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TBR Staff

TBR Staff
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TBR News Media covers everything happening on the North Shore of Suffolk County from Cold Spring Harbor to Wading River.

On Saturday, June 13, the 2015 Long Island Pride Parade marched down Main Street in Huntington Village.

Hosted by the LGBT Network, an association of non-profit organizations working to serve the Long Island and Queens LGBT community, the parade featured an array of marching groups, including community organizations, social groups, LGBT corporate employees and other constituencies.

By Dan Woulfin

Northport celebrated new and old traditions on land and by sea this past Saturday, June 13.

The Northport Running Club held its inaugural Northport Nautical Mile Run, a downhill 1.15-mile race with hundreds of participants through the heart of Northport and ending at the foot of the harbor.

Afterward, the Coast Guard auxiliary and local clergy held the annual Blessing of the Fleet at the village docks to mark the start of the summer season.

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Taken in 1930, this aerial view of Selden’s Still Farm, owned by D. Benjamin Still and his wife Eva, shows their chicken coops and land. Photo above from Middle Country Public Library Heritage Collection

By Rachel Siford

After two years of researching, writing and editing, the Middle Country Public Library’s local history book is
finally in print.

From left, Luise Weiss, Theresa Arroyo, Jim Ward and Sara Fade lead creating the history book. Photo from MCPL
From left, Luise Weiss, Theresa Arroyo, Jim Ward and Sara Fade lead creating the history book. Photo from MCPL

“Centereach, Selden, and Lake Grove,” an Images of America History Book was released on May 25. The book, which is published by Arcadia Publishing, is the latest in the company’s Images of America series that showcases small towns throughout the United States.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing for our staff to do because we have the resources and it’s our duty as a public library to preserve the history of our area,” Library Director Sophia Serlis-McPhillips said. “It’s like we are giving back to our community.”

The book documents the history of the Middle Country area dating back to the 1700s, and features images collected from residents that show the transformation of Centereach, Selden and Lake Grove from small, rural communities to the commercial, vibrant area it is today.

Four librarians, Luise Weiss, Theresa Arroyo, Jim Ward and Sara Fade, headed the research and making of the book.

The book’s researchers utilized neighboring library archives, local historians and photos and information they already had at the MCPL Heritage Collection.

The Centereach 1934 fourth- and fifth-grade classes were held in a one-room schoolhouse. Photo from Middle Country Public Library Heritage Collection
The Centereach 1934 fourth- and fifth-grade classes were held in a one-room schoolhouse. Photo from Middle Country Public Library Heritage Collection

“I learned so much about the area, and we wanted to be able to pass that on,” said Arroyo, the coordinator of adult reference and cataloging services.

All four had to find pictures, track down and confirm information and then write a description detailing a special event or place in town.

“Local history is so much fun because you can put a historical lens on things you drive by every day,” Arroyo said.

Since the area does not have its own historical society or a main street, there haven’t been many books written about its history, according to Arroyo.

“Most people wouldn’t think that this area was full of farms and that Selden was known for its watermelons,” Arroyo said, smiling. “Middle Country Road is such a busy, commercial road today that it is hard to imagine it being a dirt road with no lights.”

Serlis-McPhillips said there has been a lot of public support and interest and a positive reaction so far: “People don’t realize how rich in history we are.”

The view of Middle Country Road near New Village Congregational Church in the early 1900s. Photo from Middle Country Public Library Heritage Collection
The view of Middle Country Road near New Village Congregational Church in the early 1900s. Photo from Middle Country Public Library Heritage Collection

While most Images of America books end around the 1920s, the Middle Country one is unique because it delves into historic moments from the 1950s and 1960s.

Arroyo and Serlis-McPhillips both said their favorite history tidbit was learning about the cycling craze of the 1890s, which led to the creation of Bicycle Path, a road that stretches from Patchogue to Port Jefferson.

According to the librarians, riders were called wheelmen, and needed license plates and registration to ride.

To accompany this book release, the library is revamping its heritage collection by changing how the current section is organized, and will add genealogy resources for patrons to use.

The library will begin reconstructing the section in late June with the hope of opening in early fall.

“We felt is was really important since we don’t have a historical society for our area,” Serlis-McPhillips said. “We really wanted to be able to do something for our community.”

To see more photos and historical archives, visit the library’s website at www.middlecountrypubliclibrary.org/adults/local-history.

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Yacht Wanderer flying New York Yacht Club flag. Photo of original Greene postcard from Beverly Tyler

by Beverly C. Tyler

Joseph Rowland’s home and shipyard is in East Setauket at the intersection of Shore Road and Bayview Avenue.

Rowland built the schooner-yacht Wanderer in 1857 for Colonel John D. Johnson who was a member of the New York Yacht Club, a wealthy sugar planter from New Orleans and had a home in the Islips. The Wanderer was designed by Captain Thomas B. Hawkins, who supervised construction.

The sails for the Wanderer were made in Port Jefferson in the Wilson Sail Loft. Wilson also made the first suit of sails for the schooner-yacht America, which captured the cup that still bears the name of that first winner.

That summer of 1857, the Wanderer sailed Long Island Sound with Captain Hawkins as its sailing master.

The ship’s owner, Johnson, sailed it with the New York Yacht Club Squadron. It was said to have been the fastest schooner ever built, too big and too fast so the yacht club wouldn’t let it compete.

That fall, Wanderer voyaged to Havana, via Charleston and Savannah, and it was very widely acclaimed.

However, Johnson sold the Wanderer in 1858 to William C. Corey and soon after it reappeared in Port Jefferson. It was fitted out for the slave trade, probably at the yard of J.J. Harris. Numerous large water tanks were installed. All the people looked the other way, except S.S. Norton, surveyor of the port. He became suspicious and notified federal officials in New York. The revenue cutter Harriet Lane intercepted the Wanderer off Old Field Point and took it in tow to New York over Corey’s loud protests.

Corey glibly talked himself free and the Wanderer was allowed to leave for Charleston, where the real owner Charles Augustus Lafayette Lamar surfaced. Actually he probably crawled out from under a rock. Lamar, staying in the background because of his previous connection with slavers, obtained customs clearance for it.

They completed fitting out for the slave trade and sailed for Africa. Its captain was John E. Farnum, a mean looking cuss.

Slavers were rigged to outrun the slave squadrons of Great Britain and America, both of which were trying to stop the now illegal slave trade. Wanderer took aboard some 600 “negroes” and sailed for America. The slaves were laid down side-by-side alternating head and feet and chained, wrist to ankle. They were kept lying there for days and there was no sanitation. Even worse, if a ship was overtaken by one of the slave squadrons, it was not uncommon to bend an anchor to the last man on the chain and let it go overboard, taking the whole cargo of slaves and destroying the evidence.

On the evening of Nov. 28, 1858, the ship landed 465 Africans on Jekyll Island, Georgia. The rest died during the voyage and were unceremoniously tossed over the side. The ship was seized by federal authorities; however, the Africans, now on Georgia soil, a slave state, were sold at auction.

There was outrage in the U.S. Congress; but little, if anything, was done, less than two years before the start of the Civil War. Wanderer was sold at auction and Lamar bought it. In the spring of 1861 it was seized by the federal government and used as a gunboat in the Civil War. It was credited with capturing four prizes. After the war, the U.S. Navy sold it to private owners who ran it aground on Cape Maisi, east out of Cuba, on Jan. 21, 1871, and she was a total loss. The mess kettle that was used to feed the slaves on Jekyll Island still existed in the 1970s but has since disappeared.

There was even a sign beside it that explained the history of the kettle and said that the Wanderer was built at East Setauket. In 2008, the Jekyll Island History Museum opened an exhibit on The Last Slaver.

A walking tour of the maritime and wooden shipbuilding area along Shore Road in East Setauket will be conducted this Saturday, June 13, beginning at 2 p.m. Meet at the Brookhaven Town Dock for a tour of the homes and shipyards that built ships that sailed around the world. The tour includes the home of the Wanderer shipbuilder and his story.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian.

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Middle Country's Jamie Ortega gets a shot past the goalkeeper. File photo by Bill Landon

The Middle Country girls’ lacrosse team is ranked No. 6 in the nation, according to LaxPower.

The Mad Dogs finished the season with an undefeated 14-0 mark in Division I, and only lost one game the entire year, ending with an 18-1 record.

The girls made it past the semifinal roadblock it hit last season, but fell to the same team that eliminated them, West Islip, in the Suffolk County Class A finals.

Senior midfielder and attack Nikki Ortega led the team with 64 goals and 64 assists for 128 points, and her younger sister Jamie followed close behind, with 113 points off 78 goals and 25 assists.

Nikki Ortega led Suffolk County in points, while her younger sister was fifth in the standings.

Other Long island teams also found spots in the Top 10 of the national rankings. Mount Sinai is in the No. 3 spot, while Manhasset is right behind Middle Country, in seventh.

Middle Country also ranks second behind No. 1 Mount Sinai in the East regional ratings, according to LaxPower.

While the Mad Dogs will graduate six seniors this month, many of the core offensive threats will be returning to the nationally-ranked team next season.

Damaged doors and windows
A Village Green Drive resident in Port Jefferson Station reported the door of their 2014 Hyundai had been dented at some point between 3 p.m. on June 3 and 11 a.m. on June 4.
Two cars and an apartment on Linden Place in Port Jefferson were damaged between 5 p.m. on June 6 and 7 p.m. on June 7. According to police, the apartment’s resident reported that the vehicles’ windows were smashed and the inside of the apartment was damaged.
A BB gun pellet damaged a window at a Granada Circle home in Mount Sinai on June 7 between 5:15 and 6:15 p.m.

Taken times two
A William Street resident in Port Jefferson Station reported that cash was stolen from their unlocked 2014 Cadillac sometime around 2:35 a.m. on June 3.
A Corvette Road residence in Selden was burglarized on June 4 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Police said the suspect entered through an unlocked rear door and took jewelry, cash and electronics.

Going through withdrawals
After stealing a pocketbook from a shopper at Stop & Shop on Pond Path in Centereach on June 3, a suspect then used the credit cards to make purchases.
A Wolfhollow Road resident in Centereach reported on June 3 that their debit card had been used to make unauthorized withdrawals.

Welts on West Broadway
A female was injured after a verbal dispute at Schafer’s in Port Jefferson became physical in the early morning of June 7. According to police, the woman had welts on her forehead after being punched and was transported to a local hospital.

Tempestuous relationship
A mother and her son’s friend got into a verbal argument on June 6 on Tempest Road in Selden.

Do not enter
A 22-year-old Bellport man was arrested in Mount Sinai on June 6 and charged with third-degree criminal trespass after he entered the backyard of a Savanna Circle home without permission on June 5.

Working for tips
A 26-year-old Centereach woman was arrested in Mount Sinai on June 5 and charged with petit larceny after she took a tip jar from Tropical Smoothie Café on May 29.

Locked and loaded
Police arrested a 43-year-old Rocky Point man on June 3 shortly after 8 p.m. after they discovered the suspect in possession of cocaine and a loaded Glock, among other weapons. He was charged with multiple related counts, including second-degree criminal possession of a loaded firearm.

Crash-and-dasher sought
Suffolk County police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a woman who may have left the scene of an accident last month. Police said on May 31, at about 9:30 a.m., a woman driving a tan or beige-colored four-door sedan sideswiped a white Toyota at the Shop Rite located at 71 College Road in Selden. The suspect’s vehicle may have damage to the right front-end fender. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

Speedy DWI
A 29-year-old man from Dix Hills was arrested in Stony Brook on May 5, at 1:30 a.m., and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said the man was driving a 2007 gray Lexus and was observed speeding on County Road 97 at Shirley Kenny Drive in Stony Brook.

Clothing grab
A 30 year-old female from Sayville was arrested on June 1 in Setauket-East Setauket and charged with petit larceny. Police said she stole clothing from Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway at 8:12 p.m. She was arrested at the scene.

Wrong side of the tracks
Someone drove onto the lawn of Crossroads Church on Pembrook Drive in Stony Brook and left tire tracks between June 5 at 5 p.m. and June 6 at 10 a.m.

Basement burglary
Someone broke into the basement window of a home on Bennett Lane in Stony Brook and took a phone, cash and credit cards sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on June 5.

Cheat sheet
Someone took two sheet sets and returned them for credit at Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between May 20 and June 6.

Lost and found
A man lost his wallet at Kohl’s in Setauket-East Setauket and someone stole it and used his credit card sometime between May 18 and May 19.

Bag grabber sought
Suffolk County police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a man who broke a car window and stole a bag in Hauppauge last month.
Police said a man broke the passenger front window of a blue Toyota Rav-4 and stole a Coach handbag from within the vehicle on May 5, between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The suspect appears to be a light-skinned Hispanic male, five feet and seven inches tall, in his 20s, with a medium build. The suspect was wearing a baseball hat and had his right arm in a sling.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

Credit compromised
Suffolk County police arrested a 37-year-old man from Holbrook on June 6 and charged him with fourth-degree grand larceny of credit cards. Police said he stole credit cards from a Holbrook woman on June 4 at 8:30 p.m. He was arrested at the 4th precinct at 9:45 a.m.

Rude awakening
Suffolk County police arrested a 28-year-old undomiciled man in Smithtown and charged him with third-degree criminal trespass of enclosed property. Police said he entered a building on Maple Avenue in Smithtown on June 5 and found the man sleeping in a storage room. Police also said there was a sign on the door that cautioned no trespassing. He was arrested that day at 12:20 a.m.

Cu later
Police arrested a 24-year-old man from Ronkonkoma on June 3 and charged him with third-degree burglary. Police said the man broke into a residence on Pleasure Avenue in Lake Ronkonkoma, between April 28 and May 2, and stole copper piping. He was arrested at the 4th Precinct at 2:35 p.m.

Bike-jacked
Someone stole a BMX bicycle from a parking lot on West Main Street in Smithtown on June 7, between noon and 2 p.m. There are no arrests.

Laser gazer
A driver complained to police that someone in another car was pointing a green laser at him, causing him visual distress. The incident happened in Smithtown, eastbound on Route 25A, on June 5. The driver was traveling in a 2007 Infiniti and the suspect was a male with a female passenger.

Two heads are better than one
A man told police he was head-butted by someone at Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub on East Main Street in Smithtown on June 3. The victim said he required medical attention and stitches. The incident happened at around 11 p.m.

Donation box looted
Someone took money from the poor box at St. Patrick’s Church on East Main Street on June 2, sometime between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. There are no arrests.

Knocked out
Police arrested an 18-year-old man from Huntington Station in Huntington on June 6 and charged him with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon. Police said he smashed a bottle over somebody’s head at about 12:30 a.m. The victim had to receive stitches at Huntington Hospital. The man was arrested at 5 a.m. that day.

Teen punched
A 44-year-old man from Huntington was arrested in Huntington on June 6 and charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child below the age of 17. Police said the man punched a 14-year-old boy in the face multiple times. The incident happened on the street on Wall Street in Huntington on May 23 at 9:05 p.m. The man was arrested on West Neck Road at Gerard Street at about 11:19 a.m.

No ‘scrips, no problem
Police arrested a 39-year-old Huntington man in Huntington on June 5 and charged him with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said the man possessed prescription medication without a prescription, and he was arrested in front of West Shore Road in Huntington at 5:09 p.m.

In your face
A 23-year-old man from Huntington Station was arrested in Huntington on June 3 and charged with third-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury. Police said the man punched another man in the face, and the other individual required medical treatment. The incident took place at Ohara Place in Halesite on May 9 at 1:40 a.m., and the man was arrested at the 2nd precinct at 4:45 p.m.

Missing computer
A Knollwood Road resident in Halesite reported to police his computer disappeared from his home. He used an app to locate it and tracked the device to Brentwood. The man said he doesn’t know how it got there. The incident occurred sometime between 8 p.m. on June 4 and 11 p.m. on June 5.

Gone in a click
Someone stole a woman’s bag containing a camera, lenses, a tripod, batteries and charger sometime between 9 p.m. and midnight on June 5 on New York Avenue in Huntington. The woman left the equipment on a party bus, and when she returned to the bus, the bag was gone.

Power punch
Someone punched a man in the face on New York Avenue on June 6 at 2:35 a.m., causing him to fall back and hit his head. The man had to go to Huntington Hospital for medial treatment.

Rings taken
Someone stole two diamond rings from a home on Woodbury Road in Cold Spring Harbor sometime between June 1 and June 4. There are no arrests.

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The Smithtown East girls’ golf team poses for a team photo.

By Clayton Collier

The Smithtown East girl’s golf team’s undefeated season came to an end last Wednesday when the Bulls fell to Syosset in the Long Island Championship, 421-444, on the Bethpage green at Bethpage State Park.

Juniors Alexa Niven (84) and Cassie Hall (87) led Smithtown East in the loss, while fellow junior Peyton Greco and senior Natalia Schaefer both shot a 39 on the back nine for the Bulls.

Smithtown East was at a noteworthy disadvantage heading into the Long Island Championship, having never played at Bethpage, a location familiar to Syosset. Weather conditions in the days leading up to the contest limited Smithtown East to just a walk-through of the course, rather than having the opportunity to tee off prior to last Wednesday’s championship.

“They never even got to play the course at Bethpage, so that was just unfortunate,” Andrea Niven, Alexa’s mother, said. “That’s not to say that that’s why they lost, but when you’re unfamiliar with the course, I think it takes something out of it a little bit.”

Even with the disappointment of the loss, Hall said she enjoyed playing on a course as nice as Bethpage.

Junior Alexa Niven swings away for Smithtown East. Photo from Niven
Junior Alexa Niven swings away for Smithtown East. Photo from Niven

“The course was really beautiful,” she said. “I wish I could’ve played a bit better, but it was still a lot of fun playing and we played against great girls, too.”

Though Smithtown East did fall in the Long Island Championship, the girls’ golf team put up a head-turning performance the previous week en route to capturing the Suffolk County Championship, highlighted by a 78 finish from Niven, who finished second individually in the county. Additionally, Smithtown East broke the county record with an 855 two-day total, eclipsing the previous mark of 859. With the season now finished, the team said they were pleased with the year they put together.

“Overall I thought we had a really successful season,” Greco said. “We had a really strong team again this year and I think it showed in counties. Breaking the previous county total was a pretty amazing accomplishment for us.”

Niven, Hall and Greco will all be back for their senior year, keeping Smithtown East’s top three in their order for another season. Greco said she is looking forward to what lies ahead.

“I think we’re going to have another strong team,” she said. “Our goal is always to win the county championships and then see what happens from there.”

The three rising seniors have played together since middle school. Greco said head coach Bob Woods has been a big factor in helping her to grow as a golfer.

“He keeps me relaxed before counties, because they definitely get my nerves going,” Greco said. “He always tells me to take it one shot at a time and that the only important shot is the one I’m about to hit. He doesn’t just do that for me though, he tells everyone before we play. I use that not only for high school golf, but outside tournaments too, and it really makes a difference.”

In addition to the three, Hall said there are several other golfers to look out for in the 2016 season.

“I think you should be on the lookout for Jen Leddy, she’s a junior but I think she’ll be great next year,” Hall said. “There’s also freshman Sam Klee that played our No. 6 this year, as well as sophomore Jamie Werner and eighth-grader Alexa Lubomski — they would rotate playing No. 6 throughout the year.”

With the season now in the books, the team will have the summer to enjoy before gearing up for next year.
Smithtown East will lose Schaefer to graduation, who will continue her golf career at the collegiate level as she heads to Long Island University Post in the fall.

“I love how close it was to the city for internship opportunities and their business programs were impressive,” Schaefer said. “Being recruited for the golf team really sealed the deal and sold me.”

Overall, Schaefer was thrilled to have ended her high school career with a county championship after the team went 10-0 in League I heading into the postseason.

“It’s been an awesome feeling after being part of the team for so long,” she said. “Having my hard work pay off and sharing it with my coaches and everyone that’s been rooting for me has been an unforgettable experience.”

Discovering the science of wind at the Maritime Explorium. Photo by Jacqueline Grennon-Brooks

By Erin Dueñas

Calling all artisans, DIYers, amateur scientists, inventors, innovators and everyone in between: The first large-scale Makers Festival is set to debut on Long Island this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Port Jefferson Village Center and Harborfront Park.

Presented and co-sponsored by the Maritime Explorium in Port Jefferson, the Long Island Makers Festival 2015 will feature a broad range of interactive exhibits including 3D printing, robotics, green screen technology, performance art, African drummers, roller skating, organic gardening and even geologists setting off volcanoes. The Explorium will also be open; there will be a “meet the scientist” booth and a horseshoe crab walk is scheduled. According to festival event coordinator Cindy Morris, the aim of the festival is to encourage the people who are already actively “making” as well as to show the community that innovation can happen anywhere.

“The common thread of the Maker Movement is accessible innovation,” Morris said. “The reality is that people have great ideas. We want to empower the ones who are creating. We found some amazing people.”

Morris said that financial backers and high-tech equipment is no longer necessary for anyone looking to invent and create. “This is something anyone can do. You don’t need a $5,000 piece of equipment. People are doing these things in their living rooms and garages.”

Mixing technology, coding and moving with kidOYO. Photo by Melora Loffreto
Mixing technology, coding and moving with kidOYO. Photo by Melora Loffreto

The Maker Movement is a mash up of lovers of art, science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and innovation who quite literally make things based on that love. “These are people who are inventors, artists and scientists who are doing incredible things. We believe it was time to showcase what is going on here on Long Island.” Morris said the festival will include a group of men who make holograms and students who created their own 3D printer. “We are taking concepts that feel big and powerful and making them accessible.”

Morris said that the festival motto is “Try it.” “The event is going to be very hands-on. No one could run an exhibit without it being interactive,” Morris said. “We are not just showing what was made, but we are focusing on what you can be doing.”

According to Lauren Hubbard, executive director of the Explorium, the festival will be an extension of what the Explorium does every day. A hands-on museum that features what Hubbard calls “open-ended exhibits,” the Explorium encourages visitors to build and create whatever they want. “You can do the same activity and get a different outcome every time,” Hubbard said. “There are just a million things that can be built.”

She said that the Makers Festival will offer visitors the same experience. “It’s all going to be hands-on and open ended,” Hubbard said. “We wanted to provide a venue for all Maker people to come together for a family friendly day. There’s going to be something for everyone.”

Melora Loffreto is the founder of the festival co-sponsor KidOYO, a program geared toward children ages 7 to 17 that teaches computer programming and coding. She said that Makers festivals and fairs have been popping up in small-scale locations such as schools and libraries across Long Island, but the Port Jefferson festival is the largest so far. “They take place in larger cities and there is a big one in Queens, but this is really the first to come out this way,” Loffreto said.

She described the Makers Movement as particularly important to Long Island. “Our youth is funneling off the Island. The festival is going to say that we have lots of Makers here, we have the skill set and we want to inspire people to keep the talent local.” She said the Makers Movement and the upcoming festival will help to keep skills in the United States. “We want to spur on inventors and to inspire local youth to go down a path of inventing and engineering.”

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Photo from Flickr/David Rodriguez Martin

As a community newspaper, we find ourselves tossing around the phrase “NIMBY” — standing for “not in my backyard” — from time to time. But it’s usually more of an expression, and a negative one, than a literal translation of residents resisting something from going into their actual backyards.

But in the case of drones, NIMBY could not be taken more literally.

Call them drones, call them unmanned aircraft systems — either way, the public perception of these flying devices is still developing as they buzz around the skies.

Huntington Town attempted this week to ground concerns over these drones when it introduced a resolution that would regulate their use for the betterment of public health, privacy and safety “so that operation of same is respectful of community standards [and] the concerns of residents, as well as protect property and privacy rights,” the resolution said.

Huntington wasn’t alone in its efforts to come out a step ahead of drone regulation, either. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and several other elected leaders have been banging the drone drum for months now, calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to require drones to fly below 500 feet and limit where they can fly.

While we understand the legislative urge to keep an eye on the sky for the sake of public privacy and safety, we hope our public leaders don’t turn the drone debate into a droning drain on resources.

There are several things to consider when it comes to drawing the legislative line for drones. At what point would new laws encroach upon our personal freedoms? Whose job is it to regulate them? Does the regulator depend on how high the drone flies or what jurisdiction is underneath it? Should regulations vary based upon the type of drone?

Moving forward, our local municipalities should not jump the gun. Officials should properly investigate all the nuts and bolts of the drone industry and be careful when determining where governments should step in.

Flying a drone is not like flying a kite, and we, like many of our neighbors, are concerned about personal privacy and public safety. All we ask is that our elected officials consider the whole subject carefully before inking laws.

Hannah Lawrence leads the Comsewogue high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district
Hannah Lawrence leads the Comsewogue high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district
Hannah Lawrence leads the Comsewogue high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district

By Rachel Siford

Two Warriors and two Royals are leading the pack as they look forward to throwing their caps on graduation day.

Hannah Lawrence and Renuka Diwan were named Comsewogue High School’s Class of 2015 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Lawrence is finishing her high school career with a 102.61 GPA. She is attending Yale University in the fall, majoring in applied mathematics. Lawrence comes from a long line of valedictorians: her mother Cindy, brother David and sister Rachel all graduated at the top of their classes at Comsewogue High School.

Renuka Diwan leads the Comsewogue high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district
Renuka Diwan leads the Comsewogue high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district

Lawrence kept herself busy throughout high school playing varsity tennis, helping to integrate new tech in her school as a Comsewogue Student Technology Specialist, and participating in the Women in Science & Engineering Program (WISE), Math League, the National Honor Society and the Academic Club. She is also a National Merit scholar.

Diwan wrapped up her high school career with a 101.39 GPA. In the fall she will start college at Brown University but is undecided about her area of study. She was a National Merit Scholarship Program finalist and was involved in the National Honor Society, varsity tennis, the Academic Club, the French Honor Society and the WISE program. She also practices Indian classical dance outside of school.

Noah Davis leads the Port Jefferson high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district
Noah Davis leads the Port Jefferson high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district

The Earl L. Vandermeulen High School announced Noah Davis as its Class of 2015 valedictorian and Natalia Zaliznyak as salutatorian.

Davis, the younger brother of 2013 valedictorian Gabriel Davis, is continuing his studies at Duke University this fall, majoring in biomedical engineering. He is an AP Scholar with Distinction, participated in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Partners for the Future research program and is on the Science Olympiad team.

Davis has already made strides in his career by submitting a patent for an environmentally friendly flame retardant and was a semifinalist in the Siemens Foundation Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

Natalia Zaliznyak leads the Port Jefferson high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district
Natalia Zaliznyak leads the Port Jefferson high school seniors this year. Photo from the school district

Zaliznyak is also an AP Scholar with Distinction and a member of the Science Olympiad team. She is a National Merit semifinalist and a member of the Latin Club. She participated in the Simons Summer Research Program at Stony Brook University and in a local Russian theater group. She is attending Yale University in the fall to study molecular biophysics.

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