Port Times Record

Police are looking for a tall redhead who they say robbed the HSBC bank in Port Jefferson Station.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the suspect entered the bank, in Jefferson Plaza off of Route 112, on Friday afternoon and gave a teller a note demanding cash.

After the teller complied, police said, the man fled south on foot.

The suspect was described as a white, 6-foot-tall male around 30 years old who was skinny and unshaven and had red hair. Police said he was wearing a white T-shirt and a red baseball cap at the time of the robbery.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

New exhibit opens at the Port Jefferson Village Center

‘Chaos Was the Law of Nature: Order Was the Dream of Man’ by Iacopo Pasquinelli

By Ellen Barcel

The Port Jefferson Village Center recently unveiled its latest exhibit, Captured! Photographs to Paintings.

The exhibit features enlargements of historic photos by Arthur S. Greene together with over two dozen modern paintings, inspired by Greene’s vision.

Greene, born in England several years after the end of the American Civil War, came to Port Jefferson via Pennsylvania with his wife in the 1890s. After working for the Union Photography Company, he opened up his own studio here and for decades photographed Port Jefferson and its surroundings.

Like 19th century Setauket artist William Sydney Mount who painted local scenes, Greene captured the early 20th century locale, but in photographs: local scenery, houses, events, churches, the waterfront, the farms and businesses, from early cars and gas stations to a chauffeur on the Tinker estate in East Setauket.

Kenneth C. Brady, in his book, “Arthur S. Greene, 1867-1955: The Life and Work of a Long Island Photographer,” noted that “In 1905, capitalizing on the postcard craze that was sweeping the nation, Greene prepared 150 different views of Port Jefferson and vicinity.” Through the first half of the 20th century Greene produced an invaluable body of work that captured pre-World War II Long Island and the early postwar period.

The exhibit was created by the late Michael R. Kutzing, a local artist and former owner of MRK Gallery in Port Jefferson. “Mike would go to the Village Center,” said Denise Kutzing, Mike Kutzing’s widow, “and talk to Ken Brady.” They both thought that the exhibit would be a great idea. Brady, former village historian, had digitally archived over 10,000 historic photos from the area for the village. All photos for the current exhibit are from Brady’s own collection.

‘Playtime’; by Angela Stratton
‘Playtime’; by Angela Stratton

Noted artist Irene Ruddock, who is assisting with the exhibit, said Kutzing long had the idea of using Greene’s historic paintings as inspiration for local artists’ own work. She added that Kutzing went to many art shows in order to select the over two dozen artists invited to participate. He told each that they didn’t need to exactly reproduce Greene’s black-and-white photos but to “Do your vision, your interpretation of the photos.”

With the help of Sue Orifici, who is in charge of Graphic Archival and Special Projects for the Village Center, Kutzing selected 60 photos and put them on his website. It was from those images that each artist was able to select his or her own inspiration.

Kutzing himself didn’t finish his own painting for the exhibit. “He worked right up to the end,” said Ruddock. When he passed last January, she noted, “all of the artists were committed to him. It [the exhibit] was for him, it’s a tribute to him — his legacy.” His widow, Denise, took over the responsibility of preparing the exhibit, assisted by Ruddock (whose painting of the “Gamecock Cottage” will be in the exhibit) and Orifici. Denise Kutzing added “Sue loved his enthusiasm — without her, his vision wouldn’t have happened.”

In addition to the over two dozen Greene photos and modern interpretations by the 28 participating artists, other works by Michael Kutzing himself will be in the exhibit, including his unfinished painting inspired by the Greene photo. Denise Kutzing noted that her husband’s painting was called “Serenity.” “He wanted to make sure it was done. It really was a dream of his.” The inspiration was Greene’s photograph titled “Jones Street, Now Main Street.”

Denise Kutzing noted that her late husband was a surveyor by profession and “a very talented woodworker — very precise. This led to his paintings being very much like photographs.” When he retired, Michael Kutzing enthusiastically began painting. “Painting became his passion. In the beginning he didn’t realize his talent,” she said. He became involved with many artist groups but, “his heart was with the Setauket Artists group.”

“He said that belonging to the Setauket Artists gave him a sense of accomplishment and pride. Within a few years, Mike became our Honored Artist, not only for his beautiful paintings which won many awards, but for his unparalleled desire to elevate our professionalism,” said Ruddock.

Setauket Artist Robert Roehrig noted, “Mike’s attention to detail in the woodwork reminds me of the magnificent detail in his artwork.” Added Neil Watson, executive director of the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, Kutzing “was a gifted painter and a wonderful colleague. The museum was fortunate to have Michael as a core member of the Planning Committee for our newest membership initiative for artists, a collaborative arts group. We will miss him.”

The Captured! exhibit is sponsored by the Village of Port Jefferson, the Recreation Department at the Village Center and the Port Jefferson Harbor Education and Arts Conservancy.

Participating artists include Paul Bachem, Ned Butterfield, Jim Berger, Al Candia, Dennis Coburn, Anthony Davis, Jeanette Dick, Bill A. Dodge, Donna Grossman, Peter Hahn, William Haney, Melissa Imossi, Vito Incorvala, Michael R. Kutzing, Jane McGraw Teubner, Terry McManus, Kirk Larsen, Joe Miller, Jim Molloy, Muriel Musarra, Iacopo Pasquinelli, Doug Reina, Rob Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Angela Stratton, Mary Jane Van Zeijts and Patricia Yantz.

The public is invited to meet the artists at an opening reception on Saturday, July 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibit will run through Aug. 28.

The Port Jefferson Village Center, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 631-802-2160.

Suffolk Republicans select candidate with experience serving as town councilman, building commissioner

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone file photo

The Suffolk County executive race is on.

Jim O'Connor is stepping up to challenge Steve Bellone for Suffolk County Executive. Photo from Jim O'Connor
Jim O’Connor is stepping up to challenge Steve Bellone for Suffolk County Executive. Photo from Jim O’Connor

County Republicans have selected Jim O’Connor to challenge Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) in November. And in his words, O’Connor said he could not be more honored to represent his party in the pivotal race.

“John Jay LaValle [chairman of the Suffolk County Republican Committee] called me up and asked me if I would be interested in the position, and I said of course,” he said. “Why wouldn’t you be interested in that position?”

O’Connor, now a resident of Great River, is a partner in the Manhattan law firm of Maroney O’Connor LLP. He has a long resume of working in local government, starting in the Town of North Hempstead in 1998 as an elected councilman, where he served until 2001. From 2006-08, O’Connor was appointed building commissioner for North Hempstead.

He had a very brief run at the Nassau county executive spot in 2001 — for approximately 48 hours, to be exact — before the Nassau Republicans chose to back candidate Bruce Bent instead.

O’Connor’s opponent, Bellone, also garnered similar public service accolades before assuming office at the county level in 2011. Bellone served on the Babylon Town Board for four years, starting in 1997, and was then elected supervisor of Babylon Township in 2001.

Since being voted into office, Bellone said he was proud of passing three consecutive balanced budgets under the tax cap, securing a $383 million investment in clean water infrastructure — the largest of the county in 40 years — and negotiating labor contracts that make new employees more affordable and requires new employees to contribute to health care costs.

“We must continue to move Suffolk County forward,” Bellone said in an email through a spokesperson. “While we have made a lot of progress there is so much work left to do.”

Specifics of moving Suffolk County forward, Bellone said, include continuing to hold the line on taxes, creating new jobs, growing the economy and keeping young people on Long Island.

Bellone also said he is interested in utilizing better the many assets that Suffolk County has, including Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. If re-elected, he said he wants to make sure the county is leveraging those assets to create innovation jobs.

But O’Connor said he found flaws in the way that Bellone has handled the financial aspects of the county.

“The attitude is, ‘Let’s put off tomorrow what we could do today,’ and that is hurting my children and my children’s children, in terms of the amount of debt that will fall on their shoulders,” O’Connor said in a phone interview.

Under an O’Connor administration, there would be an implementation of a Suffolk County debt management plan, which would start the process of a debt ceiling, much like what has been done in Washington D.C., O’Connor told Times Beacon Record Newspapers in an exclusive interview.

“It’s a simple concept,” he said. “Let’s look at the county’s existing revenue streams and compare it to the county’s maturing debt in an effort to retire, or reduce, the interest payments that will burden future generations of Suffolk residents.”

Suffolk County has $180 million of structural deficit and more than $1.5 billion in cumulative debt, according to O’Connor, who said these factors have led the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat, to say that the county is in fiscal distress. O’Connor said he wants to stand up for the taxpayers of the county.

According to Bellone, when he first entered office, Suffolk County’s finances were in free fall, with a deficit of more than $400 million. He has since cut the deficit significantly by shrinking the government by more than 10 percent.

“I know that Suffolk County taxpayers are overburdened,” Bellone said. “That’s why I am committed to staying under the property tax cap at the same time as I cut my own salary and volunteered to be the first employee in the history of Suffolk County to directly contribute to their health care.”

Keith Davies, campaign manager for Bellone, said his candidate was the right choice for residents to continue moving Suffolk County forward: “Steve Bellone has a proven record of protecting our tax dollars and our quality of life. He’s balanced three consecutive budgets, kept taxes under the tax cap and protected our drinking water by investing in our clean water infrastructure.”

The Suffolk County Republicans, however, said they believed O’Connor would lead the county in a better direction.

In a statement, LaValle said O’Connor’s reputation from both Democrats and Republicans from North Hempstead is what drew him to asking him to fight for the position.

“He’s a guy that is very well respected of course by Republicans in the area, but also by many Democrats,” LaValle said. “In this day and age of almost political hate, here is a guy where not only Republicans but prominent Democrats were speaking very highly of him. That stuck with me.”

A garden oasis awaits at a house on Bleeker Street, one of the stops on the tour. Photo by Jim Dunn

By Ellen Barcel

One really nice activity for gardeners and non-gardeners alike in the warm weather is enjoying garden tours. A new and special tour of gardens will take place in Port Jefferson this Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date is July 12.

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and the Suwasset Garden Club will present the first annual Gardens and Landscapes of Port Jefferson, sponsored by Times Beacon Record Newspapers in celebration of the summer and the 40th anniversary of the newspaper.

A total of ten gardens — nine stops — each unique in its own way, may be visited. There’s a secret garden and a Zen garden complete with waterfall. Another site has a moss rock garden. There are perennials, annuals, hydrangeas, fruits, vegetables, shade gardens and sun gardens.

One location, the Mather House Museum Garden, has two gardens, the Thomas Jefferson Garden, created and maintained by the Suwasset Garden Club, and the Wayne Helmer Herb Garden, created by the Historical Society of Greater Port Jefferson and the Herb Society.

While visiting each garden will be a special treat in itself, each location will have something extra to offer. Barbara Ransome, director of operations for the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, remarked, “We’ve paired up with the Night Herons; there will be (at least) six artists who are going to be painting — watercolorists — at different gardens.” Confirmed artists include Dottie Court, Sunny Bateman, Gail Chase, Ellen Ferrigno, Phyllis Farmer and Barbara Siegel.

Ransome added that all gardens will have refreshments. For example, one Victorian, terraced garden will offer high tea while visitors will be serenaded by harpist Marilyn Levine. One garden has a chocologist — yes, a specialist in chocolate from Chocology Unlimited of Port Jefferson, who will be giving out samples to enjoy. The Garden with a Lemon Kick will have a lemonade stand set up for visitors’ enjoyment. A Cake in Time, owned by Sherry Sobel of Mount Sinai, will donate mini cupcakes for the event, and three gardens will have special raffle baskets.

Members of the Suwasset Garden Club will serve as greeters at each garden, ready to assist and answer any questions that visitors have.

Pat Darling, whose garden is one on the tour, said, “I’m huge on nature … I enjoy utilizing nature, like the moss in the garden and tree stumps.” Describing her garden, she noted, “Entering through a whimsical garden gate, gardens come to life reflecting the passion of an artist.” And yes, two of the Night Heron Artists will be painting at her garden.

Commenting on one of the other stops on the tour, a Victorian house whose porch is filled with red, white and blue flowers — very patriotic so near to Independence Day, Darling said, “the elements are so spectacular . . . (it’s) an incredible porch . . . so gorgeous, magnificent,” noting that the owner always decorates for July 4th.

This is one not to be missed — enjoy the plantings and enjoy the extras.

The cost of the tour is $30. Call 631-473-1414 for tickets. Tickets are also on sale at the chamber office or Eventbrite on the chamber’s website: www.portjeffchamber.com. There is also a map on the website to direct visitors to the various gardens.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley, second from left, joins other honored guests to cut the ribbon unveiling the new Computer Science building. Photo by Rachel Siford

By Rachel Siford

There’s a new big building on the Stony Brook University campus.

Stony Brook’s new 70,000-square-foot Computer Science building had its grand opening ceremony on Wednesday, July 1, and North Shore leaders had a lot of hope for the future within those walls. The new facility cost $41 million and has 18 research labs along with classrooms and offices for professors.

Stony Brook’s computer science program is currently ranked eighth in the country for graduate programs. It was a ranking that several leaders said should improve with help from the new facility.

“The computer science department deserves a place to really showcase our facilities and to match the great people inside them,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., Stony Brook University president at the ceremony.

The new building is located next to Roth Pond and will start holding classes in the fall. Speakers, including Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Chairman of the Computer Science Department of 17 years Arie Kaufman, participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Today is a very happy day for computer science,” Kaufman said. “This might be the happiest day in the 46 years of the computer science department.”

Various demos were set up around the three-story building. The Immersive Head Monitoring Displays demo allowed attendees to put on virtual reality goggles to tour the building virtually.

The virtual colonoscopy — invented by Kaufman — was also showcased to show how it could identify with 100 percent accuracy if a patient has a tumor without going through the invasive procedure. It has been licensed, FDA approved and commercialized.

LaValle added that his goal was to get the program from eighth to first place, and the way to do that was to have state-of-the-art equipment for students to use.

“As the country and the world evolve into a high-tech economy and lifestyle, this state-of-the-art facility will ensure that Stony Brook University students and researchers have access to the newest technologies while reaffirming the university’s leadership role as a nationally ranked computer sciences center,” said LaValle.

The newest building has five centers: National Security Institute, Center for Mobile Computing, Center for Smart Energy, Center for Dynamic Data Analysis and Center for Visual Computing. Another demo shown at the opening was the Internet of Things, which predicted that by 2020 everyone would have at least five smart devices on them, like cell phones, watches and tablets.

The Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook is even starting to research how to protect people if someone’s smart device is stolen and how to limit how much information can be extracted from it.

Looking ahead, Stanley said the university would explore ways to establish a five-year capital plan to seek more ways to fund new buildings on campus.

Residents brainstorm during the Community Vision Forum. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

North Shore lawmakers are gauging the public’s opinion as they revisit what Route 25A should look like.

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) gathered residents, business owners, community leaders, teachers and elected officials at a forum at the Kanas Commons of The Stony Brook School on Monday, June 30, to discuss the future of the section of Route 25A between Main Street in Stony Brook and Bennetts Road in Setauket.

“As your councilperson, I thought it was important to engage in a community discussion regarding this issue,” Cartright said to the 95 residents gathered. She said that many members of Stony Brook, Setauket, Centereach and the greater Brookhaven area had been vocal about creating a discussion on this issue.

The public was divided into groups once they arrived at the forum and each group represented a different issue facing the road. The various issues included uses and zoning, traffic safety and transportation, design and aesthetics, impact on nearby businesses, Stony Brook University, community relations and infrastructure.

Each group was given a list of questions to discuss and then present to the entire forum. These questions were designed to get an idea of the changes the community wanted, the problems they thought this zone needed to address and what things the community wanted to preserve.

“This is a precursor to a land use plan,” said Brenda Prusinowski, the deputy commissioner for the Town of Brookhaven. “There are many steps to go once anything has been discussed here.”

Prusinowski said she was encouraged by the high number of residents that came out, and expected that everyone would come up with a great discussion to make the community better.

“This should be a gauge of what the majority wants, but also what every individual feels is important as well,” Cartright said.

Cartright urged that everyone keep an open mind and accept that conflicting opinions will arise. However, as the night unfolded, it seemed that a majority of the community members were on the same page.

Major issues that were brought up, in terms of improvement, were safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists, the architecture and look of the downtown shops and better parking options near the Stony Brook Long Island Rail Road station.

Residents expressed a desire for a more cohesive look, while still maintaining the historical nature and heritage of the town, which leaders in attendance also support.

“We have a great sense of place, and that is important to all of us, that we maintain that,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket). “We want people to see the historic and charming feel of this community.”

Groups also said that although students from Stony Brook University can rent bikes to ride downtown, they still needed more safe paths to take. If students felt safer to go for a bike ride, residents argued they would be investing more into the area businesses by shopping there more frequently.

Many people said they felt there was almost an “iron curtain” between the students of Stony Brook University and the towns of Brookhaven and Stony Brook, and that more needs to be done to integrate the students.

Yet, other residents said that they feared the towns are losing their identity to the university.

“We were not brought together tonight to react to a problem, rather to look at our values as a community,” said state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket).

Englebright said that this community is host to a large economic engine with the university and that keeping the community great benefits the university and vice versa.

Preserving local small business was also very important, as no one said they were interested in seeing a national chain pop up anywhere near Route 25A.

 

Kasey Mitchell changes direction with the ball. File photo by Desirée Keegan

Written inside Kasey Mitchell’s yearbook is a quote from Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt: “Success isn’t owned. It’s leased, and rent is due every day.”

From a young age, the midfielder for the Mount Sinai girls’ lacrosse team was living by those words.

Mitchell first played lacrosse when she was in second grade, on the boys’ team at Comsewogue.

“It definitely helped me grow as a player,” she said. “I was a lot smaller than everyone else, but my dad wouldn’t let me back down to any boys. He still doesn’t.”

She joined the Mount Sinai girls’ varsity team in seventh grade, and was originally brought up as an attack.

“She was always a kid that was destined for greatness,” Mount Sinai head coach Al Bertolone said. “She was tough. Earlier on, she was just a confident attacker. I often feel that if she hadn’t torn her ACL in her freshman year, we probably would’ve gotten upstate [to the state championship] one more time. But every year she’s played, she’s done better and better — leading up to her finest year this year.”

Mitchell suffered her injury during a junior varsity basketball game, and came back three months later, competing on the lacrosse field in the county championship, where the Mustangs lost to Shoreham-Wading River.

During that healing period, her father, Pete, who is also the boys’ varsity head coach at Comsewogue, installed turf in the backyard to be able to practice with his daughter.

“When she tore her ACL, I made a commitment to train her,” Pete Mitchell said. “It’s kind of amazing that she ended up being the player that she is. She works hard every single day and there’s no substitute for hard work.”

He said his daughter’s commitment from a young age, much like the quote she lives by, contributed to her becoming an important piece of the Mustangs’ puzzle that helped the team achieve greatness.

“She was a tough kid — very athletic, and she worked real hard,” he said. “She loved the game and she was always around the boys, always around my team, and she got a good sense of the game and I think that’s one of her biggest assets. Her lacrosse IQ is very good. She goes to the gym every day, she has a personal trainer, and all those things and her successes have been a dream come true considering where she came from and how hard she’s worked to come back from her injury.”

During Kasey Mitchell’s sophomore year, the Mustangs went 20-0 overall and claimed the school’s first-ever Class C state title. In her junior year, the team went 18-1 overall with an undefeated, 14-0 mark in Division II. Mount Sinai made it to the Suffolk County Class C final, where the team lost to Bayport-Blue Point, 11-9.

Bertolone said the coaches sat her down at the end of that season to go over her individual and team goals, and to come up with a plan that could help her achieve them. The solution was moving her to midfield.

“When it comes to talking about Kasey, it’s just her evolution,” Bertolone said. “She was always a very, very good lacrosse player and her skills of course got better over the course of time. This year we moved her to the midfield and she was good on both sides of the field — offensively and defensively. She doesn’t care where she plays as long as she plays. Sometimes you’ll have to put your personal goals aside for team goals and she did that.”

She finished above 75 percent on draw controls, and scored 75 points off of 57 goals and 18 assists for a Mustangs team that went 20-1 overall en route to its second state title.

Besides her contributions to help win games, Bertolone said she was thankful for all Mitchell was able to do as a team captain.

“She was more like a coach on the field, and has great leadership skills in all facets,” he said. “She took care of business on the field and she took care of business off the field. She was really nurturing to the younger players; she was one of those quintessential senior leaders this year. She was outstanding.”

These contributions on and off the field earned her All-American honors — the major goal she had set for herself and Bertolone worked to help her achieve before she heads off to play women’s lacrosse at Stony Brook University. She was also named All-Tri-State and All-Long Island among other accolades.

“Lacrosse is what I grew up doing and since seventh grade lacrosse has been my life, day in and day out,” Mitchell said. “Bertolone is like my second dad, he’s helped me be the person I’ve become and without Mount Sinai lacrosse I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

A main reason why Mitchell said she chose Stony Brook is because despite her injury, head coach Joe Spallina was still interested in having Mitchell be a part of the program.

“After my ACL surgery, I was a little slow and kind of limped, and while a lot of colleges didn’t look at me, he never gave up on me,” she said. “Spallina didn’t hesitate to contact me and recruit me, so that was one thing I really appreciated about him.”

And she’s excited to see not only what she can do for the program, but what Spallina can do for her.

“He doesn’t doubt people — he’s completely turned around a couple of athletes,” Mitchell said. “I’m really excited to see what he can help me do and accomplish. Ever since I was a little kid lacrosse has been my entire life and I love playing it. There’s not a day that I don’t play it, honestly, and to just have the opportunity to play at such a high level with such a great team that has a great coach and great teammates … I just can’t wait. It’s a dream come true and I’m honored to be privileged enough to play at Stony Brook.”

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Marissa Spinazzola will play two sports at Mercy College

Marissa Spinazzola defends the open cage. File photo by Bill Landon

Marissa Spinazzola was given an opportunity she couldn’t refuse — to play both lacrosse and field hockey at Mercy College.

“When I first met with the lacrosse coach, she said she didn’t want to recruit a lot of people that were playing both sports, but I asked her if it was possible if I could play both and she told me it was okay, so I’m excited,” Spinazzola said. “I knew I didn’t want to leave field hockey behind because lacrosse wasn’t the only sport I had a love and passion for.”

The Warriors’ dual-threat first got her hands on a lacrosse stick when she was in first grade, and she said she knew it was the sport for her. While she also played basketball, Spinazzola said she knew she wanted to try her hand at field hockey, and made the middle school team in seventh grade. Come her junior year, she had to pick between basketball and field hockey, and said she thought continuing on with the latter was something that would benefit her in the long run.

“My mother thinks I’m better at field hockey,” the athlete said, laughing. “At first I didn’t know if I liked it because I didn’t know if hunching over my stick the whole time was going to bother me, but I stuck with it and found I had a passion for it.”

She was good at it, too, which is what caught the eye of Mercy field hockey coach Kayte Kinsley.

“The first time I saw her play I could tell how aggressive she was,” Kinsley said. “She was a hard worker, never quit on any play and she was all-around driven.”

Once she started a conversation with Spinazzola, the coach said she knew that much more that the athlete would be a strong fit for the program.

“Her personality is kind of contagious,” she said. “I think the first conversation I ever had with her I was hysterically laughing; she’s funny. She fits the whole mold of what we’re looking for in a player here at Mercy.”

Although originally playing midfield in both sports, the now-converted defender said she is excited about the role she plays on her teams.

Spinazzola calls out a play while defending. File photo by Desirée Keegan
Spinazzola calls out a play while defending. File photo by Desirée Keegan

“I love defense because I feel like you get so much action and you have to be a team player and communicate with one another to stop opponents from getting a goal,” she said. “I like that the defense works as a unit and no one is selfish. Playing defense helped me become the person I am.”

Spinazzola had the stick and personal skills that her high schools coaches were thrilled about having on their team.

“She doesn’t back down from anybody. She had a very good stick on the defensive end, you don’t have to worry about her throwing the ball away, “ Comsewogue girls’ lacrosse head coach James Fernandes said. “But more so, when I think about Marissa, I think about more than the lacrosse aspect, but about her as a human being. She’s a very good person. There’s not many kids like her that have the heart that she does.”

Fernandes said that what he noticed on and off the field was Spinazzola’s ability to become a phenomenal senior leader, taking the younger girls under her wing and helping them become comfortable on a varsity team with a diversified age.

That ability to be a leader earned her the Scott Hession Memorial Award, named after the former athletic director and boys’ basketball coach at Comsewogue, and given to a player that may not necessarily be the best player, but exemplifies what it is to be a leader.

“If there was one kid that touched my heart this year, it was her,” Fernandes said. “She was a great leader. There was no animosity or hatred; it was all love. And that’s what I’ll remember most about Marissa Spinazzola.”

Kinsley said she was looking for an immediate impact from Spinazzola.

“We are losing a couple of defenders, so with her skill level and her work ethic, we’re looking for her to come in right off the bat and be an impact player for us, and I believe that she is definitely going to be that for us,” she said. “I’m excited about her coming in. We’re looking forward to preseason.”

Spinazzola said she is looking forward to her new athletic careers at Mercy, and also hopes to be able to not only make an impact, but also learn from and grow with her new team.

“My goal is to step up, learn the game better than I already do, get playing time and be a unit with that team like I was at Comsewogue,” she said. “I learned from my coaches and tell myself that my stick doesn’t affect how I play, it’s the person behind the stick. When I think I’m having a bad day or something, it’s not my stick’s fault. I just know I need to focus harder to achieve my goals.”

Car trouble
Things got a little crazy on Woodhull Avenue in Port Jefferson Station on July 4, at around 10:05 p.m., when someone threw items at a 2013 Hyundai and damaged a car door.

Midnight mischief
An unknown person slashed the driver side tire of a 2007 Hyundai parked on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station on July 3.

Ride denied
A woman reported being harassed by a cab driver on June 30 at around 3 p.m. According to police, the complainant said she called a cab service to pick her up from a dollar store in Port Jefferson Station, but the driver refused to take her. He then allegedly pushed her and took her grocery bags out of the cab and drove away.

Poor house
An unknown person stole cash from the register at L.I. Pour House Bar and Grill in Port Jefferson Station on June 29 at around 1:30 a.m.

Explosive
A Mount Sinai Grasslands Circle resident reported their mailbox and garage door had been damaged by some sort of explosives on July 3.

Making waves
An unknown person took a 2006 motor from a boat moored in Mount Sinai Harbor on July 5 at some point between midnight and noon.

Seeing red
There were two separate road rage incidents in Centereach last week. According to police, on July 2, a victim was driving northbound on Nicolls Road by Hammond Road in Centereach when they encountered the suspect, who, at some point, punched the victim in the face. The suspect took off.
Two days later, on July 4, a female driver reported that while at an exit ramp of Nicolls Road in Centereach, six males on motorcycles began kicking her 2013 Hyundai and slashed its tires.

Getaway
A Fountain Avenue in Selden resident, outside his home on June 30, reported seeing someone walking with a satchel or pillowcase on his street. When he returned to his apartment, he found the suspect inside his residence. The two began fighting and the suspect fled with a stolen silver bracelet, kindle and phone charger.

Long weekend
A 21-year-old Mount Sinai resident was arrested in Selden and charged with DWI-first offense on July 3. According to police, the man was pulled over after he failed to stop at a stop sign while driving a 1998 Honda northbound on Bicycle Path.

Pills and pocketbooks
A 26-year-old Sound Beach man was arrested in Selden and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree grand larceny. According to police, he was arrested on July 2 and was found in possession of Xanax without a prescription. Police said the man is also accused of breaking into a 2010 Volkswagen on June 25 in Port Jefferson and stealing a pocketbook containing credit cards.

Bank robber sought
Suffolk County Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a man who allegedly robbed a Centereach bank in June.
On Friday, June 26, a man entered the People’s United Bank, located on Middle Country Road, approached a teller at approximately 11:30 a.m. and presented a note demanding cash. The teller complied and the man fled on foot.
Police described the suspect as white, between 45 and 50 years old and approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall with a heavy build. He was wearing a black T-shirt, dark jeans, sunglasses and what appears to be a dark-colored baseball cap.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
For video of the bank robbery, go to www.YouTube.com/scpdtv. Click on the link “Wanted for Bank Robbery CC# 15-370331.”
Luck of the draw
Someone stole keys and Yu-Gi-Oh! collector cards from a 2009 Hyundai parked at AMC Loews Stony Brook 17 on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook sometime between July 3 at 10:45 p.m. and July 4 at 1:30 a.m. There are no arrests.

Louis Vuitton bag stolen
Someone took a Louis Vuitton pocketbook, cash, a wallet and clothing from a 2015 Toyota 4Runner parked in the lot at Marshall’s on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook. The incident happened sometime between 5 and 6 p.m. on July 1.

Laptop lifted
Police said someone took an Apple Macbook Pro computer from an unlocked 2002 Nissan Altima sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. on July 1 on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook. There are no arrests.

Grandma scammed
A Setauket woman who is a resident of Francis Street told police on July 1 that she was the victim of a phone scam. She said someone called her saying her grandson was arrested after being involved in a car crash and that she needed to send money to get him home. She sent money via MoneyGram.

Checked out
Someone stole the identity of an Upper Sheep Pasture Road man from Setauket-East Setauket and took money from his JP Morgan Chase checking account. Police said the incident occurred sometime between June 2 at 9 a.m. and June 30 at 2:05 p.m.

Police search for pickpocket
Suffolk County Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a couple who are wanted for questioning in a grand larceny investigation in Commack.
A man and woman were shopping in Dress Gala, located on Jericho Turnpike, on May 21 at approximately 5:10 p.m. when the man reached into an employee’s pocketbook and stole credit cards.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

Shoplifter busted
Police said a 42-year-old man from Hauppauge was arrested on July 5 at the 4th Precinct and charged with petit larceny. According to police, the man stole a garbage pail, sleepwear, lunch bag, socks and other clothing from Walmart on Veterans Memorial Highway in Islandia on July 5 at 11:53 a.m.

That’s my $50
An 18-year-old man from St. James was arrested on July 3 at the 4th Precinct and charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Police said that the man had $50 that belonged to someone else. The alleged crime occurred on Old Dock Road in Kings Park on July 1 at 11:30 p.m., police said.

Joy ride cut short
Police arrested a 20-year-old Commack man in Smithtown on July 2 and charged him with driving while ability impaired by drugs and alcohol — the drug being marijuana. Police said that on July 2 at 12:12 a.m., on Route 25A at West Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown, the man was driving a 1997 Ford and failed to maintain his lane. He was arrested at the scene.

Taking it off
A 50-year-old man from Middle Island was arrested at the 4th Precinct on July 2 and charged with lewdness — exposing his body in public. Police said the man exposed his private parts on June 30 while parked in a car at 7-Eleven on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge at 1:02 p.m.

Justice served
Police said they arrested a 27-year-old man from Astoria on July 1 who punched another man in the face while he was sitting in a chair at Napper Tandy’s on East Main Street in Smithtown on May 24. The man required medical attention for his injuries. The 27-year-old was arrested at the 4th Precinct at about 5:25 p.m.

A case of road rage
Two men who were involved in a car accident on Route 347 in Smithtown got into a fit of road rage, according to police. One man got out of the car and started yelling at the other man, grabbing him. The two eventually punched each other. Both plan to press charges, police said. The incident happened westbound on Route 347 on July 2, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Port Jefferson Village Board denies use of floating docks to extreme water sport

FlyboardLI, a company behind an extreme water sport, wants to operate out of Port Jefferson Harbor. Photo from Jimmy Bissett

FlyboardLI, a company behind a fairly new extreme water sport, has been denied approval to operate out of Port Jefferson Harbor any longer.

It had been previously working out of the harbor without approval of the Port Jefferson Village Board or a proper permit since May this year.

The board decided at a meeting on Monday evening that there were too many liabilities attached to the activity. Trustees said the harborfront park has always been a passive park, and they want it to remain that way.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Bissett was disappointed to hear that the village would not be approving his proposal.

“I bring people into the town, it’s a very popular activity,” Jimmy Bissett, owner of FlyboardLI said. “I had more than 500 customers last season, and I am doing very well this season.”

Invented by Franky Zapata, a competitive jet skier, the sport offers a fusion between wakeboarding, surfing, kite surfing, and Jet Skis. It involves strapping into a pair of boots, which are connected to a long hose. The rider can control the hose to float on the water, submerge underneath it or soar above it.

The sport gained popularity after a 2012 YouTube video of the first flight ever went viral. The video now has more than 15 million views.

The Village Board was unanimous in its decision to deny a trial period for FlyboardLI in the harbor. Bissett had also requested three parking spaces and the use of the floating docks in the harbor as part of his application.

Members including Trustee Larry LaPointe said he felt that there were more liabilities at stake to comprehend. He questioned if someone on a Flyboard struck a resident who was paddle-boarding, or damaged a boat in the harbor, whether the village would be held accountable.

Mayor Margot Garant said she had mixed feelings on the application.

“I think it’s a great attraction, but I feel that the harbor is a passive place, for activities like paddle-boarding and fishing.”

The board noted that FlyboardLI had participated in the village’s last two maritime festivals and at both, the activity seemed to be a big success. Board members also noted that the floating docks in the harbor Bissett wants to use for the business currently have no activity on them.

But the board felt that the potential cons would outweigh the pros for the village.

Bissett started the company last summer in Riverhead, but he first became involved with the sport in 2012, when he was in Arizona. He wanted to bring the activity back to his native Long Island to share it with residents here.

Last summer, while operating out of Peconic River in Riverhead, Bissett ran into some problems with the Town of Riverhead. He decided in the next season to bring FlyboardLI to his hometown of Port Jefferson.

Bisset explained that every participant has to be sign a liability waiver, and that the company is fully insured. The company offers several session options. The 15-minute session starts at $99.

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