Arts & Entertainment

Cupcakes offered at LaBonne Boulangerie's table at last year's event. Photo by Mac Titmus

By Heidi Sutton

Save the date! With a new name and more participants than ever before, The Taste At Port Jeff (formerly A Taste of Port Jefferson) returns to the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson on Saturday, Oct. 22 from noon to 4 p.m.

Now in its 9th year, the event will feature food and dessert samplings along with wine and beer tastings from more than 25 local shops and restaurants. There are only two requirements — come with an empty stomach and get ready to delight your taste buds! Presented by The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, the event, for ages 21 and over, has been totally revamped with new energy, including a new logo and new VIP ticket option and has expanded to include restaurants outside of Port Jefferson to be more inclusive.

“The Taste committee is very excited this year with the introduction of our new VIP ticket and new logo! In addition, with the more inclusive restaurant invitation this year, The Taste has many new restaurateurs who will be participating,” said Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber.

Chefs from St. Charles Hospital will return to this year's event with delicious healthy samples. Photo by Mac Titmus
Chefs from St. Charles Hospital will return to this year’s event with delicious healthy samples. Photo by Mac Titmus

Participating food vendors will include Brewology, Chick-fil-A, Costco, Crazy Crepe Cafe, Crazy Fish Bar & Gill, Curry Club, Danfords Wave Seafood Kitchen, Don Quijote, Flying Pig Cafe, Locals Cafe, LI Pour House Bar & Grill, Messina Market & Catering, Mirabelle Tavern, Penntara Lao-Thai Catering, Slurp Ramen, Smoke Shack Blues, Spiro’s Restaurant and Lounge, St. Charles Hospital, The Meadow Club and Uncle Giuseppe’s. Dessert samplings from A Cake in Time, LaBonne Boulangerie, Starbucks and Tilda’s Bake Shop will be offered along with wine and beer tastings from Brewology 295, Port Jeff Brewing Company, Pindar Vineyards and Port Jeff Liquors.

Sponsors this year include St. Charles Hospital, Karras Agency, Times Beacon Record Newspapers, ServPro of Port Jefferson, AXA Advisors, Port Jeff Pulse and Dan’s Papers. Tickets in advance are $40 per person for general admission and $65 for VIP, which includes early access by one hour, a special VIP designated area with tables and chairs and premium pours, through Eventbrite at Tickets at the door are $50. Credit cards and phone orders welcomed. For more information, please call 631-473-1414.

Exercise and diet are key to losing weight.

By David Dunaief, M.D.

The more we seem to know about obesity as a chronic disease, classified this way first by the American Medical Association, the worse we in the medical community seem to have done to prevent and treat it and its complications. There are more obese people now than those who are overweight (1). Why would it be so difficult to treat a disease that has a simple solution, lose weight? How hard could that be, right?

If it were so simple to lose weight, we would not have an epidemic on our hands. We compete with internal and external forces, including forces from the food industry working to influence us every day. What is the problem with being obese? The issue with weight is not about vanity. The issue is that obesity creates medical complications and is second only to smoking in causing premature deaths (2). The research implies that weight loss in obese patients reduces the risk of death (3).

Life-threatening complications from obesity include multiple cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Is there something we can do about it? Simply, yes. Weight loss may have to do, at least in part, with the timing of when we eat. Also, exercise may help us increase lean muscle mass while decreasing body fat. Diet, of course, is important. A Mediterranean diet has only been shown to help with weight loss, not contribute to weight gain. There is too much doom and gloom about obesity. We need to focus on possible solutions first! Let’s look at the research.

Timing! Timing! Timing!

We have always been told not to eat late at night. Is there some truth to this, or is it an old wives’ tale? Well, it may be partially true; however, it may have more to do with how many hours we have access to food during a 24-hour period. Let me explain. In a recent study involving mice, results showed that those mice restricted to a 12-hour food consumption period in a 24-hour day were thinner than those allowed to eat anytime during the 24 hours. They may also have had reversal of metabolic disease, such as type 2 diabetes, in those mice who had pre-existing disease (4). Those that had access 24/7 became more obese and chronically ill. It did not matter which diet the mice ate.

Timing/access to food was the most important factor over the 38-week study. In fact, those that were initially given 24-hour access and then switched to the 12-hour limited access actually lost weight! Surprisingly, those that were limited to 12-hour food access could even cheat occasionally on the weekends, and it did not have a negative impact on their results. There were four diet groups — high fat and sucrose (a type of sugar), high fat, high fructose and typical diet. Of course, we are not mice. However, these are encouraging results.

Restricting eating to 12 consecutive hours during the day doesn’t seem like too much of a hardship. Now we need a randomized controlled trial in humans. In the meantime, I would suggest implementing these findings, even though we are not mice. There is no downside. In a previous study by the same research group, results showed that mice who had eight hours of access to food during a 24-hour period also showed considerably better results than those that had 24-hour access (5). Both mice groups were fed high-fat diets. The only difference was that one group was time restricted to eight hours of food exposure. The food-restricted mice saw an increase in prevention of metabolic parameters including diabetes, obesity and liver disease. The results also showed that restricting time to food decreased inflammation and improved energy expenditure. However, eight hours is more difficult to manage than 12 hours of access to food in a 24-hour cycle.

Mediterranean-type diet to the rescue

The Mediterranean diet has been valuable for a number of different chronic diseases, and obesity is no exception. In a meta-analysis (involving 16 randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of studies), the results showed that the Mediterranean-type diet was significantly better at helping patients lose weight when compared to a control diet (6). The longer the participants were on a Mediterranean-type diet, the greater the weight loss. Thus, this type of diet seems to get better with time. The meta-analysis involved over 3,000 participants. In none of the studies did any group on the Mediterranean diet gain weight.

Cancer is a weighty topic

We are always looking for cures for cancer. It is one of the more prevalent conglomerations of diseases. What might exacerbate cancer risk? If you guessed obesity, you would be right. Interestingly, it may have to do with duration of obesity that increases risk for cancer. This applies to multiple types of cancer. In a recent study, results showed that eight more cancers are associated with being overweight and obese, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), including mostly gastrointestinal cancers (liver, gallbladder, stomach and pancreas), as well as meningioma, thyroid, multiple myeloma and ovarian cancers (7). As we know, ovarian and pancreatic cancers tend to present with symptoms in the later stages and so are more lethal. This is added to the five cancers already known to be associated with obesity: esophageal, colorectal, uterine and post-menopausal breast cancers, plus renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer).

The reasons for this association may have to do with the dysregulation of sex hormone breakdown and increased inflammation associated with body fat. According to the IARC, losing weight may be a way to reduce cancer risk, although studies that have shown this effect have been animal studies. However, this is pretty good motivation to lose weight. In another study, the results show the longer the duration of obesity, the greater the risk of developing cancer (8). According to the study results, for every 10 years of being overweight/obese, there was an additional 7 percent increase in the risk for several different cancers. The study involved over 70,000 postmenopausal women for a mean duration of 12.6 years.

Finally, the beverage industry’s black eye

A recent scientific review found that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have spent millions and millions of dollars trying to influence medical organizations and public health institutions. They have put these groups in precarious situations by offering them money to help fund their organizations’ work, while asking them to back down on pressing issues such as a soda tax (9). The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is, unfortunately, an example. However, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has said that research shows soda has a strong association with the obesity epidemic (10). The moral of the story: We can and need to do a better job treating obese patients. One possible way to lose weight may be to restrict our access to food to the same 12-hour period each 24-hour cycle. Also, a Mediterranean diet has only been shown to cause weight loss, not weight gain.

References: (1) (2) Lancet. online July 13, 2016. (3) Obes Rev. 2007;8(6):503-513. (4) Cell Metab. 2014;20(6): 991–1005. (5) Cell Metab. 2012;15(6):848-860. (6) Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2011 Feb;9(1):1-12. (7) N Engl J Med. 2016;375:794-798. (8) PLoS Med. online August 16, 2016. (9) Am J Prev Med. online October 10, 2016. (10)

Dr. Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit or consult your personal physician.

by -
0 775

By Matthew Kearns, DVM

Halloween is a fun time of dressing up in costumes and getting a whole bunch of free candy. I’ve even taken to dressing up Jasmine, our Labrador retriever, in new costumes every year. Here are a few tips to make sure this and every Halloween is a safe and happy one for your pets.

Candy and chocolate poisoning

Chocolate is more poisonous to pets than any other candy.
Chocolate is more poisonous to pets than any other candy.

Chocolate is dangerous for two reasons. First, it contains the chemicals caffeine and theobromine. Both of these are stimulants in the methylxanthine class. Halloween is one of the few times a large bowl of candies, many containing chocolate, would be left out. Signs usually begin within 6 to 12 hours after ingestion and include panting, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination. Severe cases lead to irregular heart rhythms, seizures, coma and death. Second, chocolate is very high in sugar and fat. Most cases will only give your pet a tummy ache. However, I have personally seen a few cases of serious gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea), pancreatitis and liver disease from ingestion of large amounts of chocolate and other candy.

Stomach and intestinal obstructions

Dogs and cats (especially young ones) are more likely to eat a costume than wear it. I have both seen and heard from colleagues pulling out portions of a witch’s nose, small scarecrow teddy bears, etc. Anything with stringy attachments or tinsel are potential obstructions for cats. Candy wrappers and packaging can become wadded up in the stomach or small intestines. Any of these items will cause intense pain and vomiting or avoidable (and expensive) surgery. As much as we want to make ourselves or the house look scary, please make sure to keep all things out of reach of curious pets.

Fears and phobias

Consult with your veterinarian if your pet is afraid of loud noises or many people coming to the door. There are a few cases where we have instituted anti-anxiety medications weeks before Halloween. However, many times a mild tranquilizer is all that is needed for the single holiday. Always have your pet examined by the veterinarian (especially older pets) before administering these medications.

Malicious injuries

Make sure your pets (especially with cats that go outside) are in for the night early. Unfortunately, we do see malicious acts toward animals increase on this particular holiday. I hope this information is helpful in providing a safe Halloween environment for our pets.

Dr. Kearns practices veterinary medicine from his Port Jefferson office.

Heritage Center. File photo

This year, two of Heritage Park’s primary fundraisers, the SummerFest Concert and Fall Into Fun Carnival, were severely impacted by weather. Because of this, the Heritage Trust Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has an urgent appeal to close the gap in its budget.

Currently, the budget shortfall is $25,000, and Heritage Trust is in need of help to be able to continue to maintain the Heritage Park and Heritage Center, and offer its community events and programs.

Heritage Trust remains dedicated to maintaining all it has to offer.

Upcoming are the Halloween Festival, Parade of American Flags, Christmas tree and menorah lightings and a breakfast with Santa.

New and exciting things are also happening at the park, including a putting green with a water feature being installed adjacent to the walking path near The Shack, and an amphitheater, ice skating rink and splash pad, as well as repairs to the playground, are also in the works.

To make a tax-deductible contribution and help close the gap, send donations to Heritage Trust, 633 Mount Sinai Coram Road, Mount Sinai, NY 11766 or visit and click on donations.

‘Thoughts’ by Sandra Bowman

The Huntington Arts Council unveiled its latest exhibit at its Main Street Gallery on Oct. 6. Titled “Conversations in Color,” the Juried Abstract Show features works by 29 local artists and will be on display until Oct. 22. The winners, selected by juror Kerry Irvine, will be announced at an opening reception on Friday, Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

“This abstract exhibit is perfectly defined by the scope of work currently on display. The pieces are vibrant not just in color, but in technique and in the range of interpretation; even for a diverse category such as abstract art. We are so pleased to have Kerry Irvine as our juror and look forward to a well-received reception,” said Marc Courtade, Executive Director of the Huntington Arts Council.

'Tiki Tiki' by Julia Lang Shapiro
‘Tiki Tiki’ by Julia Lang-Shapiro

“As an artist who was born and raised in Huntington, it was an honor to be asked to juror “Conversations in Color,” said Irvine. “The challenge I proposed to the applicants, “As Artists we use color to communicate. This is how we bare our souls and share our deepest secrets. With color, we tell our stories. What’s your story?” was met with great enthusiasm and a myriad of beautiful, strong, individual pieces of art.” A resident of New York City, Irvine is an abstract expressionist painter. Her work can be found in private and public collections throughout the United States and abroad. Irvine features color and form often inspired by nature and the human figure. “I am proud to present these wonderful works of art which represent the immense talent that is inspired and cultivated on Long Island year after year,” she said.

Congratulations to the participating artists: Constance Blackman, Sandra Bowman, Joyce Bressler, Kathy Cunningham, Anahi Decanio, Christine Dupuis, Alicia Evans, Baruch Farbiarz, Reg Fludd, Nicole Franz, Mary Fusco, Peter Galasso, John Greene, Rodee Hansen, Roseann Harder, Ron Janssen, Vincent Joseph, Marc Josloff, Karen Kirshner, Deidre Klein, Julia Lang-Shapiro, Tara Leale Porter, Celeste Mauro, Martha Mcaleer, Lorraine Nuzzo, Douglas Reina, Che Sabalja, Sally Shore, and Penny Strong.

The HAC’s Main Street Gallery is located at 213 Main St., Huntington. For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit

Photo courtesy of The WMHO

Blast from the Past: Do you know when and where this photo was taken? What show are these people getting ready to see? Email your answers to To see more wonderful vintage photographs like this, visit The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s ongoing exhibit, It Takes a Team to Build a Village, at The WMHO’s Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main Street, Stony Brook. For more information, call 631-751-2244.

Above, a birdhouse made with the library’s 3D printer peeks out among the hydrangea bush and impatiens. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Ellen Barcel

Tucked among the quaint shops on East Main Street in Port Jefferson is an urban oasis.

A community garden came to Port Jefferson this past growing season. The new garden is located in front of the 1812 Captain Thomas Bayles House, right next to the Port Jefferson Free Library on East Main Street. The former home of the Scented Cottage Garden gift shop, the historic building was sold to the library last year. Erin Schaarschmidt, head of teen services for the library, said “there are no plans just yet” for the future of the building, and “public input is needed” with suggestions for its future use, but the front lawn of the property was quickly put to use.

Teens pick vegetables in the community garden to donate to a local food pantry. Photo courtesy of PJFL
Teens pick vegetables in the community garden to donate to a local food pantry. Photo courtesy of PJFL

The idea for the community garden came from Anthony Bliss, youth services librarian. Bliss, who works with children and teens, wanted something that the younger children could do. “And teen volunteers are always clamoring for community service,” said Schaarschmidt. “The teens started the seeds in the teen center in spring [which is across the street from the main building]. Then the children came with their families to plant [the seedlings]… the teens have been weeding it to keep up with it.” Even when school started, teens have been coming in the afternoons after school. Commenting on the dedication of the teen volunteers, Schaarschmidt noted, “The teen volunteers even came when it was 90 degrees or more and in the rain. It really was a labor of love.”

Teens weed the community garden during the summer. Photo courtesy of the PJFL
Teens weed the community garden during the summer. Photo courtesy of the PJFL

The garden featured several types of tomatoes and peppers in raised beds. Welcome Inn, a soup kitchen in Port Jefferson, was the recipient of the bounty. But vegetables were not the only plants raised in the community garden. Lots of annuals including sunflowers, impatiens, zinnia and salvia, many in colorful planters decorated by a local Girl Scout group, filled the garden, as well as herbs such as basil and mint. There was even an aquatic garden with water hyacinths and a fountain. Painted rocks placed carefully along the beds completed the picture.

The brightly colored birdhouses that adorn some of the larger perennials in the garden, such as the beautiful hydrangeas, are embossed with the letters PJFL. But what is more unique about them is that they were made using a three-dimensional printer that the library owns. A 3D printer makes objects from a digital file. So instead of printing out a photo of a birdhouse, the 3D printer produces the birdhouse itself. Using PLA, a type of biodegradable plastic, the teens created the colorful additions. The library owns the printer, but currently it is used only for special programs. “It takes one to two hours to print each thing,” said Schaarschmidt, so the process is time consuming, but “in the future [the public] will be able to use it.” She noted that the library is working out details, including the cost.

Now that autumn is just about here, plans include putting in a fall display of mums and corn stalks. Noted Schaarschmidt, “The Friends of the Library will be having a small sale of pumpkins to raise money for the library on Oct. 22.” She added, kids will be able to have their photos taken. “It will be a family event.” Check the library’s website,, for specifics, or call 631-473-0022 closer to the date.

Community gardens have so many benefits: produce for those who can’t afford it, service for local volunteers and, of course, the beauty of the plants themselves. They increase local property values and they cut down on the distance food must travel, helping to control pollution, to name just a few. For further information on community gardens, especially if you are interested in starting, or taking part in one, can be found at the American Community Gardening Association website:

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

Front row, from left, Liliana Dávalos, Heather Lynch and Christine O’Connell; back row, from left, Robert Harrison, IACS director and STRIDE PI, Arie Kaufman, and Janet Nye. Photo from Stony Brook University

By Daniel Dunaief

If Stony Brook University has its way, the university will stand out not only for the quality of the research its graduate students produce but also for the way those budding scientists present, explain and interpret their results to the public and to policy makers.

Pulling together faculty from numerous departments across the campus, Robert Harrison, the director of the Institute for Advanced Computational Science, created a program that will teach graduate students how to use big data sets to inform difficult decisions.

The institute recently received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship for this effort, called Science Training & Research to Inform DEcisions, or STRIDE. The grant will be used for students in the departments of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Biomedical Informatics, Computer Science, Ecology and Evolution and the schools of Journalism and Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

“This is unique,” said Arie Kaufman, a distinguished professor and chair of the Department Computer Science at Stony Brook. “It’s a new kind of approach to training and adding value to Ph.D. students.” Indeed, the students who complete the STRIDE training will earn their doctorates and will also receive a certificate for their participation in this program. Students in the participating departments will need to apply for one of the 10 positions available in the program next year. The partners involved in this program expect it to expand to 30 students within five years.

Kaufman said what enabled this collaboration was the range of skill sets across Stony Brook, including the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, which is a growing program that already offers the type of training more typical for an actor studying improvisation techniques than for a scientist studying neurotransmitters or DNA.

The Alda Center is “creating a new course,” said Christine O’Connell, an associate director at the center and assistant professor in the School of Journalism. She is currently working on developing the course description, which will include communicating to decision makers. O’Connell, who has a doctorate in marine and atmospheric sciences, sees her work with the Alda Center and with STRIDE as the “perfect combination in bringing the decision making piece to work with scientists to help them talk about their research.”

Scientists who take courses at the Alda Center with STRIDE learn how to understand their audience through various role-playing scenarios. They will also develop their abilities to present their goals or messages in a visual way and not just talk about their work.

Heather Lynch, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution who is also a co-principal investigator on the STRIDE grant, will help design the program, mentor students and develop courses. She’s been involved with this proposal since its inception, over three years ago. “In many ways,” she explained in an email, “my interest stems from my own difficulties communicating effectively with policy makers, and finding tools and visualizations that are compelling to a non-scientist.” Lynch recounted her frustration with presenting science to help a policy making body, such as a committee, with the kind of analysis she believed they were seeking. After she did her best to answer the question, the committee sometimes dismissed her work as not being what they wanted. “That’s frustrating because that means I failed at the outset to define the science question and that’s what I hope we can teach students to do better,” Lynch explained.

Lynch said she wishes she had the training these students will be getting. For scientists, computers are an invaluable tool that can help delve into greater breadth and depth in analyzing, interpreting and collecting information. The STRIDE effort includes a greater awareness of the way computers can inform political or social science. Researchers generate “tremendous amounts of data that can be used to analyze trends or detect diseases,” Kaufman said. “The data science is tremendous in every discipline.”

The faculty who are a part of this program said they have already benefited from the interactions they’ve had with each other as they’ve developed the curriculum. “I know a few people in Ecology and Evolution and I know more people in Marine Sciences, but these particular individuals were new to me,” said Kaufman. “We have already been communicating about ideas for how to use the Reality Deck for other projects.”

Completed in late 2012, the Reality Deck is a $2 million rectangular room in the Center of Excellence in Information Technology building. The room has hundreds of monitors that cover the wall from floor to ceiling and provides a way for researchers to study images in exquisite detail.

Other scientists in the program include Liliano Dávalos, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, Janet Nye, an assistant professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Joel Saltz, the founding chair of the Depatment of Biomedical Informatics, Erez Zadok, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Mighua Zhang, a professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

Lynch said the program will bring in people who are working on real-world problems, including those in government, industry and nongovernmental organizations who are “in a position to take science and use it for practical purposes.” As a part of the program, the scientists will monitor the progress of the STRIDE candidates, O’Connell said.

The evaluations will check to see if “they become better communicators and better at interpreting their data for different audiences,” O’Connell said. “The evaluation piece built in will help us assess the program.”