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Looking Back: Blizzard, Election and Schools

Patch looks back at some of the top stories of the year.

Students enter the Jack Abrams STEM school, greeted by U.S. Rep. Steve Israel and School Superintendent James Polansky. Photo Credit: Pam Robinson
Students enter the Jack Abrams STEM school, greeted by U.S. Rep. Steve Israel and School Superintendent James Polansky. Photo Credit: Pam Robinson
Politics, schools and business topped the news in Huntington in 2013. Among the stories:

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone won re-election in November, edging out challenger Gene Cook by fewer than 600 votes. Cook will remain on the Town Board, but Republican member Mark Mayoka lost his position to Tracey Edwards and said he would retire from politics. Mark Cuthbertson was the top vote getter, retaining his seats on the Town Board. Meantime, Pete Gunther defeated long-serving highway superintendent William Naughton, who took the brunt of voters' complaints about Sandy and blizzard cleanup efforts.

The February blizzard, which piled 29 inches of snow on top of sheets of ice, shut down schools for a day and led to another blizzard, one of complaints. Nassau County and the state sent snowplows to the area to assist.  Before the storm, many residents had the shortages caused by Sandy in mind, and rushed to stores and gas stations to stock up.

Huntington and South Huntington school districts took major steps to strengthen their STEM programs. South Huntington celebrated its designation by the Long Island STEM Hub as the first middle school STEM career academy. A robot, business leaders, educators, scientists and hundreds of students, along with Teq's Nao robot, participated in the May celebration.  In September, Huntington reopened a closed school building, rechristening it the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School, with primary students, selected by lottery, taking classes infused with lessons in science, technology, math and engineering. 

Avalon Huntington Station construction got underway. Long opposed by many people in the Huntington Station neighborhood, the development was backed by a coalition of organizations favoring affordable apartments. The East Fifth Street project has 379 units. 

Renaissance Downtowns' proposals for redeveloping Huntington Station won approval from the Town Board. The revitalization map covers from High Street south to 11th Street along New York Avenue. Plans call for a hotel, mixed-use properties, a cleaners and other commercial and residential uses. The goal is to bring back a community targeted for urban renewal in the 1960s where commercial properties were torn down but not rebuilt. 

Walt Whitman Shops celebrated its expansion in October and dedicated a statue of its namesake. The expansion included numerous new stores in the mall and the addition of several outward-facing shops and restaurants on the west side of the mall.  

Target opened in October on the site of the former Huntington Town House Target opened its doors Tuesday to the sound of the Walt Whitman band, an in-store drummer, a dancing dog mascot and the applause of employees, town and education representatives and newly minted customers. 

Town officials joined in a groundbreaking in October for The Club at Melville, a 261-unit income-restricted senior community. The groundbreaking came two days after town officials attended a bricklaying the Hindu organization Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam-Northeast conducted for a temple it is building adjacent to The Club. 

LIPA remained locked in a battle with Huntington and other communities over its tax assessment. The Town of Huntington asked the Long Island Power Authority for an extension to consider a deal in which the power authority would drop its tax challenges in exchange for reducing its payments to the district over 10 years. Gov. Cuomo had attempted to broker a deal but none of the municipalities or boards accepted it by the Oct. 20 deadline. The next step could be a courtroom.

Also in 2013:
The best of the Huntington blogs this year.
The February blizzard
Those we lost 
Fires claimed lives

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