Community

A view of the Setauket Presbyterian Cemetery. Photo by Susan Nolan

By Heidi Sutton

‘How glorious it is to paint in the open fields, to hear the birds singing around you, to draw in the fresh air – how thankful it makes one.’William Sidney Mount, May 1848

The cooler weather, shorter days and leaves of autumn reds, oranges and gold signal the arrival of the Three Village Historical Society’s annual Spirits Tour. Now in its 22nd year, this year’s event, with the theme “William Sidney Mount: Family, Friends & Ideas,” will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22 with tours starting at 5 p.m.

‘Self-Portrait,’ oil on canvas, 1832 by William Sidney Mount. File photo
‘Self-Portrait,’ oil on canvas, 1832 by William Sidney Mount. File photo

Born in Setauket in 1807, William Sidney Mount was an incredible artist best known for his genre paintings (portraits and scenes from everyday life) of Long Island, most notably “Dance of the Haymakers,” (1845) “Farmers Nooning” (1836) and “Dancing on the Barn Floor” (1831). His paintings often commented on American social and political issues and by the middle of the nineteenth century, he was one of the most renowned artists in America. He is buried at the Setauket Presbyterian Church across from the Village Green. The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook boasts the largest collection of Mount’s paintings, thanks to gifts by philanthropists Ward and Dorothy Melville, along with his diaries.

Guided walking tours will lead guests through the historic cemeteries of the Setauket Presbyterian Church and the Caroline Church of Brookhaven. The “spirit” of William Sidney Mount with his family and friends will greet visitors along the way. Actors in period costumes supplied by Antiques Costume & Prop Rental by Nan Guzzetta will play the parts of Mount’s mother, brothers Henry and Shepard, his sister Ruth along with people who commissioned paintings from him, including Lumen Reed, his principal sponsor in New York. Reed would eventually donate his collection of the artist’s paintings to the New York Historical Society. Rachel Holland Hart, played by Bonnie Duvall, who is featured in Mount’s classic painting, “Eel Spearing at Setauket,” will also make an appearance. As a special treat, the tour will include a visit with members of the Setalcott Nation, Helen “Morningstar” Sells and Nellie Edwards, on the Village Green.

'Farmers Nooning' (1836) by William Sidney Mount. File photo
‘Farmers Nooning’ (1836) by William Sidney Mount. File photo

Frank Turano, co-chair of the committee and Historical Society Trustee, wrote the script for this year’s event. According to Turano, the Spirits Tour serves as both an educational event for the community and a fundraiser for the Three Village Historical Society. Previous tours have explored themes such as the Culper Spy Ring and Service to Country and Community as well as featuring prominent families in the area such as the Strongs.

The decision to celebrate William Sidney Mount this year was an easy one. “Mount is a significant artist from mid-19th century,” said Turano. “His work … leads into the Hudson River School … as a significant art movement. Long Island was used extensively by artists, both in [Mount’s] time and later times. We had all the big guns here at one point in the 19th century: the Moran Brothers, Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase — they all followed Mount.” Aside from having been born here, Turano said one of Mount’s attractions to the area was the high quality of the light. “He often commented on the high clarity of the atmosphere and true colors.”

“Mount painted the [local] community, the people he saw, the people he grew up with. The end result was that you have a good representation of the life of the people here,” said Turano, adding, “Mount also came from an enormously talented family. He was taught sign painting by his older brother Henry, his younger brother Shepard Alonzo was an unbelievable portrait painter and they were all musicians.”

“Mount was a man for all seasons in the 19th century,” said Turano. Along with being very influential in the art world, with sponsors in New York, “he invented a violin named the Cradle of Harmony, which was designed to be louder than the typical fiddle of the day.” Turano said Mount’s paintings also give us good insight into the manner and dress of the people in Setauket in the early 1800s as a rural farming settlement. “How did the common people dress? What did they look like? He’s a character bigger than the community and that’s why he’s the focal point here,” said Turano.

Tours will leave from the Setauket Presbyterian Church, 5 Caroline Ave., Setauket every 15 minutes starting at 5 p.m. and last for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The last tour departs at 7:45 p.m. It is advised to dress warmly, wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight. Tickets in advance are $18 adults, $15 members; $10 children under 12, $8 members. Tickets on the night of the event are $25 adults, $20 members; $12 children under 12, $10 members. Copies of the Three Village Historical Society’s book, “William Sidney Mount: Family, Friends and Ideas” will be available for purchase for $3 on the night of the event. Rain date is Sunday, Oct. 23. To order tickets, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

In conjunction with the tour, the Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook will showcase its current exhibit in the Art Museum on the hill: “Drawn from Life: Objects and Stories from William Sidney Mount’s Paintings” and Mora’s Fine Wines will host a wine and spirit tasting event with hors d’ouevres at Madiran the Wine Bar, 209 Main St., E. Setauket on Oct. 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets for the wine tasting are $39.99. To order, please visit www.moraswines.com.

Suffolk County leads New York State in deaths related to heroin and opioid overdoses. Graphic by TBR News Media
Suffolk County leads New York State in deaths related to heroin and opioid overdoses. Graphic by TBR News Media

Suffolk County has a drug problem. And while it may be broken news, this is not breaking news.

Heroin and prescription opioid-related overdoses and deaths are increasing yearly across the nation, state and county, according to all available data, but the overall conversation lacks focus, those close to the issue have said. One Long Island man whose line of work leaves him with little insulation from the problem said it is worse than most would imagine.

Dan Moloney, who along with his brother Peter owns six Long Island locations of Moloney Family Funeral Homes, said in an exclusive interview that he believes the problem facing Suffolk County deserves a harsher spotlight. Moloney, who has an unenviable front row seat to the horrors that come from the addictive and powerful substance, said the problem reached a tipping point for him in 2009.

After a funeral for a Rocky Point student who overdosed, the Moloneys decided to try to use their platform to deliver an important message. They had posters made up with the words “Some kids are dying for a high” in bold letters on top of an image of a flower arrangement with a card that read, “With Deepest Sympathy, The class of ’10.” Below the image, the funeral director’s message read in part: “The last thing we want to see is a death that could have been prevented. Help us make sure we don’t.”

The Moloneys tried to distribute the posters to school districts around the Island, though they couldn’t find any takers.

Maloney’s Funeral home still has stacks of this poster. Photo by Alex Petroski
Moloney’s Funeral home still has stacks of this poster. Photo by Alex Petroski

“Nobody wants to talk about it,” Dan Moloney said. “Nobody wants to hear from the funeral director.”

On the surface, in Suffolk County, it would appear heroin abuse is a daily conversation in one way or another, from politicians sponsoring initiatives to news outlets covering arrests and overdoses, to firsthand accounts from former addicts in various forms.

Moloney said he wouldn’t agree — not only is the problem receiving too little attention, he said, but also the wrong people are doing the talking.

“Are people sitting in the bleachers talking about the heroin problem?” he said. “But if their kid had some sort of disease, they’d be talking about it. They’d be doing fundraisers to help them find a cure.”

The two go hand-in-hand — heroin and opioids — or at least they should, Moloney said. Heroin is an illegal and highly addictive version of an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, statistics reporting deaths related to one or the other are not always paired.

The CDC’s website said health care providers wrote nearly a quarter of a billion prescriptions for legal opioids in 2013. Supply and demand for prescription pain medication doesn’t always dry up at the same rate. When the prescribed pills are gone and the desire for more lingers, the cheaper, stronger drug becomes a logical alternative.

In 2013, New York State’s Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing — Prescription Monitoring Program, also known as I-STOP/PMP, went into effect. The system works as a registry for practitioners to consult and track dispensed prescription histories for patients. The program has restricted supply of opioids to addicts, though it has done nothing to curb their demand. No tracking system exists for the neighborhood heroin dealer.

Moloney said one of his business’s facilities held funerals for three heroin overdose victims in just one day earlier this year. The closest comparison he could come up with to a public health concern inflicting that much damage in one day is a car crash that kills a vehicle full of people. He said that in some years, only two to three motorcycle-related deaths occur over the course of entire summer, which the public tends to find alarming, but that pales in comparison to heroin- and opioid-related deaths.

The difficulties in securing relevant and timely statistics on overdose-related deaths in New York State has contributed to undermining the understanding of the severity of Suffolk County’s problem, according to Moloney.

“Are people sitting in the bleachers talking about the heroin problem? But if their kid had some sort of disease, they’d be talking about it. They’d be doing fundraisers to help them find a cure.”

— Dan Maloney

“New York State is terrible,” he said about the state’s demographic record-keeping, which is an insight few could offer outside of the funeral business. “Three years down the road — the latest data you have is from three years ago. With the technology we have today, there’s absolutely no reason for that. And I know from colleagues that I have in other states, when you can’t get the information about how many deaths occurred in a certain place for two or three years, or what they were — because all of that is tracked — I just think the data that’s out there is antiquated and the situation is worse than the data they’re using shows.”

Father Francis Pizzarelli, director of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson, has been a regular contributor of insight and opinions regarding heroin and opioid addiction among young people in Suffolk County for about as long. He, like Moloney, said the problem is likely worse than anyone in the county realizes.

“The level of denial among parents continues to be deeply disturbing,” Pizzarelli wrote in a April 2016 column featured in this newspaper. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, “which are a vital lifeline and network in our community for those working on recovery and wellness, have to worry that drug dealers are now waiting outside these meetings to prey on men and women in early recovery.”

Pizzarelli said his tipping point, much like that of Moloney’s, came in 2009. So far, though, he added, it has not been enough.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said in May there were 103 fatal heroin overdoses in Suffolk County in 2015. New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (D) released a report on June 9 saying there were more than 200 deaths in which heroin or opioids played a role in Suffolk County in 2014.

Regardless of how and when the deaths are identified with a specific cause or a contributing factor being opioids, one thing is clear to Moloney: the number is higher than we think.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, since the act of administering the medication Narcan to reverse an opioid overdose became commonplace in August 2012, more than 630 saves have been recorded through Sept. 22.

In addition to conflicting stats, Moloney said an issue that he encounters is the stigma parents feel about losing a child to an overdose and what it might suggest about their aptitude as a parent. Most of the time, parents decline to immediately identify a heroin or opioid overdose as their child’s cause of death, he said. In fact, Moloney estimated that nine out of 10 parents whose child died of an overdose don’t address the issue and the cause isn’t added to a death certificate until about three months later, when lab reports are complete.

“It almost creates an environment where there doesn’t have to be an acknowledgement —not publicly,” Moloney said. “Of course there’s a lot of shame.”

From left, Senator Kemp Hannon, Barbara Heaphy, Gloria Rocchio and Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak, Chief Executive Officer and VP for Health Systems of Stony Brook University Hospital, at the dinner fundraiser on Sept. 29.

By Heidi Sutton

From left, Kathleen Mich, WMHO trustee; Dr. Richard Rugen, WMHO chairman; Gloria Rocchio, WMHO president; Senator Kemp Hannon; Tom Manuel, The Jazz Loft president and founder; Anna Kerekes, WMHO trustee; Rob Taylor, board of trustees, The Jazz Loft; Laura Landor Stiegelmaier, director of Education and Community Outreach, The Jazz Loft; and Ed Gutleber, WMHO trustee. Photo by Barbara Heaphy
From left, Kathleen Mich, WMHO trustee; Dr. Richard Rugen, WMHO chairman; Gloria Rocchio, WMHO president; Senator Kemp Hannon; Tom Manuel, The Jazz Loft president and founder; Anna Kerekes, WMHO trustee; Rob Taylor, board of trustees, The Jazz Loft; Laura Landor Stiegelmaier, director of Education and Community Outreach, The Jazz Loft; and Ed Gutleber, WMHO trustee. Photo by Barbara Heaphy

Last Thursday evening was a night to remember, literally, as The Ward Melville Heritage Organization in Stony Brook hosted a fundraising dinner at its Cultural & Educational Center to introduce a new program for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients on Long Island and their caregivers, aptly titled Young at Heart. The dinner, which was catered by The Three Village Inn, attracted many health care professionals in the community who were eager to learn more about this exciting new initiative. Live music was provided by Rich Iacaona on piano, Keenan Zach on bass and Tom Manuel on trumpet.

The 26-week-long series, set to begin in November, is a collaborative effort between The WMHO, Stony Brook Medicine, the Long Island State Veterans Home and The Jazz Loft along with sponsors The Bristal Assisted Living and Aging Flower. The memory care enrichment program will feature music and memory, art, poetry and comedy. Programs will be held alternatively at The Jazz Loft and the Cultural & Educational Center. A facilitator who specializes in geriatrics and a certified nurse will be present at each program.

Senator Kemp Hannon, chair of the Senate Health Committee, regarded nationally as an expert in the health care industry, helped kicked off the program and was honored for spearheading both the reauthorization of the Health Care Reform Act and the development of New York’s Assisted Living Program.

“In our society there are causes that are popular and attract a great deal of support. [However] there are critical issues that are overlooked,” said Gloria Rocchio, president of The WMHO. “One of them is the reason we are here tonight — a disease affecting people of all ages — dementia and Alzheimer’s — which is not getting the support it should with the exception of Senator Kemp Hannon whose [Care Act] legislation brings positive steps in the right direction.”

Senator Kemp Hannon accepts a recognition award from WMHO Trustee Richard Rugen and WMHO President Gloria Rocchio. Photo by Heidi Sutton
Senator Kemp Hannon accepts a recognition award from WMHO Trustee Richard Rugen and WMHO President Gloria Rocchio. Photo by Heidi Sutton

“You are doing something very special tonight,” said Hannon. “You’re focusing on a need and you’re doing it as a community. You’re forming a consciousness that I have not heard ever before for this big, big topic.” The senator received a recognition award from The WMHO for his compassionate leadership.

Tom Manuel, founder and president of The Jazz Loft, said the initial vision for The Jazz Loft always included programs for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s and children with special needs. “I have seen firsthand how magical [music therapy can be].” Laura Landor Stiegelmaier, director of Education and Community Outreach at The Jazz Loft agreed, adding, “This is so important to us. We truly believe that we are setting an example for our community and our community at large for all that we can do for those who are suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s.”

Barbara Heaphy, recreation director at The Bristal Assisted Living in East Northport summed it up perfectly, saying “There’s such a need for this multifaceted program and the enrichment that it will offer people all over Long Island.”

The Young At Heart committee will host a community forum to discuss memory loss at The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, 97P Main St., Stony Brook on Oct. 13 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Facilitated by Dr. Stephen G. Post of Stony Brook Medicine, the public is invited to participate in a round table discussion with medical professionals discussing solutions and caregivers talking about peaks and valleys of their experiences. Learn about the Young at Heart series and its upcoming events. Guest speakers will include Stony Brook Medicine’s Dr. Lisa Strano-Paul and Dr. Lory E. Bright-Long, Dan Cohen, founding executive director of Music & Memory Inc. and caregivers Don Estes and Karin Wile. Refreshments will be served. For more information on this free event or to RSVP, call 631-689-5888.

For more information about the Young at Heart program, please call 631-751-2244.

Honor Gracey Kopcienski 1932-2016. Photo from Kopcienski family

By Elizabeth Kopcienski Schwartz

Honor Gracey Kopcienski bestowed grace and kindness on every person she met throughout her 84 years. She left this world Sept. 17 at her Mount Sinai home with lifelong partner, Johnny (Alfred) Kopcienski by her side.

Honor was born July 2, 1932, to Ruth Jaynes Gracey, a much-loved Port Jefferson high school teacher, and Stuart Gracey, an internationally acclaimed singer and conductor. Honor and her sisters, Louise Hawley and Anne Hedstrom, attended the one-room schoolhouse on North Country Road in Mount Sinai. She and her childhood friend, Jane Carter, often reminisced about their wonderful early years freely roaming the woods and beaches of Miller Place.

“Honor and Johnny’s greatest gifts, and source of greatest pride, are their children, grandchildren and great-grandchild.”

— Elizabeth Kopcienski Schwartz 

Later, at Port Jefferson High School, Honor met Johnny. Their courting included a contest where they kissed all the way from Patchogue to Port Jefferson in the rumble seat of a Ford Model A. One particular Friday, after high school graduation and a semester at Mannes School of Music in New York, Honor went to Tinker National Bank and withdrew $89 from Johnny’s bank account. She had him drive her to Rose Jewelers in Patchogue where she informed him that he was buying her an engagement ring. They were wed May 25, 1952, and their love produced eight children, 24 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The values that defined Honor as a person are seen in her family: compassion, integrity and a love of music.

Honor’s devotion to music began early. At 12, she accompanied her father and his choruses. Early on she studied piano at a studio in the Old Field lighthouse. Later she participated in the Juilliard preparatory program. She was an accomplished pianist, organist and accompanist. Her passion led her to Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson where she and Johnny were wed, and where she served as parish organist for more than 50 years. Parishioners would often stand in the pews, marveling at her playing until the final note. Honor’s gift was an integral part of hundreds of weddings, funerals and masses. She and her musical partner and dear friend, Dolores Butera, were honored by The Port Times on behalf of Infant Jesus Choir as People of the Year for the Arts in 1991.

Honor taught and accompanied numerous children and performers, her own children and grandchildren included. She played for Manhasset Glee Club, Port Jefferson Choral Society, Southold Town Choral Society, Choral Society of Moriches, SUNY Stony Brook, and at master classes given by opera singer Eleanor Steber in her Belle Terre home. Later she was accompanist and mentor for the New Century Singers. Honor always maintained her own musical studies and in 2000 studied and passed the rigorous test to attain the prestigious Associateship of the American Guild of Organists.

Instead of retiring, Honor continued to play the organ at many local churches including Mount Sinai Congregational, Setauket’s Presbyterian with director Mark Orton, Port Jefferson’s First United Methodist and, most recently, St. Louis de Montfort R.C. Church in Sound Beach.

While busy raising children along with her musical career, Honor was also active in community service. She was instrumental in organizing Polish Fest at Infant Jesus Church, cooking kielbasa sausage side by side with Johnny; was active in supporting Port Jefferson Rotary charitable efforts including the Gift of Life; and was a contributing member of the Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society.

When the new Infant Jesus Parish Center was built, Honor and Johnny donated a piano so that there would be music for all events there. They supported funding for a new piano for Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

Honor and Johnny’s years of giving to the people and spirit of Infant Jesus Parish were recognized by the Diocese of Rockville Centre with the St. Agnes Medal of Service award. The couple were early advocates and strong supporters of Father Frank Pizzarelli in his efforts to minister to troubled youth in the community. The mission of Hope House Ministries matched Honor’s passion for personal, ongoing and daily commitment to the spirit of giving.

Honor and Johnny’s greatest gifts, and source of greatest pride, are their children, grandchildren and great-grandchild: Charlaine and Ira, Emma (Sean) and Abbie; Beth and Joseph, Kate (Dan), Caralyn (Johnny) and David; Mark and Rebecca, Andrew, Julia, Christian and Lauren; Therese and Clark, John (Shannon and baby Clark), Christen (Ryan), Mary Liz (Adam) and Luke; Ann Marie and Chip, Sergei and Daniel; John Paul and Martha, Jake and Mary Claire; Jennie and Peter, Gracey (Jamie), Peter and Annie; Matthew and Becky, Gregory, Benjamin, Margaret and Sam.

Their 24 grandchildren include five addressed as doctor, an Olympian, teachers, musicians, business people and enthusiastic students. Honor was proud of the legacy of hard work, service and compassion she instilled in her family. She will always be remembered by both her name and key trait: Honor.

Honor’s final days were blessed to end in peace, comfort and love through the assistance of the staff at Good Shepherd Hospice. Her family prefers that memorial donations be sent to Good Shepherd Hospice or the giver’s local hospice organization.

Arrangements were entrusted to Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket. Please visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the online guestbook.

Elizabeth Kopcienski Schwartz is the daughter of Honor Gracey Kopcienski.

Children practice weaving at a previous SeaFaire event. Photo courtesy of Whaling Museum of Cold Spring Harbor

By Rita J. Egan

Staff members of the The Whaling Museum & Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor have been behind closed doors since early September working on a number of exciting new projects. On Oct. 2, the doors will open once again as the museum hosts their annual SeaFaire celebration and launches the museum’s brand new permanent exhibit, Thar She Blows!

Celebrating Long Island’s maritime heritage, SeaFaire features craftspeople demonstrating felting and needle punching, rug hooking, calligraphy, weaving, and there will be a silversmith and jewelry maker on hand, too. Visitors will also be able to participate in carving scrimshaw, building a model sailboat and creating a candle of their very own, according to Judy Palumbo, community relations and development manager.

At last year’s event, Palumbo said it was wonderful to see children forgetting their electronics and marveling at artisans. She said one group of little girls spread their blanket out and just watched one woman weaving. “They were mesmerized,” she said. She said the staff is excited about the event as well as the debut of Thar She Blows!, which will bring many of the artifacts that visitors have seen in the past at the museum together in a cohesive story.

whaling-museum-08
A child enjoys weaving at last year’s event. Photo courtesy of Whaling Museum of Long Island

Nomi Dayan, executive director, said the exhibit stems from her research while writing the Images of America book, “Whaling on Long Island,” released in the beginning of this year. The executive director said the exhibit features a painted mural depicting the cross-section of a whaling boat. In addition to the mural, museumgoers will find maritime-inspired activities, artifacts mounted to the wall and informational panels. Dayan said the hope is that visitors will connect to Long Island’s whaling history.

“It was difficult putting it together because Long Island has such a rich whaling heritage. Right after Southampton was established in 1644, whaling companies sprang up,” she said. “To really understand Long Island is to understand how whaling affected it. So it was difficult trying to boil down this story onto just a couple of walls.” Dayan added that while the museum’s former standing exhibit focused on Cold Spring Harbor’s contribution to whaling, the new one takes an expanded look at Long Island’s involvement in the industry as a whole.

According to Dayan, visitors will find a light-up map featuring local former ports and a recruitment station where guests will be able to ask each other questions to see if they would have been qualified to be a whaler, such as, “Can you eat food with cockroaches in it?” Museum guests will find a scent box where they will be able to smell what cooking blubber and a fo’c’sle smelled like. A fo’c’sle, which is short for forecastle, was the part of the ship where the bottom-ranking whalers slept in cramped bunk beds in filth and grime, a scent that Dayan pointed out will reinforce to the learners what issues whalers faced.

The executive director said visitors will find more fresh additions to the museum including lifesize cardboard cutouts throughout the museum. The new collection enables visitors to learn more about the various personalities that made up the whaling industry, from the rich captain who built a mansion out east to a lowly greenhand, according to Dayan.

“We wanted to show the diverse range of cultures and backgrounds of people who made up the industry. So, that’s something else fresh that people can anticipate,” she said. Dayan said the goal of an event such as SeaFaire as well as the new exhibit is for visitors to come away with a deeper understanding of local maritime heritage. “We want our history to be a foundation for the future. Hopefully the crafts making and fun of it will open people’s eyes to the tremendous story here.”

The Whaling Museum & Education Center, 301 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, hosts SeaFaire on Sunday, Oct. 2 from noon to 3 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and children. Some activities require an extra fee. For more information, call 631-367-3418 or visit www.cshwhalingmuseum.org.

Above, from left, Elizabeth Malafi and Marlene Gonzalez of the Middle Country Public Library; Bebe Federmann, Mari Irizarry and Dawn Rotolo. Photo from Elizabeth Malafi

By Ellen Barcel

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, more than 9 million firms in the U.S. are owned by women. Although many of these firms are large, many others are small, run by a single entrepreneur. Many are run by women who find they are able to work from a home office or studio. They are writers, artists, craftspeople, importers, designers and other entrepreneurs, many earning a living while caring for families.

Fifteen years ago, the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach began a tradition that continues to this day — the annual Women’s EXPO — a one-day event where local women entrepreneurs can network with their colleagues, display and sell their work at the library and get the word out about their great products.

At this year’s event, to be held Thursday, Oct. 6, expect 83 vendors, said Elizabeth Malafi, coordinator, Adult Services and the Miller Business Resource Center. Approximately 25 will be new vendors while the rest will be old friends. “It’s sad,” she said, “when some people you really love are no longer at the show, but you know they are succeeding.” Sometimes their business just outgrows the EXPO.

What’s really exciting about the EXPO is the great diversity of entrepreneurs. Shoppers can find everything from jewelry and pottery to beverages, from crocheted items to home goods. The one overriding theme is that the products and services are provided by women. Noted Malafi, the EXPO “is getting bigger and bigger every year.”

During the day, there will be two opportunities to dine. The EXPO Café will be open during lunchtime with food provided and sold by the Fifth Season Café from Port Jefferson. At 4 p.m., visit Sweet Street and Beats. “People can come and purchase snacks and listen to music.”

Malafi emphasized that this “is not just a trade show. We’re here to support women and help them succeed in the business world.” The EXPO, a project of the library’s Miller Business Center, provides workshops to women entrepreneurs throughout the year, helping them to establish their businesses. Here’s a sampling of vendors scheduled to be on site:

Dawn Rotolo

Dawn Rotolo, owner of Dragon’s Nest Baked Goods, fills a very special need. Many consumers find that they are gluten or dairy intolerant, or have other food allergies. Shopping for these specialty items can be challenging and what’s found in the stores either is limited or not as flavorful as the traditional ones. Here’s where Rotolo comes in. Finding out that she herself was gluten intolerant, she decided to fulfill a dream. “I always dreamed of owning my own bakery,” she said. And, that bakery would have foods that people with gluten intolerance could enjoy.

“Everything is gluten free,” but, she didn’t stop there. She went on to develop products that were dairy free, nut free and vegan. Items include a variety of breads (including a “rye style” bread made without rye flour) cupcakes, cookies (even meringue and rainbow), cakes and muffins. She will even take orders for other specialty items. Rotolo has no classical training in baking, but has always loved it. While it was her mother who was a professional cook, her father was the one who frequently asked her to bake. “That’s where my love of baking started. It reminds me of my dad.”

Where did the name Dragon’s Nest come from? “I’ve always loved dragons and I didn’t want a company named after me.” Think of a dragon breathing fire — there’s the oven for the baking. In addition to appearing at the EXPO, Rotolo is at selected farmers markets (check Instagram or Facebook for specifics).

Bebe Federmann

Bebe Federmann of Soul Vessel Designs said that she “stumbled on pottery. I always wanted to take a pottery class.” Then she came across Randy Blume. “I was with her when she was working in her basement” before opening her Hands on Clay studio in East Setauket. Federmann worked for her for a number of years before Blume moved out of the area.

She noted, “There hasn’t been anything to replace it.” Federmann went on, “I was then in the corporate world until four years ago … but never gave up [on pottery making], doing it as a hobby.” But then she wanted to go back to her pottery studio full time. Where does the name of her business Soul Vessel Designs come from? “I put my heart and soul into what I make.” She noted, “With clay, possibilities are endless.” Her pottery is primarily tableware, mugs, bowls, pitchers, vases, etc. “They are functional art, designed to be used every day, very long lasting.” She added, “and planters. I’ve done a lot of those lately.” Her color palette is primarily neutral, with “a lot of white, some blues and greens” for decoration.” Federmann added that she also takes special orders. “I do a lot of custom designs, including work for restaurants.”

This will be Federmann’s third year at the EXPO. “It’s one of the best, such a great show.”

Jessica Giovachino

Jessica Giovachino, owner of GioGio Designs
Jessica Giovachino, owner of GioGio Designs

Jessica Giovachino of GioGio Designs is a residential architect by profession. “That’s how I got involved in home goods,” she noted. Sometimes after designing a home, she is asked to design related home goods. Giovachino’s home goods are eco-friendly, made from bamboo. “Bamboo is a sustainable wood.” After being harvested, bamboo can be replanted and regrows quickly. Giovachino joked that when people hear her products are made from bamboo, they quickly say, “You can come to my yard.”

Many of her home products are slotted. “They fit together like a puzzle … candleholders can be taken apart to store,” she said, adding that she wants her products to be not only useful, but fun. For larger products, “I work with a cabinet maker,” to cut the pieces. “I finish them in my studio. Others I cut out with a laser cutter. Because I’m an architect I’m used to designing on the computer … then send the file to my laser cutter.” After the pieces are cut she does all the finishing. In addition, “I do a whole line of jewelry as well. All the jewelry is laser cut from wood, stainless steel and leather,” she said.

Giovachino has been involved in designing home goods and jewelry for three years — “starting my fourth year.” However, this is her first year at the Women’s EXPO. “A friend does catering for the event. She told me about it … it looked great, really exciting.” In addition to the EXPO, she and her work can be found at local craft shows, but “I’m moving to wholesale, getting crafts in boutiques.”

Alaila Lee

Alaila Lee, owner of Clovesz
Alaila Lee, owner of Clovesz

Alaila Lee, owner of Clovesz, may be the youngest vendor at the EXPO. “I’m just 21,” she said. After graduating from Bay Shore High School, Lee went to the Culinary Academy of Long Island in Syosset. Then she “started selling hibiscus flower drinks [Sorrel]. They’re representative of my culture — Jamaican,” using a family recipe. The beverages come in several flavors, including pineapple and mango and can be “served hot or cold, still or sparking.” The drinks are sold in really unique bottles. When she was looking for a unique shape, she found that many shapes and designs were on the shelf already with other products. “I looked around and saw a light bulb,” and so the light bulb bottle came into existence. Lee markets primarily through expos and farmers markets but “I would like to expand in the culinary world.”

Products she is considering include tea bags and other beverages. Since so many of these vendors have items that make great holiday presents, this is a wonderful opportunity to start your shopping in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, knowing that you are helping the local economy.

Mari Irizarry

Mari Irizarry of Hook and Wool is one of the vendors presenting her work at the Women’s EXPO for the first time. Irizarry is from Brooklyn and moved to Long Island two years ago. “I was a graphic designer and marketing director” in Brooklyn, said Irizarry. “When I moved here I left that job and made more time” for her handmade items.

“As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, times were occasionally tough and we moved around a lot … Looking back, a lot of the things we had, that outlasted apartments we lived in, were handmade. Not only were they made with someone’s energy and love, but they were high quality — truly pieces of art. One of the only material things I have from childhood is a hand-crocheted Christmas stocking that our neighbor, Mrs. Genovich, made for me,” she said.

Irizarry learned crocheting, sewing and knitting from her mother, who learned from her mother. “I didn’t do much as a child,” she added but “it was 1999 and I was broke. I had a lot of family and friends I wanted to give holiday presents to … so I got to stitching.” She added that some of those items are still being worn today. Irizarry’s wool and acrylic items are handmade by her and include scarves, hats and blankets. She noted, “I’m at my happiest when I’m creating something to share and enjoy with loved ones.” Speaking of next Thursday’s event, she said, “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s so exciting to be invited to the EXPO.”

The annual Women’s EXPO will take place on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the Middle Country Public Library, 101 Eastwood Boulevard, Centereach. Admission is free and there is ample parking. For further information, call the library at 631-585-9393 or go to www.womensexpoli.org.

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Adult Coloring Contest

We have a winner!

Karin Bagan of Setauket is the winner of our latest adult coloring contest! Karin’s intricate nautical-themed graphic was chosen over many other entries, and she wins a three-year subscription to Times Beacon Record Newspapers. Congratulations and thank you to all who entered! See page B23 in the Septemberto color in Karin’s picture and to enter our next contest.

Enter to win! Why should kids have all the fun? Color in this image by Karin Bagan of Setauket and enter to win a three-year subscription to the Times Beacon Record (a $99 value). Mail your winning entry to Times Beacon Record Newspapers, P.O. Box 707, Setauket, NY 11733 or email a high-resolution image to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com. Deadline to enter is Oct. 15. Contest open to ages 21 and older. The winner will be announced in the issue of Oct. 20. Questions? Call 631-751-7744, ext. 109.

Kicking off last year's Paint Port Pink with a ceremony at Port Jefferson Village Hall. Photo courtesy of Mather Hospital

 

 

Village to raise awareness about breast cancer and breast health

Phountain on East Main Street in Port Jefferson was awash in pink during last year’s Paint Port Pink. Photo courtesy of Mather Hospital
Phountain on East Main Street in Port Jefferson was awash in pink during last year’s Paint Port Pink. Photo courtesy of Mather Hospital

Paint Port Pink, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital’s month-long breast cancer awareness community outreach, returns in October with new events, initiatives and community partners.

A tree lighting ceremony in front of Village Hall Sept. 28 kicked off the event. Presented by Astoria Bank, the event’s mission is to stress the importance of screening, early detection and education about breast cancer and to help raise funds for the Fortunato Breast Health Center Fund for the Uninsured at Mather.

The Village of Port Jefferson will be all aglow as more than 80 storefronts will be decorated in mini pink lights and pink banners. Local schools will hold fundraisers and restaurants will offer pink drinks.

Pink lights shine bright on Theatre Three’s marquis at last year’s event. Photo by Heidi Sutton

This year’s outreach will also include an art show at the Port Jefferson Free Library from Oct. 1 to 31, the 10th annual Pink Rock Golf Classic at the Baiting Hollow Golf Club on Oct. 3. Mather Hospital’s 51st annual Gala, One Enchanted Evening: A Night of Entertainment featuring the Edwards Twins, will be held on Oct. 14 at East Wind Caterers in Wading River at 7 p.m. The gala will include the presentation of the Community Service Award and Theodore Roosevelt Awards for service to the hospital and the community. The month-long event will conclude with Mather Hospital’s free educational health and wellness HealthyU seminar series and health fair on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m.

Paint Port Pink is sponsored by Long Island Physician Associates, LI Anesthesia Physicians, Long Island Bone and Joint, People’s United Bank, Empire Bank, North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates, C.Tech Collections, Peconic Auto Wreckers and The Pie with the cooperation of the Village of Port Jefferson, the Port Jefferson School District, Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and other local groups.

Diane Towers with her photograph, ‘Light My Way’. Photo courtesy of Mather Hospital
Diane Towers with her photograph, ‘Light My Way’. Photo courtesy of Mather Hospital

A story of survival

The photograph is one of light and serenity, of calm waters and clouds and a bridge between darkness and light. It is a perfect metaphor for what Diane Towers was feeling when she captured the scene in Ocean City, Maryland following her final treatment for breast cancer.

“To me, getting through it meant seeing something good every day, that there’s beauty all around you and every sunset is something you appreciate more and more,” said Towers, a Mount Sinai resident who was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. “It was my first vacation after I had done chemo and I had my bald head and reconstructed body and we went away to Maryland. That picture was taken right outside our hotel room and the lights had just come on and it was just breathtaking to me. I was coming out of a dark time and seeing the light.”

Towers, a 28-year employee of John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, had discovered a lump in one of her breasts through self-examination. “It was a total shock,” she said, adding that there was no family history of breast cancer. She went to the Fortunato Breast Health Center at Mather and had a mammography and an ultrasound, but the results of both tests were negative, she said. Working with her doctor there, she had a biopsy taken and the cancer diagnosis was confirmed, she said.

“One of the things that came out of the experience for me is don’t put all your trust in technology. You have to be diligent. You are your best advocate for your health. You know your body,” she said.

After consulting with Drs. Joseph Carrucciu and Michelle Price at Fortunato, Towers elected to have a bilateral mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery. “They were wonderful advocates and just guided me,” she said. “I have to say the people at this hospital got me through this. They were amazing from the secretary when you first walked in to people in the lab. The compassion that comes out of people when you go through something like this really is amazing.”

“Here I am seven years later, finished with everything and in total remission,” Towers said. “I’ve had two children married and three grandbabies on the way and a lot of beautiful things have happened. So there is life after cancer.”

Towers entered her photo, “Light My Way,” in the Paint Port Pink’s art show. “It’s A Good Day,” at Port Jefferson Free Library. An art exhibit reception will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m., with viewing of the exhibit open to the public during normal library hours through Oct. 31. Artwork may be purchased for $50 per piece at the reception. After Oct. 5, please call Mather Hospital’s Public Affairs Office at 631-476-2723 if you would like to purchase a piece. Art work will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

For a complete list of Paint Port Pink events, partners and sponsors and to see all the entries in the art show, visit www.paintportpink.org.

Blast from the Past: Do you know when and where this photo was taken? What are these two men talking about? Email your answers to info@wmho.org. 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.

Answer to last week’s Throwback Thursday:

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph L. Merrill of Locust Valley (foreground), and Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville of Stony Brook share a box at the 67th National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 1955. Newsday/Tom Maguire

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph L. Merrill of Locust Valley (foreground), and Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville of Stony Brook share a box at the 67th National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 1955.
Newsday/Tom Maguire

 

Jeff and Laura Long tie a ribbon on a tree marked for removal in Stony Brook. Photo by Donna Newman

By Donna Newman

Residents of the M-section of Strathmore houses in Stony Brook would like to know where things stand as far as their sycamore trees, are concerned. Will they be able to keep the trees, and get their roads paved?

They said they have been told Brookhaven Highway Supervisor Dan Losquadro’s (R) office will only say that the project is “on hold” until the re-evaluation is completed. Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said she has received no potential schedule date for a meeting she plans to hold after the review has taken place, to allow the highway department to explain their re-evaluation with the chance for residents to respond.

“The need for road maintenance and repair must also be weighed against the quality and character of neighborhoods that would be impacted by the loss of trees…”

–Steve Englebright

A spokesperson for Losquadro’s office said Wednesday that the re-evaluation is ongoing and the office has received quite a few phone calls, some from residents who want the trees on their property taken down. She said they will be in touch with Cartright’s office and will work together moving forward once a plan is in place.

The reassessment of the tree removal was announced in a letter to affected M-section residents sent from the supervisor’s office, dated Aug. 26, and reiterated by Deputy Supervisor Steve Tricarico at the Brookhaven Town Board meeting Sept. 1. Since then, there have been no updates as to the progress of the review.

M-section resident Patricia Woods described a telephone conversation she had with Losquadro in which she said, “He was very nice. He said he ‘just wants to do the job the right way. [He doesn’t want to be] repairing the streets if they’re not done correctly the first time.’ I said to him, ‘if your idea is to do it the right way, you have to look at the whole picture, because [cutting down all the trees], that’s not the right way to do it.’”

Sunday morning at 10 a.m., homeowners gathered on Mariner Street, where Woods initiated another action to help call attention to their plight. At the suggestion of a friend, Deena Brando, who doesn’t reside in the M-section, but has empathy for the cause, Woods began tying green ribbons on the trees marked for removal on her street.

3-year-old Liam Fink and his brother, 6-year-old Tyler Fink, take spools of ribbon to adorn trees. Photo by Donna Newman
3-year-old Liam Fink and his brother, 6-year-old Tyler Fink, take spools of ribbon to adorn trees. Photo by Donna Newman

Spools of green ribbon were distributed to neighbors who gathered on the dead-end street Sunday morning. Petitions were available for homeowners to sign, indicating their opposition to the proposed tree removal. And after signing, M-section residents fanned out to the affected streets to encircle all the marked trees with green ribbons.

The organizers of this grass roots campaign have reached out over the last month to every official and organization they could think of to find help. They set up a Facebook page titled “Save the Stony Brook Street Trees” to facilitate communication to keep residents and others who are interested apprised of developments.

Many residents contacted Assemblyman Steve Englebright’s office (D-Setauket), because of his well-known stance on environmental issues.

In a letter to Losquadro dated Sept. 22, Englebright wrote, “Safe and well-maintained roads are vitally important to our communities and your department should be commended for striving to get the most out of the tax dollars spent on our roads. However, the need for road maintenance and repair must also be weighed against the quality and character of neighborhoods that would be impacted by the loss of trees, including the ecological benefits, aesthetics, property values, and health aspects that these mature street trees provide.”

Despite the fact that Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) informed the residents who attended the Sept. 1 board meeting that the highway superintendent is an autonomous, elected official who does not report to the supervisor, M-section homeowners plan to attend the Sept. 30 board meeting to continue to press for resolution of this issue.

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