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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.

Kyle O’Brien leads the pack for Huntington High School in a previous race. Photo by Jimi Mello

This fall could be the Huntington High School boys’ cross country team’s breakthrough season.

Kyle O’Brien, Shane McGuire and Ethan Dywer are the team’s top three returning runners that will look to make an impact on the team this upcoming season.

“If they put in the summer work they are going to bring a big 1-2-3 punch as all have been showing huge improvements over the past year,” Huntington head coach Shawn Anderson said. “Shane had a big breakout season in track and cross country last year, so we’re looking to see if it translates to a big year this coming fall.”

Ryan Smith, Connor Grosso, Ryan Mock, Quinn Kemerson, Danny Collins and Nick Sanin will look to compete for those last four spots to round out the Blue Devils’ competitive top seven.

“We are going to have a lot of unknowns in terms of newcomers from Finley Middle School,” Anderson said. “Our league has also changed, so we will be seeing new competition. Hopefully this translates to some wins.”

The Blue Devils finished last year’s cross country season with an 0-6 record and moved from League IV to League III.

“We have been in a building phase for a few years; always with a strong front, but the pack hasn’t always been where it needed to be to win those close meets,” Anderson said. The Blue Devils have lost several contests by a point or two.

Car parts thief sought
Suffolk County Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a man who stole catalytic converters from vehicles in Hauppauge earlier this month.
Police said the man stole 10 catalytic converters from commercial vehicles parked at three businesses on Oser Avenue in the early morning hours of July 3.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers 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.

High interrupted
A 26-year-old man from East Northport was arrested in Smithtown on July 12 and charged with driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol. Police said the man was driving a 1995 Honda and crashed into a tree on Route 25A and Oakside Road in Smithtown. He was arrested at 2:19 a.m. Police did not know which drug the man was on.

Rowdy gun-wielders arrested
Two individuals were arrested on July 8 in Smithtown and charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Police said a 20-year-old man from Central Islip and a 20-year-old woman from Brooklyn possessed loaded handguns, and both were arrested on Nesconset Highway at 8 p.m. The man was also charged with obstruction of government administration — for flailing his legs and refusing to be placed in a police car — and two counts of menacing in the second degree, for displaying a handgun to two separate women shortly before his arrest. The woman was charged with disorderly conduct — police said she threatened others in a parking lot.

What a pill
Suffolk County Police arrested a 29-year-old man from Kings Park on July 12 at about 9 p.m. and charged him with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said he was arrested on 4th Avenue in Kings Park, where he was found in possession of prescription pills.

Check yourself
Police said someone stole a checkbook from a man’s 2010 Lexus LX450 parked on West Main Street in Smithtown on July 12 at about 7 a.m. There have been no arrests.

Cash out
Someone removed a register box containing cash from LA Fitness on East Main Street in Smithtown sometime between 10 p.m. on July 11 and 8 a.m. on July 12. There have been no arrests.

Wheel of misfortune
Someone took four wheels and tires from a 2014 Toyota Tundra at Smithtown Toyota on East Jericho Turnpike in Saint James between 6 p.m. on July 11 and 11 a.m. on July 12. There have been no arrests.

Coming down from a high
Suffolk County Police arrested a 24-year-old man from Setauket and a 22-year-old female from Stony Brook on July 10 in Stony Brook and charged them with loitering and unlawful use of a controlled substance. Police said the pair were observed at a location on North Country Road in Stony Brook in a Ford Taurus in possession of heroin. The duo was arrested at 8:37 a.m., police said.

Car looted
Police said an unknown person took money and a gift card from a 2015 Ford parked on Blinker Light Road in Stony Brook. The incident was reported on July 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Road bump
Someone stole a bicycle from outside a garage on Braemer Road in Setauket. The incident happened sometime between 10 p.m. on July 11 and 9 a.m. on July 12.

Jewelry jam
Police said someone stole jewelry from Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway in Setauket on July 11 at 6:45 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Purse pickpocketed
Police said a woman reported that someone stole her license and credit card from her purse as she was shopping at Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket. The incident occurred on July 9 at 2 p.m., police said.

Money mystery
Police said an Antler Lane resident from South Setauket reported that someone used his Chase banking card to make several cash withdrawals between July 1 and July 9. There are no arrests.

Bank withdrawal woes
Police said that a Stalker Lane resident from Setauket reported someone used his bank information to make three unauthorized withdrawals between July 8 and July 9. There are no arrests.

Car trouble
Things got a little crazy on Woodhull Avenue in Port Jefferson Station on July 4, at around 10:05 p.m., when someone threw items at a 2013 Hyundai and damaged a car door.

Midnight mischief
An unknown person slashed the driver side tire of a 2007 Hyundai parked on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station on July 3.

Ride denied
A woman reported being harassed by a cab driver on June 30 at around 3 p.m. According to police, the complainant said she called a cab service to pick her up from a dollar store in Port Jefferson Station, but the driver refused to take her. He then allegedly pushed her and took her grocery bags out of the cab and drove away.

Bad luck
A 2008 Toyota’s side view mirror was damaged on July 7 while parked on Dayton Avenue in Port Jefferson Station.

Cloned
Police received two reports of cloned credit cards in the Port Jefferson Station community on July 7. According to police, a resident on Magnolia Drive reported an unknown person had cloned their ATM card and made withdrawals using their pin. Another resident on Pine Street made a similar report.

Razor-sharp
The person who demanded money at the USA Gasoline on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station got quite the surprise on July 6. According to police, the suspect went into the station shortly after 9:30 p.m. with a razor blade and demanded cash, but the quick-thinking complainant grabbed a knife and chased the intruder out of the store.

Taking flight
A 20-year-old Mount Sinai resident was arrested and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree fleeing from an officer in a motor vehicle and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle on July 9. Police said the woman was driving a 1999 Chevy north on Route 112 in Terryville at around 3 p.m. when police attempted to pull her over. As the officer approached her vehicle, the woman pulled away, almost striking two vehicles, and exceeded the speed limit on Route 112 before pulling over again. Police discovered Roxicodone, a prescription opioid, in her possession.

I saw the sign
A homeowner’s 10 “no parking” and “no trespassing” signs on North Country Road in Miller Place were spray-painted or torn down on July 10.

Lock ‘em up
A wallet full of credit cards and cash was reported stolen on July 8 from an unlocked 2007 Chevy parked at a residence on Ann Street in Miller Place.

Thumb war
A 56-year-old Miller Place man was charged with second-degree assault and second-degree menacing after he stabbed a man in the finger. The incident took place on July 8 at the suspect’s Avery Lane home.

Dashed board
On July 8 at 9 p.m., a Washington Avenue, Centereach, resident reported the dashboard of their 2010 Nissan was damaged.

Grocery games
A woman reported on July 7 that her wallet, with $2,000 in cash, was stolen from her shopping cart at the Centereach Mall Walmart.

Screened
A home on Rosemary Lane in Centereach had a window screen damaged on July 12.

Picking up
An unlocked 2008 Ford pickup truck parked at a Bank Street residence in Selden was robbed of a tablet and money on July 7.

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Ursula Costanzo and her husband, Vince. Photo from Ursula Costanzo

By Rachel Siford

The Miller Place and Mount Sinai communities are coming together to support a fellow resident in her time of need.

Five years ago, Ursula Costanzo, of Mount Sinai, started the parent Facebook group, Mt. Sinai/Miller Pl. Moms, which has more than 2,600 members.

She started the group to unite the communities, since they don’t have a town center. Group members share information, ask questions and have friendly discussions. If someone needs a repairman or landscaper recommendation, the Facebook group is the place to go.

In May, the wife and mom suffered an aneurysm and a stroke, which has since kept her in the hospital and rehab facilities. Costanzo is currently at St. Johnland Nursing Center for rehabilitation and has had various surgeries.

Now, Costanzo’s close friends and other administrators of the Facebook group have pulled together to create a fundraiser to help the family with medical and childcare bills, as her and her husband’s insurance only covers so much.

On Aug. 16, the nine-person committee will present Rock the Range at Willow Creek Golf & Country Club in Mount Sinai from 2 to 7 p.m. The event will have a barbecue, raffle and live music.

“Ursula has been one my best friends for 15 years,” Melissa Goodman, of Mount Sinai, said. “It was mine and my husband’s idea to start this fundraiser because Ursula always liked to help people and has always been so altruistic.”

Denise May, one of the Facebook group administrators and close friend of Costanzo’s, said the event will be a fun community day, which is what Costanzo is all about.

“Ursula is one those happy, dynamic people who runs in a bunch of different crowds,” May said. “She is a very happy, positive person.”

May is also in charge of a GoFundMe site to benefit the Costanzo family. The site has already raised more than $3,400. Their goal is $20,000.

Eight local bands will be playing at the event, and Goodman added there will be grand prizes at the fundraiser, like a television and vacation packages.

“She is a wonderful mom, a wonderful person and a wonderful friend,” Goodman said. “Everyone loves her; that’s why everyone is helping out.”

Costanzo’s other close friend, Cynthia Liendo, of Mount Sinai, is in charge of the ticket sales. She said the committee is expecting between 200 and 400 people.

“She really, truly cares about people and went out of her way to smile,” Liendo said about Costanzo.

A stroke survivor will speak at Rock the Range.

Costanzo’s friends and family said she is fighting hard to get through this.

“She volunteers at school, the kids are familiar with her and she has many friends,” Liendo said. “Her absence has really been felt.”

Tickets for Rock the Range are $25. Children 5 and under are free. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, contact rocktherange4Ursula@gmail.com.

Eric Schell and Faith Ahmed in a scene from ‘West Side Story’ at the SCPA. Photo from the SCPA

By Charles J. Morgan

About an eon ago your scribe was watching a TV talk show on the family’s round screen box on which a participant referred to “West Side Story” as a “slice of New York life.” Another participant, the great Robert Morley, snorted, “Ectually, old boy, it’s Romeo and Juliet.” Morley was right, and the Playbill at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Art’s opening really was the Bard’s opus with full credit put to music, and not just music but Broadway music and dance.

With a team featuring Arthur Laurent’s book, Leonard Bernstein’s music, Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics and Jerome Robbins’ choreography, success was all but secure. In SCPA’s effort it was secured in Smithtown.

Direction was by Jordan Hue who, facing the challenge of a massive cast, showed his craftsmanship in blocking and interpretation. Each Jet and each Shark were real tangible creatures thanks to Hue’s disciplined creativity.

The show is practically all choreography, and thanks to the genius of the indefatigable Melissa Rapelje, excellently performed execution was the armature of the show. She faced the off-beat accents, the dissonances and the diversity of rhythms undaunted. Her skills with interpretive, modern, Latin and even ballet were never more displayed.

Coalescing with the dancing and singing was the superb live music led by Melissa Coyle on keyboard with conductor Craig Coyle on piano. Jim Waddell was outstanding on drums. The number “Cool it!,” performed by the Jets, was accompanied by Waddell using only the sizzling hi-hats. Craig Lindsey and Bob Dalpiaz handled extremely competent reeds. Jill Boardman was on violin and Russ Brown’s bass anchored all the intricate changes of rhythm easily. Finally, Joe Boardman’s trumpet reached aesthetically ethereal heights … as usual.

The two “star-crossed lovers” were Eric Schell as Tony and Faith Ahmed as Maria. Schell’s tenor and Ahmed’s soprano melded smoothly in both duet and solo. In the “balcony” (fire escape) scene their “Tonight” was a truly velvet love song while Schell’s rendition of  “Maria” was lovingly rendered. Ahmed also exhibited obvious talent in “I Feel Pretty.”

In a choreographed dream sequence Courtney Braun sang a solo “Somewhere There’s a Place” with both charm and power delightfully linked. Justin Albinder stood out as the doomed Bernardo. As “Action” Bobby Montaniz leads the Jets in a hilarious mockery of the sadistic Officer Krupke. Some of the lines are quite dated: (“…my mother pushes tea…), yet Montaniz is the key to the humor of it all.

In addition to choreographer, Rapelje also played the role of the second lead, Anita. Her drive, verve and singing while leading the girls all keyed to a spicy rendition of “Puerto Rico” like a dish of asopao jibaro.

Add the intricate lighting by Chris Creevy, the massive, flexible set design by Timothy Golebiewski and the wonderful costumes by Ronald Green III and you have a wonderful evening of live theater.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown will present “West Side Story” through Aug. 30. Tickets are $35. For more information, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

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MaryEllen Elia succeeds John B. King Jr. as the state’s next education commissioner. Photo from state education department

School boards across Long Island swore in new members and re-elected trustees in the last couple of weeks to kick off a brand new school year. With every fresh start, we have an opportunity to better our communities, and ourselves, but this idea carries even greater weight when a top state education official is also starting a new term.

Our greatest hope is that our superintendents, school board trustees, parents, principals, teachers unions and other leaders will make every effort to partner with the state’s new education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia.

The New York native, who was a teacher in this state and a superintendent in Florida, took the helm from controversial former Commissioner John B. King Jr. this month. She certainly has a rough road and a lot of work ahead — agreeing to pilot an education system in which large numbers of students are refusing state exams and concerned parents are protesting the Common Core Learning Standards on a regular basis. It’s not a job many would envy.

King’s approach to implementing the Common Core left a bad taste in a lot of parents’ and educators’ mouths, but we should be careful not to allow that sourness to affect our relationship with Elia — she deserves a chance to prove herself.

We should do our best to open the dialogue and calmly communicate our grievances. We should keep open minds and be willing to collaborate.

Our children and our education system are important to our communities. In order to stay competitive globally and to further challenge our teachers and students, we need to keep as our No. 1 goal the improvement of our educational system. It sorely needs improvement.

Let’s do everything we can to build a positive relationship with this new commissioner, and thus build a more positive school environment for our students who will inherit the future.

Ten nights of independent films you won’t see anywhere else

Katie Page stars in “This Isn’t Funny” to be screened on July 17 at 9:30 p.m. Photo by Peter Borosh

By Donna Newman

Would you love to travel the world but lack the funds? … the time? … the energy? Well, you’re in luck! The 20th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival — which begins this evening at 8 p.m. — will bring the world to you. Travel far and wide in the comfort of a cushioned seat in the Staller Center’s air-conditioned Main Stage Theater on the Stony Brook University campus. Festival Director Alan Inkles says, “Over ten days, [you] will be transported to Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Mexico, Greece, Egypt, France, Canada, Iran, Belgium, England, Morocco and Algeria.”

Should you prefer homegrown fare, Inkles said, “We have more American films than ever this year. Dramas, comedies and documentaries will be shown on our huge screen, and many of the producers, directors, cast and crew members will attend the Q-&-As following the films.” In sum: There will be something for everyone.

You’ll travel through time during the 10-day festival as well. Be transported to the South in the aftermath of the Civil War (“The Keeping Room”). Find yourself in a Nazi-occupied Dutch village (“Secrets of War”). See how American propaganda films were created during World War II (“Projections of America”). Return to the 1960s in Quebec for a story with heart and music (“The Passion of Augustine”). Tune in to a television debate series in 1968 that created a whole new format for public discourse (“Best of Enemies”).

Revisit the turn of this century and yet another banking scandal (“The Clearstream Affair”). Spend time in the current decade examining women’s rights (“Nefertiti’s Daughters”). Or step out of time into some magical moments in the short films “Freeze,” “A Single Life,” “Wrapped” and “DOT.”

Inkles and his staff have screened more than 700 entries, looking for the best independent features, documentaries and short films available worldwide. The schedule includes 34 films; 19 are feature length and 15 are shorts. Among them are a world premiere and eight films that will have their first U.S. screenings.

“Audiences will get to see many works of true indie spirit, where the filmmakers wear a variety of hats,” commented Inkles. “On Opening Night we’ll have the U.S. premiere of ‘The Man from Oran,’ a drama from Algeria starring Lyes Salem, who also wrote and directed the film. It’s a story set largely in the years following Algeria’s independence from France, that explores the themes of friendship, idealism, politics and betrayal.” Inkles is pleased that Salem will be present on Opening Night.

Perennial festival attendees will recognize the star of the Closing Night feature, “The Passion of Augustine,” a film from French Canada about a small convent school that had become a musical treasure. Céline Bonnier also starred in the 2012 festival entry, “Mommy Is at the Hairdresser’s.” Léa Pool directed both films. Inkles is delighted that Bonnier will attend the screening.

An added feature to this year’s festival is a display of Vintage Film Posters in the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery located on the first floor of the Staller Center. This exhibit of classic movie posters will be open each night of the festival from one hour prior to the first screening until the last screening of the night begins.

This year’s festival is being presented by its newest sponsor — Island Federal Credit Union — a financial institution that has been serving Long Islanders for 60 years. Island Federal has established a 10-year partnership with Stony Brook University that provides philanthropic funding for multiple university projects.

The SBFF runs for 10 nights. Most nights screenings begin at 7 p.m. Starting times for the second film varies. Check the schedule. (In some cases, Q-&-As may delay the start of the second feature.) The Opening Night film begins at 8 p.m. The Closing Night film begins at 8:30 p.m. And there’s a bonus feature on Sunday evening that begins at 6 p.m.

A Festival Pass to see all the films is $85. A $225 Gold Pass includes seating in the section reserved for filmmakers and their guests, as well as tickets to the opening and closing receptions. Individual tickets ($10, $8 seniors, $5 students) will be sold subject to availability. Tickets for the Opening Night and Closing Night receptions are $25 each, also subject to availability.

For more information, call the Staller Center Box Office at 631-632-ARTS or visit www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

The Wardenclyffe site in Shoreham. File photo by Erika Karp

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart,” reads one of many quotes from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Faust” contained in “Tower to the People.” If this is so, Tesla’s heart must have been ablaze with electrical impulses and potential for change.

By Talia Amorosano

On Friday, people of all ages congregated at Shoreham-Wading River High School to celebrate a very special occasion: Nikola Tesla’s 159th birthday.

They came bearing monetary gifts in the form of ticket purchases to see filmmaker Joseph Sikorski’s “Tower to the People” Long Island premiere at the school, which is located a little more than a mile and a half away from Tesla’s Wardenclyffe laboratory. The proceeds from the event will be used to fund the continued restoration of the site — Tesla’s last.

Using bold, mixed media visuals, color saturated re-enactments and original photographs from the early 1900s, the film documents the history of Tesla’s work at Wardenclyffe, a former potato farm, where the inventor planned to complete what he anticipated would be his greatest invention and contribution to mankind — a 187-foot-tall tower capable of transmitting free wireless energy to the entire world.

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart,” reads one of many quotes from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Faust” contained in “Tower to the People.” If this is so, Tesla’s heart must have been ablaze with electrical impulses and potential for change. Among the literal highlights of Tesla’s career documented in the film are his successful attempt to wirelessly illuminate incandescent light bulbs from three miles away, creation of the Tesla coil and introduction of alternate current electricity, reception of transmissions from stars and ability to produce artificial lightning that author and Tesla scholar Jack Hitt described as being “so powerful that the thunder of it was heard miles away.”

"Tower to the People" filmmaker Joseph Sikorski speaks at Shoreham-Wading River High School on Friday, July 9. Photo by Talia Amorosano
“Tower to the People” filmmaker Joseph Sikorski speaks at Shoreham-Wading River High School on Friday, July 9. Photo by Talia Amorosano

Unfortunately for Tesla, his brilliant moments are dimmed by disappointment during his later life. The film portrayed Tesla’s persistence when, among other negative events, former funder J.P. Morgan, refused to pay for the completion of the tower and even dissuaded other potential investors from financing him. After writing pleading letters and attempting to come up with the money himself, in an emotion-wrought scene, Tesla’s Wardenclyffe tower is destroyed by dynamite explosion, as ordered by the U.S. government.

However, “Tower to the People” does end on an uplifting note with the story of Wardenclyffe’s salvation through Internet crowd-funding; explorations of the modern-day property that is now owned by the nonprofit group, Tesla Science Center; and volunteer efforts to clean up Tesla’s run-down laboratory and turn it into a science center.

“As a kid, my parents could never get me to do yard work, but if you ask me to mow Tesla’s lawn, how awesome is that?” said a volunteer on the cleanup crew in the film.

Throughout the event, the crowd was clearly electrified, erupting into applause several times during key moments of the film, and afterwards honoring Sikorski’s homage to Tesla and Wardenclyffe with a standing ovation.

Most of the audience also stayed for a question and answer session with Sikorski and Jane Alcorn, president of the Tesla Science Center, during which Sikorski expressed his belief that there are tunnels under Wardenclyffe and Alcorn revealed hopes to potentially excavate these tunnels after the primary grounds-cleaning goals are achieved, “as time and money permits.”

Finally, a special guest and distant relative of Tesla, Dusan Stojanovic, of True Global Ventures, took the podium to donate $33,000 to the Wardenclyffe project effort. He also gave money to three young inventors whose innovations were inspired by Tesla; most notably, giving $15,000 to a young man involved with creating clothing with his invention, the Electroloom, a 3-D fabric printer.

Alcorn hopes the completed science center will be open to the public in a few years, and in the meantime, plans to continue fundraising efforts until the property is fully restored.

If you are interested in donating to the science center, getting involved with grounds cleanup, or learning more about the Wardenclyffe property, check out www.teslasciencecenter.org.

Ward Melville Heritage Organization presents new motorcycle exhibit

Mike Wolf, creator / star of ‘American Pickers,’ with a 1912 Indian TT Racer, which was later restored. Photo from Jim Giorgio

By Ed Blair

America has always had a love affair with motorcycles. “In a car you’re always in a compartment, and, because you’re used to it, you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer, and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle, the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.” So said Robert Pirsig in his book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.” Dan Aykroyd stated the case more simply: “You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle.”

Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, James Dean. Clint Eastwood, Buddy Holly, Peter Fonda. Hijinks from Evel Knieval and Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzerelli. There is no doubt that the motorcycle occupies a unique and intriguing niche in both the national culture and the counterculture, and it is the subject of an absorbing local offering.

Following on the success of last year’s summer exhibit, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization will present The Love Affair with Motorcycles Continues! opening July 11. On view are more than 30 motorcycles, as well as motorcycle memorabilia, artwork and sculptures.

Speakers will be on hand to talk about a number of motorcycle-related topics, and visitors can view an outdoor car showcase in the WMHO Center’s parking lot and also participate in a scavenger hunt. Stony Brook Village restaurants will feature exhibit-related dishes on their menus, such as the Hog Hero, the Harley Hoagie, the BMW Burger, Knucklehead Chili, and the Screamin’ Eagle.

The evolution of the motorcycle can be traced from Mike Wolf’s restored 1912 Indian TT Racer through to a 1975 Ducati 750 Sport from 20th Century Cycles of Oyster Bay. Also on display are bikes from the private collection of Joe Buzzetta, such as his 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 850, and, courtesy of Peter Nettesheim, an unrestored 1928 BMW R52.

Also on view: a 1903 Indian (the only one known to exist), courtesy of Jim Giorgio; a 1955 Pan Head Billy Bike, (Gerry Duff); a 1970 Rupp Mini Bike (Joe Amendolia); a 1975 Norton Commando (Michael Racz); a 1975 FLH Harley (Douglas Johnston); a 1975 Honda Goldwing 1000 (Bill Mabanta); a 1973 Harley “Steampunk” (Copper Mike); and a replica of a motorcycle that appeared in the iconic biker movie “Easy Rider.” Besides getting up-close looks at the Harley Davidsons, Kawasakis, Suzukis, Triumphs, Hondas and other motorcycles, enthusiasts can give vent to their fascination with motorized two-wheelers by checking out the artwork of David Uhl.

Scheduled speakers and their topics are Pete Nettesheim — Restored vs. Unrestored Bikes (Sunday, July 12); John Petsche — Biodiesel Bikes (Saturday, July 18); Steve Linden — History of Motorcycle Brands and Emblems (Saturday, July 25); and Jeffrey James — Music and Motorcycles (Saturday, Aug. 8); and  Movies and Motorcycles (Saturday, Aug. 22). All talks begin at 2 p.m.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization will present America’s Love Affair with the Motorcycle Continues! July 11 through September 7 at its Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook Village. The exhibit, partially sponsored by Astoria Bank, is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 12. For a full schedule of exhibit events, 631-689-5888, or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com.

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Earl L. Vandermeulen High School sophomore Arunima Roy. Photo from Port Jefferson school district

By Rita J. Egan

It was a successful school year for 15-year-old Arunima Roy of Port Jefferson. The sophomore and high honor roll student at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School was recently chosen as an ambassador to Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council.

The Roots & Shoots council has many branches all over the world, according to Roy. Teenagers with a passion for saving the environment apply to the group in order to aid each other in their projects.

A member of her high school’s environmental club for the last two years, Roy said she got involved with Roots & Shoots when her Spanish teacher, Dawn DeLeonardis-Moody, who is also one of the faculty advisers of her school’s club, suggested she look into the organization. After visiting the website and researching the organization’s work, Roy said she became extremely interested in its youth council. After applying for the program and completing two interviews, Roy became an ambassador.

During the application process, Roy told the organization, “I want to help clean up the environment, and I want to help save and preserve natural habitats.”

DeLeonardis-Moody has been involved with Roots & Shoots for a decade, so she knew Roy would work well with the group. The Spanish teacher said as a sophomore, Roy is the perfect age to take on the role as she has a concept of the environment and community. She described the student as soft yet strong, who works well in a group and individually.

“Arunima … she can be quiet on the surface — she has such a compassionate soul — but she’s also a very hard worker and dedicated. So I see her as an upcoming leader, especially because she has that quiet compassionate side. But once you work with her you realize that her compassion and her passion are so strong, and she’s so in tune with nature,” DeLeonardis-Moody said.

In the past, Roy has worked on beach cleanups and most recently the Green and Clean 2015 event in Port Jefferson to raise awareness about local plants and Monarch butterflies. DeLeonardis-Moody said the student not only worked at the event, but it was partly Roy’s idea to have it, and she worked 8 months to prepare for the day.

The Port Jefferson student said as an ambassador, she will work on her future environmental goals with the school’s environmental club and will get support from Roots & Shoots and her fellow ambassadors.

Jonathan Maletta, co-adviser of the environmental club, said that Roy has the school group’s complete support when it comes to her future environmental projects. Maletta, who has also worked with the sophomore on the Science Olympiad, where she has won gold and silver awards on the regional level, said Roy is an intelligent student with a sound work ethic. “She’s an inspiration, and it’s nice to see someone of the younger generation lead by example, take charge and move in a sustainable direction,” Maletta said.

The club adviser said the student is currently working with the Jane Goodall Institute to recycle e-waste.

Maletta explained that when we recycle electronics and cell phones, we help conserve an ore called coltan, which is found in the Congo, where gorillas and chimpanzees live. Recycling reduces the need for Coltan and the disruption of the animals’ habitat. In addition, when it comes to recycling cell phones and other e-waste, fewer toxins are released into the environment.

Recycling is very important to Roy, and she wishes more people would do so, especially when it comes to items that are simple to discard, such as cans and bottles. She said it not only helps preserve materials, which would, for example, prevent us from cutting down trees or looking for ore and disturbing the habitats of animals, but it also affects us on a local level.

“It’s so important to recycle. There are often garbage cans and there are recycling cans right next to each other. I feel like if they just make the littlest effort to put it in the recycling bins instead of the garbage bins, it would make such a huge impact. The landfills are getting full of garbage, and we’re going to run out of places to put them. We don’t want our backyards to be filled with garbage,” Roy said.

Her advice to aspiring environmentalists is to get a group of friends together and to set easy goals. She said it helps to break things down into something as simple as collecting a certain number of things or filling one bin in a day. She also suggested organizing two groups to clean a beach or area, and make the cleanup a fun competition.

This summer, Roy will attend a Roots & Shoots retreat where she will learn about hydraulics. As for her future goals, she said she wants to be a physician with Doctors Without Borders. In addition to her dreams of becoming a doctor, Roy said that in her adulthood, she will continue to volunteer to help the environment.

“I see it as more of a stress reliever. I feel like I’m making an impact on the environment. I don’t see it so much as work as I see as it as being one with nature,” Roy said. “It would be a nice way to take some time off and get back to my roots, and just find some space for myself to think.”

When it comes to her future plans, especially her environmental goals, both of Roy’s club advisers believe she will accomplish a great deal.

“She’s just so humble, and I think that’s what makes her — that’s part of why she’s so good at this. She’s so quietly passionate and humble, but yet she’s dedicated and really in tune with the community and the environment. She really cares,” said DeLeonardis-Moody.

Formed in 1991, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the youth-led community action and learning program of the Jane Goodall Institute. With more than 150,000 members in more than 130 countries, all working on local and global service projects, the program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of young people. Through the program, young people map their community to identify specific challenges their neighborhoods face. From there, they prioritize the problems, develop a plan for a solution, and take action.

For more information, visit www.rootsandshoots.org.

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Kevin Burns and Katie Ferretti. Photo by Rita Egan

By Rita J. Egan

For the next several weeks, actors Katie Ferretti and Kevin Burns will transform into a perfect nanny and a charming chimney sweep in the stage production of “Mary Poppins” at the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre at the CM Performing Arts Center. The local actors are excited to present this timeless tale where a magical nanny, with the help of her friend Bert, adds some much needed fun to the lives of the Banks children. In addition to being thrilled about their current roles, the two actors are also honored to portray the characters that Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke made famous in the 1964 movie.

“‘Mary Poppins’ is my favorite movie of all time, so to get to play such an iconic role that was created by such a great actor, singer, dancer is really just a dream for me,” Burns said.

Ferretti admitted that it can be intimidating to take on such an acting part, but at the same time she said, “It’s definitely exciting to play a role that Julie Andrews made famous. It’s like a dream come true to me, because I look up to her so much as a performer.”

The musical is the first time Ferretti and Burns have acted together. However, both have performed at the Oakdale theater before. In the past 10 years, Burns has appeared in numerous productions at the venue, including “Singin’ in the Rain” (Don), “42nd Street” (Billy) and the “The Rocky Horror Show” (Dr. Frank N. Furter). Ferretti said she has been acting at the theater for more than 2 years and has had roles in musicals such as “Into the Woods” (Cinderella), “Les Misérables” (Cosette) and “Guys and Dolls” (Sarah).

Despite her acting roles, not only at the CMPAC but also at the Merrick Theatre and Center for the Arts in productions of “Seussical” (Gertrude), “Cinderella” (Cinderella) and “Proof” (Catherine), acting is only a hobby for Ferretti. The 25-year-old works full-time as a behavior support worker at the Developmental Disabilities Institute, where she works with teens and adults with autism. While performing in musicals may be part-time work for Ferretti, she said she did take voice lessons in high school that prepared her for her favorite pastime.

For 26-year-old Burns, acting is a full-time profession. In addition to his work at the CMPAC, he has appeared at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport, most recently as Frosty in “Frosty the Snowman” and the Troll in “The Snow Queen.” The actor said this summer he will be busy as a part of the Engeman’s children’s theatre and camp. When he first began acting, he worked at the Airport Playhouse in plays such as “Cabaret” (Victor), “Gypsy” (Yonkers) and “A Chorus Line” (Gregory). Burns said he has no formal training in acting, singing or dancing, which Ferretti said she was surprised to hear, especially when it comes to his dancing.

The actress said Burns is an amazing dancer and handles the many dancing numbers in “Mary Poppins” effortlessly.

When they look to the future, both would love to appear in a production of “West Side Story.” Ferretti said playing Maria would be a dream role, while Burns would love to play Riff. Other roles on their wish lists include Finch in “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” for Burns, and for Ferretti, another Maria and another Julie Andrews role — Maria in “The Sound of Music.” Both are looking into possibilities for the near future, but nothing definite is lined up right now. “Who knows where the wind will take me?” Burns said.

Ferretti would like to continue balancing work with appearing in regional theater. And while Burns may toy with the idea of Broadway, he said right now he is happy performing at local theaters. When it comes to movies and television, both actors said they haven’t considered auditioning for film roles as they prefer working with live audiences.

“I like the fact that if you make a mistake the show has to keep going. You have to keep telling the story as opposed to ‘we can cut, we go back, we can reshoot,’” said Burns.
Ferretti agreed and added, “There’s something more honest about live theater than there is about anything filmed.”

For now the duo are having a great time with the cast and crew of “Mary Poppins,” who they said are a friendly group to work with as well as extremely talented. Ferretti said the crew backstage works incredibly hard to create a show for the audience “that’s like magic for them.” She said she wishes they could sell seats backstage so people could witness what exactly goes on.

Among the numbers performed during “Mary Poppins,” the two admit to having their favorites. Burns loves “Step in Time” while Ferretti said she has fun singing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” which she said after rehearsals she can easily spell. She also admits to getting misty-eyed when singing “Feed the Birds.”

When it comes to the excitement of being part of such an endearing story, the actors admit feeling like children at times, and they hope the audiences will enjoy experiencing the magic of “Mary Poppins” with them. Burns said at the end of opening night, he was brought back to his own childhood. “I got emotional when Katie came out to bow. I was standing next to Mary Poppins. It took me back to when I was in Disney World for the first time, and I went to go talk to the woman who I knew was an actress playing Mary Poppins, yet I still got emotional,” said the actor.

Theatergoers have until July 19 to experience the magic of “Mary Poppins” with Ferretti, Burns and the entire cast at the CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale. Tickets range from $20 to $29. For more information, call 218-2810 or visit www.cmpac.com.

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