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On Wednesday, Aug. 14, New York’s Child Victims Act took effect. Under the law, people have one year to file a civil suit related to childhood sexual abuse, regardless of when they say the molestation occurred.

After that, victims will be able to file a case any time before they reach 55 years of age. For a criminal case, victims can now file a complaint up until they turn 23 years old.

It’s unclear exactly how many people will come forward to file charges from past abuse or how many people and organizations will be impacted by the temporary removal of the statute of limitations on cases. But, the new law promises a legal remedy for past abuse that aims to institute more sensitivity toward victims, while holding perpetrators accountable.

The website www.BishopAccountability.org lists 68 documented offenses by priests in the diocese of Rockville Centre, which includes Catholic churches on Long Island’s North Shore. One victim came forward and shared his story in the pages of our publication on Feb. 21, 2018, which is still available online at http://tbrnewsmedia.com/diocese-compensation-program-help-clergy-victims/.

But, whether it’s been in church groups, schools, Scouts or other organizations or perhaps in a family settings, children have been in situations where they were vulnerable. Offenses typically occur, experts say, in scenarios where adults are entrusted with the care of children without the supervision of parents.

Part of the solution to address childhood sexual abuse going forward will be through prevention. This means adults, organizations, parents and children have certain responsibilities. If you see red flag behavior, such as an adult ignoring boundaries and exhibiting secretive behavior with a child, this is a warning sign, and adults should respond with confronting the individual. Circumstances can be nuanced, so trust your instincts, say something and remove the child from the situation and otherwise respond appropriately.

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is a confidential resource available 24/7 that offers crisis intervention, support services and information on social services. Counselors there can help you decide what to do next. The telephone number is 800-422-4453 or 800-4-A-Child. The website is www.childhelp.org/hotline.

If victims need legal help, they can reach out to the Suffolk County Bar Association for a referral to a qualified attorney who can evaluate their case. Its website is www.scba.org and the telephone number is 631-234-5577.

With an estimated one in five people becoming victims of childhood sexual assault by the time they’re 18 years old, according to The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a new era of accountability may be at hand.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with what predatory activity looks like. Talk with your children and learn about age-appropriate lessons on body safety. Good resources on these topics include www.nyspcc.org/resources/.

With the window open, people should feel comfortable coming forward. We all need to give them support when they do.

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By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

How do you compete with the Big Mac and plastic straw?

That’s the dilemma facing the Democratic Party. You see, beyond squaring off against the tweets and the sideshows, the Democrats are hoping to win the hearts and minds of voters against a billionaire president who endorses products and ideas that carry broad appeal for his base and for some voters on the fence.

People don’t want to be told how to live their lives. They don’t want a government to say, “Hey, red meat isn’t good for you. Stop eating it and focus on the foods that will keep you healthy and be good for the Earth.” They also don’t want to give up something, like a plastic straw, that has been a part of their lives forever.

Now, there are plenty of solid arguments for reducing red meat and for cutting back on plastic straws. Those straws, among many other forms of plastic, are killing marine life. Plastics are so prevalent in marine waters that whales are dying of starvation because they have more than 80 pounds of plastic in their stomachs.

But that’s not what some voters think or care about. That dead whale probably didn’t eat the plastic straw that the voter used. And, even if it did, the plastic straw is only one of many other plastics that the mammal ate. Besides, it was probably a plastic straw that someone in China threw into the ocean or that an illegal immigrant used and discarded. I recycle my plastics, so why shouldn’t I use them as often as I’d like?

The problem for Democrats is simpler than that, though. It’s really a question of the present versus the future. As we are currently constructed, we, the American people, aren’t accustomed to sacrifice. It’s not considered a modern virtue by a president who says what he thinks and does what he likes. We want what we want when we want it. We are the culture of instant gratification. Someone says something awful about us, we want to hit back.

It’s why some people adore the president. He is the ultimate counterpuncher, he says what he thinks and he always wants the last word. Misspelling that word is irrelevant and, in its own way, it appeals to some people because proper spelling seems so elitist.

It’s also why he can roll back environmental laws designed to protect endangered species. Sure, long term, we might lose a few snakes, birds or trees, but we will also be able to make more money from the land, create more jobs and live for the present.

The great, big, beautiful tax cut helped boost the stock market. Why? Companies used that extra money to buy back their stock. That didn’t do much to help the economy or create jobs. It didn’t enhance the companies’ revenues or encourage corporations to take risks to fund important research or pursue innovative ideas. It was a for-the-present gift to companies which boosted their current bottom lines.

Conspiracy theories fit into the mold of a present focus. Until irrefutable facts come to the public’s attention, these theories — including some about how or even whether disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein died — burn like a bonfire, without requiring a discussion or even a preparation for an unknown future.

Looking past the present to the future that will affect our children and grandchildren is difficult. Besides, instead of worrying about what the world will look like in 20, 30 or 50 years’ time, we can sit down with the younger generation, pull up a chair, and eat a Big Mac and drink a sugar-filled soda through a plastic straw. Democrats need to create a picture that makes whatever changes they seek understandable, worthwhile and palatable.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may improve outcomes

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

Though statistics vary widely, about 30 percent of Americans are affected by insomnia, according to one frequently used estimate, and women tend to be affected more than men (1). Insomnia is thought to have several main components: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up before a full night’s sleep and sleep that is not restorative or restful (2).

Unlike sleep deprivation, patients have plenty of time for sleep. Having one or all of these components is considered insomnia. There is debate about whether or not it is actually a disease, though it certainly has a significant impact on patients’ functioning (3).

Insomnia is frustrating because it does not necessarily have one cause. Causes can include aging; stress; psychiatric disorders; disease states, such as obstructive sleep apnea and thyroid dysfunction; asthma; medication; and it may even be idiopathic (of unknown cause). It can occur on an acute (short-term), intermittent or chronic basis. Regardless of the cause, it may have a significant impact on quality of life. Insomnia also may cause comorbidities (diseases), including heart failure.

Fortunately, there are numerous treatments. These can involve medications, such as benzodiazepines like Ativan and Xanax. The downside of these medications is they may be habit-forming. Nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics (therapies) include sleep medications, such as Lunesta (eszopiclone) and Ambien (zolpidem). All of these medications have side effects. We will investigate Ambien further because of its warnings.

There are also natural treatments, involving supplements, cognitive behavioral therapy and lifestyle changes.

Let’s look at the evidence.

Heart failure

Insomnia may perpetuate heart failure, which can be a difficult disease to treat. In the HUNT analysis (Nord-Trøndelag Health Study), an observational study, results showed insomnia patients had a dose-dependent response for increased risk of developing heart failure (4). In other words, the more components of insomnia involved, the higher the risk of developing heart disease.

There were three components: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep and nonrestorative sleep. If one component was involved, there was no increased risk. If two components were involved, there was a 35 percent increased risk, although this is not statistically significant.

However, if all three components were involved, there was 350 percent increased risk of developing heart failure, even after adjusting for other factors. This was a large study, involving 54,000 Norwegians, with a long duration of 11 years.

What about potential treatments?

Ambien: While nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics may be beneficial, this may come at a price. In a report by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of reported adverse events with Ambien that perpetuated emergency department visits increased by more than twofold over a five-year period from 2005 to 2010 (5). Insomnia patients most susceptible to significant side effects are women and the elderly. The director of SAMHSA recommends focusing on lifestyle changes for treating insomnia by making sure the bedroom is sufficiently dark, getting frequent exercise, and avoiding caffeine.

In reaction to this data, the FDA required the manufacturer of Ambien to reduce the dose recommended for women by 50 percent (6). Ironically, sleep medication like Ambien may cause drowsiness the next day — the FDA has warned that it is not safe to drive after taking extended-release versions (CR) of these medications the night before.

Magnesium: The elderly population tends to suffer the most from insomnia, as well as nutrient deficiencies. In a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial (RCT), the gold standard of studies, results show that magnesium had resoundingly positive effects on elderly patients suffering from insomnia (7).

Compared to a placebo group, participants given 500 mg of magnesium daily for eight weeks had significant improvements in sleep quality, sleep duration and time to fall asleep, as well as improvement in the body’s levels of melatonin, a hormone that helps control the circadian rhythm.

The strength of the study is that it is an RCT; however, it was small, involving 46 patients over a relatively short duration.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

In a study, just one 2½-hour session of cognitive behavioral therapy delivered to a group of 20 patients suffering from chronic insomnia saw subjective, yet dramatic, improvements in sleep duration from 5 to 6½ hours and decreases in sleep latency from 51 to 22 minutes (8). The patients who were taking medication to treat insomnia experienced a 33 percent reduction in their required medication frequency per week. The topics covered in the session included relaxation techniques, sleep hygiene, sleep restriction, sleep positions, and beliefs and obsessions pertaining to sleep. These results are encouraging.

It is important to emphasize the need for sufficient and good-quality sleep to help prevent, as well as not contribute to, chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. While medications may be necessary in some circumstances, they should be used with the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time and with caution, reviewing possible drug-drug and drug-supplement interactions.

Supplementation with magnesium may be a valuable step toward improving insomnia. Lifestyle changes including sleep hygiene and exercise should be sought, regardless of whether or not medications are used.

References:

(1) Sleep. 2009;32(8):1027. (2) American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2nd edition, 2005. (3) Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(10):1099. (4) Eur Heart J. online 2013;Mar 5. (5) SAMSHA.gov. (6) FDA.gov. (7) J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-1169. (8) APSS 27th Annual Meeting 2013; Abstract 0555.

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By Linda Toga, Esq.

Linda Toga, Esq.

THE FACTS: When I was 3, my parents adopted a baby and named her Mary. My mother died seven years later and my father remarried. My father and his second wife had two children together. My father recently died without a will. My half-siblings insist that since Mary is not my father’s biological child, she is not entitled to a share of his estate. 

THE QUESTION: Are they correct? 

THE ANSWER: Fortunately for Mary, your half-siblings are wrong. 

HOW IT WORKS: If your father legally adopted Mary, she has the same right to a share of your father’s estate as you and your father’s other biological children. The law in New York is quite clear on that point. 

Section 7(c) of the New York intestacy statute governs how an estate is distributed when someone dies without a will. It states that “the right of an adopted child to take a distributive share … continue[s] as provided in the domestic relations law.” 

Domestic Relations Law Section 117 explicitly states that “[t]he adoptive parents or parent and the adoptive child shall sustain toward each other the legal relation of parent and child and shall have all the rights and be subject to all the duties of that relation including the rights of inheritance from and through each other …”

In other words, the relationship between Mary and your father is legally the same as the relationship between you and your father and the relationship between your half-siblings and your father. As such, she is entitled to the same percentage of his estate as any of his biological children. 

In addition, if Mary had predeceased your father and had children of her own, her children would be entitled to share the inheritance that would have otherwise passed to Mary. 

It is worth noting that Domestic Relations Law Section 117 not only sets forth the rights of the adoptive child but also the rights of the adoptive parent. If Mary had predeceased your father without a spouse or children of her own, your father, as her adoptive parent, would be entitled to her entire estate. 

If you are going to be petitioning the Surrogate’s Court for letters of administration so you can handle your father’s estate, you should consult with an experienced estate attorney to ensure that the administration process is handled properly and proceeds smoothly despite the position taken by your half-siblings.   

Linda M. Toga, Esq. provides legal services in the areas of estate planning, real estate, small business services and litigation from her East Setauket office. Visit her website at www.lmtogalaw.com or call 631-444-5605 to schedule a free consultation.

By Daniel Dunaief

Screws can’t be the best and only answer. That was the conclusion neurosurgeon Daniel Birk at the Stony Brook Neurosciences Institute came to when he was reconsidering the state-of-the-art treatment for spinal injuries. The screws, which hold the spine in place, create problems for patients in part because they aren’t as flexible as bone.

That’s where Stony Brook University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, headed by Fotis Sotiropoulos, plans to pitch in. Working with Kenneth Kaushansky, dean of Stony Brook University’s Renaissance School of Medicine, the two Stony Brook leaders have been immersed in uniting their two disciplines to find ways engineers can improve medical care.

Fotis Sotiropoulos

The two departments have created the Institute for Engineering-Driven Medicine, which will address a wide range of medical challenges that might have engineering solutions. The institute will focus on developing organs for transplantation, neurobiological challenges and cancer diagnostics.

The institute, which already taps into the medical and engineering expertise of both departments, will move into a new $75 million building at the Research and Development Park, in 2023.

The original investment from New York State’s Economic Development Council was for an advanced computing center. The state, however, had given Buffalo the same funds for a similar facility, which meant that former Stony Brook President Sam Stanley, who recently became the president of Michigan State University, needed to develop another plan.

Sotiropoulos and Kaushansky had already created a white paper that coupled engineering and medicine. They developed a proposal that the state agreed to fund. In return for their investment, the state is looking for the development of economic activity, with spin-off companies, jobs, new industries and new ideas, Kaushansky said.

The two leaders are developing “a number of new faculty recruits to flesh out the programs that are going in the building,” Kaushansky added.

Sotiropoulos, who has conducted research in the past on blood flow dynamics in prosthetic heart valves, believes in the potential of this collaboration. “This convergence of engineering and medicine is already doing what it was intended to do,” he said. Clinicians can get “crazy sci-fi ideas, talk to engineers and figure out a way to make it happen.”

In addition to spinal cord support, researchers in engineering and medicine are working on developing algorithms to make decisions about surgical interventions, such as cesarean sections. 

A recent project from principal investigator Professor Petar Djurić, chair of SBU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Gerald Quirk, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Stony Brook Medicine, recently received $3.2 million from the National Institutes of Health. The goal of the project is to use computer science to assist with the decisions doctors face during childbirth. A potential reduction in C sections could lower medical costs. 

“This is a fantastic example of this type of convergence of engineering and medicine,” said Sotiropoulos.”

Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky. Photo from SBU

While the building will host scientists across a broad spectrum of backgrounds, researchers at Stony Brook will be able to remain in their current labs and coordinate with this initiative. Combining all these skills will allow researchers to apply for more grants and, Stony Brook hopes, secure greater funding.

“For a number of years now, the [National Institutes of Health have] really favored interdisciplinary approaches to important medical problems,” Kaushansky said. “Science is becoming a team sport. The broader range of skills on your team, the more likely you’ll be successful. That’s the underlying premise behind this.”

The notion of combining medicine and engineering, while growing as an initiative at Stony Brook, isn’t unique; more than a dozen institutions in the country have similar such collaborations in place.

“We’re relatively early in the game of taking this much more holistic approach,” said Kaushansky, who saw one of the earlier efforts of this convergence when he was at the University of California at San Diego, where he worked with the Founding Chair of the Department of Bioengineering Shu Chien. 

The Stony Brook institute has created partnerships with other organizations, including Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center.

“The more clinical people we engage, the better it is for the institute,” Sotiropoulos said.

As for the bionic spine, Kaushansky has familial experience with spinal injuries. His mother suffered through several spinal surgeries. “There’s a need for much, much better mechanical weight-bearing device that will help people with back problems,” he said.

At this point, Stony Brook has gone two-thirds of the way through the National Science Foundation process to receive a $10 million grant for this spinal cord research. Sotiropoulos suggested that a bionic spine could be “a game changer.”

While the institute will seek ways to create viable medical devices, diagnostics and even organs, it will also meet the educational mandate of the school, helping to train the next generation of undergraduate and graduate students. The school already has a program called Vertically Integrated Projects, or VIPs, in place, which offers students experiential learning over the course of three or four years. The effort combines undergraduates with graduates and faculty members to work on innovative efforts.

“These projects are interdisciplinary and are all technology focused,” Sotiropoulos said. “We bring together students” from areas like engineering, computer science and medicine, which “go after big questions,” and that the VIP efforts are structured to unite engineers and doctors-in-training through the educational process.

Through the institute, Stony Brook also plans to collaborate with other Long Island research teams at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory, Sotiropoulos said, adding that the scientists are “not just interested in doing blue sky research. We are interested in developing services, algorithms, practices, whatever it is, that can improve patient care and costs.”

Indeed, given the translational element to the work, the institute is encouraging a connection with economic development efforts at Stony Brook, which will enable faculty to create spin-off companies and protect their ideas. The institute’s leadership would like to encourage the faculty to “create companies to market and take to market new products and developments,” said Sotiropoulos.

Photos from SBU

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By Matthew Kearns, DVM

Dr. Matthew Kearns

When I review vaccines with a pet owner, I usually get a nod of recognition on all vaccines until I mention leptospirosis. Then their face kind of squishes up in a weird sort of way.

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by an S-shaped bacteria called Leptospira. The bacteria affects dogs, humans, raccoons, possums, rats and squirrels. Outbreaks occur during a wet period after a prolonged dry spell (the type of weather we see from mid-August to mid-October). 

Leptospirosis bacteria are passed in the urine of infected animals. Therefore dogs do not have to come in direct contact with the wildlife. The most common way the bacteria is passed is from drinking “standing water.” Standing water refers to stagnant creeks, puddles, etc. Once the Leptospira bacteria is in the mouth, the bacteria passes through the membranes of the mouth into the bloodstream. It then travels via the bloodstream throughout the body. Depending on the strain that the pet is exposed to the bacteria can do damage to the liver, kidneys or both. 

Symptoms of infection include lethargy, inappetance, increased thirst and urination, and sometimes vomiting. Initial blood work will show elevations in liver enzymes, kidney enzymes or both. Definitive testing takes at least 10 days to get results. Therefore, better to treat while waiting on test results than to wait.  

The good news is this is a bacterial infection and will respond to antibiotics. If leptospirosis is diagnosed or suspected by your veterinarian, they will place your dog on antibiotics and other medications. Dogs that are too ill to take antibiotics will need to be admitted for IV fluids and medications initially. Dogs still eating and not vomiting can be sent home on oral medications. The bad news is (especially with the kidneys) the damage is sometimes already done by the time your dog presents to your veterinarian with illness.  

There is no way to eradicate this bacteria from the environment, but there is a vaccine available from your veterinarian that is effective against the most important strains seen on Long Island. The protection provided by the vaccine is short lived so annual boosters are a must. Make sure to keep your yard clear of puddles and other standing water (if possible), as well as keep dogs clear of wild animals or where wild animals have been.

This infection is zoonotic. Zoonotic refers to diseases that can be passed from animals to humans. If exposed, most people only get flu-like symptoms (fever, muscle aches, etc.), but the bacteria can affect the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. At-risk groups are the very young, very old and those with compromised immune systems (whether it be from disease or medications). 

If your dog has been diagnosed, take special care in handling them or their bedding. Wear gloves, wash bedding with bleach, and leash walk in areas that can either be decontaminated with dilute bleach (a 1:40 dilution or one teaspoon of bleach to every gallon of water) or away from where other dogs and humans play. Wash hands after handling them and if you are feeling ill please see your own physician immediately.  

If you think your dog may be at risk for leptospirosis talk to your veterinarian about instituting the leptospirosis vaccine into your dog’s annual protocol. 

Dr. Kearns practices veterinary medicine from his Port Jefferson office and is pictured with his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine. Have a question for the vet? Email it to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com to see his answer in an upcoming column.

Odie

MEET ODIE!

This week’s shelter pet is Odie, a 3-year-old Jack Russel terrier/poodle mix, currently waiting at Kent Animal Shelter for his furever home. Odie is an awesome little dog, weighing in at just 14 pounds. A rescue from Georgia, this little guy loves going for walks and would be a great addition to any family.  Come on down and meet him! 

Odie comes neutered, microchipped and is up to date on all his vaccines.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Odie and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

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By Barbara Beltrami

With her passionate reminiscences and mouth-watering descriptions of comfort foods from way back in our childhoods — things that were part of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ regular repertoires; the kinds of things we neither cook anymore nor see on menus — my friend has motivated me to comb through old recipe files and cookbooks to try to duplicate them. I have done so with the caveat that they will never be as good as the ones we remember. How could they be? However, as my new muse in this as in so many things, I am dedicating this column to her.

Tomato Aspic 

Ask any Southern lady and she will tell you that this dish is a standard at luncheons and funerals.

YIELD: Makes 8 to10 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

¼ cup cold water

¼ cup boiling water

4 cups tomato juice

1 tablespoon chopped onion

½ green bell pepper chopped

1 celery rib

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

½ teaspoon celery seeds

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Nonstick cooking spray

Fresh bibb lettuce leaves

Fresh parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, sprinkle the cold water over the gelatin; let sit 5 minutes. Whisk boiling water into gelatin until it is dissolved. In a large saucepan, combine the tomato juice, onion, pepper, celery, brown sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and celery seeds. Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes; pour through wire mesh strainer into medium bowl; discard veggies or save for another use. Stir in gelatin and lemon juice. Spray a 10-cup ring mold with nonstick cooking spray; pour mixture into mold; chill 6 hours or until set. Unmold onto plate lined with lettuce leaves; garnish with parsley. Serve with shrimp salad and deviled eggs.

Old-Fashioned Crabmeat Casserole

Casseroles were very popular decades ago. The combination of crabmeat, butter and breadcrumbs makes this a rich but oh-so-delicious seafood dish.

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 large egg

1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 stick unsalted butter

1½ cups unflavored breadcrumbs

1 cup half-and-half

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 pound cooked crabmeat (picked over to remove any bits of shell)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter or grease a two-quart casserole dish. In a small bowl whisk together egg, parsley and mustard. In a medium saucepan melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat; add one cup breadcrumbs and half-and-half; cook stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; add egg mixture and salt and pepper and stir just enough to incorporate but not cook egg. Fold in crabmeat; transfer to prepared casserole; sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs; dot with remaining butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with rice.

Julia’s Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Julia was the daughter of a slave. That’s how many generations the recipe

for this childhood favorite has been around.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies. Stock photo

YIELD: Makes 12 to 15 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup whole grain oats (old-fashioned not instant oatmeal)

¼ stick unsalted butter plus butter for greasing baking sheets

¾ cup medium brown sugar

1 egg

Pinch or 2 all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon vanilla or to taste.

DIRECTIONS:

Generously grease two baking sheets and set aside. Preheat oven to 275 F. Spread oatmeal on another baking sheet and toast it for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside and let cool. Raise oven temperature to 350 F. In a large saucepan, melt butter over moderately low heat; add sugar and mix well. Remove pan from cook top, stir in egg and oatmeal; beat until blended, then thoroughly blend in flour and vanilla. Drop batter, about one tablespoon at a time, about two inches apart as cookies will spread, onto greased baking sheets. Bake about 10 minutes or until cookies are firm and edges are slightly brown. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheets, then with sharp spatula, carefully remove to wire racks, Serve with ice cold milk.

EMBRACING THE SEASON

Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station snapped this beautiful photo on Aug. 3. He writes, ‘The last few weeks I have seen many butterflies, and today there was a large monarch pollinating the blossoms at Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson. I set the camera’s shutter to 6 frames a second and attempted to capture the monarch in full flight and managed to get this close.’

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com

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Americans feel sorrow and fear whenever we learn that a gunmen carrying a high-powered firearm has committed a mass shooting. In one week, three shootings occurred in three separate states. While none of them took place on Long Island or even New York, the tragedy still hits home. The situation is for too long unbearable and action is overdue.

We are too often reminded that we aren’t safe whether we are at work, school, a movie theater, a store, nightclub, a concert or a festival. 

After the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018 many school districts on Long Island began contemplating whether or not to have armed guards, while systematically upgrading security in their buildings. Children coming back to school in the Comsewogue School District, for example, will walk through vestibules lined with bullet resistant glass.

One editor was talking about an upcoming garlic festival with a group of friends the other day when one shuddered and said, “Please, don’t go to any garlic festivals,” all in relation to a shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, July 28. 

After the recent tragedies, with one shooter robbing the lives of 22 in El Paso, Texas, and another killer murdering nine in Dayton, Ohio, with dozens injured in both cities, many have said that we need to remember these events and how we feel when we vote in 2020. Why wait? 

Our local legislators, even members of our boards of education, make decisions that affect our everyday lives. They can write stricter laws when it comes to purchasing and owning guns, allocate funding to patients seeking mental health care or help schools with grants for security. Make sure they are making the decisions you want them to. Even though the 2019 elections involve local municipalities and not federal offices, every legislator can affect laws that protect our lives and well-being.

This week’s headlines made many Americans feel helpless. Police responded to the Dayton shooting in 30 seconds since the first round left the gunman’s chamber. In that time, nine people were dead. The suspect used a 100-round magazine and a semi-automatic rifle. It took five times as long to write this paragraph as it took a murderer to kill nine people.

But there’s something all of us can do. We can vote for those who represent our values. This year and next, the time is now to look deep inside our hearts and ask what we feel is the best route to stop the violence. Then research the candidates who are running for office to see where they stand.

And even before election day, call your local representatives and tell them something must be done now, not after election day.

Every time you vote for a candidate, your ballot is a show of confidence to continue in the political realm. Today’s member of town council can be tomorrow’s county or state legislator or next year’s congressional leader.

Nov. 5, Election Day, will be here before you know it. The time is now to start doing the footwork and for everybody to vote. Our editorial staff will soon be hosting political debates to prepare for our election issue. We’re not waiting until 2020 to ask the candidates tough questions and neither should our readers.

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