Monthly Archives: April 2016

Stony Brook University students took a break from drowning in their studies to continue a storied tradition by dumping makeshift vessels made out of cardboard into a campus pond, hoping they could stay afloat.

The Roth Pond Regatta shipped off its 27th consecutive year at the university on Friday as a way for students to blow off steam before finals start next week. Each year, students cram into their homemade boats made of cardboard, duct tape and paint and race across the 200-yard body of water at the center of campus.

More than 3,000 people make their way through the regatta each year, a university spokeswoman said. This year’s special theme for the race was “under the sea and far beyond,” with some of the nearly 40 boats including the S.S. Leaky Leakey, the S.S. Free Willy, and the Titanic itself.

Jordan Ceccarini was recognized by the Miller Place board of education at a meeting last week for her remarkable accomplishments as a level 10 gymnast. From left: Nick Ceccarini, Nicholas Ceccarini, Jordan Ceccarini, Dawn Ceccarini and Athletic Director Ron Petrie. Front: Angelo Ceccarini. Photo by Alex Petroski

Gymnastics is grueling enough, even with the help and support of teammates and coaches. Sixteen-year-old Miller Place junior Jordan Ceccarini competes at the highest level for her age group with all of the pressure and physical toll that comes with gymnastics, minus that help and support. For her efforts, Ceccarini was honored by the district’s board of education at a meeting last week.

Miller Place doesn’t have a varsity gymnastics team. But beginning in eighth grade, Ceccarini represented Miller Place in competitions with the help of her outside club coach, Peter Neu.

“We wanted her to be a part of the school and participate in a sport, and this was the only way we could make that happen,” Jordan’s mom Dawn Ceccarini said. She and her husband Nick were extremely grateful for Superintendent Marianne Higuera’s and the board of education’s kind words about their daughter.

Ceccarini is a superstar in the local gymnastics world. She is classified as a level 10, the highest level of competition available for amateur gymnasts. The next step up is Olympic level. In 2013, as a level 9, she won the national championship for her age group in floor exercise. As a level 10, she placed ninth in the country on the balance beam, to go along with countless other state and regional accomplishments. In May, Ceccarini will travel to Texas to compete in nationals, representing the Northeastern region.

“I’m excited,” Ceccarini said. “I think winning is a little bit of a far reach, but I hope to place and do well.”

Her unassuming, humble outlook for a national tournament, which automatically implies a spot in the top 50 gymnasts in the country for her age group, was also noted by Miller Place athletic director Ron Petrie during the board of education meeting, along with her rare talent.

“That is just something that is not only unbelievable and impressive, we haven’t had something like this come to Miller Place since I’ve been here,” Petrie said. He’s served as the district’s athletic director since 2015, though he has taught and coached football at Miller Place since 2000.

Ceccarini, or “Momo,” as her mom said she’s also known, started doing gymnastics when she was 2 years old, at “mommy and me” classes, though it was around seventh grade that her mom said she might be special. Her five days per week, four hours per day practice schedule has netted Ceccarini a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh after she graduates from Miller Place in 2017. It has also cost her some normal 16-year-old social activities, like attending prom this year, though Ceccarini seems to take everything in stride, with the help of a competitive fire that both her mom and athletic director recognize.

Though she competed without the benefit of a coach or a team, Ceccarini’s time at Miller Place will not be forgotten after she leaves.

“I have no doubt that one day Jordan will be inducted into the Miller Place Athletic Hall of Fame as a result of her athletic achievements,” Higuera said.

‘Boothbay Harbor,’ watercolor by Ward Hooper. Photo from Northport Historical Society

By Rita J. Egan

Ward Hooper and his wife Dolly, who passed away in 2012, were a rare couple because both were exceptionally talented and accomplished. To celebrate decades of the couple’s creative contributions to the Village of Northport as well as their involvement in the community, the Northport Historical Society is currently running the exhibit, Sharing a Creative Life: Dolly and Ward Hooper.

Terry Reid, collection consultant and member of the exhibit committee at the historical society, said, “It’s sort of a retrospective celebration of Dolly and Ward’s creative life. It’s a thank you from Northport for all of their years of creativity and community service.”

The exhibit is what Reid calls a “full-circle moment” for her. When she started out at the historical society, she was fortunate to work with both Dolly and Ward, who were board members and curators for 35 years. She was happy once again to work with Ward on this show. “I learned from Ward and Dolly when I started 10 or 12 years ago. They taught me what I know now,” she said.

‘Renaissance Lady’ by Dolly Hooper. Photo from Northport Historical Society
‘Renaissance Lady’ by Dolly Hooper. Photo from Northport Historical Society

The exhibit displays the couple’s individual as well as joint achievements and demonstrates how they integrated their creativity into Northport, according to the consultant. On one side, the cabinets feature Ward’s achievements, which include graphic designs for many well-known brands, and features on the other side are Dolly’s dress designs and dolls she created. In the middle, the displays show what the couple accomplished together, including their work at the society.

Ward’s watercolors

The pieces on display come from the Hoopers’ personal collection, and the exhibit includes 24 of Ward’s watercolor paintings, too. In addition to being a former graphic designer, Ward is a watercolor painter who taught at the Art League of Long Island for 12 years. He is currently collaborating with photographer Holly Gordon on a new artistic venture called the Brush/Lens Project.

Also featured in the exhibit is the society’s dollhouse, which is a permanent fixture at the museum due to Dolly’s involvement in decorating the house with furnishings and miniature dolls.

Reid said Dolly, who began her career dressing store windows along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, loved designing and collecting dolls, even though growing up during the Depression she never had one of her own. Among her creations on display are ones she made out of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup bottles. The figures inspired the company to create a calendar featuring the dolls, which turned out to be one of their most successful advertising campaigns, according to the consultant.

Ward and Dolly were avid antique collectors, and the designer in the ‘70s opened the Trolley Tracks Antique Shop in Northport, according to Reid. She also created many one-of-a-kind bridal gowns and especially loved Victorian dresses. “She could really bring a dress to life,” the consultant said.

Reid said Ward and Dolly not only contributed culturally to the village but also were actively involved in the community. In addition to working with the historical society as curators from 1974 to 2009, they were also involved with the Northport Architectural Review Board as well as the village’s chamber of commerce. Ward even designed the chamber’s logo. In addition, Dolly helped make wreaths that were displayed along Main Street during the Christmas season and started the Miss Northport Pageant in the ‘80s.

Ward Hooper photo from Northport Historical Society
Ward Hooper photo from Northport Historical Society

Ward, who attended the exhibit’s opening reception on April 3, was appreciative of all his friends who attended the event. “This is really rewarding to see so many people turn out here today. Dolly passed away four years ago, and she would have truly loved it,” he said.

The artist was especially pleased to see Bill O’Brien, a former director of the Northport Historical Society, and Dick Simpson, also a former director as well as the museum’s founder. Ward said he not only worked with the two during his days on the board at the society but also with Dick in Manhattan early in their careers, and the two along with Dolly were curators together for many of the early exhibits at the society’s museum.

Creative power

The artist said when Simpson told the couple “to come out to the North Shore” to visit him, they liked what they saw and in 1969 moved from the city and bought a converted barn in Northport. The couple, who had met in the early ‘50s at Willoughby’s Camera Store, was married since 1953.

Simpson, who traveled from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to attend the opening reception, said he hopes that everyone who visits the museum will see “the creative power these two people had.

“If you are creative, you can go in all different directions. That’s what so wonderful about the creative person and these two were very creative,” Simpson said.

O’Brien remembered visiting the Hoopers at their home and said Dolly was always working on a project. “She was a very creative woman and she was always on the go,” he said.

The former director was pleased with how the exhibit turned out. “I think the exhibit was aptly named because even though they were married, they each pursued their own creative abilities on their own stage, and then they always supported each other,” O’Brien said.

Ward and Dolly’s daughter Laura Jean Wilson was also on hand for the reception and loved that both her mother’s designs and father’s artwork were on display together. “To see everything here is beautiful. It’s well done; a lot of good memories,” Wilson said.

When it comes to what she hopes exhibit goers will discover during a visit to the museum, Wilson said, “Just how creative they were, the talent, how they worked so well together, had a lot of similar interests, and how they loved Northport. Just to see the different collaborations between the two … they loved what they did.”

Sharing a Creative Life: Dolly and Ward Hooper will be on exhibit at the Northport Historical Society, 215 Main Street, Northport, through Aug. 31. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit or call 631-757-9859. To find out more about the Brush/Lens Project, visit

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Dana Husband leaps over the high-jump bar. Photo from SBU

Junior Dana Husband broke a 27-year-old outdoor program record in the women’s high jump as the Stony Brook track and field teams swept the Wolfie Invitational Saturday.

Husband cleared 5-8/1.73 meters to surpass the mark of 5-8/1.68 set by Sara Lechner in 1989. Her jump also achieved the ECAC standard in the event. Husband broke the indoor record earlier in 2016 at 5-8/1.70.

Sophomore Kaylyn Gordon also recorded an ECAC standard, as she won the women’s triple jump at 39-10.5/12.15. Gordon also finished second in the long jump with a mark of 17-11.0/5.46.

The Seawolves took the women’s team title with 226 points, 86 points ahead of second-place Quinnipiac University. The men’s squad finished first with 199 points, 62 clear of second-place Sacred Heart University.

“We asked everyone to come with a competitive attitude to this meet, and for the most part that is what we got,” Stony Brook head coach Andy Ronan said. “Overall, on a decent weather day, we got a lot done individually and team wise.”

Senior Kate Pouder won the women’s 1,500 in 4 minutes, 34.97 seconds, and sophomore Jane Clark captured the women’s 800 in 2:13.69.

“Dana’s and Kaylyn’s performances were backed up by good runs from Kate Pouder and Jane Clark,” Ronan said.

Senior Gabe Vazquez won the men’s 1,500 in 4:00.12, and sophomore Michael Watts took the men’s 3,000 in 8:38.97.

The quartet of Gordon and freshmen Sarah Militano, Chinque Thompson and Nikki Fogarty won the women’s 4×100 relay in 47.36 seconds.

Thompson (25.15) and freshman Nailah Jones  (25.19) grabbed the top two spots in the women’s 200.

Seniors Raven Dorsey  (18:01.99) and Tara Peck (18:11.87) took the top two spots in the women’s 5,000.

The Seawolves took the top five spots in the women’s 100, led by Thompson (12.04), Fogarty (12.31),  Gordon (12.33) and freshman McKyla Brooks (12.33). Brooks (18-10.0/5.74), Gordon (17-11.0/5.46) and Jones (17-10.25/5.44) took the top three spots in the women’s long jump.

Senior Mitchell Kun and sophomore Dan Galford finished first and second in the men’s 5,000, respectively. Kun won the event in 15:05.84, with Galford behind at 15:19.58. Freshman Wayne Williams won the  400 in 49.25. Sophomore Darian Sorouri took the 3,000 steeplechase in 9:52.96.

The Seawolves captured the top three spots in the men’s triple jump, with freshman Izzy Matthew at 43-3.0/13.18, freshman Bradley Pierre at 42-11.75/13.10 and freshman Brendon Alerte at 41-11.50/12.79.

Freshman Yanik Martin won the men’s long jump with a leap of 21-11.75/6.70, while Pierre took third with 21-1.50/6.44.

The Seawolves are Philadelphia through Saturday for the Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania.

By Marissa Paganelli

Cancer survivor and Northport native Alexis Attardi is returning to hospitals — but this time, it isn’t for treatment. Instead, the 19-year-old is helping patients who are fighting the battle against cancer she once fought.

Attardi, a sophomore at Adelphi University, works with Love Your Melon, a nonprofit started by college students in 2012 that raises money for cancer research by selling hats. For each hat sold, one is also given to a child cancer patient.

Love Your Melon has made a name for itself through college representatives like Attardi, who take their time to spread the word and deliver hats to local children’s hospitals.

“Giving a hat to a child with cancer is meant to bring continuous smiles and support to someone fighting,” Attardi said. “Losing hair is a part of the fight where the request of a hat from a loved one is supposed to make the process easier and something these children can look forward to wearing.”

Attardi was 11 when she was diagnosed with stage four of anaplastic non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a strain of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections.

The only response Attardi said she could muster when the doctor told her was “Am I going to die?”

She said she was told that she was going to be in for the fight of her life, and was given a 70 percent chance of survival.

Attardi was just starting middle school at the time, and was scared no one would want to be her friend because of the way she looked. She had lost 30 pounds and most of her hair as a result of her 15 chemotherapy treatments.

Attardi received her treatments at Stony Brook University Children’s Hospital where staff members and nurses soon became her closest friends. Whether it was coming into her room to spend time with her or just to check in and see how she was doing, she said the staff made the hospital feel like home.

“It was the little signs of thought and care that made being in a hospital and not in school with my friends a bit easier,” Attardi said. She missed her last three months of sixth grade due to treatment.

After her yearlong battle, Attardi was told she was cancer free.

“It was a miracle to hear those words, and a feeling I can’t put words to,” she said.

Attardi said she understood that her cancer could come back at any moment, and it’s because of this she works so hard to give back to children and people who face the same obstacle she once did.

“As a cancer survivor and captain of Adelphi’s Love Your Melon campus crew, giving back is what I’m all about,” she said.

Attardi said she plans on returning to Stony Brook  University Hospital.

“I just want to contribute the same help I was given and I know even the littlest things, like receiving a beanie, means so much more than it would be thought.”

Attardi’s commitment to her cause has impressed her peers.

“I have no doubt Alexis can make a huge impact in children’s lives,” said Erica Massmann, a member of Adelphi’s Love Your Melon crew who has worked alongside Attardi in recruiting new members on campus. “Being a cancer survivor herself, Alexis knows what these children are going through. She can take her experiences with her fight with cancer and bring that into the community to help make a difference.”

Attardi said she has come out of this experience a stronger person.

“I’ve realized life isn’t about materialistic things,” she said. “Helping others is a task that has continued to shape me as a person.”

Anna Throne-Holst. Photo by Phil Corso

By Phil Corso

The Democrats’ race to regain the 1st Congressional District is on, as a former Southampton Town supervisor has stepped up to challenge for the red seat.

Anna Throne-Holst photo by Phil Corso
Anna Throne-Holst photo by Phil Corso

Anna Throne-Holst had a potential final term at the head of Southampton’s town board, but declined to run so she could free herself up for a congressional campaign. She, along with Setauket native Dave Calone, will face off in a federal primary on June 28 to determine who will run against freshman U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in November.

Zeldin unseated six-term Democrat Tim Bishop by a wide margin — 54 percent of the vote to 45 percent — in a contentious election back in 2014, and saw Democratic challengers stepping up to reclaim the spot within a matter of months. Throne-Holst entered the race in the latter half of 2015 and has been aggressive in her attacks against the Republican lawmaker ever since.

In a sit-down with TBR News Media, Throne-Holst described Zeldin as a conservative, climate change-denier who votes largely along party lines.

“When we have legislators who are focusing on being destructive rather than constructive, I think it’s time to make a positive change,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse with Lee Zeldin. He has just voted straight down the line.”

Government tracking website GovTrack reported 45 percent of Zeldin’s 11 bills and resolutions had both Democratic and Republican cosponsors in 2015. The site also showed Zeldin cosponsored 116 bills and resolutions introduced by other members of Congress, rating his willingness to work with others to advance policy goals as second lowest among the New York delegation.

Jennifer DiSiena, a spokeswoman for Zeldin, said Zeldin has pursued an aggressive agenda on behalf of his constituents on Long Island, working to protect America’s security at home and abroad, help grow the economy, support veterans and first responders, improve the quality of education, repair the nation’s infrastructure and safeguard the environment.

“Congressman Zeldin has been working all day, every day across party lines, delivering results on important issues facing his constituents,” DiSiena said in a statement. “He has been recognized as the top freshman Republican likely to co-sponsor legislation with members of the opposite party.

“Congressman Zeldin believes the climate has always been changing. Instead of taking a position on so many issues that matter most to NY-1 voters, these two Democratic candidates are desperately trying to distract and deflect, to throw up anything at all against the wall to see what politically charged attack can stick.”

Throne-Holst said she had a proven track record while serving in elected office that could translate to the national level.

Before entering public office, Throne-Holst co-founded the Hayground School — an elementary school dedicated to supporting children with different learning needs. After serving as a councilwoman, she was the first Democrat to be elected supervisor in Southampton since 1993, overcoming a heavy red-leaning electorate on the East End. She touted her experience as supervisor working to reduce spending and help the town achieve a AAA bond rating. She worked closely with Stony Brook University, helping to secure funding for a clean water research center and seeking ways to improve Long Island’s septic system technologies. She also said she supported bipartisan efforts to preserve Southampton’s shorelines, resulting in the saving of 1,200 acres of open space.

She has garnered support from some of the Democratic Party’s biggest players, including Bishop, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), who Throne-Holst said was pivotal in convincing her to run.

“Anna is exactly what we need in Congress,” Israel said in an email. “She has strengthened the community with job creation and launched economic growth with downtown revitalization.”

If elected, Throne-Holst would be the first woman to represent the 1st District, which covers virtually the entirety of eastern Long Island from Smithtown outward.

Her campaign has raised close to $1.1 million, compared to Calone’s $907,000.

Her Democratic opponent has collected key endorsements too — from State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Sag Harbor) and East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell (D). In a previous interview, Calone, who has never held elected office, said his hands-on experience helping Long Island businesses thrive was a driving force behind his decision to run. He works as CEO of Jove Equity Partners LLC, a venture capital firm that helps start and build technology companies.

“This area was a great place to grow up and a lot of my classmates have already left and don’t come back,” he said in June 2015. “We need to be a leader in the economy of New York and worldwide.”

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Students from different classes pass each other as they arrive, leave, and pass by the Setauket Post Office during a visit earlier this month. Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

“I don’t like history, but I like this,” was what a Three Village fourth-grade student said during the Original Settlement Tour.

This past Wednesday and Thursday, all 450 Three Village fourth grade students came to the Setauket School auditorium in celebration of Brookhaven Town Founder’s Day and learned about the history of the Town of Brookhaven through the murals of Vance Locke. Then, for the next two hours, each class, led by guides from the Three Village Historical Society, explored the Original Settlement area of Setauket/Brookhaven. Students were introduced to William Sidney Mount and Abraham Woodhull at the Setauket Presbyterian Churchyard and to Emma S. Clark, Thomas Hodgkins and Ward Melville at the Caroline Church Cemetery. At the Village Green, students learned about the Setalcott Native Americans, Brookhaven’s original English settlers, and the diversity of immigrants who lived and worked here, as well as the varied ancestry of the Three Village-area soldiers whose wartime deaths are memorialized here.

In Frank Melville Memorial Park, the fourth grade students learned about gristmills, millers, blacksmiths, post offices, general stores and one of the original settlement’s 17th century homes. At the Setauket Neighborhood House, students heard about the structure of the building and how it progressed from a hotel, with stagecoach service from the Lakeland Railroad Station, to a tourist home with station wagon service from the Long Island Railroad’s Stony Brook station, and finally to its use as a meeting place for the entire community.

At the Amos Smith House (circa 1740) students learned about the eight generations that lived in the home and how it grew to accommodate the two generations that included seven and nine children. Each fourth grade class discussed the differences shown in the images of the house in 1740, 1900 and today. Donna Smith, Three Village Historical Society director of education and Founder’s Day Committee member heard from one of her tour group students, “ My favorite part was seeing the house Mr. Tyler grew up in and how it is so different. We got to wave to his mother who lives there and she’s 101!”

The stop at Patriot’s Rock, a remnant of the last glacier and a Native American meeting place, provided an opportunity to learn about the Revolutionary War Battle of Setauket and Caleb Brewster, who, as an artillery officer directed the cannon fire and who was an important member of the Setauket-based Culper Spy Ring.

“Founders Day is more than learning about our local history, it is an historical experience for our Three Village fourth grade students. … Learning that the Emma S. Clark Library is not just the place to find books or attend a program, but an architecturally interesting structure that was built by a local resident [Thomas Hodgkins] as a gift to the community, and there really was a person named Emma S. Clark, is enlightening to a fourth grader. Then they walk toward the Caroline Church and see the Hodgkins and Clark headstones — it all comes together in this fascinating look on a student’s face that they have just put it all together,” said Barbara Russell, Brookhaven Town historian and Founder’s Day Committee member.

At the end of the tour, each student received a copy of the walking tour guide prepared by the Three Village Historical Society, courtesy of Three Village Central School District.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the Three Village Historical Society.

Coldwell Banker offices across Long Island, like the office in Setauket, are helping veterans residing at the United Veterans Beacon House. Photo by Giselle Barkley

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage typically help residents find a place to call home. But now, the company is on a mission to help veterans in need, with its Hometown Heroes Linen Drive.

Associate Broker Lorraine Marotta of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Setauket said the company started the drive earlier this year in January. Coldwell Banker offices across Long Island are participating in this initiative. Their goal is to collect 3,700 sets of linens including twin sheet sets and standard pillowcases, new pillows, new bath towels and new comforters. They hope to collect 700 of each by July 4 of this year.

The linens will go toward the veterans living in homes provided by the United Veterans Beacon House in Bay Shore. Many of these veterans can’t live on their own, Marotta said. Hall-Lane Moving and Storage, which provided each office with large collection boxes, is responsible for picking up and delivering the supplies to Beacon House the associate broker added.

The Beacon House mission is to provide temporary and permanent housing for homeless veterans as well as “emergency, transitional and permanent residence for families” and single individuals. The organization strives for privacy when it comes to its veterans. Some of these veterans are housed discreetly throughout Long Island communities.

Of the organization’s more than 20 housing locations, around nine  homes are designated for veterans. One of these homes is dedicated to female veterans while another is for the frail and elderly, according to the organization’s site.

This isn’t the first time Coldwell Banker has worked with Beacon House and assisted veterans utilizing Beacon House services. In the past they’ve scheduled appointments to visit and provide new flags and a Thanksgiving meal among other items, to these veterans.

On April 14 the organization met with the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Long Island and Queens in Huntington to collect the first donations for the drive.

For Marotta caring for veterans hits close to home as her husband is a veteran as well. But her passion for the drive also stems from the fact that it’s a great cause.

“It’s nice to be able to recognize veterans,” Marotta said. “I feel like they’ve just been forgotten. Not only are they lonely they’re so appreciative.”

The community can drop off new linens at their local Coldwell Banker. For more information about the Hometown Heroes Linen Drive call 516-864-8104.

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‘Golden Gleam’ nasturtium is beautiful and delicious. Photo from All-America Selections

By Ellen Barcel

If you have an ugly fence, a plain wall like the side of a garage or any other flat surface that you want to spruce up, consider vining or climbing plants since they grow up, rather than out. They are also great in hanging baskets, for those with limited space. There are several ways of looking at vines or climbers: annual vs. perennial is one. Another is decorative vs. productive. A third is invasive vs. noninvasive, that is, “the good guys.”

Another consideration is how the plant attaches itself (or doesn’t) to the wall or structure. For example, climbing roses don’t really climb up but grow very tall. You need plant ties to attach the canes to a trellis or other structure. We’ll take a look at a variety of vines, how they grow and what you can do with them.

Annual vines
Annual vines grow up and can be trained up a fence or wall but can also be used in hanging baskets or trailing down a retaining wall depending on the plant.

One of the most popular of annual vines is Ipomoea, a genus filled with over 500 different species and countless varieties. The most popular include the old-fashioned, traditional morning glory which twine around a support. The morning glory flowers (usually blue but there are pink, burgundy and white ones) open up in the morning and close at night while the moonflower (white) opens at night and closes by morning. These are nice mixed together. In that way you have flowers round the clock. Morning glories can reseed themselves for the next season. As a result, they are on Suffolk County’s Management list, meaning they are mildly invasive and it is recommended that they not be planted by county agencies or by homeowners near natural habitats.

Another Ipomoea is the cardinal vine (I. sloteri) which is filled with delicate, red flowers. I. butatas is the sweet potato vine, filled with green or burgundy (depending on variety) leaves. The sweet potato vine is grown primarily for its leaves, but you can occasionally find nonedible sweet potatoes in the soil in the fall. I say nonedible because you don’t know how these plants were treated (what chemicals used, etc.) before you acquired them so the potatoes should not be eaten.

Nasturtium is in the cabbage family and has edible flowers that range in color from pale yellow to bright orange. Nasturtium look beautiful trailing out of a basket, window box or over a retaining wall.

Scarlet runner beans have beautiful red flowers and provide edible beans in fall. One of the cool things you can do with these beans is to create a living tepee for children to play in. The tepee also provides shade in the hot summer for them. Take a set of light-weight poles and tie one end together and stake them in the ground in the form of a tepee. Plant the beans around the outside, leaving a space for an entrance. The beans grow quickly, filling first with the flowers and then the bean pods form.

Hanging geraniums (Pelargonium, not hardy geraniums) are beautiful in a basket. Flower colors range from white to pink and burgundy. Geraniums generally tend to be heat and drought tolerant. This doesn’t mean you can ignore them completely, but they do better in the heat of summer than others. Technically, geraniums are not annuals but are tender perennials, meaning they will die back in our area in the cold but continue to grow in greenhouses or down south, year round. Hanging geraniums will not climb up, like Ipomoea will, since they do not wrap themselves around other plants or have tendrils that wrap around other plants or supports.

Yes, the terminology here is confusing. Hardy geraniums (the genus Geranium) overwinter in our area and spread, while annual geraniums, Pelargonium, are tender perennials, growing year around in warmer climates. It is Pelargonium that are commonly sold as annuals, geraniums or zonal geraniums in our area.

Next week: perennial vines, productive vines and vines to avoid.

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

Melissa Buchanan mugshot from SCPD

A woman was charged with animal cruelty after police found a dog dead and several other animals that had not been cared for in her home.

Officers responded to an apartment on Beverly Road in South Huntington on Thursday night after a landlord reported hearing a dog excessively barking and “realizing she had not seen her tenant for a few days,” the Suffolk County Police Department said in a statement. The responders found two miniature Australian shepherd dogs, one of them dead, as well as two lizards and a cat — all of which had not been cared for, police said.

The tenant, 27-year-old Melissa Buchanan, returned while police were at the scene and “admitted to police she had not been home for several days.”

She was charged with six counts of animal cruelty for allegedly abandoning the animals.

Attorney information for Buchanan was not immediately available Friday morning.

Huntington Town’s animal control department took possession of the surviving dog and cat, while the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which worked with the police to bring charges against Buchanan, made arrangements for the lizards.