” the organizers said in a statement. “While the procedures and protocols for safety are essential to resuming business, it is our utmost priority to ensure that our employees, clients, and guests have sufficient confidence in our industry so we can reopen and safely host private events. We are committed to returning employees to the events industry safely while complying with the protocols and mandates implemented by the city and state governments as it pertains to gatherings.”

Catering halls statewide were closed along with most other businesses to curb the spread of coronavirus when its spread peaked in New York in March. But catering halls were among a handful of industries, including movie theaters and amusement parks, that were left out of the fourth and final phase of the reopening plan this summer. So were gyms, bowling alleys, casinos, and malls, but those industries were belatedly allowed to reopen.

On Monday, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) held a news conference to tout that a House-passed COVID-19 relief package includes the Save Our Stages Act, which would provide $10 billion in assistance to live entertainment venues, as well as the Restaurants Act, which would create a $120 billion grant program for the restaurant and catering industries. It now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration. The congressman noted that the hospitality and entertainment industry lost 82,000 jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — more than any other industry on Long Island.

Friday’s caterer rally comes after Giorgio’s Catering in Calverton had its liquor license suspended when State Liquor Authority investigators observed on Sept. 25 nearly 100 guests — many without masks — at a wedding, which is nearly twice the legal limit.

“Enough is enough,” said an owner of a facility that can hold up to 500 people. “The state came down hard on an East End hall that had plenty of room to safely accommodate the 94 guests that showed up. They weren’t going to turn them away because they had plenty of room to safely host them. Shutting them down and revoking their license in light of the economic hardship they are facing is just not right. Facing penalties of $10,000 per violation and paying lawyers’ fees when the PPP loans ran out three months ago is unaffordable and impractical during these difficult times for our industry.” 

A spokesman for Cuomo appeared un-phased, saying in part that “large events dramatically increase the risk of COVID and can easily become superspreader events.”

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Trump OKs $35M FEMA Funding For Isaias Recovery on Long Island

A PSEG-LI crew member clears Isaias debris.

President Donald Trump made $35 million federal disaster assistance available to New York State to help efforts to recover from Tropical Storm Isaias, which predominantly impacted Long Island in August, officials said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said after Trump issued a major disaster declaration for LI, the funding is available to the state, local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work, the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Isaias in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and for hazard mitigation measures.

“The funding will allow the state and local governments to respond to the need and storm recovery,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. “I’m grateful for the federal assistance and the speedy resolution.”

The storm downed thousands of trees and power lines, knocking out electricity Aug. 4 to more than 420,000 of the PSEG-Long Island’s 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk and the Rockaways, some for more than a week. Many proved unable to call, text, or access the website of the utility after the storm due to a related communications failure that sparked outrage across LI. 

The outage prompted calls for the firing of PSEG-LI leadership, demands that the utility reimburse ratepayers for spoiled food and medicine — which it belatedly did — and sparked array of legislative proposals aimed at ensuring utility companies handle the next weather-related crisis more smoothly.

Seamus K. Leary has been named the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the area and additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of damage assessments, FEMA said.

Related Story: PSEG-LI Head Vows Change, But Gives Few Details at Isaias Hearing 

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