Yearly Archives: 2015

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Charles Reichert is known to be an active member of the Smithtown community. File photo

By Miguel Bustamante

There’s a lot that can be said about North Shore businessman Charles Reichert, but not only because of his entrepreneurship.

“He wants to do the right thing. You know, he’s been very fortunate in his life, he’s made good money and he wants to give back,” said Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) about North Shore businessman Charles Reichert. “He’s the kind of guy that says ‘I want to make my community better,’ and if he could help it, he’s always there for it … It really is a blessing to have a guy like Charlie Reichert in the community.”

Charles Reichert, 80, or Charlie as his friends call him, of Fort Salonga is the owner of five IGA grocery stores throughout the Suffolk County area. With IGA locations in Bayville, Fort Salonga, Greenport, East Northport and Southold, his stores are consistently among the list of IGA’s annual Five Star Retailer award, which is the highest honor IGA bestows on its proprietors, and in 2014 he was one of five to receive the IGA International Retailers of the Year award.

Through his stores Reichert found ways to become a nexus of community interactions by employing local residents and community youth looking to get a foothold in the workforce, and also, along with wife Helen, founding the Fort Salonga Market IGA Scholarship, which awards a total of $6,000 to outstanding local high school students.

For his contributions, Charles Reichert has been named a 2015 Times Beacon Record Newspapers Person of the Year.

Reichert’s generosity has also extended outside of the IGA’s sponsorship. In 2013 The Charles and Helen Reichert Family Foundation donated $850,000, to be dispersed over several years, for the restoration and preservation of the Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium (formerly the Vanderbilt Museum’s Planetarium), which enabled the facility to purchase new seating, carpeting, lobby and gift shop along with technological updates.

“I’ll tell you something,” said Michael Rosato, board member of the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation. “If there were more Charlies around, we’d all be a lot better off.”

Rosato was referring to the contributions Reichert has made to the foundation.

“We were able to rebuild the parking area around the soccer fields, expand the hike and bike trail and renovate the parks administration building. It was all because of Charlie’s support … He’s given back so much for the community.”

Reichert, however, has played some contributions close to the heart. In 2013 the Charles and Helen Reichert Family Foundation donated $100,000 to the Huntington Hospital for the purchase of a 3D breast tomosynthesis machine, which can produce 3D images that can more accurately help detect cancer cells in breasts.

This year, Charles and Helen Reichert, herself a 24-year breast cancer survivor, donated $1 million for the construction of the brand new, state-of-the-art Charles and Helen Reichert Imaging Center in Huntington, which offers diagnostic radiology services.

With so many outstanding contributions already in tow, Charles Reichert hasn’t stopped looking for ways to continue to give back to the community. He has consistently sponsored the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation’s 5k Turkey Trot and the Fort Salonga Civic Association’s holiday caroling events by donating refreshments and gifts.

After 125 years Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory continues to educate its students and conduct research. Photo by Giselle Barkley

It is not typically a group that gets carried away with praise. Often participants work under controlled conditions, testing results, retesting them and waiting for approval from reviewers.

Yet members of this group heap unrestrained praise on Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a facility that looks like a picture-postcard, with boats in the background during the summer and a flourish of foliage in the fall.

“It’s a wonderful scientific environment,” said Dennis Steindler, senior scientist and director of the Neuroscience and Aging Lab at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “It represents a very important mecca. It has its own unique environment that fosters creativity and exceptional science.”

Richard McCombie stands inside a laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor. File photo
Richard McCombie stands inside a laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor. File photo

This year CSHL, which has been home at one point or another to eight Nobel Prize-winning scientists, is celebrating its 125th year. For the research center’s contributions and its ongoing commitment to producing top-flight research, Times Beacon Record Newspapers names the staff at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory People of the Year.

Patricia Wright, distinguished service professor of anthropology at Stony Brook University, said CSHL has more than made its mark. “There’s so many things that have come out of that lab that have changed the world,” she said. “Contributing to the human genome project is an important step that is leading to medical genomics which may, one day, prevent diseases before they happen.”

Researchers led by Bruce Stillman — president and chief executive officer of CSHL and a scientist who studies how errors in DNA replication are involved in diseases such as cancer — conduct experiments that may reveal key processes in cancer and autism, branching in plants, neural circuits involved in decision-making and much more. The lab’s research is broken down into five categories: cancer, neuroscience, quantitative biology, plant biology, and bioinformatics-and-genomics. Each of these fields generates research papers every year that not only advance an understanding of basic science, but also offer potential to change the world by taking a novel approach to a disease or increasing plant crop yields.

Zachary Lippman, associate professor at Watson School of Biological Sciences at CSHL, published a paper earlier this year in nature genetics in which he identified a set of genes that controls stem-cell production in tomatoes. Mutations in these genes can explain the origin of the beefsteak tomato, which may help breeders fine-tune fruit size in any fruit-bearing crop.

Gregory Hannon, adjunct professor and investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, meanwhile, teamed up with Associate Professor Michael Schatz, among others, to characterize the entire genome for a flatworm found in Italy that can regenerate almost its entire body after an injury. These results, which were published in an edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific journal, can provide a genetic road map to study the worm and its remarkable regeneration abilities.

After 125 years Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory continues to educate its students and conduct research. Photo by Giselle Barkley
After 125 years Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory continues to educate its students and conduct research. Photo by Giselle Barkley

These and many other studies published in high-profile scientific journals build on the work done by researchers such as Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock, who discovered transposable elements, or jumping genes, in maize.

The people that work at CSHL know, implicitly, that they are “standing on the backs of giants,” said Wright.

Founded in 1890, CSHL made seminal discoveries in science, including a study on hybrid vigor by George Harrison Shull, in which crossbred corn produced some 20 percent higher yields than natural pollination. In the 1940s Milislav Demerec, the lab director, discovered that exposing penicillin to X-rays increased the yield of a drug which was important during World War II. Modern researchers who have spent time at CSHL praise the culture and opportunity.

“Science has always driven things here,” said Richard McCombie, a professor who has been at CSHL since 1992. When he moved to an off-campus building, he recalled Stillman said, “It’ll be up to you guys to make sure the new people are imbued with the culture of the lab.”

Jan Witkowski, executive director of the Banbury Center at CSHL, said the lab is unique because of its combination of research and education.

“One of the most interesting things is this combination of very high level research and very high level of education and communication,” Witkowski said. “There’s no other institute in the world that does both of those things at the level we do it here.”

Giselle Barkley contributed reporting.

Arthur and Irene Sniffin receive the President’s Award from Huntington Historical Society. Photo from Claudia S. Fortunato-Napolitano

A longtime Huntington couple has dedicated more than 40 years to improving the quality of information available to Huntington residents by volunteering at Huntington Historical Society.

Arthur and Irene Sniffin moved from Massapequa to Huntington in 1966 and have been immersed in the history of the town ever since.

“I always had an interest in local history,” Arthur Sniffin said in a phone interview. “When we moved, I was looking for something to do with history and the historical society was a perfect fit.”

Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) put the spotlight on their work earlier this year when he handed them a county proclamation for being awarded the President’s Award for Excellence in Service from their historical society this year.

“Our community owes Irene and Artie a debt of gratitude for the countless hours they have dedicated to preserving our local history and helping many of us discover our own family origins,” Spencer said in a statement.

Arthur Sniffin began working at the historical society as a trustee and then treasurer, while Irene Sniffin volunteered at the resource center and eventually became the historical society’s librarian, where she helped update the archives.

Arthur Sniffin is credited as being the founding chairman of the historical society’s genealogy workshop, and both he and his wife worked together over the years to organize genealogy courses, called root seminars, which helped people from across Long Island better understand how to search for history on their ancestry.

”As people get older and retire, they want to know more about where they came from,” Irene Sniffin said in a phone interview. “They want to become more aware of who their ancestors are, so we helped them find that information.”

She said they were both able to help people get interested and better in touch with their family history.

The Sniffins’ family history is also impressive. Arthur Sniffin is a direct descendant of Thomas Powell, a prominent figure from Long Island in the late 15th and 16th century, who secured the land transaction known as the Bethpage Purchase. According to Arthur Sniffin, once he started working at the historical society, he learned that one of his ancestors was actually the first recorded death in Huntington Town.

“The more I was helping people, the more I ended up learning myself,” he said.

The Sniffins have also helped with the transition of the archives from the old resource center to the new library, which will be located on Main Street next to the Huntington Arts Council. They collected residents’ information, including obituaries and features from newspapers in the past several centuries, to make sure the historical society’s record of the town is maintained.

“The history of the town and the people have to be preserved,” Irene Sniffin said. “I think people forget that when they get caught up with the many other parts of a normal routine, but it’s important. I felt like I was doing something constructive that needed to be done.”

She said it was both exciting and surprising to be honored by the historical society and Legislative Spencer and Arthur Sniffin said he agreed.

“It was an honor to be honored,” he said.

The Reboli Center is a multipurpose arts and history hub for the Stony Brook and greater Three Village community. It launched the Reboli Atelier art school last Friday. Photo from Nathan Jackson

The Reboli Center’s mission to collect, preserve and exhibit artwork, along with documents and artifacts of significance to late Setauket artist Joseph Reboli, took a major step this week when it launched its inaugural art school.

The Reboli Atelier opened with its first class on Dec. 18, in which residents of the Three Village community and beyond were invited to celebrate the beginning of what could become a new art community across the North Shore. Residents were invited to the Reboli Atelier at 2 Flowerfield in St. James. Eastbound Freight Bluegrass provided live music and those in attendance enjoyed artisanal cheese and craft beers supplied by Brew Cheese of Stony Brook.

Organizers for the art classes said a solid base of students was already on board before the classes kicked off.

The Reboli Atelier has been established to train artists to draw and paint in the vein of classical art. The classes examine the history and identity of Long Island art as being inextricably linked with the history of representational painting. The classes are crafted to pay tribute to artistic roots that reach back to William Sidney Mount and William Merritt Chase in the 1800s, Joseph Reboli in the 20th century and other notable Long Island artists in the current century.

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What could be more alluring than a glass of whiskey on the rocks or an arctic cold martini in a Y-shaped glass adorned with several pimento-filled green olives?

Although I love an ice cold martini and certainly a glass of whiskey with ice, a glass of brandy on a cold winter day certainly is a great body heat rejuvenator. Smelling its rich, fiery, heavily perfumed bouquet and its smooth, velvet-like texture and luxurious aftertaste beckons a second glass.

“Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven.” — W. C. Fields, 1880–1946, American comic and actor

To make this holiday season really festive, I’ve included a list of some of my favorite spirits (that will hopefully become yours).

Laird’s Applejack, made in Scobeyville, New Jersey, since 1780. It is an apple brandy, dry and full of rich apple flavors. I like it either in a brandy snifter or sometimes on the rocks while listening to relaxing music.

Auchentoshan “Three-Wood” Single-Malt Scotch Whiskey from the Lowlands. It has been aged in three different wood types: Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso Sherry, and finally Pedro Ximénez sherry barrels. Spectacular flavor.

Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky. On its label there is a black Scottish terrier “Scottie” and a white West Highland dog “Westie.” I have been enjoying this Scotch for decades.

Campari from Italy. Campari, which is bright red, has a bouquet and taste of bitter orange, cherry, ginger, lemon, licorice, orange zest and strawberry, with a bittersweet aftertaste.

Drambuie Liqueur from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. It was first produced in 1745, from a blend of Scotch whisky and heather honey-based liqueur. Its classic cocktail, called a Rusty Nail, consists of equal parts of Drambuie and Blended Scotch Whisky.

Zubrówka Vodka from Poland and other Slavic countries. It has a yellow-green tinge and a distinctive smell and taste of spring flowers, thyme, lavender and freshly mown grass, which is derived from various botanicals that have been added.

Chartreuse “Green” Liqueur. This world-famous liqueur was originally formulated in 1605, in Grenoble, France, by St. Bruno. Licorice and flower aromas, with sweet herbal notes. Sweet middle and finish, with flavors of herbs, licorice, white pepper and burnt flowers. Very elegant and well made.

Baker’s 7-year-old Bourbon. Baker’s Bourbon is 107 proof and is very aromatic with a sweet, smooth, medium finish. It has a warm amber, tawny, nut-brown color with a bouquet of fruit, caramel and vanilla. It tastes of toasted nuts, fruit and sugar-vanilla, with a silky texture. The aftertaste is warming and sweet, with a medium-long aftertaste.

Hine Antique XO Cognac. Created in 1920 by George Hine. The taste is mellow and supple with a wealth of sustained flavors, floral nuances, hints of honey, leather and a pronounced taste of vanilla, carried by finesse and endurance. Velvety smooth and extremely elegant.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” (available on He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at or

‘Sun Silver’ by Drew Klotz is one of four kinetic sculptures on the grounds of the Long Island Museum. Photo by Heidi Sutton

The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook, will be open for extended hours during the holiday vacation. It will be open Dec. 26 and 27 (regular hours), Dec. 29 to 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Jan. 2 and 3 (regular hours). The museum will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25 and Jan. 1. Only the Visitors Center will be open from Jan. 4 to 31 and admission is free. The museum will then close from Feb. 1 through Feb. 25 for the installation of new exhibits and reopen on Feb. 26.

Visitors may view this year’s installment of Sculpture@LIM through the new year featuring four works by Connecticut sculptor Drew Klotz. Growing up in an artist setting, Drew naturally gravitated toward kinetic sculpture.

A graduate from Cooper Union in NYC his career has led him to create various different approaches to kinetics, from TV props to flying machines to his indoor inventions to outdoor wind-activated sculptures. As Klotz puts it, “My continuing exploration of kinetics, form and color are the backbone of my work. Many things influence me, flight, nature and natural phenomena. Using the wind as a power source to put my creations in motion to pull the viewer in and experience the fun.”

The following exhibits will open in February:

Mort Künstler:  The Art of Adventure
February 26 through May 30, 2016
Known for his meticulously researched paintings of the American Civil War and other significant historical subjects, Mort Künstler of Oyster Bay is also a prolific illustrator whose romance, adventure and sporting illustrations have engaged and entertained readers and admirers for six decades. Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure features nearly 100 original artworks and ephemera spanning the breadth of his prolific career, created for such popular 20th-century publications as True, Argosy, Men’s Story, Sports Afield, Outdoor Life, American Weekly and The Saturday Evening Post, as well as movie posters, book jackets and advertisements reflecting American popular culture and the diverse artistic genres that comprise his exceptional creative journey.

The Brush Is My Pen: Art That Tells Stories
February 26 through July 30, 2016
The Brush Is My Pen explores American art in the narrative tradition, from the 1820s through today. From the classically influenced historical and genre paintings of 19th-century artists to powerful contemporary narrative work, artists have long created richly evocative stories. In this exhibition’s 18 paintings, prints and photographs, chosen primarily from the Long Island Museum’s permanent collection, artists have explored every aspect of the human condition, just as writers of literary and stage productions. The exhibition explores narrative art through four separate themes — work, satire, drama and hope — and includes a range of work from artists of every era.
William Sidney Mount’s “Loss and Gain,” 1847, a satirical work in support of the American temperance movement, is a typically striking example of the artist’s multilayered storytelling. Edward Lamson Henry’s “Home Again,” 1908, a nostalgically tinged work expressing longing for an America that was rapidly fading, tells the tale of a family reunion.
And Margery Caggiano’s “Michael as Don Manuel Osorio de Zuñiga,” 1978, is both an expression of love for the artist’s Spiderman-T-shirt-wearing grandson and a sly reference to the famous Francisco de Goya painting of a similar title. Whether exploring an aspect of history or simply appealing to the viewer’s sense of humor, all of these works prove the old adage that a “picture is worth a thousand words.”

Colors of Long Island
February 26 through May 1, 2016
This annual student art exhibition affords an opportunity for students in grades K through 12 to show their artwork in a museum setting.  Hundreds of proud parents and teachers flock to the museum every year to admire the work of these talented Long Island students, many of whom go on to study art in college. Colors of Long Island is sponsored by Astoria Bank.

For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit

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Salvia with an intense red flower tinged with white. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

I’ve always thought of salvia as a plant with flaming red flowers. And, it’s true, many varieties of salvia do have red flowers, especially in  mid summer. But, there are many, many varieties of salvia, native to both the Old and New World. I’ve seen estimates range from 700 to nearly 1000 different ones and that’s not counting cultivars. Recently, stopping at a local nursery I saw many of these flowers — a truly stunning display. Colors range from burgundy, red and purple to blue. Orange, yellow and near white are rarer but are available.

All varieties of salvia are In the mint family (Lamiaceae). Feel the stem and you’ll find that it is square, like peppermint and spearmint. Also, gently rub or crumple the leaves and you’ll get the distinctive aroma, again like various kinds of mint. Depending on variety, salvia is an annual, biennial, perennial and even a small shrub. Sizes range from 12 to 18 inches  up to 5 feet, again, depending on the variety. Always read the tag or plant description in the catalog as this genus is a large one, adapted to many locations. That way you’ll get just what you want for your garden.

Salvia generally grows well in very acidic to alkaline soil, meaning that Long Island gardeners can plant it almost anywhere in the garden however, optimum soil pH is around 5.5 to 6.0.

Salvia splendens

Salvia splendens (scarlet sage) is the variety most commonly grown for summer flowers which are truly spectacular when grown in mass. A tender perennial, it survives winters in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11 (Long Island is zone 7) so treat it as an annual here.

Salvia officinalis

A variety of garden salvia with deep purple flowers. Photo by Ellen Barcel
A variety of garden salvia with deep purple flowers. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Salvia officinalis is the common variety of sage grown in the herb garden. Like most herbs, it does best in a sunny location, one with good drainage. It is a hardy perennial in USDA zones 5 to 9. Common sage does will in acidic, neutral and mildly alkaline soil. Sage can be propagated from seeds or by stem cuttings.

Harvest the leaves and dry them. Use them as a seasoning for various meat and fish dishes including Thanksgiving stuffing. If you find your plants have an insect infestation, try insecticidal soap. If you use a chemical spray, read the directions carefully as to how close to harvest you can safely apply the product.

Salvia elegans

Salvia elegans, pineapple sage, is one of my favorite plants to grow. It has red flowers in summer and leaves which smell of pineapple.  It is an annual here but a perennial in warmer climates (zones 8 to 11). The plant can get very large so give it room to grow. As with most herbs, it does best in a sunny location.  It can be propagated by laying a stem down on soil and holding it there with a stone or metal clip. When roots appear, cut if free of the mother plant and pot it up.

Salvia hispanica

I’ve long known that ancient Mesoamericans consumed chia seeds as a staple in their diet. It’s a complete protein, something needed in ancient Mexico, before the introduction by European explorers of cattle. It’s high in fiber, calcium and antioxidants.

What I didn’t know was that chia, a native plant of Mexico, is Salvia hispanica, yes, a member of the salvia family. Today, chia has become a popular “health” food included in some health bars. You can buy chia seeds and incorporate them in baking, much like you do with flax seeds. Some people prefer to sprout the seeds and use them in salads and sandwiches.

And yes, these are the same seeds as in Chia Pets, but don’t eat the seeds/sprouts if you have a Chia Pet as those seeds were not really processed as human food. Edible chia seeds are widely available in health food stores and online. If you try to grow your own, remember that they are native to a fairly arid region, so do not over water.

Salvia divinorum

If you’ve come across information that salvia is an hallucinogen, well that’s only partly correct. The hallucinogenic variety is Salvia divinorum, also known as Diviner’s Sage and Sister Salvia. Suffolk County, has made it illegal to possess or sell Salvia divinorum in the county. So, whatever you find in local nurseries is perfectly legal, and is not hallucinogenic.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. Send your gardening questions and/or comments to To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

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Vitamin D is one the most widely publicized and important supplements. We get vitamin D from the sun, food and supplements. With our days at their shortest of the year here, in the Northeast, I thought it would be worthwhile to explore what we know about Vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D has been thought of as an elixir for life, but is it really? There is no question that, if you have low levels of vitamin D, replacing it is important. Previous studies have shown that vitamin D may be effective in a wide swath of chronic diseases, both in prevention and as part of the treatment paradigm. However, many questions remain. As more data come along, their meaning for vitamin D becomes murkier. For instance, is the sun the best source of Vitamin D?

At the 70th annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting, Dr. Richard Gallo who was involved with the Institute of Medicine recommendations, spoke about how, in most geographies, sun exposure will not correct vitamin D deficiencies. Interestingly, he emphasized getting more vitamin D from nutrition. Dietary sources include cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and tuna.

We know its importance for bone health, but as of yet, we only have encouraging — but not yet definitive — data for other diseases. These include cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases and cancer.

There is no consensus on the ideal blood level for vitamin D. The Institute of Medicine recommends more than 20 ng/dl, and The Endocrine Society recommends at least 30 ng/dl. More experts and data lean toward the latter number.

Skin cancer

Vitamin D did not decrease non-melanoma skin cancers, known as NMSCs, such as squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma. It may actually increase them, according to one study done at a single center by an HMO (1). The results may be confounded, or blurred, by UV radiation from the sun, so vitamin D is not necessarily the culprit. Most of the surfaces where skin cancer was found were sun exposed, but not all of them.

The good news is that, for postmenopausal women who have already had an NMSC bout, vitamin D plus calcium appears to reduce its recurrence, according to the Women’s Health Initiative study (2). In this high-risk population, the combination of supplements reduced risk by 57 percent. Unlike the previous study, vitamin D did not increase the incidence of NMSC in the general population. NMSC occurs more frequently than breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers combined (3).

Cardiovascular mixed results

Several observational studies have shown benefits of vitamin D supplements with cardiovascular disease. For example, the Framingham Offspring Study showed that those patients with deficient levels were at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (4).

However, a small randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of studies, calls the cardioprotective effects of vitamin D into question (5). This study of postmenopausal women, using biomarkers, such as endothelial function, inflammation or vascular stiffness, showed no difference between vitamin D treatment and placebo. The authors concluded there is no reason to give vitamin D for prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The vitamin D dose given to the treatment group was 2500 IUs. Thus, one couldn’t argue that this dose was too low. Some of the weaknesses of the study were a very short duration of four months, its size — 114 participants — and the fact that cardiovascular events or deaths were not used as study endpoints. However, these results do make you think.

Weight benefit

There is good news, but not great news, on the weight front. It appears that vitamin D plays a role in reducing the amount of weight gain in women 65 years and older whose blood levels are more than 30 ng/ml, compared to those below this level, in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (6).

This association held true at baseline and after 4.5 years of observation. If the women dropped below 30 ng/ml in this time period, they were more likely to gain more weight, and they gained less if they kept levels above the target. There were 4,659 participants in the study. Unfortunately, vitamin D did not show statistical significance with weight loss.

Mortality decreased

In a recent meta-analysis of a group of eight studies, vitamin D with calcium reduced the mortality rate in the elderly, whereas vitamin D alone did not (7). The difference between the groups was statistically important, but clinically small: 9 percent reduction with vitamin D plus calcium and 7 percent with vitamin D alone.

One of the weaknesses of this analysis was that vitamin D in two of the studies was given in large amounts of 300,000 to 500,000 IUs once a year, rather than taken daily. This has different effects.

USPSTF recommendations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against giving “healthy” postmenopausal women the combination of vitamin D 400 IUs plus calcium 1000 mg to prevent fractures (8). It does not seem to reduce fractures and increases the risk of kidney stones. There is also not enough data to recommend for or against vitamin D with or without calcium for cancer prevention.

Need for clinical trials

We need clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of vitamin D in many chronic diseases, since it may have beneficial effects in preventing or helping to treat them (9). Right now, there is a lack of large randomized clinical trials. Most are observational, which gives associations, but not links. The VITAL study is a large RCT looking at the effects of vitamin D and omega-3s on cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is a five-year trial, and the results should be available in 2016.

When to supplement?

It is important to supplement to optimal levels, especially since most of us living in the Northeast have insufficient to deficient levels. While vitamin D may not be a cure-all, it may play an integral role with many disorders.


(1) Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(12):1379-84. (2) J Clin Oncol. 2011 Aug 1;29(22):3078-84. (3) CA Cancer J Clin. 2009;59(4):225-49. (4) Circulation. 2008 Jan 29;117(4):503-11. (5) PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36617. (6) J Women’s Health (Larchmt). 2012 Jun 25. (7) J Clin Endocrinol Metabol. online May 17, 2012. (8) AHRQ Publication No. 12-05163-EF-2. (9) Endocr Rev. 2012 Jun;33(3):456-92.

Dr. Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, go to the website or consult your personal physician.

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Your guide to a healthy winter

By Lisa Steuer

It’s easy to become sedentary and gain a little extra weight during the winter. After all, the frigid temperatures tend to keep us indoors, there are holiday parties with goodies that tempt us and an extra weight gain can simply be hidden under a few more layers of clothing.

But if you take a few steps toward your health and fitness this winter, you can lose or maintain your weight and then be prepared to be in your best shape when the warmer months hit yet again. Here are some tips to keep you on track this winter.

Plan it out
Each Sunday, take the time to look at what you’re doing the week ahead. Plan out what days you’ll work out and what the workout will be. Scheduling them in like appointments may just become habit and make you less likely to miss them. Plus, prepare your healthy meals for the week on Sunday to save time and make it easier to stay on track during the week. For a simple guide to food prep, visit and search for the article “10 Tips for a Quicker and Easier Food Prep.”

Work out — no excuses
Living a fit lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to miss out on sweet treats at holiday parties and other gatherings. If you know you’re going to be indulging in a few extra calories one day, be absolutely sure to get in a workout that morning so you don’t feel too guilty about it.

Eat beforehand
Before a party or gathering, have a satisfying but healthy snack like a protein shake or fruit like a banana so that you don’t attend the party starving and end up making poor food choices due to being so hungry.

Fill up on veggies
When you go to a party, go right to the veggie tray and fill up.

Stay away from eggnog and other high-calorie drinks
If having alcohol at a party, try a glass of dry red wine or vodka with cranberry. Liquid calories can add up extremely fast. If you do drink alcohol, make sure you’re also drinking plenty of water.

Experiment with healthy baking and cooking
A lot of times, with a few simple substitutions, it’s easy to cook and bake healthier without sacrificing taste. For example, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference if you use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream on lean chicken tacos. Visit for tons of healthy, easy and delicious meals and desserts that won’t leave you feeling like you’re missing out on your favorite foods.

Fitness classes
Taking fitness classes can help keep you motivated, and you may even meet new friends who can help inspire you to get to class. The instructor running the class can help, too. Let him or her know your fitness goals for the winter, and they can probably help give you that extra push and also offer suggestions to help you meet those goals.

Work out at home
When it’s cold and snowy, you may be more likely to make excuses to stay home and avoid the gym. Instead, invest in a few simple items that don’t take up a lot of space but allow you to get a good workout in right in your living room — dumbbells, a medicine ball, exercise bands, etc. Try fitness DVDs and free on-demand fitness videos (if you have cable, go to the on-demand menu, select Free On Demand, then Sports then Exercise Sportskool).

Have an incentive
Check out and the app, which has games where players bet as little as $30 to meet a specific weight loss or fitness challenge within a specific time frame, and the winners split the pot. You can even start your own game and challenge your friends.

Sign up for a 5K
This will force you to get up and moving! Plus, meeting a challenge you never thought you could do is an indescribable feeling.

Don’t be so hard on yourself
If you overindulge a little bit over the holidays, don’t beat yourself up too much. The good news about getting fit and healthy is that you can always get back on track. Put it behind you, recommit yourself, have a goal and then get to work getting it done.

Lisa Steuer is the managing editor of FitnessRx for Women and FitnessRx for Men magazines. For more fitness tips, recipes, training videos and print-and-go workouts that you can take with you to the gym, visit and

Dr. Ron “The Mazzacutioner” Mazza, left, squares off in the ring against Commack’s Sinai “The Mountain” Megibow, right, in the Long Island Fight for Charity. Photo from Jen Vaglica

A Commack man who packs a big punch used it for good when he stepped into the ring to help raise money for Long Island charities.

Long Island Fight for Charity hosted its 12th Main Event on Nov. 23 at the Hilton Long Island in Melville. Months of training came to an end when 26 business professionals turned volunteer boxers put their gloves on and stepped into the ring. In the fifth bout of the evening, Sinai “The Mountain” Megibow of Commack and investigative counsel, private investigator, founding partner of Radius Investigations in Melville entered the ring to face his opponent, Dr. Ron “The Mazzacutioner” Mazza of Northport and Chiropractor at Synergy Multicare Professionals in Westbury. Both boxers landed solid hits on each other in the three one-minute rounds, impressing all the judges.

“I love martial arts and boxing, and I love Long Island, so I thought this was an ideal way to combine my interests with doing some real good for my community,” Megibow said. “It’s been a great experience. The training was fantastic and I’m very glad we were able to raise a lot of money to help people.”

More than 1,200 attendees packed the ballroom at the Long Island Hilton and were treated to food and beverages donated by more than 35 local restaurants and wine and spirits companies. Over several months, the boxers raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, accomplishing their goals by hosting individual and team fundraisers across Long Island.

Sinai and the other boxers trained for months, at least twice a week to start, ramping up to almost every day in the final weeks leading up to the main event. In the process of training for their bouts, the boxers improved their physical stamina and, in total, lost hundreds of pounds. There is no other charity event like this anywhere in the country, where local business professionals raise money for charity and step into the boxing ring in front of a large crowd of friends and supporters.

“Stepping into the ring was one of the greatest experiences I had in my life. It feels amazing to both get in the greatest shape in my life and help local Long Islanders’ in need,” Mazza said.

Proceeds from Long Island Fight for Charity will be donated to The Long Island Community Chest, The Genesis School and the National Foundation for Human Potential. When the final tally is complete, the Long Island Fight for Charity will be over its $1 million goal.

Local businesses and professional firms sponsoring this year’s 12th Main Event include: Barnes Iaccarino & Shepherd LLP; Alure Home Improvements; PricewaterhouseCoopers; Fat Guy Media; Farrell Fritz; Saxena White P.A.; Local 1298; AmWINS Brokerage of NJ; Crystal & Company; RedTree Radiology; Local 60; Local 342, UMD, ILA; Carter, Deluca, Farrell & Schmidt LLP; Excavators Union Local 731; St. Hugh-St. Elizabeth Baseball League Inc.; Local 223; Jonis Realty; UPS Foundation Inc.; Francesco’s Bakery and L. Graziose Plumbing & Heating.

For more information about this event and to volunteer as a boxer for the 13th Long Island Fight for Charity, taking place on Nov. 20, 2016, visit