Port Times Record

Port Jefferson held its annual Boater’s Maritime Festival on June 6 and June 7, bringing pirates, art, animals and water sports to the village’s downtown area on a warm weekend. Residents and visitors learned how to row, stepped onto paddleboards, wiggled into kayaks, went on treasure hunts, stuffed their faces with clams, petted slippery snakes and more.

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The proposed budget for 2015-16 includes funds for a new elevator at the high school. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Port Jefferson school district officials announced on Thursday that middle school Principal Antonio Santana would not return for 2015-16, making him the second building leader in the last few months to step down.

In a letter to parents and staff, Superintendent Ken Bossert said Santana would leave Port Jefferson Middle School for a role at a Nassau County high school beginning in July.

“While this news is disappointing, we are happy for Tony that he has chosen to continue to shape his career in the manner that he believes is best for him and his family,” Bossert wrote.

Antonio Santana, above, is leaving his role as Port Jefferson Middle School principal after three years. File photo
Antonio Santana, above, is leaving his role as Port Jefferson Middle School principal after three years. File photo

The same day, Santana sent out an email to parents about his departure.

“I cannot emphasize enough what a pleasure it’s been working with my students, staff, and parents,” he said. “As I have mentioned at many school functions, it has been a true privilege working in such a great community and all of your efforts in raising such wonderful children have been much appreciated. Having said this, I can’t help feeling a great deal of sadness when I think about all of the people I will miss, especially my students.”

Santana’s news comes about three months after high school Principal Matthew Murphy said he would resign at the end of the current school year, “to pursue other educational opportunities.” Murphy and Santana were both hired three years ago to jointly replace the combined middle school-high school principal, Roseann Cirnigliaro.

The district has filled Murphy’s slot — it announced recently that Christine Austen, the assistant principal for all grade levels and a Port Jefferson graduate, would succeed him at the helm of Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

“It is wonderful to be given this opportunity to come home and give back to the community this way,” Austen said in a statement.

Austen said she wants to introduce more technology into classroom learning and implement new technology-related courses.

“Our goal is to prepare our students with skills that will last a lifetime,” the incoming principal said.

Bossert said in his Thursday letter that the search is already underway for a new middle school principal, but “due to the timing of this vacancy, it is likely that there will be a gap between Mr. Santana’s departure and the appointment of a new principal.”

Parents may reach out to Bossert, Assistant Superintendent for Business Sean Leister or Executive Director of Curriculum Maureen Hull with any questions.

“Further information about the progress of our search for Mr. Santana’s successor will be shared with our community as it develops.”

At the time of Murphy’s resignation announcement, the superintendent said the district did not plan to return to its previous system of having one principal for both the high school and the middle school. The district was able to operate in that manner for the two schools, which share a building, because it had a waiver from the state education department but that waiver has expired. Bossert has previously said the two schools are different learning environments that require “separate and distinct” principals.

Village Center file photo by Heidi Sutton

It was mostly incumbents versus challengers during a debate between candidates for the Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees on Wednesday night, with the two groups standing apart on issues such as the village’s comprehensive plan, taxes and the local power plant.

The event, run by the chamber of commerce, featured all of the board candidates: Mayor Margot Garant is running for her fourth term against businessman Dave Forgione; and Trustee Larry LaPointe is running for his third term against resident challengers Matthew Franco and Stan Loucks.

Two trustee seats are up for election — LaPointe’s and that of Trustee Adrienne Kessel, who is not seeking re-election — so the two candidates with the most votes will win slots on the board.

Longtime village Judge Peter Graham, who is unopposed for re-election, was also present.

At the Village Center debate, the five candidates sparred on the topic of the aging Port Jefferson power plant, which could need to be upgraded — or repowered — soon if locals want to keep it as a key source of property tax revenue for the village. Locals have feared the plant will not be repowered for several years, and village officials have been lobbying to save it.

Franco said the village is in a “wait-and-see pattern” on those efforts, but needs to be more proactive by finding places to cut the budget and thus lower taxes. Forgione also pointed to reducing taxes as a solution, saying that year-to-year village tax increases are too high.

On the other side of the argument were incumbents Garant and LaPointe. The trustee said he “resents the implication” that the village board has been just sitting and waiting, as members have been visiting Albany to lobby for repowering and bring parties to the table to negotiate as much as possible. Garant added that to help prepare residents for a potential loss of tax revenue from the plant, the board has been putting money aside each year and working to resolve tax grievances in order to stabilize the tax roll.

Loucks, who fell on different sides of different issues throughout the night, said the village must continue pressuring state officials to push for repowering.

On the topic of the draft comprehensive plan, which includes recommendations for development throughout the village, candidates were asked if they support the document as it reaches its final stages of review.

Garant, LaPointe and Loucks spoke in favor of the plan, with the incumbents saying it will work to improve the commercial areas uptown and downtown in particular.

“We have the problems of a small city,” LaPointe said that night, imploring the audience not to fear change. “I want the blight gone.”

Forgione and Franco argued the village should modify the plan based upon recommendations that the Suffolk County Planning Commission listed in its letter approving the plan.

In the fight for mayor, the candidates closed with Forgione saying he would strive to get more community input.

“I will do more than run this village,” he said. “I will serve this village.”

Garant called on the audience to return her as the village leader.

“This is a very critical time,” she said. “I am your mayor.”

Councilman Neil Foley, left, and Supervisor Ed Romaine stand by the jetty where a Selden man allegedly crashed his boat and then fled the scene. Photo by Alex Petroski

By Alex Petroski

Town and county officials aren’t taking boating safety lightly, and are urging residents to take precautions while out on the water this summer.

Boating safety was the topic of discussion at a press conference held at the Sandspit Marina in Patchogue Thursday, following a hit-and-run incident on May 24.  Mark Tricarico, 31, of Selden, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a boating accident involving injury, according to a Suffolk County Police department press release.

Tricarico allegedly crashed a 23-foot boat into the west jetty at the entrance of the Patchogue River on the night of the 24th. One passenger was treated for minor injuries. Tricarico could not be reached for comment.

“If everyone follows safe boating procedures, most accidents can be prevented,” Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said on Thursday, just yards away from the site of the incident.

June and July are typically the busiest boating months of the year on Long Island, and Romaine along with Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau Deputy Inspector Ed Vitale urged boaters to be aware of boating laws in the hopes of avoiding a repeat of the events of May 24.

From left, Assistant Deputy County Executive Tim Sini; Police Marine Bureau Deputy Inspector Ed Vitale; Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine; and Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley at a press conference on boating safety. Photo by Alex Petroski
From left, Assistant Deputy County Executive Tim Sini; Police Marine Bureau Deputy Inspector Ed Vitale; Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine; and Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley at a press conference on boating safety. Photo by Alex Petroski

Romaine and Vitale also reiterated some general boating safety precautions, like avoiding alcohol while operating a boat, being aware of weather forecasts and following paths set by buoys.

“Stay in the navigable channels,” Romaine said. “Understand what the buoys are for.”

Operating boats while intoxicated was a point everyone touched on.

“You don’t see it that often until you see a boat up on the rocks,” Jesse Mentzel, a bay constable, said in a one on one interview.  “It happens, and they could hit another boat just as easily.”

Assistant Deputy County Executive Tim Sini attended the press conference on behalf of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D).

“We want to make one thing clear—boating while intoxicated will not be tolerated in Suffolk County,” Sini said.

Sini added that there would be checkpoints and patrols to monitor the waterways and ensure that everyone remains safe this summer.

Some additional safety precautions suggested by Romaine and Vitale included a boating course approved by the U.S. Coast Guard as well as a swiming and first-aid course, operating at safe speeds, and designating an assistant skipper in case you are injured or otherwise unable to assume command of the vessel.

“The water can be a very hostile environment,” Vitale said.  “It’s a beautiful looking place and it is truly, but it can be very hostile to people.  You have to pay attention.  You have to be aware of the weather.  You have to be aware of the currents.  This is something that every now and then people get out on the water and they just don’t get it.”

To the left, to the left
A 24-year-old woman from Farmingville was arrested in Smithtown on May 28 and charged with driving while intoxicated, with a previous conviction within 10 years. Police said the woman was driving a 2013 Toyota Rav 4 and was making a left turn onto Main Street in Smithtown, which a road sign prohibited.

Lights out
A 24-year-old East Northport woman was arrested on May 28 in Smithtown and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said the woman was driving a 2006 Nissan westbound on Route 25A in Smithtown at 2:25 a.m. Cops found her intoxicated after pulling her over because her lights were off.

Drunk driver caught
A 56-year-old woman from St. James was arrested by police in Smithtown on May 30 and charged with driving while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 of 1 percent. Police said that the woman was driving a 2001 Buick Century at the corner of Route 25A and Edgewood Avenue in Smithtown at about 12:26 a.m. and sideswiped two vehicles.

Nesconset harassment
Police arrested a 39-year-old man from Nesconset on May 27 and charged him with second-degree aggravated harassment, race/religion. Police said the man directed racial slurs at a female victim on the corner of Southern Boulevard and Route 347 in Nesconset at 1:35 p.m.

Church money stolen
Someone took money from the donation boxes at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church on East Main Street in Smithtown sometime between May 28 and May 29.

Washed out
Two drivers in two separate cars made off with free car washes at Don’s Hand Car Wash on Nesconset Highway in Nesconset on May 27 between 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. There are no arrests.

Broken window
Someone broke the passenger side window of a 2000 Dodge Intrepid parked on Thompson Street in Kings Park. The incident occurred sometime between 5:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. on May 29.

Grill, lights snatched
Someone removed a grill and tail lights from a 2010 Jeep Wrangler located at Certified Headquarters on Middle Country Road in Saint James. The incident was reported to police on May 28 and it occurred sometime on May 22.

Pretty in pink
An unknown man dressed in black pants, a black jacket, one black glove on his left hand and a pink mask covering his head entered a Terryville Road gas station in Port Jefferson Station, stole cash from the register and fled on foot on June 1. Police are still investigating the early morning incident.

Credit score
A 49-year-old man was arrested and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny on May 27 after he stole a wallet containing several credit cards from a 2013 Ford that was parked in the Three Roads Plaza in Port Jefferson Station.

I’ll have the punch
An unknown suspect reportedly approached a man standing in front of a Main Street bar in Port Jefferson and hit him on May 31. The victim was taken to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital for treatment. There have been no arrests.

Ticketed off
A Port Jefferson village code enforcement officer reported that while trying to write a parking ticket on May 26, the recipient decided to leave the scene instead of waiting for the ticket. As the individual pulled away, the officer had to step away to avoid being hit.

Butting heads
A 37-year-old Wading River man was arrested for assault on May 30 after a confrontation between him and another man in Miller Place escalated, moving from inside a Route 25A restaurant to the parking lot. The defendant head-butted the other man.

Falling flat
A Gully Landing Road resident in Miller Place reported that an unknown person had punctured a rear tire of their 2012 Honda Accord on May 29.

Shots fired
Woodhull Landing Road residents in Sound Beach reported that they believed a person had used a BB gun to damage car windows and doors at some point between May 28 and May 29.

Easy entry
Jewelry and a laptop were stolen from a Hawkins Road residence in Centereach on May 30. The suspect supposedly entered through an unlocked back door.

Trailer trashed
A fire rescue education trailer parked at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach was vandalized on May 30. According to police, graffiti was drawn on the side of the trailer.

Vacancy
A vacant home on Noel Drive in Centereach was burglarized on May 27. An unknown individual entered the home, which had recently suffered a fire, through a basement window and took two TVs, an iPad and video game consoles.

Crash and dash
Police arrested a 32-year-old Stony Brook man on May 29 in Stony Brook and charged him with aggravated driving while intoxicated, with a child in the car. Police said the man was driving a 2015 Nissan Altima southbound on Stony Brook Road and was involved in a motor vehicle crash with his 18-month-old son in the car. The man crashed into a fence, and he also crashed into a 2004 Toyota Rav 4 at about 12:14 p.m. Police also charged him with two counts of leaving the scene of an accident. The man was arrested later that day at his home on Stony Brook Road.

Shoplifter caught
Police arrested a 26-year-old man from South Setauket on May 30 and charged him with petit larceny. Police said the man stole a chainsaw and an air compressor accessory set from the Smithhaven Mall on May 14 at 4:12 p.m. Police said he was arrested in Lake Grove.

Hot outfit snatched
Someone stole jewelry and a tank top from Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on May 30 at 9:43 p.m. There are no arrests.

A crying shame
Someone took assorted baby items from Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. on May 29. There are no arrests.

Jewelry lifted
Someone stole jewelry from a home on William Penn Drive in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between May 26 at 4 p.m. and May 27 at 10 a.m. There are no arrests.

Credit card mystery
A female complainant from Hawkins Road in Stony Brook told police someone made two unauthorized purchases through her credit card. The incident occurred sometime on May 24 and police received the report on May 29.

Dave Calone has had his eye on the 1st Congressional District representative since the election last November, and he has already seen enough.

Challenger Dave Calone wants to unseat Congressman Lee Zeldin. Photo from Maria Hoffman
Challenger Dave Calone wants to unseat Congressman Lee Zeldin. Photo from Maria Hoffman

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) unseated six-term Democrat Tim Bishop by a wide margin — 54 percent of the vote to 45 percent — but Calone, a Setauket native and Port Jefferson high school graduate, said the new congressman’s voting record has motivated him to throw his hat into the ring.

“He’s out of step with Long Island and what we need to do to grow this economy,” said Calone, who works as CEO of Jove Equity Partners LLC, a venture capital firm that helps start and build technology companies. “I was disappointed to see Tim lose because I thought he had done a good job. When I saw the [floor] votes Zeldin was taking, I felt it was very partisan voting.”

Government tracking website OpenCongress reported Zeldin has voted along party lines 94 percent of the time since taking office in January. Of those votes, Calone said he took issue with Zeldin’s positions in favor of Republican budget plans that cut Homeland Security funding, and he disagreed with the congressman’s remarks referring to President Barack Obama as a monarch.

Jennifer DiSiena, a spokeswoman for Zeldin, said with 17 months until the next election, the congressman would be focusing his efforts on improving the lives of the middle class and not engaging in politics.

“Congressman Zeldin has been working across party lines since day one,” she said in a statement. “He has been recognized as the top Freshman Republican likely to co-sponsor legislation with members of the opposite party. He has also broken from party lines on critical votes to protect working class residents of Long Island. While people make false accusations regarding the congressman, Lee Zeldin is working tirelessly for the residents of Long Island. These people can continue to throw mud and lies about the congressman, but the residents of the First [Congressional] District are smarter than that.”

Calone is director of six privately held companies throughout the country and has helped organize the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the U.S. House of Representatives, advocating federal policies that promote job creation through the development of startups and other small businesses.

In that role, he helped launch Startup Day Across America, an event to connect federal officials with early-stage companies in their region. He also founded the Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund, which provides funding to six early-stage companies based on technology developed at Long Island’s research institutions.

Congressman Lee Zeldin. File photo
Congressman Lee Zeldin. File photo

Calone said his hands-on experience helping Long Island businesses thrive was a driving force behind his decision to challenge Zeldin, and he hoped to apply his experience working to keep his hometown attractive, and retain residents living there.

“What I want to bring is someone who helped start and grow businesses across Long Island,” he said. “This area was a great place to grow up and a lot of my classmates have already left and don’t come back. We need to be a leader in the economy of New York and worldwide.”

Since 2008, Calone has worked as chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission. He also helped initiate the county’s first comprehensive plan effort in nearly 40 years.

On the local level, Calone has already garnered support from various political leaders and community activists. His campaign committee is headed by Virginia Capon, president of the Three Village Democratic Club, and he has received early support from Tony Parlatore, chair of the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee.

“Dave Calone has never run for office before, but he is a lifelong supporter of Democratic values,” Parlatore said. “His father was an engineer and local chamber of commerce leader and his mother was an elementary school teacher here in our community. He is well respected in our region for his work to cut government red tape and enact policies that support job growth. He also has been a leader in protecting Suffolk County’s natural environment by fighting to protect our waters and has been nationally recognized for creating policies that promote renewable energy usage across Long Island.”

As a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program, Calone worked on prosecuting cases involving international economic crime and terrorism — efforts for which he was named a recipient of the 2003 Attorney General’s Award.

Calone is an honors graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He lives with his wife Kate, a Presbyterian minister, and their three children.

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Elwood Superintendent Ken Bossert. File photo by Elana Glowatz

The Port Jefferson school board could change the way it evaluates the district superintendent.

Board members approved a first reading of proposed policy updates that would change their schedule for meeting with the superintendent to discuss district goals and to receive updates, resulting in more communication, and would change the rating scale for the administrator’s performance to one similar to the statewide teacher evaluation scale — with scores of highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective.

After accepting its first reading during the board meeting on May 12, the board may vote to adopt the new policy at its next session.

Under current policy, the board must hold a minimum of two evaluation meetings with the superintendent: one midway through the school year and the other toward its end. But the proposed changes would require a first meeting between the board and the superintendent during the summer, for the parties to discuss goals for the new school year. They would meet again in January to go over progress and, after the board convenes to discuss the superintendent’s performance, the members would meet with him again in May or June. Along the way, from September to May, according to the draft of the updated policy, the superintendent would provide “regular updates to the board regarding progress toward goals” and would submit a self-evaluation in April or May.

Rather than relying on an evaluation scale that employs percentiles, the proposed rating scale would assign the superintendent a ranking in various categories — his relationships with the school board, the community and the staff; business and finance; instructional leadership; and district results — as well as an overall rating.

If the school board revises the policy, some pieces of it will not change: The board would still have to vote upon a superintendent’s ratings and provide explanations for them, and the superintendent would retain the right to add his comments to the evaluation for the record.

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Austin Sperl, left, runs in the 4x400-meter relay race for Comsewogue. Photo by Harry Posnanski

By Clayton Collier

The Comsewogue boys’ track and field program added to an already banner year this past weekend, breaking a pair of school records as six athletes placed at divisionals as the host team.

Having already broken the 100-, 200-, 400- and 1×400-meter relay records this season, the Warriors tacked on to their historic season, taking the 800 and 4×400 relays school records Friday.

Head coach Brad Posnanski, currently in his 19th season at the helm of the program, said this year’s squad has been one of the best teams he has coached at Comsewogue.

Arman Hezarkhani leaps over the hurdle for Comsewogue. Photo from Arman Hezarkhani
Arman Hezarkhani leaps over the hurdle for Comsewogue. Photo from Arman Hezarkhani

“This was probably the best season we’ve had in 12 years,” said Posnanski, whose team will head to state qualifiers at Port Jefferson this coming weekend.

Seniors Austin Sperl and Conner Holroyd, as well as juniors Aidan Reindl and Ivan Almanzar, clocked in at a school record 3 minutes, 23.58 seconds, passing the previous mark by just under a second and taking third in the divisional race.

In the 800, Sperl’s record time of 1:55.73 eclipsed the previous school mark by one-hundredth of a second, taking second place in the divisional meet. In addition to the 4×400 record that the All-State runner anchored, Sperl also holds the school record in the 400 and was part of the record-breaking 4×100 team.

Sperl said the 800 record meant a great deal to him because he has been running the event since eighth grade.

“I was really excited because I didn’t think I got it,” he said. “Then, when I made it to the line, my coach told me. It was sweet. That was probably my favorite school record that I got.”

With a senior core consisting of Sperl, Holroyd, shot-putter Jason Hank, 4×100 team member and hurdler Arman Hezarkhani, and 800-runner Nick Lepore, it was a bittersweet final home meet.

“It was very emotional,” said Hezarkhani, who was sick that day and almost didn’t participate in the meet. “I remember when I was on the blocks for the 400 hurdles; that just kept going through my head: ‘This is the last race, this is the last race.’ It was an awesome way to end my high school career. Not end — almost end it.”

Austin Sperl sprints to the finish line in a relay race at the boys’ divisional meet at Comsewogue. Photo by Harry Posnanski
Austin Sperl sprints to the finish line in a relay race at the boys’ divisional meet at Comsewogue. Photo by Harry Posnanski

Hezarkhani placed fourth in the 400 hurdles. Also placing were Reindl, who took fifth in the triple jump, and junior Gavin Holroyd, who placed seventh in discus.

Hezarkhani and Sperl will be the two seniors continuing their track careers into college. Sperl, who Posnanski described as “one of the top runners” he’s coached, is headed to the University at Albany this fall. Hezarkhani will attend Carnegie Mellon University, a place that he feels will fulfill his various needs.

“I’ve always liked to balance academics and athletics,” he said. “I think I will be able to maintain my excellence in both there.”

Sperl’s mother, Donna, credits the coaching staff for the team’s success, saying the mix between Posnanski and assistant coach Mike Cohen is a winning formula.

“Coach Cohen is very personable, very outgoing and jokes around with them a lot, so it’s a good balance,” she said. “[Posnanski] is very strict and he demands a lot out of them physically, but he’s very quick to text them or call them to tell them ‘good job.’”

Looking ahead toward next year, Comsewogue will return a junior who has already made waves. Almanzar holds the school record in the 100 and 200, with times of 10.9 and 22.2, respectively, and was a member of the record-breaking 4×100 squad. Also among the junior returners are Reindl, Gavin Holroyd and Alex Velasquez; the latter  will return after sitting out the majority of this past season with an injury.

Hezarkhani said that although this season is not finished yet, he is confident in next year’s team’s abilities.

“I think the team is going to be strong,” he said. “We have a lot of talent, a lot of hard workers, and that is just what it comes down to, really.”

The entire company of ‘Puss in Boots’ at Theatre Three. Photo by Sarah E. Bush, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

For too short a time, Theatre Three’s Children’s Theatre is presenting a delightful adaptation of “Puss in Boots” on the Mainstage. Written by Steve McCoy and Jeffrey Sanzel, the story is loosely based on the 17th century fairy-tale by Charles Perrault, sans the ogre and with a surprise ending.

In Theatre Three’s version, ‘Boots’ chronicles the journey of a poor boy named Christopher. Kicked out of his home by his two older brothers and their wives, with no possessions but his father’s cat, Puss, Christopher sets off to the palace of King Vexmus to seek his fortune. He soon discovers that the cat can talk and wants to help him. A plan is hatched to pose as the rich Marquis of Carabas to win the heart of Princess Anafaizia and the adventure begins.

Jeffrey Sanzel directs a cast of 10 adult actors who deliver a first-rate performance. Hans Paul Hendrickson shines in the leading role of Christopher and also serves as storyteller. His kind and sweet personality quickly gains the sympathy of the audience. Amanda Geraci is wonderful as Puss. Your ‘basic cat of all trades,’ she sings and dances in practically every scene with boundless energy.

Jenna Kavaler is the beautiful Princess Anafaizia, who quickly reveals that her beauty is only skin deep. Bobby Montaniz and Andrew Gasparini are a terrific team as Christopher’s mean brothers, Amos and Shank. Their antics up and down the aisles to try to catch Christopher with a large net are priceless. James D. Schultz is in top form as the bumbling King Vexmus. Hilarious as usual, he clearly enjoys being onstage, making children and adults laugh. Schultz is perfectly matched with newcomer Tiffany Bux as Queen Ire. Bickering like an old married couple, they are very entertaining. Dana Bush as Ida, Marquéz as Missy and Gabrielle Comanda as Julia are a great supporting cast.

Choreographed by the super talented Marquéz and accompanied on piano by Steve McCoy, the musical numbers are a real treat, from the sweet duet “Take a Moment for Yourself,” sung by Geraci and Comanda, to the catchy tune of “Song of the Marquis of Carabas.” At last Sunday’s performance, many children were observed rocking back and forth in their seats to the music, taking it all in.

The set is simple but effective, utilizing props from the set of the theater’s evening performances of “Oliver!” Imagination is called for, especially when Puss takes the royal family on a tour of her master’s lands. The costumes, designed by Aimee Rabbitt are spot on, with sharp contrast between the rich and the poor.

Overall, Theatre Three’s “Puss in Boots” is funny, entertaining and a perfect introduction to the magic of live theater. Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for a meet-and-greet and photo opportunities.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson, will present “Puss In Boots” on June 6 and 13 at 11 a.m. followed by “Jack & the Beanstalk” from July 10 to Aug. 7 and “The Pied Piper” from Aug. 7 to 15. Tickets are $10 each, with group discounts for 10 or more. For more information, please call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

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Hurricanes have caused power outages in recent years. File photo

With several emergency services packed into a small area, Port Jefferson Village officials hope to secure a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority toward building a local backup energy grid to be used in case of a crisis.

The village applied for the NYSERDA grant to build the backup grid, known as a microgrid, through a statewide competition because of the critical community services that cannot stop functioning during a power outage, Mayor Margot Garant said.

“During a severe weather event such as we had with [hurricanes] Irene and Sandy, where the hospitals lost power and some of us lost power — some up to 14 days, [and the] hospitals were out eight to 10 days — those … patients that were on critical care services were put in harm’s way,” Garant said at the village board of trustees meeting Monday night. “So basically if we have a microgrid during those severe weather systems … where the overall grid goes down, we flick a switch and keep our critical services online.”

Microgrids are independent of the regional grid and rely on their own power-generating resources. NYSERDA may award up to $40 million total to help communities around New York State build those microgrids.

Port Jefferson Village is not the only municipality on Long Island applying for a slice of the pie. Huntington Town officials recently agreed to pursue the grant funding for their own microgrid, to support buildings like Huntington Hospital and the town’s wastewater treatment plant. And a month ago, NYSERDA awarded the first five grants — $100,000 each — to communities from Buffalo to East Hampton, so the applicants could perform feasibility studies on their projects.

NYSERDA expects to announce the next round of grant winners soon.

“We have two major hospitals, a ferry, a railroad station, our own school district, a village hall, a wastewater treatment facility, a groundwater treatment facility, an ambulance company,” Garant said. “We have a lot of emergency services-related components within a very small radius.”

Port Jefferson is listed on the NYSERDA website as one of five “opportunity zones” on Long Island where microgrids might reduce strain on the regional utility system and have other positive benefits. The other zones are Long Beach, Montauk, Hewlett Bay and Inwood. Statewide, there are eight other regions that have their own opportunity zones.

With a $100,000 grant, the village would work with consultants and local stakeholders, like the fire department, to research the Port Jefferson project. In choosing which projects to award grants to, NYSERDA is using criteria such as the area’s level of vulnerability to outages, how a microgrid would improve community function and the possible effect on ratepayers.

Although power generation and distribution in the United States used to operate at a more local level, the grids have become more regional over time to make the utilities more cost-effective and reliable, according to NYSERDA’s website.

“These systems are, however, vulnerable to outages that can impact large regions and thousands of businesses and citizens, particularly as a consequence of extreme, destructive weather events,” the website said. “Microgrids could help minimize the impact of these outages by localizing power generation, distribution and consumption so that a fallen tree or downed wire will not interrupt critical services for miles around.”

Projects awarded the $100,000 grants to perform feasibility studies will later be eligible to apply for more funding under the NYSERDA program, to advance the microgrid construction efforts.

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