Monthly Archives: October 2015

DogFest Walk ‘n Roll Long Island takes place on Sat.

Giavanna DeStefano, flanked by mom Cynthia, and Harry, a golden Labrador retriever, meet at a training session in February. Photo from John Bentzinger

They say dog is man’s best friend, and for one Northport family, the adage couldn’t be any truer.

The DeStefanos are on a quest to raise money this week for Canine Companions for Independence’s DogFest Walk ‘n Roll fundraising event. The nonprofit group matches assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities at no cost to the individual.

It was through CCI that Northport 9-year-old Giavanna DeStefano, who is disabled, met Harry, a golden Labrador, in February. And life has changed significantly for the DeStefanos since he joined their family, according to Giavanna’s mom, Cynthia DeStefano.

“Harry cleans her room for her,” DeStefano said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “For me, I should say. She likes having him around. It’s like her little buddy that’s there for her.”

Harry is Giavanna’s friend and helper. The girl, who was born with a genetic anomaly called Trisomy 9 Mosaicism syndrome, is nonverbal and has global developmental delays and balances issues. For instance, if someone were to bump into her, she would fall and wouldn’t know to brace herself to cushion the fall. She can only speak about seven words.

The dog is trained in more than 40 commands, and can do things like open and close doors, turn light switches on and off, and pick up dropped items for Giavanna, according to John Bentzinger, public relations spokesperson for the group.

“But his main job will be to give her constant companionship, and he is a social bridge to her peers,” Bentzinger said in an email.

The dogs go through a rigorous training process. It costs about $45,000 to train each of the dogs, and it’s through the DogFest Walk ‘n Roll that CCI helps raise money to fund some of those expenses, Bentzinger said. Last year, the group raised more than $40,000, and this year, they are aiming for $60,000.

There’s a waiting list of about a year and a half for one dog. CCI owns 53 dogs in the northeast region, and the nonprofit owns more than 500 dogs nationally.

Harry is Giavanna’s companion. The two-year-old lab sleeps with her at night. When Giavanna returns home from school, Harry gets antsy awaiting her arrival, when he hears the bus. He picks up her stuffed animal toys around the room. He swims in the family’s shallow pool with her. He attends doctors appointments with her.

When his vest is on, Harry is ready to go to work, Giavanna’s mom said.

“He’s helpful for her,” she said. “He’s very funny.”

Through Harry, Giavanna is gaining a greater sense of responsibility. Giavanna helps her mother groom and feed him, take him for walks. Having Harry by Giavanna’s side makes her more approachable and gives her more attention, which she likes, her mom said.

“They see him, they see her, and it softens the whole ‘what’s wrong with this situation’ kind of thing,” she said.

Experiencing life with Harry motivated the DeStefanos to give back by fundraising for CCI, Cynthia DeStefano said.

“It’s a great organization,” she said. “Going through the program was amazing, and to see what these dogs can do, and how they adapt to each person’s needs, is an amazing thing. We’re blessed to have been able to do this.”

So far, they’ve raised $185 out of their $300 goal. To donate to the DeStefanos’ team, go to their fundraising page at www.tinyurl.com/nn3sn4y.

The fundraiser DogFest Walk ‘n Roll Long Island takes place this Saturday, Oct. 3, at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa. For more information, visit www.cci.org.

Ponrakit ‘Rio’ Puorcharoen gets to know New York with a trip to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Photo from Lynellen Nielsen

A new student roaming the halls of Comsewogue High School is getting into a New York state of mind.

Ponrakit Puorcharoen journeyed to Long Island from Thailand this year to attend school because he “wanted to learn about a new culture.”

The 15-year-old foreign exchange student, who goes by the nickname Rio, hails from Nonthaburi, a city near Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand.

Rio said in a phone interview that he did not get to choose where he was going to be placed, and did not know much about New York before arriving stateside. His host family — Lynellen and Rick Nielsen and their sons, Jeremy and Josh — has tried to show him around, taking him to New York City. He saw the Museum of Modern Art and Times Square, which Rio thinks is “crazy, with the amount of people there.”

His family in Port Jefferson Station got involved in part because of the host mom’s childhood memories.

Foreign exchange student Ponrakit ‘Rio’ Puorcharoen takes a trip to the aquarium with his host family. Photo from Lynellen Nielsen
Foreign exchange student Ponrakit ‘Rio’ Puorcharoen takes a trip to the aquarium with his host family. Photo from Lynellen Nielsen

“When I was a child, my family had a foreign exchange student, and it was a really positive experience,” Lynellen Nielsen said in a phone interview. “I thought it was something that Jeremy should experience as well.”

Jeremy is a senior at Comsewogue High School, two years ahead of Rio, while Josh is enrolled at Hunter College.

Lynellen Nielsen described the process of applying for the foreign exchange program as “serendipitous.”

She and her family had considered hosting a student many times, but didn’t begin the process until she discovered a friend of hers had begun working for the International Student Exchange Programs. After the family applied, Nielsen said once the organization approved them, they were able to choose from a number of students to host for the year.

“We saw [Rio] had similar interests, like animals, cooking, technology and art,” she said. “We thought he would be a great match.”

Although Rio arrived in the United States on Aug. 9, he didn’t get to Long Island until Aug. 22 because he went though a training program.

“His first question when he walked into our house was, ‘What’s the Wi-Fi password?’ so he’s just like any other kid around here,” Nielsen said with a laugh.

Since Rio has adjusted to his new living situation, he and his host family have been able to bond over many different activities. He has cooked basil pork and other traditional Thai dishes for the family, and the host mom, in turn, introduced him to strawberry pie and banana bread.

In terms of school life, Rio said he has not found many differences between school in America and school in Thailand. He said the only real difference is that students don’t get to choose the classes they take back home, and that Americans use the word “soccer” for the same sport he calls “football,” which he finds “a little weird.”

“My favorite thing to do so far has just been relaxing with the family,” Rio said. “They are very chill.”

Kings Park cash theft
A 25-year old woman from Wyandanch was arrested after police said she stole money from a resident’s home on Hileen Drive in Kings Park sometime between Aug. 28 and Aug. 29. She was arrested on Sept. 25, at the 4th Precinct, at 8:27 p.m. and charged with petit larceny.

Taking the greens from Walgreens
At Walgreens on East Main Street in Smithtown, on Sept. 27, an unknown man stole four boxes of blood sugar level test strips at 7:04 p.m.

Heroin is Hero-out
On Sept. 25, an 18-year old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested on Dorchester Road in Smithtown after police said he had possession of heroin on him and a hypodermic syringe at 12:30 p.m. He was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Theft at Sevs
At 7-Eleven, on North Country Road, in Village of the Branch, on Sept. 25, an unknown person stole a bicycle that was left unlocked in the parking lot at 1:40 p.m.

From cell phone to cell holding
Police said a 27-year old man from Plainview was arrested for stealing security cameras from Street Walk Cell Phone Accessories kiosk at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove on Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. He was arrested at the 4th Precinct on Sept. 25 and charged with petit larceny.

No more sushi for sush-you
On Sept. 23, a 45-year old man from Plainview was arrested at the 4th Precinct, at 9:23 p.m., for stealing on two different occasions according to police. On Feb. 28, he stole sushi from a ShopRite in Hauppauge and on Apr. 30, at 3:58 p.m., he stole grocery items from a business on Portion Road. He was charged with petit larceny.

Under the sheets
A 30-year old woman from St. James was arrested on Sept. 23 at the 4th Precinct for a previous theft on Aug. 17. Police said she stole bed sheets from a residents home on Ronkonkoma Avenue at 11:28 a.m. She was charged with petit larceny.

A sweet bluetooth
On Sept. 8, police said a 40-year old woman from St. James stole a Wii remote, Bluetooth headset and an HDMI adaptor at 8:17 p.m., from Centereach Mall in Commack. She was arrested at the 4th Precinct at 12:26 a.m. and was charged with petit larceny.

Knuckle to see here
A 24-year old man from Wyandanch was arrested on Sept. 24, on the corner of Jericho Turnpike and Townline Road in Commack, at 11:08 p.m., when police said he had possession of a metal knuckle knife and marijuana He was charged with fifth degree criminal possession of marijuana and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Red cards all around
Four teens were arrested on Sept. 30 for damage police said they caused earlier that month. Cops said four 17-year-olds —Nicolas Collins and Eric Lamay, both of Greenlawn, and Michael Plackis and Julius Dimino, both of East Northport — drove a vehicle on soccer fields at the Northport Soccer Park in Northport sometime between Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 7 a.m. and caused an estimated $10,000 worth of damage. In photos capturing the damage, some of the fields were observed covered in tire marks, rendering them unusable. All four were charged with second-degree criminal mischief. Attorney information for the individuals wasn’t immediately available.

Crybaby
A man stole three baby monitors, valued at approximately $300, from a Target in East Northport on Deposit Road on Sept. 10 at 10:30 a.m. 

Hit and run
A 19-year-old man from Huntington was arrested on Sept. 27 after police said he struck a woman to the ground and ran off with her purse at 4:30 p.m. on West 22nd Street in Huntington. Police said he then resisted arrest and gave false identification when he was finally apprehended. He was charged with petit larceny, second-degree robbery, causing physical injury, resisting arrest and false impersonation.

Hunger pains
A woman was reported to have stolen grocery items and makeup from Waldbaum’s on Pulaski Road in Greenlawn on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

It’s art
On Sept. 25, a man from Commack was arrested at the 2nd Precinct for a crime police said he committed on Sept. 8. Police said he spray-painted security cameras at The Red Barn and Motel in Elwood at 12:05 p.m. He was charged with third-degree burglary and illegal entry with intent.

Hide ya kids, hide ya bike
A resident of Derby Avenue in Greenlawn reported that two unknown subjects entered the person’s garage at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 24 and fled with a mountain bike.

Just wanted to rock out
A 33-year-old man from Huntington was arrested for throwing a rock through a glass window of a Payless ShoeSource on Jericho Turnpike in Huntington at 5:50 p.m. on Sept. 25. He was arrested at the scene and charged with third-degree criminal mischief with intent to damage property.

Wrong kind of a mixer
Police said a 23-year-old woman from Nesconset possessed a controlled substance and marijuana at 7:40 p.m. on Sept. 25 on the corner of Broadway and Grafton Street in Greenlawn. She was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.

Not cool for school
A 40-year-old man from Huntington Station was arrested at Huntington High School at 7:40 p.m. on Sept. 25 for driving while intoxicated, according to police. He was taken to the 2nd Precinct and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated.

One way to make an impact
On Sept. 27, police said a 33-year-old man from Huntington Station stole an impact driver tool from Home Depot in Huntington Station at 4:30 p.m. He was charged with petit larceny.

Uncoachable
On Sept. 24, someone told police that two male employees of Huntington Coach Corporation got into a verbal disagreement on Deposit Road in East Northport at 6 p.m.

Wake and bake mistake
Police said a 38-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station was arrested for operating a vehicle while ability impaired by drugs. The man was allegedly driving a 2001 GMC Yukon down Jeanne Avenue and Nancy Drive on Sept. 26 at 9:30 a.m., swerving and running through stop signs. Police discovered him in possession of marijuana and arrested him at the scene.

Booze and blunders
A 31-year-old man from Sound Beach was charged with operating a vehicle while ability impaired on Sept. 25. Police said the man was driving a 2001 Volkswagen north on Old Town Road in Port Jefferson Station that night when he got into a car crash. Police discovered the man was intoxicated and arrested him at the scene.

Police are irresistible
On Sept. 26 at 2:45 a.m., a 45-year-old man from Miller Place was charged with resisting arrest. Police were interviewing the man about an undisclosed case on Wedgewood Lane in Miller Place when the man began harassing an officer. The man then resisted as police arrested him.

Three times the fun
Police said a 50-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested on Sept. 26 for unlicensed operation of a vehicle after driving a 1984 Suzuki north on Holbrook Road in Lake Ronkonkoma. Police have revoked his license three times in the past.

What’s in a name?
A 29-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station was arrested for false impersonation on Sept. 26 on Campo Avenue in Selden after he gave an officer a name other than his own. Police didn’t say why officers were speaking to the man.

Signaled out
On Sept. 25, a 19-year-old man from Hauppauge was arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs. Police pulled him over after he turned left onto Nicolls Road without using his turning signal and discovered that the man was impaired.

Minor mishap
Police said a 51-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested for selling tobacco to minors in Stony Brook on Sept. 24, after police said he sold tobacco to two 17-year-olds.

A bite at the beach
A 19-year-old man from Sound Beach was arrested on Beach Street for obstructing governmental administration, harassment and resisting arrest on Sept. 26, around 1:25 a.m., after stepping in front of police as they conducted an investigation. The man then refused to put his hands behind his back when police arrested him. Once the man was in the police cruiser, he bit an officer who was buckling the man’s seat belt.

Fender-bender buzz
On Sept. 27, around 1:46 a.m., police arrested a 29-year-old woman from Miller Place for driving while ability impaired. Police said she was driving a 2008 Jeep west on Route 25A in Rocky Point when she got into a car crash and police discovered she was intoxicated.

What a steal
Police said a man stole a 2007 Honda CRS on Sept. 26 around 2:30 p.m., from a residence on Dayton Avenue in Port Jefferson Station. Police said the victim put an ad on Craigslist to sell the car and received a response from an unidentified person who was interested in the Honda. When they met to discuss the car, the man got into it and drove off.

Shady thief
An unidentified person stole two sunglasses from a 2013 Jeep parked on Mount Sinai Avenue in Mount Sinai on Sept. 26.

Cell phone swiped
On Sept. 26, an unidentified person went into the Kohl’s on Route 25A in Rocky Point and stole a woman’s cell phone.

A tasty target
Police arrested a 48-year-old woman from Lake Grove on Sept. 25 for petit larceny. The woman stole assorted food and other items from the Target on Pond Path in South Setauket.

Mad for makeup
A 37-year-old woman from Port Jefferson Station was charged with petit larceny on Sept. 26 after she stole makeup from the Walmart on Nesconset Highway in East Setauket. Police arrested her at the scene.

Sod off
On Sept. 25 an unidentified person drove an all-terrain vehicle and damaged seeded crops at the DeLalio Sod Farm in Shoreham.

Clean getaway
Police said an unidentified person stole soaps, body wash, men’s clothing and two laundry baskets from the Centereach Mall on Sept. 27.

Barn break-in
An unidentified person cut a lock at a Dairy Barn on Middle Country Road in Selden on Sept. 27 around 2:31 a.m., attempting to enter the property, but police said nothing was stolen and the suspect fled the scene.

Cash and cards
Someone stole cash and credit cards from a 2015 Honda Pilot on Sept. 25, while the car was parked in a parking lot on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook.

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By Bob Lipinski

“A waltz and a glass of wine invite an encore.”
— Johann Strauss, 1804–1849

Although archeological evidence dates wine making and grape growing in Austria back thousands of years, its wines have always been overshadowed by those of Germany. Austria’s four major grape-growing regions are Burgenland, Niederösterreich, Vienna and Styria — each producing dry red and white wines, as well as semisweet and sweet whites, and even some very fine sparkling wines.

The major grape varieties are (whites) Grüner Veltliner, Müller-Thurgau, Welschriesling, Riesling and Weissburgunder (pinot blanc). Red grape varieties include Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Blauer Portugieser.

At a recent press event, I had the opportunity to taste the wines of Stadlmann, a winery that dates back to 1780, located in Thermenregion, Lower Austria. My tasting notes follow:

2014 Gruner Veltliner: A dry white wine with a spicy, fruity aroma with a flavor of green apples, citrus and grapefruit.

2014 Zierfandler: A dry white wine with a fruity aroma of oranges and peaches, with hints of citrus, honey and spices.

2014 Rotgipfler “Anninger”: A dry white wine with a subtle aroma of apples and pears; light-bodied with a fruit flavor of apricots and peaches.

2013 Rotgipfler “Tagelsteiner”: A dry white wine with an intense aroma of apricots and melon. Flavors of mint, green olive and pears abound.

2013 Pinot Noir Classic: Crimson-colored with a distinctive bouquet and taste of blueberry, cranberry and wild cherries. Dry and soft in the mouth with flavors of cola, dried fruits, plums and spices.

While Austria produces many cheeses, most, unfortunately are not imported. I have three cheeses below, which can be found (not in a supermarket) in cheese shops that will easily pair with any of the above wines. Before serving the cheese, allow it to sit for 30 minutes to one hour at room temperature, which will soften the texture, release the aromas and maximize the flavor.

Mondseer: A soft, disk-shaped, cow’s milk cheese with a yellow-tan exterior and yellow interior with few irregular holes. It has a very pungent and robust flavor, and, when sold in small wooden boxes, it is known as Mondseer Schachtelkäse. It was first made in Salzburg in 1830 and named after the monastery of Mondsee.

Saint Michael: A wheel-shaped, cow’s milk cheese with a brown rind and no internal holes. It is smooth-textured with a pleasant, but mild flavor.

Tiroler Graukäse: A most unusual cow’s milk cheese made from sour-milk curds that are washed with Penicillium mold during the ripening period. Square-shaped with a gray exterior and a very strong, pungent odor and very sharp, piquant, tangy, sour taste. Graukäse translated means “gray cheese.”

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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Superintendent James Grossane file photo

Traces of the potentially hazardous legionella bacteria have been found in cooling towers at both high schools in the Smithtown Central School District, Superintendent James Grossane said Thursday.

In a statement sent out to district parents and posted on the district’s website, Grossane said a state engineer collected samples Wednesday morning that confirmed “detectable concentrations of the Legionella bacteria” in cooling towers, which come into contact with their respective schools’ water systems at the Smithtown East and Smithtown West high school buildings.

The samples were collected as part of a safety precaution required by the New York State Department of Health.

The superintendent added that the incidents were isolated only to the towers and did not spread into their respective schools’ water supplies or the greater Smithtown area, and there have not been any reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia caused by the legionella bacteria, at either school.

“The only areas affected were the cooling towers, which are now back up and running safely,” Grossane said in the statement.

The inspection came in response to the recent outbreak of illness caused by Legionella bacteria in the Bronx, in order to prevent a greater spread of the bacteria throughout the state, the Smithtown superintendent said. The Department of Health issued an emergency regulation over recent weeks requiring the registration, testing, inspection and certification of cooling towers throughout the region, prompting the Smithtown inspection and ultimate discovery of the bacteria.

The superintendent sent out an automated voice message to parents throughout the district assuring that both cooling towers were safe for students and staff at the high schools and will continue to be maintained twice monthly. Grossane also said the district took voluntary steps to complete an “offline system decontamination,” which included an additional chlorine treatment, a system drain and flush, manual surface cleaning, refilling with treated water and re-establishing treatment.

“Follow-up monitoring will be performed in accordance with the new regulation, which does include retesting as verification of the treatment,” Grossane said in the statement.

The Legionella bacteria can cause respiratory disease that could lead to health complications like pneumonia, which is sometimes fatal. Fewer than 100 cases are reported each year, typically in upstate New York, and most cases are singular isolated incidents, the Smithtown Central School District said. The bacteria exist naturally in water and moist soil and can be spread through the air from a soil or water source.

Austin Levine and Max Venezia are starring in James and the Giant Peach. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Before “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” before “Matilda” and even before “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Roald Dahl wrote the classic children’s novel, “James and the Giant Peach.”

The story follows the adventures of James Henry Trotter, an orphan who lives with his two mean aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life for him is sad and lonely — until he meets a grasshopper, spider, earthworm, centipede and a ladybug aboard a giant, magical peach!

Now, over 50 years later, the story comes to life as a musical at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport on Oct. 3. Nearly 30 children auditioned for the role of James and ultimately two young actors, Max Venezia and Austin Levine, were chosen to share the role. Adult actors will play roles in the supporting cast.

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing these amazing kids in between rehearsals at the Engeman’s Performing Arts Center across the street from the theater.

Max, whose favorite subject is math, is in the sixth grade at South Ocean Middle School in Patchogue. His path to become an actor began when he found out his friend Ava was taking voice lessons; so he started taking them too. His vocal coach later encouraged him to try out for a role in “Seussical” at Kids for Kids Productions in Oakdale. “That’s what my first show was and I’ve just loved it ever since,” he said.

At the young age of 11, Max already has an impressive resumé that includes roles in “The Music Man,” ”Gypsy” and as Snoopy in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” “This will be my 22nd show,” said Max, whose most recent role was as part of Fagin’s Gang in “Oliver!” at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson.

Austin, who also loves math, is a sixth-grader at Commack Middle School. In second grade, he landed a role in “Annie” at the Suffolk Y in Commack and was immediately hooked. Since then, the 11-year-old has been in over 10 shows including “Mary Poppins,” “The Full Monty” and “Peter Pan” at the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale.

Austin decided to audition for the role of James because “I had never done something at the Engeman and I wanted to because its nice to go try out, [to] go to different theaters.”

When preparing for the role, Max read “James and the Giant Peach” for the first time. “When I saw it, at my age, I thought this is creepy,” he said. Added Austin sheepishly, “I have not read the book — I should though.”

Austin’s favorite scene in the show includes the song “Shake It Up,” where James accidently spills a magic potion setting off a series of peculiar events.

Both Max and Austin said they enjoy working with the adult cast, which includes James D. Schultz, Alyson Clancy, Suzanne Mason, Michael Verre, Kate Keating, Samantha Carroll, Danny Meglio and Jacqueline Hughes.

“I love them. They are so fun to work with,” said Max, adding that he learns a lot from them and takes notes.

Austin agreed. “Because sometimes it’s hard to work with little kids because they are not mature [enough]. It’s a great learning experience,” he said.

Austin, who said he enjoys working with Max the most, usually does not get nervous during a show. “When it’s an audience of, like, 1,000 people and I can’t see them, I’m fine with that. It’s just when I can see them in person, it’s a little weird.”

Max’s favorite show on Broadway is “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time,” while Austin said he favors “Mary Poppins” because “it is such a great story.”

Rehearsal has been every day after school, usually from 4 to 7 p.m. Max, who hopes to become “an actor and if not that, a teacher, probably either science or math,” does his homework in the car to Northport and on the ride home and sometimes stays up late to finish. Austin, who lives closer, likes to come home from school, relax, go to rehearsal, come home, eat, do his homework for two hours, go to sleep “and do the same thing over again the next day,” he laughed.

Both say their parents have been wonderfully supportive.

Director Jennifer C. Tully said the two boys were chosen because of “their amazing ability at such a young age to capture the sweetness and spunk of James.”

“Both [Max and Austin] are such talented young performers onstage and such genuinely good kids offstage. While both of them have put their own stamps on the role, they both exude the heart and joy that drives this beautiful production,” said James D. Schultz, who plays the role of the Grasshopper.

“I’m blown away by how hard they have worked and their very mature ability to create a rich and layered character,” added Tully. “It has been a pleasure!”

Come see Max and Austin and the entire cast of “James and the Giant Peach” at the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport, from Oct. 3 to Nov. 8.  Performances are on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

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A driver was seriously hurt in front of a church on Jericho Turnpike early Thursday morning, in a crash that sent debris flying.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, a woman was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze west on that road in Smithtown shortly before 2 a.m. when she left the street, hit a brick column at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, overturned and hit a nearby tree.

The woman was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital with serious injuries. Police withheld the woman’s name, as her family had not yet been notified.

Jericho Turnpike was closed for several hours as detectives from the 4th Squad investigated the crash, which occurred just west of Terry Road, police said, and as large amounts of debris had to be removed.

Police impounded the Chevrolet for a safety check.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call detectives at 631-854-8452, or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

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Bob Hebert, left, and Darlene Ghents, right, with trainer Wendy Karyo and puppy Elijah, center. Photo from Hebert

A little bit of change has gone a long way for one Setauket-based wine shop.

Bob Hebert and his team at Hamlet Wines, 730 Rt. 25A, started collecting spare change about six months ago to benefit the Brookhaven Animal Shelter in order to pay for formal dog training for some of the dogs that have been in the shelter the longest.

The purpose behind the project, Hebert said, was to help the animals become more likely to find forever homes.

“A dog trained to walk on a leash, sit, stay has an easier chance of finding a forever family to adopt,” Hebert said. “Our customers have been amazing. In a short six months we have collected enough spare change to have a trainer come to the shelter and start to train.”

Hebert said the trainer also wants to help and committed to match every hour donated with one of her own.

The change collection for Brookhaven shelter dogs will continue through Dec. 31.

Wastewater is handled at a sewage treatment plant on the North Shore. File photo by Susan Risoli

There’s something in the water — our own excrement.

Last week was national SepticSmart Week, an annual U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiative created to teach people how to care for their septic systems. People should know how to maintain these waste systems to prevent their contents from seeping into the ground and into our drinking water aquifer, but it’s a shame that we are still at this point.

Suffolk County politicians frequently talk about their lofty goals to build sewer systems throughout our neighborhoods. In addition to better protecting surface and groundwater, sewers enable commercial and residential development, which is what we need to keep Long Island a viable community for future generations. But we rarely see progress toward the widespread sewer goal.

Part of the problem is the tremendous cost of “sewering up” all of our homes and businesses. However, it’s better to start paying now than when we are in the throes of another recession and desperately need sewers in order to attract business and keep the economy chugging along; or when we wake up one morning to find our water supply irreparably saturated with human waste particles.

Although there are admirable government initiatives to reduce nitrogen pollution, sewers are the ultimate solution. Maybe our electeds are hesitant to be the hated ones handing taxpayers a large bill for the projects, but someone’s got to do it.

Until our elected officials start taking real action, there are things we can do to help spare our drinking water, such as investing our own money in our septic systems, upgrading them to more environmentally friendly ones and safely cleaning them out more frequently to prevent overflowing.

According to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s office, there are 360,000 county lots with septic systems and cesspools that add nitrogen pollution to our communities. If even 10 percent of those lot owners upgraded their septic systems, it could make a world of difference.

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The restored Judge John Lawrence Smith Homestead porch is in Smithtown. Photo from Kris Melvin-Denenberg

In April, the Smithtown Historical Society began groundwork on a buildings and grounds project made possible by an anonymous donor. After receiving some much- needed preservation work, the Judge John Lawrence Smith Homestead was ready for the restoration of its front porch.

Once a beautiful gathering spot for the family, this architectural feature was lost over time, as the structure underwent multiple renovations. Under the guidance of Mancini Architecture and the craftsmanship of School House Remodeling, the physical reconstruction is complete, and the house is back to its original glory.

“To have this porch be completed, to have this building be completed, is such an achievement for the Smithtown Historical Society. With this new structure, we are now able to tell another chapter of the story of the families that lived here,” said Executive Director Marianne Howard. “We are very grateful to our anonymous donor, Mancini Architecture and to School House Remodeling for helping to make this dream a reality.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony was the centerpiece of the Smithtown Historical Society’s annual community summer barbecue. More than 100 residents gathered around the porch to celebrate its completion and to enjoy an all-you-can-eat barbecue, catered by Panico’s Community Market.

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