State audit faults SBU, other SUNY foundations

Stony Brook Foundation Inc., the university’s fundraising arm, was cited for questionable transactions and loose oversight in a sweeping state comptroller audit released Tuesday of New York’s public campus philanthropic organizations. The report, conducted by the office of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, found that 10 of the 30 organizations were operating without required contracts, more than half had not been audited by SUNY since 2007 and the two largest — the University at Buffalo Foundation and the Stony Brook Foundation — had not established required policies and procedures for key business functions. “We found numerous problems with SUNY’s oversight of its campus foundations. SUNY does not regularly examine the foundations’ books, and my auditors found instances of questionable expenses,” DiNapoli said. “SUNY administrators need to improve their oversight efforts to make sure billions of dollars are being handled properly.” The 36-page report includes 18 pages in which SUNY officials dispute the findings, question its methodology and cite factual errors. “While we are appreciative of the comprehensive audit work done by OSC [Office of the State Comptroller] we are concerned that the draft report is not fair and balanced,” Eileen McLoughin, SUNY’s senior vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer, wrote in the Jan. 8 response. The audit covered the period from July 1, 2013, to Oct. 12, 2017. The purpose was to determine whether SUNY was providing sufficient oversight of campus foundations. There are 30 campus foundations affiliated with SUNY’s colleges and universities with net assets totaling $2.1 billion, as of June 2015. The Stony Brook Foundation and the University at Buffalo Foundations were the largest, controlling $1.1 billion, according to the report. The campus foundations are private, not-for-profit organizations designed to raise and manage Continue Reading

Erica Green: Candidate Profile

Back to DuPage County board District 6   Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted. Jump to: Bio Q&A   Bio City: Bloomingdale Website: Twitter: @EricaGreenX Facebook: Office sought: DuPage County board District 6 Age: 47 Family: I owe a great deal to them, my actual family and those I consider such. Their patience, unwavering support, and humor has helped me to become who I am, where I am. I love them more than they ever will know. Occupation: Psychotherapist/ Health care consultant/ Humanitarian relief coordinator Education: BS -Psychology from Loyola University Chicago MA -Professional Counseling from Concordia University MA-Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology MPH -Public Health from UIC 1 yr of PhD -International Psychology (Organization Management) from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Civic involvement: -Currently, I am a DuPage County Precinct Committeewoman in Wayne Township 19th Precinct -2x elect VP of Health for the United Nations Association, Chicago -Coordinated or participated in the aid or services in 7 countries. Ecuador Romania Haiti Rwanda Philipines Ukraine U.S. Activities were boots on the ground or organizing resources for the region. Elected offices held: This is my first time seeking public office. Questions & Answers Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what? I am running for DuPage County Board, District 6 because I feel our communities are at a crossroads. Standards and rights we have grown to expect, such as civility, leadership that responds to the needs of the people, and access to health care are slowly being chipped away. I work in a trauma 1 level hospital emergency room where Continue Reading

Annual Possum Queen Festival raises $60,000 for residents in need

By N.F. Ambery Published 5:11 pm, Monday, January 1, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-3', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 3', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: N.F. Ambery Image 1of/3 CaptionClose Image 1 of 3 Lesley Budny and Christy Concilio played the titular 1970s TV sitcom characters from “Laverne & Shirley” during a comedic skit at the 28th annual Possum Queen Festival at the Litchfield Inn on Monday afternoon. less Lesley Budny and Christy Concilio played the titular 1970s TV sitcom characters from “Laverne & Shirley” during a comedic skit at the 28th annual Possum Queen Festival at the Litchfield Inn on Monday ... more Photo: N.F. Ambery Image 2 of 3 Ian Campbell played the character Mork from the 1970s TV sitcom “Mork & Mindy” during a comedic skit at the 28th annual Possum Queen Festival at the Litchfield Inn on Monday afternoon. Ian Campbell played the character Mork from the 1970s TV sitcom “Mork & Mindy” during a comedic skit at the 28th annual Possum Queen Festival at the Litchfield Inn on Monday afternoon. Photo: N.F. Ambery Image 3 of 3 Annual Possum Queen Festival raises $60,000 for residents in need 1 / 3 Back to Gallery LITCHFIELD — The longtime Possum Queen Festival is an annual “rebirth” for the town, Litchfield resident John “Nova” Sasky said. “There are two big events in Litchfield each year. One is the Litchfield Road Race. The other is Possum Queen, which wakes up people for the winter,” said Sasky, one of more than 200 visitors to the 28th Continue Reading

How a Danville teen’s fieldtrip led to a life-changing venture

By Lou Fancher | Correspondent December 30, 2017 at 6:00 am DANVILLE — Four days in Alyse Cronin’s life changed everything. As a student in 2010 at Concord’s all-girls Carondelet High School, then-16-year-old Cronin participated in the “Ven a Ver” (Come and See) program led since 1999 by De La Salle High School campus minister Roger Hassett. Working to support and tutor children and teens in 25 migrant families in Gonzales, a Monterey County city of roughly 8,000 people near Salinas, Cronin said she experienced a surge of respect, empathy and urgency for activism. Returning to her home and family — her father, a first-generation Irish immigrant; her mother, a first-generation immigrant from Central America — Cronin was unsettled, but not uncertain. “I come from a family of immigrants and parents who give; my father founded Dante’s Boys Foundation (formerly The Dante Benedetti Foundation) and my mom is on the Great Minds in STEM board. Still, it was eye-opening. I knew I couldn’t go back to my daily life,” said Cronin, 23. “These people had taught me so much. They had little but made do with what they had. Teens my age took care of up to 30 kids so their parents could work. They all looked out for each other.” But the kids’ outlooks were limited; many set goals to be lettuce pickers because lettuce isn’t seasonal and the job represents “cream of the crop” year-round employment. Completing high school, attending college or having a career with a living-wage income to support a family weren’t goals in the picture. Cronin founded Running With Love, a nonprofit that from its grass-root origins in 2010 had a mission to achieve a 100 percent high school completion rate for migrant children. It has grown by 2017 to forms of support that include food, clothing, school supplies, field trips, mentoring, tutoring and college scholarships. Headquartered in Continue Reading

Letters to the editor: Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017

Full of fake newsAs an example, I quote her: “(The tax bill) will raise taxes on everybody making $75,000 or less.” She is referring to a tax bill that has not been finalized as the House and the Senate need to iron out differences. In any event, her statement under either version is an outright deception. Not knowing what the final version will be leaves the rest of her accusations on the impact without credibility. She also makes a number of additional statements that cannot be supported.She is so full of fake news she should not be allowed to publish such nonsense in your paper. Do you have any editorial oversight? Ron Wobbeking, Naples Singing gets donation resultsIt’s time that all of the visitors and residents of Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast take time out to pat themselves on their backs. Good people make good things happen. I’m happy to share with you that every few minutes on a recent Friday night, an angel’s bell rang for the Salvation Army in almost 50 area restaurants.Six groups of carolers and their ladies from Naple’s Paradise Coastmen Barbershop Chorus (this year along with members of the Chorus of the Everglades) sang Christmas carols on behalf of the Salvation Army. The singers visited some of the finest area restaurants and eateries in Southwest Florida. The wonderful diners responded with enthusiastic applause and support for our songs, and — even more importantly — with their dollars for the Salvation Army.Our seasonally bedecked barbershop a cappella singers and their supporting elves collected over $8,000 in one evening of song; every penny will be given to the Naples and Bonita Springs Salvation Army to help the needy folks in our area.The Paradise Coastmen Barbershop Chorus is proud that this is our 15th year of singing for the Salvation Army at Christmastime. During those years they have collected almost $75,000, but we are even more proud of the people of the Paradise Coast who Continue Reading

Historic community center faces uncertain future

ASBURY PARK – When Lori Ross took over as board president of West Side Community Center, she promised the troubled facility was on the road to recovery.Nearly six years later, it's clear there has been a detour — right off the road.Asbury Park Press interviews with Ross, current and former board members, former donors and others reveal a raft of problems threatening the very existence of the center, once a vital support in a community beset by poverty and violence: • Support from key funding sources has dried up, including discontinued grants from Monmouth County and United Way. • The Internal Revenue Service revoked the center's status as a 501c3 nonprofit; such designation is integral to soliciting and receiving charitable contributions. • Board members appear to be in the dark on the center's financial situation, deferring comment on even basic budget matters to Ross, who is also the volunteer acting executive director. • The center has not conducted an audit in at least three years, according to board member the Rev. Bernard Oates. • Programming has come to a standstill. On recent afternoon visits, the center's doors were locked, or there was only minimal activity — "open" gym inside.One expert on nonprofit organizations said those were the hallmarks of an institution nearing rock bottom."I would say it's quite troubling that they lost their 501c3 status and they are still operating," said Nell Ellington, an Austin, Texas-based non-profit consultant. "Usually when that happens then they just close up shop."Ross said the center's biggest hurdle has been not having the funds to hire a full-time, paid executive director. She also blamed neighborhood crime as a factor; it has discouraged parents from sending their children to the center.But Ross refused to share basic financial information about the center, including its budget, or details of the recovery effort."We have made no secrets, we are working Continue Reading

The Daily Rundown, Monday, June 19

At its public meeting June 13, the Westfield Board of Education approved the appointment of Crystal Marsh as Assistant Principal of Edison Intermediate School effective Monday, July 17. She will fill the position held by Mary Asfendis, who recently was appointed Principal of Roosevelt Intermediate School following the retirement of Stewart Carey. In honor or World Sickle Cell Day, Monday, June 19, Embrace Kids Foundation announced that The McCourty Twins Tackle Sickle Cell Campaign will be covering the full cost of college books for all Embrace Kids Scholarship recipients that have sickle cell! Last week, Embrace Kids announced they will cover the full cost of tuition at community/county college for all of their current patients. Tackle Sickle Cell, launched in 2013, is a partnership between NFL stars Devin and Jason McCourty and Embrace Kids Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit in New Brunswick. The proceeds from Tackle Sickle Cell are used exclusively to provide college scholarships, emergency financial assistance and educational programming/seminars to families whose children have sickle cell. To learn more about the McCourty Twins Tackle Sickle Cell Campaign, email Pat Capra at [email protected] Page, musical director of the Chorus of the Atlantic, will lead a six-week session of free singing lessons for men, beginning Tuesday, July 25. Beginning and experienced singers are welcome; and all learning materials are free. Advance registration is necessary. The next series of free "Ready, Set, Sing!" classes take place at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday evenings from July 25 to Aug. 29 at CPC High Point School, 1 High Point Center Way, Morganville. This is the summer rehearsal venue for the men's chorus. Registrations are being accepted now. To register, visit For info, call 732-784-7343 or email [email protected] The Edison Police Department is hosting two weeklong Continue Reading

What’s happening in Central Jersey: May 19 and later

BERKELEY HEIGHTSThe Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood will conduct its montlhy meeting at the Masker’s Barn of the Deserted Village of Feltville on Tuesday, May 24.Daniel Bernier, the resident caretaker of the Deserted Village since 1992, will talk about the history of Feltville. For 30 years, Bernier has supervised the restoration of the Deserted Village in Feltville. He garnered four New Jersey historic preservation grants totaling $1.1 million that have helped the Board of Chosen Freeholders stabilize the 10 building in this historic mill town and summer resort. Its Church/General Store Building and an 1885 carriage house known as Masker’s Barn have been restored.Since 1982, Bernier has been employed by the County of Union in its Parks Department. For three years, he was a Park Naturalist and Museum Curator at the Trailside Nature & Science Center. He then became the county’s park planner.Everyone is invited to this road trip meeting. The meeting starts at 8 p.m. The GPS address is 13 Cataract Hollow Road, Berkeley Heights. Drive past the "Road Closed" signs and continue slowly about ½ mile to Masker’s Barn at the end where there is parking. To carpool or follow in a caravan, be at the Scotch Plains Municipal Building parking lot by 7:15 p.m. Refreshments and fellowship follow the meeting. BERNARDSThe Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center has scheduled the following Naturalist-led programs to help children and adults enjoy the wonders of nature as spring blossoms in Somerset County.The Environmental Education Center provides many entertaining and educational programs for children and adults year around..A free Family Nature Walk will be conducted from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21. Family and friends will enjoy a Naturalist-led interpretive walk through the Great Swamp. Registration is not required.New Jersey Snakes will be conducted from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 22. Continue Reading

Renewed hopes for a High Line-like greenway in Queens

Encouraged by the success of the High Line in Manhattan, a group of Queens park advocates are rebooting a proposal to rehabilitate an abandoned rail line into a greenway. The old Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, which went out of service almost 50 years ago, stretches from Rego Park to Ozone Park, cutting a swath through Forest Park. “This is such an exciting idea,” said Andrea Crawford, the chairwoman of Community Board 9 who is helping organize supporters of the project. “It’s green, yet it has economic development opportunities. It would tie us in with other rail-to-trail projects happening all over the country.” Crawford was part of a group of civic leaders who met with city agency representatives this week to discuss preliminary plans for a greenway along the route. Remnants of the line are visible throughout the area. The tracks ran along trestles above Metropolitan Ave. and Union Turnpike. The path is mostly clogged with trees and overgrown vegetation, but it still includes some train tracks and signal equipment and towers. The tracks, which lead into Forest Park just south of Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Blvd., are owned by the city. Forest Hills resident Travis Terry became interested in the idea shortly after moving to the area five years ago. “I noticed this whole elevated railroad and was curious why this had never been explored to become a great, new open space for the residents of the community,” said Terry, who had done some pro bono government relations work on the High Line. But earlier efforts to transform the crumbling track line into a lush greenway were stalled when some residents in Forest Hills raised questions about security and the impact on private property. The project, crafted by park advocates and bicycling enthusiasts, gained the support of Community Board 9. But the members of Community Board 6 decided not to back it and overwhelmingly voted against supporting a feasibility Continue Reading

Can the West Side Community Center be saved?

ASBURY PARK – Fifty years ago children flocked to the West Side Community Center for ping-pong, dance classes, talent shows and summer cook-outs.It was a hub for local families to gather in the southwest quadrant. A safe haven for youth to go to after school.Those days, residents say, are long gone.“It’s dismal,” said former city mayor Kevin Sanders, who grew up attending the center’s activities. “It’s a shadow of what it was.”The aging facility is in disrepair and the lack of funding in recent years has left it with a scarce list of programs and offerings for the community.In fact, the only daily activity for youth at the West Side Community Center today is open gym for four hours on weeknights, according to Lori Ross, the acting executive director and board president.Perhaps the biggest blow to the community center came in 2012 when it lost its 501C3 status, meaning charitable contributions were no longer tax-deductible. In many cases, private foundations will not give grants to organizations that are not tax-exempt, experts say.The idle state of the West Side Community Center has made many residents concerned that the city’s youth have nowhere to go when they aren’t in school.It’s become such a pressing issue that outgoing Mayor Myra Campbell announced last week that her first priority upon leaving office is to save the troubled center.“I don’t see any life there,” Campbell said. “I don’t see neighborhood children going in and participating in activities.”Campbell said she is organizing a plan to “resurrect the West Side Community Center so that it becomes a vibrant, lively building that the community can use.”Ross said the center is still functioning with its limited resources, but admits she could use more support from area organizations.Ross is seeking partnerships that will provide funding and programming at the West Side Community Continue Reading