• Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has agreed to restore $30 million dollars taken from the county’s Drinking Water Protection Program after environmentalists, led by the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, waged a three-year battle to reclaim money that should have been used to preserve open space and protect groundwater. The money was taken from the voter-approved fund by former County Executive Steve Levy in 2011 and by Mr. Bellone in 2013. The Pine Barrens Society challenged the raids in two lawsuits, and in February launched a petition for a ballot proposition to require the county to return the money and not use it for other purposes in the future. Mr. Bellone, who recently made water quality a top priority of his administration, reached out to environmentalists several weeks ago to offer to restore the funds, according to a press release issued by a consortium environmental groups on Wednesday.
• State Senator Kenneth LaValle’s bill to allow the state DEC to protect nationally-recognized historic landmarks from erosion has passed the State Senate, and now goes to the State Assembly, where South Fork Assemblyman Fred Thiele is sponsoring the legislation. If it passes the assembly, the bill will allow the state to help protect the Montauk Point Lighthouse, which currently can’t receive “financially obligated” assistance because the DEC isn’t allowed to partner with a non-profit organization. The Montauk Historical Society manages the lighthouse.
• At tonight’s regular meeting, East Hampton Town will set a public hearing for June 19 on banning alcohol at two Amagansett beaches (at Indian Wells and Atlantic Avenue), and set a new public hearing on its formula store legislation for July 17. Both the June 19 and July 17 meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. The board will also vote tonight on whether to reopen the re-use center and the close scavenger waste plant in Springs. Their full agenda for today’s 6:30 p.m. meeting is online here.
• Riverhead Town’s current Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) study was one of five statewide that was recently recognized as outstanding at the Eighth Annual Brownfields Summit in Albany. BOA provides resources to poor urban and downtown communities to address brownfields and the underlying conditions that cause abandonment and decay. BOA has become very important in weak market areas – giving community leaders a new, effective tool to reverse the downward cycle of disinvestment. Riverhead’s $567,000 BOA Opportunities grant from the Department of State, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation, has allowed the town to develop a new vision to revitalize downtown Riverhead.
• Riverhead Town will hold a work session this morning at 10 a.m. Their agenda isn’t online as of 6 a.m., but when it is, it will be here.
• If you’ve always wanted to learn how to row, but never tried, East End Rowing can help you out. This Saturday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., they’ll be hosting a free community rowing lesson at the downtown Riverhead waterfront on the Peconic River behind Main Street. They will also hold a safety program on boat transportation.
And that’s the way things look at dawn’s light here today.