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Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), right, faces Steve Weissbard in the race for New York’s 4th Assembly District seat. Photos by Desirée Keegan

There were areas of agreement and points of sharp contrast between incumbent Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and challenger Steve Weissbard (R) when they sat down together at the TBR News Media main office to discuss their qualifications and plans for New York’s 4th Assembly District.

Route 347 and its ongoing reconstruction was high on the challenger’s list of important issues. The traffic and congestion are intolerable and detract from quality of life for area residents, and the redesign has been flawed, Weissbard said.

“New York is known as the least free state, the most regulated state, the highest tax rate state. We’re bleeding industry.”

— Steve Weissbard

“We need to get rid of the lights and add a third lane,” Weissbard said. “There should have been more overpasses.”

The incumbent said he is pleased with the changes to Route 347. Englebright noted the history of the road, which was originally supposed to be leg two of the Northern State Parkway extending all the way out to Orient.

“It never happened and we have a roadway that was confused by historical events,” he said. “The first proposals put forth by the [Department of Transportation] — going back more than a decade — would have recreated the Cross Bronx Expressway. Then Senator Jim Lack and I rejected those proposals and asked for something better. The something better is in the works.”

Weissbard has ideas for improving the state economy, which he said has been contracting for the last 40 years.

“New York is known as the least free state, the most regulated state, the highest tax rate state,” he said. “We’re bleeding industry.”

The answer, he added, quoting President Ronald Reagan, isn’t more government, but less government.

Englebright offered a different perspective.

“I can’t help but notice that the largest employer is government — and the largest entity, in fact, is in this district: the State University of New York — the largest employer in the bicounty region,” he said.

He argued that its presence has helped our community weather deep recessions that have affected other areas on Long Island much more profoundly.

On Common Core, however, they agreed completely.

“I think it undermines the fundamental relationship between teacher and student,” Weissbard said.

His Democratic counterpart was equally critical of the federal program.

“In the past, teaching was seen as an art,” Englebright said. “Now it’s trying to be seen as a quantifiable, robotic-like activity.”

“In the past, teaching was seen as an art. Now it’s trying to be seen as a quantifiable, robotic-like activity.”

— Steve Englebright

They both said they would like Common Core to be scrapped for a system that returns control to local school districts and teachers.

Englebright said he hopes voters will return him to Albany for a thirteenth term. He stands on his record of accomplishment on behalf of his constituents.

“I have made promises [in the past] and I have kept those promises,” he said.

Although his record on environmental issues gets lots of attention, he named other legislation that made him proudest.

“That the pertussis [whooping cough] legislation I sponsored with Dr. Shetal Shah has, according to his data, reduced the incidence of this killer childhood disease by at least 50 percent since the law’s passage in 2012,” he said.

Weissbard said he would like to bring a new perspective to the Assembly.

“As a county attorney, as a prosecutor, I’ve been in charge of both the juvenile drug court and, at times, the adult drug court, so I’ve seen the war on drugs on the Island at point blank range,” Weissbard said. “It’s a lot of first-hand knowledge that I would love to bring to the state level.”

Three Village Chamber Players Natalie Kress, Anna Tsukervanik, Philip Carter and Alison Rowe perform. Photo by Donna Newman

Joni Mitchell once said, “I see music as fluid architecture.” The All Souls Episcopal Church in Stony Brook Village gives people an opportunity to revel in both at once.

The Saturdays at Six program offers classical music in concert the third Saturday of each month at 6 p.m.

On a recent Saturday the musicians were members of the Three Village Chamber Players, a group of Stony Brook graduate students who have been performing there over the past year.

Violinist Leah Caravello opens the show. Photo by Donna Newman
Violinist Leah Caravello opens the show. Photo by Donna Newman

“Our mission is to enrich our community through artistic excellence, providing musical performances of the highest caliber free to the public,” reads the statement on the group’s Facebook page.

For its part, the church shares the Players’ mission of serving the community.   

“The church’s doors are open every day so people can enter for prayer or reflection,” said Welcoming Chairman Daniel Kerr, while introducing the concert. Further, the church displays an active commitment to the arts with its Saturday programs that offer music, meditation and poetry on a regular basis, he said.

This program included Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C major — nicknamed “Dissonance” — and, after an intermission, Ravel’s String Quartet in F major. Performers included the group’s director Natalie Kress, Anna Tsukervanik, Philip Carter (violins) and Alison Rowe (cello).

As an added treat, one of Kress’ violin students, five-year-old Leah Caravello, played a short piece.

The next Saturdays at Six concert will take place Nov. 19, when the members of the Anima Brass Quintet will perform.

Although the concert is free and open to all, a nonperishable food item donation is requested, and a “performer’s appreciation donation basket” is available, should people wish to contribute.

Visitors express their enthusiasm for Stony Brook. Photo by Donna Newman

Stony Brook was on display as a destination on a global scale this past weekend.

A group of travel product developers — those who design tours for the luxury market in mainland China — visited the Village Oct. 22 as part of a “familiarization (or fam) tour” of Long Island.

“We don’t have time to showcase the entire island, so we choose some places that are special,” Joan LaRosa, director of sales for the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau said of the visit. Evidently Stony Brook is one of those.

The tours encourage designers to add Long Island stops to their itineraries. She said five “fam” tours are going on right now, hosted by United Airlines, which provided the plane tickets.

A second entity participating in this travel sales pitch is the New York State Division of Tourism via its I Love NY campaign.

Anna Klapper, a manager for global trade development for Washington, D.C.-based Brand USA, is one of the guides accompanying the group on their journey.

“They flew into New York Oct. 19 and have been visiting places on Long Island,” she said. “Tomorrow morning we’ll ferry to Connecticut and make stops in New Haven, Mystic [Seaport] and Mohegan Sun.”

Visitors enjoy craft beer at Brew Cheese in Stony Brook Village. Photo by Donna Newman
Visitors enjoy craft beer at Brew Cheese in Stony Brook Village. Photo by Donna Newman

Klapper pointed out that she and colleague Philip Joseph have noticed that their guests are constantly online posting everything on social media — adding value to their sales efforts.

Brand USA is an organization that markets the United States as a destination to travel product developers worldwide. Its goal is to increase international tourist visits, thereby fueling the nation’s economy and enhancing its image abroad, as stated on the organization’s website.

The website further states it is “the nation’s first public-private partnership to spearhead a globally coordinated marketing effort to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and communicate U.S. entry policies. Its operations are supported by a combination of contributions from destinations, travel brands, and private-sector organizations, plus matching funds collected by the U.S. government from international visitors who visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.”

The visitors from China are also accompanied by Tina Yao, Brand USA’s Shanghai office director.

Gloria Rocchio, president of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, made the arrangements for the visitors and was on hand to greet them.

“The LI Convention and Visitors Bureau picked Stony Brook for this visit,” she said. When asked if she knew why, she speculated, “perhaps because we have a 21st century, world-class university and a picturesque, historic village on the water?”

Rocchio invited Yu-wan Wang, associate dean of international admissions at Stony Brook University, to meet the group, talk about the university and answer any questions they had about it. She also served as an interpreter, and when she asked William Wang of Shanghai to tell what he liked best about Stony Brook, she translated:

“I love the fresh air and to be so close to the ocean.”

Following a sampling of lavender and espresso cheese and craft beers, the party of 16 made their way across the street to The Jazz Loft for a musical evening.

Chef Guy Reuge. Photo by Donna Newman

By Donna Newman

Often referred to as France’s gift to Long Island, Guy Reuge, executive chef of Mirabelle Restaurant and the Mirabelle Tavern at the Three Village Inn in Stony Brook, has a lot to celebrate. Last fall he opened a new restaurant on Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor, Sandbar, launched Le Vin Wine Bar and Tapas at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove in collaboration with Christophe Lhopitault, and just this week released an autobiographical cookbook, “A Chef’s Odyssey.”

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Chef Reuge at his restaurant at The Three Village Inn as he reflected on his journey from north-central France to Long Island.

Chef Guy Reuge. Photo by Lynn Spinnato
Chef Guy Reuge. Photo by Lynn Spinnato

I’ve read that you began your training at age 14. Did you know early in life that you wanted to be a chef?

I developed a passion for cooking when I was about 10. I loved baking with my mother. I’d wake up early to help her make Sunday lunch. I loved to roll dough with her. That’s where my early passion began. But things were different in those days. You either went to school or you found an apprenticeship, as I did. My father was a mason. We didn’t have much money and for me to leave the house and go to work somewhere where I would eat, I would sleep, I would be taken care of — with clothes and so on, it was a good way out for my parents who were not very poor, but also not very rich.

What made you decide to come to America?

I grew up in Orléans, where there was an American army base. As a kid, I saw American soldiers every day. In 1963 I was 10 years old when the family of an American soldier moved [in] across the street. So, there was the father, the mother, two sons and a daughter. The boys were about my age. Although we did not speak the same language, kids play together. I was so impressed with them. It’s the first time I saw a woman with pants — smoking a cigarette! And they would do “the barbecue” in the summer and invite me — with hot dogs and Wonder bread! Once or twice they took me to the camp, where they had a movie theater. This was my first encounter with Elvis Presley and I said, “Wow, that guy is good.” I decided one day I would go and visit America.

So when, and how, did you find your way to the United States?

Coming out of military service, I found a job in Freebourg, Switzerland. [But] it was not a good situation for me. So after two months I was looking for another job. [In] the newspaper was an ad [from] a Swiss man, established in America, looking for a chef. I answered the ad. His name was George Rey and he owned a restaurant on 55th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. He wanted someone quickly. I came to this country on a one-way ticket — no visa to work, only a tourist visa. I just wanted to try it. And, of course, I fell in love with New York. I got a lawyer and [began the process] of becoming legal in this country; a foreign resident with a green card, good for one year. And then, you have to renew it.

So now you were officially a New Yorker?

Not yet. In 1974 I returned to France with money to spend. That was new to me. I traveled to Morocco, to Spain — and spent time with friends in France. But I knew my green card was about to expire again, so I returned to America in late ‘74. Upon arriving in New York the second time, I met friends in a nice pub where we used to hang out. (P.J. Clarke’s; it still exists.) When we arrived there was a table of giggling girls. A few of them spoke French [and my English was not so good]. We stayed to talk. One of them was to become my wife.

Tell me about her and how your lives came together.

[Maria] had moved from Virginia [after college] and was working as a receptionist at Gourmet Magazine. Before long she was offered an editor position. [The publisher] decided to put out a book called “Gourmet France.” Half the book would be about traveling in France, and half recipes from great restaurants. Sally Darr, head chef for Gourmet, went to all kinds of restaurants and got all kinds of recipes for the book. By then, people [at Gourmet] knew I was a chef and the editor-in-chief asked me to help. For one year, beside my restaurant work, I tested recipes for Gourmet. I could buy whatever I wanted, so I shopped at Jefferson Market, at Balducci’s, at Zabar’s — the best stores in New York at the time. My friends loved me because on the weekend I would cook and invite them for dinner. The book was published in 1977. My name is not on it, but I had a great time doing it.

So then you married Maria?

We had a good relationship, but I wanted to move back to France — she wanted to stay in New York. We decided to part. I landed a job as a chef in a restaurant in Luneville, in eastern France. The restaurant was called Georges de la Tour (named for a 16th-century artist from there). We opened a great restaurant in the wrong place. It was a small town, very provincial, people were not open to the prices or the type of cuisine we were doing. It was challenging. And, to tell you the truth, I missed Maria. And she missed me. The restaurant was going so-so, and my father had died of cancer, when Maria sent me a letter. Sally Darr and her husband decided to open a restaurant called La Tulipe. She asked Maria if I would come back to New York to be her chef. My green card was about to expire again. So I returned to New York.

Tell me about that restaurant.

La Tulipe was at 13th Street and Sixth Avenue. I went to look at it as soon as I arrived. It was a shell of a building. There was nothing there and I realized the restaurant was not [going] to open any time soon. So I found a job in one of the best restaurants in New York, Le Cygne (The Swan) as “chef saucier” [and spent my days] making 16 different sauces every day. A year later, La Tulipe opened. It was a small restaurant with about 65 seats. In France they were doing “nouvelle cuisine,” and we were its precursor in [the U.S.]. We’d serve 30 to 40 customers a night. Then Times food reviewer Mimi Sheraton decided — within three visits — we were worthy of three stars which, in those days, put you on the map. We were packed every night from then on. Every big wig, every politician ate there. And celebrities: Danny Kaye, Mary Tyler Moore, Candice Bergen, Mary Travers, and the biggest thrill of all — James Beard. Those were my days at La Tulipe — very glamorous.

After spending all those years in New York City, how did you come to open Mirabelle in St. James?

Maria’s uncle Philip Palmedo lived in Old Field. He was a businessman, a physicist by training, and very fond of French food. He said to me, “Guy, why don’t you open your own restaurant?” I said I didn’t have enough money. He said, “Well, if I help you raise capital, would you [put] your restaurant in my neck of the woods?” We did a lot of little dinners at his home, invited a lot of people and put together a group of 50 investors. I found a location, Maria left Gourmet and I left my chef position at Tavern on the Green. We were young and ambitious. Nothing scared us. We were sure to be a success. A food editor at Newsday became interested in Mirabelle. She and a photographer followed us for three months during construction of the restaurant. When we opened in late December, she did a big spread on us. And we were on the map; packed every day. We opened with a three-star review in the New York Times from Florence Fabricant and [the critic] at Newsday gave us four stars.

Why did you relocate Mirabelle to the Three Village Inn?

Projects like [Mirabelle] are nice when they are young. The first 10 years you do well. Then things change. Other restaurants open. Trends change … I made a mistake, too. I opened a restaurant with partners in New York City in 2000. It was a fiasco. We lost a lot of money and came back to St. James. In 2007 a friend asked me, “wouldn’t you like to own the Three Village Inn?” He said, “if you can make a deal with the owner, we’ll go in together.” I always loved this place and thought we could do something interesting. I approached the Lessing’s Group but they told me it’s not for sale. Three months later CEO Michael Lessing called. “So, how about you sell your restaurant, we revamp the Three Village Inn, and you come in as the chef.” My life would change; I’d be corporate instead of being on my own, but we could make Mirabelle a success again. We transferred the name Mirabelle and the restaurant was reborn in 2008.

Beside breathing new life into Mirabelle, did the link with the Lessing’s bring other opportunities?

Yes. Mr. Lessing asked me to put a restaurant in his hometown of Cold Spring Harbor. We found a place, built the building from scratch, and it’s a beautiful restaurant we call Sandbar. Highly successful, it’s fully booked every night, thanks to good reviews in the Times and three stars in Newsday.

You’ve won many prestigious culinary awards. Which means the most to you?

I became a Master Chef of France in 1991. I never thought I would accede to that. I admire the chefs among that group. It’s an elite. Jean-Michel Bergougnoux, chef at Le Cygne, and Andre Soltner at Lutece sponsored me. And then [there is the] trophy — every year one of the Master Chefs gets it. I won the trophy in 2006 — a beautiful Toque d’Argent (silver chef’s hat) that you keep in your restaurant for a year. I received it at Le Cirque. There was a big ceremony and the French ambassador was there. It was nice. In France, we love our medals.

Do you have a favorite dish?

Not really. For me cooking is something that is based on your mood. So you are in the mood for fish because you go to a pier and you see a fisherman coming with a fish, and you think, “Oh my God, I would love to cook this.” To me, the situation sets the mood and the mood sets the food. I love everything. The beauty of working as a chef in this country is that you have so many influences: Asian, Mexican, so many others.

Tell me about Le Vin at Smith Haven Mall.

It’s a project I put together with Christophe Lhopitault who owns Lake Side Emotions [wine shop] across the street [in the Stony Brook Village Center.] We decided to get together to open a little wine bar. The wine is sold at a very good price, by the glass or by the bottle. We have a blackboard menu, which is all tapas, but with a French flair. The menu changes every two months. It’s challenging because it’s in the mall and people are not used to that. There’s an entrance from the food court and one from outside, [so we’re not limited to the mall’s hours]. Once inside you have no idea you are in a mall. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Do you have retirement plans?

I am getting older and people ask, “Why do you still do this?” It’s been 47 years. My role model is Paul Bocuse. He just turned 90, and although he does not cook anymore, he is still active in the business. I have no desire to give up what I am doing either, as long as I am healthy. Every day I come to work excited about it. I love projects. In this business we are constantly with young people. It keeps you young.

Book signings:

a-chefs-odysseyThree Village Inn

Tonight, Thursday, Oct. 20, Chef Guy Reuge will host a special book signing dinner in celebration of the release of his cookbook, “A Chef’s Odyssey,” at the Three Village Inn, 150 Main St., Stony Brook at 7 p.m. The night will feature a four-course prix fixe menu highlighting a selection of the chef’s classics. Menu items, subject to change, include panisses with harissa mayonnaise (first course); maple glazed quail and fried eggplant with lime and sherry-maple syrup (second course), aged shell steak and red wine braided beef short rib with an autumn vegetable medley or woven sole and salmon sauce Duglere (third course); and Gâteau Mirabelle and petits fours (fourth course). Cost is $110 per person and includes a copy of the cookbook and dinner. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling 631-751-0555.

Book Revue

On Nov. 7, the Book Revue, 423 Park Ave., Huntington will welcome Chef Guy Reuge who will sign copies of “A Chef’s Odyssey,” at 7 p.m. For more information, call 631-271-1442 or visit www.bookrevue.com.

Crews finish paving University Drive in East Setauket. Photo from Losquadro's office

If it feels like the morning commute or the ride to the local store is a little smoother, that’s because it is.

Many roads within the Three Village area were repaved over the summer, according to press releases from Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro (R) and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), who announced the completion of the projects this month.

Two multiroad jobs addressed streets in the vicinity of Minnesauke and Nassakeag elementary schools. In addition, prior to paving, preparations were made for the installation of traffic signals to replace stop signs at the points where Lower Sheep Pasture Road meets Bennetts Road and Pond Path, according to Losquadro.

Traffic Safety Director Jon Sullivan said his office had received multiple complaints from residents, dating back ten years. A traffic study found that over a period of three years, there were a combined 26 traffic accidents at the two locations, he said, warranting the change from stop signs to traffic lights. “The installation will reduce accidents and improve traffic safety,” he concluded.

The estimated cost for the traffic signals is an additional $200,000, according to Losquadro.

In Setauket, around Minnesauke, the highway department resurfaced 11 roads. Andrea Drive, Bennetts Road, Bluetop Road, Captains Walk, Detmer Road, Doolings Path, Hilltop Lane, Michelle Court, Peace Lane, Rising Road and St. George Glen Drive were all freshly paved. The job required several weeks of concrete work, with crews replacing more than 2,700 square feet of aprons and 1,650 linear feet of curb. The total cost for the project was nearly $600,000.

“This paving provided much needed relief for residents and motorists in the vicinity of Andrea Drive and Bennetts Road,” Losquadro said in a statement.

In East Setauket near Nassakeag, 13 streets were paved. Rides on Amherst Court, Cornell Court, Cornwallis Road, Daniel Webster Drive, Hamilton Road, Jackson Drive, Jefferson Court, Montpelier Court, Nathan Hale Drive, University Drive, Washington Avenue, Yale Court and Yorktown Road are much smoother. Crews replaced more than 1,600 square feet of aprons and 1,600 linear feet of curb at a total cost of just over $500,000.

“The two signal builds on Sheep Pasture Road at Bennetts Road and Pond Path are both on hold, awaiting utility relocations,” a spokesman for Losquadro said in an email. “The signal poles are up, but it should be another three weeks before the utility work is finished and we can move forward.”

The lights will be put into a flash pattern for two weeks until residents get acclimated to their presence, and it should be about two months until they’re fully functional, he said.

“Each time we complete a paving project, we improve the quality of life for local residents and there is a positive impact for the larger community,” Cartright said in a statement. “I am glad to announce the completion of this project and we look forward to continuing to work with the Highway Department to make road improvements districtwide.”

Andrew and Susan Ackerman are among the leaders of the "Save the Stony Brook Street Trees" effort. Photo by Donna Newman

The Sept. 29 Brookhaven Town Board meeting seemed to provide proof of Margaret Mead’s assertion: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Homeowners from the Strathmore M-section of Stony Brook were in attendance at the meeting, again seeking help to retain sycamore trees on their streets, which had been marked for removal by the Highway Department in preparation for repaving several roads. They listened as town Attorney Annette Eaderesto gave a statement at the beginning of the meeting.

Referencing the residents’ concerns, expressed at the Sept. 1 board meeting, Eaderesto said, “The supervisor directed the Law office and [the Division of] Land Management to get involved in this situation,” explaining that John Turner [the town’s open space program coordinator] visited the area, took many pictures and also took pictures of other roads, which had been paved using curb bump-outs, so that the trees would be saved.

“The project is totally on hold now,” Eaderesto said. “Your trees are not in danger.”

She added she had confirmed the hold with the deputy supervisor of highways, Steve Tricarico. Further, she indicated that Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) would put forth a resolution at the next Town Board meeting, which will establish a “tree committee” so situations like this will not recur in the future. “There’ll be much more communication,” she said. Eaderesto’s statement was met with audience applause.

M-section homeowners gather on Mariner Street to pick up spools of green ribbon to tie around trees marked for removal. Photo by Donna Newman
M-section homeowners gather on Mariner Street to pick up spools of green ribbon to tie around trees marked for removal. Photo by Donna Newman

“We’ll be dealing with a solar code that will not allow any solar [projects] to be done by taking down trees,” Romaine said. “We think Brookhaven should stay as green as it possibly can.”

Eight speakers addressed the board regarding the progress made on retaining the trees. Most of them expressed gratitude to the board, the supervisor and the town attorney for listening and responding to their pleas.

The organizers of this community effort are cautiously optimistic.

“We were surprised [by the town attorney’s statement],” said Susan Ackerman. “We’d like to find out specifics before we truly relax. What is the plan for the M-section?”

While the residents want to preserve the healthy, mature trees in the M-section, Ackerman said she’d also like to see a more modern paving policy throughout Brookhaven town.

“We had so much stuff we were going to say [at the board meeting],” said M-section homeowner Tom Caputo. “We think it was good [referring to the town attorney’s statement], but we’re still walking on eggshells.”

They both plan to watch the Sept. 29 board meeting video online, so they can listen closely to Eaderesto’s words.

“The paving project is on hold while we evaluate all of the options available to minimize disruptions to the neighborhood, while improving our infrastructure,” wrote the office of town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) in an email statement.

Past Greening of 25A volunteers gather at the Stony Brook railroad station in 2013. File photo

The Annual Fall Cleanup at the Stony Brook railroad station will take place Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., rain or shine.

Volunteers are needed to trim bushes; pick up trash; rake leaves; sweep salt, sand and dirt; weed; spread mulch and plant flowers. If you can help, please join in.

The Greening of 25A Committee is part of the Three Village Civic Association.

Bagels and coffee will be provided by Fratelli’s Bagel Express of Setauket, a member of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce.

For more information call the office of Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) at 631-854-1650.

Jeff and Laura Long tie a ribbon on a tree marked for removal in Stony Brook. Photo by Donna Newman

By Donna Newman

Residents of the M-section of Strathmore houses in Stony Brook would like to know where things stand as far as their sycamore trees, are concerned. Will they be able to keep the trees, and get their roads paved?

They said they have been told Brookhaven Highway Supervisor Dan Losquadro’s (R) office will only say that the project is “on hold” until the re-evaluation is completed. Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said she has received no potential schedule date for a meeting she plans to hold after the review has taken place, to allow the highway department to explain their re-evaluation with the chance for residents to respond.

“The need for road maintenance and repair must also be weighed against the quality and character of neighborhoods that would be impacted by the loss of trees…”

–Steve Englebright

A spokesperson for Losquadro’s office said Wednesday that the re-evaluation is ongoing and the office has received quite a few phone calls, some from residents who want the trees on their property taken down. She said they will be in touch with Cartright’s office and will work together moving forward once a plan is in place.

The reassessment of the tree removal was announced in a letter to affected M-section residents sent from the supervisor’s office, dated Aug. 26, and reiterated by Deputy Supervisor Steve Tricarico at the Brookhaven Town Board meeting Sept. 1. Since then, there have been no updates as to the progress of the review.

M-section resident Patricia Woods described a telephone conversation she had with Losquadro in which she said, “He was very nice. He said he ‘just wants to do the job the right way. [He doesn’t want to be] repairing the streets if they’re not done correctly the first time.’ I said to him, ‘if your idea is to do it the right way, you have to look at the whole picture, because [cutting down all the trees], that’s not the right way to do it.’”

Sunday morning at 10 a.m., homeowners gathered on Mariner Street, where Woods initiated another action to help call attention to their plight. At the suggestion of a friend, Deena Brando, who doesn’t reside in the M-section, but has empathy for the cause, Woods began tying green ribbons on the trees marked for removal on her street.

3-year-old Liam Fink and his brother, 6-year-old Tyler Fink, take spools of ribbon to adorn trees. Photo by Donna Newman
3-year-old Liam Fink and his brother, 6-year-old Tyler Fink, take spools of ribbon to adorn trees. Photo by Donna Newman

Spools of green ribbon were distributed to neighbors who gathered on the dead-end street Sunday morning. Petitions were available for homeowners to sign, indicating their opposition to the proposed tree removal. And after signing, M-section residents fanned out to the affected streets to encircle all the marked trees with green ribbons.

The organizers of this grass roots campaign have reached out over the last month to every official and organization they could think of to find help. They set up a Facebook page titled “Save the Stony Brook Street Trees” to facilitate communication to keep residents and others who are interested apprised of developments.

Many residents contacted Assemblyman Steve Englebright’s office (D-Setauket), because of his well-known stance on environmental issues.

In a letter to Losquadro dated Sept. 22, Englebright wrote, “Safe and well-maintained roads are vitally important to our communities and your department should be commended for striving to get the most out of the tax dollars spent on our roads. However, the need for road maintenance and repair must also be weighed against the quality and character of neighborhoods that would be impacted by the loss of trees, including the ecological benefits, aesthetics, property values, and health aspects that these mature street trees provide.”

Despite the fact that Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) informed the residents who attended the Sept. 1 board meeting that the highway superintendent is an autonomous, elected official who does not report to the supervisor, M-section homeowners plan to attend the Sept. 30 board meeting to continue to press for resolution of this issue.

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Scientists for Policy, Advocacy, Diplomacy and Education officers from left, Treasurer Ashleigh Lussenden, Secretary Kayla Gogarty, President Lyl Tomlinson and Vice President Adrian Di Antonio. Photo from SPADE

Opioid addiction is the focus of a community forum to be held Saturday, Oct. 1 at Stony Brook University, thanks to an organization created by three of the school’s own.

The event, entitled “The Opioid Epidemic,” will run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the theatre at the Charles B. Wang Center. The forum is a product of Scientists for Policy, Advocacy, Diplomacy and Education, an entity created last winter by three doctoral candidates in the Department of Neurobiology.

The story behind the organization’s inception can be traced back to conversations about the future between Adrian Di Antonio, Ashleigh Lussenden and Lyl Tomlinson as they worked toward their doctoral degrees, Di Antonio said in a telephone interview. In their individual labs, they were solving specific problems, but together they wondered about what they could do to learn more and broaden their impact, he said. The three found and presented articles to each other, and eventually invited other graduate students from other disciplines to join in discussions.

The four SPADE leaders are looking to boost membership via their first major campuswide event. There will be speeches by elected officials, who will also participate in a panel discussion with a representative from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office and medical professionals from Stony Brook and Columbia Universities.

So far, SPADE has one recruit: Kayla Gogarty, a doctoral candidate in Stony Brook’s chemistry department. She grew up in Suffolk County and earned her undergraduate degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia.

“As I’ve been immersed in science, I have realized that even if scientists provide concrete data, it is very difficult for this knowledge [e.g., climate change] to be translated into our laws,” she wrote in an email. “This has led me to my interest in science policy, because the data is not useful unless people in the community understand it and lawmakers use it for policy change.”

The members chose journalism professor Steven Reiner to be the moderator at their event. He has been at Stony Brook University for seven years and previously worked as a producer for 60 Minutes and National Public Radio. He currently hosts a web-series called Science on Tap, in which he helps distill complex information down to comprehensible language in the casual environment of a bar, according to Di Antonio.

Tomlinson is a proponent of making science understandable. Two years ago, the Brooklyn native and CUNY Brooklyn graduate won a NASA-hosted National Science Communication competition called FameLab.

“Think American Idol meets TED talks,” he wrote in an email. “I competed against almost 100 scientists from across the U.S. to deliver interesting science in bite-sized, three-minute chunks that were accessible and informative.” He did not add that he placed second, representing the U.S. in the international competition at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom, which brought together FameLab winners from more than 25 countries.

Di Antonio hales from Philadelphia, where he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. After SPADE was founded, he said the group explored ways they might get involved on campus. “Some topic at the intersection of policy and people,” he said.

As opioid drug overdoses currently cause more deaths than auto accidents or firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tomlinson said they want people to know that this is an important issue.

Lussenden will speak on behalf of SPADE at the beginning of the program. A fourth year doctoral candidate, she received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. “I have always been interested in science and politics,” she wrote in an email, “and would like to work in science policy and diplomacy when I graduate.”

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The annual apple festival organized by members of the Stony Brook Community Church is a child-friendly event. Festival-goers shopped, dined, enjoyed music, played games, created art, watched demonstrations and learned about volunteer opportunities in the community. An annual event spanning more than 50 years, it is a family affair.