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Sound Bites: Saving these 7 historic Long Island sites

King’s Park nearly 140-year-old Psychiatric Center on Long Island
Diana Scarpulla
King’s Park nearly 140-year-old Psychiatric Center on Long Island

Good morning. Seven historic Long Island sites may soon disappear due to deterioration and neglect, according to the group Preservation Long Island

The locations include: 

  • Mill Pond House in Oyster Bay (late 1600s or early 1700s) 
  • Eliphalet Whitman House in Smithtown (1736)
  • Perkins Electric Generating Plant in Riverhead (1828)
  • Shutt House in Brentwood (1851)
  • Stepping Stones Lighthouse in North Hempstead (1876)
  • Kings Park Psychiatric Center (1885) 
  • Coindre Hall Boathouse in Huntington (1910)

The group said these sites are threatened because only a third of villages, towns and counties have historic preservation laws. It argues local municipalities can have an important role in protecting and maintaining historic sites rather than the federal government, such as placement on the National Register of Historic Places or directly purchasing a site, like the Statue of Liberty. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Alex Jones offered the Sandy Hook families $55 million over the next decade in an effort to settle their lawsuit against him. The families won a $1.5 billion defamation lawsuit against Jones after he repeatedly called their children’s deaths a “hoax” in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 20 students and six educators. If accepted, the families would be forced to surrender all legal claims against Jones or any related party. The families responded with a counterproposal that would liquidate all of Jones’ assets.

Female high school students are making up the majority among Long Island-based Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs. According to Newsday, 66% of recruits are female in Brentwood, 75% in Freeport, 62% in Wyandanch, 57% in Hempstead and 52% in Riverhead. This is in contrast to the national average of women making 40% of JROTC cadets. Instructors attribute this local increase to young women seeking more leadership courses.

The lack of information about Connecticut’s stationary license plate readers worries some residents. Police used the disclosed devicesin November to arrest two Waterbury residents illegally owning a modified handgun and over 600 bags of fentanyl. They were also used to track down a missing Vernon girl in October in New York. Under state law, police are not currently required to disclose the locations of these devices.

Canon won approval for $7 million in tax breaks from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency. A 2007 deal worth $35 million made with the IDA at its Melville, New York headquarters was expected to expire soon. The Japanese camera company had threatened to close the Melville headquarters and force its over 1,000 employees to work remotely.

Over 1,000 derelict lobster traps have been recovered from the bottom of Long Island Sound by Norwalk's Maritime Aquarium. Up to 1.2 million traps remain on the Sound floor, trapping and killing sea life, disrupting marine habitats and leaching potentially harmful chemicals. More traps are expected to be recovered in 2024 after receiving millions of dollars in funding earlier this month. Recovered traps are either returned to their original owners or recycled.

The Riverhead Central School District joined a growing federal class action lawsuit against major social media companies. The Board of Education voted to authorize litigation against companies such as TikTok, Meta, which own Facebook and Instagram and other platforms, for their role in the youth mental health crisis. The lawsuit alleges that these social media platforms deliberately create products designed to addict children and teens and offer few safeguards. Dozens of school districts and more than 40 states, including Connecticut and New York, are part of the class action.

The city of New Haven wants Connecticut to recognize prefabricated shelters as “single-family homes” ahead of incoming winter weather. An advocate built the shelters in October on his property. They are all under 100 square feet and were designed to provide homeless residents with emergency dwellings. The shelters are considered non-compliant, according to the state building code.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.