The following dialogue was inspired by an actual conversation. No friendships ended as a result of this interaction.

Joe: That’s interesting.

Aaron: What made it interesting?

Joe: It held my interest.

Aaron: That’s tautological.

Joe: What does tautological mean?

Aaron: It’s a kind of circular argument, like something is interesting because it held your interest. So, what’s interesting about what I said?

Joe: No, you see, it’s not what you said, so much as the way you said it and, of course, the fact that it was, indeed, you who said it. Like, remember that time you said that our boss was having an affair with the man she kept insulting at work and then, lo and behold, she was?

Aaron: Yes, I remember that was because she was having an affair with you.

Joe: Oh, right. Good times.

Aaron: Can you tell me how what I said interested you?

Joe: But, first, did you read the latest thing about Donald Trump?

Aaron: Which one?

Joe: The one where he’s mad at the media and the media is reporting about stuff he says isn’t true.

Aaron: You’re going to have to be more specific than that.

Joe: You want specifics? How about Russia?

Aaron: What about it? It’s a country.

Joe: You’re funny.

Aaron: Stop calling me funny and tell me what Trump and the media are disagreeing about.

Joe: Are you angry?

Aaron: I’m trying to have a conversation.

Joe: Conversation. That’s interesting.

Aaron: What’s interesting?

Joe: It’s like the way you’re looking at me right now. You know what I mean?

Aaron: Nope.

Joe: You have your eyes open and your eyebrows are up, like you’re expecting me to say something interesting, when, you know, you’re the one who always says interesting things. I read interesting things. This
morning, I read something compelling about Trump and the media.

Aaron: OK, let’s go with that. What was compelling about it?

Joe: It was just, you know, well, maybe you wouldn’t think it’s compelling and maybe you knew it already, which means I probably don’t have to tell you.

Aaron: I want to talk about something.

Joe: We are talking about something. We’re talking about me and you and this weather. You know what I’m saying?

Aaron: Not really.

Joe: The weather is all around us, right? And, it’s all around everyone else. Except that, when people are somewhere else, the weather around them isn’t the same as it is here. So, to experience weather, you really have to be here.

Aaron: Right, uh huh. Go on.

Joe: Now you’re looking at me differently. You’re frowning. You need to laugh more often. That’s your problem.

Aaron: I don’t have a problem. I’m trying to have a conversation.

Joe: About what?

Aaron: Well, a few minutes ago, you said what I said was interesting and I’ve been waiting patiently to find out what you thought was interesting about it.

Joe: Oh. Let me think. I’m going to replay the entire conversation in my head and then I’ll let you know.

Aaron: Right, sure.

Joe: No, really. Was it before or after the conversation about the weather?

Aaron: Before.

Joe: See, I was listening. I remembered that we talked about the weather.

Aaron: You weren’t listening to me. You were listening to you. You brought up the weather.

Joe: Right, OK, I have a confession to make. I wasn’t listening to what you said all that closely, but I know it was interesting.

Aaron: What part? Do you remember any of the conversation?

Joe: Not really. I have to go. It’s been nice chatting with you.

A man at a March 14 PTA meeting in a high school in Rocky Point, New York, confronts a student in the aisle and holds a knife over his head. The pocket knife is closed and the man is trying to make a point about the need for security on behalf of the students in the school, including his two daughters. It is a heart-stopping moment, and the video was provided to TBR News Media by a senior student named Jo Herman.

We ran the video, along with the story of the meeting, on our website, Facebook page and YouTube. Such is the world we live in and the concern of parents around the nation that, to date, the Facebook video post has been seen by more than 11.3 million viewers. The total reach for all our Facebook posts last week was in excess of 17 million. That’s 17 MILLION plus, about the same as the entire population of the Netherlands. In addition, there have been many thousands of shares and comments on our Facebook page and our website. These numbers were supplied to us by Facebook Insights, the dashboard of Facebook and the most authentic source.

If ever we needed evidence of this world we are living in today, and the heartfelt concern of parents
throughout the United States, here it is. Could there be any parents who feel untouched by the concern for the safety of their children in the schools? Children have become the latest targets of an assassin’s gun.

These are not jihadists doing the killing. These are not ideologues carrying out the murders. These are our own citizens, in many cases children themselves, who are able to procure weapons and turn them on their teachers and classmates. Those 11 million viewers and all the rest of the parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives and friends of children who haven’t seen this video are no less terrified at the tragedies that have already been perpetrated and the violence that may yet come.

What is to be done? There are many reactions. Our children have realized their political clout and called for action with their walkouts and 17 moments of silence. Politicians in various states have proposed legislation, even passed legislation in one state, Florida, to try to gain control of this madness. The state is being sued for doing so, and the president offers words.

Consider this. A puppy dies on an airplane and within 48 hours, there is legislation passed to attempt to prevent such an unhappy event from happening again. How many more youngsters and adults must die before we can get our arms around this horror?

Social media can be great. It can be a miracle thread that connects us, informs us, unites us. It can also be a misery, as governments around the world are realizing. Facebook has been corrupted by its inability to prevent personal information from being stolen by nefarious thieves. But it has delivered a loud and clear message with the frenzy of response to a single incident in a small town on Long Island: The population is frightened, more frightened than by any attacks made against us by foreign nations or religious fanatics in the past. This threat is inside our defenses and until now seemingly unstoppable.

Yes, we need gun control. Yes, we need mental health services. Yes, we need greater vigilance. Yes, we need protection. We need all of that and more. Most of all, we need leadership, not contention, because this is a
moment that is shaking our republic in its heart.

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The discussion locally and nationally about potential suspensions for students who participated in the walkout March 14 has us thinking.

The issue with suspensions, we feel, is that it’s the wrong way to go about punishing a student for his or her wrongdoing, based on both context and merit.

Giving a student a day off from school for misbehaving or not completing his or her work doesn’t seem quite like a punishment. Even an in-school suspension doesn’t seem like an effective answer. Surely something more productive and positive can be born from an instance of student rule breaking. Community service or completion of acts of kindness in lieu of a day at home on the couch, for a student who talks poorly about another student or answers foully when speaking to a teacher or administrator seems more appropriate. Exercises that create more inclusion and less exclusion might have a more positive effect in the long run.

In situations when a student is violent, sending a message that it cannot be tolerated while also remaining under supervision of the school community, say, with additional counseling time or through a written
personal reflection about the ramifications of their behavior, would create better outcomes than a day at home playing video games or watching TV.

Schools are admittedly in a tough position in deciding how to handle punishments for students who used class time to make a statement on an issue they feel passionate about. More can be learned from, say, being
assigned to research and report about civil rights protests in the 1960s.

For the record, we are behind Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) sentiments regarding districts’ reactions to the March 14 walkout. Yes, it’s against school rules in all districts to walk out of school in the middle of the day, but students experiencing a moment in time of solidarity and turning it into action is something worthwhile that educators should seize on as an opportunity for learning, not vegetating with a day off.

“Peaceful expression of views on controversial issues that is not disruptive or threatening is a right that all students have in this country, and any attempts to stifle this speech violates the constitutional rights of student and faculty to free speech,” Cuomo said in a letter. “Threatening to discipline students for participating in the peaceful demonstrations is not only inappropriate, it is unconstitutional. Reports that schools may also discipline faculty are also highly concerning and would send a terrible message to our students.”

Reports by parents and students claim districts like Rocky Point, among others, were suspending kids for participating in the national event. We urge those districts to view this as an opportunity for a teachable moment. These are unique times requiring unique responses.

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The two tribes have set their respective baselines while New Yorkers yearn for compromise and actual, tangible change.

The Republican-held state Senate has thus far made its position clear. Billed as the way to keep kids safe, its legislative school security package, which passed March 6, has several strong ideas and mercifully doesn’t get New York educators any closer to possessing firearms on school grounds. It establishes funds for districts that want to hire school resource officers, and opened the definition to include retired or active duty police
officers, deputy sheriffs and/or state troopers, who would be allowed to carry weapons on campuses. The package also provides state education aid to districts acquiring safety technology or otherwise improving
security of facilities. A bill to create more funding for schools to hire additional mental health professionals was also included.

On its face, the Republican package does plenty to improve safety in schools. A Suffolk County initiative announced by Executive Steve Bellone (D) last week would allow districts to give access to existing surveillance systems to the police department, designed to speed up response times during mass shooter situations. The package and the new county scheme are outside of the box and forward-thinking ideas that are welcome for making students safer. The Republican plan passed with bipartisan

However, the only use of the word “gun” in a press release announcing the package from a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) is in reference to potential future legislation that would create funding for districts seeking more weapon detection systems. At the end of February, the state Senate voted down a package of measures introduced by the Democrats that aimed at addressing access to firearms.

That legislative bundle included stronger background checks, a ban on bump stocks and an “extreme risk protection” measure designed to keep weapons away from people who are determined by a court to pose a risk of harm to themselves or others. In other words, common-sense, bare minimum gun control measures that do nothing to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. A similar package made it through the New York State Assembly the same day.

“I am not encouraged that we’re there yet,” state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) said when asked if he thought the discussion about guns at the state level was progressing among both parties.

“Schools must be safe havens where students can learn and teachers can teach,” Flanagan said in a statement announcing the Republican bills. “In New York, we must act swiftly and decisively to implement additional measures in schools throughout our state to give students, parents and teachers the resources and peace of mind that they deserve.”

He and his fellow local senator from the Republican conference, Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), have yet to respond to a request for comment through respective spokespersons asking if either intend to support the Assembly package.

If the Republicans are serious about creating “peace of mind” for schools and parents, the school safety measures are an excellent start, but the Assembly package should be passed too.

It’s got great pictures and is good news. As a result, it’s a story heard around the world.

Back in 2015, Heather Lynch, an associate professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, started the tedious yet important job of counting Adélie penguins in a place with a well-earned name: the Danger Islands. This chain of nine Antarctic islands is surrounded by rocks and potentially ship-trapping ice.

These parameters present a picture-perfect paradise for Adélie penguins, who live, breed, eat, squawk and poop there — more on that in a moment. Armed with drones that fly over these islands and working with collaborators from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at Oxford University in England and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Lynch and others counted these flightless birds. The final number came to an astounding 1.5 million.

Wait, but how could a planet so well covered by satellite imagery, where you can see your car in your driveway through online apps, not know about a colony so large that it’s called a supercolony?

We kind of knew that they lived there, although not in such staggering numbers, when a plane flew overhead in 1957. It wasn’t until more recently, however, that Lynch and Mathew Schwaller from NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, studied satellite images from guano stains — this is where the poop comes in — that they had an idea of the enormity of a population of penguins that would make Mr. Popper proud.

News outlets, including TBR News Media, couldn’t get enough of the story, grabbing the pictures, getting Lynch and her colleagues on the phone and learning about the creatures.

Publications of all political stripes, from The New York Times to CNN, to The Wall Street Journal to Breitbart News have all covered it.

“It’s a good news story,” said Lynch. “People latched onto that.”

Lynch said she spoke directly with 12 or more journalists. At the same time, about 360 stories mentioned Stony Brook and penguins.

Some of the coverage has included mistakes. One report, for example, had spectacular visuals. The narrative, however, suggested the Danger Islands was a hotspot for penguins because the location has been left undisturbed by people.

“That’s not what I said,” she said. “The question was, ‘Why hadn’t we discovered them before?’ The answer was because this is not an area where people go.”

That, she said, is not the same as suggesting that the penguins flourished because humans haven’t been there. It only means we didn’t know about them because visiting the islands is so hazardous.

Another outlet suggested that the Adélie penguins were on the verge of extinction. Not only is that inaccurate, but the population has been growing, as previous research from Lynch indicated.

While that may not fit a simple climate-change narrative, it supports the concept of a warming world.

To simplify the message, the climate-change community has made a link between population and climate, which is “impossible to break,” she said, even though it’s also inaccurate.

There is this “kind of tug of war between the scientists dealing with nuance and detail, and the conversation community,” she said. They don’t need to be at odds, she added.

Indeed, this colony thrives because the Danger Islands hasn’t increased in temperature at the same rate as other parts of the Antarctic.

The media spotlight taught her a few lessons.

For starters, in addition to the talking points she had during her interactions, she would include bullet points in the negative, to make it clear what the researchers aren’t saying.

Ultimately, however, Lynch recognizes the value of the photos.

“The drone footage is amazing and stunning,” she said. She gives credit to the Woods Hole staff. “If we didn’t have pictures” the story would likely not have received such extensive coverage.

What’s the lesson? From now on, she said, “I’ll think about the visuals in advance, if I want the attention.”

People sometimes ask me if I am going to get another dog. Even people I don’t really know have stopped me in the supermarket or the post office to ask. They know about my dog, Teddy, since I have written about him, described his antics and, at the end, the pain of losing him. Those who ask probably have pets of their own, and they understand the deep relationship we humans have with our animals. They also know what is coming for them because beloved pets die. We are lucky if they keep us company on our journey through life for a decade and a half. And we mourn them as we would mourn the death of any beloved family member.

Initially we wouldn’t consider replacing him. Every night, when we arrived home and opened the front door there was no four-legged furry bundle fishtailing with joy to welcome us. The house was just dark and empty. We needed time to grieve. “Just get another dog,” said those who didn’t understand that dogs are not like widgets, one replaceable with another.

So we went through the spring and didn’t see him sniffing at the crocuses and daffodils as if in wonder at how they had gotten there. After all, they hadn’t been there yesterday. In summer, he wasn’t here to dash across the sand and fling himself into the water for an instant cool-down. As the fall came and the beach grass turned russet and gold, he did not run happily along the beach with us, perfectly camouflaged by nature’s backdrop. And this winter, with the first snow, he was not here to roll ecstatically on his back and make snow angels on the front lawn.

It’s coming up on a year now since we have been without a dog. It has also occurred to us that no one has had to get up early to walk the dog on the weekends. We haven’t had to go out in the wind and rain, or the cold and dark for that last walk of the night. There were no elaborate plans that needed to be made for dog care when we left for vacation or a weekend away from home. We didn’t need to dash to the vet for an emerging “hot spot” or note the time on the calendar for a rabies shot. There has not been any sudden despoiling on the most treasured rug in the house. And we have not had to deal with the frantic teething that puts clothing and window sills at risk as a new puppy settles in.

We have thought briefly of different possibilities. We have a friend who has a golden retriever puppy named Chewy with almost identical coloring and inquisitiveness as Teddy, and we have offered our services as sometime babysitters. So far we have done so once. After loving up the pup, the rest was just work and it wasn’t the same. Substitute dogs are like substitute teachers: Happy to have them come and happy to see them go.

It has been 45 years since I have been without a dog in the house, and there is a void that won’t go away. One of my sons and daughters-in-law are thinking of getting a dog. If so, they would come often to visit and bring the dog. Would that replace what is missing? I have my doubts. That would just mean more work without the primary connection.

So profound is that connection that the latest trend in employee benefits for large corporations is “pawternity leave.” That means a couple of days paid time off for an employee to bond with a new four-legged family member or to mourn the death of a beloved pet. Some companies are even encouraging their staffers to bring their pets with them to the office when at work.

So, will we get another dog? There have been four dogs sequentially in my life already, and there is certainly room for more. I just don’t know if l can bear the loss of yet another. As my mother used to say, “We’ll see.”

If parts of the body could talk, I wonder what they’d say. To that end, I imagined the following dialogue among mostly facial features.

Teeth: Hey, look at me. Something’s changed. You’re going to like it.

Ears: What? You’re talking again? Seriously. Can’t you give it a rest, just for a few moments? Here’s a news flash: You don’t have to eat crunchy food all the time. How about eating something soft once in a while?

Teeth: Crunchy food tastes good.

Tongue: Yes, but the ears have a point. That crunchy stuff scratches me.

Eyes: Keep it down. I’m surfing the net and you’re distracting me.

Nose: Oh, how wonderful. You get to look for stuff all day long, while I’m sitting here waiting for Eileen to share perfume that smells like flowers.

Ears: So, you like Eileen?

Nose: No, but she smells a lot better than we do. Our armpits leave something to be desired at the end of the day. It’s amazing we’re still married.

Armpit: You wouldn’t smell so great either if you got damp every time the stress level started to rise. Besides, with all that running, nose, I’d think you’d be in better shape.

Nose: Is that supposed to be funny?

Armpit: I’m sorry. I know it’s not your fault. Maybe my stress would be lower if the eyes didn’t spend so much time reading about politics.

Teeth: Wait, guys. Come on, I want to tell you something. You’re going to like it.

Ears: Oh, please. Are you going to tell us that you have a few more thoughts you’d like to share about a way to smile so we look better in selfies? Forget it. Haven’t you heard? Your daughter said you’re incapable of taking a good selfie. She’s probably right. Selfie’s were made for people much younger than we are. They’re a tool to even out the generational power struggle.

Cheeks: We’re as young as we feel, right?

Eyes: Have you looked in the mirror lately? Cheeks, you’re showing our age.

Cheeks: Wait, what’s wrong with me?

Eyes: Nothing’s wrong. It’s just that gravity seems to have caught up with you.

Chin: Gravity, that’s funny.

Eyes: You haven’t looked in the mirror either, have you chin?

Chin: Why?

Eyes: Are you trying to clone yourself?

Nose: Ignore them, cheeks and chin. They’re just jealous.

Eyes: Jealous? What? Let’s just say that the new hairs coming out of you, my little nose friend, aren’t winning admirers.

Nose: Hairs? Where?

Ears: Can we keep it down? I’m trying to enjoy the few moments of silence before the phone rings or
someone else has to share thoughts about a better way to do something.

Eyes: We noticed the extra hairs growing on you, too, ears.

Ears: You’re in a bad mood today, eyes. What’s wrong?

Eyes: Nothing.

Teeth: No, you can tell us.

Eyes: I need to wear close glasses for the computer and distance glasses for driving. I hate having two pairs and it takes me a minute to adjust.

Nose: Tell me about it. The computer glasses are pinching me.

Ears: Yeah, and they’re irritating me, too.

Teeth: Come on. I have something to say.

Ears; Of course you do. That’s all you do. Blah, blah, blah. Would it hurt you to listen?

Teeth: I am part of the mouth, you know. That’s what I do.

Ears: Yes, but silence can be good for all of us, you know?

Eyes: OK, tell us this important news that you’re so eager to share.

Teeth: After all these years, my teeth are straight. See? My smile isn’t crooked anymore.

Eyes: Let me see.

Teeth: Aah.

Eyes: Hmm, they are straighter. What do you know? Now, what can you do about your breath?

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There is no denying the Florida school shooting has reignited a national discussion on appropriate firearm regulations and mental health issues. Amid the uproar, students are organizing in attempt to make their voices heard — and we firmly believe they deserve to be at the forefront of this conversation.

The Women’s March Youth EMPOWER has put out the call for students, teachers, school administrators and parents to participate in a national school walkout Wednesday, March 14, at 10 a.m. The event calls for students to walk outside of their school building for 17 minutes, one minute for each of victims killed in Parkland, in a unified effort to show students demand action from Congress in passing federal gun regulations.

Commack resident Paul Guttenberg, whose niece Jaime was killed in the Parkland shooting, voiced support for the student walkout.

“It keeps the issue of how high school students feel about gun violence in the news, and will also send the message that our children’s voices do count,” he said. “And the tone-deaf GOP politicians in Congress will be forced to listen to how they feel.”

The reaction of Long Island’s school districts to the walkout wildly varies and, in some cases, is disappointing. We applaud Ward Melville High School Principal Alan Baum for sitting down with student organizers in his district to discuss plans and ensure safety.

If the point of education is to prepare our children for life, and to become civic-minded adults, Baum’s action should serve as an example for other districts.

Brenden Cusack, principal at Huntington High School, has used the walkout as an opportunity to arrange a March 13 forum where students, teachers and the community can engage in respectful dialogue on mass shootings.

It is disappointing that other districts like Rocky Point have issued warnings that administrative action will be taken in response to any student participating in the walkout. The event is an effort to cry out for attention, where the district’s planned moment of silence is just that, silence, and a letter-writing campaign is too easily ignored. This decision by school administrators strangles students’ voices, making someone think twice before expressing an opinion.

Worse are those school officials who have decided to bury their heads in the sand and not publicly address the walkout. Elwood and Harborfields have not yet issued public statements regarding how their districts will handle the event. This leaves both students and parents with numerous unanswered questions. With a little less than a week until walkout day, we strongly encourage school officials to reconsider an open and honest dialogue.

The first step to solving a problem starts with discussion of the issues. Students have every right to be heard, for it’s their safety at risk.

It’s clear the modern-day president that Donald Trump has become has defied all conventions, including words. We just don’t have enough terms for all the ways he runs the White House and for the sparks that are flying out of Washington.

It seems that we need a new vocabulary to keep up with the approach Trump has taken. To that end, I’d like to suggest some new terms.

Hypothebrag: When you’re absolutely convinced you would have done something better than the person you’re skewering, you hypothebrag. You might be meeting with other leaders and hypothebrag that you feel strongly that, had you been there, you would have been so much braver than everyone else.

Twitterbolt: When someone is bothering you, like a politician from another party, you reach into your bag of thunderbolts, akin to the ones Zeus used to have at the ready on Mount Olympus, and you attack that person or organization, without mercy, with your twitterbolts.

Russiabscess: A tooth abscess is a painful, festering process. Well, when you’ve won the election and a continuing concern about Russia’s meddling hovers over you, you begin to feel as if Russia is an abscess. Your presidency lives with the pain of Russiabscess.

Russiobsess: For those hoping for relief from Trump, the obsession about Russia can take on a life of its own, leading to a daily collection of information about the Mueller probe and investigations by other political bodies intent on exonerating or excoriating the president and/or Russia. These folks are Russiobsessing.

Demonacrat: Trump isn’t a fan of the Democrats. Merely agreeing to disagree doesn’t seem sufficient. He often needs to suggest how evil they are, preventing him from getting the tax breaks he believes everyone in the nation covets or from doing what he knows is best for the country. When you demonize the Democrats, you are turning them into Demonacrats.

Mediaphobe: In case you missed it, the president doesn’t generally like the media. He feels that the coverage is unfair. He believes that fly-by-night organizations like The New York Times and The Washington Post make up “fake news” about him. He has become a mediaphobe, preferring to share Trump Truths.

Foxophile: The lone exception to the media hatred seems to be the Fox network, which finds favor with a president it lavishes with praise. The president has become a foxophile, enjoying pundits who patiently applaud the president for his policies.

Wallobeauty: Well before the president took office, he made it clear that Mexicans — well, the bad ones anyway — weren’t welcome. Convinced they were coming through unguarded borders, he promised a wall. It’s not the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem or the Great Wall of China, but Trump would like to create the Wallobeauty that will be a hallmark of his presidential career.

Intelladump: Rarely has a president shown such disdain for his own intelligence services. The FBI, CIA and others all appear out to get him. He spends a good deal of his time criticizing and second-guessing them, even as he reportedly doesn’t read their reports. When the president criticizes this community, he is taking an intelladump on them.

Presidentice: The former leader of the TV show “The Apprentice” — whose catchphrase is “You’re fired!” — seems to enjoy the ongoing threat of firing someone. The White House has become a reality show: “The Presidentice.”

Detestsabranch: Trump has made it clear that legislative and judicial branches of government annoy him. When he’s frustrated enough with them, his ire can transform into something deeper as he detestsabranch.

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) made history by nominating a woman to serve as police commissioner, and we’re hoping a path is being paved for others.

Bellone nominated Northport native Geraldine Hart, who if approved by the Suffolk County Legislature, would be the first female police commissioner in the county’s history.

At a Feb. 22 press conference, the county executive said that gender didn’t play a factor in his selection, but he did go on to tell a story about how he told his two young daughters what he was going to do, embracing the significance of the moment. He said the pair had huge smiles on their faces, as did our editorial staff, a majority of whom are women.

“We were making calls … it was late … and Molly called me, who is 8 years old, asked me where I was, and she was able to get on the phone with Gerry, and it was really a great moment,” Bellone said. “I could tell how happy she was, even through the phone, as she was congratulating her on being nominated for this position.”

Hart has impressive experience for any law enforcement agent. She has spent 21 years of her career with the FBI, and most recently served as senior supervisory resident agent in charge of the FBI’s Long Island office. She has done it all, from investigating white-collar and cyber crimes to gang violence and terrorism. One of her investigations led to the indictment of two former NYPD detectives who were eventually convicted of committing murder and disclosing sensitive law enforcement information to mob bosses. She was also involved in investigations that resulted in the takedown of five members from the Genovese, Colombo and Bonanno organized crime families who were charged with murder.

Women in a position of authority in Suffolk County is a trend we would like to see continue. We can’t help but be optimistic when we hear stories like Laura Curran (D) being voted Nassau’s and Long
Island’s first female county executive, and Laura Jens-Smith (D) being voted in as Riverhead’s first female town supervisor this past election. We hope to see a day in Suffolk when journalists will be covering its first female leader.

Today’s women have confidence in their knowledge and ability to take on these roles and be models for future generations, which was the case with Danielle Turner, who took over as Port Jefferson School District’s athletic director in 2016. In an interview with TBR News Media, Turner credited Lisa Lally and Deb Ferry, Miller Place and Port Jefferson’s former longtime athletic directors, for paving the way for females in the position. She also said the two were supporters of her ambitions.

Hart’s nomination is also a second first for the county in recent months. Earlier this year, Suffolk Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. (D) became Long Island’s first African-American elected official in a nonjudicial countywide position. In recent years, the county saw the first person of color be elected as presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature when, in 2014, Legislator DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) was named to the position.

Sometimes being the first can be intimidating, but when a person has the experience and talent as backup, anything is possible. We hope to see more firsts in the near future, especially for people in power, because in 2018 there are still plenty of glass ceilings waiting to be broken.