Authors Posts by Rita J. Egan

Rita J. Egan

Rita J. Egan
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Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart and Executive Steve Bellone attend a June 14 press conference to announce a partnership between SCPD and Stony Brook Medicine to host Mobile Mammography Van events in the county. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Stony Brook Medicine and the Suffolk County Police Department are joining forces to provide proactive health services to residents.

“By partnering with Stony Brook Medicine to bring their Mobile Mammography Van to a number of different locations all across the county this summer, we are making it easier than ever for working women to get checked.”

— Steve Bellone

Officials announced June 14 that the police department and Stony Brook Medicine’s Mobile Mammography Van will host events this summer at various county locations. The events will provide convenient access to mammography examinations for SCPD employees as well as the public.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart, who was previously diagnosed with breast cancer, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), members of the Suffolk County Police Department and Stony Brook’s Mobile Mammography Program coordinator Dr. Patrick Dineen were on hand for the announcement.

“Commissioner Hart should serve as an inspiration to us all, using her own personal experience with breast cancer to raise awareness about the power of early detection, which has saved countless lives,” Bellone said. “By partnering with Stony Brook Medicine to bring their Mobile Mammography Van to a number of different locations all across the county this summer, we are making it easier than ever for working women to get checked.”

Officers from the Community Relations Bureau, Canine and Aviation Sections will be on hand to interact with children while their parents are being screened, according to county officials. Activities will include demonstrations, games and giveaways.

Hart said her first mammogram detected cancer in its earliest stages, and she hoped sharing her story would inspire others to be screened.

“Our mission includes fighting crime and one of the most effective ways to continue to drive down crime is to ensure we are finding new ways to partner with all our communities,” she said. “I believe our partnership with Stony Brook Medicine will serve as a great outreach to members of the community.”

Dineen said Stony Brook Medicine was thrilled about the collaboration.

“Our mission includes fighting crime and one of the most effective ways to continue to drive down crime is to ensure we are finding new ways to partner with all our communities.”

— Geraldine Hart

“The partnership between Stony Brook Medicine and the SCPD strengthens the efforts to ensure that all women from all socioeconomic backgrounds have easier access to screenings since we visit various locations such as businesses, school districts, libraries and churches throughout Long Island,” he said. “Furthermore, not only is the SCPD dedicated to helping our community members, they believe in this program so much that we have scheduled screening events at SCPD headquarters and the 4th Precinct so that staff members are also staying on top of their health.”

Eligible residents can visit the van for screenings at the following locations:

• Diamond in the Pines, 1844 Route 112, Coram — June 29 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• St. Hugh of Lincoln R.C. Church, 21 E. 9th St., Huntington Station — July 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• St. Anne’s R.C. Church, 88 2nd Ave., Brentwood — July 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• SCPD 4th Precinct, 727 Route 454, Hauppauge — July 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to Stony Brook’s website, the Mobile Mammography Van team provides services to women on Long Island, age 40 and older, who have not had a mammogram in the last year and are not pregnant. No prescription is needed. Women seeking mammograms at the mobile events should not have implants or breast issues, such as a lump or nipple discharge, and never been diagnosed with breast cancer. They should also have had an office visit with a gynecologist, primary care physician or internist within the past year who is willing to accept the results of the screening. Individuals who do not have health insurance will be processed through the Cancer Services Program of New York, if eligible. On the day of the  mammogram, women should not wear deodorant, perfume, powders, lotions or creams on the breast area.

The van travels Suffolk and Nassau counties all year round and features a registration area, waiting room, private changing and exam space, 3-D equipment and an all-female medical staff.

For more information, call 1-833-MY-MAMMO or Dineen’s office at 631-432-0267.

Village of Poquott held its election June 18. File photo

Voters in the Village of Poquott took a walk on the Bright Side June 18.

Jeff Koppelson

Tuesday night Poquott residents had the opportunity to choose among four candidates for two trustee seats on the village board. Incumbent Jeff Koppelson, who was aiming for a third term, and newcomer Tina Cioffi ran together on the Bright Side ticket and won, according to the village’s deputy clerk Cindy Schleider. Cioffi garnered the most votes at 208, while Koppelson had 207.

The duo ran against incumbent John Richardson, who was running for his second term as trustee, and Felicia Chillak, who gained 184 and 187 votes, respectively. Both were on the We the People ticket.

Koppelson complemented his running mate’s campaigning in an email.

“Tina did a great job campaigning and showed why her energy and personality will serve the village well,” he said. “Considering the size of Poquott, our margin of victory was pretty decisive so all of us feel that our message was heard and appreciated.”

With the village putting years of debate over the recently constructed community dock behind them, the incumbent recognized the amount of votes Richardson and Chillak received. The We the People candidates were proponents of the dock being put to a referendum and felt residents needed more of a voice in village regulations.

Tina Cioffi

“John Richardson and Felicia did garner a lot of votes, so we are well aware that the village continues to be divided,” Koppelson said. “We’ve tried to be inclusive, but we hope that having Tina on the board will help build consensus moving forward. Bottom line, though, is that once again the election showed that a majority of the residents in Poquott approve of the work we’ve done and direction we’ve taken the village.”

On the Facebook page Poquott Life Matters, which Chillak administrates, she posted a message after the results were in.

“Thank you to all those who came out and supported John and I,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, we were 21 votes shy. Just know we will continue for what we believe.”

Paul Edelson ran unopposed for village justice and received 344 votes.

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Three Village Dads present check to Child Life Services at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

It may be Father’s Day June 16, but some local dads recently decided they would try a little giving instead of receiving.

Members of the Three Village Dads Facebook page stop for a photo after presenting Stony Brook Children’s Hospital with a check for $12,000. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

On June 3, members of the Facebook page Three Village Dads presented a check for $12,000 to Joan Alpers, director of Child Life Services at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. The group raised the money at a May 18 South Setauket Park barbecue and through a GoFundMe page. Child Life Services provides therapeutic, educational and recreational activities for children during hospital stays.

“It is never easy to coordinate a giving event, but the Three Village Dads certainly went above and beyond all expectations,” Alpers said. “Our community donors help us to brighten the lives of kids and families during a difficult time. We are so grateful to this great group of community dads who chose to support all of the children in our community who struggle with illness and hospitalization.”

Three Village Dads started six years ago as an offshoot of Three Village Moms. A year later, Stony Brook resident David Tracy joined. When he noticed there were only 20 or 30 members, and there wasn’t much interaction on the page, he asked the founder if he could take over as administrator.

Tracy said the fathers talk about a range of topics from advice on lawn care to sports to politics and nothing is off limits. The group now has more than 900 members.

“Once we got stronger and larger, we realized we could do a lot of good with it,” said the former Marine, who now works for Homeland Security.

The dads regularly meet at businesses owned by members, including O Sole Mio and Sweet Mama’s in Stony Brook, Maui Chop House in Rocky Point and Rolling Smoke Grill in Lake Ronkonkoma. Tracy said the group recently began discussing how they could contribute to the Three Village community.

“Once we got stronger and larger, we realized we could do a lot of good with it.”

— David Tracy

Three Village Dads was planning a potluck barbecue to get all of the families together, so they decided to use the event as an opportunity to raise money for a nonprofit. After polling the members as to which organization they would like to contribute, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital was the most popular answer. Tracy said $8,500 was collected through GoFundMe, and more than 30 businesses that participated in the barbecue donated food or money to be part of the event. The group also raised money by selling raffles.

“I didn’t think we’d get past $5,000 much less $12,000,” Tracy said, adding that the achievement was eye-opening for him as far as the group’s potential.

The day of the barbecue about 200 attended throughout the day, which included fire trucks from the Setauket and Stony Brook fire departments, bouncy houses, a DJ and more.

“We’ve really built a sense of community, and there’s a good camaraderie with all the dads on the page to really come together and support the community and community businesses.”

— Chris Carson

Chris Carson, who has belonged to the group for three years, helped Tracy plan the barbecue. The South Setauket resident, who works for Suffolk County, said the more the fundraiser picked up steam the more drive the group had to raise more money and make the goal higher.

“We’d hit the goal, and instead of stopping or patting ourselves on the back, we just set a higher goal for ourselves and kept moving forward and try to do as much as we could,” Carson said.

The dads are hoping to hold an annual barbecue and are currently discussing future events to help in the community, the county employee said, including a golf outing to benefit the VFW Post 3054 East Setauket on Jones Street and a toy drive during the holiday season.

“We’ve really built a sense of community, and there’s a good camaraderie with all the dads on the page to really come together and support the community and community businesses,” Carson said.

The barbecue wasn’t the group’s first good deed. Earlier this year, 55 members donated blood and platelets at Stony Brook University Hospital’s blood bank.

“We look out for each other. We look out for each other’s families.”

— Colby Rowe

Colby Rowe, Trauma Center Education & Prehospital outreach coordinator at Stony Brook Medicine, said donating blood at the hospital is essential since supplies are low.

A member of Three Village Dads since last year, Rowe said he appreciated how many of the dads donated, adding that many who couldn’t donate came out to support the others.

“It made me feel great not only because I’m a member of the community, a member of the group but I’m also an employee of the hospital,” he said. “It made me proud to be part of each one of those organizations.”

The turnout didn’t surprise him as he said the members are always helpful whether asking for advice or looking to borrow power tools or a beaker for a science project.

“We really are a productive group of people,” he said. “We look out for each other. We look out for each other’s families.”

Rowe said the group plans on organizing three blood drives a year with the next one scheduled for the end of June.

When it comes to creating a group like Three Village Dads, Tracy said it takes more than just one person to make it successful and credits all of the members for playing a part in the success.

“You really can’t force it,” he said. “It’s kind of a natural thing, and it has to take shape on its own.”

To join the page, which is open to dads, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and sons of the Three Village Central School District, visit www.facebook.com and search for Three Village Dads.

Village of Poquott held its election June 18. File photo

On June 18, Poquott residents will head to the polls to choose between four candidates vying for two trustee spots. This year’s incumbents Jeff Koppelson and John Richardson will go up against newcomers Felicia Chillak and Tina Cioffi. Paul Edelson is running unopposed for a four-year term as village justice.

All four board members recently answered questions via email and phone.

Incumbents

Jeff Koppelson

Koppelson, 71, has served two two-year terms as trustee and since 2017 has been deputy mayor. A Poquott resident for 47 years, he is a retired director of a psychiatric treatment program. He and Cioffi are running on the Bright Side ticket.

“I decided to run because there are a number of projects that I’ve been working on that are still in progress, such as developing a plan to stabilize Walnut Beach and continuing to rewrite our outdated village codes,” Koppelson said.

The trustee said the language for many of the codes had to be updated to bring them into compliance and to make them consistent with each other. Codes often overlap, he said, and “a number of times one code said one thing and another code contradicted it.”

Municipalities are now required to follow the International Building Code, which covers multiple construction and zoning issues. Koppelson said while a village can make a code stricter, it cannot make a code more lenient.

“So, it is important that we have our codes not only comply but be distilled down to what we as a small village need to know,” he said, adding the village posts the codes on its website for easy accessibility for residents.

After a code is rewritten, it is circulated among the board members for comments, and then a public hearing is held to give residents the opportunity to point out errors or inconsistencies before it is given to the village attorney.

Richardson, 44, is completing his first term as trustee and last year ran for mayor against Dee Parrish. The New York City firefighter has lived in the village for nearly 18 years, and he is running in the We the People Party with Chillak.

“I would like to keep some form of checks and balances on the board to prevent unfair laws and issues from being rubber stamped and pushed through and allow village residents more say on how their village is governed,” Richardson said.

Richardson said he opposes the board’s plan to classifying a zoning violation as a misdemeanor and to request a search warrant to enter someone’s home for inspection as the village deems necessary. He added he feels the moves would be an overreach of the government.

“I would like to curb the intrusive hostile government laws trying to be passed,” Richardson said.

Koppelson said Richardson’s objection is an example of codes needing to be updated, and a process was recently needed for emergency situations as one didn’t exist. For example, if it is believed there is a dangerous situation in a house and the owners don’t agree to an inspection, a search warrant is needed to evaluate the situation. It was a suggestion that came from village attorney Joseph Prokop, Koppelson said, who told the trustee that similar situations have occurred in other villages that he does legal work for.

Challengers

Chillak, 61, is vying for trustee for the second time after an unsuccessful run in 2018 for a seat. A realtor with HR Realty since 1990, she has lived in Poquott for 29 years and has been a member of the Poquott Civic Association board since 2014.

Felicia Chillak

“I am running again because I feel there should be a balance on the board,” she said. “I will continue to review and analyze all changes made in our village. As always, I will seek residents’ input because this village belongs to them. I will be the voice of the voiceless.”

She feels that many residents are hesitant to approach the board but feel comfortable talking to her, and she feels she can be a conduit between the village government and residents.

“The Village of Poquott was formed because residents did not want outside influence controlling their everyday lives,” she said. “This current board seems to be bed rocked in government control. I will strive for a balance, so we can once again enjoy all the pleasures of residing in our little corner of heaven.”

Cioffi, 50, is running for trustee for the first time. A former creative director in a Long Island-based advertising agency for 15 years, she has owned a marketing and communications consulting business since 2003. She has lived in Poquott since 2008, and her husband has owned their home since 1986.

Cioffi said maintaining the village’s website and attending board meetings inspired her to get involved.

“I saw a lot of good happening in our village as well a lot of controversy,” she said. “I saw both sides of most of the arguments and felt that my background in communications might lend a hand in resolving some of the issues, so I volunteered to redesign the website as it was an area that all the candidates agreed needed to be addressed.”

Community dock

Poquott’s dock will officially open June 13, but for years it was a hot button topic in the village. 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 the process of building one a few years ago.

Tina Cioffi

Richardson and Chillak feel the issue is behind the village now, but in the past, both called for a referendum for residents to vote on it as both candidates didn’t feel prior questionnaires that were mailed to residents about the dock were adequate.

“The current board spoke, ignored the request of the people and for now, we have to move on,” Chillak said. “I will work toward that unity.”

All the candidates feel there may be unforeseeable issues with the dock, and it will take a season of use to formalize guidelines.

“We will need a season of using it to learn how to manage hours of usage, loitering and noise issues, and deployment of our code enforcement officers,” Koppelson said. “We also expect that there will be new, evolving issues that inevitably arise.”

Richardson said he believes all aspects “of the dock should have been discussed and decided before the dock was built.”

Other issues

All four trustees agreed that there are issues outside of the dock to resolve in the village.

Koppelson said the board has to address drainage issues in the village, and he would also like to work toward an affordable, short-term solution to stabilizing what is left of Walnut Beach. He said the village also needs to develop a way to speed up the seasonal road repair process, which starts after the winter and involves the advertising of bids and then waiting for the next board meeting to open the bids and award the contract. This leads to work not being completed until well into spring.

Cioffi agreed that the village faces the degrading of Walnut Beach and infrastructure changes including repaving and drainage and lighting systems needing to be modified “but few of the residents want to incur the tax increase that would be required to fully accommodate those requests.”

The candidate said she would like to work on feasibility studies that compare Poquott to other incorporated villages in order to find out where the village falls short and form committees with interested residents to work together with the board to obtain grants.

“I think it’s going to be a multiphase endeavor similar to how the current board addresses issues now but on a larger scale and with more people involved to expedite the process,” she said, adding the new village website includes a community section to foster participation for resident-based clubs and organizations.

Richardson and Chillak also agreed that there are issues regarding roads, lighting and drainage that need to be addressed with long-term plans. 

“There are residents that have spoken of their willingness to help,” Chillak said. “I will engage them to the best of my ability.”

Chillak said the auditor’s last report was also troubling to her, and she feels finances are another major issue. She said even though the budget looks as if the village is on target, she feels the auditor’s comments at a recent village meeting point to the fund balance being dangerously close to low.

Unity

Many feel the community dock has caused divisiveness in the village over the years, but the candidates feel that can end.

Cioffi said she ran a charity drive in December where she felt all the residents contributed generously, and if she’s elected, she plans on more community-based initiatives for children and teenagers to bring residents together.

“The residents of Poquott share a lot of common ground and we need to build on it, not break it down,” she said. “Collaboration is key. If there is an issue, a black or white solution is not going to satisfy every resident. If I’m elected, I’m going to look for the solutions that strike compromises and land somewhere in between.”

Richardson said nothing would make him happier than to see residents come together.

“The polarization of neighbors has gone on too long,” he said. “It’s a shame, because it takes away from what makes Poquott such a great place. How do you facilitate that? I think it could start with neighbors sharing more hellos and handshakes, and less rumors, lies and insults.”

The Village of Poquott will hold its annual election Tuesday, June 18, at Village Hall located at 45 Birchwood Ave. Polling will be open from 12 to 9 p.m. for voting.

Andres Garcia, Jackie Winslow, Jaden Chimalis and Hazel Cash during a scene of “Unspoken the Musical.” Photo from Hazel Cash

Musicals can bring people’s stories to life, and on June 1, two performances of a student-led production at Ward Melville High School did just that.

“Unspoken the Musical,” written and directed by ninth-grade P.J. Gelinas Junior High School student Hazel Cash, was performed in the high school’s large group instruction room for the first time.

“She has always been very focused and very committed to whatever she wants to do and doesn’t do anything halfway.” — Deborah Fisher

The 15-year-old Stony Brook resident said the idea for the musical, which delves into the issues teens deal with today, came to her last summer when she had trouble falling asleep while at camp, and she started writing.

“I never actually thought it would turn into something,” she said.

However, one day, her friends at school asked what she was writing, and when they learned of her play, they told her, “We should produce that.” The conversation led to the forming of Theatre4Change, which produced the June 1 event.

Hazel’s mother, Deborah Fisher, wasn’t surprised when her daughter told her about the undertaking.

“She has always been very focused and very committed to whatever she wants to do and doesn’t do anything halfway,” Fisher said.

The mother said Hazel’s friends and everyone who was approached in the school district were incredibly supportive.

“I’m very impressed with how they have really stepped up and in some ways taken a chance,” she said, adding that Setauket Presbyterian Church lent the space for rehearsals.

The “Unspoken the Musical” storyline centers around Quinn Burke, played by Sophie Gonsalves, who comes out as a lesbian to her friends in the popular clique who don’t react well, leading the teenager to meet an eclectic group of students. One of those characters is Elana Cohen, played by Hazel, who she describes as both refreshing and at times obnoxious. In addition to touching on sexual identity and the quest of fitting in socially, the play also deals with other topics from loss to disabilities, including a girl named Ann who loses her mother and another character who is on the autism spectrum.

The young writer said the characters aren’t based on specific people but are a mixture of students she knows combined with her imagination. Always enjoying writing short stories, Hazel said one time she wrote a 35-chapter novel that she described as “really bad.” Some of her ideas also come to her while she is daydreaming in class.

“We have experienced it already and we know what is happening.”

— Hazel Cash

Hazel said that, for a while, she considered a career in science, but now dreams of a profession where music is involved. She describes herself as “a theater geek” who loves musicals.

“Science is a worthwhile career and it helps a lot of people, but I realized that I just want to be in music because I love it so much,” she said. “I can’t live without it.”

Jaden Chimalis, a seventh-grader who played Ann in the musical, said the performances went amazingly well. The 12-year-old said when Hazel told her about the musical she was impressed that her friend was writing it on her own.

Jaden said her character suffers from depression after the passing of her mother, and the student said she knows many people who are struggling with depression and anxiety.

“It felt very close to my heart,” she said.

After the musical’s debut, Hazel said the group was able to raise $1,500 that will be donated to three nonprofits. They have chosen The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to the LGBTQ population under 25; Women for Women International, which provides practical and moral support to women survivors of conflict and war; and the American Cancer Society, a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer.

Hazel hopes that after seeing the musical, students are encouraged enough to speak up, and adults have a better understanding of what teenagers are talking about amongst themselves.

“We have experienced it already and we know what is happening,” Hazel said. “We have had friends go through this stuff, some of us have gone through this stuff. We’re not too young to talk about this and we talk about it anyway, so you might as well be included in the conversation.”

The new Village Chabad is on Nicolls Road in East Setauket. Photo by Stacey Heber

With decades of history in the Three Village area, a religious organization is ready to flourish in a new venue.

A view of the front entrance of the new Village Chabad on Nicolls Road. Photo by Stacey Heber

Nestled on Nicolls Road, a new building designed by Natalie Weinstein & Associates of St James is near completion for Chabad at Stony Brook which currently works out of Lake Grove. A ribbon cutting will be held June 23 to mark the beginning of a new era for the organization with a larger home for those it serves to gather in, along with a new moniker — Village Chabad.

The original name, Chabad at Stony Brook, came about 32 years ago when Rabbi Chaim Grossbaum and Rivkie Grossbaum, co-directors, moved from New Jersey and first worked with Stony Brook University students. Soon, the Chabad services extended beyond the school and into the Three Village community and surrounding areas, with a synagogue, preschool, Hebrew and elementary schools, activities for children and adult education.

“Thirty-two years ago, it started with the university, but over the years it developed into a vast array of broad programming,” said Grossbaum’s son Rabbi Motti Grossbaum, program director.

During a recent tour of the new building, the Grossbaums, who provide services with Rabbi Shalom Ber Cohen, director of education, said the Chabad outgrew its space in Lake Grove. Many programs had to be held at places such as the Bates House in Setauket, the Holiday Inn Express at Stony Brook and many other rentable spaces in the Three Village area due to lack of space.

“We were literally bursting at the seams there, which is why when we had to rent larger venues for community functions we rented up here in the Three Village area,” Motti Grossbaum said.

Chaim Grossbaum likened the new building to a village where everything a Jewish family needs would be under one roof. Like the Lake Grove location, Rivkie Grossbaum,  preschool director; Chanie Cohen, program coordinator; Chaya Grossbaum, camp coordinator; and Rivka Itzhaky, secretary and accounts payable/receivable, will join the rabbis.

“It would bring the community together as a village,” he said. “Whether they’re coming for the elementary school or coming for a holiday party, they’re coming home. They’re coming for prayer services or simply to relax with a friend over a cup of coffee. It’s the same home.”

The 13,000-square-foot Village Chabad sits on 8.8 acres of property, and 2.8 acres of it has been developed with a wooded buffer. There are classrooms, study rooms, a sanctuary, offices, a conference room, backyard, patio and a room that can hold 200 for events such as bat and bar mitzvahs and holiday dinners.

“This has been a community effort of many people who have stepped up and catapulted this whole project to happen.”

— Chaim Grossbaum

The rabbis said the new location would make it easier to serve the Jewish community who reside close to and on the North Shore. Many who attend services and activities at the Chabad are residents in the Three Village school district as well as Smithtown and Port Jefferson. The Chabad is open to anyone of the Jewish faith of any affiliation or background and membership is not required.

“The concept of Village Chabad is the wholesomeness that the Jewish community needs will be here,” Chaim Grossbaum said.

While the Chabad still holds a mortgage with Gold Coast Bank for the $5 million project, the rabbis said a number of sponsors, both big and small, stepped up to fund parts of the new building, including lead donors Edward and Vivian Merrin, owners of The Merrin Gallery in New York City, whose contribution kicked off the donations. Opportunities are still available for sponsorship as the Chabad hopes to finish a kitchen, install a playground for their school and a swimming pool for summer camp.

“This has been a community effort of many people who have stepped up and catapulted this whole project to happen,” Chaim Grossbaum said.

In addition to the rabbis, those who have attended services and events are looking forward to their new home. Cheryl and Bruce Singer, of Stony Brook, who have been involved with the Chabad for approximately four years, are among them.

“We look forward to having a modern building that provides a central hub for the Jewish community to learn, gather, worship, celebrate and participate in social and cultural events for all ages,” Cheryl Singer said.

Jennifer O’Brien, an insurance agent in Smithtown who travels to the Chabad from Hauppauge, said it has been nice to see it expand.

“Their new location looks like it will be the most upscale synagogue in our area as the floor plans are impressive to say the least,” O’Brien said. “My children loved attending Hebrew school at their former location in Lake Grove, and we are so excited for all that the grand opening and new accommodating space will offer a synagogue, school and camp.”

Andy Polan, president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, said the new building “shows that our Jewish community is vibrant and growing.”

“It was Chabad’s outreach that inspired me to become more engaged with my Judaism and to take on leadership roles in our Jewish community,” Polan said. “These are experiences that will impact me forever.”

Motti Grossbaum said the Chabad currently serves about 500 active families and the move gives the Chabad the opportunity to benefit many more residents.

“We’re part of people’s lives, and we’re trying to bring meaning and purpose and to remind people that beyond the chaos of our day-to-day life, we all have a collective mission to make the world a better place every day,” Motti Grossbaum said.

The ribbon cutting will be held June 23 at 1 p.m. at the new building located at 360 Nicolls Road, East Setauket. Registration is required by visiting www.myvillagechabad.com.

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On June 1, under partially sunny skies, residents of Setauket and beyond enjoyed raffles, games, a bounce house, music, a dunk tank, pony rides and more on the Village Green.

The annual Setauket Church Fair was organized by the Setauket Presbyterian Church and Caroline Church of Brookhaven.  The Presbyterian church also offered a tag sale, and the Caroline Church set up a barn sale, where attendees could find items of all kinds including jewelry, dishware and toys.

The 2019 fair benefits To Write Love on Her Arms (a nonprofit dedicated to providing hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide) and also KO Cares (a nonprofit that addresses the needs of disadvantaged communities on Long Island).

 

 

Both the East Setauket and Stony Brook Village Memorial Day parades May 27 featured something special this year.

At the end of the Stony Brook parade at Veterans Memorial Park and before the start of the East Setauket parade at Village Green, at the traditional memorial ceremonies, updated monuments were revealed with plaques to recognize the sacrifices made by the latest generations of American service members who served in the Cold War, Gulf wars and War on Terror. The Stony Brook plaque was funded by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization and Stony Brook University.

In 2018, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) along with American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts located in Setauket, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson Station and the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University announced a two-phased effort to expand both memorials as well as the monuments at the East Setauket Veterans Memorial Park and along the Port Jefferson Harbor.

The Stony Brook and Setauket Village Green memorial stones were part of Phase I of the project. While the Village Green monument was ready in time for the ceremonies, a replica was installed at the Stony Brook site, according to Hahn, who said the completed plaque will arrive soon.

Phase II of the project will include renovating the East Setauket Veterans Memorial Park and the Port Jefferson Harbor sites. This phase is expected to be completed in time for Veterans Day, according to Hahn.

To prepare for the Memorial Day ceremony in Stony Brook, StoneGate Landscape Construction, owned by Chris Graf, cut back trees, cleaned out the underbrush, sprayed poison ivy, brought in two additional rocks to the site and planted trees. The services were provided by the company free of charge.

The Stony Brook parade and ceremony was sponsored by VFW East Setauket Post 3054 and American Legion Irving Hart Post 1766. The East Setauket parade was also organized by VFW Post 3054.

The medical arm of Stony Brook University held its 45th convocation ceremony May 23 at the Staller Center. The event was the first time medical degrees were presented under the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University moniker.

Of the 129 receiving medical degrees, 53 of the graduates were hooded by a family member who has a doctoral degree. At a hooding ceremony, each degree candidate is named and receives a hood. The family members on hand for the SBU hooding included 36 parents, 11 siblings and three spouses, according to a press release from the university. Others were hooded by a faculty mentor.

Graduates, who range in age between 25 and 45, will begin their training this summer at medical facilities in New York state and around the country.

Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, School of Medicine dean, introduced the graduates, and New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker delivered the convocation address.

Kaushansky talked about the obstacles that face the medical profession, including budget deficits that hamstring state hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid cutbacks and malpractice insurance premiums going up. He also reminded the graduates that they now take on the responsibility of life-long learning as advances are continually made in the medical field.

“As physicians you will be frequently in the position to affect life-altering decisions,” he said.

Zucker reminded the graduates that one day they will be in a position to save a person’s life.

“Be daring and help your patients should others turn a blind eye,” he said. “And remember that the stethoscope allows our ears to listen to the patient’s heart sounds, but it’s our heart that hears their words and their life stories.

The convocation speaker also said as doctors manage the challenges such as exhaustion, missed family gatherings and losing patients, they will experience tears of their own.

“You will find yourself as we all have in a room where the tears are your own because a child never had a chance to look with awe at the giraffes at the zoo,” he said, adding that in those times doctors must remind themselves that they did all they could, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“Let those experiences become lessons about being human and ask questions of your mentors and colleagues,” he said. “Foolish is the one who fails to wonder why.”

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This summer a private gathering in New York City will be held to remember a former local newspaper owner.

Pat Cowles, former owner of The Three Village Herald. Photo from The Sag Harbor Express

Gardner “Pat” Cowles III died Jan. 25 in Naples, Florida, at the age of 82. A throat cancer survivor, Cowles was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer six weeks before his death.

Cowles owned The Three Village Herald for decades before he sold it to Robert Hendriks. The latter owned it for a short time before selling it in 2001 to The Village Times owner and publisher Leah Dunaief. The merger of the publications created The Village Times Herald as it is known today.

The Three Village Herald office was once attached to the Carriage Museum on Route 25A in Stony Brook, and Cowles also ran a printing business from the office.

Gloria Rocchio, president of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, remembered Cowles and said he contributed to the restoration at the Brewster House in East Setauket.

“The one thing I remember about Pat Cowles is he was rarely sitting behind a desk,” she said. “You would find him in the press room tinkering with the typesetting or printing press. The years he spent in Stony Brook are still evident in the business community and the historic properties he helped support.”

Cowles was also the former owner of The Sag Harbor Express. Bryan Boyhan, publisher emeritus of the Express, said that Cowles bought the East End paper in 1988. At that point, it had been owned by only two families since it was founded in 1859. When Cowles purchased the business, the owner, Victoria Gardner, was bedridden. Boyhan said she would lay out the paper on a lap board with a can of rubber cement and scissors. At the time, the paper’s staff was small, and content was sparse.

Boyhan said Gardner believed that Sag Harbor should have a paper or its own.

“She was determined until she found somebody that she felt comfortable turning the paper over and that was Pat Cowles,” he said. “They met a number of times and negotiated the purchase, and she thought the world of him.”

Cowles turned the paper around, and it went on to win numerous awards from the New York Press Association. In 2000 Boyhan became publisher and part owner when he said Cowles “wanted to step back a bit from his role at the paper.” In 2012, Boyhan became full owner. Despite moving to Florida, Cowles would come to The Sag Harbor Express office every day when he was in town.

“He enjoyed being around people in the business,” Boyhan said.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, March 6, 1936, Cowles was born into a publishing family. His father, Gardner “Mike” Cowles II was a newspaper publisher and the founder and publisher of Look magazine. When his family business Cowles Communication created the Suffolk Sun, a six-day-a-week daily, on Long Island in the mid-1960s, Cowles was made publisher.

During his career, Cowles also owned the Riverhead News-Review and the Shelter Island Reporter. He was a trustee of The Cowles Charitable Trust, which was established by his father to promote education, social justice, health and the arts. Among the organizations he contributed to was Fighting Chance, a free cancer counseling center on the East End of Long Island.

Cowles is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; step-daughter, Bonnie Hoye; sisters Katie Nichols and Virgina Cowles and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

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