Authors Posts by Kyle Barr

Kyle Barr

Kyle Barr
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Mayor Margot Garant speaks of new parking lot at press conference Oct. 10.

Funds are coming from both town and county for the construction of a new parking lot in Port Jeff, yet still the price tag could be high.

At its Oct. 2 meeting, the Suffolk County Legislature voted to grant Port Jefferson $200,000 in a jumpstart grant for the creation of a new parking lot on Barnum Avenue. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) and Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) joined village officials Oct. 10 to announce the new funds.

“This is a village that for some time has been leading in innovation and creativity and we’ve been there to support it,” Bellone said. “What this really is about is how do we continue to grow in a sustainable way.”

The new parking lot at Barnum Ave. is expected to have 44 new spots. Photo by Kyle Barr

The new parking lot will be located on Barnum Avenue at the intersection between it and Caroline Avenue. The site is expected to include 44 new stalls, two of which are planned to be charging stations for electric vehicles, which would be a first for Port Jeff village.

“Importantly, this lot is very close to the newly renovated Rocketship Park, which brings down thousands on a daily basis,” Mayor Margot Garant said.

The site will have ingress and egress onto Caroline Avenue in two separate spots and will border the Joe Erland baseball field on its southwestern end. The 32,000-square-foot lot will also include two bioswales bordering the foot entrance onto Barnum Avenue to aid in flood mitigation. The bioswales will look like two dips in the ground with plantings overlaying them.

Nicole Christian, the Port Jeff grant writer, said the fact the project includes these green initiatives was one of the main reasons they got the grant.

Costs for the Barnum lot could cost approximately $900,000, the mayor said. The village will use its own funds to construct the lot, and the grant will reimburse the village up to the set amount.

“Because we need to do prevailing wage, it doubles the cost,” Garant said. “There’s no way around that.”

Other than the recently finished Texaco parking lot in Upper Port, this would be the first new piece of downtown parking infrastructure in more than a decade.

Parking has been an issue in Port Jeff for years. Several years ago, in 2015, the Town of Brookhaven had sold property to a local developer for retail and apartment space. However,  because of a lack of parking for the structure, the town was all set to go forward on an agreement to grant around 30 parking spots from the town’s marina municipal lot near the harbor to the village, which had planned to reconstruct it with more plant fixings and solid boundaries. However, after a disagreement between officials and a resident in Port Jeff, a letter sent to the New York State attorney general by the Brookhaven town attorney provoked a response in December 2017 saying the land was parkland, though purposed for marina parking, and it would require consent from the New York State Legislature.

In the years following, officials tried to hash out some kind of agreement that would grant payment in lieu of parking (PILOP) for those 30 spots. Brian Egan, the village attorney, said talks became mired, with it finally requiring the village to put out a notice of claim before the town agreed to grant the PILOP. However, as another wrinkle to the issue, due to outflow of sediment from Mill Creek into Port Jefferson Harbor, which the town said the village was responsible for paying for dredging, the town only agreed to pay after subtracting the cost of dredging.

Finally, at the village’s Oct. 7 meeting, officials voted to accept a check for $125,800, an amount which subtracts the cost of dredging the outflow from the creek of $34,600.

Although the mayor said the money is nice, parking is much more expensive to build than the money they are granted from the town, and she would have rather had the marina spaces.

“That plus the jumpstart money, that’s half the Barnum lot,” she said.

The lot is expected to go out to bid within the next several months, with full construction to start no later than early spring, according to Garant.

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Volunteers help revitalize the Terryville Road community garden Oct. 5. Photo by Kyle Barr

One would have never known there was a garden on the side of Terryville Road in Port Jefferson Station. Vines had strangled the fence that bordered the road, and to anyone without some local knowledge practically anything could be behind those rusting chain links.

Comsewogue students Sarah Thomas and Briana Rodriguez tear apart vines at the community garden. Photo by Kyle Barr

Now, those driving past see something completely different — a full garden with planting boxes, a greenhouse and a large sign reading “Community Garden.”

Over the course of Oct. 5, close to 20 community leaders, volunteers and young people looking for high school service hours hacked at weeds, shrubs and vines, quickly bringing the place back to a presentable standard.

The garden property is owned by the Comsewogue School District, and for years had been operated by the Comsewogue Youth Center, according to district officials, but the crew suddenly ceased operations nearly a decade ago. Since then vines overtook the fence, and the site faded from many locals’ memories. While the grass was maintained by the district, the rest of the site was left to its own devices.

“The lady who took care of it eventually moved, and after that it fell to squalor,” said Sal Pitti, the president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association.

As the volunteers moved in, many were surprised by just how well the property had survived after years of neglect. Only a few wooden pieces had to be replaced, such as needing new 2-by-4 lumber for the wooden benches and for a few new planters, along with new Plexiglas for the greenhouse door. Otherwise the civic leaders were pleasantly surprised.

Members of the PJS/Terryville Civic discuss ideas for the garden. Photo by Kyle Barr

“The bones of this is in relatively good shape,” said Charlie McAteer, civic corresponding secretary. “Maybe it needs some paint, maybe it needs a touch up.”

In just a few hours, a mountainous pile of plant debris had already formed by the gate onto the property.

Local landscaper Kevin Halpin, of Halpin Landscaping, said he was contacted via Facebook by civic vice president, Ed Garboski. The day before the cleanup, Halpin came in with appropriate equipment, and did much of the heavy lifting along with cutting the grass. He said he will come back on request to help with whatever needs doing.

The area, he said, needs that extra effort and TLC.

A number of high schoolers from the area also showed up to lend a hand. 

Comsewogue students Sarah Thomas and Briana Rodriguez laughed and joked around as they plied a bundle of rough vines apart. 

“It was a huge mess, there were vines everywhere,” Thomas said. “It’s definitely a lot cleaner without all the vines and stuff. I think a lot more kids might come here.”

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) arrived midday Saturday and immediately started picking up litter from the side of the road in front of the garden gate. She said cleanups like this are good ways for community members to make a difference in an immediate and tangible way.

A sign for the Community Garden was surprisingly intact. Photo by Kyle Barr

“They’re usually very effective ways of getting people involved,” she said.

Pitti said he is looking to work with the school district to see if other students looking to get service hours in the future could work in the community garden.

“As much as the kids get into it, they’re welcome to come,” the civic president said.

The civic leaders are looking forward to next spring, where they will start planting vegetables and flowers, hoping that they maintain a staunch group of locals to tend the garden. Once the garden starts growing, they plan to donate the food to neighboring St. Gerard Majella R.C. Church for its food pantry, and if they grow even more, they will share with other churches in the area.

The nonprofit Sea Grant is sponsoring a competition for proposing cleanup solutions.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Port Jefferson flotilla, is sponsoring a competition for high school students called Solution for Pollution. Supported by a New York Sea Grant, the competition is aimed at Long Island public and private high school students, who can submit concepts for reducing trash in our waterways and on our beaches. The focus will be on the Long Island Sound, with special reference to associated harbors. The goal will be to create cost-effective methods to return our waterways to a trash-free sea. 

Waterway trash pollution is both unsightly and unhealthy. Trash can contain contaminants that are toxic to marine animals and humans. Much of this trash is the result of individuals and governments assuming that the waterways that we enjoy and live near are virtually infinite sinks for refuse. We observe in the water and on beaches piles of trash comprised of plastic bags and other plastic products. According to National Geographic, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. 

Cash awards will be given to the top three winning entries. Entries are due by April 1, 2020, and winners will be announced soon after on May 15. 

Go to https://solution4pollution.org for detailed information.

To obtain information on New York State required boating courses or to have your vessel inspected by an auxiliary member, contact the Port Jefferson flotilla by email: info@cgapj.org; or phone 631-938-1705. Visit www.cgapj.org for more information. 

Herb Herman is the flotilla staff officer for public affairs, Port Jefferson Auxiliary Flotilla 22-6.

Juliet Catanzaro, #15 of Miller Place, was just one of many North Shore residents to race for top spot in Shoreham the weekend of Oct. 4-6. Photo by Kyle Barr

More than 600 BMX riders from across the Northeast came to Shoreham last weekend for a test of speed and skill.

The nonprofit Shoreham BMX hosted the regional Gold Cup championship the weekend of Oct. 4. Sponsored by bicycle association USABMX, the event attracted a large crowd of spectators and competitors, who packed into the small hamlet for the competition on Long Island’s only BMX track.

The event is considered to be among the most competitive races in the country and attracted 677 people from all over.

Racers who looked to compete at the Gold Cup, had to first qualify at two other regional tracks by having good times in their category before they could advance to the finals.

A rider competing in the Gold Cup series counts their best two scores from separate events held over the weekend. Competitors who earn their place on the podium are considered regional champs and receive a coveted gold plate. 

Jennifer Dzvonar, the president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce and PJS resident, watched both her husband, William, and daughter, Daphne, participate.

“It was amazing to watch them at such a really big event,” she said

Rich Soper, the track operator and president of the Shoreham BMX Parents Association, said this was the first time the track has hosted this specific event, calling it one of the best days he’s ever seen at the Shoreham track.

The North Shore community was well represented at the weekend’s events, with people from Wading River west to Northport competing. Many people from Port Jefferson Station through Rocky Point gained podium spots.

The Shoreham BMX track is notoriously difficult. Soper said that the people and teams who practice on the nonprofit’s track learn tight jumps and turns even at a novice level.  

“That’s why our local people tend to do better,” he said.

Rocky Point resident Marie Stewart watched her son, Keith, compete in the finals this past weekend. The 12-year-old, at age 4 watched a friend navigate the Shoreham track and asked his mom if he could do the same. Since then he and his team, the Rocky Point/Miller Place-based Toxic Racing, have gone on to win multiple Gold Plates at recent competitions. Keith, who currently competes in the 12-year-old expert category, is a past Gold Cup champion and has recently won fifth place in the New York State BMX competition.

“The kids have become such good friends with each other, whether they’re on the team or not,” Stewart said. “It’s not so much the trophy at the end, but what each kid puts into it — their heart and soul.”

Keith said he was happy in how he performed for the Gold Cup considering the tough class he was in. He expects to carry on with BMX for a while more.

Port Jefferson shops such as Hookah City on Main Street, above, sell hookahs. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Port Jefferson officials have made explicit their antipathy for the vape and smoke shop in the village, especially after news broke an employee had been cited for selling to children underage.

Hookah City, located at 202 Main St. in Port Jefferson was recently charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in a countywide police sting labeled Operation Vape Out. It was amongst 32 establishments that Suffolk County police said were cited for illicit behavior, most concerning selling tobacco products to children under the legal age limit of 21.

“All eyes are on that place,” said Trustee Kathianne Snaden during a conversation after the Sept. 23 village board meeting.

“It’s immoral to addict a human being to something they can’t get away from.”

— Paul Casciano

Mayor Margot Garant said they had asked Village Attorney Brian Egan about the shop but were told there is nothing in village code that allows the village to affect a business in such a way, adding there was nothing that violated their lease. 

Fred Leute, the acting chief of code enforcement, said constables take reports and inform Suffolk County police regarding businesses selling to people underage. Leute added they had originally sent notice to police about the shop.

“Kids would come in and put their knapsack down — they would have money on the knapsack, and a note stapled to it what they wanted,” the acting chief said. “The guy who they caught would take that note, fill their order, so to speak, and put the stuff in the bag, then the kid would come by and take their bag.”

A manager or owner of Hookah City could not be reached for comment before press time.

New York State was originally set to ban the creation and sale of flavored e-cigarette products Oct. 4, but a day before the deadline the state appellate court put that order on hold until the court reconvenes Oct. 18. The proposed ban came after a wave of health cases the U.S. Centers for Disease Control attributed to vaping, among them were several deaths. As at Oct. 8, there have been 1,080 cases of injury nationwide with 23 deaths. There have been 110 cases attributed to New York, according to the state’s health department. On the same day, the death of a Bronx teen was announced as the first confirmed fatality in New York related to vape products.

Under the 1992 state Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act, each time a vendor is caught selling tobacco products to a person under the age of 21, that vendor will acquire two points on their license. If the vendor acquires three points within a three-year period of time, the vendor will lose its tobacco and lottery ticket licenses.

Though as of recently this is the first infraction in a number of years. Suffolk police’s research section found Hookah City has had no other infractions of selling to minors since the beginning of 2016. 

Nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes, according to New York State health officials.

Parents and school officials in Port Jefferson said not only are kids using vape products excessively in school but are doing so sometimes in the middle of classrooms and clandestinely in bathrooms.

Soon-to-be-outgoing Superintendent Paul Casciano said in a sit-down interview that districts all across the county have been dealing with the same thing. While the district has added vape detectors, students will either blow the smoke into backpacks or lockers to avoid smoke detectors or find areas of the school without the detectors. Incoming Superintendent Jessica Schmettan said at the last school board meeting the district takes away vape products from students, who are then disciplined.

“The kids aren’t producing this stuff, and that for me and among my colleagues is one of the most disturbing parts — adults are creating these things,” Casciano said. “It’s immoral to addict a human being to something they can’t get away from.”

The district recently played host to the countywide peer education pilot program about the dangers of vaping. 

But for the one last vape shop in Port Jeff, the focus has come down hard on its shoulders for the number of students who have continued to vape. Casciano said there is little the district can do to affect the businesses in and around Port Jeff, many of whom sell vape and e-cig products. The most they can do is applaud current activities from New York State and continue to educate young people about vape products.

“The local efforts, whether its local or state officials, those have all helped, because if you can’t get your hands on the flavors … it will be even more difficult for them,” Schmettan said.

The mayor mentioned limiting vaping in village parks, but she later said that, unlike cigarettes which offer physical discomfort and negative health effects to pedestrians, it would be hard to enforce with citations.

“I think it goes back to the household.”

— Margot Garant

Snaden said the issue of vaping needs an effort on all ends. She suggested the school district should include harsher penalties to students who use vape products in schools, including potentially kicking them off sport teams. 

“If everywhere these kids turn, everywhere they turn they’re being shown this is not accepted in this village, they’re either going to take it somewhere else — we’re not going to alleviate the problem altogether — we have to hit them everywhere they turn,” she said. “They have to get turned away everywhere, that’s how we can get the message across.”

Village code currently disallows new smoke shops in Port Jefferson, but Hookah City was grandfathered in when the code was changed in 2016. Garant said during the Oct. 7 village board meeting that with the current code, they are looking to enforce other businesses within the village to limit the sale of vape products. 

“They would all have to become vape dispensaries, so we’re cracking down on them ourselves,” she said. 

She added that vaping, just like any other drug use, often requires work from those closest to the youth.

“I think it goes back to the household,” the mayor said.

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Joseph Ralph Hoerger

Joseph Ralph Hoerger, of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and formerly of Port Jefferson, passed away peacefully Oct. 4. He was 92.

He was born in Patchogue but lived most of his life in Port Jefferson where he met his beautiful wife, Ella, who preceded him in death in 2015 after 65 years of marriage. 

Serving with the Coast Guard during World War II, he was also a member of American Legion Post 432. He was a local carpenter who built many houses in Port Jefferson, and in later years owned a flower nursery as well as working for the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Co. He also served as scoutmaster for Troop 45 for many years. 

He is survived by his sons Jeffrey (Michelle) of Holland, Pennsylvania, and Brian of Port Jefferson; three grandchildren, Christopher (Meghan), Ashley (Chris) and Tommy; as well as four great-grandchildren, Jamie, Tia, Andrew and Cora.

The family kindly requests that donations be made to The Honor Flight Network at www.honorflight.org, a charity near and dear to his heart.

A graveside service with military honors is planned for Nov. 12 at Washington’s Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Jane Gombieski

Jane S. Gombieski of Stony Brook died Sept. 29. She was 82.

She was born in Middletown Connecticut, in 1937 and moved to Stony Brook in 1969, proudly living in the same house in the Strathmore “H” section for 50 years. She was an active civic leader, serving as president of the Three Village Civic Association and the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Association, which she originally helped to create.

In 1987, Gombieski was named the Village Times Woman of the Year in Civic Affairs. The Village Times noted, “Gombieski’s passionate identification with the Three Villages, her belief in honest and open government make her a formidable gadfly for local interest … Gombieski is an eloquent spokesperson for the idea of neighborhood integrity, for the principle that decisions that have a direct impact on where people live or how their dollars are spent should be subject to ongoing public review and consent.”

She was a talented writer, and in addition to being a frequent “letter to the editor” contributor, she was a freelance writer, with pieces appearing in many publications, including the Village Times, Three Village Herald, and the LI Historical Journal. She was an expert on local historical issues including women’s suffrage, baseball, the KKK in Suffolk County and the operations of the German American settlement in Yaphank.

Jane was fiercely independent, with a quick wit and was highly intelligent — she could read ancient Greek and complete the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in pen in just five minutes. She loved reading about Ancient Egypt, watching classic movies and gardening, and took great joy in spending time with her children and grandchildren. 

She is survived by her children Kim Brandeau (Mark) of Setauket, Donna DeMarco (Rob) of Sound Beach, Edward Gombieski (Adria) of Bangor, Maine, and Laura Price and her husband Howard of East Norwich. In addition, she was a loving grandmother to Kyle, Sarah, Julie, Robbie, Spring and Summer and is further survived by her brothers Leo and Eddie. She was preceded in death by her beloved sisters Helen, Ann and MaryAnn.

Visitation was held on Oct. 1 at Moloney Family Funeral Home in Port Jefferson Station and interment followed at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Port Jefferson.

Adele Jasiewicz

Adele H. Jasiewicz, of East Setauket, died Aug. 30. She was 90.

She was born April 7, 1929, in the Bronx, and was the daughter of Blanche and Louis Rucki.

She was a retired executive administrative assistant for Good Samaritan Hospital.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughters Diane and Karen (Thomas); her son, Ronald; five grandchildren and other family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence.

Services were held at the St. James R.C. Church Sept. 3. Interment was at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket. People can visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the
online guest book.

Anne Dundon

Anne E. Dundon, of Stony Brook, died Aug. 26. She was 86.

She was born Jan. 1, 1933, in Brooklyn and was the daughter of Frances and James Harvey.

Dundon was a homemaker, a member of the Stony Brook Yacht Club, St. George’s Country Club and St. James Rosary Altar Society. She also enjoyed reading and playing bridge.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughters Anne, Elizabeth, Ellen, Jean and Kathleen; her sons James, Gerard, Robert and Thomas; 12 grandchildren; her brothers Kenneth and Stephen; along with many other family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerard; her brother, Bob; and sister, Barbara.

Services were held at the St. James R.C. Church Aug. 30. Interment followed at the St. James R.C. Churchyard Cemetery

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket. People can visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the
online guest book.

Contributions made to the St. James Pantry or the Catholic Relief Services in her memory would be appreciated.

Jane Mueller

Jane F. Mueller, of Coram, died Sept. 7. She was 70.

She was born Jan. 23, 1949, in Queens, and was the daughter of Jean and Thomas Geraghty.

Mueller was a customer service representative for Allstate and in her free time she enjoyed reading, gardening, knitting, playing Candy Crush, doing crosswords, family vacations in Montauk and most of all her faithful dog Ferguson.

Left to cherish her memory is her husband, Bernard “Bernie”; her daughter, Alison; sons Chris and BJ; five grandchildren; sisters Claire and Sheila; brother, Tommy; along with other family and friends.

Services were held at the Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson Sept. 12. Interment was at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket. People can visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the
online guest book.

Contributions made to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, www.mskcc.org, in her memory would be appreciated.

Mario Mignone

Mario B. Mignone, 79, of Stony Brook, died suddenly Sept. 9.

He emigrated to the U.S. in 1960 from Benevento, Italy, with his parents, Palmina and Robert, and seven siblings. He graduated from The City College of New York with a bachelor’s degree and received master’s and doctoral degrees from Rutgers University.

The professor joined Stony Brook University in 1970 where he rose to be a SUNY distinguished service professor, director of the Center for Italian Studies and professor of Italian and Italian American Studies. Within his department, he served as chair, director of graduate and undergraduate studies and director of SBU’s summer program in Rome. In 1985, he founded the Center for Italian Studies to establish a cultural bridge between the university and the community and created the first endowed chair in the SBU College of Arts and Sciences.

An accomplished writer and scholar, he authored 15 books and more than 50 scholarly articles on modern Italian literature, culture and emigration. He received national and international recognition and honors including the Cavaliere Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica by the president of the Italian Republic.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Lois, and daughters Pamela Salzman (Daniel), Cristina Armato (Philip) and Elizabeth Jakic (Ante) and was the doting Nonno to his eight grandchildren. Known for his prolific vegetable garden, Mario enjoyed sharing produce with friends.

Services were held at Sts. Philip and James R.C. Church in St. James Sept. 12. Interment followed at the St. James R.C. Churchyard Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket.
Visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the online guest book. 

Donations can be made to the Center for Italian Studies at Stony Brook University in his memory.

Angela Ganzenmuller

Angela Ganzenmuller, of Glendale, died Aug. 10. She was 84.

She was born Oct. 16, 1934, in Ridgewood, Queens, and was the daughter of Emma and Antonio Minardi.

Ganzenmuller, aka “Mom, Gram, Ang and Auntie Gel,” was a retired secretary who loved sitting on the couch with daughter Laurie watching her favorite shows including “Law and Order,” “Dr. Phil” and “Golden Girls.” She enjoyed her phone calls with her son, Chuck. In life, she gave her children words of encouragement, wisdom and comfort that kept them in line, taught them the “school of hard knocks,” which gave them something to pass down to their children. She was known for not holding back her opinion and her knack for telling it like it was. She was famous for her tossed salad with her homemade Italian dressing, and she loved being surrounded by grandkids and family for any occasion. All these things and many more great qualities made up our “Angela.” She left us beautiful memories — her love is still our guide — and although we cannot see her, she’s always at our side.

She will be sorely missed by her daughter, Laurie, and son, Charles (Carole); grandsons Anthony, Adam, Charles (Angela) and Christopher; granddaughter, Sara (Chris); seven great-grandchildren; and many other family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband/best friend, Charlie aka “Hun,” and her sisters Carmela and Marie.

Services were held at Sacred Heart R.C. Church Aug. 14. Interment followed in St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket.

Challenger Will Ferraro and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine during a debate hosted by the Sound Beach Civic Association at the Sound Beach Firehouse Oct. 8. Photo by Kyle Barr

Road issues and health/odor complaints from the town landfill have become a major bane for residents in the Town of Brookhaven, and local incumbents and challengers have made it a major point of their election campaigns.

The Sound Beach Civic Association hosted debates Oct. 8 for Brookhaven town candidates in The Village Beacon Record area as Long Island quickly slides toward Election Day Nov. 5.

The room was flanked with both Republican, Democratic and a few third-party candidates.

Perhaps the most contentious town race is for supervisor, with young Democratic challenger Will Ferraro facing the well-established town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R).

Romaine lauded his and the town’s accomplishments in the seven years since he was first put in office during a special election in 2012. He talked about recent intermunicipal agreements combining districts to save residents money, including ending the Sound Beach and Setauket water districts that gave a small check to residents of those defunct districts.

In terms of roads, Romaine cited the proposed town budget that includes a $150 million pot of funds for the Highway Department from both bonds and reserves from the tentative capital budget.

“I believe in fighting for each and every one of the communities of this town”

– Ed Romaine

Ferraro, who has worked as a legislative analyst for the New York State Assembly and a political activist, spoke of the three main issues of his campaign: the quality of Brookhaven’s roads, a plan to reconfigure the town’s recycling to bring back monthly glass pickup, and a public plan for air quality issues around the town landfill.

“This election is not going to be about credentials, it’s about credibility,” he said.

When an audience member’s question was brought up about the town’s website, saying that it was purposefully convoluted, the supervisor said the town has worked hard to make everything easily available and to make town matters transparent. Ferraro retorted, “I agree with [Romaine] I don’t think it’s intentional, they really think that’s what a website is supposed to look like in 2019.”

The landfill was recently cited by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation over odor complaints and was ordered to spend $150,000 on the landfill or face a fine of $178,000. Romaine said the odor complaints were from last December and occurred because of the process of currently capping portions of the site in the Brookhaven hamlet. The town is looking to set aside $20 million to deal with the impact of the landfill closing in 2024.

“We are definitely going to look at how we are going to handle solid waste — that is something we will be working with all the communities in Brookhaven,” he said.

Ferraro responded that Romaine was diluting the complaints that residents living close to the landfill have had, both in terms of odor and health issues they claim have come from the dump. He criticized Romaine for leaving his state appointment to the Long Island Regional Planning Council in 2018 and said more needs to be done to test the air quality in the area surrounding the landfill.

The day of the debate, Newsday had published its endorsement for Romaine, who held up a printout to show to the audience. Ferraro said, “that endorsement will be in Newsday tomorrow, it will also be in my cat’s litter box tomorrow,” to the moans of several audience members.

Though he had planned to attend the debate, town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) had to cancel at the last minute, and his second-time Democratic challenger Anthony Portesy spoke up instead about his plans to remedy town road issues.

He advocated for his six-point plan, complaining about the town’s practices of “mill and fill” for fixing roads with topcoats that crumble in a short time and for not fixing drainage issues. He also talked about creating a priority list by working with the town council, and then posting that publicly online to see which roads are getting done based on the level of funding. He also called for the need to advocate for more state and federal funding for road repairs.

“We need to get out of this duct tape and Band-Aid operation,” he said. “I want to make sure we’re creating a long-term mission for the Town of Brookhaven.”

Democrat Sarah Deonarine is challenging Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) for the District 2 seat.

Bonner said the issue with recycling was the market has collapsed, a problem not just for Brookhaven but for every municipality across the U.S. Since the market for glass has fallen through the floor, the town has been taking glass at drop-off sites and using them for lining the landfill.

“What is better recycling than that?,” she said.

Regarding the landfill, she said the town has steadily increased its landfill closure account to deal with the impacts of when there will be nowhere on the island left to dump ash or debris, though they have taken the odor complaints “very seriously.” She said the best plan is to turn the landfill into an “energy park.” 

On the issue of recycling the Democratic challenger cited other towns that currently accept other materials, promising to model their collection system after them. She also called out the town’s response to the DEC’s order regarding the landfill. She said she has “connections” around the island, and with those they could start a work group that could look at the health impacts of the landfill.

“The town should recognize that people are getting sick there, set up our own [odor] hotline, and invest in the people in the area to get better,” she said.

On Monday, Oct. 14, the Sound Beach Civic Association will host a second debate moderated by the Suffolk County League of Women Voters between Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) and her Republican challenger Gary Pollakusky at the Sound Beach Firehouse located at 152 Sound Beach Blvd. People can come at 6:30 p.m. to write out questions for the debate starting at 7:30 p.m.

Early voting starts Oct. 26, with election day set for Tuesday, Nov. 5. Check back here at The Village Beacon Record Oct. 31 for our annual election issue, featuring debates with all local candidates in our coverage area.

 

Town of Huntington will host a Organ Donor Enrollment Day Oct. 10. File photo by Rohma Abbas

 Huntington council members Mark Cuthbertson and Joan Cergol are urging Huntington residents to register to be an organ donor as the town is hosting an Organ Donor Enrollment Day October 10. Residents can sign up at Town Hall or Huntington Hospital. 

New York State ranks last in the country with only 35% of registered organ donors versus the average of 50% registered across the country.

A recent study showed that 92 percent of New Yorkers support organ and tissue donation, only 35 percent of New Yorkers are registered as organ donors. Every 18 hours, a New Yorker dies waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

That means that people can wait an average of 7 or more years to receive a lifesaving transplant. Meanwhile every 18 hours, a New Yorker dies on the waiting list. Now in its fifth year, Organ Donor Enrollment Day presents New Yorkers with a convenient opportunity to make their support known and to sign up as an organ and tissue donor.  This year, Huntington Hospital is hosting Organ Donor Enrollment Day as a facet of its partnership with the LiveOnNY to facilitate tissue and organ transplants.

 “I can tell you from personal experience that organ and tissue donation saves lives,” Cuthbertson said. “My son, Hunter, received a bone marrow transplant a few years ago and he is doing fine today. He was lucky, his donor was his brother. Only 25% of family members are a match, that leaves 75 percent of people needing transplants to rely on the kindness of strangers.”

Cergol also spoke on her experiences.

“A family friend’s son needed a heart transplant and I watched as he became weaker and weaker waiting for a heart, thankfully that call came and he received his transplant,” she said. “Not every New Yorker is as lucky as he was, we need to bring New York out of last place and save lives.”

Doing their part to help change the statistics, Cuthbertson and Cergol announced yesterday that preparations were underway for the 3rd annual 5k Run to Save Lives to be held on Sunday April 19, 2020 at Oldfield Middle School. 

The run annually brings together competitive and recreational runners with transplant recipients, donor families and organizations promoting organ donation and highlighting the need for people to enroll as organ donors. More than 250 people participated in the 2019 race, which raised $16,000 for organ donation groups.

It’s not too early to sign up. People can register online at: https://events.elitefeats.com/april-2020-town-of-huntington-5k-to-save-lives

To sign up to be an organ donor, please go to www.liveonny.org 

Compiled by David Luces 

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File Photo

Shoreham-Wading River High School was one of 362 schools recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools for 2019 as announced by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Sept. 26. The distinction is the second time the school has been honored, being one of the early honorees in the 37-year-old program as a 1987-88 Blue Ribbon School.

“This honor points to the collaborative efforts of our administrators, teachers, students, families and larger community in helping to encourage, engage and educate students who graduate from our high school as productive members of society,” said SWR High School Principal Frank Pugliese.

In her remarks via a video message to the honorees DeVos stated the schools important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives.

“As a National Blue Ribbon School, your school demonstrates what is possible when committed educators hold all students and staff to high standards and create vibrant, innovative cultures of teaching and learning,” she said.

The department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

• Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools are measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

• Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

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Suffolk County Marine Bureau officers rescued a woman who fell off a floating dock in Port Jefferson. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Police said three Suffolk County Marine Bureau officers rescued a woman who fell off a floating dock in Port Jefferson Friday, Oct. 4.

Officers John Falcone, John Rodriguez and Neil Stringer had just disembarked from Marine Delta in Port Jefferson Harbor when they saw a woman lose her footing and fall into the water while attempting to set up a ramp between a boat and the floating dock at the Port Jefferson Marina at around 1 p.m, police said.

The officers were able to lift the woman, Donna Butcher, out of the water and on to the dock. Butcher, 66, of Port Jefferson, was treated at the scene by Port Jefferson Fire Department personnel for minor abrasions and hypothermia.