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The Veterans Comedy Assault team performs at the Comix Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun. Photo from Facebook

VFW Santora and Bonacasa Memorial Post 400 presents Comedy for a Cause featuring the Veterans Comedy Assault Team on Aug. 27, 8 p.m. at the Moose Lodge in Mount Sinai.

The Veterans Comedy Assault Team started in January 2015 as a part of Project 9 Line, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans with reintegration back to civilian life, and help those veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The team is made up of veterans from Long Island.

Since it’s inception, the group has performed various shows on Long Island as well as at the Broadway Comedy Club in Manhattan and the Comix Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and all proceeds from this show will benefit a veteran family in need.

To purchase tickets, call 631-806-1699. Visit www.veteranscomedyassault.org for more information about the organization.

Two people embrace at a lights of Hope event two years ago. File photo by Heather Khalifa

In honor of Overdose Awareness and National Recovery Month, Lights of Hope is returning to Port Jefferson.

On Aug. 31 at Memorial Park on the Harbor in Port Jefferson Village, Dan’s Foundation for Recovery, a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Stony Brook that is dedicated to helping substance abuse addicts find a new direction, and Magnolia New Beginnings, a Massachusettes-based organization that advocated for those affected by addiction, are inviting those near and far to a candle lighting.

The event, which will begin at 7 p.m., marks a day to remember those lost to drug overdose, and support those who are struggling or are still in recovery. Guest speakers will be present, as well as live acoustic music during the lighting of lumières.

All proceeds generated from a raffle will help someone who is struggling to get into and pay for rehab.

For more information, call 631-946-0807.

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The Smithtown Historical Society hosted its annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Car Show Aug. 21. Attendees gazed at dozens of vintage cars, exteriors, interiors, motors and more, while listening to live music.

Port Jefferson’s annual Heritage Weekend celebration took place Aug. 20 and 21 at 19 locations throughout the village. Visitors made stops at the Village Center, Drowned Meadow Cottage Museum, Port Jefferson Village Chamber of Commerce and more to take in historical sights and sounds during the two-day event. Funding for the event was provided in part by a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

Port Jefferson’s 2016 Greek Festival kicked off Aug. 18 and has three remaining dates from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28. The annual cultural celebration is hosted by the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption at Port Jefferson and features food, activities, music, fireworks and more.

On Aug. 20, Mount Sinai’s Heritage Trust, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, hosted Summerfest 2016 at Heritage Park.

The event featured live music, including Dog House Blues Band, The Jukebox Explosion and Rock Nation; vendors; a beer tent; raffles and other family fun.

The new trail will move from Port Jefferson Station to Wading River, passing through where old Miller Place railroad tracks used to be. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Every project has its perks, and in the case of one large North Shore endeavor, the possibilities are endless.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), along with other local officials, recently announced a 2018 completion year for the Port Jefferson Station to Wading River Rails to Trails project  — that has been more than 30 years in the making. With the plan, which involves paving a bike path where old railways existed to be used for cyclists, potential is everywhere.

While the project will provide a safe space for biking enthusiasts, skateboarders, roller-bladers and even those just looking to take a scenic stroll, there is also a huge chance for economic growth, with the path connecting so many Town of Brookhaven hamlets. Bikers, hikers and anyone in-between could stop at kiosks along the path to grab a bottle of water or an ice cream cone, or groups may stop in any hamlet along their travels to grab dinner or go shopping. The trail could also be a way to connect locals, and tourists too, to local beaches, museums and other landmarks.

It’s also just a great opportunity to explore the wonders of the North Shore. The plan helps preserve even more open space while stringing together breathtaking views that tend to get lost in all of the development on Long Island.

Further, the trails should serve as inspiration for cars to be left at home occasionally, which can only have a positive impact on the environment around us.

This project is attractive on multiple levels and across multiple layers of government. We applaud officials for being able to work together and across party lines to achieve a common goal with so many benefits.

Photos from United Way of Long Island Across, Steve Kostoff, Deena Menendez, Kathy Wagner and Erick Rosales will compete with five other members of Team Mission United, to raise money for veterans. Photos from United Way of Long Island

By Desirée Keegan

Four North Shore runners have joined Team Mission United, competing for the charity United Way of Long Island during the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon.

Steve Kostoff, Erick Rosales, Kathy Wagner and Deena Menendez will team up with five other athletes for the 26.2-mile race, which will take place on Nov. 6 and benefit 135,000 veterans and military families on Long Island.

Kostoff, who lives in Mount Sinai, said as soon as he found out Mission United was the program he would be running for, he went to the organization’s website to learn about its works, which focus on employment services, education, financial services, health and housing support.

“Many of these men and women went overseas to fight for us, now they have to come back and in many cases fight for themselves to receive care,” he said. “Any way I can help to raise funds or get the word out is important.”

“It’s a great opportunity to give back and do my part for veterans — they have sacrificed so much to give us our freedom.”

— Erick Rosales

Kostoff works for Suffolk Bus Corp. as an ADA bus driver. Through his job he’s supported United Way of Long Island over the years, and has come to hear many stories of veterans and their special needs, as he often transports disabled veterans to Northport VA Medical Center for appointments.

John Corrado, president of Suffolk Transportation Service and past president of United Way of Long Island’s board of directors, is pleased to support Kostoff in his efforts as he runs his first full marathon.

“To have the chance to see an exemplary employee like Steve compete is truly inspiring,” he said. “Not only will be have our organization’s support, but I am certain that his colleagues will rally around him on his journey to the finish line.”

Rosales, of Coram, a UPS driver, is also eager to compete. He said he’s been training for the marathon for a long time and has previously competed in 10 others, including the NYC Marathon which he’s raced in three times.

“It’s a great opportunity to give back and do my part for veterans — they have sacrificed so much to give us our freedom,” he said. “We should honor all veterans whenever we have the chance. Compared to what they have done for us the effort by me is just a drop in the bucket. I’m in 100 percent.”

Rosales will be joined in the race by his good friend, fellow colleague and training partner, Bill Ude.

Wagner, of Huntington, is meeting the challenge with great enthusiasm.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” she said of choosing to be a part of the race. “I never thought I’d run in the NYC Marathon because it’s really difficult to get in to, but when the opportunity presented itself I couldn’t say no.”

Wagner, generalist manager for the Long Island Region of Enterprise Holdings, is the leader of the Enterprise United Way of Long Island campaign which she’s been running since 2008, so she’s a big cheerleader and supporter for the cause. She said she feels Mission United is a vital program to assist veterans.

“Training is a part-time job and it’s nothing compared to what these men and women have done for our country. This will help with the needs of our veterans returning home.”

—Deena Menendez

“This is a huge race supporting a huge cause … I’m really excited for it,” she said, adding that she has a lot of family members who are veterans, including her grandfather, three uncles and a couple of cousins whom she’s close with. “I know the struggles they’ve had returning after they’ve served, and I think that any organization that’s there to help that process and help them acclimate back into society is totally worthwhile and totally worth raising money for.”

Wagner has competed in both 5K and 10K events, half marathons, mud runs and warrior dashes. Her boss, Eric Schonhoff, Enterprise’s regional vice president who has also been supportive of United Way of Long Island and serves on the board of directors, is inspired by Wagner’s efforts.

“Not only is it great to back a seasoned runner like Kathy, but she also deserves accolades for putting her heart and soul behind Mission United and the entire campaign,” he said.

Menendez, of Hauppauge, who is a claims adjuster for Geico in Woodbury, is running for Team Mission United as a labor for love, as she too is surrounded by family members in the military. Her husband is an Air Force veteran; her eldest son Sean is in the Coast Guard serving in Astoria, Oregon; her middle son Scott served in the Army; and her youngest son, Shane, is a Marine in San Diego, California.

She began intense training for the marathon and was approached by a past supervisor about volunteering to become a participant for the team, and was delighted to accept.

“It’s an honor for me just to be in the run,” Menendez said. “I keep my family in my thoughts to motivate me. Training is a part-time job and it’s nothing compared to what these men and women have done for our country. This will help with the needs of our veterans returning home. They face so many challenges acclimating to civilian life after military life, so Team Mission United helps them get homes and jobs, and raising money will help benefit so many more veterans.”

Participants have set a goal of raising $20,000 for United Way of Long Island’s veterans programs, and are looking for support. To learn more about the team and its efforts, visit www.unitedwayli.org/team-mission-united-supports-long-island-veterans.

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