Port Times Record

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Port Jefferson’s Corey Carnahan makes a catch at the plate before firing the ball to second base for a pickoff attempt in the Royals’ eighth inning, 6-5 loss to Southold Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Fresh off their three-game sweep of Greenport last week, the Port Jefferson baseball team, at 6-0 in League IX, looked to keep their winning ways when they hosted Southold (5-1) Monday afternoon.

The Royals struck first and led by four runs before Southold rallied late to tie the game at 5-5 and force an extra inning. Southold scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, and the team’s defense held it down to win 6-5 and hand Port Jefferson its first loss of the season.

Port Jefferson’s Kristopher Cheslock fields a throw from catcher Corey Carnahan in the Royals’ 6-5 extra-inning loss to Southold Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Kristopher Cheslock fields a throw from catcher Corey Carnahan in the Royals’ 6-5 extra-inning loss to Southold Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

“We stayed in the game,” Kluender said. “We had a couple of errors, but we got over those. They have a couple of guys who can hit the ball and they can field the plays.”

With the game only a few pitches old, play was stopped as the trainers examined Royals starting pitcher Benjamin Kluender. With a back strain, he remained in the game only to take a line drive to his foot in the next inning. Hobbling around the mound, Kluender shook it off and got back to the business at hand and retired the side.

Port Jefferson senior James Murphy crossed the plate first on a Southold error at the bottom of the inning, for the first run of the game.

“We both came in with the mentality that we’d fight to the end, and that’s what happened,” Murphy said. “We expected them to be tough. We played well and everyone did their part.”

Southold drove in a run in the top of the second to tie the game with the go-ahead runner on first. On the next pitch, Southold’s base runner took off to steal second, as senior catcher Corey Carnahan threw a bullet to the second baseman for the pickoff play, retiring the side.

“Southold is certainly a strong team in this league — they played a very clean baseball game today,” Port Jefferson head coach Jesse Rosen said. “They were pretty much what I expected in terms of their talent level.”

Port Jefferson sophomore Ryan Walsh punched a line drive to right field to load the bases in the bottom of the third, and sophomore Sean Griffin showed patience at the plate as he drew the walk. His RBI brought home Matthew Keresztes for the lead, and Kluender smacked a sacrifice fly to right field to give his team a 3-1 advantage, leaving runners on second and third.

With two outs, sophomore Kristopher Cheslock battled at the plate, looking to keep the inning alive. He ripped one deep to left center that almost went out, but both runners were able to run home standing up for a two-run double. With the scores, the Royals broke out to a 5-1 lead.

“I thought we hit the ball pretty well today and we had strong pitching and good cuts at the ball,” Cheslock said. “But I thought we could’ve cleaned up our infield today.”

Port Jefferson pitcher Benjamin Kluender, who threw all seven regular innings, hurls the ball from the mound in the Royals’ first loss of the season, an extra-inning 6-5 loss to Southold at home, Monday. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson pitcher Benjamin Kluender, who threw all seven regular innings, hurls the ball from the mound in the Royals’ first loss of the season, an extra-inning 6-5 loss to Southold at home, Monday. Photo by Bill Landon

Southold answered back in the top of the fourth inning by driving in three runs to draw within one, 5-4, and on an overthrow to home plate, a Southold runner scored from third to tie the game at 5-5.

Port Jefferson followed with a missed opportunity at the plate with a runner in scoring position, and with the batter caught looking, the go-ahead run on second was stranded.

Rosen said Southold is the team’s strongest opponent in the league, and he thought his team could keep pace even though it was the first time the Royals have seen the Settlers this season.

“Moving forward, I think we can certainly hang with them,” he said.

Neither team threatened in the seventh to force an extra inning.

Port Jefferson relief pitcher Neil Alvarez, a lefty, took over at the mound, and Southold opened the inning with a deep hit to centerfield for a double. A sacrifice fly advanced the runner to third, who scored on another passed ball at the plate for a 6-5 advantage.

Still trailing by a run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Royals had their backs against the wall. Kluender battled in the box, and was hit by a pitch. Stealing second base proved too risky, so Kluender didn’t venture far from the bag.

Port Jefferson’s final batter struck out and the Royals were handed their first loss of the season. Although Kluender was left stranded on base, his coach was impressed with his performance overall, and especially from the mound.

“He tweaked his back a little bit, he gets hit with a come-back and yet he’s willing to battle back and throw 88 pitches today,” Rosen aid. “Ben had an awesome performance today.”

Port Jefferson is now tied with Southold and Pierson/Bridgehampton for first place in the league at 6-1. The Royals will take to the diamond Wednesday on the road and finish up at home on Thursday with first pitches for both games slated for 4:30 p.m.

“Often you look at the immediacy of the game — winning or losing as to whether it’s a success or not,” Rosen said. “A loss in a close game isn’t the worst thing because you can learn from it.”

A sign at Congressman Lee Zeldin’s press conference in Comsewogue on Sunday, April 12, speaks against standardized testing. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Congressman Lee Zeldin announced to Comsewogue teachers, parents and students on Sunday that he is working on a way to reduce state testing, amid a renewed local push against the standardized exams.

The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act, which Zeldin (R-Shirley) is co-sponsoring, has “strong bipartisan support,” he told the crowd at Comsewogue High School. “This legislation would roll back state-mandated testing to pre-No Child Left Behind levels.”

Congressman Lee Zeldin talks about a bill that would reduce standardized testing during an event in Comsewogue on Sunday, April 12, as Superintendent Joe Rella looks on. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Congressman Lee Zeldin talks about a bill that would reduce standardized testing during an event in Comsewogue on Sunday, April 12, as Superintendent Joe Rella looks on. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 required states to create assessments for basic skills in select grade levels. Before the controversial No Child Left Behind, New York State students were tested in both English language arts and math in three different grades, for six total tests. Now students take those exams each year in grades three through eight.

The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act aims to reduce the number of tests to previous levels — so they would be administered once in grades three to five, once in grades six through nine and once in grades 10 through 12 — based on the belief that it would allow for more curriculum flexibility, giving students more time to learn and helping to nurture their creativity.

Gina Rennard, a Comsewogue parent and wife of school board trustee Rick Rennard, has had her children “opt out” of the standardized tests, something many parents have done in opposition to the Common Core Learning Standards and linked state tests.

“These tests are developmentally inappropriate,” Gina Rennard said. “The grades for these tests come out after the students have already gone onto the next education level, therefore the tests have no bearing on their education plan. So why are we torturing them?”

Superintendent Joe Rella hosted the press conference, and said the only goal of testing is “to put public schools out of business and have [charter schools] for profit, because there is nothing about improvement here.”

Rella said he will not stop fighting for change.

The gathering came just a couple of weeks after Rella and Comsewogue school board members considered a proposal to refuse to administer state exams unless the state delivered more education aid and reduced the weight of student test scores on teacher and administrator evaluations. But after the idea created buzz in the community, the officials nixed the proposal on the advice of legal counsel.

Comsewogue Superintendent Joe Rella speaks against standardized testing during an event with Congressman Lee Zeldin on Sunday, April 12. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Comsewogue Superintendent Joe Rella speaks against standardized testing during an event with Congressman Lee Zeldin on Sunday, April 12. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

State Education Law gives the education commissioner power to remove school officials from office if they willfully disobey rules or regulations, and withhold state aid from schools where such action takes place.

Patchogue-Medford Superintendent Michael Hynes said at the event that the pressure on both students and teachers is far too intense.

“If you look at countries whose education systems are performing well, they are doing the opposite of what we’re doing right now,” Hynes said. The crowd roared in agreement.

Jennifer Jenkins moved her family to Comsewogue because of the schools, but said she is no longer confident in the education her kids are getting.

“To have so much of the curriculum based on the testing forces the teachers to focus on standardized testing as a part of the year’s goal,” she said. “Then the teachers have less of an opportunity to build their own curriculum around what’s best for their individual students.”

Zeldin said he is optimistic about the bill’s future in Congress.

“This is where you hold your elected officials accountable, and we will make sure we are doing everything within our power up in Albany and down in Washington to do it on behalf of these kids.”

Supervisor Ed Romaine file photo

A state assemblywoman from Ithaca is pushing to provide state aid to municipalities that host four-year, residential State University of New York colleges and universities, and Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) is signing onto the cause because of the potential financial relief it could bring to Long Island.

The legislation, introduced by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca) on March 24, seeks to offset the cost of providing public safety services to state schools, which are currently tax-exempt. The move came shortly after Romaine vowed to work with the New York State Board of Regents to seek a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, for the Stony Brook and Setauket fire departments, which both serve SUNY Stony Brook University.

Lifton, who represents the cities and towns of Ithaca and Cortland — which host SUNY Cortland and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University — called the lack of aid a big issue for her municipalities.

“There is a deficit there that we need to makeup,” she said, noting that the state’s Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, or AIM funding, has decreased over the years.

The legislation earmarks $12 million in aid for the host municipalities, and establishes a formula to distribute the aid based on the cost of public safety services, how much AIM funding the community already receives and the student population.

Lifton said there are a lot of rental properties in Cortland, so the police and fire departments “provide more than the normal amount of services.” In the City of Cortland, firefighters are paid, but Cortland Town firefighters volunteer their time.

While the legislation currently doesn’t propose aid be rewarded to a fire districts like those in Stony Brook and East Setauket, Romaine still said he was supportive of the idea.

“We think this is a solution,” Romaine said.

Like in Cortland, Brookhaven officials have been dealing with off-campus rental properties, which university students often inhabit. Over the last two years, the town has tried to curtail illegal and overcrowded rentals in the Stony Brook and Setauket area by strengthening its codes, increasing fines and working with the university to educate students about illegal rentals. The town also hired additional investigators to stay on top of the issue.

While Romaine said the legislation would help Brookhaven, he continued to advocate for “some contribution to the fire districts involved so their taxpayers don’t have to bear that burden.”

Romaine also said he hopes Long Island’s state representatives would support the legislation, and that at some point along the line, a PILOT agreement is established.

State Assemblyman Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) did not return requests for comment.

Stony Brook Fire Department Commissioner Paul Degen, who works as a town investigator, said 50 percent of Stony Brook Fire District’s tax base is exempt, which has made things financially difficult at times as the department has spent money retrofitting trucks and adequately training volunteers.

“It is what it is, but it would be nice if 50 percent of our district paid their fair share,” he said.

According to records from Stony Brook University, alarms requiring a fire department unit on the scene have dropped since 2012 when single detector activations, which are investigated by university fire marshals and don’t require fire department presence, were implemented in May 2012.

In 2012, the Stony Brook and/or Setauket departments were on scene for a total of 137 alarms. In 2013, the number drastically dropped to 25.

While there has been progress, Degen said he would like to see more incentives to attract department volunteers, which aren’t easy to come by these days. The department currently has 72 members, and more than half of them are over 50 years old.

One idea, he said, would be to offer some sort of tuition break or benefit to volunteers, which could help attract students to the department.

“All of that needs to be visited,” he said.

Romaine, Lifton and Degen expressed similar sentiments about the universities, saying they play important roles in the host communities, which welcome them, but still shouldn’t burden the taxpayers.

“All I’m asking for is some kind of remuneration,” Romaine said. “The full burden should not fall on the taxpayer. That is just not fair.”

Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, right. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie M. Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) is calling on the North Shore community to take her up on an upcoming tax grievance workshop to combat potential disasters at the height of tax season.

The upcoming workshop, led by Brookhaven Tax Assessor James Ryan, will teach residents how to grieve their taxes and survive tax season just in time for the big day on April 15.

The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the Comsewogue School District Office, at 290 Norwood Ave. in Port Jefferson Station.

The event is open to all residents.

The two-part boating safety course is at the Setauket Fire Department station on Nicolls Road, on April 14-15. File photo

Suffolk County residents can take a free boater safety course next week, to meet a new New York State requirement for operating motorboats.

All people born on or after May 1, 1996, must take an approved boater education course to operate such a vessel. The course, which will be held on April 14-15, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Setauket firehouse substation on Nicolls Road, is free. However, the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation charges a $10 fee for a boating safety certificate after training is completed.

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) is sponsoring the two-day boating safety course.

Advance registration is required for the two four-hour sessions, and participants must attend both of the sessions to receive credit.

Call Hahn’s office at 854-1650 to reserve a spot.

Old Homestead Road is one street in northern Port Jefferson ready for repaving after a harsh winter beat them up. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Following a snowy winter that punished local streets, leaving numerous potholes, Port Jefferson is kicking off the paving season with a few village roads that are in particularly poor condition.

The board of trustees approved Old Homestead Road and the adjacent Landing Lane, Cove Lane, Chips Court and the northern half of Sands Lane for repaving at its business meeting Monday night. The village is contracting with Suffolk Paving Corp. to redo the roads, at a total cost of almost $285,000.

Sands Lane is one street in northern Port Jefferson ready for repaving after a harsh winter beat them up. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Sands Lane is one street in northern Port Jefferson ready for repaving after a harsh winter beat them up. Photo by Elana Glowatz

“They are beyond — Old Homestead is in real bad shape,” Mayor Margot Garant said. “Sands Lane, Cove Lane, Landing [Lane] and Chips [Court] are completely falling apart.”

The roads are scheduled to be milled down on Thursday, with paving to follow a few days later, on April 13-14.

“It’ll be good to get some of these roads done,” Trustee Larry LaPointe said.

Though the five streets approved Monday will be the first in the village to get some TLC, they will not be the last — the board also approved a $25,000 transfer for the public works department from its storm sewer expenses to its street maintenance fund to help repair roads.

The section around Old Homestead is “in desperate need of paving” but village employees “will be working on additional roads using their own equipment, so the paving doesn’t stop there,” Garant said during the public forum portion of Monday’s meeting.

Pedestrians, like drivers, will see improvements during paving season — Garant said the village will be repairing sidewalks as well, including one on the frequently traversed Arden Place, which has municipal parking lots on either side.

Punched and pushed
A complainant reported being harassed by a male and a female while waiting outside a Patchogue Road convenience store in Port Jefferson Station at around 5:30 p.m. on April 4. According to police, the victim, who refused medical attention, was punched and pushed by the suspects. No arrests have been made.

Sideswiped
A man refused to press charges after he was pushed and hit on the side of the face while walking on Patchogue Road in Port Jefferson Station on March 31 at 6:33 a.m. The man didn’t require medical attention.

Check it out
A 60-year-old Port Jefferson Station man was arrested on April 3 for grand larceny and second-degree forgery after he entered the Sola Salon Studios in Port Jefferson Station and stole a wallet that contained cash, credit cards and other items. Police said the man then forged a signature on one of the stolen checks.

Got your nose
Two males got into a bit of a tiff on April 5 at around 1:30 a.m. at Junior’s Spycoast in Port Jefferson. According to police, a man was punched in the nose and neck, causing injury. No medical attention was provided, and charges haven’t been filed.

Garden of mystery
An unknown individual took two batteries from a 2007 Chevy and a 1995 GMC from the Gera Gardens property in Mount Sinai. The incident occurred between 2 p.m. on March 31 and 7:30 a.m. on April 4. One of the vehicles had a broken windshield as well.

Gone with the wind
A woman reported leaving her cell phone behind at the Miller Place Stop&Shop checkout line on April 3. When she returned, the phone was gone.

Gas station rage
A complainant reported an individual was trying to start a fight at the BP gas station in Miller Place on Route 25A. During the April 2 criminal mischief incident, the suspect damaged the complainant’s 2009 Toyota Camry by kicking the rear passenger door, causing a minor dent. Shortly before the incident, police had responded to a suspect approaching another customer at the same gas station and engaging in a verbal dispute and throwing a bottle at the complainant’s car. It is unclear if the two reports are related.

Criminal homemaker
At approximately 4 p.m. on April 4, an unknown individual stole assorted groceries and household items from the Rocky Point Waldbaum’s on Route 25A.

Talk to the hand
Police responded to an assault at the Shoreham-Wading River High School property on March 30 at around 12:30 p.m. According to police, a complainant was talking to the suspect, who didn’t like what he said and then punched the man. The complainant was treated at a local hospital.

Bad impression
A 27-year-old Wading River man was arrested in Shoreham on April 3 after he lied about his name during a traffic stop by Roswell Avenue.

Planking
A homeowner on Valiant Drive in Centereach discovered four planks missing from a fence. Police said the incident occurred between 9 p.m. on April 4 and 10:30 a.m. on April 5.

Poor home improvements
An unknown person damaged a property on Lake Grove Street in Centereach at approximately 10:45 p.m. on April 2. Police said a window and sheetrock were damaged.

Bonnie and Clyde
A male and female took merchandise from a Middle Country Road CVS in Centereach on March 31 at around 9:30 a.m. and then fled the scene.

False advertisement
An individual responding to a Craigslist advertisement of a quad for sale, posted by a resident of Avondale Drive in Centereach, drove off with the vehicle on March 30. According to police, the suspect is a white male, thin and approximately 6 feet tall. Police are still investigating.

High-way
Police arrested a 22-year-old Middle Island man in Centereach on April 1 for operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs. The man was heading eastbound on Route 25 in a 2003 Chrysler when police pulled him over by Wood Road for driving at an excessive speed, and observed he was under the influence.

Soda and sun
A 22-year-old Sound Beach woman and a 30-year-old Miller Place man were arrested in Selden on April 2 for stealing a pair of sunglasses and soda from a Walgreens on Middle Country Road.

Pestering phone calls
Someone reported an incident of aggravated harassment at North Suffolk Cardiology on Research Way in East Setauket on April 3 at 9:23 a.m. Police said the complainant reported a caller making harassing statements on a personal cellphone.

Makeup, wallet stolen
Someone stole a wallet and makeup from Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway in East Setauket on April 3 at about 3:34 p.m.

Harassment
A man told police he was receiving harassing phone calls on Millie Lane in East Setauket on April 3 around 4:20 p.m.

Cards swiped
Someone entered an unlocked 2005 Chevrolet parked at a home on Rack Lane, East Setauket and stole a Visa card and a Home Depot card. The incident was reported on April 2 at 11 p.m.

Hug it out
Someone claimed they were punched and shoved, but police said the individuals involved know each another and no arrest was made. The incident occurred on Christian Avenue, Setauket at 3 a.m. on March 30.

Money grab
An unknown person entered an unlocked 2011 Chevy Tahoe parked on Cabin Lane in East Setauket on March 30 at 8:16 a.m. and took money.

Hole in one
Someone entered Sports Authority on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook and took golf clubs without paying for them. The incident occurred on March 31 at about 1:40 p.m.

It wasn’t me
A 23-year-old man from Central Islip was arrested in Smithtown at the 4th Precinct on April 2 and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and false information. Police said that the man told officers the driver of a motor vehicle fled the scene of an accident after crashing a 2004 Cadillac into a pole on March 28 at about 4:05 a.m. at the corner of Smithtown Boulevard and Old Nichol’s Road, when in fact he was the driver.

April foolery
A 37-year-old woman was arrested at the 4th Precinct in Smithtown on April 1 and charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration and second-degree harassment. Police said the incident occurred at the precinct. The woman refused to comply when ordered out of a holding cell after being arrested in Shirley and charged with operating a motor vehicle impaired by drugs. Then while being assisted out of the holding cell, the woman grabbed and scratched a Suffolk County Police Department employee’s arms.

Sloppy driving
A 19-year-old man from Holbrook was arrested in Nesconset on April 2 and charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and alcohol. Police said he was driving on Smithtown Boulevard in a 1999 Toyota when he was observed swerving from his travel lane and crossed over into the shoulder. He was arrested at the scene at about 2:30 a.m.

Jewelry thief nabbed
Police said a 24-year-old woman from Islip was arrested on April 1 and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny of property valued at more than $1,000. Police said the woman stole jewelry from a Lawrence Drive location in Nesconset sometime between Oct. 8 and Nov. 17. She was arrested on Lawrence Drive at about 3 p.m.

Faker caught
A 17-year-old male from Brentwood was arrested in Smithtown and charged with false personation. Police said that on March 27 in Commack on Jericho Turnpike at 2 p.m. he made a police report using someone else’s name, using a fake picture identification and continued to identify himself as someone else. He was also charged with falsely writing a statement.

Bad reality check
A 51-year-old man from St. James was arrested at his home on Hill Road in St. James on April 5 and charged with second-degree possession of a forged instrument. Police said he possessed a forged instrument — a Chase bank check — that he made payable to himself.

Injeanious
A 27-year-old man from Great River was arrested in Smithtown at the 4th Precinct and charged with petit larceny on April 3 at about 9:30 a.m. Police said he took jeans from Kohl’s on March 18 at about 5:32 p.m.

Street fight
A man told police he was punched several times by another person on Main Street in Huntington at about 2 a.m. on April 4. The two are not looking to file charges, police said.

Seating squabble
Two people got into a dispute about a seating area at Starbucks on Wall Street in Huntington at 9 p.m. on April 4, and one person punched the other. The two customers refused medical attention, cops said.

KO
Someone punched another person in the face at a store on East Main Street on April 1 in Huntington at about 1:53 a.m. The person refused medical treatment and refused to press charges.

On second thought
An unknown person kicked in the door of a Soundview Road home on April 1 at about 6:30 p.m. in Huntington, but fled when someone inside the house yelled. The person didn’t get inside.

Arleen Buckley donated a kidney to her husband of 43 years, Tom Buckley. Photo by Erin Dueñas

By Erin Dueñas

Arleen Buckley ticked off the places she and husband Tom had traveled to before he fell ill. The Port Jefferson couple had visited Italy, Ireland and even China, but a planned trip to Belgium last year had to be canceled after Tom’s battle with polycystic kidney disease — a hereditary condition where cysts develop on the kidneys, leading to the organ’s failure — kept him from traveling.

“He was just too sick,” his wife said. “We were lucky we could get him to the corner.”

Tom Buckley spent months undergoing dialysis three days a week, but the treatments left him weak.

“He wasn’t having a good reaction to the dialysis,” Arleen Buckley said. “I told him we can’t live life like this. It was a tough time.”

Arleen Buckley said she couldn’t bear seeing her husband of 43 years so ill. She suggested giving him one of her kidneys to resolve his health issue but he refused.

“He felt guilty. He didn’t want me putting my life at risk,” she said. “I told him I wanted to live a nice long life — but with him.”

It took months but she eventually convinced her husband to take her kidney, and in September of last year, the couple underwent the surgeries.

Arleen Buckley was up and about just three days later, and while her husband’s recovery took much longer — about six months — he said he feels great. They’re even planning a trip to Scandinavia.

“I couldn’t go anywhere, not even to the movies,” Tom Buckley said. “Now that I’m better I can do whatever I want.”

Last Thursday, April 2, the couple attended the Living Donor Award Ceremony at Stony Brook University Hospital, which honored Arleen Buckley and about 200 other kidney donors. Sponsored by the hospital’s Department of Transplant, kidney recipients presented their living donors with a state medal of honor for the second chance at life.

The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Chris Melz of Huntington Station, who donated a kidney in 2009 to his childhood friend Will Burton, who suffered from end-stage renal failure. The surgeries were successful, and Melz now works with the National Kidney Foundation raising awareness for living donors.

“I want to spark the drive for people to do good,” he said. “Giving is a beautiful thing.”

Arleen Buckley said she was happy to give a kidney to her husband, whom she has known for 50 years.

“I told him, ‘When I was 14 years old, I gave you my heart. At 64, I gave you my kidney,’” the wife said.

Dr. Wayne Waltzer, director of kidney transplantation services and chair of the Department of Urology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, called kidney transplants a “new lease on life” for patients who are on dialysis.

“Transplants restore them,” Waltzer said. “They get back the same sense of well-being they had before they got sick.”

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 118,000 Americans are on a waiting list for an organ —  96,000 of those wait for a kidney. Roughly 13 people die daily waiting for the organ, the group said.

Stephen Knapik, Stony Brook University’s living donor coordinator, said that every 10 minutes someone in need of a kidney is added to that list. He called it an honor to work with donors who keep the list from growing.

“I’ve never been in a room with so many superheroes in my life,” Knapik said. “The greatest gift you can give isn’t a boat or a car, it’s the gift of life.”

Waltzer said that donating a kidney involves meeting certain criteria including compatible blood groups and matching body tissues between donor and recipient, as well as ensuring that the recipient has no antibodies that will work against the transplanted organ.

While he said the surgery is sophisticated, he called the science and medicine an incredible achievement.

“The immunosuppressive therapy is so good and the medication so effective that you can override any mismatches,” he said.

This allows for donors to give to loved ones that are not related by blood.

With the most active renal transplant program on Long Island, Stony Brook has done 1,500 transplants since 1981. Waltzer said that donors are doing an “amazing service,” not just to their recipient but also to one of the thousands of people who are on the waiting list for a kidney.

“There is a shortage of organs,” he said. “By donating, you are giving a chance to someone else on that waiting list.”

Port Jefferson Station resident unopposed for election

The Comsewogue library budget passed April 10. File photo

Comsewogue library district residents can expect to pay a few dollars more in taxes next year, if voters approve the proposed 2015-16 budget.

The budget, which would total $5.58 million, represents a 2 percent increase over the current year’s spending plan, according to figures in the library’s community brochure. Despite the budget total, Port Jefferson Station and Terryville residents would only be funding about half of that amount in taxes, as the tax levy would just reach about $2.7 million.

In the spending plan, staff and mandated expenses would increase, but that would largely be due to the structure of the year — Library Director Debra Engelhardt said employees are paid biweekly and while that usually means 26 payroll cycles during the year, next year there will be an extra cycle. That extra payroll affects both the salary budget line and the lines for retirement, health care and other mandated costs.

Library material and program costs would slightly decrease next year.

“Over the last few years, we’ve been tracking our spending,” Engelhardt explained. In part by analyzing what sorts of materials residents request from Comsewogue and from other public libraries in the county — as the public libraries share their collections — library officials have “sort of honed the number” for that budget line.
Comsewogue’s budget for library materials decreased between last year and this year as well, and that was also through more efficient budgeting.

Corinne DeStefano is unopposed for a term on the library board of trustees. Photo from the candidate
Corinne DeStefano is unopposed for a term on the library board of trustees. Photo from the candidate

“We’ve just gradually been able to bring it down,” the library director said.

But all of the library’s programming will continue next year, and Engelhardt said the staff is even experimenting with different types of programs.

“I think people are going to see a little diversity” in the programs, she said.

Under the proposed budget, the tax rate would increase to about $12.43 for every $100 of assessed value. For the average home valued at $3,000 that translates to almost an $11 increase in library taxes for the year.

Voting is at the library on Terryville Road on Tuesday, April 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Those who hit the polls will also be able to cast a ballot for Port Jefferson Station resident Corinne DeStefano, who is running unopposed for a five-year term on the library board, to begin on July 1. She will take the place of former library board Vice President Chris Keegan, who recently resigned with just a few months left in his term because he moved out of the district.

DeStefano, who is married to Comsewogue school board trustee Robert DeStefano, has lived in the district her entire life. The couple has two kids, ages 6 and 2, and the wife works in quality assurance for software corporation CA Technologies.

“We think it’s important to give back” and make sure Port Jefferson Station “stays a great community,” she said.

DeStefano chose to focus on the library because it’s a place close to her heart, after growing up a few blocks away and walking there often with her mother to check out “massive amounts of books to read.”

“I’m interested in making sure that something I’ve always felt is really great … continues to evolve with the times and continues to be a great resource for the community.”

Part of Andrea Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz

By Julianne Cuba

Following another devastating winter on Long Island, Brookhaven Town is receiving a little boost from the New York State Department of Transportation’s Extreme Winter Recovery fund for the year 2015-16, Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) has announced.

The Highway Department will receive more than $501,000, while last year it received more than $400,000 in recovery funds in order to improve Brookhaven’s infrastructure. Prior to 2014, the town had not received any additional funding recovery funds for road damage.

“I want to thank the Long Island delegation for working with me on securing this desperately-needed funding for Brookhaven,” Losquadro said in a press release. “The past two winters have been historically harsh and wreaked havoc on town roadways. The more funding we receive, the more roads we can pave.”

Part of Pleasant Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Part of Pleasant Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz

In a phone interview, Losquadro said he is continuing to look for other sources of revenue from all levels of government in order to offset the cost to local taxpayers, whether in grants or funding from the federal government.

“There’s easily five times the amount of work that needs to be done that I have money for … maybe even six or seven times,” he said.

Within the next week — hopefully by April 15 — Losquadro said he hopes the resurfacing of the roads will start, weather permitting. Like last year, the work will likely continue right up until November, he said.

For the past two years, Losquadro said the town has been able to repair about 60 miles of roadway each year.

“I’m hoping to be able to match that, if not surpass that, this year,” he said. “If we’re able to get a little extra money from New York State like we did last year, every dollar we get is another roadway I can do.”

Losquadro said “it’s not dollar to dollar,” and if he can get assistance in paying for other projects that the Highway Department would have otherwise had to fund, then he could repurpose that money for roadway paving.

He referenced the traffic safety grant, which had been awarded for North Country Road in Miller Place, as an example of money that will now be free to allocate for repaving elsewhere in the town.

“That [grant] money will allow us to redo that section of roadway, a lot of the work we would have had to do there will now be covered by that grant,” he said. “That’s an award that’s already been awarded. We are seeking grants on all levels. We are looking for sources from revenue and assistance from everywhere we can.”

Losquadro said that advocating for additional funds for the resurfacing of roads is generally not normal, but there is just not enough money in the budget.

“While we were certainly not happy to see another severe winter, I am happy that we’re able to provide additional funding. State representatives listened to myself and other highway superintendents and were able to secure additional funding again this year,” he said.

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