Monthly Archives: August 2016

Incident raises questions about high occupancy and code enforcement

A deck collapses at a home on Old Field Road, injuring at least two. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

By Rebecca Anzel

A party at an East Setauket home Aug. 26, attended by about 400 people was interrupted around 11 p.m. when an elevated deck holding 50 to 100 attendees collapsed. Two people were injured and taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, Brookhaven Town officials said.

The 10-foot high, 43-year-old deck did not violate any town codes, according to a town building inspector, but it was unclear if the structure had been inspected since it was built.

The home was illegally converted into living quarters for eight people. An investigation found it did not have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and had illegal key locks on interior doors and a broken basement window.

These types of changes, officials said, make it difficult for emergency personnel.

“The deck collapse that occurred this past weekend is a prime example of the serious safety hazards that exist when our governmental codes and laws are violated,” Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said. “The numerous violations at this location jeopardize the health, the safety and the wellness of the home occupants as well as the visitors to the home on that evening.”

The homeowner, identified by officials as Zeyit Aydinli, will appear in Sixth District court Oct. 27 in Patchogue. He paid fines of an undisclosed amount in May for code violations on the same property.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said the town plans to pursue legal action against Zeyit.

“We are not settling this case.his case is going to go the distance unless the homeowner wishes to enter a guilty plea.”

—Ed Romaine

“We are not settling this case,” Romaine said. “This case is going to go the distance unless the homeowner wishes to enter a guilty plea.”

He added that no one has been arrested for underage drinking, though three people have been ticketed for violating the county’s social host law, which holds homeowners responsible for underage drinking on their property. Those names were not released, but have been shared with Stony Brook University.

Timothy Ecklund, dean of students at the university, said many of those who attended the party were most likely university students, but there is no way to determine an exact number.

The university is working with town officials to learn as much as possible about the incident, and “appropriate action” will be taken in accordance with university student policy.

Nearby neighbor Lauren Krupp called the police the night of the party to complain about the noise. She said police told her there was already a patrol car in the area. Soon after, Krupp said she heard a loud noise and speculated later it was the sound of the deck collapsing.

Krupp spoke about her interactions with the first group of students to inhabit the house, last year at this time.

“They were very polite young men who introduced themselves,” she said. “We visited the house once and there was a big banner with Greek letters. It appeared that they were a fraternity.”

Krupp said she hopes the incident can be a learning experience.

“I hope this leads to some reform,” Krupp said. “It’s just not appropriate for the neighborhood. It’s lucky there was not a more serious outcome.”

Donna Newman contributed reporting.

The lineup of the Veterans Comedy Assault Team. Photo by Bob Savage

Already working with homeless veterans, when VFW Santora/Bonacasa Memorial Post 400 Commander John Rago was approached to start a comedy act to benefit veterans, he said the decision was a no-brainer.

Under Project9line, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that helps veterans reintegrate back into civilian life and helps those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, founder Patrick Donohue came up with the idea and had veteran comedians come in and teach a class to other veterans on how to perform and write his or her own material.

In March of 2015, the Veterans Comedy Assault Team performed for the first time at the Sayville VFW Post 433. According to Rago, despite it being a snowy evening, they had to turn people away because of how packed the venue was. That’s when the group realized that they had something special.

Patrick Donohue, found of Project 9 Line, gets the crowd going. Photo by Bob Savage
Patrick Donohue, found of Project 9 Line, gets the crowd going. Photo by Bob Savage

“I thought it was going to be one and done, but we had so much fun doing it and got such a big response that we realized we had a good product that we could keep going with,” Rago said.

The group performed a few more shows and held another training class this January before performing at the Centereach VFW Post 4927 — a bigger venue was needed due to another sold-out show.

One of the comedians, “Tugboat” Manny Erias, who performs his own stand-up act three nights a week, helped the team get into the Broadway Comedy Club in New York City.

“I kept saying, ‘We’re a block and a half away from the Ed Sullivan Theater,’” Rago joked excitedly. “Soon. One day.”

The group also performed at Comix Mohegan Sun, a comedy club on the grounds of the casino in Connecticut, and most recently held a benefit show at the Moose Lodge in Mount Sinai after Rago was approached by a veteran and recent divorcee with three children, who was on the verge of becoming homeless.

“I moved here from Florida and went through a divorce,” said the mother, who asked to remain anonymous. “I used all my savings. I tried to do the best I could. It became difficult.”

She reached out to the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program under the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and was turned away because she exhausted all of her resources. She said the VA told her because she wasn’t homeless yet, there was nothing else they could do for her, and that even if she was to become homeless, assistance was not guaranteed.

Audience member Elizabeth Trabold laughs during the show. Photo by Bob Savage
Audience member Elizabeth Trabold laughs during the show. Photo by Bob Savage

That’s when she called Rago’s office at the Suffolk County United Veterans Association for Mental Health and Wellness, where he is an outreach coordinator. When he heard about her situation, falling behind three months on her rent, he thought holding a comedy show to benefit her was the perfect solution.

So Rago made a call to Ron Romanska, who used to work at the Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency as an officer and is now involved in the Coalition of Veterans Organizations and a member of the Moose Lodge.

“I told him the story and that I wanted to do a comedy show and he said, ‘Okay, you want the Moose Lodge? You’ve got it.’ Just like that,” Rago said.

During the comedy show Aug. 27, which more than 100 people attended, the Veterans Comedy Assault Team raised nearly $2,500. The Moose Lodge chipped in $500 and the owner also handed Rago a personal check for $100, on top of the raffle prizes being donated from different stores and businesses.

“There’s nothing like making somebody laugh — it’s so much fun,” Rago said of the events. “Guys in the audience who suffer from PTSD tell us that for the hour and a half they had not a care in the world because they were laughing. It’s therapy.”

It’s also therapy for those involved, like Erias, a retired U.S. Navy Reservist who suffers from anxiety and depression, and goes to the Association of Mental Health and Wellness camps for help coping with his condition.

“We donate our time, money, energy and resources into this and it’s a great success,” he said. “There’s nothing better than helping someone else out by being able to do what we love. It’s the best feeling in the world. And you do it without looking for a return. I’m broke … I’m going for disability, my mother just passed away and I have so many things working against me to keep me down, but I go up there, and for me, it’s a coping skill. I make people laugh, and forget about life for a while.”

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Junior running back Jason Guevara rushes up the field during practice. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River hasn’t lost a football game since November 2013 when the Wildcats fell to their then-nemesis Babylon. Now, the team begins the 2016 campaign protecting a 24-game winning streak. The Wildcats’ winning ways will be tested after losing 18 seniors to graduation, and will have to lean on some unproven talent to keep the streak alive.

Junior quarterback Noah Block hurls the ball up the field during practice. Photo by Bill Landon
Junior quarterback Noah Block hurls the ball up the field during practice. Photo by Bill Landon

Matt Millheiser is entering his seventh year as the head coach of the Wildcats, which have amassed a 44-17 record through six seasons of play, even despite his first season at the helm resulting in an 0-8 finish. In his second year, Millheiser turned his team around, posting a winning 6-3 season and helping send his team to the playoffs the very next year.

“From the beginning, the idea was to just play good football and not worry about wins and losses, but we as coaches go out and coach, teach the kids to love the game,” Millheiser said. “That caught on and that bled over into the offseason by [the kids] working out and coming into summer practices. The more they enjoyed the game, the more they played the game and got better.”

From there, he led the Wildcats to consecutive winning seasons with 7-3 records in 2012 and 2013 before his team ran the table with a pair undefeated seasons, as well as back-to-back Long Island championships, making history along the way.

The Wildcats will lean on senior Kevin Cutinella, the returning starting quarterback, who will have to survey the field to see who will be stepping up to fill the void left by the 18 departed players.

“There’s a lot more team bonding that has to be done this season because we lost so many seniors who were big impact players,” Cutinella said. “We have to get the chemistry to where it was last year with those players.”

Dean Stalzer, a senior tackle on both sides of the line of scrimmage, said the preparation was not all that different from last season.

Junior running back and defensive back Kyle Boden breaks up a play during practice. Photo by Bill Landon
Junior running back and defensive back Kyle Boden breaks up a play during practice. Photo by Bill Landon

“We’re putting in the same amount of work as we did last year; the new seniors this year have got to step it up and to be the captains that they were,” Stalzer said regarding this season’s and last year’s leadership. “It’s early yet, and we’re not coming out like a championship team, but I like what I see. I think we’re looking good.”

The team’s 24 consecutive victories is not openly discussed, according to senior running back and defense back Chris Gray.

“The coaches aren’t talking to us about this win streak, but it’s definitely in the backs of our minds so we want to keep it going as long as we can,” he said, “Preparing for this season there’s a lot of stress on doing the little things correctly. We’re putting 100 percent effort into everything we do — that’s what the coaches have been stressing throughout practice.”

Cutinella said he’s looking forward to the league season opener at home on Sept. 9 under the lights on the new field that bears his brother’s name — the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field. Kickoff for that game against Center Moriches is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “Two weeks from now we’ll be on the new field, and it’ll be great to play with all of the players that I’ve played with since I was 4 years old.”

What is left of the foundation of the Brookhaven Sand and Gravel Company in Mount Sinai. Photo by Edna Giffen

By Edna Giffen

When doing a project to benefit present and future generations, a municipality uncovered an item from the past.

As part of a stormwater mitigation project, the Town of Brookhaven has cleared a large area on the northeast corner of Mount Sinai Harbor adjacent to Shore Road. During this clearing, a cement structure was uncovered: the last remnants of the Brookhaven Sand and Gravel Company.

During the early 1900s, cities were expanding and cement was needed in ever-increasing amounts, with Long Island sand being considered the highest quality.

Companies looked all over Long Island for easily accessible quantities of sand, and in February of 1909, The Port Jefferson Echo, the local newspaper at the time, started reporting on activities concerning mining in Mount Sinai.

On Feb. 6, 1909, New York parties purchased a small piece of bayfront for a dock in the northeast corner of the harbor. This group had already purchased a total of 64 acres of sandy hills across Shore Road, and the American Sand and Gravel Company brought in a pile driver to build a 200-foot dock. A mud digger was brought in to dig a channel to the harbor entrance on the northwest side of the harbor to permit barges to come and go as needed. A railroad trestle was started near the mining area.

In 1910, the American Sand and Gravel Company, which had started this process, sold everything to the newly formed Brookhaven Sand and Gravel Company.

The company moved quickly. The railroad trestle was torn down and rebuilt in a more substantial manner to stand 16 feet above Shore Road, and a building for refining the sand was built on the property. The original plan was for the refining plant to help with housing development, but it became apparent that it’s real purpose was a full-scale mining operation.

Equipment was brought in, including a steam shovel, a donkey engine train and cars to carry the sand over the trestle. Crews of men were brought to work on the construction and the sand mining. By 1912, everything was ready to start the mining operation.

While the work was being done, there were concerns as to the benefits of the operation to the village, as evidenced by an item of Mount Sinai news in the Echo dated April 17, 1909.

A piece in the paper read: “The question whether the sand pile operation at Mount Sinai will bring into the village more money than would the desirable resident community, which they may drive away, is still being canvassed by the inhabitants. There is, however, no doubt of the dismay which has been created in the minds of some of those residing near the proposed sand dump, whose property is already seriously depreciated. On the other hand, it is claimed that if the talk of dredging of the harbor should prove to be of such a character as to be of benefit to the public, as well as to the sand company, the villagers will have cause to be grateful.”

Despite this, sand mining finally began in August 1912.

During the night of Sept. 3, 1912, the plant and part of the trestle were destroyed by fire. The cause was never discovered, the company did not rebuild and everything was left as is.

In 1913, local and summer residents petitioned the Town of Brookhaven to have the lease of the Brookhaven Sand and Gravel Company cancelled as the company was no longer in operation.

The steam shovel, donkey engine and cars were taken to the Miller Place Railroad Station and sent to Canada in July 1916.

Finally, in November 1917, the trestle over Shore Road was removed.

Up until a few years ago, the wooden pylons from the dock were visible and the cement was recently exposed. The foundation of the refining plant is all that is left of this once controversial episode in Mount Sinai history.

Edna Giffen is a 12th-generation Miller Place resident now living in Mount Sinai. She is a local historian, archivist and current president of Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society.

Smithtown Fire Department got a mother and her two children out of their house safely after it caught on fire last week. Photo from Smithtown

By Victoria Espinoza

Smithtown Fire Department responded to a smoke detector alarm coming from a residence in the early hours last Tuesday, Aug. 24.

The department got to a home on Sterling Lane at 3:11 a.m. Smithtown Third Assistant Chief Patrick Diecidue observed heavy smoke coming from the residence and quickly upgraded the call to a working structure fire.

With the possibility of residents in the home, Diecidue, along with the first responders on the scene, took out the front door and immediately proceeded to search the house. They were able to quickly remove a three-year-old girl from a bedroom and brought the child out for medical attention.

Additional arriving units continued the search and found a mother and her 3-month-old infant son on the bathroom floor. They were removed from the residence, and the department said they had inhaled a considerable amount of smoke and were in cardiac arrest.

While firefighters said the smoke was heavy, the fire was limited and quickly brought under control.

Members of the Hauppauge, Kings Park, St. James, and Nesconset fire departments responded to the scene to help, as well as the Central Islip-Hauppauge Volunteer Ambulance Corp.

The victims were treated on the scene and then transported by ambulance. The mother was initially taken to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown while the children were taken to Stony Brook University Hospital. The mother was later transferred to SBUH for additional care.

A 76-year-old veteran committed suicide on the Northport VA campus last week. File photo

By Victoria Espinoza

A 76-year-old veteran from Islip committed suicide Sunday, Aug. 21, in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, according to news sources.

Peter A. Kaisen was pronounced dead at the scene, and according to Northport VA Director Philip Moschitta, in a letter to U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), the body was found next to his car in parking lot I on the campus. Moschitta said an employee of the VA found the body lying on the pavement, and the Northport Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department and FBI responded to the scene.

Moschitta also said there is no record of Kaisen entering the emergency room that day, and that during the 12 minutes he spent at the VA, he didn’t appear to leave the parking lot, as shown on video surveillance.

Multiple news sources have reported that Kaisen was denied service, but Veterans Affairs denies the veteran sought medical attention, although they said the investigation is ongoing.

“Our staff of medical professionals would never turn away an individual who required any level of health care,” Moschitta said in the letter. “We have not found any evidence that the veteran sought assistance from any of our staff, including visiting the emergency room that day. It appears the details of the tragic incident may have been misrepresented in the media coverage.”

Zeldin, a veteran himself, said the loss is heartbreaking.

The loss of even a single veteran in America due to suicide is one too much,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, throughout our country, every day 22 veterans take their own life. It is so important to have the best possible understanding as to why these suicides keep happening. For me personally, I have lost more people I know due to suicide than in combat. Our veterans are returning home feeling isolated and alone and feeling like their family, friends and colleagues at work don’t understand what it is that they are going through. What is especially tragic, especially here in Suffolk County, is that a veteran will feel isolated and alone even though there are literally thousands of others throughout our county who would move heaven and Earth to shower a veteran in need with love, appreciation and support.”

Zeldin said that it’s important to note that even though Kaisen’s death was a result of suicide, there are many incidents of veterans whose deaths are incorrectly labeled suicide.

“PFC Joseph Dwyer’s last words when he passed away in 2008 were ‘I don’t want to die.’ He was looking for temporary relief to escape his pain, but he wasn’t looking to leave behind a young widow and 2-year-old daughter.”

Dwyer is known around the country for a famous photo of him carrying a young ailing Iraqi boy during combat. Dwyer’s legacy led to the creation the PFC Joseph Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Program, which provides a safe, confidential and educational platform where all veterans are welcome to meet with other veterans in support of each other’s successful transition to postservice life.

“This program should be in every county in the United States,” Zeldin said. “Losing one veteran as a result of suicide is unacceptable. As investigations into this suicide continue, I will continue to aggressively stay on top of this situation. What is so incredibly important to me and for others is to identify any specific ways at all that this veteran was underserved, so that it can be immediately and completely corrected in order for something very positive to result from this very tragic event. Every time a veteran takes his or her own life, the system has failed.”

By Rebecca Anzel

Melonie smiled as she watched her son Justin-Joseph, or J.J. for short, land several backflips on the trampolines at West Hills Day Camp in Huntington on Saturday. The activities at Suffolk Aspergers/Autism Support and Information’s first annual Family Fun Day — zip lines, face painting, sand art and a water slide, in addition to the trampoline park — were the perfect outlet for J.J.’s vast supply of energy.

J.J. is on the autism spectrum — Melonie is, too. “People look at us differently,” she said. “For me, it’s important for J.J. not to have that painful experience.”

SASI, a not-for-profit support group that provides special needs families with helpful resources, provides that sense of community Melonie wants for J.J. Founded in the living room of co-founder Stephanie Mendelson on Dec. 4 of last year, SASI has grown from 12 parents to over 700 families throughout Suffolk County and across the rest of Long Island in eight months.

Co-founder Priscilla Arena said Family Fun Day was meant to be an event for children on the autism spectrum to have carefree fun, and a way for families to bond.

“[I’m excited] for our kids to make friends — to see them smile. Here, they’re part of one community.”

—Priscilla Arena

“[I’m excited] for our kids to make friends — to see them smile,” she said, tearing up. “Here, they’re part of one community. They are the popular kids in SASI.”

Mendelson and Arena, both from Mount Sinai, have children on the autism spectrum. They found there was a lack of resources on Long Island for families and formed SASI as a support group to fill that void.

“Parents found themselves lost, confused, hopeless, alienated, isolated and alone,” Arena said. “SASI created an environment where they could come together and share their stories and experiences.”

To its members, SASI provides information about available resources, advocacy, financial and emotional support. On the last Friday of every month, the group hosts speakers at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson — so far, families have heard from a representative from Parent to Parent, a state planning attorney, a Medicaid broker and a parent advocate for education.

The group’s first speaker, special education advocate Danielle Brooks, was at Family Fun Day giving free advice to families. She said SASI is a special organization because it built a caring network for families in a short period of time. The event, she said, was a great opportunity for children to have fun in a safe environment.

SASI also hosts a birthday party club for its member’s children, who range in ages from kids just shy of 3 years old to adults in their late 20s. Arena said children on the autism spectrum have difficulty making friends, so sometimes there are not many others to invite to a child’s birthday party. The group is also working on a lending library, which will help members borrow books donated to the organization; a job skills program; life coach program and blue pages resource handbook, which would help parents find services they need across the island.

Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said she is “thrilled and excited” that Arena and Mendelson founded SASI. Instead of complaining about a lack of resources, she said, the SASI co-founders work hard to address issues.

“I think SASI will be able to address problems and advocate with a stronger, louder voice.”

—Sarah Anker

“I’m really supportive and beyond happy that Priscilla has taken this concern and made it into a centerpiece to gather around — creating this organization so people have a place to go for information and resources,” Anker said. “I think SASI will be able to address problems and advocate with a stronger, louder voice.”

The group has also gained the attention of U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who is sponsoring a bill to ensure Americans with disabilities have access to necessary health-care equipment.

“In Congress, one of my top priorities is ensuring that all Americans with disabilities have the resources they need to live independently and happily,” Zeldin wrote in a statement. “I thank the Suffolk Aspergers/Autism Support and Information group for their work in our community to help children and adults with disabilities.”

Family Fun Day was held at West Hills Day Camp in Huntington, a facility famous for its autism-friendly Gersh Academy. The facility donated the space for the event, which Anker said had about 800 attendees.

In addition to the attractions, the event also had refreshments from Crazy Crepes, Mr. Softee and Kona Ice. Families could purchase t-shirts or raffle tickets to win one of many donated baskets.

The event was just the first of many more to come, Arena said. “We’re new, but we’re just getting started.”

For Melonie, Family Fun Day was the perfect way to spend time with her son.

“It’s everything to see smiles on all the kids faces,” Melonie said. “They don’t get this a lot.”

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Andrew McDonnell squeezes between two Ward Melville players to gain possession of the ball in a game last season. File photo by Desirée Keegan

With a talented sophomore class, the Smithtown West boys’ soccer team will rely more heavily on its underclassmen this season to fill the shoes of the 12 seniors lost to graduation.

“I think the biggest challenge for the boys is that we’re very talented, we just have our talents spread out through different grade levels,” 14-year head coach Tom Lips said. “We have really good soccer players, we just have to figure it all out. It’s very new right now.”

Aaron Siegel sends the ball into play in a game against Ward Melville last season. File photo by Desirée Keegan
Aaron Siegel sends the ball into play in a game against Ward Melville last season. File photo by Desirée Keegan

Last year, the Bulls made it to the Suffolk County semifinals after winning the League III title for the third consecutive season. Although the coach and his teammates thought the 5-2-1 team had the potential to go father, Lips thinks fatigue played a factor.

“It’s a lot of soccer games in a short period of time, so when we entered the playoffs I felt the kids ran out of gas a little bit,” he said. “It was generally the same lineup and the same group basically played every game and most of the minutes, and that can build up after a while.”

Which is why the Bulls are building on their athleticism. Despite being consistent over the last few years, finishing the 2014-15 season with a 14-2 record, and the 2013-14 season at 18-1-1, the extra push to continue a strong record will help the Bulls go deeper into the postseason.

“We had a really good session [on Monday] and another on Saturday,” three-year starter and retuning goalkeeper Aaron Siegel said of practices so far, despite lacking in leadership early on. “In my three years on varsity it was the first time we had about 25 of the 28 kids run the two mile in under 14 minutes, and we had a bunch of kids run it in under 13 minutes; we look very fit and very strong coming into the season.”

The senior also noted that a lot of the sophomore additions bring size and skill to the team.

Brandon Erny maintains control of the ball in a game against Ward Melville last season. File photo by Desirée Keegan
Brandon Erny maintains control of the ball in a game against Ward Melville last season. File photo by Desirée Keegan

“A lot of them are physically big or athletic, but a lot of them are also pretty soccer-smart,” he said. “They know what to do with the ball — they know how to play. They don’t just try to run into people, they actually move the ball and get it going.”

Leading the team this season, will be senior captains Reed Massaro and Brandon Erny.

Of Massaro, a three-year returner, Lips said the defenseman has made some great strides over the last two years, and expects him to have his best year. For Erny, a three-year starter, Lips said he’ll be used as a utility player, moving to wherever the team needs him most in a given game.

“He’s talented enough to play everywhere,” the head coach said.

Also returning to the team is Andrew McDonnell, former captain Matt McDonnell’s younger brother. He’ll be a junior this season, and Lips said he’s coming through the program well.

“He did a nice job last year before he got hurt and then we lost him in the playoff run, which was impactful, because things were pretty solid with him in the middle of the field,” he said. “But I expect Andrew to have a very, very good year at midfield and possibly forward.”

Harrison Weber edges ahead of a Ward Melville player to gain possession in a game last year. File photo by Desirée Keegan
Harrison Weber edges ahead of a Ward Melville player to gain possession in a game last year. File photo by Desirée Keegan

Senior midfielder Anthony Gibbons will also be looked to for his experience and talents.

Gibbons thinks that the younger athletes bring new energy to the team and said that it didn’t take long for the new group to begin to gel, but Lips thinks that his three-year returner has an energy all his own.

“Gibbons has high energy and we hope he makes some tremendous strides,” Lips said. “He had a wonderful season last year and he could be more the physical and emotional leader of the team. I think he’s going to make a great impact.”

Being physically fit to have an edge on other teams, the Bulls believe stamina wont be an issue as the team pushes for a fourth consecutive League III title.

Smithtown West will host Ward Melville on Sept. 2 in a nonleague game, and will travel to Smithtown East on Sept. 7 for a League III matchup against its crosstown rival.

“We have to get tactically ready for school-ball season because it’s a more physical, more direct game, and we have to keep drilling that into the young kids and keep getting more fit, because that’s really going to help us in the long run,” Siegel said. “ This year I don’t think there’s going to any let off. Ending my high school career never losing that League III title would be a big thing for us to keep our name — we want to maintain the legacy of the school. I think for the fourth straight year, the league title will be coming back to Smithtown West.”

 

Lead Mike DelGuidice sings and plays the piano at the Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot concert for the 2015 Rocky Point Concert series. File hoto by Giselle Barkley

There is a traffic advisory out for a road closing in Rocky Point.

On Aug. 30 at 7 p.m., Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot, a Billy Joel tribute band, will be performing at St. Anthony of Padua Church as part of the final Downtown Rocky Point Summer concert series.

Every year, this performance attracts thousands of people from Suffolk County and the surrounding tristate area.

The Downtown Rocky Point Summer Concert series allows resident to enjoy free musical performances and also helps support local businesses. Organizations such as Long Island Cares, Suffolk County United Veterans, the Rocky Point Rotary, and the North Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce will also be in attendance to provide information about their programs and services.

Be advised, due to the anticipated attendance, the Suffolk County Police Department will be closing Main Street in Rocky Point from Rocky Point Landing Road to Broadway at 5:30 p.m. The road will reopen at the end of the concert.

Senator Chuck Schumer is taking wireless network companies to task for poor service in areas of Long Island. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Frustrating dropped calls, undelivered text messages and slow loading web pages may soon be a thing of the past on Long Island if one U.S. Senator has anything to say about it.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) submitted a list to wireless carriers of more than 200 ‘dead zones’ for cellular service on Long Island Aug. 25. The list was accumulated by Long Island residents identifying areas where frequent lapses in service occur to Schumer’s website over the course of several months. North Country Road in Port Jefferson and Setauket, Main Street in Northport, Route 25 in Smithtown, Shore Road in Mount Sinai and Hawkins Avenue in Stony Brook were among the North Shore locations residents pegged for spotty service according to a press release from Schumer’s office.

Infographic by TBR News Media
Infographic by TBR News Media

“When it comes to cell service on Long Island, these dead zones are proof carriers need to —quite frankly— raise the bar,” Schumer said in a statement. “A heavily populated region like Long Island shouldn’t be home to over 200 dead zones. Just a stone’s throw away from New York City and home to several universities, thousands of businesses and more, Long Island’s cell phone coverage must remain uninterrupted. Now that Long Islanders have submitted critical dead zones locations to my office, our wireless carries must make sure they are fixed. I will share these locations to carriers and am urging them to come up with a solution that meets the needs of both Nassau and Suffolk residents.”

Spokespeople from wireless carriers T-Mobile and AT&T did not respond to requests for comment regarding Schumer’s list. Andrew Testa, a public relations manager for Verizon Wireless’ northeast market, deferred questions regarding the Senator’s list of dead zones to international nonprofit CTIA — The Wireless Association, who has represented the wireless communications industry since 1984. CTIA spokeswoman Amy Storey declined to comment on behalf of any of their members, which include Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

One company addressed Schumer’s concerns.

“Sprint is committed to making sure Sprint customers have a great experience on our network and we’re investing to improve our coverage and reliability on Long Island,” company spokeswoman Adrienne Norton said in an email Aug. 26. “We share Senator Schumer’s goal of better service for Sprint customers and look forward to working with him to enact legislation that will reduce barriers to network deployment.”

Norton added that more Sprint cell sites, or towers should be expected on Long Island in the next nine months, which should improve service.

Schumer said lapses in cellphone coverage could create dangerous situations if GPS technology fails, and could deter business owners from setting up shop or tourists from visiting Long Island if problems persist. He called on wireless companies to come up with solutions to alleviate the issues.

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