Sustainable Long Island
April 2011 
Sustainable Long Island Newsletter
The one-stop-shop...
For all Sustainable Long Island news! 
In This Issue
A Message From Sarah Lansdale
Levitt Foundation Awards Grant
One bank we really need...
Response to LI Bus Editorial
EPA Holds Wyandanch Listening Session
Five Things You Didn't Realize You Can Recycle
Who's Living Green?
Potential Use of Recycled Asphalt
Board of Directors

Ruth Negr
ón-Gaines: President


Kevin McDonald: Vice President

The Nature Conservancy   

Charlotte Biblow, Esq: Secretary

Farrell Fritz, P.C.



Lauren Furst: Treasurer   


Russ Albanese

Albanese Organization Inc.



Lennard Axinn

Island Estates




Robert Bernard

Capital One Bank   



Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
SUNY College at Old Westbury



Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch

State University at Farmingdale



Pat Edwards




Richard Grafer


Amy Hagedorn
Hagedorn Foundation



Jeff Kraut

North Shore - LIJ Health System



Mitchell H. Pally

Long Island Builders Institute



Ron Shiffman

Pratt Institute



Robert Wieboldt

















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A Message From Sarah Lansdale


SarahI wanted to take a moment inform you that I will be leaving Sustainable Long Island to join Suffolk County as its Director of Planning; effective today - Wednesday, April 27. 


When I started at Sustainable Long Island ten years ago, the world was a very different place. Gas was under $2 a gallon, Facebook was just a thought in the mind of a college student, and sustainability was a nascent idea where going green meant hitting the golf course.



My journey at Sustainable Long Island has been nothing short of absolutely thrilling and extremely gratifying. Living on Long Island the majority of my life, I knew from day one at Sustainable Long Island that the work we perform is critical to the long-term development of dozens of communities Island-wide.   


For the past decade, I have had the privilege to be a part of incredible processes of neighborhood revitalization. I have witnessed communities come  together to create new partnerships with local government, local elected officials step up and remain engaged long after the spotlight fades, and redevelopment efforts that reflect local values.


I have had the pleasure to partake in and oversee numerous milestones for the organization ranging from projects on brownfield redevelopment to programs dealing with food access. The results we have achieved and the relationships I have built over my ten years with the organization, provides me with great confidence to move forward into my new position as Suffolk County Planning Director.  


I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to current and past board members, as well as all of my top-notch staff members for their hard work and commitment to this organization. I would also like to thank all of the community and governmental partners I have united with over the years as Executive Director of Sustainable Long Island. There is no doubt in my mind the organization will continue to prosper as a catalyst and facilitator for sustainable development for years to come.


I am proud to say Sustainable Long Island has an extremely dedicated and focused board of directors and staff who are committed to continuing to advance Sustainable Long Island's mission of promoting economic development, environmental health, and social equity for all Long Islanders.  


I have truly enjoyed all of my time here and appreciate the opportunity to work with each and every one of you.  Thank you for the support, guidance, encouragement, and friendship through all the triumphs and struggles we have faced together.


Although I will miss Sustainable Long Island greatly, I will cherish the accomplishments and great moments we have had over the years  and I look forward to continuing our work together, starting this next phase in my career.




Sarah Lansdale 

Levitt Foundation Awards $25,000 Grant to Sustainable Long Island


HS Fellows 2 


Sustainable Long Island has received a $25,000 grant from the Levitt Foundation in support of the organization's 3rd Annual High School Fellowship. Sustainable Long Island's High School Fellowship employs high school juniors and seniors across Long Island to work closely with staff on community planning and revitalization projects.


 "With the Levitt Foundation's generous funding, Long Island high school students will be able to see what it's like to work at a nonprofit organization, complete day-to-day tasks, while focusing on numerous projects and planning processes" said Ruth Negrón Gaines, Board President, Sustainable Long Island. "Students will be active in and learning about issues of sustainability, community planning, and development and civic engagement."


After two years of successful implementation, Sustainable Long Island will launch the Fellowship Program into its third year this July, adding to the number of students, who will develop a positive relationship between themselves, the environment, and their communities. Student will also outreach to other youth and feed their knowledge into the long term planning of Long Island.

"Levitt Foundation is pleased to support this unique opportunity for Long Island teens to learn about their environment and take action to improve and protect their own communities," said Barbara R. Greenberg, Foundation Advisor, Levitt Foundation. 

The goal of Sustainable Long Island's High School Fellowship is to empower young people with planning tools, information, and knowledge so as to enable them to make a positive impact in their communities. Students will work in Sustainable Long Island's Bethpage office, as well as in their local community for 20 hours per week (eight weeks) during the summer and six hours per week (40 weeks) during the school year. High School juniors and seniors interested in the fellowship should send letter of interest and resume to Artineh Havan ( no later than May 27, 2011.

In My Humble Opinion: "One bank we really need" (Featured in Newsday)


InfrastructureOver time our roads, bridges and sewer systems face the inevitable fate of deteriorating and becoming outdated. The necessity to find a solution for meeting the future needs for Long Island infrastructure is becoming stronger by the day. So what can we do?


One emerging idea is the formation of regional infrastructure banks, which use government funds to leverage private resources that are used to finance significant community projects. Projects are chosen based on how beneficial an impact they would have on the public.


Our future needs can be prioritized by strategically allocating public and private resources, making our region more resilient.

Our response to recent Cablevision Editorial: "Reprieve for Long Island Bus"

Cablevision Editorials recently published an editorial on the plan to privatize Long Island Bus. Below is the original piece "Reprieve for Long Island Bus," followed by Sustainable Long Island's response.  


LI Bus 


Original article via Cablevision:


It was good news for Long Island Bus riders when State Sen. Charles Fuschillo announced $8.6 million in state funding to keep Nassau County's buses rolling until the end of this year.


And good news as well for the few passengers who typically ride buses on the N-14 route in Rockville Centre, one of the routes the MTA had planned to shut down because so few use it. It costs the MTA $15 each time it carries a rider on the N-14.


As part of the deal negotiated in Albany, the MTA will continue to operate all of the bus routes until next year, giving Nassau County time to transition to private operation of the bus system and, we hope, time to negotiate a more rational route structure.


In his message this week, Nassau Executive Ed Mangano insists that Nassau will move ahead to privatize Long Island Bus. The county is negotiating with three private companies to operate the service, inviting them to propose which routes they could serve profitably, given the $4.5 million the county has budgeted to subsidize bus operations.


Though labor groups often label privatization as union busting, this is no radical notion. Suffolk County contracts with private bus companies to operate the bus system it owns.


No, there is nothing wrong with letting private companies compete to perform public work more efficiently than public employees. Privatization is not a dirty word-not when it costs the MTA $15 a pop to serve a few riders in Rockville Centre.


For that, you could call a cab.


Our response to the editorial:


While the rescue of Long Island Bus this year is terrific news for thousands of daily riders, the possibility of privatization is not. If Long Island Bus is privatized, with Nassau County reportedly contributing only $2 to $4 million, services may not provide access to all of Nassau County and marginalized constituents will suffer. For comparisons sake, Suffolk contributes approximately $24 million to its service, albeit a smaller system. Nassau's new bus operator will likely have to significantly increase fares or worse, cut services to be profitable. There needs to be a practical plan put into place by 2012 that will provide Nassau County riders with the ability to travel to and from work, school, doctor offices, grocery stores, and accomplish other errands made possible by a county-wide public transportation system.

Sustainable LI Provides Testimony as EPA holds listening session in Wyandanch


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently chose Wyandanch, NY as one of several sites around the country in which to host a community "listening session." It is part of the EPA's Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program and is designed to provide officials with insight into what works and what red tape remains in development partnerships between different levels of government.


In the session, Wyandanch community leaders were given the opportunity to talk about the Wyandanch Rising revitalization efforts and detailed both the successes and the stumbling blocks they came across. Sustainable Long Island provided testimony that is highlighted below:




We'd like to thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for giving Sustainable Long Island time to speak today about the revitalization efforts within the community of Wyandanch.  Sustainable Long Island commends the EPA for visiting Wyandanch to learn more about Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone's and the Town's incredibly successful revitalization efforts.


In 2003, under the leadership of Supervisor Bellone, the Town of Babylon hired Sustainable Long Island to facilitate this community-based planning event for the hamlet of Wyandanch.  


"Wyandanch Rising" brought together over 500 homeowners, renters, business and property owners, civic groups, clergy, planners, architects, and government officials. Over the course of five days, the participants crafted the first comprehensive plan for the community in over a generation.

As a proud partner in the Wyandanch Rising effort, Sustainable Long Island would like to share four unique characteristics from this project that we think have made it a huge success:

1.    Authentic community engagement from the beginning and throughout the process

a. One of the hallmarks of the "Wyandanch Rising" process was the strong community engagement that occurred. From day one Supervisor Bellone and the Town of Babylon made bottom-up community engagement the driving force behind the "Wyandanch Rising" effort by:

  i. Community participation and educational meetings prior to the charette

ii. Multi-lingual outreach

iii. Setting up a storefront in downtown Wyandanch where community members could drop in and learn more about the process directly with Town officials, community members, and design professionals

iv. Establishing the Wyandanch Rising Implementation Committee to continue the engagement post-planning process

v. Updating the community through newsletters and involvement in community meetings

vi. Holding update meetings in the community to inform the community on progress being made


2.      The Supervisor made this effort a top priority

a. Supervisor Steve Bellone established the Office for Downtown Revitalization, the first and only interdisciplinary downtown department on Long Island.  Downtown Revitalization requires focused professionals who can unite many different departments within and outside of Town Hall - including Planning, Community Development, Public Works, and many others.  Under the leadership of Vanessa Pugh and formerly under Ann Marie Jones, the Town has been able to attract the necessary public and private capital to make Wyandanch Rising a reality.


3.      The focus on implementation from the beginning

a. In September 2004, the Town of Babylon adopted the Wyandanch community plan and immediately began moving forward with the plan's implementation. Goals set forth by the plan included a family-style restaurant, bicycle lanes, on-street parking, wider and better-lit sidewalks, safer crosswalks, mixed-use buildings, and community clean-up initiatives. Shortly after the plan adoption, Supervisor Bellone installed lighting along Straight Path, sending an authentic signal that this revitalization was going to advance.

b. There are other signs of promise as well, such as:

i. The recent $14.7 million in federal money from the state's Environmental Facilities Corp, which will be allocated to sewer lines in the community

ii. The county's pledge to waive $10 million in sewer hook-up fees for five years to make business development more affordable

iii. The transfer of two land parcels worth about $1 million for the Wyandanch Rising project, have given residents even more hope for the future of their community.

c. Supervisor Bellone also held a Wyandanch Rising Sewer Project Groundbreaking, where Sustainable Long Island had the chance to speak and highlight the Town of Babylon's leadership in bringing sewers to Wyandanch and mention our partnership with the town from the beginning.


4.      The will to press forward despite great odds

a. Supervisor Bellone, Wyandanch community leaders, Sarah Lansdale from Sustainable Long Island, and others flew to Washington to meet with high-ranking representatives from the United States Postal Service. As some of you may recall, the Postal Service planned to build a new post office in Wyandanch but did not include input from the community or from the Town. The plan was completely contrary to the community's vision for a vibrant downtown along Straight Path.

b. The post office's location wasn't the least of its problems: The design, as the Postal Service created it, included barbed wire and bulletproof glass. This was a far cry from the desires of the community and sent a horrible message to the area's residents.

c. As a result of the meeting the Postal Service agreed to halt construction for two weeks, while they took a serious look at Babylon's proposal: a land swap that would put the new facility on a side street, not Straight Path. The change would move the post office entrance to Commonwealth Road and eliminate a proposed curb cut on Straight Path, which town officials said would be a traffic issue. 

d. Supervisor Bellone stood at the halls of power, in Washington, D.C., side by side with other elected officials and community members, and said, "No more. No more making decisions without listening to our community's voice. No more treating our community like criminals. We deserve your respect."

e. The resident's voice was heard and today the community now has enjoyed a beautiful, prosperous post office on Straight Path.

Five Things You Didn't Realize You Can Recycle


While celebrating Earth Day this past month, many of us have shown a strong interest and support of environmental issues world-wide. Sustainable Long Island teamed up with to bring you an environmentally healthy related column each week in April. Below is one of our articles on recycling:    


RecycleRecycling-its value is crucial to support an environmentally healthy and economically developed Long Island.


It's the final "R" in the waste hierarchy of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, but many will tell you it is the most significant. As we near Earth Day, recycling stands as the key element in the movement of appreciating and improving the environment.


In this day and age you can recycle almost anything; glass, paper, metal, plastic, fabrics, and so forth. How many of us have gone to our local bottle deposit machine to drop off some cola cans or water bottles? How about binding up our magazines and newspapers so that they're ready to be picked up by our town's sanitation department? These are effective, yet basic, recycling routines.


In this article we want to inform you on a couple of items you may not have realized can be reprocessed, recovered, and reused. Here are some of those not-so-everyday recycling methods to give a try:  


1.    We recognize that brownfields redevelopment is the future of growth on Long Island. So it's no surprise that number one on our list is land recycling. Land recycling is the reuse of abandoned, underused properties for redevelopment and brownfields - areas with real or perceived contamination - fit the bill. A brownfield might be a former factory, gasoline station, dry cleaners, storage facility, or business where chemicals or solvents were used or stored. If you've identified a brownfield in your town, gather members of your community and decide if you're ready to take on a redevelopment project. If so, it's time to match up a potential redeveloper with a cleanup strategy, choose the right finance cleanup program, and satisfy all community members by recycling vacant land.

  1. How would you like a new basketball court in your community for your kids to play at? What about a tennis court at the local park? You can help encourage community revitalization efforts like this by simply recycling your old worn-out sneakers! The old school idea of tying your shoes together and throwing them over a power line down your street is a nice tradition, but many programs have been put forth to reuse that shoe in a more efficient way. Nike's Reuse-A-Show is the most popular plan of the bunch, taking any brand of any sneaker (via drop off location or mail-in) and giving it new life. The material is reprocessed and distributed to surfacing companies that create sports surfaces for little leaguers, professionals, and everyone in between.
  2. You can recycle all kinds of plastic, so surely you can recycle plastic utensils right? Wrong! A lot of utensils that we compile are not widely recyclable, but that doesn't mean we can't reuse them. We'd hope you'd invest in silverware, but you can always store plastic utensils for later use in your junk draw or glove compartment of your car for those on-the-go meals. Use them in your children's lunchbox or keep a spoon by your office desk for morning coffee. Use utensils in the garden as plant supports for weary sprouts and don't forget to let the kids have fun too; they can use them for an array of arts and crafts activities.
  3. What would you do without your computer? Web surfing, email, social media - they are our gateway to the rest of world (wide web that is). Unfortunately, after you've visited your last website, toxic chemicals and heavy metals can cause massive e-waste. Perhaps recycling electronics isn't the newest of ideas, but improper discarding of the equipment has become all too common. Only one out of five computers is recycled today with the rest, you guessed it, making its way to a landfill. Contact your manufacturer, as they often offer many recycling programs or check out the many national and local recycling programs that can be found at place such as
  4. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each year Americans buy almost three billion batteries to power common household items. The average American discards eight batteries each year and you have to wonder where they end up (Hint: Landfill)? It may be easy to just throw our used or dead batteries in the trash, but that can be detrimental to the environment. There are all sorts of metals in batteries that if not recycled, can seep into the air and leak into soil causing harmful pollution. Bring your batteries, whether from your car or your remote, to collection sites and feel good about recycling.
Who's Living Green?


The article below is also from our series.This particular piece focuses on Sustainable Long Island community planner Artineh Havan and her green lifestyle:

Board and Staff
Artineh Havan (Bottom Left) with some of the Board and Staff of
Sustainable Long Island

Artineh Havan is a community planner at Sustainable Long Island. She currently works on brownfield redevelopment and community revitalization projects. Once you get to know Artineh you quickly realize that not only does she work for a sustainable organization, she lives a sustainable life as well.


"I think it is very important for everyone to be conscious of global climate change and the use of our limited natural resources," Artineh says. "Living green is not just a saying; it's a way of life."


There are varying ideologies on what to do when one chooses to live green and different opinions on how to do it. Most people tend to focus on the larger ideas, but to make a difference in your everyday routine-it is important to make the small changes as well.


Artineh had been interested in living green ever since she was a young girl. She would collect cans and bottles to recycle when she was still in middle school and would convince her friends to walk to the movie theaters and local hangouts rather than drive as a teenager.


A couple of years ago, she wanted to truly take action. She did some research online leading her to a website that offered a personal carbon footprint assessment. She filled out the questionnaire and found out one of the biggest contributors to her footprint was her eating of meat.

"Everything from the raising of the animals to the food miles my meals traveled was contributing to the use of a lot of different resources," she recalls.


Soon after, Artineh became a vegetarian and hasn't looked back. Healthy fruit and vegetables are her top preference with a strong love for fresh peaches. She tries to buy all her produce locally; visiting farmers' markets whenever she can.


"It's sustainable and affordable," she says as she got some "on-the-job shopping" done at Sustainable Long Island's first year farmers' markets in North Bellport and Roosevelt last summer. Along with the Long Island Farm Bureau and local community partners, Sustainable Long Island will be implementing this project in additional communities in 2011 offering Long Islander's the chance to "eat green."


Continue reading about Artineh's Green Lifestyle on our blog!

LICA seeks new standards for "green" asphalt that recycles blacktop and reduces tax burden



Citing the leadership role of Brookhaven Township, the Long Island Contractors' Association (LICA) today called for a sweeping revision of municipal regulations across the region that would permit the use of recycled asphalt materials to help address a historically high number of potholes while driving down the cost of repair to the taxpayer.


LICA Executive Director Marc Herbst stated, "We project a total of 1.4 million potholes will need to be filled on Long Island during the next 60 days. If the heavy construction industry was allowed to follow the lead of Brookhaven Town in improving the ratio of recycled asphalt in that effort we would go a long way in making blacktop green."


Herbst said current regulations that significantly reduce, or avoid altogether, the use of recycled asphalt, reflect an arbitrary standard that was set when most were indifferent to recycling. "It is as if you had a law on the books that said you couldn't recycle plastic bags or glass bottles.  These asphalt recycling specifications now on the books in most towns were written in the middle of the 20th Century when no one cared about carbon footprints, the cost of a barrel of oil or the responsibility we have to recycle everywhere we can."


Brookhaven takes the lead


Brookhaven Highway Superintendent John Rouse observed, "Having the ability to be sensitive not only to our taxpayers, but to the environment as well is truly getting the best of both worlds. By changing our specifications to allow a higher percentage of recycled asphalt product in our paving material, we hope to set a standard that others will follow. The Long Island Contractors Association should be applauded for being true leaders in protecting our environment, and our infrastructure, here on Long Island."


LICA notes there is no chemical difference between original asphalt and recycled asphalt. "Recycled asphalt bonds to the surface with the same tenacity as virgin material. It has the same resistance to wear and tear and can be graded just as easily as 100% brand new asphalt," continued Herbst. "However, it by using recycled materials the taxpayer gets a break, our environment gets a break and town road maintenance budgets get a break."


Thomas Gesualdi, President of Teamsters Local 282, stated, "The economic and environmental advantages that result from using recycled asphalt product (RAP) to build and repair our regions roads cannot go ignored. Long Island was ambushed by a severe winter and our local roads are paying the price. We need to get serious about repairing the millions of potholes that have infected our regions infrastructure. I applaud the Town of Brookhaven for leading the charge in this area so that there is a greater use of recycled asphalt products."


Bill Duffy, Jr., President of Local 138 of the Operating Engineers agreed, "There is not a sector of commerce, industry and labor that cannot contribute in some meaningful way to a public policy agenda that protects jobs and the environment. The `greening' of asphalt is just one example of that and we congratulate Brookhaven Town for taking the role of leader in this area and we support LICA's call for a unified approach to this issue."  Duffy is also the president of the Public Works Alliance.


Environmental Kudos for Brookhaven

"This is a great way to rebuild our `green roadways' to the future.  Integrating sustainable roadway practices into public policy is a smart way to reduce the use of raw materials and provides the ideal opportunity for recycled materials to be put to good use!  Citizens Campaign for the Environment congratulates the Town of Brookhaven and the Long Island Contractors Association for working to make this important change.  I am hopeful that this policy can be replicated throughout New York State," said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.


"Each year, 73 million metric tons of asphalt are reclaimed and reused as part of the nation's roads, roadbeds, shoulders, and embankments," said Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director, Sustainable Long Island. "By revising regulations that would permit the use of recycled asphalt materials, municipalities would save on material, job, and energy costs, while efficiently using tax dollars in the repair of countless potholes created during the past winter."

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The Board and Staff of Sustainable Long Island