Authors Posts by Rita J. Egan

Rita J. Egan

Rita J. Egan
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The rain this past weekend didn’t stop a certain rabbit from dropping off goodies at Benner’s Farm for Three Village and neighboring children.

The farm hosted egg hunt events April 20 and 21, where children found plastic eggs filled with treats and stuffed animals.

Families also were able to visit with the farm’s baby animals, check out crafts from vendors, play on the big swing, walk the trails and take pictures with the Easter Bunny!

St. James R. C. Church in Setauket also hosted its egg hunt April 21 after Easter Sunday morning service.

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Poquott’s community dock will be completed in time for summer. Photo by Gerard Romano

Residents in the Village of Poquott will be able to enjoy a new community dock
this summer.

After years of debating and hammering out the details, the village’s dock will be completed in the next few weeks, according to Mayor Dee Parrish.

“It feels great, and everybody is talking about it on Facebook and the Instagram page for the village and people are taking pictures,” Parrish said. “It’s that time of year where spring is in the air and people are excited, and I think a lot of residents are going to get use out of it this summer.”

The dock, located in California Park at the end of Washington Street, had been discussed by residents for nearly a decade, and while several protested the idea, the village board began seriously looking at building one a few years ago.

The village took out a bond equaling $255,000 to help finance the dock construction. Officials said the village will begin paying off the bond in the end of this year, and the board approved taking the interest payment from the fund balance this year.

Trustee Jeff Koppelson, who supported the idea of a dock for residents, said lately when he walks down to the beach, he sees people checking out its progress. He said he believes many residents will enjoy it, from fishermen to those who are just taking a leisurely walk.

“I find it very gratifying, and I think for years to come it will be kind of a focal point of the village down there,” Koppelson said.

Budget

As the board began to look over its budget for 2019-20, it was first believed that the dock would create an extra $4 more per hundred in the budget, according to Parrish. However, once the numbers were crunched, the trustees announced at the April 11 village meeting that the budget increase for all village services is $3 more per hundred. The new budget of $552,969.17 is a 3% increase over last year and pierces the 2% tax cap.

At the March village board meeting, Parrish, Koppelson and trustee Chris Schleider voted to authorize the board of trustees to exceed the 2% taxing increase limit, and at the April meeting, approved the 2019-20 budget.

The budget includes $63,125 of dock expenses such as engineering fees, legal fees and construction costs.

Stormwater retention pond

The village was recently notified by the New York State Department of Transportation that it would attend to issues regarding a stormwater retention pond on Route 25A, right between Van Brunt Manor Road and Washington Street. Village officials brought the issue to the attention of the NYSDOT, which will be fencing in the pond.

Richard Parrish, Poquott’s stormwater management officer, sent multiple letters to the NYSDOT last year alerting the department of villagers’ complaints that the unfenced structure constructed of earthen walls and an earthen base could potentially collapse and cause a person or animal to fall in or become trapped. After a heavy rainfall, the structure can fill with up to four feet of water.

The mayor said she was relieved that the NYSDOT was going to remedy the situation.

“It won’t be such an eyesore, and also, I think a lot of residents worried that kids might play in it or someone may drown in it, so with a fence around it, it will eliminate that problem,” Parrish said.

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‘The Rock on the Green,’ 1865, by William Sidney Mount

Archaeologists and historians are scheduled to explore the Setauket Village Green to see what they can unearth about Long Island’s Revolutionary War history.

The Lamar Institute has begun a month-long field research project titled The Struggle for Long Island: Expanding Revolutionary War Studies in New York funded by a $60,000 American Battlefield Protection Program grant from the National Park Service and $5,200 in contributions from Lamar. The Georgia-based nonprofit, which conducts archaeological research to advance public awareness, has organized historians, archaeologists, residents and City University of New York students to explore three military sites occupied by Loyalists on the North Shore during the Revolutionary War — the Setauket Village Green, Fort Slongo (now known as Fort Salonga) and Fort Franklin in Lloyd’s Neck.

A reenactor reads the plaque on Patriots Rock. Photo from Three Village Community Trust

Barbara Russell, Town of Brookhaven historian and a Caroline Church of Brookhaven vestry member, said the project was presented to the church’s vestry last year for permission to access the site.

“This is all quite exciting to have respected and qualified researchers from the Lamar Institute in and around our Village Green,” she said. “Historians always welcome further study, and I hope the community will come by and watch the process take place.”

Field research began April 15 in Fort Salonga and will continue April 22 for a week at the Village Green. This will be followed by more studies in Lloyd’s Neck during the week of April 29. While the team has been given permission to research Fort Slongo, which is on private property, property owners have not given permission to study Fort Franklin, which is also on privately owned land. Instead the team will only be able to do work on property that was once the battlefield.

The project will focus on the North Shore areas where the Patriot attacks on the three forts led to their victory at Fort Salonga. Daniel Elliot, president of the Lamar Institute, said the research would include ground penetrating radar survey, systematic controlled metal detection survey, small excavations of key targets, total station laser transit mapping, drone-assisted aerial videography and laboratory analysis. The findings will enable the identification of battlefields and provide data regarding military strategies.

The itinerary for Setauket includes searches of the Patriots Rock tract across from Frank Melville Memorial Park, Setauket Presbyterian Church property and the Village Green and the green and front parking area of Caroline Church of Brookhaven.

Elliot said even though similar studies have been conducted in Georgia and South Carolina, this is the first one in New York and north of the Mason-Dixon Line. While not all the forts have a visible footprint like Fort Slongo, written accounts from those who fought and a map from the Culper spies will help guide them to their exact locations.

“We’re trying to bring them back to life a little bit and increase public awareness of what’s out here,” Elliot said.

“It’s really an American story.”

—David Griffin

The Battle of Fort Slongo, led by Benjamin Tallmadge, he said was a victory for the Patriots where an injured Elijah Churchill became the recipient of the first Badge of Military Merit, which became the Purple Heart.

“It’s one of the few success stories on the Island for the Americans during the war,” Elliot said.

David Griffin, a local historian, has been collaborating on the project. An architect by trade, he’s the author of the book “Lost British Forts of Long Island.” He said there are plenty of lost stories and various interpretations of what happened on the Island when it comes to the Revolutionary War.

The historian said with the use of underground radar and metal detectors, field researchers will be able to find artifacts such as iron musket balls and jacket buttons that will tell a lot more about who was shooting at whom and in what direction. The research will also help to see how many people were engaged, and the size of a musket ball can determine to which side it belonged.

He said many times in cases like these, relics aren’t found too deep in the ground, with most being around 4 to 6 inches deep. As for the Setauket battleground, Griffin said no one knows for sure where the fort walls were, and with ground radar, they may be able to determine its exact location.

Griffin said he is looking forward to learning more about the sites and the forts, and he pointed out that the Loyalists who built them were Americans.

“It’s really an American story,” he said. “Even though we think it was the British that were here, it’s really the Loyalist Americans who built these and tended to them, and the Patriots, who were also Americans, were the people who were attacking the posts, so it really is a very local story of Americans.”

The project will be discussed at a future Three Village Community Trust Join the Conversation presentation with Elliott, Griffin and Sheldon Skaggs, assistant professor at City University of New York. Resulting interpretation also will be documented in a report available to the public on the Lamar Institute’s website, www.thelamarinstitute.org by September 2020.

Aidan Donnelly, an Eagle Scout from Troop 362 in Selden, spearheaded a project to have fishing line resource recovery/recycling containers installed near Suffolk County fishing spots . Photo from Aidan Donnelly

A Centereach High School senior and Eagle Scout has dedicated much of his time to protecting Long Island beaches and wildlife.

During a terrapin turtle project, Aidan Donnelly searched, tracked, monitored, measured, weighed and coded turtles to take environmental data and GPS location of the turtles. Photo by Aidan Donnelly

Aidan Donnelly, 17, joined his local Boy Scout troop when he was in fifth grade after he was inspired by his older cousin’s Court of Honor ceremony, the highest rank a Scout can earn. Donnelly saw all the volunteer projects his cousin was involved in and wanted to make a difference as well. Now an Eagle Scout himself, Donnelly has planned and been the leader of four different wildlife projects since 2014.

“I really can’t describe it,” Donnelly said. “I just love seeing my projects make a positive difference. I love seeing the difference I was able to make through my projects and knowing I’ve helped the beach and so many people.”

Donnelly has been volunteering since he was nine years old, when he joined an educational program at West Meadow Beach called Beach Rangers, a program that teaches young kids about West Meadow Beach and the ecosystem there. He credits Beach Rangers and the cleanups he participated in as inspiration for the many wildlife projects he has started.

“I was pretty sad the first time to see how much garbage was left at the beach,” Donnelly said. “Which sort of sparked my interest in wanting to help out. So, I did beach cleanups every year from then on, and once I got into Boys Scouts, I got my troop involved in the cleanup.”

Through his Eagle Scout project, which he completed in 2015, Donnelly led, designed and planned the building and installation of an osprey nest platform at West Meadow Beach, when he was just 13 years old. In order to complete the project, Donnelly had to work with local politicians, such as Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), who recognizes him as a true asset to the community.

“I was pretty sad the first time to see how much garbage was left at the beach.”

— Aidan Donnelly

“Aidan has an obvious sense of loyalty and duty to his community,” Cartright said. “He goes above and beyond in all that he does, and his dedication is reflected in academic honors, high achievements in scouting, and his organization of community activities. In my role as a town council member I have met hundreds of outstanding young people in our community, but Aidan is exceptional even among that elite group.”

Out of the many projects he has been involved in, Donnelly said he felt particularly proud of his most recent one — a fishing line resource recovery/ recycling project that he just completed this past December. The project is a countywide sustainable fishing line recovery and recycling project that is installed at West Meadow Beach, Stony Brook Harbor, Port Jefferson, Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, Deep Pond Conservation Area, Lake Ronkonkoma, South Haven County Park, Bubbles Falls, Rattlesnake Brook near Oakdale and West Brook Pond. The project required Donnelly to work with many outside sources, such as community members and an out-of-state recycling facility.

“I needed to find somewhere that would take the line and recycle it,” Donnelly said, “rather than it ending up in the trash or in landfills. I did find a Midwest company, and they sent me postage-paid shipping boxes to give to the organizations.”

Bill Schwalback, scoutmaster of Donnelly’s BSA Troop 362, has known him since 2016 when his son joined the troop where Donnelly was serving as troop guide. He has seen the growth and drive of the 17-year-old since then and notes that Donnelly has always jumped on the opportunity to take on a leadership role and enjoys passing on his knowledge to others.

“Aidan does not deflect an opportunity to teach others,” Schwalback said. “He thrives on the ability to share his knowledge and his passion with others, and it is great to see a young adult fill with pride when he sees something to completion and knows that it will make a difference to the targeted population or species.”

Tim Kearon, left, instructs a student in golf at the Tsai Hsing Golf Academy. Photo from Mastro Communications

Golf’s off-season proved to be a hole in one when it came to life experience for one assistant golf professional.

Tim Kearon, an assistant pro at the Nissequogue Golf Club, spent four months in Taipei City in Taiwan, teaching students in third to sixth grades how to play golf along with the sport’s core values this past winter. The East Setauket resident said the golf program, Tsai Hsing Golf Academy, was established by Dominic Chang, a U.S. businessman and member of the Nissequogue Golf Club who founded the Family Golf Centers chain. John Elwood, the club’s head professional, worked with Chang to put the initial program at the private Tsai Hsing School together, where the businessman is board chairman of the school.

Tim Kearon, left, poses with a student. Photo from Mastro Communications

Chang said in an email that the golf instruction department was created in the fall of 2017 with a full-time Professional Golfers Association instructor and one full-time Taiwan PGA instructor along with several part-timers on hand. He credited Elwood with being instrumental in putting the initial program together, and Kearon with refining it further through his teaching.

Kearon, 25, said he thought it would be an opportunity of a lifetime when Chang invited him to teach there.

“I thought it was a no brainer,” he said. “As soon as it was given to me, I took it. I didn’t take much time to think it over, and it was a big step for me.”

While golf is popular in Taipei, Kearon said it’s not always easily accessible, and to have a golf program in a school is unusual. The program is a mandatory physical education class that lasts 45 minutes twice a week for four weeks. The assistant golf pro, who participated in a similar program called First Tee in Nassau County where he grew up, said the core values of golf — respect, honesty, sportsmanship, confidence, leadership, judgment, etiquette, responsibility and perseverance — create the main lesson plan. He said out of 1,000 students perhaps only 100 are good at golf but most will learn those values.

“At least with the core values, 100% of the kids are going to walk away with something positive,” he said. “If they don’t like golf, they have that which is a huge part of it.”

Chang agrees with the philosophy.

“Because golf teaches similar virtues on and off the golf course, Tsai Hsing School decided to incorporate a golf program as part of physical education for third- through sixth-grade students, as kids learn these important core values before they hit the first golf ball,” Chang said.

Kearon said that while teaching is second nature to him, being in a foreign country was outside of his comfort zone, even though he found learning about a different culture and food enjoyable.

While the students spoke English, he encountered a language barrier outside of academia, but he said the people of Taipei couldn’t have been more helpful and welcoming, and the students were extremely polite.

“For me, I appreciated that more than anything and that really got me through,” he said. “I don’t think I would have made it had it not been for the locals being so friendly and just everyone in general taking care of me and looking out for me,” Kearon said.

While Kearon was there, Elwood was able to visit him for a week to see the school firsthand. Elwood said it was helpful for him to see how it operated in person, and he was pleased Kearon took the opportunity as many golf pros in the cooler weather head to Florida or sit it out.

“It was a nice opportunity for him to see a different culture,” Elwood said. “Also, it helps differentiate Tim from every other assistant pro in the area, something unique that’s going to stand out, I think, probably for the rest of his life.”

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By Donna Deedy

It was a life well-lived. A first-generation American, the child of Italian immigrants, born during the Great Depression and dedicated to public service.

“At the end of the day, I’ve done something for people. And that’s the guiding principle of my life,” said former Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio in a 2015 interview with The Times of Smithtown. 

“At the end of the day, I’ve done something for people. And that’s the guiding principle of my life.”

— Patrick Vecchio

Patrick Vecchio died Sunday, April 7, at age 88. For a record 40 years — nearly half of his lifetime — he held the Town of Smithtown’s highest office. During his tenure, seven different U.S. presidents held office, while the residents of Smithtown re-elected the same man to represent them again and again for 13 terms.

Roughly half of his years in office, he served as a Democrat, the other half a Republican. Today, people in both parties recognize his distinct leadership qualities. In fact, his portrait hangs in the Town of Smithtown Town Hall, and the building itself bears his name. The gesture, announced while Vecchio was still in office during a March 3, 2015 board meeting, surprised Vecchio and left him humbled and teary-eyed.

During the 2015 town hall dedication ceremony, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) made a point to say that Vecchio had served Smithtown the right way. At the same event, New York State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) was equally complimentary.

“He’s cheap, and he wears it like a badge of honor,” he said. “He never forgot, never forgets and never will forget where the money is coming from.”

Vecchio was legendary for his fiscal restraint. Town Historian Brad Harris said with a laugh that it’s more apt to call him “tight.” But Vecchio’s 40-year Smithtown legacy is rich and storied on a range of topics from open government policies to environmental conservation.

Under his leadership, Smithtown earned national recognition for many environmental and clean energy projects. The town pioneered a development rights program that enabled — at no cost to taxpayers — the preservation of important land such as the historic Harned Saw Mill site in Commack and the Saam wetlands at the headwaters of the Nissequoque River. Thanks to Vecchio, Smithtown was the first community in the nation to voluntarily convert its diesel-powered fleet of refuse trucks to run on compressed natural gas, which saved money and reduced noise and
air pollution.

“I’ve been here for 35 years; the Town of Smithtown never had a better friend than Pat Vecchio.”

— Russell Barnett

Smithtown was also an early adopter of wind generators and solar panels. Under Vecchio, the state awarded Smithtown in 2016 a $250,000 clean energy grant. Thanks to that award, solar electric projects are still underway at Smithtown Landing Country Club and town hall.

“I’ve been here for 35 years; the Town of Smithtown never had a better friend than Pat Vecchio,” said Russell Barnett, the Smithtown environmental protection director.

The community regarded Vecchio as a man with conviction. And people, whether they agreed with his position or not, said that they respected his opinion.

“He’s a feisty guy … ready to take on an issue or political opponent,” said Harris, after the town hall dedication ceremony. “He does battle for the people of Smithtown.”

People consistently note the leader’s commitment to the local community.

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said that he recognized Vecchio as a true public servant. “In his historic time in office, he always did what he thought was best for residents … that was always at the forefront of his every decision,” he said.

December 12, 2017 was Vecchio’s last board meeting as Smithtown supervisor. The occasion drew a crowd that filled the board room and trailed through the hallways and down staircases. People bid farewell and thanked the supervisor for implementing his vision on their behalf. Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) noted during the tribute that Vecchio was leaving Smithtown with a budgetary surplus rather than debt.

“This town is in such good financial shape, it is all because of you,” Trotta said. “You should be a model for every other town in the nation, the state and certainly the county.”

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Construction on the Setauket Fire House on Main Street in Setauket should be completed in the next few weeks. Photo by Rita J. Egan

While the spring weather is signaling the near future completion of two anticipated Three Village construction sites along Route 25A, it also promises a vacant storefront on Route 347 will once again be filled.

Setauket firehouse

The Setauket Fire District will complete work on its firehouse at 190 Main St. in Setauket in the next few weeks. With completion in sight, the district will soon be choosing a date for the community grand-opening event that will most likely take place in the summer.

“We believe that our residents will view the new structure not just as a cornerstone at the crossroads of the Three Villages, but a restatement of our commitment to providing for the safety and well-being of our citizens,” said Jay Gardiner, chairman of the board of fire commissioners. “We are proud of the collaboration between the local groups and the fire department in creating a state-of-the-art facility that will allow us to continuously improve our fire and rescue services, while respecting the historic architecture and design which is the hallmark of our community.”

During the construction, residents have commented on the lights in the firehouse that have been left on at night. David Sterne, district manager, said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and insurance regulations require lights be kept on in unsecured construction sites due to safety issues if someone were to break in. The district manager said the new firehouse has LED lights which use little electricity, but with doors and security access added this week, it will no longer be necessary to keep the lights on all night.

Stony Brook Square

The future Stony Brook Square shopping center on Route 25A across the street from the Stony Brook train station is set to be completed in the middle of this summer, according to developer Parviz Farahzad. Businesses such as Teachers Federal Credit Union, a coffeehouse, a Thai restaurant, a bubble tea place, Jersey Mike’s Subs and more are set to move in when the shopping center is completed.

Development was stalled last summer when the Town of Brookhaven Planning Board issued a stop-work order after significant field changes were discovered at the site by the town.

At the Dec. 17 planning board general meeting, the board members approved some modifications, including the location of the most western structure, known as building 1, toward the front of the shopping center being shifted a few feet from the original plan, widening of the curb cut onto Route 25A and driveway access from 24 to 30 feet. The board at the same time denied the revised building location of a second building, which was constructed a few feet back from its original planned position. The denial called for the developer to construct the structure, identified as building 5, at the location initially approved by the board, which will bring it in line with building 1.

“I disagreed with the decision, but I respected the decision,” Farahzad said, adding that the change won’t cause any further delays.

Former Waldbaum’s

The vacated Waldbaum’s building in Brooktown Plaza on Route 347, Stony Brook, will soon be a prime spot for those seeking exercise instead of groceries. Waldbaum’s was located at the site for decades.

Becky Zirlen, senior public relations manager with Planet Fitness, said the chain will open a new 18,000 square-foot location in the shopping center by the end of the year.

She said the gym will offer the latest cardio and strength equipment, also free fitness training. There will be a “black card” spa which will include hydromassage beds, massage chairs and tanning beds/booths for Planet Fitness black card members.

Joseph Scimone, managing member of Lighthouse Realty Partners from Valley Stream which manages the site owned by Serota Properties, said in addition to Planet Fitness, the discount home furnishings store HomeSense, which is owned by TJX Companies and operates Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, will also lease 27,250 square feet of the former Waldbaum’s space. TJX marketing specialist Hannah Bramhall said the company “has not announced a new store in the Stony Brook area.”

Scimone said there is approximately 12,000 square feet of the former Waldbaum’s store left to be leased.

A fire engulfs the front of a house on Cabin Lane in Setauket. Photo by Bob O'Rourk

By Bob O’Rourk

The Setauket Fire Department was called to a fire on Cabin Lane in Setauket Thursday, April 4. On arrival the front of the house was engulfed in flames and the power lines to the house had burned through and were arcing on the driveway. The first units on scene made entry into the house, performed a search and finding no one home, removed two dogs.

The fire was quickly extinguished with the help of mutual aid from Stony Brook, Port Jeff and Terryville. There were no injuries and the Town of Brookhaven fire marshal is investigating the cause.

During this time, Setauket was called to other fire alarms which were handled by the Terryville and Centereach Fire departments.

Bob O’Rourk is a public information officer with the Setauket Fire Department

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Members of Three Village Chamber of Commerce.

The Three Village Chamber of Commerce is working with local businesses to ensure owners and employees are up to date when it comes to a new state law.

In October of 2018, New York State passed a law that requires all businesses, including churches and nonprofits, even if there is only one employee, to have a written sexual harassment policy and post it in a highly visible area, as well as provide each employee with a copy of the policy. All employees must be trained once a year and new employees soon after their start date, according to Christine Malafi, a senior partner with Ronkonkoma-based law firm Campolo, Middleton and McCormick.

Recently, Malafi led a discussion at the chamber’s March meeting titled “What the Sexual Harassment Law Means for Business.” The attorney shared insight into the new laws with local business owners and how they impact workplace policies and culture.

The discussion kicked off a new service where the chamber will sponsor two sexual harassment training workshops for employees of member and nonmember companies led by Malafi. The workshop will discuss what sexual harassment is, what one is allowed and not allowed to do and what to look for if harassment is suspected.

Malafi said she has found that many businesses aren’t up to date when it comes to their sexual harassment policies.

“It’s very important because it’s the MeToo era, and if someone makes a complaint against you or an employee, if you can’t check the boxes — yes, complied with this, yes, complied with that — you may find yourself facing liability,” she said.

Andy Polan, the Three Village chamber president, said the goal is to make the mandated training more accessible and affordable for members. An alternative for business owners, he said, would be to work directly with an attorney or insurance carrier who specializes in the law or take an online course. He said he has heard such services could cost $1,500 or more per business or practice, which he said can be a big hit for a small business or nonprofit.

“We want to help our members, and it’s adding value to their membership,” Polan said.

Malafi said the new law now covers independent contractors and other contracted workers.

In the last few years, Malafi said she has seen an increase in sexual harassment cases.

“The number of cases filed with the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and similar agencies have doubled in the past few years,” she said, adding she doesn’t think actual occurrences have doubled, but people are more likely to report offensive language or action.

Workshops are scheduled for May 10 at 9 a.m. at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational & Cultural Center and May 21 at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express at Stony Brook. Rates for chamber members are $15 per employee and $25 per person for nonmembers.

Preregistration is required and can be made online at www.3vchamber.com or by check to Three Village Chamber, P.O. Box 6, East Setauket, NY 11733.

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Stock photo

After Rockland County declared a countywide state of emergency last week banning any person under 18 who is unvaccinated for measles from public spaces, Suffolk County issued a recommendation.

In a press release, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) and Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken urged county residents to make sure they are immunized against measles. Despite the recent ban in Rockland County due to a reported 157 cases of measles since October 2018, there is no immediate public concern in Suffolk.

“In light of recent reports, residents should make sure to receive their measles shots to protect themselves,” Bellone said in the press release. “While there is no immediate public health concern in Suffolk County, this should serve as a reminder to do what is necessary out of an abundance of caution.”

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Sharon Nachman, division chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and professor of pediatrics, said early symptoms of measles, which is a virus, can be mistaken for the common cold with a patient suffering from a runny nose, fever and red, watery eyes. She said even doctors can miss the signs of measles, that is until the typical rash of flat red spots appears.

The best protection against measles is the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, the doctor said, and two doses of the MMR vaccine is needed. Measles is highly contagious, and a person could infect others even 60 feet away. She said an unvaccinated person can potentially catch the measles even if they were in the same supermarket or airport as an infected person.

“The reason for the isolation is to keep the kids who are at risk from the kids who are incubating the illness, or they don’t know they have measles,” she said, adding there are those who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons.

The doctor said anyone born before 1957 more than likely had measles. After 1957, three different vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella were given, and now all are combined into one immunization called MMR. She said one should find their immunization records to see if they received two rounds of each when it was split, or two doses of the MMR vaccine. Once a person gets the measles or the proper doses of the MMR vaccine, they are immune to measles.

Nachman said it’s important to get the full doses, and if a person isn’t sure if they got two rounds of MMR, an extra dose will not hurt them.

When she talks with parents who are hesitant about the immunizations, Nachman said she tells them not to be fooled by what’s written on the internet, and to make sure any website they visit has a review process by professionals as anyone can write anything on a blog without checking facts.

The doctor also said it’s important to remember diseases such as measles are still in the environment, and just because we don’t have an outbreak right now, it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. She calls immunization “community protection” instead of using the common term “herd immunity,” which describes when the majority of the population is vaccinated, there is less likelihood of an unvaccinated person being infected.

“You have to do the same thing for your entire community that you expect your community to do for you,” she said. “That’s what community protection is all about. You don’t want your kid getting into a car unless the driver is wearing a seatbelt and your kid is wearing a seatbelt. That’s what a community does. It protects everyone in the community.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, cases of measles have been confirmed in 15 states and is still common in many parts of the world. Measles has been brought into the United States by unvaccinated American travelers and foreign visitors, according to the website. Worldwide, an estimated 20 million people get measles. Out of those infected, 146,000, mostly children, die from the illness each year.

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