Friday, November 23, 2012

Newsday: Monday's BCC meeting with Ed Romaine

Romaine takes in group's landfill concerns

Published: November 23, 2012 7:47 PM

Brookhaven Town Supervisor-elect Ed Romaine said this week that he is not interested in increasing the Yaphank landfill's height and wants to minimize its environmental impact, but stopped short of laying out an organized plan.

"Obviously, the landfill is a concern," he said this week to the Brookhaven Community Coalition -- a group formed to help the town decide on the landfill's future -- in his first public address since being elected.

About 50 people attended the meeting Monday night at the Brookhaven firehouse to discuss the landfill and the Long Island Compost facility.

Romaine, who remains a Suffolk County legislator until he is sworn in Monday afternoon in Town Hall in Farmingville, said he wants to gather a group of experts to draft an alternative waste-management future with a regional approach. But he didn't expand on his comments.

Asked for further details after the meeting on decreasing what residents call bad odors and the harmful impact on Yaphank, Romaine replied, "Solid waste management, I have some general idea, but that's why you get experts, to give you options."

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment and a member of the coalition, said the group is also concerned about the landfill and compost facility taking on more debris and material after superstorm Sandy.

"We understand it, but we're not happy with Brookhaven always being the sacrificial lamb," she said.

The 270-foot-high landfill, which brings in about $45 million in annual revenue to the cash-strapped town, is expected to reach capacity in about 15 years. Former town Supervisor Mark Lesko had proposed increasing the height of the landfill to keep that money flowing, a plan that met with community opposition.

After meeting with financial advisers hours before the meeting, Romaine concluded, "The town is in a financial free-fall."

The town has relied on its $49 million surplus to cover an annual deficit of about $6 million to $16 million and to balance its budget in recent years after declining revenue from real estate taxes and the loss of some landfill contracts.

"Relying on the landfill will have dire consequences to Brookhaven Town," Romaine said.

Jim Leskowicz, former captain of the Brookhaven Fire Department and active community member, said the landfill is a deep concern.

"To live around the landfill is horrible, and as a firefighter to go up there and fight fires is even worse," he said.

Yaphank resident Eileen Losee attended the meeting to find out more about the negative environmental effects of the landfill.

"Yaphank is being dumped on!" she said. "I would like to see it close."

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Old Inlet breach to be closed?

Schumer to push for Fire Island breach to be closed

Originally published: November 19, 2012 9:01 AM
Updated: November 19, 2012 9:23 AM

Photo credit: DEC | Breaches at the Moriches Inlet and Smith Point County Park. (Nov. 3, 2012)

During a Monday morning news conference in Patchogue, Sen.Charles E. Schumer plans to push the National Park Service to close a breach in a Fire Island National Seashore wilderness area that was caused when superstorm Sandy roared ashore Oct. 29.

The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to begin closing two breaches at Smith Point County Park and Cupsogue County Park inSuffolk County Monday.

The National Park Service is currently assessing whether to close the park breach, which is south of Bellport.

Fire Island is a barrier beach and keeps ocean tides from pouring into Great South Bay.

Schumer has said allowing the third breach to stay open will put South shore communities at risk of more flooding. With equipment in the area closing the other breaches, Schumer believes the time is right.

In a news release Friday announcing the closure of the other two breaches, state Department of Environmental ConservationCommissioner Joe Martens said: "A barrier island breach can result in higher tides and storm surges for bay-side communities which expose them to increased flood hazard through the winter storm season."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Opens "new" Old Inlet across Fire Island

Brookhaven hamlet is separated f Between Brookhaven hamlet and Fire Island is the the Great South Bay.  On Fire Island directly opposite Brookhaven hamlet and the village of Bellport is a section of beach known as "Old Inlet."  Between 1763-1827, this area had a wide inlet from the bay to the ocean.  This inlet was important in the establishment of Bellport as a minor seaport.  In about 1827, it closed up, apparently due to a ship becoming grounded in it.  During the worst storms, minor ocean wash-over sometimes occurs in the region, running to the bay.  And apparently, it has opened as a minor inlet several times since 1827, but mother nature quickly closed it up.

This 2 mile stretch of Fire Island is one of the flattest areas of Fire Island. While Old Inlet was never a community, it was a private bathing beach called The Old Inlet Club, which members used for ocean swimming and occasional picnics. It had a dock and a picnic shelter similar to the one at Bellport Beach. There was a dock on the bay and a winding boardwalk to the Ocean. Along the way were a small set of bath houses where beach goers could change their clothing and shower with cold, fresh water.

This section of Fire Island is part of the Fire Island National Seashore.

During Hurricane Sandy, a new Old Inlet opened up.  Folks familiar with the area indicate that it is the most substantial opening in their memory.  As of Sunday, November 11, 2012, it was still wide open with no signs of closing.

This video shows the new Old Inlet shortly after the storm from a boat on the bay, said to be one of the first visitors to the area after the storm.   The video has been widely circulated throughout the community, but I have not been able to determine the actual photographer or when specifically it was taken.

The following photo was taken by Charles Flagg, a physical oceanographer at the State University of New York at Stony Brook on April 2005 showing the Old Inlet area looking north into the Great South Bay, including the dock, board walk and Pelican Island (right of center) (which is the site of the Pattersquash Gun Club). The remnants of the original pre 1827 Old Inlet is the v-shaped cut to the left of the picture. John Boyle Island is off to the right and Ridge Island is to the left.
Old Inlet area before Hurricane Sandy

The next photo was taken by Charles Flagg on Saturday on Saturday, November 3, 2012.  It is a close up shot from the south of the new Old Inlet looking north (the Great South Bay is at the top). This inlet is slightly to the east of the site of the original Old Inlet.  The Old Inlet dock can be seen no longer attached to Fire Island.  Pelican Island, site of the Pattersquash Gun Club, is at the top left, and there are several new sand islands to the north and west. Photo was taken during flood tide.
Aerial view of the new Old Inlet across Fire Island from ocean to the Great South Bay.

This link is a report (pdf) by Charles Flagg.  It is from this report that the above pictures were taken, and it includes additional aerial photographs and a discussion.
This site --The Great South Bay Project -- at SUNY-SB, provides links to YouTube aerial videos of the new inlet site, and other information on the SUNY-SB project.

The following picture is from the National Park Service web site.  While the photograph was undated, the web page was dated 6 November 2012.  Note evidence of dune wash-overs to both the east (right) and west (left) of the inlet.
New Old Inlet.  National Park Service
Picture added 16 November 2012

This link -- Old Inlet and Fire Place Beach Clubs history -- is a local history of the two local beach clubs established in the Old Inlet area.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brookhaven Hamlet and Hurricane Sandy

Except for a few "swamp rats" down near the Great South Bay and along Beaver Dam creek, most folks in Brookhaven hamlet seemed to have suffered little direct damage from Hurricane Sandy.  A few trees fell on houses, but even then, from what I could see, there was little damage to the structure itself.  However, I did not conduct an extensive survey.  Many trees and large limbs were felled, however.  Large parts of the hamlet had no electrical power at all, although most had their power restored within 2-3 days.  However, many were without hard-wired telephone service and internet services, some with outages that lasted several weeks.  Cell phone service seemed, at first, fairly good--depending our your provider.  But after a couple of powerless days cell phone service mostly failed.  This was particularly troublesome for the elderly and disabled who have come to rely on their cell phones for back-up to the land-line Verizon service.
For the most part, the Town of Brookhaven was surprisingly prompt in removing fallen trees and picking-up debris, the exception seemed to be locations in which the trees were entangled with electrical and other utility wires.  Of special concern was a large tree which fell across Beaver Dam road near the Brookhaven Free Library.  Initially, police closed Beaver Dam road using police tape.  This required a roughly one mile bypass detour to get around it.  But after several days of no action  to clear the tree, folks apparently grew tired of the detour and felt it was safe enough to scoot under the the limb.
Fallen tree limb @ Beaqver Dam road and Library lane
Looking east on Beaver Dam road
Cars passing under fallen tree lim on Beaver Dam road at Library land
Looking west on Beaver Dam road

Brookhaven Community Forum Meeting Monday, November 19, 2012, 7:00pm



From: Tara Bono []
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 11:44 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Brookhaven Community Forum (reminder)



View this message as a webpage.

Citizens Campaign for the

Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Event Alert

Brookhaven Community Coalition (BCC) Community Forum

Image of the Brookhaven

Come meet the Town of Brookhaven's new supervisor and discuss the critical issues of the town landfill and Long Island Compost

From the burdensome Brookhaven Town Landfill to quality of life concerns surrounding the Long Island Compost facility, the BCC has been working throughout the last two years to protect our community's environment and public health. The BCC Executive Board is inviting BCC members to our next meeting. This meeting will provide an update to all attendees on core community issues:

  • DEC permit modification to LI Compost
  • BCC lawsuit against the Town of Brookhaven to oppose increasing the height of the landfill
  • Town non-compliance issues with the landfill permit
  • Groundwater contamination issues – 'Horseblock Road Investigation'

BCC will provide an update, and Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine will speak to the community about how the above issues will be addressed.

When: Monday, November 19, 2012, 7:00pm
Where: Brookhaven Firehouse, 2486 Montauk Highway, Brookhaven, NY

Thank you for joining us. We hope to see you there!


Your Friends at CCE

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From the Swamp Rats: Hurricane Sandy Part 2

The following messages were a second set of images circulated among residents of Brookhaven hamlet by Anita Cohen and Marty Van Lith.  They have been slightly edited including removal of personal information and images which were largely duplicative.  They were posted with their permission. 

Date:  November 14, 2012
Subject: From the swamp rats on River Lane

Dear All,

Tuesday morning, Oct 30, the second flood began. It was not as high as the original storm surge, about a foot lower, but still several inches covered River Lane and still over 3' by the mosquito ditch at the back of our property and still in both garages. 

This is #17 River Lane across the street from us. The owners said the house is totaled. They have to replace virtually everything,- remove floors and walls to the frame, replace all furniture, appliances, electrical, cabinets, etc, (i.e., everything removed to the point where you can see through the house). 
 We have it pretty good compared to others on our street. We all lost our oil burners but it seems our washer, 'fridge and most other stuff still works, theirs does not.  

The second flood tide reached its peak at 11:30 AM. Water had been here for more than 12 hours, there would be at least another 12 hours to go before it all cleared out: 


I turned the power back on but one phase was missing, so some of our house didn't have power. The oil burner repairman was here Tuesday night around 9 PM after the water in the garage receded, the drying out began.  By Wednesday the flood water was mostly gone so that I could survey the damage.

Looking for firewood to help dry out the house:

My neighbor, Raanan, by his front lawn. His house will also be gutted:

Waterline on our house garage door:

Below- the remains of my riding lawnmower. Electrolysis destroyed virtually every connection and the motor was full of water. I think it's RIP for it:

This is #5 River Lane. They didn't waste any time emptying the house:

Here's where some of my lumber landed, about 200 yards north of our house and on another street:

Here's what the end of Bay Road looked like 2 days after the storm:

One of the three houses on Ocean Place (end of Bay Road). I believe this house was undergoing renovations when the storm struck, so I'm not sure how much of this is storm related damage: 

To add insult to injury we had a nor'easter last Thursday that flooded our street with water, snow and ice:

--Shipwrecked Marty

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From the Swamp Rats: Hurricane Sandy

The following messages were circulated among residents of Brookhaven hamlet by Anita Cohen and Marty Van Lith.  They have been slightly edited including removal of personal information and images which were largely duplicative.  They were posted with their permission.

Date:  November 13, 2012
Subject: From the swamp rats on River Lane
Dear All,

Hoo-ray! After 14 days without cable (internet, phone & TV) we came back online on Sunday. Yesterday I repaired the open electrical circuits under the house, so we're back in business. 

Loses:  Even though both the washer and dryer went under, only the dryer would eventually bite the dust. It worked for about an hour then went poof! The oil burner never regained consciousness, cost $600 to replace the "gun" (flame thrower part). Similar thing with my truck, started right up, I ran it for several hours to dry out (seats, floors, etc., were soaked), then the next morning the starter went. The dishwasher is kaput but 'frig OK.  I also had to yank all the insulation out from under Anita's new handicapped bathroom, which we had built two years ago. Boo-hoo, my $1,500 riding lawnmower is now a rusting hulk. The roofer is coming Friday to do his thing.

The worst damage is to the hardwood floors, which are now warped. The kitchen and other floor level cabinets are also toast. I had to cut the trap door open to get under the house to repair the electrical connections,- four boxes of open circuits, corroded connections & bug nuts still full of water. Compared to some of my neighbors on River Lane, whose houses were declared totaled by their insurance companies and had to move out, we fared relatively well. 

Below is an e-mail with some pictures that Anita sent out to our families (all live in far flung places) one week ago today from a friends house. 

Date: November 6, 2012 8:49:15 PM EST

Subject: Frankenstorm Pictures

Dear All,

We still don't have our internet back, though it's been 9 days since it went down. Anita's sending this from a friend's house while we watch the election returns (we don't have TV or home phone either). It was a week ago this past Monday that the storm struck, the worst since the hurricane of '38. What is most bizarre is that the hurricane stuck two weeks after the official end of the hurricane season and three weeks after our first frost. 

It was windy, but dry here all day on Monday while reports of flooding were coming in from New York and New Jersey, where the eye of the storm passed over Atlantic City at 6 PM, as well as flooding all along the south shore of Long Island from Brooklyn to Montauk. The Northeast wind kept the water away from us all day Monday until 10 PM, that's when the wind shifted and came from the Southeast. 

I had moved both Anita's and Linah's cars to higher ground a few blocks from here but left my truck in the garage thinking/hoping that if there was a flood it wouldn't be more than a foot in the garage (garages are lower than the house). About a foot is what it was during last year's Hurricane Irene, which was about the highest we've ever seen. During the previous two days I had already put everything in both garages that was on, or within a foot, of the ground up higher, including the riding lawnmower. 

When the wind shifted at 10 PM Monday, and when we still had electricity and the the flood lights on, I saw water rushing into the yard and coming fast from the north end of River Lane. The 3' leading road tsunami front was debris (mostly leaves, logs, RR ties, garbage cans, flower pots, etc.) swept from the edge of the road.  By 10:15 there was 3-4' feet of water in the yard, which is sloped downward toward the river away from the house, deeper in back than by house. As soon as it started entering the garage I frantically started putting all the furniture inside the house, which is 2' higher than the garage, - beds, couches, chairs, dresser draws, boxes, etc.,-  up on milk boxes and other things.  By 11 PM water was in the house reaching its max height around midnight with the peak of high tide. There was also a full moon – the perfect storm. In the end only 4 - 5" of water was in the house, which began slowly receding around 12:30 AM (now Tuesday) and was all gone by 2 AM. 

I had shut the power off to the house (we never lost electricity) and spent the rest of the night mopping up by candlelight. By 6 AM (low tide), when there was a little daylight I could see that the house was still surrounded by water and there was still a foot of water in the garage. I used the gas range in the kitchen to heat the house. The wind died down a bit but was still from the south and blowing the ocean against the shoreline. I knew that there would be a second flood with the next high tide in 12 hours so I just left everything in place and went to bed.

Here are some pictures from the first 6 hours.

10:15 PM Monday, Oct 29- Water rushing in at the rate of 3' a hour:

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Getting everything in the house up off the floor:

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Sometime between 10:30 and 11 PM Monday, Oct 29:

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A little after 11 PM water was on the porch (i.e., interior house level): 

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By 11:30 it was in the house and still rising:

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The below pix was taken at 1:50 AM Tuesday morning as the water was receding (note the line on garage door):

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At 7 AM Tuesday morning during "low" tide. You can see the waterline on my truck from the previous night. The tide was beginning to rise again when this picture was taken, it's not over yet: 

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More pictures of the aftermath to follow.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Yaphank Rail Termninal in arrears on taxes. The saga continues

According to the South Shore Press,  Sills road Realty LLC, owners of the Yaphank Rail Terminal land is $136,946.58 in arrears on their taxes.  The saga continues.  An example of them being good citizens.


South Shore Press, October 31, 2012, p. 60.