Authors Posts by Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton

Artwork from local artists add beauty and warmth

By Heidi Sutton

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson recently completed an extensive renovation of its 2 South patient unit, designed to further reduce the risk of infection and increase patient comfort. The unit, which was named for New York Cancer & Blood Specialists thanks to its generous donation, officially reopened with a ribbon-cutting celebration on Jan. 6. The project was largely supported through community donations totaling close to $1.7 million.

Opened in 1973, 2 South, which primarily treats cancer patients, now features single-bed rooms for improved patient outcomes and privacy. Enhancements include new showers and enlarged bathrooms, a new nurses station, a patient family lounge and a serenity room for staff. 

One of the highlights of the newly renovated floor is the installation of 43 pieces of art that adorn the hallway walls. Titled “Wonders of Nature,” the pieces were chosen by curator Irene Ruddock. “My goal was to create a peaceful and serene environment that might provide a sense of spiritual healing. I looked for paintings that touched the soul and will provide comfort and solace for patients, staff, and visitors,” she explained. 

Twenty-nine local artists from LIMarts, the Setauket Artists and the North Shore Art Guild donated original works to add beauty and warmth to the unit including Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Joan Bloom, Kyle Blumenthal, Renee Caine, Anthony Davis, Bart DeCeglie, Julie Doczi, Lily Farah, Marge Governale, William Graf, Peter Hahn, Celeste Mauro, Judith Mausner, Lorraine McCormick, Ed McEvoy, Eleanor Meier, Rick Mundy, Karen Miller O’Keefe, Paula Pelletier, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Joseph F. Rotella, Irene Ruddock, Ty Stroudsburg, Maria Lourdes Velez, Victoria Westholm and Patricia Yantz. 

“I will always to grateful to all the artists who, with their dedication to art, wished to share their gifts with Mather hospital,” said Ms. Ruddock.  

‘Boeing, Boeing’ starring Mark Santaromita, seated, and back row, from left, Karen Santaromita, Ashley Moyett and June Damadeo, heads to Star Playhouse in Commack on Jan. 11.  Photo by Gene Indenbaum


What better time to jet away to a getaway in Paris than January? And if you can’t do it literally, than hop on board Boeing Boeing, the comedy farce set in gay Paree and opening at Star Playhouse at the Suffolk Y-JCC on Saturday, January 11. This madcap, laugh-out-loud production, listed in The Guinness Book of Records as the most-performed French play throughout the world, had an original run and revival on Broadway where it won two Tonys.

The setting is the Parisian pad of architect Bernard (Mark Santaromita of Huntington). Bernard is a charmer – in fact he has three fiancées, all airline hostesses; his Italian amore Gabriella (Karen Santaromita, Huntington), his American beauty Gloria (Ashley Moyett, Jericho), and his gregarious German Gretchen (June Damadeo, Northport). And Bernard is a master at juggling their estimated times of arrival without a hitch. But turbulence develops in the form of his old college pal, Robert, a rube from Wisconsin (Steve Brustein, Manhasset), coupled with some weather delays and the enhanced speed of the Boeing fleet. Bernard is befriended and belittled by Berthe, his French maid (Suzie Lustig, Greenlawn). Soon, Bernard has to wing it as he is frantically propelled toward disaster by the simultaneous arrival of his three seductive stewardesses. Boeing Boeing is directed by Jim Redding of Northport and produced by Sandy Lory-Snyder of Hauppauge.

Star Playhouse at the Suffolk Y-JCC is located at 74 Hauppauge Road, Commack 11725. Performance dates are Saturdays January 11 and 25 at 8:00 pm, and Sundays January 12, 19 and 26 at 2:00 pm. Ticket prices are $25.00 for the general public and $20 for seniors, students and Suffolk Y members. The theater is handicapped accessible, has a hearing assistance system and ample free parking. Tickets are available online at or, or may be ordered by calling the Box Office at 631-462-9800 ext. 136.  Group rates are available.


Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

By Barbara Beltrami

Recently faced with a 2½-pound bag of spinach, I was reminded of a visit with my friend at her wine estate in Tuscany where after cooking with her, I came away with a whole new attitude about and repertoire for spinach. In the ways she prepared it, it was a far cry from the plain old green stuff boiled or microwaved or taken out of a can. In fact, the things she did with it were such treats that second helpings were de rigueur. Consider these adaptations of her recipes, which move spinach to a sublime and savory taste echelon.

Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

YIELD: Makes 6 servings.


2½ ounces unsalted butter

2 pounds fresh spinach, washed, drained and squeezed dry

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 ounces golden raisins, soaked in warm water 10 minutes and drained

2 ounces pine nuts, lightly toasted


In large skillet, melt butter, add spinach and salt and pepper and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes. Stir in raisins and pine nuts and cook over medium low heat a few more minutes. Serve with meat, poultry or fish.

Pasta with Spinach, Gorgonzola and Mascarpone Cheese

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings.


1 pound pasta such as penne, rigatoni or ziti

1 pound fresh or frozen spinach, cooked, drained, squeezed dry and chopped, liquid reserved

½ pound Gorgonzola cheese, diced

2 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 ounce grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

Freshly ground black pepper


Cook pasta according to package directions. Boil one cup of reserved spinach liquid (if not enough, add pasta cooking liquid). Meanwhile put the cheeses and pepper into a heat-proof pasta bowl; mash them together with a fork until they are well blended. While it is still hot, put cooked pasta in bowl with cheeses; add spinach and toss vigorously to combine; if sauce is too thick add a little of the spinach liquid and toss again. Serve immediately with a chilled dry white wine. 

Little Spinach and Gruyere Soufflés

YIELD: Makes 8 servings.


1 ounce unsalted butter plus extra for greasing individual soufflé dishes

1 ounce flour

1 cup boiling milk

2 pounds fresh spinach, washed, cooked, squeezed dry and finely chopped

Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

4 large eggs, separated

7 ounces Gruyere cheese, diced

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Dried breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 375 F. In small saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour, then slowly add hot milk; stirring constantly, cook mixture for 5 minutes; add spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg; stir and let cool. With wire whisk, stir in egg yolks, Gruyere and Parmesan. Beat egg whites until stiff; gently fold into mixture. Grease individual soufflé molds and dust with breadcrumbs. Place equal amounts of mixture into each soufflé dish; bake 20 minutes; serve immediately with thin breadsticks

Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings.


2 ounces unsalted butter

2 pounds cooked fresh spinach, drained, squeezed dry and finely chopped

1 pound ricotta

5 ounces sifted flour

5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Grated nutmeg to taste

1 ounce melted unsalted butter

4 sage leaves, minced

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


In large skillet, melt the two ounces of butter; add prepared spinach and, stirring frequently, cook 5 minutes. Put spinach in a large bowl; add ricotta, flour, 5 ounces Parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg yolks, egg, salt and pepper and nutmeg; mix to thoroughly combine; refrigerate for one hour. Remove mixture from fridge and roll into little balls (about 1- to 1½-inch in diameter). Carefully drop balls into pot of gently boiling salted water and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Preheat broiler. With skimmer remove balls, drain well and place in a greased ovenproof dish. Dot with melted butter and sage, sprinkle with remaining two tablespoons of grated Parmesan and place under hot broiler a few minutes to lightly brown. Serve hot with a mixed salad.


Photo from Suffolk Federal

In an effort to support the charitable work of local organizations that serve the areas of Suffolk Federal branch locations, the credit union has identified nonprofit organizations to which provide financial support. In Port Jefferson, Branch Sales Director of Retail Banking Micah Schlendorf presented a $1,000 contribution to Theatre Three in December.

“Theatre Three not only brings incredible entertainment to the community, but continues to provide educational opportunities to local students,” said Schlendorf. “We are extremely proud to be able to support their efforts.”

“We’re so thankful to Suffolk Federal for their support and generosity,” said Jeffrey Sanzel, executive artistic director of Theatre Three. “These funds will specifically go towards our educational touring program that we present in schools and community centers across the tri-state area. To date, The Bullying Project: Stand Up! Stand Out!, Class Dismissed and From the Fires: Voices from the Holocaust have brought awareness to thousands of students. This donation will assist the Theatre in continuing these efforts.”

Celebrating its 50th season at the historic Athena Hall in Port Jefferson, Theatre Three has continued to bring Broadway to Main Street and offers the community a robust variety of programming that includes Mainstage, Second Stage, Cabaret, Children’s Academy and workshops. They present a diverse portfolio of both classic and modern revivals all while providing an educational environment to all in the community. 

Pictured from left, Douglas Quattrock, Theatre Three’s director of development and artistic associate; Catherine Rodgers, Suffolk Federal mortgage loan originator and a member of Theatre Three’s Box Office staff; Jeffrey Sanzel, Theatre Three’s executive artistic director; and Micah Schlendorf, Suffolk Federal branch sales director of retail banking.

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Lance Reinheimer

Lance Reinheimer, executive director of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum since February 2011, has resigned to accept a new post as director of the Suffolk County Legislature’s nonpartisan Budget Review Office. 

Among the numerous achievements of his nearly nine-year tenure, Reinheimer stabilized the museum’s finances; developed new revenue streams; totally renovated the Vanderbilt Planetarium and created a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest technology; expanded special-events programming; significantly increased attendance and memberships; accomplished wide-ranging infrastructure and restoration work on several major museum buildings; and directed the intensive, year-long review that resulted in reaccreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. 

Elizabeth Wayland-Morgan, associate director of the museum since 2016, will serve as interim executive director and assume Reinheimer’s responsibilities until the post is filled.

Stock photo

Time to share the warmth. From now to Jan. 31, St. Catherine of Siena Medical Office Building, 48 Route 25A, Smithtown is hosting a Winter Clothing Drive to help local parishes and neighbors in need. New or gently used items most needed are towels, bed sheets, winter boots, children’s socks, washable blankets and coats, and adult and children pajamas. Please no stains, broken zippers or missing buttons! Questions? Call 631-862-3523.

Photo from Made To Move

Made to Move Tennis & Wellness, 5 South Jersey Ave. in Setauket will hold a free fitness week from Jan. 13 to 19. Come in and try out a free tennis lesson, personal training session, nutrition coaching, life coaching and fitness and yoga classes. Call Tara at 631-751-6767 to reserve your spot. For more information, visit


Update: Richard has been adopted!

This week’s Shelter Pet of the Week is Richard, a 10-month-old classic brown tabby cat rescued by Kent Animal Shelter from a house where his owner hoarded a lot of cats and could not care for them all. 

Richard is a quiet, playful and gentle guy, a little on the shy side, but once he gets to know you he loves cuddles and belly rubs. He also really likes other cats! He comes neutered, microchipped and is up to date on his vaccines. Come visit Richard and perhaps bring this furbaby home for the holidays.

 Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Richard and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit

Photo from Kent Animal Shelter



From left, WMHS Visual Arts Coordinator Jennifer Trettner, DGSIR CEO Deirdre O’Connell, aritst Corinne Angeand DGSIR Regional Manager Anthony DeGrotta. Photo by Lianna Kosch
Corrine Ange with her winning artwork.
Photo by Lianna Kosch

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty of Stony Brook celebrated all of the final contestants featured in the Fall 2019 Ward Melville High School Student Art Contest on Dec. 1. 

The public voted on their favorite piece of art during the month of November. 

The winning artist was Ward Melville High School senior Corrine Ange. Her watercolor piece impressed many with its vibrant colors and lifelike quality. The prize for Ange was a $500 scholarship presented by Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty’s CEO Deirdre O’Connell, who applauded all of the artists for contributing their talents and thanked all attendees for their support for making community events like this possible. 

Kat Graham and Honoree Brittany Sciavone attends the 14th Annual L'Oreal Paris Women Of Worth Awards at The Pierre on December 04, 2019 in New York City.

By Melissa Arnold

It’s been a whirlwind December for Huntington’s Brittany Schiavone.

Earlier this year, 30-year-old Brittany was chosen as one of 10 finalists in the 14th annual L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth national competition, an event celebrating the achievements of amazing women from all walks of life.

Brittany, who has Down syndrome, is the founder of Brittany’s Baskets of Hope (BBOH), a nonprofit organization that delivers care packages to new parents of children with Down syndrome.

Since its inception five years ago, BBOH has mailed or hand delivered more than 850 baskets to families in 49 states and Puerto Rico. The baskets contain educational materials, pampering products for families, a blanket and clever, Down-themed clothing for their little one.

Brittany won $10,000 for being a finalist in the competition. Her story and those of the other finalists were chronicled on L’Oreal’s website, and for one month, anyone could vote for the woman who most inspired them. 

On Dec. 2, Brittany and her longtime friend, Ashley Asti, headed to New York City to prepare for the Women of Worth gala later that week, where the top finalist would be named the National Honoree.

“On Monday, a car service was sent for us and we headed into the city. That night, there was a dinner for all the finalists to meet and talk about their initiatives,” said Asti, who has known Brittany for several years. “Brittany walked to the head of the table and spoke to the group with so much confidence. She is so intuitive and took all of it in stride.”

The second day was quieter, with a full day of workshops to help the women learn more about the intricacies of running a nonprofit organization. 

Finally, Wednesday arrived. Joined by her mother, Sue Schiavone, the ladies headed to the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, where they had makeovers from L’Oreal staff. “There were two people doing my hair and makeup. They gave me smoky eyes and curls. It was amazing,” the finalist said.

The star-studded gala paired each finalist with a celebrity who accompanied them throughout the night. Among the attendees were Dame Helen Mirren, Gayle King, Viola Davis, Camila Cabello, Amber Heard and Debby Ryan.

Brittany’s celebrity navigator, actress Aja Naomi King of ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” spent the night sharing stories and laughs and introduced her onstage. And at the end of the night, both women cried tears of joy when Brittany was named the 2019 Women of Worth National Honoree. She had earned thousands of online votes and will receive an additional $25,000 to benefit BBOH.

“I’m so excited that I won, because now I can help even more families like mine know that they’re not alone,” the honoree said, adding that she hopes she can soon send a basket to Alaska, the only state they’ve yet to hear from.

Sue Schiavone finds herself thinking about families all over the world. “It’s nice to know that we’re not going to have to worry about where the money is coming from anymore,” she said. “Shipping costs are so expensive, and we’ve received so many messages from people in other countries asking for us to send baskets. We can start to think about that now. It opens up so many doors for Brittany, and for us.”

To learn more about Brittany’s Baskets of Hope, donate to the cause or to request a care package, visit

Photos courtesy of L’Oreal Paris