Opinion

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

You know Murphy’s law, right? Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Well, it seems that we need to update Murphy’s law. To that end, please find a few of my experiential and observational corollaries.

• Your kids know more about electronics than you do. Yes, I know there are information technology people who are keeping up with the latest apps, some of whom may actually write the apps. But most of those people stop using their phones or looking at their work when they go home. Your kids are using them all the time. They are professional app users, while you likely know one app extremely well.

• You will receive a message from your airline when it doesn’t help. I appreciate how airlines, and even Expedia, offer to send you updates on your flights. Most of the time, however, the text that the plane is delayed two hours will arrive just after the car that’s brought you to the airport pulls away from the curb.

• Following the rules at the doctor’s office, the DMV or anywhere else you might be a captive audience rarely works. I recently went to a doctor’s office half an hour early because the email requested that I arrive then for my first appointment. I waited more than an hour for a consultation that lasted a few minutes.

• You’re likely to leave out a critical word at a critical time in a critical email. Let’s say someone proposes an idea at work that you find wholly objectionable and unworkable. You respond: “I can agree with this idea.” Forgetting the word “not” then means that your boss, who proposed the idea in the first place, now gives you ownership of a process that is even worse than it seemed when you first read the email through your sleep-deprived eyes.

• The cute baby that made you smile in the airport or the bus station will be sitting behind you for hours. In the few moments when he’s not screaming, he’s kicking your chair right behind your head, rendering the noise cancellation headphones you bought utterly useless.

• In the world of TMI (too much information), you’re likely to hear something that makes you wish you had a plastic bubble. Someone near you on a subway will be talking to his friend on the phone about a strange rash that’s spreading everywhere while coughing violently into the air.

• The cable or appliance repair person who gave you a four-hour window when he might arrive at your house will come at the beginning of the window, the end of the window or in those three minutes you stepped out to get a cup of coffee just down the street. When you return to find the note indicating how sorry he was that he missed you, you have an adult tantrum which terrifies the neighbors and their kids, who will no longer come to your house during Halloween.

• Complaining about the performance of an athlete who never seems to live up to his or her potential means that athlete will do something incredible within moments of your most vocal complaint. That will be the case unless you’re complaining because you secretly believe that will lead to a winning effort. In that case, the athlete will meet your low expectations.

• The year you move to a place where you’re assured there are no hurricanes, you watch the familiar sight of wind tearing through your backyard, as a hurricane fells trees you have owned for all of two weeks. Ah, cypress tree, we hardly knew you.

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

This week there was a mini-reunion at my house of college classmates who happened to be in the area. One actually came in from Arizona, but she was making her annual New York visit anyway and included a trip to my house from the city. It was great fun to see the nine women who arrived for lunch and chatter. As classmates we do share a lifetime bond and, as contemporaries, we share a lot of history and culture. We don’t have to stop mid-sentence and explain our obscure references to younger listeners because everyone gets the point.

Each of us is curious to see how the others have aged. We mentally compare wrinkles, double chins, weight gains. We talk about our children, our grandchildren, our husbands and, in a couple of cases, ex-husbands. We tell each other about good plays we have seen, worthwhile books we have read, interesting trips we have taken. But these are superficialities. What we really want from each other is to share wisdom. After all, we have been around the block a few times by now and hopefully have learned a few things in the process.

So we ask the question of the group: At this stage of life, what is a most important insight you have had?

One answers, “To be appreciative.” I can certainly relate to that. To wake up in the morning and know you have the gift of a new day, and if you are lucky, to do with that time as you wish. Some who came still work, others are retired. Most people who come to reunions, I think, are basically happy with their lives. So since the miserable ones don’t come, those who do make it find common currency in appreciation. “I have had a good life so far, I’ve been very lucky,” is a frequent refrain.

“To be in the moment,” posits another. Yes, it’s a cliché, but one with significance. To be fully aware at any given point of where we are and what is happening around us is to enjoy a full existence. Feeling the sand give way underfoot during a walk on the beach, hearing the calls of seagulls over the water as they search for dinner, feeling the soft wind coming up from the southwest as it blows against one’s cheek, smelling the salt in the air as the waves break against the shore — all of those experiences enhance the present moment.

“Let it go,” offers another. Now we are getting into deeper discussion. We carry guilt to some degree, all humans do. We also carry anger, or fear, perhaps. We may struggle with resentment, envy, an affront, disappointment, hurt, traumatic memories and any number of other negative emotions. Have we learned after all this time to let them go? Or at least have we learned how to work through them so they lessen in our hearts and minds?

“I have learned how much it pleases me to make connections,” was another response. “If I am somewhere and meet a stranger who is striving for a goal, and I know something or someone else who could perhaps help that person to realize his or her ambition, I enjoy connecting them.”

That comment made me think of one of my favorite analogies, that of comparing life to a game of billiards. We glance off each other as we move along, perhaps exchanging a few words in just a few moments that have meaning.

I remember one day waiting for the light at Ninth Avenue in Manhattan on my way to the Lincoln Tunnel and New Jersey. How many times I had made that trip, and always the same way. But this one time I noticed that the pick-up truck waiting next to me was turning in the opposite direction despite having New Jersey plates. So I rolled down my window and called out to the driver, asking where to turn. He yelled back his answer, the light changed and we both drove away. But his way shortened my trip by several minutes. In that brief exchange, he changed my life positively. How meaningful even the briefest connection can be.

As you might tell, we had a good time at our mini-reunion.

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As local journalists, we spend many hours attending meetings. Many, many meetings. Our goal is to know what’s happening in our communities at every level of government, from county to town to village.

A good way for people to become better engaged in community affairs is through civic groups. These groups, which are often overlooked, serve as the bridge between local government and residents.

They are the closest to the ground, with their ears toward local developments, both public and private. They are meant to represent the community. They ask businesses looking to develop the tough questions, mainly how the new Starbucks or Popeyes or hotel, just to name a few, will impact people in their daily lives.

Sadly, though, these civic groups often struggle with lack of participation. Groups like the Shoreham Civic Association publicly asked in a local Facebook group for people to show up, saying without participation their capacity for change goes out the window.

“Without Shoreham citizen participation we can do nothing,” the group wrote on Facebook.

If one were to get very Disney with their analogies, civics and civic participation are like … well, fairies. If one says out loud, “I don’t believe in fairies,” then the fairy dies.

Still, it’s clear why civics lack participation. Despite reports of a strengthening economy, people continue to work long hours and, in several cases, multiple jobs. Civic meetings often take place on weekdays and, understandably, the last thing one wants to do after getting home at 5, 6 or even 7 p.m. is rush out again to sit in another hour-long-plus meeting to discuss, for example, road issues.

When we attend these meetings, we see the demographics. Most people who attend are older and likely have the time to sit and discuss the issues.

That’s not to say the younger generations don’t attend solely because of time constraints. In all likelihood, many community members don’t even know who their local civic leaders are, and when or where they meet.

If you are asking yourself: How can I have a hand in designing my community? Or, how can I keep taxes down? Well, it starts with the civics, so reach out to your local civic group.

It may also be time for civics to reach out more to their community residents, as well.

As reporters, we have noticed times when local elected officials, like in the Village of Port Jefferson, have actually become active in local Facebook pages. Some of these pages are full of comments, and often facts get misrepresented. If civics would take videos of their meetings, then upload them directly to these Facebook groups. It may be a means of bridging the knowledge gap. Civic leaders need to reach out by every means possible, including social media.

The issues aren’t going away. The only way to have your voice be heard is to get involved.

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Am I going to cry? That’s the question I get so often when I talk to other parents who, like me, are about to send their first child off to college.

I’m sure I’ll be more reflective than teary-eyed. I’ll probably think about expected and unanticipated milestones. Like a montage or a video, pictures and memories of my daughter at various ages will pass through my head.

I keep thinking about her fourth birthday. The night before her party, she could barely sleep. She came into our room several times to ask if it was time to get up yet. I told her to look out the window, past the streetlights of Manhattan, into the sky, where it was pitch dark. When it was lighter, she could get up and start preparing for the party.

As soon as we got to Jodi’s Gym, which was a wonderful padded room filled with age-appropriate apparatuses, my daughter raced around the room. The party planner asked us to wait in the entrance so we could greet her guests. While we were waiting, I chased her around the table, listening to the wonderful, happy screeches that came each time I either caught up to her or got close to her.

“You know,” the party planner said, “you might want to save some energy for the party.”

My daughter smiled at me, shook her head and ran away, expecting me to follow her. I continued to play the pre-party game, even as the party planner shrugged. After everyone arrived, my daughter led the way on every piece of equipment, delighted that she had the chance to run, jump and scream without waking Maryann and Frank, who lived beneath us in our apartment. Even though she can’t picture Maryann and Frank today, she knows that those were the names we used whenever she got too loud early in the morning or late at night.

I also think about how enchanted my daughter was by her first grade teacher. Mrs. Finkel delighted her students and their parents with her soft voice, her ability to focus on each student individually and the class as a whole at the same time, and her control of the classroom. While Mrs. Finkel died incredibly young after a short battle with cancer, I know her legacy lives on with the students who are preparing for college and with her husband and daughter.

I am also recalling the many moments when a book captivated my daughter’s attention, causing her to read late into the night; when she caught blue claw crabs at a dock; or when she played board games with her brother and cousins at my mother’s house during Thanksgiving.

Perhaps the most recurring memory, however, goes back to when she was learning to ride a bicycle. I pushed the bike for several seconds, let go, and watched her wobble unsteadily until she either fell or put her feet to the sides. Eventually, my back hurt so much that I couldn’t bend and run anymore.

“Let’s stop for now,” I gasped. “You don’t need to do it now. When you’re ready, you’ll do it.”

She paused and asked me to push her one more time. When I did, she slowly circled the parking lot and stopped, a triumphant smile plastered across her face. On the walk back home, I asked her how she was able to conquer the bike.

She told me she thought about how she wanted to be ready, so she did it.

While I probably won’t cry when I turn around and leave her at college, I will hope that she feels as ready as she did when she conquered her bike.

Leah Dunaief

By Leah S. Dunaief

If you want to see what your kids really think of you and have some fun in the process, ask them to come up with a profile for you if you are single to use on an internet dating app. My children and a couple of grandchildren were here for a visit this past weekend, and that was one bit of interaction we enjoyed. I have never filled out such a profile before, and I turned to them — the generation that started using apps to find partners — for help. Here are some words they threw out.

Beautiful: Well listen, if your sons don’t think you are good looking, what was the point of all that maternal sacrifice? This one is just a given.

Energetic: Of course. You have to have some measurable degree of energy in order to put yourself out there. It’s certainly easier to lay back and watch endless television or read a novel every night. And I am leaving off the comments they threw out about double chins and still having my original teeth.

Good conversation: Yes, OK, but it takes two to tango. Willing to offer opinions on just about everything. And listening is at least as important.

Loves to travel: That probably narrows the field to about 90 percent of the female population.

Enjoys theater: Ditto.

Sense of humor: If you have to brag, not much hope. I would hate to be asked to say something funny. Probably more of a way of looking at life.

Likes sailing: Although I no longer ski or play tennis, because of knees that are given to protest. That’s probably in a league with long walks on the beach. Not much personalization there. Come now, let’s find something unique.

Opera subscription: Only unique for the younger generation of Dunaiefs because they can’t imagine thousands of people gathering to hear some fat women screech. Little do they know that the women are no longer fat, and the human voice can be one of the most exquisite instruments delivering some of the most beautiful melodies ever written. Plus operas often have profound themes dealing with universal questions. What we have here is theater, concert and choir all in one offering. They are young yet, they may come upon the bargain that is opera one fine day.

Well read: That’s correct if measured by the amount of newspaper articles I feel it necessary to ingest every day. Books mostly have to wait for vacations.

Loves learning: Now we are getting somewhere. They say that journalists know things a mile wide but only an inch deep. That is true. From one day to the next, we have to leap from subject to subject, spending only enough time on each one to be able to write about its newsworthiness correctly before moving on to the next. And that suits me fine. Where I become more interested, I can always go back and dig deeper. Meanwhile there are endless facts to absorb as I move along.

Still working: Yes, that’s how one continues to learn.

Independent: You bet. That is definitely a truth about yours truly, and those children of mine are probably glad that I am. Being independent, not having to live up to anyone else’s expectations, including one’s own from long ago, is hard won and to be cherished. Not having to lean on anyone for support, unless by choice, is the ultimate liberation.

Loves raspberries and blueberries: Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. Yummy!

Adores flowers and nature in all its magnificence: Yes, yes, yes.

Good friends: You have to be one to have one. I certainly try.

Love my family: And I am close to them. A most important part of my life.

Optimistic and positive to a fault: I have always told my children that all things are possible. They just have to work hard to succeed. They are the CEOs of their lives.

Romance: Ah, yes. What is life without an adoring someone? Worth searching for, I think.

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On Wednesday, Aug. 14, New York’s Child Victims Act took effect. Under the law, people have one year to file a civil suit related to childhood sexual abuse, regardless of when they say the molestation occurred.

After that, victims will be able to file a case any time before they reach 55 years of age. For a criminal case, victims can now file a complaint up until they turn 23 years old.

It’s unclear exactly how many people will come forward to file charges from past abuse or how many people and organizations will be impacted by the temporary removal of the statute of limitations on cases. But, the new law promises a legal remedy for past abuse that aims to institute more sensitivity toward victims, while holding perpetrators accountable.

The website www.BishopAccountability.org lists 68 documented offenses by priests in the diocese of Rockville Centre, which includes Catholic churches on Long Island’s North Shore. One victim came forward and shared his story in the pages of our publication on Feb. 21, 2018, which is still available online at http://tbrnewsmedia.com/diocese-compensation-program-help-clergy-victims/.

But, whether it’s been in church groups, schools, Scouts or other organizations or perhaps in a family settings, children have been in situations where they were vulnerable. Offenses typically occur, experts say, in scenarios where adults are entrusted with the care of children without the supervision of parents.

Part of the solution to address childhood sexual abuse going forward will be through prevention. This means adults, organizations, parents and children have certain responsibilities. If you see red flag behavior, such as an adult ignoring boundaries and exhibiting secretive behavior with a child, this is a warning sign, and adults should respond with confronting the individual. Circumstances can be nuanced, so trust your instincts, say something and remove the child from the situation and otherwise respond appropriately.

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is a confidential resource available 24/7 that offers crisis intervention, support services and information on social services. Counselors there can help you decide what to do next. The telephone number is 800-422-4453 or 800-4-A-Child. The website is www.childhelp.org/hotline.

If victims need legal help, they can reach out to the Suffolk County Bar Association for a referral to a qualified attorney who can evaluate their case. Its website is www.scba.org and the telephone number is 631-234-5577.

With an estimated one in five people becoming victims of childhood sexual assault by the time they’re 18 years old, according to The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a new era of accountability may be at hand.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with what predatory activity looks like. Talk with your children and learn about age-appropriate lessons on body safety. Good resources on these topics include www.nyspcc.org/resources/.

With the window open, people should feel comfortable coming forward. We all need to give them support when they do.

Stock photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

How do you compete with the Big Mac and plastic straw?

That’s the dilemma facing the Democratic Party. You see, beyond squaring off against the tweets and the sideshows, the Democrats are hoping to win the hearts and minds of voters against a billionaire president who endorses products and ideas that carry broad appeal for his base and for some voters on the fence.

People don’t want to be told how to live their lives. They don’t want a government to say, “Hey, red meat isn’t good for you. Stop eating it and focus on the foods that will keep you healthy and be good for the Earth.” They also don’t want to give up something, like a plastic straw, that has been a part of their lives forever.

Now, there are plenty of solid arguments for reducing red meat and for cutting back on plastic straws. Those straws, among many other forms of plastic, are killing marine life. Plastics are so prevalent in marine waters that whales are dying of starvation because they have more than 80 pounds of plastic in their stomachs.

But that’s not what some voters think or care about. That dead whale probably didn’t eat the plastic straw that the voter used. And, even if it did, the plastic straw is only one of many other plastics that the mammal ate. Besides, it was probably a plastic straw that someone in China threw into the ocean or that an illegal immigrant used and discarded. I recycle my plastics, so why shouldn’t I use them as often as I’d like?

The problem for Democrats is simpler than that, though. It’s really a question of the present versus the future. As we are currently constructed, we, the American people, aren’t accustomed to sacrifice. It’s not considered a modern virtue by a president who says what he thinks and does what he likes. We want what we want when we want it. We are the culture of instant gratification. Someone says something awful about us, we want to hit back.

It’s why some people adore the president. He is the ultimate counterpuncher, he says what he thinks and he always wants the last word. Misspelling that word is irrelevant and, in its own way, it appeals to some people because proper spelling seems so elitist.

It’s also why he can roll back environmental laws designed to protect endangered species. Sure, long term, we might lose a few snakes, birds or trees, but we will also be able to make more money from the land, create more jobs and live for the present.

The great, big, beautiful tax cut helped boost the stock market. Why? Companies used that extra money to buy back their stock. That didn’t do much to help the economy or create jobs. It didn’t enhance the companies’ revenues or encourage corporations to take risks to fund important research or pursue innovative ideas. It was a for-the-present gift to companies which boosted their current bottom lines.

Conspiracy theories fit into the mold of a present focus. Until irrefutable facts come to the public’s attention, these theories — including some about how or even whether disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein died — burn like a bonfire, without requiring a discussion or even a preparation for an unknown future.

Looking past the present to the future that will affect our children and grandchildren is difficult. Besides, instead of worrying about what the world will look like in 20, 30 or 50 years’ time, we can sit down with the younger generation, pull up a chair, and eat a Big Mac and drink a sugar-filled soda through a plastic straw. Democrats need to create a picture that makes whatever changes they seek understandable, worthwhile and palatable.

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Stock photo

Americans feel sorrow and fear whenever we learn that a gunmen carrying a high-powered firearm has committed a mass shooting. In one week, three shootings occurred in three separate states. While none of them took place on Long Island or even New York, the tragedy still hits home. The situation is for too long unbearable and action is overdue.

We are too often reminded that we aren’t safe whether we are at work, school, a movie theater, a store, nightclub, a concert or a festival. 

After the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018 many school districts on Long Island began contemplating whether or not to have armed guards, while systematically upgrading security in their buildings. Children coming back to school in the Comsewogue School District, for example, will walk through vestibules lined with bullet resistant glass.

One editor was talking about an upcoming garlic festival with a group of friends the other day when one shuddered and said, “Please, don’t go to any garlic festivals,” all in relation to a shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, July 28. 

After the recent tragedies, with one shooter robbing the lives of 22 in El Paso, Texas, and another killer murdering nine in Dayton, Ohio, with dozens injured in both cities, many have said that we need to remember these events and how we feel when we vote in 2020. Why wait? 

Our local legislators, even members of our boards of education, make decisions that affect our everyday lives. They can write stricter laws when it comes to purchasing and owning guns, allocate funding to patients seeking mental health care or help schools with grants for security. Make sure they are making the decisions you want them to. Even though the 2019 elections involve local municipalities and not federal offices, every legislator can affect laws that protect our lives and well-being.

This week’s headlines made many Americans feel helpless. Police responded to the Dayton shooting in 30 seconds since the first round left the gunman’s chamber. In that time, nine people were dead. The suspect used a 100-round magazine and a semi-automatic rifle. It took five times as long to write this paragraph as it took a murderer to kill nine people.

But there’s something all of us can do. We can vote for those who represent our values. This year and next, the time is now to look deep inside our hearts and ask what we feel is the best route to stop the violence. Then research the candidates who are running for office to see where they stand.

And even before election day, call your local representatives and tell them something must be done now, not after election day.

Every time you vote for a candidate, your ballot is a show of confidence to continue in the political realm. Today’s member of town council can be tomorrow’s county or state legislator or next year’s congressional leader.

Nov. 5, Election Day, will be here before you know it. The time is now to start doing the footwork and for everybody to vote. Our editorial staff will soon be hosting political debates to prepare for our election issue. We’re not waiting until 2020 to ask the candidates tough questions and neither should our readers.

American Gun Laws

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

I have an obvious question for the National Rifle Association: Why fight gun control?

Yeah, yeah, I get it. You and many others don’t want a repeal of the Second Amendment, which was written well before the creation of assault weapons that enabled deranged Americans to kill their fellow citizens
at an unfathomable rate.

But don’t gun manufacturers want gun control? After all, wouldn’t it be better to produce a product that stayed out of the wrong hands?

Let’s take a look at the difference between gun manufacturers and car manufacturers. On the one hand, you have companies producing vehicles where safety is a top priority. In addition to meeting the stringent requirements of the law, some car manufacturers add features like a way to block text or phone signals from getting into a car while someone is driving.

Wow, what a concept. The car manufacturers don’t make the phones. People have died doing all kinds of activities with their phones, taking selfies in dangerous locations and not paying attention to their environment in general because they are so focused on their phones.

And yet, some of these car manufacturers are protecting drivers from their own unsafe impulses that could harm them and others — sounds familiar? — by preventing the dangerous combination of phone use and driving. If we buy into the notion that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” shouldn’t gun manufacturers make an effort to find out which people are more likely to kill other people, and not sell these destructive weapons to them?

In 1996, three years before the Columbine, Colorado, shooting became one of the first in what has now become a painful and familiar collection of mass murders in locations ranging from schools to houses of worship to malls during back-to-school sales, Congress passed a budget that included the Dickey Amendment, named after U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Arkansas). That amendment prevented the government from funding research that might lead to the conclusion that gun control was necessary.

Say what? Yeah, but, in light of recent tragedies, a law was passed last year clarifying that the Centers for Disease Control can actually fund research about guns. And, yet, the CDC still can’t lead to any advocacy for gun control.

If guns make most people safer, why don’t gun manufacturers want to know which people, specifically, shouldn’t have a gun? The idea of background checks and red flags are all fine, but they may not be sufficient.

If a virus broke out anywhere in the country that threatened to kill a room full of people in minutes, we would want the CDC not only to understand how to treat those who might have that virus immediately, but also to provide warning signs to others about any symptoms that might lead to an outbreak of that virus.

The CDC is way behind in its research in part because that 1996 amendment effectively dampened any effort to conduct the kind of studies that would lead to a greater understanding of gun violence.

Sure, the Federal Bureau of Investigation could and should find people who might be a threat to society. With the help of the CDC, the FBI might have a better idea of where to look. 

The well-funded NRA, however, would do itself — and society — a huge favor if it put its considerable financial muscle behind an independent effort to understand how to recognize those people who shouldn’t have any kind of gun, let alone an assault rifle capable of mass murder in a minute. The NRA doesn’t even need to call it gun control, just firearms research.

We the people may have a right to own guns, but we also have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Wouldn’t gun control research, supported by the NRA, ensure that we could live our lives without fear of the wrong people owning the wrong guns?

Award winning author and conservationist Carl Safina was the guest speaker at last year's event. Photo by Rita J. Egan
Leah Dunaief

By Leah S. Dunaief

The world has changed for all of us since we entered the 21st century. While our computers didn’t blow up as the millennium turned, the horrific attacks on 9/11 forever, it seems, altered our sense of safety in our country and elsewhere on the globe. The arrival of the internet on desktop computers, the proliferation of cellphones, the rise of social media — they have upended the architecture of our lives.

Change has been no less dramatic in our work lives. For those of us in the news business, the basic business model is disappearing. Once upon a time the publisher brought together talented reporters and editors with an articulate sales staff, and together editorial and advertising were presented to the reader in an attractive format that informed and enriched the community. In the process, the news organization was also enriched, and there were newspapers everywhere. The biggest challenge was beating competitors to the “scoop” and gaining the greater market share of advertisers.

Today that simple business plan seems like a fairy tale. According to data in a special section of The New York Times on Sunday, “Over the last 15 years, about 2100 local newspapers — or roughly a quarter of all local newsrooms — have either merged with a competitor or ceased printing …About 6800 local newspapers continue to operate across the country, but many are shells of their former selves, with pared down staffs and coverage areas. About half of the remaining local papers are in small and rural communities, and the vast majority distribute fewer than 15,000 copies of each edition.” 

I could go on with the statistics, but here’s the point: If we don’t embrace change, we get left behind.

Chef Guy Reuge speaks about his latest book, ‘A Chef’s Odyssey,’ at last year’s Cooks, Books & Corks. Photo by Rita J. Egan

So it is that we at Times Beacon Record Newspapers have become TBR News Media, with the addition of a website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube platforms to accommodate the various demands for news and advertising. After all, we work for our customers and we must offer them what they want and need. By the same token, while maintaining those platforms has increased our costs, the revenue they generate is minimal. Further worsening the newspaper situation is the demise of the traditional mom-and-pop retail stores, the previous backbone of so many communities and community newspapers.

So we have changed, as the surviving retailers have changed. We, and they, are now building events into our offerings, much as we used to publish supplements to target specific subjects and advertising niches for our papers. Retailing now includes some aspect of entertainment with their event planning, and publishing companies, whether in print or digital, must also provide entertaining events.

Fortunately for us at TBR, we can make this fit with our mission statement to give back to the community, and indeed to endeavor to strengthen the sense of community where we publish. Since our first year in existence, over 43 years ago, we have held the Man and Woman of the Year event at the Three Village Inn, with the financial help of Stony Brook University and the Lessings, at which we have saluted those who go the extra mile offering their products, services or time to their neighbors in their hometowns.

For the last two years, we have produced and directed films with authentic Revolutionary War narrative at Stony Brook’s Staller Center to share pride in our Long Island history, explaining who we were at the dawn of our country and how we got here.

Coming next on the events list is Cooks, Books and Corks, a community-enriching program that features scrumptious food from some of our local restaurants at stations around the perimeter of a room at the Bates House filled with local authors and their books. We started this last year, and it was such a success that both restaurateurs and authors offered themselves on the spot for the next such gathering. They said they liked “the high tone.”

Therefore, the Second Annual Cooks, Books and Corks will take place in the same bucolic location, in Setauket, on Tuesday evening, Sept. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. The charge is $50 per person, and the money raised will go toward subsidizing the pay of a journalism intern next summer.

Please mark your calendars and join neighbors and friends at this event to share food for both body and mind.