by -
0 312

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational and Cultural Center hosted an event to usher in the Year of the Dog Feb. 11 with performances honoring the traditions and rituals observed around the world during Chinese New Year.

The event began with a Lion Dance, which is believed to bring good luck and fortune, and a martial arts demonstration by Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu. The day featured Manhattan Taiko blending ancient Japanese drums with modern movement and traditional dances by the Long Island Chinese Dance Group and Vivian Ye. Vocalists Terry Zhang and Jojo also sang Chinese songs.

Chinese New Year begins Feb. 16.

by -
0 158
Children enjoy last year’s Take Your Child to the Library Day at Emma S. Clark Memorial Library. Photo from Emma S. Clark Memorial Library

For the third consecutive year, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library is participating in an international movement to raise awareness for libraries. On Thursday, Feb. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m., the library will be celebrating Take Your Child to the Library Day.

According to the American Library Association, there are more public libraries than Starbucks in the United States. The event highlights how libraries are vital to the community as sources of education, entertainment and enrichment. It encourages parents to take full advantage of their local library and pass along that knowledge to their young ones.

At Emma Clark, the day’s festivities include carnival games, face painting, temporary tattoos, balloon sculpting, crafts and more. It also will have everything else that the library offers on a daily basis: books, audio books, computers, tablets, movies, music, toys, puzzles, and so much more. Last year close to 350 people took part in the celebration in Setauket.

Additionally, in keeping with the festivities of the special day, each new library card sign-up on Feb. 22 will be entered in a raffle. You’re never too young for a library card. Parents can get a card for their child as soon as they are born and immediately start enjoying the library’s resources, such as the Time for Baby program.

There is no need to register for the event and all families are welcome. Meet up with friends — or make new ones — and share your love of libraries with the future generation.

For more information, email, call 631-941-4080 ext. 123 or visit

The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, is located at 120 Main St., Setauket.

Photo from RBCC

Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Church, located at the corner of Edgewater and Mayflower avenues in Smithtown, invites the community to take part in its 7th annual Traditional Ukrainian Easter Egg (Pysanky) workshop on March 11 and 18 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The two-day workshop, which will take place in the church’s Social Hall, is open to all levels of experience. Learn and complete your first egg, discover new patterns and tips or show your skills and enjoy the company. Bring your dyes and tools or start fresh with a new kit, available for an additional fee. Each participant must bring a candle in a holder, pencils and a roll of paper towels.

The two-day class fee is $20. Advance registration is required by calling Joanne at 631-332-1449 or email Deadline to register is Feb. 18.

Fentanyl overdoses are not commonly reversed by Narcan, seen administered on a dummy during a training session. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Do you want to know how to help if there is an opioid overdose situation? Sound Beach Civic Association will be hosting an opioid prevention program with Narcan training class at its next meeting, Monday Feb. 12, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Sound Beach Firehouse.

The training, sponsored by Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), meets the New York State Department of Health requirements and includes recognition of opioid overdose; administration of intranasal Narcan, a lifesaving opioid overdose reversal drug; and the steps to take until an EMS arrives. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and an emergency resuscitation kit that includes a dose of Narcan.

All are welcome, but if you would like to receive the kit and certificate of completion, registration is required. For more information or to register, which needs to be done before today, Feb. 8, call 631-854-1600. The Sound Beach Firehouse is located at 152 Sound Beach Blvd.

by -
0 1326
Michele and Bill McNaughton lost their son James in 2005. He was killed in Iraq by sniper fire. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Kyle Barr

Bill McNaughton, a retired NYPD officer, army veteran and Centereach resident could hear the party outside the small back room. The music was loud and upbeat, the crowd was hundreds strong and their bodies nearly filled every inch inside Mulcahy’s Concert Hall in Wantagh. The event attendees were all out there celebrating the life of McNaughton’s son James, an NYPD officer and army reservist who while stationed in Iraq was killed by sniper fire in 2005. He was 27.

“You know what it is, even though we’ve been doing this for years, this is like the first every time,” Bill McNaughton said. “It’s nice, but it brings back everything. And you know everybody else goes home tonight, but it stays with us.”

Pictures of his son, known to most as Jimmy, were hung out on the dance floor and on televisions around the room. Every year since January 2006, half a year from when he was killed, family and friends have come together to celebrate his life and raise money for veteran aid groups.

Friends Eric Wiggins, Anthony Palumbo, Vinny Zecca and Danny Leavy​ celebrate the life of their childhood friend. Photo by Kyle Barr

“Jimmy, he’s still helping guys today,” McNaughton said. “That’s what this is about, he’s still helping his men. All those people out there shows how he touched so many lives, and as a father you can’t ask more than that. It is an honor to see it.”

The annual event honoring James McNaughton hosted its 13th anniversary Jan. 27. The donations from sponsors helped raise money for nonprofit Wounded Warriors Project and PTSD Veterans Association of Northport.

Jimmy McNaughton graduated high school in 1996, and having early enlisted, immediately joined the army. When he returned home after being honorably discharged, he joined the reserves and the NYPD, where both his dad and stepmother worked as officers. He helped in aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and was sent oversees with the reserves in 2004 and 2005. He was killed in August of that year.

The event was created by the veteran’s childhood friends, including Vincent Zecca, who worked to ensure the memory of his friend was never lost.

“We tried to think of something that he would want,” Zecca said. “He wouldn’t want us to be somber and hold a traditional benefit, he would want something that everyone could enjoy.”

“Jimmy wouldn’t want people to cry in the corner, that’s just not how Jimmy was.”

— Michele McNaughton

McNaughton’s stepmother Michele agreed it’s a celebration that further strengthens her son’s memory and memorializes his story.

“Jimmy wouldn’t want people to cry in the corner, that’s just not how Jimmy was,” she said. “He always had a goofy smile on his face. I’m not going to say it’s easy for Bill or myself or even his friends — it’s hard to keep yourself together, and it doesn’t get any easier with time — but Jimmy was a really fine and funny kid, always laughing, he was never down in the dumps. This is how we remember that.”

The deejay, Michael Paccione, was a childhood friend of McNaughton’s. One of the bands who played two sets, Plunge, has donated its time for several years. The band was joined by New York Shields Pipes & Drums, which played Taps on ceremonial bagpipes.

Attendance at the event has remained consistent at the 1,000-person mark over the last few years.

Eric Wiggins, another longtime childhood friend, saw McNaughton as one of the most loyal people he ever knew.

“He would do anything for you,” he said. “We’re all one big group of friends, and doing this like this, with this party, and how many people come, just shows us returning that loyalty.”

The band Plunge has donated time to perform at the James McNaughton Foundation fundraiser for the last few years. Photo by Kyle Barr

Lou Puleo makes the photo slideshow, and mixes them up every year.

“He was the selfless type,” Puleo said of his old friend. “He was the type of guy that when he was overseas, he would get care packages, but if there was something good, he would give it out to everybody.”

Brothers Mike and Ross Burello grew up across the street from the McNaughton’s. They remember their neighbor as the youngest kid of the group, always up for playing outside.

“I don’t get to see these guys too often,” Ross Burello said. “So I love coming here every year. The montage and slideshow at the end brings it all back. It shows just how much he did for our country.”

Bill McNaughton said not a day goes by he doesn’t think about his son. He has Jimmy’s face tattooed on his arm so when he shakes a person’s hand, they just might ask who he is. His name and likeness are also stenciled in both his large army Humvee and his ‘69 Chevelle.

“I remember that Colonel walking on my lawn,” he said. “That’s my way of dealing with it. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do any of that stuff. You know how I deal with it? I take that Humvee and I drive.”

A year after millions of Americans participated in women’s marches across the U.S. following the inauguration of President Donald Trump (R), Long Islanders are still rallying to raise their voices — and signs — with the hope that elected officials in Washington, D.C., will hear their cries.

On Jan. 20, women, men and children gathered on the southeast corner of routes 347 and 112 in Port Jefferson Station for the 2018 Women’s March Rally Long Island: A Call to Reclaim Our Democracy. Despite a similar event taking place in New York City, hundreds from Suffolk and Nassau counties chose the Port Jeff Station event organized by grassroots activist groups Long Island Rising and the North Country Peace Group. In 2017, the Women’s March held at the same location drew 2,000 participants, according to a press release from the organizations. This year’s event once again gave residents an opportunity to voice their concerns about women’s rights, the environment, immigration and many more issues facing Americans.

Kathy Lahey, a founding member of Long Island Rising, said she felt hopeful about the future after seeing so many women in attendance, and she hopes elected officials will hear their concerns.

“Women are going to step up to the ballot box in November and [beyond] and create a country that works for all of us, not just a few.”

— Kathy Lahey

“To me it’s billionaires and the corporations and very few people that are getting their way right now, and people are suffering,” Lahey said. “Women are going to step up to the ballot box in November and [beyond] and create a country that works for all of us, not just a few.”

Susan Perretti, a member of the North Country Peace Group, was also optimistic after the rally.

“It is clear that status quo is not going to fix the mess America is in,” Perretti said. “And with the marches and rallies this past weekend, I feel confident that we are ready and willing to do what it takes to bring back the America of compassion for the poor and vulnerable, of respect for the dignity of all people, the America of inclusion not exclusion.”

Margaret Allen, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook, attended the event with 25 congregants from her church.

“I was in New York City last year for the march, and this is nothing compared to that in terms of people, but in our relatively conservative area, this is a good turnout,” Allen said. “And, we are getting a lot of people honking.”

At times, the cheers of participants and honking from drivers passing by drowned out the voices of guest speakers such as former Suffolk County legislator and congressional hopeful Vivian Viloria-Fisher and Tracey Edwards, former Huntington councilwoman and Long Island regional director of the NAACP New York State Conference.

Leslie Luft, owner of Absolute Yoga Studio in Woodbury, said she traveled to the Suffolk County event with teachers and students from her school, choosing it over the New York City rally.

“We came out here to stand up for women’s rights,” said Elyce Neuhauser a teacher with Absolute Yoga Studio. “We came to stand up for human rights, to support each other, to create a peaceful community and country.”

Maryanne Vogel said she was glad the group made the trip from Nassau County to exercise their rights in a peaceful way.

“It’s just wonderful to see all the people out here — men, women and children,” Vogel said. “And, the honking of the horns, it just makes me feel good to be an American today, and an American woman.”

Dan Cignoli, of Coram, who attended last year’s event in Port Jeff Station, said he is politically active because he believes people need to do something about an administration he feels is at war with Americans. He found this year’s gathering invigorating.

“The Women’s March last year and this year has brought out the activists in everybody,” Cignoli said. “It’s wonderful to see.”

“The Women’s March last year and this year has brought out the activists in everybody.” It’s wonderful to see.”

— Dan Cignoli

Across Route 347 on the northeast corner, about a dozen people stood with American flags and pro-Trump signs. Howard Ross and Heather Martarello, members of the North Country Patriots who stand on the corner of Route 25A and Bennetts Road in East Setauket every Saturday morning to show support for Trump, said it was important for them to be there.

Ross, who served in Europe during the Vietnam War, remembered coming home in 1963 in his uniform and being spit on. He said for him it’s important for people to participate in events such as the rally, even if they are on the opposing side, and voice their opinions. Ross said he has two granddaughters and sees how much the country has negatively changed since he was a child in the 1950s.

“I get upset for them that’s why I feel we have to do more for this country,” Ross said.

Martarello said when she first arrived on Saturday the size of the crowd on the southeast corner seemed daunting to her but she said the rally was a peaceful one.

“They are entitled to express their opinions, and we want to express ours,” Martarello said. “Not only to get our voice out but to reach out to people going past, who when they see that huge crowd on the other side, and think, ‘Wow, there are so many people there, everybody thinks that way.’ But, then they see us, they say, ‘No, everybody doesn’t think that way. See, there are people who think like us.’ They realize a lot of people feel the way we do.”

Back on the southeast corner, Cindi DeSimone, of Farmingville, who attended the event with her 5-year-old twins Jake and Kate, said she attended similar rallies in the past, but this was the first time she brought her children. While Jake held a sign that read, “Boys will be boys” with “boys” crossed out and replaced with “good people,” Kate held a sign with the same sentiment about girls.

“I think that the times are scary, and I only hope that we have something to leave to our future generations,” DeSimone said. “I think everybody can do one thing. What I’m doing is trying to teach [my children] to be good stewards of the environment and be respectful of each other.”

This post was updated on Jan. 24 with the full story.

A beautiful heart wreath in your décor is something special, but a beautiful heart wreath made by you is even better! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook Village will host a Heart Wreath Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 3 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

With the guidance of Diana Conklin from Everlastings by Diana, you’ll get to make a Pinterest-worthy wreath using hand-colored dried herbs (lavender, Artemesia annua and more), hydrangea and other dried botanicals that symbolize love to display in your home. You’ll be encouraged to explore your own style within the demonstrated framework. All materials are provided and, of course, you’ll take your creation home with you! Workshop fee is $45. To register, call 631-751-7707 or visit the Reboli Center, 64 Main St., Stony Brook.

The Reichert Planetarium, which received a $4-million makeover in 2013, is touted as one of the finest and most advanced in the United States. Photo by Jennifer Vacca

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport recently announced two new laser light music shows for the season.

On Friday nights from 10 to 11 p.m., enjoy Laser Genesis, a show based on the British band Genesis. Enjoy dazzling laser imagery backed by some of the band’s greatest hits sung by Phil Collins including “Turn It on Again,” “Invisible Touch,” “Land of Confusion,” “Mama,” “Sussudio,” “Follow You, Follow Me,” “In the Air Tonight,” “Abacab” and more.

On Saturday nights at 10 p.m. fans of the band Led Zeppelin can enjoy the rock band’s music combined with unique laser-generated imagery for an immersive visual experience. The playlist will include “The Song Remains the Same,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Immigrant Song,” “No Quarter,” “Black Dog,” “Kashmir;” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love” and more.

Tickets to the shows are $10 adults, $9 seniors and students, $8 children ages 3 to 12, children ages 2 and under free. For more information, call 631-854-5579 or visit

Crews looking for Nikola Tesla’s famed "death ray" come up empty

Crews working with Discovery Channel dig under the Rocky Point Fire Department in Shoreham in search of underground tunnels. Photo from Discovery Channel

After detecting something under the surface of the Rocky Point Fire Department in Shoreham using ground-penetrating radar, a duo of explorers asked permission to dig a 16-foot-deep hole on the property.

It was October 2017 and segments of a new Discovery Channel program “Tesla’s Death Ray: A Murder Declassified” were being filmed at the fire station, located just five minutes away from Wardenclyffe —
Nikola Tesla’s last standing laboratory.

With the go-ahead granted by Rocky Point Fire District Secretary Edwin Brooks, and then the rest of the district’s board, an excavation crew dug out the hole in hopes of finding the remnants of tunnels Tesla was rumored to have built under the grounds of his laboratory that connected to surrounding areas in the early 1900s.

Filming and research was also conducted on the property of the Tesla Science Center
at Wardenclyffe, but digging there was prohibited due to contamination on the site from previous tenants.

Hosts Rob Nelson and Stefan Burns of Science Channel’s Secrets of the Underground look over some findings. Photo from Science Channel

“We were definitely interested in what’s going on, and if there were some tunnels here, we’d like to know about it,” said Brooks, who was also interviewed for the show.

The multi-episode docuseries, which premiered Jan. 2 with new episodes every Tuesday,  follows military investigator Jack Murphy and Tesla historian Cameron Prince on their quest to decode some of the mysteries and urban myths surrounding the Serbian-American inventor. The two aim to track down Tesla’s innovations and research that may have gone missing from his safe after he died in a hotel room in 1943 — including a supposed formula for a particle beam, or “death ray.” Murphy and Prince theorize that designing the fatal weapon could have caused someone to murder Tesla.

“I think that’s really far-fetched, and I don’t believe that’s the case — it’s all very speculative,” said Tesla Science Center President Jane Alcorn, who, along with other board members, allowed the crew to shoot on their premises last September. “But it’s been an interesting experience.”

Alcorn said the site receives many requests a year from film and television companies, as well as documentarians from all over. In addition to Discovery Channel’s show, the Science Channel also recently shot and aired a two-part episode for its “Secrets of the Underground” show with the subtitle “Tesla’s
Final Secrets,” which similarly tested the ground beneath the laboratory in search of clues for the death ray invention.

Before filming began, Alcorn said both companies had to fill out an application, which the Tesla Science Center board reviewed to ensure its shows met their requirements for science-based content. As the programs featured testing on the grounds using magnetometers and ground-penetrating radars, they were allowed to proceed.

“We can’t control what they do with their footage or what they find, but since they’re using this equipment, if they were to find anything, it was important that it is based on science and data,” Alcorn said. “Both shows were very cooperative and we had no problem with them. We had them on-site for a couple days — they would come in the morning, do their filming and testing, and then they would leave. They were also all excellent in terms of hiring good companies, with bonafide technicians that look for voids in the ground as a means to discover whether or not there’s something underground — not just for film projects but mining companies, too.”

Permission was asked of the Rocky Point Fire Department to dig for potential underground tunnels relating to Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe lab. Photo by Kevin Redding

As for Alcorn’s verdict of the shows themselves: Neither program led to any concrete discoveries, she noted, and both had the air of reality shows with repetitive material and cliffhangers before commercial breaks, which  she “wasn’t crazy about.” But she said she and other board members are grateful that expensive testing was conducted and paid for by an outside company as they themselves had long been curious about what, if anything, was under the site’s surface. Now there’s a body of data that the board can examine if it wishes, she said.

“It was an opportunity for us to save some money and get some information,” Alcorn said.

Response to the shows has been mixed among residents. Some were happy to see Shoreham and its famous scientist represented, while others dismissed the shows as sensationalized and inaccurate.

“It’s great for people to learn who [Tesla] is and bring some knowledge of Wardenclyffe to the public so we can have it turned into a proper museum and erase some of the eyesore that is there,” Wading River resident Erich Kielburger said in a closed Shoreham-Wading River community group page on Facebook.

Amanda Celikors said her 7-year-old son watched the Discovery Channel show and was fascinated by it.

“He’s learned so much about Tesla and his impact on science,” she said. “We joked that the tunnels could lead to our house. I think it’s great.”

But Rob Firriolo was less than impressed.

“Typical reality TV trash,” he wrote on the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe Facebook page. “Contrived and melodramatic, with annoying camera work and even more annoying music trying to gin up tension where there obviously is none. … We will get hours of fluff, hype and speculation with a payoff at the end as rewarding as Geraldo [Rivera] in Al Capone’s vault.”

Shoreham resident Nick Renna said in an interview he watched the Science Channel program, and enjoyed it as it shed some light on the historical value of the Wardenclyffe property.

“I thought it was really cool to see our own neighborhood on television,” Renna said. “Exposure is huge for that property. When most people hear Tesla, they think about the car, but in reality, without him, there would be no electricity, remote controls, radio waves — the guy was a historymaker. And that property is an incredible asset that we’re able to call home, to some degree.”

Sloan Wainwright. Photo courtesy of LIM

Save the date! On Sunday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. the Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook will welcome Sloan Wainwright, performing live in the Carriage Museum’s Gillespie Room as part of the Sunday Street Music Series presented by WUSB-FM radio and the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council.

The singer/songwriter is at ease in a variety of American musical styles — pop, folk, jazz and blues — all held together by the melodious tone of her rich contralto. Her family tree (brother and folk music luminary Loudon Wainwright, nephew Rufus Wainwright, nieces Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche) reads like a who’s who of contemporary folk music.

Wainwright’s incredible gift is not only her unique songwriting ability but also her dramatically voiced rendition of original songs. Wainwright brings original songs from a new album, “Bright Side of a Rainy Day,” to this performance, along with her interpretations of songs by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and others. She will be accompanied by her longtime guitarist and collaborator Stephen Murphy for this performance.

Advance sale tickets are $25 online through Friday, Jan. 19 with tickets at the door for $30 (cash only). Please call the museum at 631-751-0066 the day of the show to confirm ticket availability.