09/30/14 8:12am
09/30/2014 8:12 AM
Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

It seems as though the county’s tick committee will get more time to sink their teeth into the tick problem.

After learning at its first meeting in July that it might only have one or two meetings to help develop a plan for Suffolk County to stem the tide of a growing presence of tick-borne illnesses, the county legislature’s Tick Control Advisory Committee may be around for another year, at least.

A resolution was approved on Monday by the county’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee extending its life until Suffolk’s 2016 Annual Vector Control Plan is adopted next fall. It now requires support from the full body after passing the committee unanimously.

“It was only meant to make suggestions early on,” said Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman (I-Montuak), the South Fork legislator who co-sponsored the legislation creating the committee. “But now the committee is expanding somewhat to have a little bit more of an ongoing role while a plan is being implemented.”

The tick problem on the East End came to a head over the past year most publicly in the form of a debate over whether or not a $225,000 deer cull was the right move to help trip the deer herd. Leaders said before, during and after the cull — which reported killing just 192 of the county’s 25,000 – 36,000 deer — that a comprehensive approach toward trimming the herd would be key in combating Lyme Disease and the presence of ticks in the county.

Dr. John Rasweiler, a Southold Town resident who is on the committee, said at the committee’s first meeting at the end of July that after hearing what was expected of it, its original set of expectations simply wouldn’t fit with the timeline given.

“I understand the head of vector control is under some pressure to come up with a plan … by mid-September. He has to prepare some sort of report but I think that is asking a lot from the committee,” he said at the time. “I think even for the committee to narrow down to a series of serious recommendations, that is a pretty tight schedule.”

Mr. Rasweiler — a member of Southold’s deer management committee who has submitted opinion pieces to The Suffolk Times on the topic himself — said on Monday afternoon that giving the committee an extension was undoubtedly the right call.

“It’s probably necessary becasue were dealing with some very complex issues, and anybody who thought we were going to have this all wrapped up by this time was dreaming,” he said. “It’s better to do the job properly than in haste.”

By this time next year, the committee could have another set of tasks on its hands, so it could be given another goal or extension. Time will tell, Mr. Schneiderman said.

“The narrow respect which it was formed for — to guide the division to develop a plan — I don’t think they are going to need to do that forever. Maybe another year is enough, and then it can do other things — research better diagnostic tools, research into a cure — whatever that might be — or look at ways to improve public education.”

07/29/14 12:00pm
07/29/2014 12:00 PM
A female deer tick on a leaf. (Credit: Daniel Gilrein)

A female deer tick on a leaf. (Credit: Daniel Gilrein)

Suffolk’s planning efforts to reduce tick-borne diseases across the county officially starts Wednesday.

That’s when the newly formed tick advisory committee meets for the first time. The 12-member group, made up of health experts, environmentalists,  local and county government officials and others, meets at 11 a.m. at the County Center in Riverside. (more…)

07/26/14 8:00am
07/26/2014 8:00 AM
Legislator Kara Hahn has proposed legislation that would regulate county food vendors. (Courtesy photo)

Legislator Kara Hahn has proposed legislation that would regulate county food vendors. (Courtesy photo)

A bill up for a public hearing at Tuesday’s meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature would mandate that certain county food contractors maintain a healthier standard in their offerings to the public.  (more…)

07/14/14 12:23pm
07/14/2014 12:23 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Sunday bus service ridership is most popular on the S92.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Sunday bus service ridership is most popular on the S92.

Six months after Suffolk County made year-round Sunday bus service available to the public, ridership has steadily increased month-over-month, specifically on the route which spans the East End.

According to numbers provided by Legislator Jay Schneiderman’s office, ridership on Sundays in June topped 5,000 — up from about 1,100 in January. (more…)

07/09/14 2:00pm
07/09/2014 2:00 PM

Phone

Area codes. What began as the replacement for human telephone operators quickly turned into a disclosure of geographical locations, along with — in at least some instances — an indication of social status.

The glamour of Manhattan’s “212” area code even spawned a website where one can spend over $500 to purchase a number with the three special digits.

As they say, all good things must come to an end.  (more…)

06/17/14 1:00pm
06/17/2014 1:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay.

After last year’s inaugural ‘Discover Suffolk County Parks Day,’ county parks will once again be open to residents at a discounted rate one day this summer, as county leaders hope to advertise its natural amenities to those who might not otherwise take advantage of them.

The discount day will take place this upcoming Saturday, offering any Suffolk residents the rate of admission they would have if they had a green key, which cost $24 and are valid for three years.

“Discover Suffolk County Parks Day offers residents an opportunity to explore parks they have never seen before or revisit those familiar from their childhood,” said Bellone.  “With the vast array of ecosystems, beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities, there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

At lifeguard-supervised beach parks, green key cardholders pay $8 while non green key-cardholders pay $15; and at inland parks green key cardholders pay $6 while non-green key cardholders pay $13.

Last year’s event was held on a Thursday, which ended up being a rainy day as well.

Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), chair of the parks and recreation committee, co-sponsored the measure to offer the discount along with Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Stony Brook).

The Suffolk County Parks Department operates 27 parks county-wide, covering over 46,000 acres.

Click here for a list of county parks.

06/13/14 7:00am
06/13/2014 7:00 AM
Dave Colone, Chairman of Suffolk County Planning Commissioner; Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Bob Delucca, President and CEO of the Group for the East End, County Executive Steve Bellone, Dick Amper, Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society and Deputy Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory. (Courtesy photo)

Dave Colone, Chairman of Suffolk County Planning Commissioner; Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Bob Delucca, President and CEO of the Group for the East End, County Executive Steve Bellone, Dick Amper, Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society and Deputy Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory. (Courtesy photo)

Not once, but twice, this newspaper has wagged its finger at Suffolk County government for dipping into its Drinking Water Protection Program without just cause, using the voter-approved preservation dollars to balance its general fund books.

Environmental groups responded to the county’s actions with litigation(more…)