Community

Annual Huntington Lighthouse Music Fest comes to town for 9th year

The Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society held its annual Huntington Lighthouse Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 5. This festival, which is only accessible by boat, featured nine music acts and was enjoyed by all ages. The society also announced the launch of The Beacon Society initiative, a challenge grant program established by Bernadette Castro, long time Lloyd Harbor resident, successful business woman and former New York State commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, to benefit the ,lighthouse’s capital campaign. The initiative is designed to raise $80,000 within the next 10 months to help fund Huntington Harbor Lighthouse’s $1.5 million Foundation for the Future capital campaign for critical repairs to the historic structure’s foundation its watertight integrity.

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AMVETS Post 1998 in Port Jefferson Station is hosting a fundraising barbecue to support aging and otherwise needy local veterans.

The nonprofit’s annual BBQ will fire up on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 1 p.m. at the American Legion Post, 1450 Hallock Ave., Port Jefferson Station. There will be chicken, hot dogs, burgers, clams, drinks and dessert, as well as a Chinese auction and a raffle.

Tickets are $25 for adults, and kids under 12 are free. They can be purchased through AMVETS Post Commander Barbara Alt at 631-509-4151 or Post Historian Ed Bednarek at 631-331-3853. The tickets will also be on sale at the American Legion on the day of the barbecue.

Contact Alt or Bednarek for more information about the event.

A yacht club boat gets ready for the 2014 Village Cup Regatta in Port Jefferson Harbor. File photo by Bill Landon

After almost 40 years on Port Jefferson Harbor, an area yacht club is changing its name.

The Setauket Yacht Club announced on Thursday that it is now called Port Jefferson Yacht Club, paying tribute to the area that has been its home since 1977.

According to a press release from Port Jefferson Village, the yacht club’s members overwhelmingly approved the name change.

The announcement comes about a week ahead of the Village Cup Regatta, an annual boat race between the village and John T. Mather Memorial Hospital — in which the yacht club participates — that raises money for pancreatic cancer research.

“We have been a part of the Port Jeff community for many years and it was time for us to embrace our ties with the local residents, businesses and the wonderful harbor,” yacht club Commodore John Ciarelli said. “We feel a special bond to the village and wanted to reflect that in our name.”

Since moving from Setauket to Port Jefferson, the club, which was founded in 1959, has been based on Surf Avenue Pass Way, behind the Port Jefferson Village Center off East Broadway. It offers a summer sailing program and services such as launches to moorings.

According to the village press release, the renaming also coincides with a new type of membership program for special activities, aimed at people who need a place to store smaller watercraft like kayaks, canoes or paddle boards.

“We want to be the portal for the enjoyment of the harbor for the greater Port Jeff and Brookhaven community,” Ciarelli said. “We provide a broad spectrum of waterfront activities, including being the home of the Stony Brook University sailing and rowing teams.”

The Village Cup Regatta will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Port Jefferson Harbor. Music will start around 10 a.m. at the harborfront park near the Port Jefferson Village Center, and the traditional parade of boats will begin an hour later.

In that memorial parade of boats, the sailboats racing in the regatta will cruise past with special banners and nautical flags. Following the race, the Village Cup will be presented to the winning team in the Village Center.

This year’s race ambassadors are actor Ralph Macchio, known for his roles in “The Karate Kid,” “My Cousin Vinny” and “The Outsiders,” and husband of a Mather Hospital nurse; and Maurice DuBois, a CBS news anchor.

In the four races held in the five years since the regatta was founded, Port Jefferson Village won the first three and Mather won the fourth, making the hospital the current cup holder.

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Emma S. Clark Memorial Library. File photo by Michael Ruiz

Setauket’s own Emma S. Clark Memorial Library is making strides to save money just in time for budget season.

The library announced this week it would be migrating its catalog system to be part of the Partnership of Automated Libraries in Suffolk, which runs library services with 49 other libraries across the county. The shared product, according to library Director Ted Gutmann, should increase efficiency and ease of use for both patrons and library employees while also saving money.

“The cost of ongoing maintenance is going to be shared across 50 libraries,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense for us to join this network.”

A spokeswoman for the library said patrons will now be able to create their own usernames rather than remembering long library card barcode numbers and will also have the option to pay fines online and receive text alerts.

“It will be much faster to borrow items from other Suffolk County libraries,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “In just one click, the request is automatically put into other libraries, without the patron having to specifically request an interlibrary loan. The item is then delivered to Emma Clark Library for pickup or can be delivered to other Suffolk libraries as well.”

The cost-saving move comes just in time for the Sept. 16 budget vote at the library, which projected a 0.30 percent change in the tax levy from $5,177,684 last year to $5,192,968 this year. The proposed 2016 library budget saw an increase in employee salary expenditures and material and program expenditures, but a slight decline in costs related to mandated benefits, building and operations funding and estimated income.

Voting on the 2016 library budget is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the library from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the periodical room.

The new system is also more cost effective, both up front and ongoing, the spokeswoman said. The move to PALS should result in an annual 61 percent savings for the library catalog operation costs and will help the library in complying with the New York State tax freeze program. Under the tax freeze program, New York State requires shared services in order to reduce costs and save money — under the tax relief program, if the library complies with the tax cap and shows cost savings through shared resources, qualifying homeowners are reimbursed for increases in their local property taxes on their primary residences.

It is also important to note that during this migration, from Sept. 16 to Nov. 2, patrons will not be able to use the online catalog to request interlibrary loans. They will, however, be able to pick up books themselves at other libraries or they may contact our reference librarians who can place requests on the patron’s behalf. Starting in early November, when the new system is live online, interlibrary loan requests will resume. The library appreciates the understanding of the community — this small inconvenience while the catalog is under transition will lead to more improved services by November.

A screenshot of the town’s app, Huntington @ Your Service. Photo by Rohma Abbas
A screenshot of the town’s app, Huntington @ Your Service. Photo by Rohma Abbas

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) and Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) have announced that the town has upgraded its mobile phone app and has installed Wi-Fi in the Huntington Town Board room, Town Hall lobby and the Dix Hills Ice Rink.

The town recently completed a major revision of its mobile phone app that makes it easier for residents to enter service requests. It also adds a variety of functions that link more seamlessly to the town’s website and to social media. Users of the app will be able to take and upload images; integrate with their Facebook and Twitter accounts; read the town’s news feed; access the town’s mobile website; learn the refuse pickup day for a particular location; and view and find recreation facilities, nearby restaurants, businesses and libraries based on location services. The phone app works on both iPhone and Android devices and can be downloaded at both the Apple App store and Google Play. On both sites, search for Huntington @ Your Service.

Plans are in place to expand Wi-Fi service over the next six months to additional areas and town facilities, including the Village Green Senior Center.

Still digging out from early August wind, rain storm that rocked parts of greater Three Village community

John Morgan, above, from Impact Environmental, clears branches from the entrance of the park at Trustees Park in Poquott. Photo by Giselle Barkley

In the aftermath of the powerful early-morning storm that hit the North Shore on Aug. 4, organizations and volunteers, like Impact Environmental and Ward Melville High School ice hockey students, are battling fallen trees and branches as they cleanup areas like Trustees Park in Poquott.

The volunteers began cutting trees, picking up debris and clearing areas of the park around 9 a.m. on Friday. Few people have used the park for recreational purposes since the storm, as broken trees, branches and other debris still blocked the park’s main entrance. Nick Pisano, a Ward Melville High School student, said he “doubts that [they] could finish [cleaning] today.”

Impact environmental worker Frank DeVivo agreed with Pisano.

“There’s a lot in there and we have several people [helping clear the debris], so we’ll be able to get it done,” DeVivo said. “It’s just a matter of time and organization.”

Two weeks ago, on Aug. 13, Poquott residents voiced their concerns regarding how storm-damaged areas of the village were being cleared following the storm. But clearing those areas, including the park, was difficult. Clearing the park alone cost Impact Environmental around $8,000.

“The village has no money to do any of the prep work,” Richard Parrish, president and CEO of Impact Environmental said. “So we made a decision that Impact Environmental would pay [to clear the park].” This is something we do to help out the village,” Parrish said.

Earlier Friday, the debris extended several feet in front of the park’s entrance. According to Impact Environmental worker John Morgan, the volunteers started their day fighting to clear branches and twigs to clear the area in front of the entrance. Morgan also said he helped clear an additional path by the entrance. With the path cleared, Morgan and the other volunteers could continue picking up debris, including pieces of a 30 to 35 foot birch tree that broke off during the storm.

Morgan cut the broken tree into several pieces, making it easier to clear the main entrance area. Morgan, like Parrish and the other volunteers, was happy to help the community, saying that making others happy made him happy. DeVivo had a similar response regarding clearing the park’s entranceway.

“This is a really well-used park, and they enjoy the ability to get to their tennis courts, and they enjoy the ability to take nice walks,” DeVivo said. “So it’s good to be able to come out here and help out, and help clean it up and get it back to functionality.”

Mayor Delores Parrish also joined the volunteers, later in the day, to help clean and move trees and other debris from the park. According to Richard Parrish, the mayor was bringing a larger vehicle to help transport debris to a landfill.

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Norman Samuels and Herb Mones clean up the Greenway Trail.

By Karen Jillian

“It’s not a surprise that many people are calling the Three Villages ‘Long Island’s Bicycling Capital!’” So writes Herb Mones regarding the Setauket to Port Jefferson Greenway Trail. Mones, a member of the Friends of the Greenway, says “the Greenway Trail [protected open space constructed for conservation and recreational purposes] is a great community resource. Its second phase finished, it has now become “the longest paved greenway in Suffolk County — 3 ½ miles long.”

The Greenway Trail runs between Limroy Lane in East Setauket and the New York State Department of Transportation parking lot in Port Jefferson Station, near Route 112 at Hallock Avenue.

Due to the overwhelming amount of positive results associated with the path, Mones has decided to “engage the community in a program to enhance and beautify the Greenway through monthly cleanups and having the public adopt and maintain portions of the trail.”

A biker enjoys a section of the Greenway Trail.
A biker enjoys a section of the Greenway Trail.

A cleanup was held this past Saturday morning. The 28 volunteers were ably assisted by Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) who believes that “the development of the Greenway has been nothing but a positive asset and resource.”

“When I speak to people in my district about the trail, they mention they enjoy that it connects communities. At the beginning, when a new idea like this is introduced, there is always a level of fear from some in the community until people see what an asset it can be, especially once people use it,” said Cartright.

Local resident and volunteer, Norm Samuels, echoed her sentiments. “People are generally very happy with the trail and use it in many different ways:  walking, running, biking and dog walking. During the right weather I go cross-country skiing! Only complaint some have: no port-o-potty.”

Another hardworking elected official at Saturday’s cleanup was Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).An obvious environmental enthusiast, she said, “I was always excited about this idea of a trail. From social community, health and environmental  perspectives, we are all better for it. The good use of the trail drives out any bad use.”

The volunteers report that “bad use” consists of the occasional strewn trash, which is a light amount. As for people being worried about kids hanging out, non-usage of the trail or any negatives, the trail, has, instead, brought many positive attributes. Usage of the trail is very high. Most people have cleaned up after themselves and their dogs and traffic on Upper Sheep Pasture has slowed down dramatically because of the enhanced safety crossings and alerting of drivers to crosswalks.

But the best may be yet to come. This trail, which began as an acquired stretch of property in the 1960s and had originally been pitched as a bypass to 25A, had, in the 1990s become part of an alternative plan to become a Greenbelt Trail. Today the Friends of the Greenway are working with North Shore Rails to Trails “in an effort to extend the path from Port Jefferson Station to Wading River, which would create a 15-mile ribbon of bike paths,” according to Mones.  Not bad for something that started out over 50 years ago as a paper road for a vehicular bypass!

The trail, though, needs the community for it to survive and be maintained. The next clean up is scheduled for Sept. 26 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. If you would like more information on being a part of this growing community that uses the trail or would like to volunteer, you can call the Three Village Community Trust’s Friends of the Greenway at 631-689-0225.

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The Pax Christi Hospitality Center is on Oakland Avenue in Port Jefferson. File photo

Pax Christi Hospitality Center needs help supplying guests with sanitary products.

The center, which shelters local homeless men and is under the umbrella of Port Jefferson-based nonprofit Hope House Ministries, founded by Father Francis Pizzarelli, has asked for donations of toothbrushes, small soaps and small shampoos, like the ones found in hotel rooms. The items will go to guests who visit the facility for a shower.

Pax Christi is located at 255 Oakland Ave. in Port Jefferson, near the Long Island Rail Road tracks. It is a 25-bed facility for males older than 16 that provides emergency shelter, food and social services. Call 631-928-9108 for more information.

By Jared Cantor

On Sunday, Huntington’s Heckscher Park ball field was home to classic cars of all types at the annual Robert J. Bohaty Memorial Classic Auto Show. From Rat Rods to Muscle cars, there was a vehicle for everyone’s liking. The event is hosted by the Northport Centerport Lions Club.

Bill would limit cars allowed per bedroom

Supervisor Ed Romaine listens to resident concerns at the town meeting. Photo by Giselle Barkley

It’s a battle between the town and landlords as officials and concerned homeowners keep trying to combat illegal housing.

A proposed Brookhaven Town law aims to prevent overcrowding in rental homes by limiting the number of allowed tenants to four unrelated people — half as many as currently permitted — and restricting the number of permitted vehicles at a rental house to one car per legal bedroom plus one additional car. At a four-bedroom rental house, that translates to five allowed vehicles.

The proposal is the most recent in a string of initiatives to prevent illegal house rentals, including a measure that outlawed paving over front yards to make additional space to park cars.

“That’s how bad it was,” Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said during last week’s Brookhaven Town Board meeting.

The housing issue came to the forefront a few years ago with the help of Bruce Sander, the president of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners. In Three Village and neighboring areas like Port Jefferson and Middle Country, residents have spoken against illegal and often overcrowded rental homes that are filled with Stony Brook University students, citing quality of life issues such as noise and overflowing trash.

Romaine said the rules detailed in the proposed law would make it easier for the town to identify rental homes that house more people than legally allowed.

“There are a number of people who have taken over foreclosed houses for sale with four bedrooms,” Romaine said. “They’ve carved it up and put around eight to 10 students in them.”

Sander said students aren’t the issue — landlords are.

“The law department and town investigators are on top of this all the time because the landlord never obeys the laws,” Sander said in an interview, referring to landlords who rent houses to more tenants than legally allowed. “It’s just the nature of the beast; it’s just what they do.”

Sander helped found Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners around three years ago, after he moved to Stony Brook and identified two illegal boarding houses across the street from him. As the boarding houses became disruptive, residents in the area became concerned.

“I saw the value of my house and the value of my property just go down the tank.”

Tracking the number of people living in one rental home has been difficult for the town, but officials hope counting cars will make the process easier. The town’s overall goal is to provide legal housing for students without disrupting their neighbors.

“Stony Brook is a middle to upper-middle income,” Romaine said. “People moving in with their kids expect a certain quality of life.”

One member of the concerned homeowners group said at the town board meeting that he would like the town to focus on property upkeep as well.

“We’d like [the homes] to stay at a level of cleanliness and order that the community has around [the home],” the man said.

While rental housing and landlord issues are not as bad as they once were, Sander said there is more to be done.

“We still have a lot of work to do; these houses are in disrepair,” Sander said during the board meeting. “Some of these landlords just believe that they’re immune and that our group is going to go away. Well no, we’re growing. We have 1,400 to 1,500 homeowners that are standing strong against these illegal houses.”

The public hearing on the latest proposed law is set for Thursday, Oct. 1, at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall in Farmingville.

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