Smart Talk February 29th – March 6th, 2020

Check out this week’s Smart Talk where we hold our most recent board meeting in Kings Park, attend the February meeting of the Clean Energy Task Force, and more…

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February 29th – March 6th, 2020


PSEG Long Island

PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of $10.4 billion and operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a 12-year contract.

They have pledged to build a Long Island utility with PSEG’s same record of service, reliability and customer satisfaction. It will take some time to make all the improvements they’re planning, but in the end, they will create a utility of which Long Islanders can be proud. Keeping the lights on isn’t just a job: It’s their mission. 

“We are excited to join forces with the Long Island Nets to further support local charities as well as raise funds for worthy causes that directly impact and better our Long Island community.” – Mike Cave, co-founder of PinkTie

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Vision Holds Board Meeting in Downtown Kings Park

Vision Board and staff were out in downtown Kings Park at their most recent Board meeting, hosted at the popular Main Street restaurant RED to hear an update on revitalization activities and the status of new sewer infrastructure.  

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone shared the work the County has been doing to support the Kings Park downtown as well as other initiatives throughout Suffolk.  Town of Smithtown Councilman Tom Lohman updated the group on the proactive work in Kings Park through their Master Plan and the Townwide comprehensive plan.  Kings Park Chamber President Tony Tanzi and Civic Association President Linda Henninger spoke of their partnership with the community to move forward a shared agenda to help fill vacancies, bring in sewers and get the kind of redevelopment that is in line with the desires of local residents and businesses. 

Vision has consistently supported Main Street initiatives like Kings Park and played a role through their planning process and follow up advocacy in Albany for the $20 million investment in sewers.  These sorts of partnerships are what is needed to get downtown projects off the ground.   

Stay tuned for future updates from the Town of Smithtown, Suffolk County and the local Chamber and Civic.

Clean Energy Task Force Holds February Meeting

Vision Long Island was out at the February meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force, held at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale.  The Task Force brings together Long Island municipalities with state and federal government, power authorities, utilities, and environmental leaders to advance clean and renewable energy solutions and initiatives at the local level.

Neal Lewis, Executive Director of Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, opened the meeting by welcoming over 50 attendees, including Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment and John Franceschina, Senior Manager of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Programs at PSEG Long Island.

Neal went on to discuss the critical effects of climate change that exist right now while outlining recent efforts to help combat this crisis.  He cited open C-PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), a bipartisan measure, which is now available and provides an important mechanism to finance mandated solar installations by providing a low-cost/long-term alternative to traditional loans to fund clean energy projects in commercially owned buildings.

The need for the adoption of the NYStretch Energy Code was also discussed. A pivotal tool in supporting communities’ sustainability goals, NYStretch Energy Code requires new and renovated properties to go above and beyond existing minimum code requirements. The task force plans to aid in the adoption of this ambitious effort.

The first keynote presentation, Offshore Wind Energy Off Long Island’s South Shore, was presented by Julia Bovey, director of external affairs for Equinor Wind US. Ms. Bovey outlined Equinor’s New York 816 megawatt project which will help implement the State’s ambitious plans to reform the grid for a clean energy future.

South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is proposed for the long-term operations and maintenance base and Homeport Pier, the proposed point of final foundation staging. The wind site will extend 15 miles from the shore at its closest point on the southeast of Long Island (Jones Beach). Issues such as visibility, lighting systems and marine impacts were discussed. Ms. Bovey noted public support for projects such as these are better than years past, but education must continue. Equinor hopes to have the EIS completed by the end of 2021.

Jay Egg, founder of Egg Geothermal, discussed the benefits of geothermal systems which uses the ambient temperature of the earth to generate a year-round supply of renewable heating and air conditioning. A new technology, striving to become its own unique utility.

Rosemary Mascali, manager of Transit Solutions and steering committee member of Drive Electric LI, discussed the coalition’s present focus which includes electric school buses, shared services, procurement and fleet recharge.

Kudos to Neal Lewis and the task force for outlining global problems affecting our local region, and bringing local stakeholders and experts together to produce concrete solutions.

PinkTie Joins with Nets to Provide Funds for Charity

Vision was out with our friends at Pink Tie in support of their corporate philanthropy with the LI Nets this last week.

This marked the beginning of a four-week donation effort with a $3,500 gift being given out to the Family & Children’s Association.  The initiative is looking to donate at least $25,000 to Long Island nonprofits at each of the six remaining Nets home games at the Nassau Coliseum this season.  There will be an on-court ceremony with a check presented to each recipient.  A portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold at remaining home games will be donated as well.

“We are excited to join forces with the Long Island Nets to further support local charities as well as raise funds for worthy causes that directly impact and better our Long Island community,” said Pink Tie co-founder Mike Cave.

Congratulations to Rich and Mike Cave for raising over a million dollars for local LI charities since Pink Tie’s inception in 2015.  You can read more about this initiative here.

MTA President Phillip Eng Provides Update on Progress at LIRR Stations

MTA President Phillip Eng recently provided an update on progress being made at local LIRR stations.

In the update Mr. Eng talked about the aggressive schedule laid out for 2020 that will include a number of upgrades and maintenance aimed at improving the customer experience for LIRR riders.  He also laid out accomplishments that have already been achieved in the first six weeks of the year.  This includes seven new switches installed; four miles of track resurfaced; constructing north track siding in Hicksville; and, on the Atlantic Branch, approximately 20,000 feet of continuous welded rail, while also supporting the LIRR Expansion Project, and Amtrak’s improvements at Penn Station.

Eng also pledged that the LIRR will continue to work to provide a steady increase in service to customers while minimizing impacts of changes.  He also talked about the need to keep customers informed of these changes and to engage with them on a regular basis.  This should happen so that the LIRR can remain in contact with riders across the region from LIRR to areas north of NYC.

The focus will remain on providing robust and reliable service.  LIRR will continue to use creative thinking to accomplish the essential work involved in balancing the needs of riders with fortifying and expanding a system with satisfying the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on it each day.

You can read the full progress report in amNY.

Local Officials Raise Objections to MTA Fair Hikes

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine along with other elected officials have called on the MTA to abandon plans for a fare increase on the LIRR system.

The officials gathered at the LIRR Station in Ronkonkoma this past Monday to make it clear that Long Island commuters are already paying enough in fares to get in and out of NYC.  “Stop shortchanging Long Island,” Romaine said. “If you ride the train from this station and you’re a commuter, you’re paying $7,224 a year and that doesn’t include parking.”

This comes as MTA is moving forward with an outer-borough rail discount plan with will cut the costs of LIRR trips within New York City, in some cases by up to 20%.  But at the same time fares system-wide are expected to increase by 4% next year.  This is being enacted as part of Phase 1 of the congestion pricing plan passed by the New York State Legislature last year.

The plan is meant to enhance transit access for customers according to the MTA, but some customers feel like it hits Long Island unfairly.  Riders with limited access to NYC especially feel like it’s unfair that they were not offered a discount to initially enter the City.

The inner-city discount will be paid for by funds collected from ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.  This is part of a pilot program that will begin in May and last between six months to a year.

You can read more on this at FOX 5 NY.

Village of Freeport Wins Right to Sell NYSDOT Yard

The Village of Freeport has officially won the right to sell a NYSDOT yard for development.

The DOT yard is located on Sunrise Highway, across from the Meadowbrook Commons and just west of the Meadowbrook Parkway.  The lot had been in use as a DOT yard since 1927 when the Village of Freeport sought to sell the land in 2011 to developers as a new source of revenue.  However, the NYSDOT claimed ownership of the land through “prescriptive easement,” arguing that since it had been on the property for longer than 10 years it now owned it.

Freeport went on to sue the DOT over the claim, eventually seeing the suit all the way through to the State Supreme Court.  It was there that State Supreme Court Judge Jack Libert ruled that the DOT did not own the property in spite of ears of maintenance on it.

“It’s a great victory for us,” Mayor Robert Kennedy said, “and hopefully we can go through with the original plan we had for the site.”

Mayor Kennedy had previously attempted to settle the lawsuit with the DOT in 2013 when he entered office. He had offered to help the state move the yard to a nearby location.  However, the DOT instead decided to claim draft an unsent letter to claim ownership over the yard, and has since contested the Village’s claim.

The property was originally owned by NYC before it was released to the Nassau County in the mid-1900’s which was then acquired by the Village of Freeport in 1979.  It is unclear if the DOT will appeal the decision.

You can read more at the Long Island Herald.

LICH to hold Annual Vigil for the Homeless on March 17th

On March 17th, 2020, the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless will hold its Candlelight Vigil for the Homeless from 12 PM to 8 pm at Farmingdale State College.  Each year, LICH collects and distributes new winter coats, new/unused baby items, non-perishable food, cleaning supplies and toiletries to Long Island’s homeless and at-risk families. Last year, over 2,000 Long Islanders participated in this event. The participation of every person who cares will make a difference. Let us show that Long Islanders want to eradicate homelessness and hunger that exist in our affluent society. 

The Vigil brings together members of the community, folks who wish to raise awareness, and homeless/at risk Long Islanders and agencies who serve them.  In addition to information for persons in need, they will have FREE financial literacy sessions,  haircuts, face painting, story time, and other services available.  In addition, participants will enjoy the music from guest musicians, as well as presentations from local officials.  

An exciting feature of this event is that all items donated will be distributed at the end of the Vigil to those in need and agencies working with them. Refreshments will also be available at no cost to all participants (while supplies last).

‘Fresh Start’ Expo to take place on March 18th

The 8th Annual Fresh Start Career Expo will take place on March 18 and will look to help recently incarcerated residents find gainful employment.  The event will be hosted by Suffolk County’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs and run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the One-Stop Employment Center in Hauppauge.

The event will feature a host of employers and organizations including American Maintenance, Amneal, Breaking Barriers, Bren-Tronics, Express Employment, Halo Network, Home Depot, Modern Italian Bakery, New York State Department of Labor, SAS Retail, Suffolk County Civil Service, TemPositions Logistics, Walmart, Winter Bros, and Envision Success.  They will meet prospective employees, schedule follow-up interviews and offer additional services.

For more information call Halo Network of Services Christina Woodward at 631-789-7373.  You can also see a flyer for this event as well as other upcoming job fairs here.

Long Island Complete Streets Summit to be Held on April 1st

The Annual Complete Streets Summit will be held this coming April 1st at the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College in Farmingdale.  The event will take place from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

This year’s theme will be Health Benefits of Complete Streets and will include discussions on active transportation, incorporating physical activity into regular daily tasks, and more.

Early registration is open and can be completed here.  More information will be coming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

The 2020 AARP Community Challenge is On!

The application period for the 2020 AARP Community Challenge is open!

The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund “quick-action” projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are being accepted for projects to improve housing, transportation, public space, technology (“smart cities”), civic engagement and more.

Important Dates for the grant are:

April 1, 2020: Applications are due by 11:59 pm (ET)
May 26, 2020: Applicants will be notified of their status this week
July 15, 2020: The selected grantees will be announced to the public — and the project work can begin — on or around this date
November 9, 2020: All funded projects must be completed
December 11, 2020: Deadline for after-action reports

The program is open to 501(C)(3), 501(C)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, government entities, and other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Projects NOT eligible for funding include Partisan, political or election-related activities; Planning activities and assessments and surveys of communities; Studies with no follow-up action; Publication of books or reports; Acquisition of land and/or buildings; Sponsorships of other organizations’ events or activities; Research and development for a nonprofit endeavor; Research and development for a for-profit endeavor; The promotion of a for-profit entity and/or its products and services.

Grant recipients will be selected by an AARP panel of experts on aging, community development and livable communities. Projects will be judged on the degree to which their goals make an immediate change that leads to longer-term impact in a manner that meets all other selection criteria.

You can read the full criteria and more information on the grant process here, and apply for the grant here.

Apply for the AARP Purpose Prize Award

You live. You learn. You give back. No one knows this better than people ages 50 and older, who have spent decades accumulating a wealth of knowledge that only life experience can bring. Armed with this wisdom, they are a powerhouse of innovation tackling some of the greatest societal challenges of our time and inspiring others to do the same. Through their diverse organizations, programs, and initiatives, they give back to their communities with a generosity of spirit that is at once impossible to match and irresistibly contagious. They are living their lives to the fullest so we can live ours.

Through this important annual award, AARP celebrates a new story of aging—one full of meaningful impact and limitless possibilitiesThe AARP Purpose Prize award is a national award in the United States that celebrates people 50 and older who are using their life experience to make a difference. Through the Purpose Prize award, AARP celebrates the creativity, innovation, and inspiration that life experience brings.

One of the 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) non-profit organizations that each of the five winners have founded will receive $50,000 in celebration of the winner’s  achievements and to broaden the scope of the work of their organizations. Applications go through a formal, structured review process, including review by a prestigious jury of national leaders who have used their life experience for good. Based on the jury’s recommendations, the AARP CEO selects the final Winners.

In addition, AARP recognizes other outstanding applicants by designating up to 10 fellows.  One of the 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) non-profit organizations, founded by the fellows will receive $5,000 each and the fellows will have access to a number of supports and resources.

If you are 50 or older and are using your life experience to make your community or world a better place, we encourage you to learn more about the AARP Purpose Prize award. Below are answers to important questions about how to apply and what makes a strong applicant. 

You can read the full criteria for the award here and the apply for it here.

LIHS Looking for Fair Housing Test Coordinator opening

The Fair Housing Test Coordinator will be responsible for assisting in developing and implementing Long Island Housing Services’ fair housing enforcement activities in conjunction with other Fair Housing Program staff. The Coordinator will report directly to and be supervised by the Deputy Director or designated staff.  Experience in analysis, research, investigation, public presentations, banking/lending and conducting training. Bilingual Spanish-English skills are required.  Salary is $42,250 and generous benefits.

•             Commitment to agency’s mission to eliminate unlawful housing discrimination, promote racial and economic integration, decent and affordable housing.
•             An ability to perceive housing issues from a legalistic perspective, and to express ideas and facts in writing and verbally.
•             Personal composure and willingness to conduct public speaking and testify in court.
•             An ability to relate comfortably and effectively with respect and tact to people of all races, lifestyles, and economic levels.
•             Strong written, verbal, mathematics and word processing (min 40 WPM) skills. Working familiarity with Excel, Word, and Internet required.
•             Punctuality and willingness to work occasional weekends or evenings.
•             Highly organized and ability to multi-task.
•             Self-starting and ability to work with minimal supervision. Congeniality with fellow workers is essential.
•             An ability to collect and compile statistical data.
•             Personal/reliable transportation and willingness to travel in Nassau and Suffolk are required. At the time of appointment and throughout employment in this title, employee must demonstrate their ability to meet the transportation needs of this job.

Duties will include the following:
•             Design and implement fair housing tests and projects for investigating real estate, lending, and/or insurance practices on Long Island and promoting agency’s mission.
•             Recruit and train testers; design and coordinate assignment.
•             Analyze results and prepare written reports.
•             Coordinate additional investigative activities needed to accurately determine whether discrimination has occurred and secure adequate evidence for enforcement action.
•             Disseminate information to the public on fair housing.
•             As necessary, conduct work for judicial or administrative action (e.g., complaint writing, interviewing witnesses, gathering and analyzing evidence, and testifying).
•             Must be willing to attend professional seminars, conferences, training, and other continuing education programs or assignments which may require distance travel outside of Long Island.
•             Other duties as assigned by the Agency or Private Enforcement Program Director/Supervisor to successfully fulfill the agency’s goals and mission.

How to Apply:
Send resume by mail or email (No Calls or Faxes, please!) Mail to: Marian D. Reid, Deputy Director, Long Island Housing Services, Inc., 640 Johnson Avenue, Suite 8, Bohemia, NY 11716-2624.  Or email to: noting “Fair Housing Coordinator” in the subject line.

LIHS is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Long Island Coalition for the Homeless Seeking Case Manager/Housing Navigator

The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless is seeking applicants for a Full-Time Case Manager/Housing Navigator for our main office in Amityville.  Responsible for providing housing-focused case management for single adults experiencing long-term homelessness either living on the street or living in shelter. Caseloads are assigned and targeted for those that remain homeless the longest in the region and/or have the highest levels of vulnerability and most significant barriers to exiting homelessness on their own. Case Managers must be highly mobile (personal vehicle w/ reimbursed mileage) and will be assigned households that are experiencing homelessness in Suffolk or Nassau counties.

Engagements focus around direct and person-centered support in obtaining necessary documentation/applying for various housing programs, as well as connecting households to other services that relate to housing placement and housing retention, such as employment, entitlements/benefits, medical/clinical services, linkages to care coordination, budgeting and credit, legal, and other services for which they are eligible and interested in.

Must have a commitment to organization’s mission and goals. Must be self-motivated; must be able to work effectively with diverse people and personalities and as a member of a team. Bilingual (Spanish and English) preferred. Experience/knowledge in trauma-informed care and motivational interviewing a plus.

This position will require local travel as needed. A clean Driver’s License and private vehicle is required for this position.

Benefits after probationary period will be available. These include paid time off (vacation, holiday, sick, personal), medical insurance for the employee (premium paid by LICH), Dental and Vision insurance optional, Life Insurance for the employee and Simple IRA plan (with employer match).

 Please see attached job description for more information.

Interested parties should submit a resume and salary requirements via email to  Please do not call the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless regarding this position.  Questions should be submitted via email only.

Nassau and Suffolk Counties Give Updates on the Coronavirus

With cases of the coronavirus being detected in both Suffolk and Nassau County, elected officials have released statements on prevention and awareness at this time. Below are statements from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Legislators Rob Calarco and William Spencer. Vision Long Island urges you to read them, stay informed, and be prepared as our region weathers this outbreak.

From Nassau County Executive Laura Curran:

This is an evolving situation and, since this morning, we have a new update on the coronavirus in Nassau County. I want to keep you informed so all Nassau County residents have the information we have. Here are the facts:

One Nassau County resident, a man in his 40s, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19). Because of the contagious nature of the virus, our first responders are preparing for additional positive diagnoses.

If you have recently traveled out of the country and are now experiencing a fever and cough, please call the NYS Novel Coronavirus Hotline at: 1-888-364-3065.

Please remember that the best ways to prevent the spread of disease are simple, common-sense measures: always wash your hands well with soap and water, and avoid contact with others if you are feeling sick.

Our team is continuing to monitor the situation closely and will update you with any new developments or new information.

Thank you

From Suffolk County Legislators Rob Calarco and William Spencer:

While coronavirus has reached Nassau County, we want to remind Suffolk County residents of the importance of remaining calm. There are no confirmed cases in Suffolk County and we are closely monitoring the situation.

As of March 5th, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) was monitoring 15 people who have recently traveled to affected areas. Not one has symptoms, and all have been advised to remain home, in isolation, until they are cleared. SCDHS is in contact with these people every day to ensure their safety as well as the health and safety of all residents.

Additionally, the concern regarding the virus spreading within communities, among individuals who have not traveled, has prompted the expansion of monitoring people with fever and severe respiratory symptoms or pneumonia.

Suffolk County is in regular discussions with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and New York State health officials. Coordinated conference calls with our health, emergency services, police, information technology, law, and social services departments occur on a regular basis, and our police department is leading a tabletop discussion on how to prepare for various scenarios. Additionally, SCDHS is in contact with area hospitals to discuss capacity in case of a surge of patients who need to be isolated.

The good news is the number of cases in China, the epicenter of the outbreak, continues to decline and there are effective and simple measures we can all take to prevent the spread of the virus, which is transmitted through respiratory droplets produced by sneezing and coughing.

The CDC recommends taking the following everyday preventive actions:

  • Washing your hands is key. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and in between washes, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched frequently with a cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Finally, know that the CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask; masks should be worn by people who are sick to prevent the spread of the disease and be available for medical providers who are on the frontlines.

For updated information, visit the Health Department website at or call (631) 854-0000. Additionally, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

The health and safety of Suffolk County residents remains a priority, and we will employ all efforts and resources to prevent the spread of this virus.

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Jon Siebert, Administrative Director

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to for consideration.

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Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.

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