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How's The Water: February 15, 2013

End Of An Era

This is my last How’s The Water column as executive director of Friends of the Bay. When I walked into Friends of the Bay to be interviewed eight years ago by Kyle Rabin, I knew I cared about the community and the environment, but had little idea of the issues that Friends of the Bay was involved in. I didn’t know about dissolved oxygen, hypoxia, Pathogen TMDLs, nutrient loading, etc. Nor did I realize how complex watershed management issues, or fisheries management issues are, and how something that is seemingly simple to resolve, is not.  It was a learning curve, to be sure.  

From day one, I felt embraced and welcomed.  Oyster Bay and the surrounding communities, Bayville, Cold Spring Harbor and the many incorporated villages are very special places. People choose to live in these communities, which are not always easy to get to, and expensive to live in, because they have a love for the water and the environment.  My colleagues in the different agencies, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Environmental Protection Agency (Paula Zevin of the EPA, who worked with me to develop our Quality Assurance Project Plan for the water quality monitoring program deserves a halo for her patience), United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, the Town of Oyster Bay and Town of Huntington were all supportive and helpful. There are so many people working for the betterment of the community, members of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, other nonprofit organizations. I simply can’t imagine what it would be like without their energy and commitment.

The citizen scientists who came out do to weekly water quality monitoring deserve the thanks of the community for all their hard work. To have a water quality monitoring program run from the late 1990s is an incredible achievement. It was one of the proudest moments of my career when their work and dedication was recognized with an Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Environmental Quality Award.

Writing this column was one of the most enjoyable parts of my job as Executive Director. To write it, I had to stop and reflect, think, about what was going on both in the wider environmental world, and what was occurring in our own harbor and watershed.  So many times, what was going on here was a microcosm of the world. Plastic pollution, for example, is a blight upon the landscape and the world’s oceans, and in Oyster Bay we find so many plastic water bottles, plastic bags, that are carelessly tossed out, to make their way into the water.

And so, it comes back to the water. People may not always have agreed with actions Friends of the Bay took, or the positions taken by the organization on controversial issues, but I think it is safe to say, that without Friends of the Bay our harbor waters would not be as clean.  There would not be a Watershed Action Plan, to draw together the agencies, other environmental organizations, municipalities and citizens to protect our watershed area. I look forward to watching Friends of the Bay continue to move forward, to implement the Watershed Action Plan, and continue to serve as an advocate for the water.

For me personally, my sincere thanks and appreciation. It’s a privilege to have been able to work with so many wonderful, dedicated people. The very best to you all in the future!

News

Matt Bentz, of Forest Hills, was the winner of the Oyster Festival Raffle that took place as the event ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. He had a choice between winning a 2015 Chrysler 200 three-year lease or $15,000 in cash. He chose the cash. He is the “Perfect Oyster Festival Raffle winner.”

Bentz is a computer systems administrator with Spa Creek Software, a company that writes software for other software developers, and has been to the festival numerous times over the years; in fact, next year he is hoping to sail here on his 24 ft. sailboat. He got it “reasonably” from a friend who was buying up.

Richie Cannata may be best known for his song credits but his name will become a part of history this week. Cannata, a 28-year resident and business owner of Glen Cove, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.

As a member of the Billy Joel Band, the saxophone player was propelled to fame in 1975 when he joined the band and played on songs including “New York State of Mind” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com