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Business Expansions and Contractions - Long Island Region April 2013

Business Expansions and Openings

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When Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza restaurant celebrated its Commack (Suffolk) grand opening on April 10, the 3,500-square-foot space in the Peppertree Commons Shopping Center at 6401 Jericho Turnpike marked the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based chain's fourth Long Island location.  The restaurant has three more locations poised to open soon in Bohemia (Suffolk), Great Neck and Greenvale (both Nassau). Anthony's is also currently seeking prime sites in several areas, including Bay Shore, Smithtown and Hauppauge (all Suffolk).  The average Anthony's restaurant seats between 80 and 100 people and employs about 40.  (LI Business News - April 11, 2013)

(Update) Nassau County is to consider granting a 20-year property tax break for the $28 million first phase of a mixed-use, transit-oriented development planned in downtown Farmingdale (Nassau).  If approved by the county's industrial development agency, developers of Bartone Plaza would make payments of about $166,000 in the first year, with the amounts increasing to about $1.4 million in the 20th year, for the first phase. Its groundbreaking is set for late May or early June.  The deal, called a PILOT, or payments in lieu of taxes, was to be considered by the county's industrial development agency Thursday night, but the decision was postponed until the agency's April 25 meeting.

Bartone Properties of Farmingdale (Nassau) has partnered with TDI, of Irving, Texas, to develop 115 apartments and 13,200 square feet of retail space near the Long Island Rail Road station. The firm is to build a smaller accompanying mixed-use structure across the street with 6,200 square feet of retail space and 39 apartments.

Bartone said developers have applied for a PILOT for phase two, the smaller building, which received village approval earlier this month. The entire complex is expected to create 178 construction jobs and 55 permanent jobs.  (Newsday - April 12, 2013)

The owner of five Long Island 7-Elevens and his six partners have agreed to assume the lease for the recently shuttered Middle Bay Country Club in Oceanside (Nassau), committing up to $4 million for the Sandy-damaged golf course.  Khan said he expects the club will reopen in four weeks as South Bay Country Club of Oceanside , the club's name prior to be rebranded as Middle Bay.  Work on a reconstructed restaurant/catering hall to be used for weddings, parties and corporate events will follow, with the entire country club expected to be operational by September.  (LI Business News - April 10, 2013)

(Update) The U.S. Postal Service says it will delay plans to cut Saturday mail delivery because Congress isn't allowing the change.  The Postal Service said in February that it planned to cut back in August to five-day-a-week deliveries for everything except packages, as a way to hold down losses.  But a statement Wednesday from agency's Board of Governors notes that Congress has passed a spending bill that continues the long-time prohibition against reducing delivery days.  As a result, the board says it believe that Congress "has left it with no choice but to delay implementation" of the five-day-a-week plan.  (LI Business News - April 10, 2013)

State officials awarded contracts to install 360 electric vehicle charging stations around the state, including an unspecified number of chargers on Long Island.  The largest contract, for $1 million, went to Leviton Manufacturing Co. of Melville (Suffolk) to set up 82 charging stations at multiple workplace locations around the state. The company said most of the stations will be installed on Long Island at workplaces, hospitals and schools. 

Another contract, for $300,000, went to Beam Charging LLC of Roslyn (Nassau) for stations at locations in upper Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island. The stations will be located in public parking garages and parking lots. Beam executives didn't immediately return a call but the company website says it operates the most extensive network of electric vehicle charging stations in New York City. 

A third contract, for $200,000, went to the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition , a nonprofit group based in Stony Brook (Suffolk). The group's coordinator, Rita Ebert, said it would purchase 10 stations, each capable of charging two cars simultaneously, and have them installed between now and June at multifamily housing complexes yet to be selected. Recharging at the stations will take about four hours, she said. Not yet determined is how motorists will pay for the electricity.

A total of 522 electric cars were registered on Long Island in 2011, according to an analysis done for Newsday by R.L. Polk & Co. There were another 20,982 gasoline-electric hybrids, most of which do not have to be plugged in for recharging.  The contracts awarded on Thursday by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are part of an effort to create a statewide network of 3,000 public and workplace charging stations in the state over the next five years.  (Newsday - April 12, 2013) 

North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is spending $175 million over the next few years to expand its cancer services, it announced on April 11.  About $67 million of that money is already being spent to expand the health system's Center for Advanced Medicine in Lake Success (Nassau). About 61,150 square feet are being redeveloped next to the Monter Cancer Center . Much of it will be home for ambulatory hematology/oncology and chemotherapy treatment services for North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center .  Radiation medicine and surgical, gynecologic and neuro-oncology services now delivered at LIJ and North Shore will be relocated to the center, where nearly 50,000 square feet of space will be used for three linear accelerators, a gamma knife, stereotactic radiation and brachytherapy services, the health system said.

Other investments include establishing a cancer center in Bay Shore (Suffolk) that will offer imaging, radiation medicine, and medical and surgical oncology; buying a medical oncology practice in Greenlawn (Suffolk); upgrading radiation therapy services at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, including the purchase of external-beam and new high-dose radiation systems; and expanding the Nalitt Institute for Cancer and Blood-Related Diseases on the campus of Staten Island University Hospital North.  The health system said it has signed on about 150 physician members throughout the metropolitan area in 20 cancer specialties.  (Newsday - April 12, 2013)  island-jewish-health-system-spending-175-million-to-expand-cancer-care-1.5059694

These days the franchised we-haul sector is as crowded as the attics and basement rooms the firms are hired to empty.  Launched 25 years ago by a Canadian college student with loans coming due, the modern trash-and-carry business has grown from one firm - 1-800-Got-Junk? - to dozens of franchised success stories like Junk Genius, Mr. Rubbish, Bagster and College Hunks Hauling Junk.  The field's latest entrant: Junkluggers of Long Island .  How to distinguish yourself in the crowd? Junkluggers is going the green route, promising to recycle or donate the largest percentage possible of your unwanted stuff.  Founder Cohen is seeking Junk-luggers franchisees for territories in Suffolk and Queens counties. The ideal candidate, he said, is an operator, not just an owner.  (LI Business News - April 9, 2013)

Fusion Health & Fitness gym , originally scheduled to open on Oct. 29, was the day superstorm Sandy struck, has finally opened in Long Beach (Nassau).  The owner estimates that about 40 percent of the potential customers in his area still aren't back in their homes.  (Newsday - April 7, 2013)

North Fork (Suffolk) levees damaged by Hurricane Sandy are slated for repair following pushes from senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.  The 4.5 miles worth of levees were integral pieces of infrastructure that protected five farms from salt water flooding.  The levees were severely breached in several spots along the Peconic Bay, leaving the adjacent 700 acres of farmland vulnerable to flooding.  Suffolk County applied for Emergency Watershed Protection funds to repair the damaged levees - estimated at a cost of $1.7 million - but would not have been eligible because U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines suggest funds only be used for freshwater projects.  Schumer and GIllibrand urged the USDA to grant a waiver, which was approved. The EWP funds will now fund 75 percent of the levees' repair costs.  The five farms affected by the breach include Salt Air Farm, Latham Farm, Driftwood Farm, Terry Farm and Wickham Fruit Farm . (LI Business News - April 10, 2013)

George and Olga Tsunis have donated $1.25 million to Stony Brook University to create a center for Hellenic studies .  The school said the gift, the biggest in its efforts to create a Hellenic studies program, is being matched by funds from the Simons Foundation, resulting in a $2.5 million donation.  Stony Brook plans to create the George and Olga Tsunis Center in Hellenic Studies and The James and Eleni Tsunis Chair in Hellenic Studies at Stony Brook University, in honor of Tsunis' parents, who immigrated to the United States.  The school said it received another $500,000 in smaller donations it will also use to enhance course offerings in Greek language and culture and create a baccalaureate degree and graduate program in Hellenic studies.  (LI Business News - April 10, 2013)

Empire BlueCross BlueShield and the East End Health Alliance have agreed to a new contract, giving Empire's commercial, Medicare and Child Health Plus members' in-network access to hospitals.  The Alliance, the biggest provider of service on the north and south forks, includes Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, and Southampton Hospital in Southampton (all Suffolk).  Empire BlueCross BlueShield is the largest health insurer in New York supporting nearly six million members and more than 38,000 business, union and small employers in New York.  (LI Business News - April 9, 2013)

In the latest sign of health care's seismic shift from the traditional, a Long Island care group has opened what's being touted as the nation's first big-box wellness clinic run by nurse practitioners - in a Farmingville (Suffolk) Kmart, c alled Nightingale Preventative Care.  To launch the effort, Scharf-Ehrenfeld partnered with other Long Island nurse practitioners and Farmingdale-based AccuLease, a veteran funding specialist for the medical trade. Now, instead of the traditional Little Caesar's pizza concession, Kmart shoppers in Farmingville encounter a 1,200-square-foot space that offers physicals, vaccinations, prenatal care and a variety of other health services for children and adults.

Nightingale employs a staff of 13 and has collaborating physicians on call for emergencies. The center sports three examining rooms, a separate space for vaccinations and a reception area.  Scharf-Ehrenfeld and her partners lease the space from Kmart, which has no ownership interest. But the benefits to both landlord and tenant are obvious. Nightingale's patients can fill prescriptions at Kmart's.  in-store pharmacy and do a little shopping before and after appointments. The Nightingale staff, meanwhile, can count on a steady flow of shoppers as potential clients.  The roll-out plan calls for three centers to open in Long Island Kmarts this year and another three by the end of 2014. Stores next in line for Nightingale locations include Riverhead, Bohemia and Huntington.  (LI Business News - April 5, 2013)

Suffolk County has announced it will begin accepting applications Friday at 4 p.m. for a new $30 million competitive grant and loan program for sewer infrastructure expansion projects.  The $30 million in funding will be made available through Suffolk's Asset Stabilization Reserve Fund for construction-ready municipal and private sewer infrastructure expansion projects.  Submitted projects - done via the county's website - will be evaluated by the Suffolk County Sewer Infrastructure Committee by how quickly the project can start, the applicant's access to capital, how much it will improve the quality of drinking water and how little it will affect environmentally sensitive natural habitats.  The deadline for submitting applications to the sewer grant and loan program is June 4.  (LI Business News - April 5, 2013)

(Update) Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone appears close to having the legislative votes he needs for approval of a deal that would keep the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility open by leasing it to private operators, but some skeptics remain.  If unionized nursing home workers ratify a pact on April 9 guaranteeing their current wages and benefits for 18 months after privatization, the issue could move to the legislature by its April 23 meeting.  Bellone would need 12 of 18 votes, and a survey Thursday showed that enough lawmakers who opposed his previous effort to sell the home may come around. The $23 million sale was approved 10-7 last fall, with GOP Legis. Edward P. Romaine recusing himself.

Suffolk is facing a $250 million deficit through the end of 2014, and the lease would end the county's responsibility for an annual subsidy of about $12 million that is necessary to keep the 264-bed home in Yaphank operating.

Bellone, a Democrat, needs 12 votes for the lease because the arrangement would be presented as an emergency measure that bypasses the legislative committee process. For the lease to go through, plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the sale also would have to agree to drop their legal action, and a state health panel would have to approve the deal. (Newsday - April 5, 2013)

A $10-million factory to make generic drugs is being planned for Hauppauge (Suffolk), officials said.  ScieGen Pharmaceuticals Inc. wants to convert 89 Arkay Dr. into its first plant, in anticipation of federal approval of medicines developed since the company started in 2009. One hundred jobs would be created over two years.  ScieGen is the latest drug company to pursue expansion on Long Island. In the past year eight others have announced plans to hire 834 people. As a group, the companies employ 5,135 locally.

Last week, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency backed ScieGen's proposed 79,000-square-foot factory with $624,824 in tax breaks. Much of the savings, $496,573, will come from a reduction in property taxes over 10 years, and $86,251 off the sales tax on the purchase of building materials and equipment.  Empire State Development Corp. awarded the project $2.4 million in state tax credits in December 2011.  The drug factory, to open in the fall of 2015, will be located in what now is the headquarters of Vicon Industries Inc., a manufacturer of surveillance cameras. Vicon, according to IDA records, plans to move to a smaller building.  Workers at the ScieGen plant will earn, on average, $37,000 per year, records show. Those at the headquarters and laboratory are paid $47,272 on average.

Separately, the IDA's board of directors gave preliminary approval to an aid package for SolarCity Corp ., a California company that wants to open a regional office and warehouse in Hauppauge by summer.  SolarCity specializes in the installation of solar power systems; it already has offices in Albany and in the Westchester County community of Elmsford. The public company expects to employ 80 people on Long Island within two years.  (Newsday - April 4, 2013)

At the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station (Suffolk), formerly known as Walt Whitman Mall, a plan years in the making is finally coming to life.  The plan, which includes adding up to 30 new stores and at least three new restaurants in 2013, will give the mall an outdoor and indoor presence and a downtown shopping feel.  The shopping center will extend 40 feet outward from where it currently stands and will include a pedestrian walkway and a new row of shops and eateries facing Route 110. 

The row will include Italian restaurant Brio Tuscan Grille , which will have outdoor seating, Chinese restaurant P.F. Chang's, which will have patio seating looking out at the mall, Cups Frozen Yogurt and upscale burger and wine spot Zinburger . In between will be a Brooks Brothers flagship store, a two-level Urban Outfitters , Carhartt and a Pottery Barn that will sell Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm (the only location on Long Island to carry the full line of products).

The mall will be reorganized, putting core stores together on one end and clustering contemporary and upscale stores on the other. Some leasing is still in the works, but confirmed newcomers are furniture company LoveSac, opening this spring, C. Wonder, Kate Spade New York, Lululemon and Hugo Boss, opening this summer, and Lucky Brand Jeans opening this fall. Starbucks will expand from a kiosk into its own storefront with a larger menu.  There will be more parking, new lighting structures including a chandelier in center court, a statue of poet Walt Whitman welcoming shoppers, new seating and indoor and outdoor landscaping.  (Newsday - April 4, 2013)

The Suffolk County Planning Commission unanimously approved a site plan that calls for razing three retail buildings -- totaling 96,034 square feet and once making up the Bellport Outlet Center -- and constructing a BJ's Wholesale Club .

The county planning staff found the proposal "will rehabilitate a derelict site" and be a "positive economic development component" for the area. The staff, however, recommended that developers consider adding a bus shelter and improve the timing of traffic lights on Station Road at intersections leading to on- and off-ramps to Sunrise Highway.

The property already is zoned for retail but the Brookhaven planning board must approve the site plan. Sloane said the proposal also needs several variances that he hopes will come up before the town zoning board in May and then the planning board in June. The county planning commission has a say on the project because it is located within 500 feet of a state road, Sunrise Highway.  Sloane said developers would like to begin construction this fall and open by next summer. (Newsday - April 4, 2013)

AMC Networks Inc. , owner of AMC, IFC, Sundance and other cable television channels, plans $20 million in improvements to its operations center in Bethpage (Nassau), officials said on April 2.  In return for buying new equipment and adding two people to its local workforce of 169, the Manhattan-based company will receive utility-bill reductions from New York State for seven years.

Locally, 112 companies so far will benefit from the program over seven years.  Among the recent recipients, Select Products Holdings LLC expects to add the most jobs: 35 at a $5-million factory on Arnold Drive in Huntington. The new tissue manufacturer will receive 700 kilowatts. In December, Select Products won an eight-year, $238,000-incentive package from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, which primarily involved cutting property taxes.

The other businesses getting utility-bill reductions from the state are Air Stream Corp . in Oceanside, Formed Plastics Inc. in Carle Place (both Nassau), Island Pro Digital Inc . in Hauppauge and New York Label & Box Corp . in Islandia (both Suffolk).  The latter two each won $50,000 grants for worker training as part of Cuomo's regional economic development councils' statewide competition. (Newsday - April 2, 2013)

Catholic Health Services of Long Island has leased 49,000 square feet of office space at 110 Bi County Blvd. in Farmingdale (Suffolk).  The space is part of the 113,000-square-foot building leased by Bed Bath & Beyond, which is leaving Long Island for New Jersey.  The deal is expected to bring "hundreds" of jobs back to the area and provides the local economy with a boost.  Rechler Equity Partners worked with the Town of Babylon Industrial Development Agency to arrange an economic incentives package that includes a 15-year tax abatement for the health care services system.  (LI Business News - April 3, 2013)

The $40 million, 72,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of the Walt Whitman Shops in Melville (Suffolk) will introduce some national retailers and restaurants making their Long Island debuts.  Zinburger , a Phoenix-based chain that offers gourmet burgers paired with a wide selection of wines, will open its first restaurant on Long Island this summer in a 6,300-square-foot space near the entrance to Bloomingdale's.  Brio Tuscan Grille is opening its first restaurant on the Island in a 8,300-square-foot space at Walt Whitman sometime in the fall.   Carhartt , the Dearborn, Mich.-based work clothes brand, is launching its first Long Island retail location, a 4,000-square-foot store near the entrance to Bloomingdale's.  This spring, Lovesac , an alternative furniture store, makes its Long Island debut in a 939-square-foot space near Macy's.  In other changes at Walt Whitman, both Victoria's Secret and the Apple store are doubling in size.  Brookstone is getting smaller, and Starbucks , which currently operates out of a kiosk, moves to a 1,656-square-foot inline store near Saks Fifth Avenue this summer.  The Suffolk Industrial Development Agency gave Simon Malls , which operates Walt Whitman,  a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that initially shaves 50 percent off the property tax burden of the new mall addition.  The expansion project will create 200 construction jobs and about 165 permanent jobs, generating an estimated $3.5 million in sales taxes annually.  (LI Business News - April 3, 2013)

(Update) A mixed-use apartment building, part of a planned $38 million complex at the heart of Farmingdale's (Nassau) downtown revitalization plans, has received final approvals from village officials.  The 39-apartment building, which is to include 6,200 square feet of retail space, is the smaller of two matching mixed-use projects along Secatogue Avenue near the Long Island Rail Road station.  The building replaces a 85-room Hilton hotel once envisioned as the second half of the development.  Developer Anthony Bartone of Farmingdale had said it was difficult to secure financing for the hotel and has partnered with national development company TDI, of Irving, Texas, to plan a second mixed-use building.

Bartone on Monday said that in exchange for exceeding density limits set in village code, developers would improve a corner park, relocate an antique village clock to the park, bury power lines on a nearby street and install an electronic parking meter.  Developers will also pay the village cash bonuses. For the smaller, mixed-use building and a land swap with the village, that payout is $6,500 annually for years two through 10 and afterward, $5,000 annually in perpetuity, as well as a separate $15,580 regular cash incentive bonus annually for years two through 10.

Construction on the larger mixed-use building, with 115 apartments and 13,200 square feet of retail space, is to begin in late May or early June, Bartone said Tuesday. Construction on the smaller building is set to begin in September, he said.  The Bartone project is among smart-growth, transit-oriented developments Farmingdale has sought to modernize and reinvigorate its downtown area. It has been received with cautious optimism by residents, who generally applaud the project but worry about traffic and marketability.  (Newsday - April 3, 2013)

Great River (Suffolk)-based Lessing's has opened a new restaurant and catering space at Montauk Downs State Park (Suffolk).  Called 360° East , the remodeled 4,000-square-foot restaurant and ballroom overlooking the Montauk Downs golf course replaces the former Fairway East.  Lessing's Hospitality Group signed a 10-year deal with the state for the restaurant concessions contract at the park.  The new 360° East, which opened April 1, can accommodate 350 guests for a cocktail party reception or up to 225 guests for a seated dinner.  (LI Business News - April 2, 2013)

PM Pediatrics , a provider of after-hours pediatric urgent care, is gearing up to open its sixth site and third on Long Island in North Babylon (Suffolk) on April 1.  The Lake Success (Nassau)-based company said the 7,200-square-foot site with jungle-themed décor at 1130 Deer Park Ave. will be the firm's largest location to date.  Each office has an on-site digital X-ray device and a comprehensive laboratory for rapid blood, urine and chemistry tests.  Established in 2005, PM Pediatrics has been singled out as the only pediatric urgent care provider on Inc. magazine's "Inc. 500|5000" list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies in 2011 and 2012  (LI Business News - April 2, 2013)

Pennsylvania-based maker of capsulized nutritional food and supplements Protica Nutritional Research has opened an office on Main Street in Farmingdale (Nassau).  Company officials said the move allows Protica to better tap into the large New York-area market.  Protica's capsule supplements supply dense nutrition in compact liquid and food forms.  The company has targeted these ready-to-drink and ready-to-eat protein products to the nutrition-conscious, sport and fitness buffs, and those looking for healthy food alternatives.  (LI Business News - April 2, 2013)

Roof Diagnostics Inc. , a New Jersey provider of solar panel systems, will be hiring 40 new employees to staff its first Long Island office, which will open next month in Bethpage (Nassau).  The company, of Wall, N.J.,  will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Courtyard Marriott in Ronkonkoma (Suffolk).  The event will include an introductory talk on the solar industry and its potential, said company spokesman Kelcy Pegler.  The 40 job positions include panel installers, sales associates, system designers and administrators. Job seekers should bring a resume and dress for an introductory interview with hiring managers.  Pegler said Roof Diagnostics decided to open a Long Island office when demand for its services soared following a change in Long Island Power Authority's policy on rebates for homeowners who lease their solar power systems from a third party. In the past, homeowners could only receive rebates if they bought their solar systems, which was much more expensive.  Since early February, Roof Diagnostics has signed up over 100 customers on Long Island, Pegler said.  The company, which started in 1994 as a roofing business that dabbled in solar panel installations, transitioned its main focus to solar about two years ago. Roof Diagnostics' Bethpage facility will be the second location in New York, it also has offices in upstate Nanuet.  (Newsday - April 2, 2013)

The Town of Brookhaven is once again reaching out to Verizon , asking the telecommunications giant to bring its FiOS service to Long Island's geographically largest town.  The move would offer residents the opportunity for competition in telecommunications and cable services. Brookhaven residents currently only have access to Cablevision or satellite providers for television service within the town. Verizon does offer Internet and phone services within the town.

Ronkonkoma (Suffolk)-based charter flight company ExcelAire has added an Embraer Legacy 600 private jet to its fleet - the fifth jet of this kind ExcelAire now has in its employ.  The super midsized jet boasts room for up to 13 passengers, with three distinct seating areas, and other amenities including Wi-Fi service.  With this new addition, ExcelAire now has the largest fleet of Legacy jets dedicated to charter service in the United States, according to a company spokesman.  ExcelAire, which has 23 private jets, is based at Long Island MacArthur Airport.  (LI Business News - April 3, 2013)

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System has won a $3.8 million grant to operate occupational health clinics serving Nassau and Suffolk, part of a state push to help companies prevent injuries.  The Great Neck (Nassau)-based system won the five-year grant on April 1 from the state's Bureau of Occupational Health and Injury Prevention , and will use the money to launch its new Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center .  North Shore-LIJ will staff the new center with health-care providers from a New Hyde Park office and plans to hire a nurse practitioner, part-time social worker, medical assistant and other office personnel.  North Shore-LIJ has grown its "population health" operations from six to 38 programs in just three years, including programs focused on occupational medicine, epidemiology, research, prevention and wellness.  North Shore-LIJ initially hoped to establish two clinics, one in Nassau and one in Suffolk, but may ultimately choose to operate one 2,500-square-foot site.  "I don't know if we can sustain two rents," a spokeswoman said. "We may have to straddle the border."  (LI Business News - April 2, 2013)


Business Contractions and Closings

New Items

The Lindenhurst (Suffolk) School District on Monday night announced plans to eliminate as many as 100 special education aides from next year's budget.  The decision brought out dozens of aides and their supporters, who wore blue shirts to show solidarity in protest over the decision.  At the meeting, district officials announced a change in elementary special education services, moving from an inclusion model to an integrated co-teaching model. As part of this change, the district is looking to eliminate redundancy in special education aides, eliminating 65 to 100 aides at a cost savings of $845,000 to $1.3 million. The district will still adhere to aide assignments in a child's Individualized Education Program, said Superintendent Richard Nathan.  Nathan said there are 204 special education aides employed by the district, a "tremendous number" that is "out of proportion" to student needs.  (Newsday - April 11, 2013)

(Update) Suffolk County has 15 fewer child protective investigators than last year -- an 8 percent drop -- and social service advocates and union leaders are raising concerns about the potential for hampered child abuse probes.  The Department of Social Services has 169 child protective investigators compared with 184 last year, according to county figures. The reduced staff has forced the department to eliminate one Child Protective Services investigation team, creating a "very serious gap" in the investigatory system, according to legislative testimony by the department's former chief. The teams investigate child abuse claims reported to the state's child abuse hotline, which by state law must be responded to within 24 hours of the complaint being filed.

Former Suffolk County Department of Social Services Commissioner Gregory J. Blass in January disclosed the loss of 18 child and adult protective investigators who follow up on abuse and neglect complaints. The jobs, which Blass said would have been filled automatically in prior years, were among more than 600 positions that were eliminated last year to help close a multimillion-dollar county budget deficit.  (Newsday - April 8, 2013)

(Update) Nassau County's final round of hotly debated police consolidations -- merging the Baldwin-based First Precinct into the Seaford-based Seventh Precinct -- has been postponed indefinitely.  And ultimately, the merger might never happen as planned, according to department officials. Flooding to the Seventh Precinct building from superstorm Sandy has led officials to reconsider how policing on the county's South Shore should be managed.  Officials have no time frame or location in mind for a new precinct, he said, but a decision would "definitely" be no later than a year from now.  (Newsday - April 8, 2013)

UBM Tech , a business-to-business information provider whose U.S. locations include Manhasset (Nassau), said on April 11 it would lay off "under ten percent" of its 800-member nationwide workforce.  A spokeswoman at the privately held company's headquarters in San Francisco declined to disclose the number of employees now in Manhasset at an operation formerly known as CMP Technology , or to disclose the numbers of layoffs there or nationally. She said a majority of the 800 employees now employed nationwide are in San Francisco.  The layoffs are part of a company reorganization that aims to de-emphasize print products.  The parent company's website says it has 6,500 employees worldwide.  What was then CMP said in June of 2007 that it had let go 200 employees from a staff of 500 in Manhasset as it folded some of its publications into others and reduced the frequency that it printed some of its magazines.  (Newsday - April 10, 2013)  

Avon is eliminating more than 400 positions and abandoning or restructuring smaller or underperforming businesses in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, including an exit from Ireland.   The company said April 8 that the job cuts, which equate to about 1 percent of Avon's 39,100 employees, will occur across all regions and segments. It is part of a turnaround plan under chief executive Sheri McCoy, with the goal of achieving mid-single digit percentage revenue growth and $400 million in cost savings by 2016.  (Newsday - April 8, 2013)

Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Upton (Suffolk), supports 860 jobs. It attracts 1,000 visiting scientists each year. And it underpins much of the world-class research on Long Island that officials hope will someday give birth to a culture of high-tech start-up companies to reinvigorate the region's economy.  Now the fiscal battles in Washington are threatening to eviscerate the collider's $165-million annual budget. And officials fear a crucial economic engine on the Island could be obliterated like the tiny particles that race around inside the 2.4-mile tunnel. (Newsday - April 1, 2013)

Dance costume producer Art Stone/The Competitor has announced it plans to lay off 36 employees from its Smithtown (Suffolk) office as of July 1.  Art Stone/The Competitor will be relocating the 36 manufacturing jobs to the company's Georgia plant as part of a companywide consolidation effort, said Ashley Stone, Art Stone's vice president of operations.  The 36 employees affected by the consolidation have all been offered to opportunity to move to Georgia and work at the plant there, company officials said. It is unknown if anyone has taken them up on the offer.  Art Stone's Long Island location will still have 65 employees after the consolidation, and some items will continue to be manufactured here, including more of the company's specialized work and all custom costumes. In addition, the Long Island plant will manufacture the costume samples that all production is based on.  (LI Business News - April 3, 2013)

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