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Smithtown buys electric cars, offers free charges to public



self driving car

Smithtown will take delivery of two all-electric cars in coming weeks and will install a vehicle charger behind Town Hall by early summer, providing free charges to electric vehicle drivers for at least two years, officials said.

“The town plays a role in showcasing alternative technologies and showing the viability of some of these things,” said Russell Barnett, director of the town Department of Environment and Waterways. “This is part of a worldwide trend — things are going electric.”

The Chevrolet Bolts cost about $550 per year to power and consume 28 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, according to, a federal fuel economy website. Chevrolet claims the Bolt can travel 238 miles per charge.

One vehicle will be reserved for Department of Environment and Waterways employees, who already use a hybrid vehicle to perform site inspections, tree surveys and to get to meetings around Long Island. The other will be used by other Town Hall staffers.

Barnett said he expected the town would save money on fuel and maintenance. Electric vehicles don’t require oil changes, for example, because they don’t use engine oil.

The $68,000 purchase price for both cars and $20,000 charger installation cost will be partially offset by $26,000 from a state zero-emission rebate program, and the purchases will be fully funded by a $250,000 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant the town won in 2016 for its clean energy work.

Barnett said the charger, capable of charging two vehicles at once, will be one of the first in a Suffolk County downtown. While electric vehicles will charge off a standard household outlet, or Level 1 charger, the process can be time-consuming; the town’s Level 2 charger will charge most electric vehicles in about four hours.

Nationally, municipalities including New York City already allow, incentivize or even require electric vehicle supply equipment. Smithtown may follow if the comprehensive plan now being written includes recommendations for code changes, but officials will likely move cautiously on legislation for “constantly evolving technology,” town spokeswoman Nicole Garguilo said.
More than 40 local governments in the state — including eight on Long Island — operate more than 600 plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles, an NYSERDA spokeswoman said.

Smithtown was an early adopter of electric and the broader category of alternative fuel vehicles, experimenting with a $300,000, LIPA-owned electric van in 2003. That vehicle, used by the town’s traffic safety department, traveled about 20 miles per charge and needed special charging facilities, Barnett said.

The town in the early 2000s rolled out GEM vehicles — low-speed electric vehicles resembling golf carts — at Long Beach in Nissequogue and the municipal services facility in Kings Park.

Smithtown won national attention in 2007 when it required that its garbage and recycling haulers use compressed natural gas vehicles instead of diesel.

There are 11,720 electric vehicles registered on Long Island and 38,476 in the state overall, according to NYSERDA. While the state’s charging infrastructure is still relatively undeveloped — 1,175 charging stations versus 5,483 gas stations — Long Island’s network is denser than the rest of the state’s, with roughly 100 charging stations.


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9-year-old genius to graduate university




Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne




Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem




Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.


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