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Accusations Escalate Over Gas Leak

After calling a stop work order on all construction in the village, Farmingdale officials met with the developers and representatives from National Grid and LIPA to discuss a recent gas leak caused by the ongoing development of 120 Secatogue Avenue. 

 

“The findings at that meeting were most distrubing,” said Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand. 

 

According to Ekstrand, National Grid representatives said it is at their sole discretion whether to cut off gas service at the property line or at the gas main in the street. 

 

“What we found was that there were two service lines still charged and encroaching onto the site,” Ekstrand added. “Both of these charged lines were in the way of the excavation that is to be done to create a below-grade parking garage.”

 

The leak occurred on Feb. 6, when firefighters and police were called in to evacuate residents and business owners in the area surrounding 154 South Front Street. Wendy Ladd, a spokeswoman for National Grid, told The Farmingdale Observer that utility workers were able to shut off service while they did the final repairs, and by 12:31 p.m. the area was made safe for residents to return. 

 

Village officials have further accused LIPA and National Grid of not having provided an accurate mark out of services in the area surrounding Secatogue Avenue, after excavation teams struck a gas line that went in only about 15 to 20 feet deep.

 

As a result of the utility’s cut-off procedure, Ekstrand and the village board wrote a letter to the New York State Public Service Commission, recommending that National Gird and LIPA review and revise it so the local municipality is informed of the work being performed. 

 

“The public, as well as the workers on these construction projects, need to know they are living and working in a safe environment and that they are not being put at risk by slipshod work by major utilities,” Ekstrand concludes. “It is simply irresponsible.” 

 

National Grid spokeswoman Karen D. Young disputed the village’s claims, stating that the utility did not receive a request from either the village, the contractor or the excavators to mark out the site prior to starting the excavation.  

 

“We do not have a record for a markout request at the location,” Young said. 

 

According to Young, a customer order fulfillment sent from LIPA to the developer, Bartone Properties LLC., on Jan. 24, 2013 informed the contractor that all electric and gas facilities in the area had been removed and that under state law, they are required to notify the LIPA-TELCO Utility Control Center two business days before beginning to dig. 

 

“While natural gas service to the location was discontinued in 2013, as requested by the customer, our infrastructure remains in the area and a markout was required before excavation,” said National Grid in its letter.

News

Farmingdale village officials will be holding a public hearing on Dec. 1, to reexamine school speed zones throughout the village, in order to establish a consistent school speed zone limit. 

Holidays Increase Daily Congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

At a special “wrap up “ meeting for the 2014 Marcum Workplace Challenge, Greater Long Island Running Club Vice President and Event Director Mindy Davidson of Farmingdale, presented a special plaque to Winsome Foulkes, team captain of the Farmingdale-based Telephonics Corporation.  Winsome is retiring from Telephonics after a long and successful career and has led the Telephonics Corporation in the Marcum Workplace Challenge since its inception.  

There is simply no better way for runners and their families to celebrate the Holiday Season than by being part of the fun at the Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt Holiday 5 Kilometer Run, and on Saturday morning, Dec. 20, the Run will be celebrating its 27th anniversary edition at the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Bethpage. The run will start at 9:30 a.m. on Broadway in Bethpage.


Calendar

Les Miserables - November 21

The Wedding Singer - November 21

Holiday Parade - November 22


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