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Press release: Over £5 million awarded to community groups to fight extremism

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first_imgThe new funding will expand the Building a Stronger Britain Together network to more than 220 groups, as the government steps up its fight against extremism.During its annual conference, keynote speakers including academics and reformed extremists addressed delegates and advised on the latest thinking around countering extremism. It was chaired by Professor Matthew Feldman, Director of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right and one of the UK’s foremost experts on extremism.Nick Stace, UK Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust, said: Community organisations across the UK will receive more than £5.3 million for projects countering extremist views and to build resilience within communities, it has been announced.Minister for Countering-Extremism Baroness Williams awarded the funds as part of the Building a Stronger Britain Together programme, which aims to protect communities and empower them to challenge extremism. It funds more than 100 groups with grants of up to £200,000 and is estimated to reach around 175,000 people across the UK.The organisations, including groups such as Khulisa, the Anne Frank Trust, Core Education and The Prince’s Trust will run year-long schemes that challenge extremist narratives and support people who may be vulnerable to them. The projects being supported are wide-ranging and spread across the country: from Khulisa’s work in prisons to reduce re-offending and transform young people’s lives, to Core Education’s ‘Echo Eternal’ project that will use video testimony by Holocaust survivors to educate people on genocides across the world.The funding comes as 300 representatives from the Building a Stronger Britain Together network met in London yesterday (Wednesday 17 October) for an annual conference.Speaking at the event, Baroness Williams, Minister for Countering Extremism, said: Echo Eternal will help to honour the commitment of every generation to never forget the Holocaust and genocides around the world. By working with young people, initially in Birmingham and then across the UK, we will tackle the extremism of those who wish to demean and degrade these memories. We are delighted to be supported by Building a Stronger Britain Together for this crucial project. It’s important that government continues to support organisations like ours who are taking on extremism in all its forms. The funding announced by the government will help organisations like ours tackle social exclusion and crime in the heart of our communities. As part of the counter-extremism strategy, this will help us work with some of those who may be at risk or hard to reach. Khulisa powerfully believe in the potential of every young person to live a healthy, crime-free life if given the right support. We provide a safe space for young people to explore their identity, experiences and to build healthy relationships with themselves and others. Our programmes are delivered in schools, prisons and a range of other community settings across the UK and are proven to increase well-being, empathy and reduce violence and offending. We also support professionals such as social workers, police officers and prison staff to work more effectively with young people in a way that promotes inclusion and tolerance for all. Adrian Packer, Founder and CEO of Core Education, said: Every day The Prince’s Trust supports young people from a range of backgrounds and communities to work together to develop the confidence and skills they need to succeed. We help young people to gain a better understanding of people who are different to themselves, building mutual respect and tolerance and diverting them from activities that could lead to extremist views becoming engrained. Many of our interventions also lead to employment opportunities, giving young people a greater stake in our economy and society. This funding will help us to engage with more young people at an early stage to break down stereotypes, build tolerance amongst their communities and give young people the opportunities they need to thrive. Building a Stronger Britain Together is powerful coalition of positive voices in society who are standing up to the hatred and extremism which, sadly, is present in Britain. We are increasingly confronted with statements designed to justify support for twisted ideologies – these must be challenged in all their forms. I am proud of the support we are giving groups and local communities, who recognise that this country is stronger together. Dominique Airey, Chief Executive Officer of Khulisa, said: Since 2015, the Building a Stronger Britain Together programme has supported organisations, including the English Football League Trust and Show Racism the Red Card, for innovative projects to stand up against extremism. It was set up as part of the government’s counter-extremism strategy.The Building a Stronger Britain Together network includes grassroots campaigns across England and Wales that bring together young people from segregated communities, build resilience to extremism and challenge extremist narratives.last_img read more

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Research reveals bakery’s social media stars

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first_imgCoffee chains Costa Coffee and Starbucks and bakery giant Greggs both appear in the top 10 ranking of companies leading the way in social media. The data from eDigitalResearch studied more than 90 food and beverage brands from restaurants and pub chains to coffee shops and fast food chains between 27 April and 1 May to establish their presence – or absence – on the most popular social media sites.Bakery-wise Costa came in top of the sector with 1.3m followers on Facebook, while Greggs came next with 720,000.When it comes to Twitter, Starbucks (3), Costa Coffee (5), Greggs (7), Pret A Manger (8) and Krispy Kreme (10) all come in the top 10 with followers ranging from 594,000 to 48,600.Starbucks took the crown on Google+. Given its vast global audience it is no surprise that the chain has 3.7m followers on Google+ – more than 3m more than second-placed Nando’s. Starbucks uses its social fans to help in its product development process, with its latest #FanFlavors campaign enabling followers to voice their opinion on products that are in the pipeline, helping to create brand loyalty and advocacy, said the report.However, no other chain came close to McDonald’s, which was the overall winner and achieved a massive 56.7m people ‘talking about’ the brand on Facebook, with the next most popular brand being KFC with 37.1m.Kat Hounsell, sales and marketing director at eDigitalResearch, said: “The use of social media is now paramount for food and beverage brands. Our most recent benchmark results demonstrate that having a creative and interactive social media strategy is key to increasing your brands’ presence.”Given the social nature of the food and beverage market, listening to feedback and creating a connection with your customers on a local and global level is key to increasing your brand following and, overall, improving the brand experience.”last_img read more

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Arctic Monkeys Share New Music Video For “Four Out of Five”

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first_imgLast week, English rockers Arctic Monkeys released their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Prior to the album’s announcement, it had been five years since we last heard from the Arctic Monkeys. The band held the material from this new album particularly close to the chest, choosing not to release any singles prior to the album drop. Now that the album is officially on shelves, the band is in full promotion mode–recently stopping by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform “Four Out of Five” from the album.The newly-identified single was also given the music video treatment over the weekend, with a mind-altering cinematic adventure directed by Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown. In the video, frontman Alex Turner heads to the Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino–”It was well reviewed, Four stars out of five, And that’s unheard of”–only to face a replica of himself in a twist of reality. The anthemic piano chords serve as the perfect backdrop to the cinematic adventure. Watch it below:Following a string of intimate album release shows around the world, Arctic Monkeys have an upcoming string of North American tour dates. Check out a list of announced U.S. and Canada dates below. For a full list of Arctic Monkeys upcoming live performances, or for more information on the new album, head to the band’s website.Arctic Monkeys 2018 Tour Dates:06/14-17 – Dover, DE – Firefly Festival06/16 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheater06/18 – Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheater06/19 – Atlanta, GA – Coca Cola Roxy Theatre07/24 – Queens, NY – Forest Hills Stadium07/27 – Boston, MA – TD Garden07/28 – Washington, DC – The Anthem07/31 – Pittsburgh, PA – Petersen Events Center08/01 – Detroit, MI – Masonic Temple Theatre08/05 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada CentreView All Tour Dateslast_img read more

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Harvard announces Evergrande support of three initiatives

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first_imgCAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Harvard University announced today that Evergrande Group, an integrated industry leader based in China, has provided Harvard with University-wide, interdisciplinary support for three major initiatives.Evergrande’s support will help create the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), the Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and the Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). The initiatives will catalyze work at Harvard that will impact people and communities in the United States, China, and throughout the world.“Evergrande’s wide-ranging support will enable progress across the University,” said Drew Faust, Harvard’s president and Lincoln Professor of History. “Explorations of mathematics and new applications of computational power have the potential to shape a variety of fields and disciplines. Innovations in green building and sustainable development will influence how we live, and advances in human health will improve and extend lives. Harvard is fortunate to have been entrusted with this important work for humankind.”Evergrande’s support is emblematic of the long-standing relationship between Harvard and China, dating back to the late 19th century. Today, the University offers a comprehensive curriculum of the study of China and East Asia, with research centers and programs focusing on Chinese studies and contemporary issues. Nearly every Harvard School is involved in China-related research and training; faculty members are working on numerous research projects — often in partnership with Chinese colleagues; and Harvard is home to the largest university East Asian research collection outside of Asia.Each year, an increasing number of undergraduate and graduate students travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan for language study and research, internships, and teaching opportunities. Harvard also hosts a strong contingent of talented students and scholars from the region.Evergrande Group’s board chairman, Hui Ka Yan, said, “These three centers will promote top scientific research and development in related fields. I believe in their unlimited potential, which will give impetus to the improvement of the world’s academic level and the progress and development of human society.”The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities will allow the Graduate School of Design to launch intensive research and education programs aimed at creating sustainable, high-performance buildings. The focus will be on better design, construction, and operation — especially in urban environments. Evergrande will support programs, facilities, and a research endowment.“We are very eager to establish the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities at the Graduate School of Design,” said GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, “and I am appreciative of this generous support. It is gratifying to know that the center, under the leadership of Professor Ali Malkawi, will provide the venue for collaborative and cross-disciplinary research that will have significant and productive impact for the future of the built environment.”The Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital will pursue core and translational biomedical research and education, with a focus on understanding the basis and role of inflammation in multiple human diseases. Evergrande will help support professorships, faculty, and research and educational activities. The goal is to eventually develop and evaluate potential treatments.“Evergrande’s support holds the promise of transforming our efforts to understand the role of chronic inflammation in health and human disease,” said HMS Dean Jeffrey S. Flier. “The Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases creates a collaboration between HMS and Brigham and Women’s Hospital that will bring together world experts with a shared goal of translating laboratory discoveries into life-saving therapies.”“At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we are committed to transforming the future of medicine through life-giving breakthroughs,” added Betsy Nabel, president of BWH. “I am truly grateful to Evergrande Group for their partnership and visionary leadership in the field of immunologic diseases. We look forward to collaborating with Harvard Medical School on vital new discoveries that will improve the lives of people across the globe.”The new Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will serve as a fusion point for mathematics, statistics, physics, and related sciences. Evergrande will support new professorships, research, and core programming.Shing-Tung Yau, Harvard’s William Caspar Graustein Professor of Mathematics, will serve as the center’s first director. “The Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications will establish applied mathematics at Harvard as a first-class, interdisciplinary field of study, relating mathematics with many other important fields,” Yau said. “The center will not only carry out the most innovative research but also train young researchers from all over the world, especially those from China. The center marks a new chapter in the development of mathematical science.”“The University is committed to tackling new challenges and advancing knowledge for the benefit of people and societies around the world,” said Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber. “This support gives us an opportunity to expand our efforts — through the work of outstanding faculty, researchers, and students — in diverse fields, bringing Harvard’s commitment to excellence to bear on important intellectual and practical challenges.”last_img read more

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Vidal delivers State of the Student Union to senate

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first_imgTags: ND student senate, State of the Student Union Student body president Lauren Vidal delivered her State of the Student Union address last night at the final student Senate meeting of the 2014-2015 term.In the speech, Vidal quoted a 1985 note from Fr. Ted Hesburgh, describing the 10 commandments of student leaders.“I would like to introduce a note from Fr. Hesburgh to the then-student body president and vice president,” the senior said.“‘Politics is the art of the possible, so pick out some realistic goals and really go for them,’” she said, quoting Hesburgh.Vidal also thanked the senators, as well as the cabinet that served under her and student body vice president Matthew Devine before highlighting some of this year’s successes, including the launch of the O’SNAP app and forming contracts with The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as part of the student readership program. She also mentioned some of the most pressing issues the University still has to contend with, particularly the mental health of its students.Vidal, Devine and Shannon Montague, Student Union chief of staff, gave the spring Board of Trustees presentation, which focused on addressing issues with the mental health of Notre Dame students. Vidal said they had reviewed an assortment of research of Notre Dame’s peer universities, such as Duke, to better understand the problem at Notre Dame.“Many of [Duke’s] professors have published articles on the culture of their campus,” Vidal said. “There is an entire article, as well as a survey, about perfectionism at Duke, acknowledging that perfectionism exists and affects the majority of students who make it to these elite universities. Perfectionism is linked to instances of depression and severe anxiety.”Two resolutions were presented. The first, presented by Vidal and Montague on behalf of Devine, proposed the submission of an open letter from Notre Dame’s student body to the University’s peer institutions regarding the deaths of three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina. Devine, who could not present the resolution because he currently serves as the chair of senate, wrote the letter in conjunction with Diversity Council and the Muslim Student Association (MSA).Several senators brought up their concerns with the letter, noting that it came off as “too introspective” and did not portray Notre Dame in a positive light, resulting in a discussion of different aspects of the appropriateness of the letter. Vidal said she felt the letter needed more collaboration, and said she agreed that the wording needed to be reconsidered. She officially tabled the resolution until the senate meeting next week, when Devine will be out of office and able to speak on his own behalf with the senators.The second resolution, presented by Morrissey Hall senator Brian Cimons, was intended to clarify an ambiguity regarding student endorsements of candidates or tickets, specifically to prevent succession planning.Kathryn Peruski, president of Judicial Council, said the ambiguity needed to be addressed but that this specific resolution was not adequate, partially because student groups, such as the Student Union and the Student Activities Office, did not have rules outlined clearly enough. Peruski also said that the resolution in general needed to be more clear.“Judicial Council agrees this is a section that needs to be tackled,” Peruski said. “It is ambiguous and causing problems. It needs to be tackled slowly and carefully so the language is the best and that we are protecting the constitution and what is written here, and it doesn’t need to be tackled today.”The resolution was not passed, and the issue will be addressed next term.The newly-elected student senators will be sworn in for their first meeting next Wednesday.last_img read more

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Farm bill hearing

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first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaSouth Georgia farmers told congressmen in Valdosta, Ga., March 28 that the United States’ current domestic farm policy works for farmers and rural Georgia. With a few modifications, they should keep this in mind when making future policy decisions.But the farmers were told it’s going to be tough to keep things the same.”Georgia producers have been well served by the current farm bill,” said Mike Newberry, an Early County row crop farmer. “We strongly support its balanced approach to commodity, conservation, nutrition and rural development.”Newberry and five other farmers testified to eight members of the House Agricultural Committee’s subcommittee on general farm commodities and risk management. The group was there to take suggestions about the country’s next farm bill, due to Congress in 2007.”(The current farm bill) provides benefits and support in times of low prices without distorting overall planting decisions,” Newberry said.U.S. taxpayers benefit when they invest in agriculture through the farm bill, said Donald Chase, a Macon County farmer. They get an affordable, secure food supply, environmental benefits and a solid tax base for rural economies.Chase, a Georgia Peanut Commission board member, said the peanut program under the current farm bill has been a success. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture hasn’t run the program well. It sets the peanut loan repayment rate too high. Peanut farmers have lost a large part of their export market because of this.All the farmers said U.S. growers are not on an even playing field with those in countries that have cheaper input costs and labor. The current farm bill has helped keep them globally competitive.But one big unknown will influence future U.S. farm policy, said Jim Marshall, a Democratic congressman from Georgia’s 3rd District.The World Trade Organization’s “Doha round” of trade negotiations began in Doha, Qatar, in 2001 and has continued in four other cities. Its aim is to lower trade barriers between its 149-member countries, including the United States. And its focus is to provide fairer trade for developing countries.Some U.S. farm subsidies could be on the chopping block, Marshall said. Last year, Brazil and west African countries sued and won a case in WTO court against U.S. cotton subsidies that are part of the current farm bill. The next farm bill would have to gel with any agreements made in Doha.A Doha agreement will probably force farmers and Congress to come up with new ways to support U.S. agriculture in the future. But farmers are a minority in the United States, Marshall said. And the people who represent them are a minority in Washington. To have influence, U.S. agriculture will need to speak with one voice.”We’re in an era where people want an excuse to vote against spending money,” Marshall said.Wavell Robinson, a farmer from Colquitt County, said it costs him 17 percent more than last year to grow cotton due to recent spikes in fuel and fertilizer costs. The next farm bill should include a support mechanism that kicks in during a time like this.Unlike most businesses, “farmers can’t pass that cost on,” Robinson said.Bill Brim, a Tift County vegetable farmer, said Georgia farmers stay competitive through agricultural research like that done by scientists with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.He and the other farmers told the committee they must continue to support research programs, particularly those that study the use of farm crops to make biofuel.”Our future to stay competitive depends on research,” Brim said.last_img read more

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GGIA Awards

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first_imgThe Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) recently recognized University of Georgia professor John Ruter and UGA Cooperative Extension agent Keith Mickler for their service to the industry.GGIA presented Ruter with the Vivian Munday/Buck Jones Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award, the association’s most prestigious honor. The award is presented only when a deserving individual has achieved a lifetime of accomplishments and contributions to the green industry, which includes horticulture, landscaping and lawn maintenance.The Allan M. Armitage Endowed Professor for Herbaceous Plant Instruction and Introduction at UGA, Ruter teaches courses in plant breeding, plant identification and environmental issues in horticulture and serves as director of the Trial Gardens at UGA.He received a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture from California Polytechnic State University, a master’s degree in ornamental horticulture and landscape design from the University of Tennessee and a doctorate in horticultural science from the University of Florida.Ruter joined UGA in 2012 as the nursery crop research and Extension specialist at the UGA Tifton Campus, where he also chaired the Coastal Plain Research Arboretum.His research focused on container production systems and plant nutrition. Ruter solved the mouse ear disorder on river birch, which led to nickel’s recognition as an essential plant micronutrient. His research on copper deficiency as the cause of little-leaf disorder of loropetalum has had a multimillion-dollar impact on the nursery industry.Ruter co-authored the textbook “Introduction to Horticulture,” which is now in its fifth edition, and “Landscaping with Conifers and Ginkgo for the Southeast,” which won a literary award from the Garden Writers Association of Georgia.His awards and honors include the Garden Clubs of Georgia Award of Merit, GGIA’s Educator of the Year Award, the Southern Nursery Association’s Porter Henegar Memorial Award and the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, given by UGA. Ruter is also a graduate of the national LEAD21 agricultural leadership program and recently served as Southeast Region president of the American Conifer Society.GGIA awarded the 2017 Communicator of the Year Award to Keith Mickler, Floyd County Extension coordinator. This award honors an individual who best serves the horticulture industry in Georgia through the media and other forms of promotion.Mickler started his Extension career in 1994 with University of Florida Extension in Panama City, and in late 1998, he joined UGA Extension in Cairo, Georgia. Currently, Mickler works out of the UGA Extension office in Floyd County as the county coordinator and Agriculture and Natural Resources agent.He was recognized by the Floyd County Board of Commissioners for solving agricultural and horticultural problems in a timely manner; conducting many best management practices, integrated pest management and pesticide safety educational programs; and providing entomological, pathological, physiological, soil and water analyses for area growers, according to a news release from the board.“A testament to his service to the industry, he is recognized and appreciated beyond the boundaries of his district,” said GGIA Executive Director Chris Butts. “He lends his talents at industry functions across the state and goes above and beyond the call of duty as an agent. To growers and gardeners from all corners of Georgia, Mickler is well-known for his contributions and his commitment to communicating the good news about the green industry.”last_img read more

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Pomerleau Announces New Property Management Client

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first_imgPomerleau Real Estate, a Commercial Development, Property Management and Commercial Brokerage firm in Vermont, is pleased to announce their appointment as Property Manager for Kilburn & Gates Industries, Kilburn Street, Burlington, VT. Pomerleau’s Property Management takes the hassle out of being a commercial property owner. They currently manage office, industrial, multi-family and shopping center properties. Their experience, attention to detail and expertise can make your property ownership more profitable and seamless. Call Brian Waxler at 802/863-8217, ext. 22 for an estimate on your property.last_img

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Prominent Asheville Climber Dies in Rappelling Accident

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first_imgKayah Gaydish, a champion of the outdoors and expert rock climber from Asheville, North Carolina, died Sunday after a 50-foot fall from a cliff in the Hidden Valley Lake area of Washington County, Virginia.According to a statement released by the Washington County sheriff’s office, the accident occurred around 4 p.m.“At approximately 4:15 PM, Sunday, December 20, 2015, Washington County Central Dispatch was advised of a rock climbing accident that occurred in the Hidden Valley wildlife management area of the county,” the statement reads. “Initial information received was that a female had fallen approximately 50-feet from a rock cliff during a repelling outing. Friends attempted to resuscitate the victim without success. She was pronounced dead at the scene.”In addition to her love for rock climbing, Gaydish, who was 36-years-old, was a tireless advocate for conservation efforts in Western North Carolina. As a Linville Gorge Wilderness Ranger for a conservation organization called Wild South, she put in many grueling hours locating and removing invasive plants from the famed wilderness area. She also served as a board secretary for the Carolina Cilmber’s Coalition.12391100_10153310577642965_6359501161734564231_nPhoto Courtesy of the Carolina Climbers Coalition“Kayah was someone who could always be counted on for a peaceful smile and gentle encouragement that came from a place of deep passion for the outdoors and her commitment to experience the joy of the wild with everyone she met,” said former Wild South Executive Director Ben Prater in a note posted to the Wild South Facebook page. “If you were fortunate to spend time outside with Kayah then you will know how cherished these memories are. Hold these memories dear and your loved ones close. Kayah will be forever missed and loved always.”Gaydish is survived by her two children, Caleb and River. To donate to Kayah’s memorial fund click here.last_img read more

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Big Changes Are In The Air As Developers Shift Their Focus on Long Island

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first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The development winds are shifting across Long Island. Have you felt them?From Elmont to Montauk, municipalities are embracing concepts that, if introduced with a straight face 10 or 20 years ago to a town or local zoning board would have been laughed at. In downtown areas, transit-oriented apartments are sprouting as policymakers scramble to create areas that millennials are supposedly demanding.  In the past, suburbia flat out rejected such “urban” amenities, with fierce, resident-driven opposition fueling the NIMBY flames.This new normal in regional trends has resonated here with policymakers jumping onboard as quickly as developers can request zoning variances.Suburbia is being transformed—and this transformation is on a regional scale but it is being locally implemented, and it’s being driven by the very industry that puts shovels in the ground.The popular narrative, however, would have you thinking otherwise.In Islip, Heartland, Jerry Wolkoff’s mega project that casts a vast shadow over all the other proposals on LI, is essentially is a done deal as local politicians scramble to make the accommodations necessary for it to be built. As reported by the Long-Islander, Heartland Town Square, with its 9,000 residential units and 1 million sq. ft. of retail space, will “help usher Long Island into the 21st century and help end the flight of young and old from Long Island.”With the goal of coordinating the municipal development efforts at TRITEC Real Estate’s Ronkonkoma Hub, the towns of Islip and Brookhaven have forged a “regional alliance,” enabling the ambitious project to gain considerable momentum by securing and pursuing financing via local, state and federal governments.To create Wyandanch Rising, investment at the hamlet’s LIRR station has spanned more than a decade, and new apartments and parking facilities are finally starting to take off at the juncture of Straight Path and Long Island Avenue. This economically troubled area has struggled to find an identity, but thanks to the concept of “Smart Growth connectivity” and developer wherewithal, Wyandanch is poised to be the next Patchogue.Nassau County has felt the winds blowing as well. The Hempstead Hub, the site of the dearly departed Islanders and empty acres of asphalt, will supposedly get a new biotech complex, parking structures and recreational facilities that will breathe new life into the drab area.From a bully pulpit of self-proclaimed Smart Growth activism, nonprofit development groups and developer think-tanks claim that these accomplishments are all due to a hyper-local approach that has roots in resident-based planning, but in reality, these efforts are anything but.When municipalities across a large geographic area all seem to follow the same transit-oriented template, with the goal of linking to interconnected transit upgrades, and when the discussion and analysis of these projects is dominated by their vested interests and stakeholders, something bigger is at play than community charrettes.In recent years, the line between regional planning and local development has blurred. If anything, now they are one and the same. Developers, battered after the recession tanked the Island’s single-family residential market (limited vacant land also contributed to it), have shifted toward building multifamily, mixed-use projects. The local political climate was amenable, rewarding variances to any developer who proposed anything remotely within the loose, unstandardized Smart Growth template.The transformation of Long Island’s suburbia is indeed happening. But just because shovels are being placed in the ground, it doesn’t mean it can be called progress.At Islip’s Heartland, not all is as rosy as its supporters claim. The massive project is moving ahead, despite residents’ concerns about its monumental density and the ability of local roads and highways to handle increased traffic volume. From municipal officials come half-hearted protests regarding the project’s construction phasing and final density upon completion. Despite these legitimate questions, the project has cleared significant hurdles from the Town of Islip and awaits final approval. Local, folksy planning isn’t spurred by developer dollars and town board indifference.In Brookhaven, it’s almost the same story. TRITEC’s Ronkonkoma Hub got its genesis not with area residents writing what they wanted on a whiteboard, but with the 1988 electrification of the main line of the Long Island Rail Road. At the time, planners saw opportunity at the Ronkonkoma site, but lacked the political will and the private investment dollars to do much with it. As the MTA looks to build the much lauded double track between the project site and Farmingdale, it is clear that, in Ronkonkoma, progress is anything but local.From a planning standpoint, this Hub is one of the best opportunities for true intermodal connectivity that could link trains, planes, automobiles and buses. Execution is different from theory, and it will be interesting to see if the occupancy rate of the residential and commercial pieces of the project will reflect the hype (and multi-tiered fiscal support) that surrounds the development.Piles of press releases aside, Wyandanch has indeed risen, but only time will tell if the project spurs a renaissance. The community is resilient, and private investment in the area should be celebrated. But it is up to both Suffolk County and the Town of Babylon to make sure progress continues once the construction stops. This one investment will not correct years of neglect. The success of the project hinges on more than just a few new apartments and a shiny parking garage.As for Nassau County’s hub, the vision is indeed grand, but the fiscal realities are overwhelmingly dire. At least when the winds are blowing favorably in Suffolk County, developers can afford to translate the breeze into tangible results. In Nassau, the taint of corruption and insolvency seems to loom over every developmental effort–a true shame for one of the wealthiest suburbs in the nation.The currents of change are in motion—but the driving forces behind them aren’t as local as advocates so readily insist. Developers, the think tanks they establish, as well as the non-profit groups they serve as board members and funders, dominate the regional discussion about Long Island’s development track.It’s up to residents and objective policymakers to ask who, exactly, is generating the hot air making the winds blow—and what is being blown away.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.last_img read more

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