Authors Posts by Kyle Barr

Kyle Barr

Kyle Barr
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Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker is running against Republican Gary Pollakusky to represent the 6th District. Photos by Alex Petroski

Five-term Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) is once again facing Republican challenger Gary Pollakusky, a Rocky Point business owner and head of the recently remodeled Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce. The candidates challenged each other in 2017, but while many issues remain the same, such as county finances, coastal water issues and opioids, the campaign season has been even more contentious than two years before.

Many of the Republicans running for county Legislature this year have made county finances a major part of their campaigns, and Pollakusky made it a point when he ran two years ago. 

“The $4 billion plan is unrealistic — it will come down to taxpayers, people who are leaving the Island, to take on this burden.”

— Gary Pollakusky

In a recent in-house debate at TBR News Media offices, the Republican challenger pointed to the recent report from the New York State comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli (D), which called Suffolk one of the most fiscally stressed counties in the state, Pollakusky adding the county now has junk bond status. He said small businesses have a hard time opening in Suffolk County, that it takes two to three years when it should, at most, two to three months. He said the county should have done more to bring in retail giant Amazon. 

Though the largest percentage of residents’ tax bills are due to school districts, the challenger said Suffolk should look to work with both the state and local school districts to reduce the number of administrators, even creating a “chancellor of education” to oversee that cause.

Anker, who first came to the Legislature in 2011 during a special election, argued that the county is not in as much fiscal stress as Republicans have said. She argued that the county’s Baa2 bond rating by Moody’s shows a different picture of the county’s financial shape. She said finances have improved significantly since when she was first elected.

The incumbent argued that instead of looking to bring in Amazon, the North Shore should look to become an “ecotourism hub,” with amenities like the new North Shore Rail Trail and Tesla Science Center.

“Instead of making a right to go pumpkin picking and wine tasting, take a left to downtown Rocky Point, so we can revitalize it,” she said. “So many stores have gone out recently.”

The Republican challenger criticized Anker for removing Rocky Point from the county sewer list and called Suffolk’s prototype septic system program a “toilet tax.” Though residents can get grants from New York State that pay most or all of the installation, Pollakusky argued there are fees attributed to landscaping or regular maintenance. 

“As far as runoff, the $4 billion plan is unrealistic — it will come down to taxpayers, people who are leaving the Island, to take on this burden,” he said.

Anker called Suffolk the “most proactive agencies in government that addresses this issue,” adding she supports the prototype septic systems as well as the county water authority’s multibillion dollar plans to reduce 1,4-dioxane in wells throughout the county. 

She added the reason she removed Rocky Point from the sewer list came from a request by the Rocky Point Civic Association whose members said they did not want to pay an additional sewer tax.

Anker currently chairs the Suffolk County Heroin and Opiate Epidemic Advisory Panel, which was created in 2017. She said the panel has already borne fruit with one recent example being Suffolk County police’s new mass spectrometer, which can identify previously undetectable substances. She said the device came from a suggestion on the 24-member panel. She added the county’s lawsuit of pharmaceutical company Purdue and the Sackler family may bring in millions of dollars of revenue to the county.

“Instead of making a right to go pumpkin picking and wine tasting, take a left to downtown Rocky Point, so we can revitalize it.”

— Sarah Anker

Pollakusky argued that while some county statistics say the opioid epidemic has plateaued, he hasn’t seen an example of that in the district, claiming there is a glut of “drug dealing homes” all across the North Shore. Like in 2017, he criticized his opponent for voting to close the Foley Center in Yaphank, saying it could have been used for bed space and as a treatment center.

Anker came back saying the county should look toward public-private partnerships in creating new treatment space.

Though the candidates talked about the ongoing issues, they were also asked how they felt about their opponents campaign tactics during this contentious season. The challenger’s voice rose during the debate as he criticized Anker for mailings published by political advocacy group People for Political Responsibility, depicting him in photoshopped, unflattering images. He claimed Anker had been disbursing campaign material at functions like the Downtown Rocky Point Summer Concert Series and advocating for herself over radio. 

Anker fired back that she had nothing to do with the mailings and had not handed out campaign material at these functions, instead handing out informational pamphlets for services provided by the county. She said her radio show was not sponsored at all by her campaign and only talked of work being done in the Legislature. 

Both have continuously blamed the other for politicizing an incident several months ago at the final summer concert series event, when chamber members were barred from entering the concert. Chamber members said they had permission from the local Veterans of Foreign War post, which participates in putting on the concerts, but Anker said she had only received word that they wanted to attend the day before, and that they did not have space for them. The chamber was allowed a single table at the concert, she added. Pollakusky said it was unfair she was able to attend and “campaign” at the concert while disallowing others.

This post has been amended from how it appeared in the Village Beacon Record to clarify Anker’s position on informational material for services provided by the county.

Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) and Democrat Sarah Deonarine are asking for residents votes Nov. 5. Photos by David Luces

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point), a longtime civic leader and six-term council member since 2007 is facing a challenge from Democratic Sarah Deonarine, a marine biologist out of Coram with years of working in state and local government.

In an October debate at the TBR News Media offices, candidates went back and forth over questions of development on the North Shore, clean energy initiatives and keeping young people on Long Island.

“What I’m hearing is that people want to stay in their homes — age in place.”

— Sarah Deonarine

Deonarine said she sees Brookhaven at “full carrying capacity” in terms of development and is calling for a study on capacity to see if the town is at “full build-out.” She added that another issue which leads to the Island’s brain drain is a lack of affordable or millennial housing, compared to states like Colorado.

“What I’m hearing is that people want to stay in their homes — age in place,” she said.

Other issues for her is the lien put on a property after a derelict house is removed, making redevelopment expensive. She asked that the list of zombie homes in town be made public, as well as refocus Brookhaven Code Enforcement Division which she called aggressive in “trying to make money for the town.”

Bonner instead cited the Route 25A corridor study, and which started in the first years of her first term, which she boasted has been picked up by the Town of Riverhead and continued by Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) in the Three Village area. The study led to “massive rezonings” which limited further build-out. She said all current large-scale developments were grandfathered in before the outcome of the study. 

One of those includes the senior living facility development going up along Route 25A in Mount Sinai, which came about after the Mount Sinai Civic sued the town to stop another “Ranches style” development. The Mount Sinai Meadows project was reconfigured from retail space into majority millennial-geared rental/part commercial.

“Mount Sinai Meadows is going to change the face of Mount Sinai,” Bonner said. “It’s also going to stimulate the [Mt. Sinai] shopping center that’s right next to it.”

She disagreed with Deonarine’s statement on code enforcement, saying the division was more focused on the well-being of people in their homes. She said Suffolk County police asked the town not to publicize the list of zombie homes.

The town has boasted of its clean energy initiatives, including solar farms and wind farms at Town Hall in Farmingdale. Bonner called the solar farm developments in Shoreham a way of reducing the impact of farms and grass products on the aquifer while growing green energy in the town. She mentioned the electric car charging stations at sites like Heritage Park in Mount Sinai. 

“We’re doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint.”

— Jane Bonner

“We’re doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint,” the incumbent said.

The Democratic challenger said she thinks it’s time Long Island as a whole moves away from being hesitant on new green energy initiatives, especially with complaints over aesthetics. 

“People are afraid of their views being blocked — it’s a time we need to move past that, and it’s time to think about the environment and move away from fossil fuels,” she said.

If elected, Deonarine said she would bring a different viewpoint to the board, six of whom are Republican with one lone Democrat. She also pushed her opponent on proposition 1, the referendum given the green light by voters last November, saying it had been poorly worded, giving town council members term limits while at the same time extending terms from two to four years. She said the Republican members of the board largely supported it, and though Cartright had at first supported it, she later pulled back her support.

“The current board makeup, and current Republican Party makeup, it is very biased,” she said. “With only one Democrat on the board, that’s not a representation of the Town of Brookhaven.”

Bonner said the board has been bipartisan in getting things done, with no lack of ability or willingness to cross party lines and help each other in daily duties. In terms of proposition 1, “we all supported to go to referendum for the four-year terms,” she said. “It was overwhelmingly supported by nearly 60 percent.”

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Both children and adults beat the wind and rain and celebrated Halloween at the Port Jefferson Country Club Oct. 31. Photo by Kyle Barr

Despite gusting wind and spits of rain, some children still managed to hit the streets Halloween night for some old fashioned trick or treating. But for parents and their kids looking to avoid that, the Port Jefferson County Club opened its doors to people of all ages during its annual Halloween party.

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Francis Maxwell

Francis B. Maxwell, of Ridge, passed away peacefully Oct. 13. He was 92.

He was a proud U.S. Army World War II veteran and was also the ex-chief of Baldwin Fire Department.

He was the beloved husband of the late Rose T. Maxwell.

Francis was the cherished father of Kenneth (Rosemary) Maxwell, John (Maria) Maxwell, Robert (Anita) Maxwell, the late Joann Maxwell and the late Francis Maxwell; the loving grandfather of Stephanie, Nicholas, Christopher, Timothy, Kathryn, James, Erin, Bailey, Joann, Paul; and great-grandfather of Gavin, Mario, Jacob, Nicholina, along with a new great-grandchild who just arrived.

He is additionally survived by many other family members and friends.

Religious services were celebrated at the Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place, and interment followed with military honors at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.

Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place. An online guest book is available at www.branchfh.com.

Doris T. Mullen

Doris T. Mullen of Kissimmee, Florida, formerly of Northport, died on Sept. 30 at 87 years of age. She was the beloved wife of the late Robert, loving mother of Maryann Mullen (Michael Gormley) and Wendy Hentze (Andrew), cherished Nani of Emma Bockrath and Robert Pratt (Annabelle) and dear sister of Carolyn Sandage (Ron). Visitation was held at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport Oct. 5. Funeral was held Oct. 6 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Northport. Doris was an active and supportive member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church of Northport. Donations to St. Paul’s in Doris’ memory would be appreciated.

Regina E. Drogos

Regina E. Drogos of Holbrook, formerly of East Northport, died on Oct. 7. She was the beloved wife of the late Stanley; loving mother of Maria (Don) Longo, Paul Drogos and Steve Drogos; cherished grandmother of Donald S. Longo and Daniel J. Longo; and dear sister of Tom (Marcella) Piekarski. She is also survived by her nephews David Piekarski, Andrew Piekarski and Edward Piekarski and their families. Services were private.

John P. Riconda

John P. Riconda of Northport died on Oct. 12. He was the CEO of Contemporary Computer Services Inc. (CCSI) of Bohemia. He was the beloved husband of Emma; loving father of Franki; brother of Richie, Danny, Adrianne, Samantha and Anita Louise. He is also survived by his moms Rosebud and Judy and his pal Gazoo. Memorial visitation was held at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport. A Memorial Mass was celebrated Oct. 18 at St. Philip Neri Church, Northport.

Angela Surace

Angela Surace of Northport and Myrtle Beach died on Sept. 30 at 93 years of age. She was the beloved wife of the late Anthony; loving mother of Salvatore and his wife Ann and Paul and his wife Analyn; cherished grandmother of Michael and his wife Kelsea, Amy Pecchia and her husband Stephen and Joseph; and dear great-grandmother of Gabriella and Mikaela Pecchia. Visitation was held Oct. 7 at Nolan Funeral Home. Funeral services were held at the funeral home Oct. 8 with entombment following the ceremony at Pinelawn Memorial Park.

Evelyn A. Palumbo

Evelyn A. Palumbo of East Northport died on Oct. 6 at 91 years young. She was the beloved wife of the late Mark; loving mother of Mark Palumbo (Janice) and Debbie Marcinek; fond grandmother of Evan and Mikayla Palumbo, Danielle Reha (Joseph), Kerri, James and Kristen Marcinek; adored great-grandmother of Joseph, Callie, Julianna, Austin and Aubree; and dear sister-in-law of Paul Palumbo. Reposing was held at Nolan Funeral Home on Oct. 8. Funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 9 at St. Joseph’s Church, Kings Park. Interment followed at St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale.

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Richard Franek

Richard R. Franek, of Ridge, died Sunday, Oct. 6. He was 78.

Franek was born Jan. 12, 1941, in Jamaica, Queens. He is the son of the late Rudolph and the late Olga (Siomkalo) Franek. He was a proud Navy veteran and served from 1960 to 1964. He was employed by General Electric in Melville as a parts supplier. 

He is survived by his beloved wife, Helen (Klodt) Franek, and two loving sons, William (Stephanie) Franek of Yaphank and Robert Franek of Ridge. He had one dear sister, Carolyn Volonino of Florida, and was the grandfather of one cherished granddaughter, Allison Franek.  

Celebration of the Mass of Christian burial was held Friday, Oct. 11, at St. Mark’s R.C. Church in Shoreham. A burial with military honors followed at Calverton National Cemetery. 

All arrangements were entrusted to the Rocky Point Funeral Home. An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com.   

Patricia McKee

Patricia J. McKee, of Huntington, died Thursday, Sept. 12. She was 100.

She was born March 17, 1919, in Brooklyn and was the daughter of the late James and the late Helen (Corry) Killorin. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Robert McKee. 

She is survived by eight loving children, Deborah Kletter of Riverdale, Tricia Grant of Port Jefferson Station, Kathleen Miracola of Wading River, Virginia Meriam of Garden City, Faith Eccles of Port Jefferson Station, Robert McKee of Lindenhurst, Gregory McKee of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, and Thomas McKee of Huntington. 

She was the dear sister of Vera Gagliardi of Long Beach. She also had 14 cherished grandchildren and 17 cherished great-grandchildren. 

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Sept. 16 at St. Anthony of Padua R.C. Church, in Rocky Point. Burial followed at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.

All arrangements were entrusted to the Rocky Point Funeral Home. An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com.  

Eleanor Weresnick

Eleanor G. Weresnick, of Shoreham, died Sept. 2. She was 83.

She was born Oct. 25, 1935, in Brooklyn and was the daughter of the late John and the late Edith (Grotheer) Buschmann. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, William Weresnick, in 2003.  

She was employed by Shoreham-Wading River Central School District as a registered nurse.  

She is survived by two loving sons, William (Debbie) Weresnick of Rocky Point and Greg (Laurel) Weresnick of Ridge. She also had four cherished grandchildren: Erin, Shelley, Kelly and Colleen.  

Religious services were held Sept. 7 at the Rocky Point Funeral Home in Rocky Point. Burial followed at Washington Memorial Park in Mount Sinai.

All arrangements were entrusted to the Rocky Point Funeral Home. An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com.   

The family requests donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, https://stjude.org/donate. 

Jo Ann Brooks

Jo Ann K. Brooks, of Rocky Point and formerly of Miller Place, died Sept. 27. She was 81.

She was born Dec. 20, 1937, in Bay Shore, the daughter of the late Thomas F. and the late Elizabeth (Murdock) Thomas. She was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel H. Brooks, in 2005. 

She had been the owner of Keepsake Dolls & Gifts in Miller Place. 

She is survived by two daughters, Debbie Coto of Rocky Point and Robin Martinez of Miller Place; her two sons, Brian Brooks of Cutchogue and Daniel Brooks of Rocky Point; one sister, Dolly Sabiston of Florida, and one brother, Frank Thomas of Florida. She also had seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 

Prayers were offered Sept. 30 at the Rocky Point Funeral Home in Rocky Point. Burial followed at Calverton National Cemetery Oct. 1, with family and friends gathering back at the funeral home for a closing prayer. 

All arrangements were entrusted to the Rocky Point Funeral Home. An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com.  

Grace M. Pellegrino

Grace M. Pellegrino, of Stony Brook, formerly of Floral Park, died Sept. 2. She was 91. 

She was the daughter of William and Grace Mathers. Beloved wife of the late Robert. She is survived by her four children, Debra (Anthony) Castineiras, Robert (Lorraine) Pellegrino Jr., Thomas (Jennifer) Pellegrino and Donna Cubicciotti; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Services were held at the St. James Funeral Home in St. James Sept. 4 and burial followed at Calverton National Cemetery.

Elizabeth “Bette” Cohen Goldberg

Elizabeth “Bette” Cohen Goldberg, 86, died of complications from cancer Oct. 9 at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. 

A woman of remarkable grace, charm and wit, boundless energy and exceptional taste, Bette impressed everyone she met with her extraordinary warmth and kindness.  

Born and raised in Chicago, Bette was a 1954 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan. She met Homer Goldberg, her late husband of 61 years, on a blind date. They were married in 1956, then spent a year immersed in the art and culture of Italy. In 1961, they moved to Setauket where they lived for 50 years. 

A lifelong lover of the arts with an impeccable sense of style, Bette served from 1976 to 1992 as director of Gallery North and later as president of its board of trustees. First opened in Setauket in 1965, the gallery displays and supports the work of local and nationally recognized artists working in all media. As director, Bette nurtured new and established artists, curated exhibitions, ran its popular annual Outdoor Art Show and led fundraising efforts. She was treasured by artists and patrons alike, and in 1986 she was named The Village Times Woman of the Year in the Arts.

After Bette and Homer moved to Minneapolis in 2010, she became an active member of the Loring Green East condominiums community, organizing a book club, an annual art show, exercise classes and serving on the design and social committees. A regular concert, theater and moviegoer, she remained dedicated to the arts, recently serving as a volunteer for the Minneapolis Institute of Art. 

Bette was also a gourmet cook, an impossibly fast walker and a master of the art of the consumer complaint letter. She never tired of food and wine with family and friends, travel and literature. “Cutes,” as her grandchildren called her, was beloved by all those who had the good fortune to know her.

Bette is survived by her daughter Emily and partner Chris; her son John and wife Julie; her four grandsons Alex, Matt, Zach and Ben; her sister-in-law Lois, and her nieces and nephews Phil, Barbara, Terry and Beverly. 

A memorial celebration is being planned for Sunday, Nov. 10. Contributions in Bette’s memory may be made to Planned Parenthood, the Minneapolis Institute of Art or The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Alvera G. Scudieri 

Alvera Scudieri (née Lafantano) of East Northport died on Oct. 8 at the age of 89. She was the former deputy treasurer of the Village of Northport. She was the beloved wife of the late Pasquale, loving mother of Michael and Patrick (Donna), cherished grandmother of Nicholas (Kate) and Christopher and adored great-grandmother of Kieran and Brandon. Reposing was held at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport Oct. 10 and 11. Funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 12 at St. Anthony of Padua Church, E. Northport. Interment followed at St. Patrick Cemetery, Huntington. Donations to St. Jude Research Hospital (www.stjude.org) in her memory are appreciated. 

Jacqueline Moisan 

Jacqueline Moisan of Northport died on Sept. 27 at 92 years of age. She was the beloved mother of Leon (Patricia), Michael (Janice), the late Zachary and the late David Moisan; cherished grandmother of David (Catherine Lamb), Robert, Matthew, Jonathan Moisan, Jared Moisan, Christina Moisan and Jennifer Gallace (Michael); and loving great-grandmother of Isabella, Gabriella and Tony Gallace. Visitation was held Oct. 3 at Nolan Funeral Home. Funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 4 at St. Patrick’s Church, Huntington. Burial followed in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. 

Mary U. Dawkins 

Mary U. Dawkins of Northport died on Sept. 28 at 82 years of age. She was the adored wife to Bertram; devoted mother to Bonnie (Kristin Harper) Dawkins, Peter (Catherine) Dawkins and Nancy (Robert) Pisani; cherished grandmother to Claire and Colleen Dawkins and Jordan and Spencer Pisani; and loving sister to James Bonney. Funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 2 at St. Philip Neri Church, Northport. Interment followed at parish cemetery. Donations in Mary’s memory to Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice 505 Main St. Northport, NY 11768, would be appreciated. www.visitingnurseservice.org/. 

John J. Proscia

John J. Proscia of Northport died on Sept. 30. John retired as a mechanical engineer with Grumman Aerospace after 40 years. He was the beloved husband of JoAnn; cherished father of David (Dayna Hanson) Proscia and Douglas (Maria) Proscia; dear brother of Lucille (Louis) Gallina and nephew of Alfred Pennacchia; and devoted uncle of Joanne (Gary) Silko, Frank (Nancy) Gallina, Paul (Maria) Gallina, Laura (Edward) Biosca, James (Carol) Chmielewski, Brian Chmielewski, Andrew (Vanessa) Chmielewski, Christine (Frank) Scarfuto and Lauren (Rick) Picozzi. He was also survived by many loving cousins, great-nieces and great-nephews. Visitation was held Oct. 4 at Nolan Funeral Home. Funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 5 at St. Philip Neri Church. Private cremation followed. Donations in his memory to V.N.S. Hospice of Suffolk (www.visitingnurseservice.org), 505 Main St., Northport, NY 11768 are appreciated. 

File photo

A person on site during demolition of a derelict property in Rocky Point called police about an explosive discovery Oct. 31 when workers excavating the property uncovered a bag of grenades, some of them still live.

On Halloween, Police said a person on site of the demolition called 911 at 10:07 a.m. to report a bag of grenades found at a zombie house on King Road. The house was already abandoned and had been knocked down. A bag with five grenades were found by workers during excavation. Three were still live, police said.

The house is just one of many derelict properties the Town of Brookhaven is contracting to demolish. Brookhaven Spokesperson Jack Krieger said the site is being handled by Bayport-based Panzner Construction. He said the town was unaware who placed the call to police.

Police said Emergency Service Section officers removed the grenades, with the three live ones to be detonated offsite.

Ed Romaine (R) and Will Ferraro (D) are looking for town residents’ votes come Nov. 5. Photos by Rita J. Egan

The race for Town of Brookhaven supervisor sees one candidate with years of electoral experience facing a young newcomer who says he’s representing those in town who have been ignored by government the past several years.

Seven-year town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) is facing Democratic challenger, first-time candidate and Selden political activist Will Ferraro. While the incumbent cites his efforts over the past seven years, including his work on getting control of Brookhaven’s budget and the push toward clean energy, Ferraro is pushing hard on recycling and trash issues, as well as keeping young people on Long Island.

Romaine said the town has made huge strides toward clean energy in the past several years, including incorporating wind and solar technology at Town Hall in Farmingville. 

“You had a year, a year and a half, where that market had been collapsing and the town just waited.”

— Will Ferraro

Recently, a new offshore wind project, Sunrise Wind, has plans to create an offshore wind farm off Montauk, and plans to have a home base in Port Jefferson Harbor. Romaine claimed he had been a big proponent of that project and will have a large impact on it going forward.

“I’m not a proponent of fossil fuel,” Romaine said.

Ferraro criticized the town’s movement on the Caithness II plant, which has since stalled, though Romaine said he had voted against the plant.

More eyes have turned toward Brookhaven’s waste management and recycling since the market crashed in 2018, leading the town’s recycling contractor, Green Stream Recycling, to void its contract. Brookhaven has switched from single-stream to dual-stream recycling and has asked residents to drop glass off at 21 points in the town instead of picking it up at curbside.

The Democratic challenger criticized the supervisor for not seeing the writing on the wall when it came to the recycling market and single-stream recycling.

“Where I find problem is that [the Town] waited and tried running out 20-plus year contract with Green Stream,” Ferraro said. “You had a year, a year and a half, where that market had been collapsing and the town just waited.”

He advised the town should look into a pay-as-you-throw program, which would lessen the cost of people’s trash bill for those who turn out less trash. He said he would cap the cost of people’s bills to where it currently sits at $350, enticing people to throw out less. He added he would want to return to glass pickup once every two weeks or once a month.

Romaine said such a program might work in the long term, but believed it would lead to illegal dumping, which he added was already a huge problem in Brookhaven. 

The town’s landfill has long been a hot spot for controversy. The landfill currently only accepts ash and construction debris. All garbage is taken to a plant outside of town, while the ash is returned to the landfill. Current plans see Brookhaven capping the landfill by 2024. Romaine said closing the location will be a net loss for the town but suspects they will not take a large hit. Otherwise, Brookhaven, along with other townships that dump their ash at the Brookhaven landfill, still needs to decide where that trash will go once the last landfill on Long Island is closed.

“This is not a Brookhaven problem, this is a regional problem,” Romaine said.

People around the landfill have long complained about the odor from it, and many claim they have experienced negative health effects from living close to it. Ferraro criticized the town for not doing more to research what could be causing such effects or doing air testing during an odor event and called for an air quality task force for the area.

Romaine said a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation does testing every day, and they have no research that qualitates the landfill has resulted in these negative health effects at the nearby school district.

“Health to me is the most important thing,” Romaine said. “If we knew there was something, we would have stopped.”

Recent years have shown people, both young and old, moving off the Island due to high property taxes. While both candidates agreed the majority of taxes come from the local school districts, Ferraro said the most important thing is to attract industries that provide jobs, while working on town infrastructure to get people to those jobs. He suggested that Brookhaven should look into some sort of limited public transportation system, similar to Huntington’s Area Rapid Transit system.

“Health to me is the most important thing.”

— Ed Romaine

He agreed with Romaine on a lack of multifamily housing but said some residents are being heard more than others. 

“A lot of NIMBY [not in my backyard] is being pandered to,” the challenger said. “A lot of their concerns are valid, some are not … We need a comprehensive approach. It’s one thing to have $1,800 rent, but when you talk about transportation costs, other factors than just rent that play into that.”

Romaine said he and fellow council members have done a good job in securing large industries to the town, such as Amneal Pharmaceuticals, which brought a facility to Yaphank with several hundred jobs earlier this year. He added the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency has been key in bringing jobs like these to the area. He also cited intent to lessen the cost of gas and electricity by allowing the town to purchase those resources on behalf of its residents through a Community Choice Aggregation program.

Ferraro said many of those jobs created through the IDA were temporary construction jobs. Though some residents have complained about some of the tax breaks some of these developments have received, such as the Engel Burman-owned senior facility currently going up in Mount Sinai for only providing around 50 full-time employees after the facilities finally open. Romaine agreed that the IDA should avoid multifamily housing unless its “affordable.” He said he was opposed to the IDA giving tax breaks to the Heatherwood apartment complex in Port Jefferson Station and South Setauket, which were ultimately rejected. 

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Steven and Wayne Rampone Jr. hold images of the Ford dealership when they opened the Route 347 location. Photo By Leah Chiappino

By Leah Chiappino

With a vintage Ford planted in the showroom, the Ramp Ford Dealership in Port Jefferson Station evokes a feeling of nostalgia right as you walk in. Founded in 1944 by Alfred Rampone, the dealership is celebrating 75 years in business. As the oldest family-owned Ford dealership in Suffolk County, it has seen four generations of Rampone family ownership. Currently, Steven and Wayne Rampone Jr., are partners along with their father, Wayne Rampone Sr.

Alfred Rampone during the original founding of the dealership. Photos by Leah Chiappino

“I guess you could say [the business] is in my blood,” Wayne Rampone Jr. said.

The story goes that Alfred worked as a sales representative for Chevrolet, who denied his request to open his own dealership. However, when he reached out to Ford they came through on his request. They offered him a spot in Quogue or Port Jefferson. He chose the latter to make it easier to commute from his New Hyde Park home.

Originally, the dealership was located in lower Port Jefferson village at what is now the Chase Bank building. It operated with a handful of vehicles with a single salesperson and mechanic. The Rampones expanded to their current location on Route 347 in the mid-1960s. Today, they employ 45 people, who call themselves the “Ramp family,” and sell both vehicles and parts, as well as service vehicles. 

Rampone Jr. says their business model has remained the same all this time. 

“We are a customer-focused and customer-centered dealership,” he said. “We take pride in me being able to say we are a family-owned business and we literally treat our customers like family. When they walk in the door, we know them by name. We take care of each other.” He added their bond with the community has been instrumental to their success.

As part of their business model, owners said the dealership attempts to give back to the community in place of traditional advertising. They sponsor Little League teams, contribute to church organizations, and are deeply involved with Hope House Ministries. 

 “We spend a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of energy in the community,” Rampone Jr. said. “We believe if we give back to the community, they will give back to us.”

County Executive Steve Bellone, Legis. Sarah Anker and Assemblyman Steve Englebright were on hand for the ground-breaking ceremony of the North Shore Rail Trail project Oct. 25. Photos by Kyle Barr

On the freshly mowed grass of a right of way in Miller Place, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) held up a yellowing booklet and from it unfurled a map of Long Island. The booklet was from 1972, and the map showed plans for a trail along the North Shore from Wading River to Mount Sinai.

On Oct. 25, little less than 50 years since the first county planner, Lee Koppelman, drew up those plans, officials finally put the first ceremonial shovel in the ground for the 10-mile rails-to-trails project, now dubbed North Shore Rail Trail.

Construction is set to begin in early November.

“This site will become a premier destination for hiking and biking,” the county exec said.

County officials were joined by town, state and town representatives, various civic leaders, along with hiking and biking enthusiasts to dig the first ceremonial dirt piles and pop the cork on a bottle of champagne. 

Officials said construction will start in Mount Sinai and continue through to Wading River. County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said building it could take close to two years to complete. Officials had an expected finish date for fall 2021. The trail will not officially open until the entire project is completed, Anker said.

Local and state officials break ground on the North Shore Rail Trail project Oct.25. Photos by Kyle Barr

Some area residents are unhappy with the new trail, including several whose homes abut the right of way where the trail will extend through. Rocky Point resident Gary Savickas, who has long been a vocal opponent of the new trail, said his property currently overlooks the fence in his backyard which borders the right of way, and walkers will be able to look directly into his yard.

Anker said the county is planning to work with Rocky Point Civic Association in gathering together funds to address barriers and other measures to help with privacy concerns, but there is no word of when that funding will come. 

The current 3-mile Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail has entered its 10th year, and Herb Mones, Three Village Civic Association trustee and active member of the Friends of the Greenway, said many of the complaints he has heard with the new trail are ones he heard during the Setauket trail’s development.

“Now when I walk on the greenway, those very same people will walk up to me and shake my hand,” he said. “The attitude changes, but the attitudes are a result of not having enough of these recreation corridors for people to appreciate.”

For those who enjoy hiking and biking, the tune is much different. Elyse Buchman, who owns Stony Brookside Bed & Bike Inn in Stony Brook along with husband Marty, said she knows many who will use the trail. On Oct. 13, she and several hundred people from all over the Northeast raised money for the New York Bicycling Coalition, but some who wanted to come to that event didn’t, with many bikers having qualms about riding on roads as congested as some on the North Shore.

“This is a destination, this is for our long-distance riders who want to get to the North Fork, and get there safely,” Elyse Buchman added.

The $8.82 million trail is being funded through federal and state grants, along with Suffolk County funds. The trail was finally confirmed with Bellone signing legislation last year.

Though there are likely people who will want to use both the North Shore Rail Trail and Greenway Trail, they will have a 1-mile stretch between their two end points with several roads in between. The county exec said they are currently creating an interconnected hiking and biking plan, with a general idea to make Suffolk a regional destination for hiking and biking. Included in that plan is a scheme to connect the two ends of the separate trails, though he added there is no definite plan to do so. 

“The connection is a priority,” Bellone said.

 

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*Update: Police said they found Luke Bowen unharmed.

Original story:

Suffolk County Police have issued a silver alert for a missing Port Jefferson man who they said is schizophrenic, suffers from seizures and may be in need of medication.

Luke Bowen, 62, was discharged from Southside Hospital Oct. 29. He was last seen in the lobby waiting for a taxi and did not return to his residence, located at 136 North Country Road.

Bowen is white, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a navy blue sweatshirt and black sneakers.

Police are asking anyone with information about Bowen’s location to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652 or 911.