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Drugs And Vandalism In Hamlet Causes Concern

Residents are asked to report vandalism to local authorities

While everyone wants to think of drug problems as happening in other areas, it appears to be here in Oyster Bay, too. At the May 19 Oyster Bay Civic Association meeting, Bob Martin told the group that a friend gave him a small plastic bag that was found at Marino Fields on BerryHill Road. It was small enough to hold a pair of earrings, and had contained drugs. Additionally at the Theodore Roosevelt Park athletic fields, there was found a second empty bag, and then a third bag that contained a white powder, which was given to the police. Mr. Martin was concerned that young people are using drugs. “An act that can lead to their death,” he said.

“As a community we have to watch that, too,” said Mr. Martin who has been championing traffic safety in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich area. “Fathers should be aware – this is death.” He said a neighbor, a mother of four, gave him the drug packets that she spotted in the fields. The police have been informed, but Mr. Martin wanted parents to be watchful of the problem in regards to their own children.

The New BOB

A member commented on young teens roaming the streets at 11 p.m. at night, and in concern over what is available for local teens to do. The OBCA president asked if the Youth & Family Counseling Agency’s (YFCA) Better Oyster Bay (BOB) program was still viable and if it needed volunteers, something their board has done in the past.

Ingrid Morales, YFCA outreach coordinator is in charge of the program. She said in a telephone interview, “The program is now called the YFCA Summer Experience program and is held at the WaterFront Center on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. It starts on June 26, a Tuesday and will end on Aug. 29, a Wednesday. It runs for 10-weeks. No volunteers are needed for the program.” For more information on the program please call 922-6867.

Mr. Von Novak said the OBCA will put together a program on drugs in the community when school starts. He plans on getting representatives of the police such as POP officer Jim Fucito, and representatives from the school, as well as from YFCA to talk on the problem.

More Vandalism Reports

Another OBCA member mentioned that drugs were found in an empty lot on West Oak Hill Drive. Amidst a lot of trash including paper and cans there were two bags of marijuana that were found in the woods.

Vandalism too, appears to be occurring in the hamlet.

At the meeting, a local resident reported two incidents. In the first, a man threw a concrete brick through his car window. When the alarm went off he got in a car and left. He said, “They are stealing the catalytic converters, the GPSs and are looking for credit cards and personal papers left in cars.”  [The police suggest that it is safer to park cars in the driveway to make it more difficult for vandals and thieves to get at them.]

He said his house, which is on a dark, wooded corner, was egged and the residue turned black which resulted in his having the siding replaced at a cost of $10,000. “Destroying private property is not a prank,” he said. The concern is that the children who are believed to be the culprits are probably local residents. His concern was a sign someone put up saying, “If I see you throwing eggs at houses, I hope the police get you before I do.” There is a lot of anger out there, he commented.

Additionally, he said while the work was being done, another neighbor said his house was egged six times. He reported that another neighbor said his house was egged for one month. The police were called in for help in that case. Part of the problem he said is that the police need evidence before they make an arrest or they are liable for a lawsuit.

The Nassau County public information office said there has not been a sharp increase in vandalism, but she added, “The weather is getting warmer and kids will be out-and-about and getting antsy, and then it can happen. There is not a trend that is happening currently.”

A Second Precinct officer said the important thing is that people let the police know what is happening. He suggested that people make them aware of any crime going on. In fact, he added, “Send a letter to the command so that they have a record of it. Then we can address the problem. If you make us aware of a location to watch, we can make sure a patrol goes to that area.” The important thing, he said, is keeping in communication with the precinct to make them aware of what is happening.

If you are having a problem with vandalism you can call the Second Precinct at 573-6200; or the Oyster Bay Civic Association at 922-5551, or the East Norwich Civic Association at 606-8053 or the Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot at 403-5014.

Police Reports

At the meeting, OBCA Vice President Judith Barnett said that residents have to report the crimes to collect on insurance claims. She added that the police precinct crime reports rarely list anything happening in Oyster Bay.

The following are those items that involved the local area in the Second Precinct crime report.

• A case of criminal mischief was reported as taking place between April 28, at 6 p.m. and April 29 at 11 a.m. on Wildwood Drive in Laurel Hollow. There were tire marks on the lawn.

• A case of petit larceny was reported as happening sometime around April 30, at 10 p.m. and May 1, at 3 p.m. on Hamilton Avenue, where a table was stolen.

• A case of grand larceny was reported to have happened on May 3, at 10:32 p.m. on Audrey Avenue. The charge was fraudulent activity – passing a bad check.

• A case of criminal mischief was reported as happening sometime between midnight and 9:30 a.m. on May 6, when a window of a car parked on 8th Street in Locust Valley was smashed.

TOB Safety Patrol

Mr. Martin also commented on the Town of Oyster Bay Safety patrols saying, “We should try to get the town’s safety division more active but the Police Benevolence Association (PBA), their union, tells them what they can do and we’re paying big bucks for a group that can’t give out tickets or make an arrest. They need more training. We have a big organization but it is hampered by the union.”

Parking Solutions

Rob Brusca, OBCA counsel, reported on the new parking committee formed by the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce, Oyster Bay Civic Association and Oyster Bay Main Street Association (OBMSA) that is seeking volunteers for an on-street parking survey. Mr. Brusca credited MSA board member Donald Zoeller, a successful trial lawyer for the suggestion for a problem that has been addressed by various local boards 18 months ago, 20 years ago and 40 years ago. He said Mr. Zoeller’s view is that a survey of what cars are parking where and for how long will go to prove to the town that there is a problem.

Individuals need no special skills, only the desire to help in gathering data to determine if the current parking regulations in the downtown area are appropriate and serve the best needs of its residents, merchants and visitors.  The survey, which will be conducted for two weeks, Monday through Friday, is currently scheduled to start on Monday, June 4 and end Friday, June 15.  Surveying will be done on Audrey Avenue, East Main Street and South Street at the designated hours of 9 a.m., 11a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

It is anticipated that each survey will not take more than 30 minutes to complete and will just contain the color and make of the vehicle and the last three numbers on the license plate. They are not looking to personalize the report to hurt car owners, just to document the street’s use.

Interested individuals age 16 and older who have time to volunteer should call the Chamber of Commerce office at 922-6464 no later than Thursday, May 31.

Mr. Brusca also told the group that Jim Fucito attended an ENCA board meeting and told them that the police have begun marking tires of cars parked on the street in the hamlet with chalk. Louise Rea said she saw someone being ticketed in front of Canterbury Ales and commented that today, parking tickets run between $110 and $150, which should cause some concern for those people receiving them.

Charles Doering said part of the problem is that people don’t know where to park and that more signage was needed, for instance to send people to Firemen’s Field. George DeMartino commented that Firemen’s Field has no lines and so someone can open their car door and hit his car door: no lines mean no safety zone.

Endangered Properties

As the meeting ended there was a comment on the number of historic properties in Oyster Bay that are endangered. The Trousdell House is still up for sale although there is some hope for a resolution; the Mill Pond House appears to be facing a decision by the town in regards to its future; the Visiting Nurse Association building is for sale as is Snouder’s Corner Drugstore.

In the case of Snouder’s, Mr. Von Novak said he has spoken to Ray Easton of the Snouder’s Foundation and was told they were disappointed that their plans had not worked out. He said they believed that there would be an outpouring of support to save the building – which never happened. The public has donated between $5,000 and $10,000 to the foundation and the group wondered what would happen to those funds. The group had paid for a study and for maintaining the building while it was vacant.

Matthew Meng, ENCA president, was applauded for his work in preserving the Maine Maid Inn. It was just given landmark status by the town. Mr. Meng has an interested buyer who wanted the property to be landmarked. Town Supervisor John Venditto said at the town hall meeting that he has two restaurants interested in buying the restaurant property.