Latest News New York USA

Suffolk County rolls out virtual traffic court

Suffolk County rolled out a new way for drivers to resolve their traffic tickets with its virtual plea bargain system.

Officials with the Traffic and Parking Violations Agency say if you get a moving violation, like a parking or red-light ticket, you don’t have to come in person to traffic court to settle it.

According to the county, you log on to the TPLEAS website, plead guilty or not guilty, have a prosecutor review your case or pay your fine. County officials say you never have to step foot inside a courtroom.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “It is no secret that having to appear in-person at TPVA can be a real hurdle for many drivers. This new program provides yet another option for drivers to resolve their cases without having to take time off from work, arrange for child care, or miss school.”

County officials say there is a judge to make decisions about your case, just the same as if you were in court.

However, if you decide to reject a plea bargain then you will be scheduled for a trial in-person at traffic court.

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Latest News USA

BAPS Charities organizes COVID-19 vaccination drive in LI

Melville, NY: As the country takes steps towards distributing COVID vaccines to the population, many communities throughout the United States are either uninformed or misinformed about the process and effectiveness of being vaccinated.

BAPS Charities organized a COVID-19 vaccination drive in Melville, New York on March 5, 2021, in collaboration with the State of New York COVID-19 Task Force and Stony Brook University Hospital benefitting 240 participants.

While the hospital staff handled the registration of individuals, administration of the vaccination and post-vaccination care, BAPS Charities played an essential role in ensuring that the vaccine’s beneficiaries had a safe and smooth experience.  In particular, the volunteers assisted in providing safe flow and translation services.  On average, the onsite process lasted less than 30 minutes.

Before the vaccination, BAPS Charities provided education by a grassroots telephone campaign and through local media on the vaccination’s necessity and safety.

Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive, said, “BAPS Charities is doing an important aspect of the process of vaccination. Through such vaccination sites, we are reaching parts of the community that may not be getting access.”
Members of US Representative Thomas Suozzi’s office presented a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition on behalf of the Congressman to BAPS Charities for hosting the vaccination drive. New York State Assemblyman Steven H. Stern (10th Dist.) and Chad A. Lupinacci, Town Supervisor for Huntington Township, visited the vaccination drive and expressed their appreciation and gratitude on behalf of their constituents.

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Latest News USA

Suffolk County launches ‘Take Your Shot’ campaign

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and other local officials launched the county’s “Take Your Shot” campaign on Tuesday in Brentwood. Residents were asked to receive the coronavirus vaccine and encourage others to #TakeYourShot against COVID-19 as positive cases and deaths are on the rise.

A second wave of the virus has hit Long Island, Bellone said. The surge has resulted in hospitalizations and deaths, according to statistics Bellone provided at his news conference.

November began with 42 people hospitalized in Suffolk County. As of Tuesday, there are more than 550 people in hospitals, Bellone said.

In November, 35 Suffolk County residents died of COVID-19, Bellone said; more than the combined total of August, September and October. In December, more than 120 Suffolk residents died due to the coronavirus, according to Bellone.

The surge comes as Christmas and New Year are around the corner, Bellone noted.

“These are, of course, major celebrations with friends and family,” he said. “Contact tracing revealed that the spread of the coronavirus is happening “mostly” through small gatherings, Bellone said. 

“During this holiday season, during this Christmas season, we have hope, and it is in the form of a vaccine that is now here, on the ground, and being administered to health care workers and nursing home residents,” he said.

The vaccine has already hit hospitals and nursing homes. Next, it is planned to go to first responders such as police and EMS. From there, it will go to the most vulnerable before it hits the general population, Bellone said.

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Latest News New York

Outdoor dining allowed in Phase II of New York opening

Albany, NY: Outdoor dining will be permitted in Phase 2 of New York’s reopening plan for exiting the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday, giving a boost to restaurant owners desperate to restart after months of a crippling shutdown.

The move means restaurants on Long Island may be able to start offering outdoor dining as soon as next week, when Nassau and Suffolk hope they will qualify to enter the next phase. 

The prospect of returning chefs to kitchens, bringing back waitstaff and serving customers was a ray of hope for many business owners struggling to hold on through much uncertainty.

“We’re feeling a combination of first-day-of-school jitters and just a huge amount of relief,” said Frank Antonetti, co-owner of The Rust & Gold in Huntington. “The hope of this day is what kept us going during the toughest days of quarantine.”

He managed to keep 60% of his small staff with curbside pickup, takeout and delivery, but said it hasn’t been easy. There will be much to work out in the days ahead, Antonetti said, “But now that this day is here, any problem that comes along with it in my book is an easy one.”

Officials throughout Long Island welcomed the decision, reported Newsday.

“This will help boost the recovery of our restaurants and Main Street communities we cherish,” said Nassau Executive Laura Curran. “And in Nassau County, we are prepared to maximize this opportunity with a program to fast-track road closures in our downtowns, encouraging creative ways for shops and restaurants to safely expand.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone called the action “very good news.”

Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, who was among Long Island officials lobbying Cuomo to fast-track outdoor dining, said the governor’s action “will greatly help the restaurants,” though he wants more details about requirements for masks and social distancing.

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