Government Briefs

Perry Gershon

NY To Raise Smoking Age

New York will raise its smoking age from 18 to 21 under legislation signed last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The change, which takes effect after 120 days, will apply to the sales of traditional tobacco products as well as electronic cigarettes and vaporizers.

Cuomo said too many children and teens pick up the habit from peers and elders despite an aggressive advertising campaign spanning decades outlining the many dangers. Cuomo accused tobacco companies of using marketing tactics aimed at young people.

“By raising the smoking age from 18 to 21, we can stop cigarettes and e-cigarettes from getting into the hands of young people in the first place and prevent an entire generation of New Yorkers from forming costly and potentially deadly addictions,” he said.

According to the American Cancer Society, 95 percent of all smokers begin using tobacco before age 21. Raising the smoking age to 21 — a proposal the ACS dubs “Tobacco 21” — had been a major priority for the group in New York.

“Tobacco 21 is a no-brainer,” said Julie Hart, senior government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network of New York.

Sixteen states have approved raising the smoking age to 21, though in some the changes won’t take effect until later in 2019 or in coming years.

In addition, hundreds of local communities around the nation have made the move to 21. In New York state they include New York City, Long Island, Albany, and a dozen counties.

Thiele On SANS Preservation

For Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who was born and raised in Sag Harbor, adding a Sag Harbor neighborhood to the Historic Register is especially exciting: he played there as a youngster.

“I am thrilled that the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation approved the inclusion of the Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest, and Ninevah Subdivisions in Sag Harbor, collectively known as ‘SANS,’ on the National Register of Historic Places. It appropriately follows the inclusion of these communities on the State Register of Historic Places,” Thiele said.

“I congratulate Renee Simons, president of SANS, and Georgette Grier-Key, director of the Eastville Community Historical Society, along with many community volunteers, who worked diligently to ensure this treasured neighborhood remains protected,” Thiele added.

These three historically African American communities date back to the 1940s and are linked to a critical time of civil justice and social change in America. This was at a time when people of color faced widespread racial segregation, violence, and discrimination that prevented them from accessing beaches and resorts across the country.

This tightknit enclave was established as a refuge during the late Jim Crow era, turning into a popular African American leisure destination and a bastion of the burgeoning civil rights movement. Several prominent black leaders and professionals became homeowners in the community, including Roscoe Brown, a decorated Tuskegee Airmen pilot, and Edward Dudley, a New York State Supreme Court Justice and the first African American appointed to serve as a U.S. ambassador.

Providing SANS with a historic preservation designation safeguards a rich and important part of history within the Sag Harbor community and beyond.

Dean To Support Gershon

Gov. Howard Dean is the special guest at a North Fork fundraiser for Perry Gershon, a Democrat running for Congress.

For those interested in attending the Tuesday, August 6, event, RSVP at

New Health Center Approved

The Kraus Family Health Center at Southampton, part of the Hudson River Health Care system, was one of eight Suffolk County centers supported under a consolidated contract that was approved. It’s the only center of the eight on the East End.

All eight centers will receive subsidies that will allow them to continue delivering full life cycle primary, preventative, behavioral, and oral healthcare. “The Kraus Family Health Center in Southampton is vitally important to the welfare of residents in our district,” stated Legislator Bridget Fleming. “I am pleased the County can continue to support this program, which provides essential health care services to the community.”

Raacke Appointed To CCA Task Force

Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, has been appointed to the Community Choice Aggregation Task Force. The CCA Task Force was established earlier this year to examine the feasibility of utilizing Community Choice Aggregation as an energy procurement strategy in Suffolk County, in order to explore cost savings and an increased reliance on renewable energy sources throughout Suffolk County.

The CCA Task Force will meet four times and provide a report after a comprehensive study on the issues related to establishing CCAs within municipalities of Suffolk County. The Task Force will focus on the feasibility of establishing CCA in Suffolk County, evaluating the CCA establishment process, and recommending action for the county.

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