Times of Huntington-Northport

The Order of the Ancient and Honorable Huntington Militia held “Muster Day” on May 3, reenacting the day Huntington learned of the first battles of the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord in 1775. Actors in the historical re-enactment demonstrated trades and daily life skills from the colonial era on the grounds of the Arsenal, a restored historical house museum located near the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue.

The Huntington Historical Society hosted its annual Sheep to Shawl Festival on May 3, giving locals a fun and fascinating look at colonial life. It featured real sheep-shearing and had demonstrators in colonial costume sharing their knowledge and assisting visitors in carding, spinning, knitting and weaving. There was also live music and colonial-era games. Children experienced different aspects of colonial life, including the process of how sheep wool goes from the animals to fabric — from sheep to shawl.

Huntington Town hosted its 15th Annual Tulip Festival on Sunday, May 3, a springtime festival that is a free, family-oriented, floral event in Heckscher Park. It featured tulips, hands-on children’s activity booths and live entertainment. Hundreds of children and their families attended.

A driver is dead after his car went into a house in Huntington on Friday night.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 49-year-old James Spillane was driving a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder west on Woodhull Road about 11:38 p.m. when he veered to the left and drove across a house’s lawn. He crashed into the northeast corner of the home, which is located near the corner with Hilaire Drive.

Spillane, a Syosset resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. He may have experienced a medical event before the Nissan left the road, police said.

No one in the home was injured, according to police, and the house had minor damage.

Police impounded the Pathfinder for a safety check and detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call the detectives at 631-854-8252.

Amy Siebert, of Shirley, takes in the tulips at last year’s festival. File photo by Rohma Abbas

By Julianne Cuba

On Sunday, May 3, the 15th Annual Huntington Tulip Festival will take place in Heckscher Park in Huntington.

Founded by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) and organized by the Town of Huntington, with chief festival sponsorship support from Astoria Bank, the tulip festival will be home to children’s activity booths, art exhibits and live performances. The festival will begin at 11 a.m., rain or shine.

“It’s a small-scale, family-oriented festival that really helps mark the beginning of spring with the blossoming of about 5,000 tulip bulbs,” Cuthbertson said in a phone interview this week.

Presented by the Huntington Arts Council, live performances will begin on the Chapin Rainbow Stage at noon. The Gizmo Guys will take the stage first, with a humor-filled performance appropriate for all ages, according to a town press release.

The Shinnecock American Indian Dancers will take the stage at 1:30 p.m., with a 45-minute dance presentation that will include audience participation. At 2:15 p.m., the Shinnecock American Indian Dancers will lead the re-enactment of the children’s parade that followed the 1920 dedication of Heckscher Park. It will include a new Tulip Festival Hat Contest for children and adults.

Paul Helou, an award-winning songwriter, actor and journalist, will be the final performer on the Chapin Rainbow Stage, at 3 p.m. Helou “performs a [blend] of bluegrass, Americana, roots and folk music for children that are high-energy, interactive events with quality original songs,” according to the press release.

On the same day, the 31st Annual Sheep to Shawl Festival presented by the Huntington Historical Society will take place at the historic Dr. Daniel W. Kissam House Museum and Barn. A free shuttle bus will transport visitors between the festivals.

Michele Martines smiles with her son Christian, 21, prior his heart transplant at Westchester Medical Center on Saturday. Photo from Michele Martines

A call at 11:47 p.m. last Friday changed the life of a 21-year-old Greenlawn man and his family for the better. On the other end of the line was a heart.

With tears of joy streaming down her face, Michele Martines gracefully accepted the heart on behalf of her son, Christian Siems, who was in desperate need of a transplant after suffering from congestive heart failure as a result of a genetic disease.

“We packed everything; we were running around scared trying to call people,” Martines said describing the moments after finding out her son would be getting a new heart.

Martines said she was overwhelmed with emotion as the moment she had been waiting for happened. She was happy and scared for her son, but she said he was ready.

“He was ready to go, ready to go, ready to go,” Martines said. “He wanted the heart.”

The quest for a new heart began on June 28, 2012, when Siems tried to donate blood at school. A nurse noticed he had an irregular heartbeat and suggested he see a doctor. His mom took him to the pediatrician, who suggested he see a cardiologist.

After having an echocardiogram, a test used to see how the heart is beating and pumping blood, he had to undergo an immediate test that showed his heart was functioning at less than 20 percent capacity. Doctors had to install a defibrillator, which delivers a dose of electrical energy to the heart, because Siems was at risk of cardiac arrest.

The condition was manageable with medication until last September, when Martines noticed something wasn’t right with her son.

“His heart started to fail,” Martines said.

Doctors found 80 pounds of fluid in his body as a result of congestive heart failure. He was rushed to Huntington Hospital and then airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where he went into severe cardiac arrest.

“He was dying,” his mom said.

Siems underwent surgery and was living because a machine and a mechanical device helped his heart beat, Martines said.

Finally, in November, he was well enough to come home and his mom stepped in to tend to him as they patiently waited for a heart. While he was a priority on the donor list, some people can wait as long as 20 years, according to Siems’ doctor Alan Gass, the family’s cardiologist.

Gass said Siems was in need of a transplant and was lucky his wait was just months instead of years. Another factor helping the young man with his condition was his age, the doctor said.

“Young people can compensate well, even though they are getting worse quicker,” Gass said.

But while Siems was able to compensate, young people fall apart quickly, and his heart was deteriorating even though he was being treated for his condition. The need for a heart was vital.

On Saturday, just 12 hours after appearing at a press conference with County Executive Steve Bellone (D) in an effort to promote organ donation, Siems received the call that a heart was ready for him.

The family got into the car to drive to the hospital in Valhalla and anxiously waited for the surgery. At 7 a.m., the family said their goodbyes as Siems was wheeled off to get the heart he had been desperately waiting for.

While her son was getting prepped for the surgery, Martines was pacing back and forth, and ultimately she came in contact with the doctors who had her son’s new heart in a cooler. The small amount of doubt she had disappeared, as she said she knew her son was going to be just fine.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It made it real that it was really happening.”

After a few minor complications and 14 hours in surgery, Siems’ new heart was in his chest and ready to go. And while he was unable to speak following his surgery, he used a pen and paper to let his loved ones and doctor know he was doing just fine.

“The best I felt in five years,” the white piece of paper read. The family teared up at the note. Siems’ dad, Gerald “Gerry” Siems, who was also a heart transplant recipient, died in 2013.

The young man is expected to stay in the hospital for roughly two weeks, according to Gass. In a few weeks, he will be able to return to a normal life, which entails playing sports and doing what he loves.

While Siems’ story ended well, the wait for organ donations may be far too long for some people. According to LiveOnNY, a nonprofit organ donor network, roughly 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for various organ donations at any given time. On average, 18 people die every day while waiting for organ transplants in the U.S., according to the group’s website.

One donor can save and improve the lives of 58 people through organ and tissue donation. To learn more about organ donation, visit www.donatelifeny.org.

‘Pathway,’ acrylic and pencil on canvas. Image from Ripe Art

By Ernestine Franco

Local artist Sue Contessa will have a solo show at the Ripe Art Gallery in Huntington from May 9 to 27. Meet the artist at a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. on May 9.

The focus of Contessa’s art is the process and ritual of repetitive mark making. The color and depth in the paintings are created by alternating many layers of brush strokes and pencil lines. In discussing how she prepares for a new piece, Contessa said, “I establish criteria such as scale, color, size and placement of the marks. Making [these] decisions first allows me to proceed without interruption. Working this way, the act of painting becomes a form of meditation.”

Contessa is a longtime resident of St. James who has exhibited her work in Manhattan, England, and extensively across Long Island in solo and group exhibitions since the 1990s.

The Ripe Art Gallery is located at 1028 Park Ave., Huntington. For more information on the gallery, call 631-239-1805 or visit www.ripeartgal.com. For more information on the artist or to see more of her  paintings, visit www.suecontessa.com.

A Centerport veteran and high school teacher who was hoping to run on the Democratic ticket for one of two open seats on the Huntington Town Board has dropped out of the race.

Darryl St. George file photo by Rohma Abbas
Darryl St. George file photo by Rohma Abbas

Darryl St. George, 33, an Afghanistan combat veteran, announced in a statement on Wednesday night that he’s withdrawing his name from consideration for the board, citing a “desire to do what is best for the Democratic Party and to strive for party unity in the upcoming election.”

Earlier this year, St. George vowed to wage a primary if the party didn’t back him for one of the seats, held by Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) and Councilman Gene Cook (I), who are both running for re-election. Wednesday’s statement, from the Friends of Darryl St. George, acknowledged the change of heart, saying, “A number of leaders within the party urged him to respect the decision of the committee and avoid forcing a primary.”

“When there were clear indications that he was not likely to gain the committee’s nomination, St. George ultimately chose to step down and offer his support to the chosen candidates,” according to the statement.

Huntington Town Democratic Committee Chairwoman Mary Collins didn’t immediately return calls for comment on Thursday.

Keith Barrett, a Melville resident and the town’s deputy director of its general services department; Jim Kelly, a Huntington Station resident and retired EMS supervisor from the Nassau County Police Department; and Berland also want to run for Town Board on the Democratic ticket.

The Republicans also have a few possible candidates for the board seats on their hands, incumbent Cook being one of them.

Burglar busted
A 22-year-old Port Jefferson Station man was arrested on Ontario Street on April 22 at about 12:45 p.m. and charged with possessing burglary tools. Police said the man was found inside an abandoned home with black gloves, a hammer, a fire iron, metal snips and a chisel.

Napkin-thin defense
Police said a 22-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station was arrested on April 26 and charged with assault, recklessly causing physical injury. Police said that at about 12:53 a.m. at Schafer’s restaurant on West Broadway in Port Jefferson, the man threw a napkin dispenser at someone, resulting in a laceration on the victim’s right eye that required medical attention.

A 29-year-old man from Port Jefferson was arrested on Main Street on April 21 at about 6:55 p.m. and charged with disorderly conduct, fighting/violent behavior and resisting arrest. Police said the man was fighting with another man in the middle of the street.

First cut is the deepest
A 20-year-old woman from Rocky Point was arrested on April 23 at about 10:30 p.m. and charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon. Police said the woman slashed another woman with a knife in a parking lot on County Road 83 in Holtsville.

Drug dealer caught
Police arrested a 28-year-old man from Centereach on Middle Country Road on April 23 and charged him with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was also charged with four counts of criminal possession of a narcotic drug, four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said the man was found that day at about 1:37 p.m. in possession of heroin. He was arraigned the next day and held in lieu of posting a $20,000 cash or $40,000 bail bond, according to court records.

It wasn’t me
A 35-year-old man from Selden was arrested on April 21 and charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and second-degree criminal impersonation. Police said he gave a fake name and fake identification at Mooney Pond Road and South Bicycle Path in Selden and was arrested at the scene at 3:46 p.m.

Facing the music
Police arrested a 23-year-old Selden man on April 24 and charged him with two counts of petit larceny and one count of fourth-degree grand larceny of property valued at more than $1,000. Police said the man stole a Bose sound bar and a Sony bluetooth speaker from a location on Horseblock Road in Medford on two separate days. He also took five watches from a location in Sayville on April 16.

A 34-year-old Selden woman was arrested on April 24 and charged with leaving the scene of property damage. Police said on April 18 the woman backed her 2006 GMC Envoy into a Honda Civic in the parking lot of ShopRite on College Plaza at about 9 p.m.

Bills, bills, bills
A 21-year-old man from Bellport was arrested in Stony Brook late on April 23 and charged with first-degree possession of a forged instrument. Police said the man had two counterfeit $10 bills and six counterfeit $50 bills.

Let’s bounce
A man told police a bouncer at Junior’s Spycoast on Main Street in Port Jefferson pushed him at 3:20 a.m. on April 26. There were no arrests.

Someone set off fireworks in a mailbox, causing it to melt, at a home on Old Rocky Point Road in Miller Place sometime between 9:50 and 10:20 p.m. on April 24.

Shopping for a victim
Someone lifted a purse out of a shopping cart at Marshalls on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook sometime between 5 and 7 p.m. on April 23. The purse contained a wallet and credit cards.

Case of the stolen beer
A man walked out of Stop & Shop on Route 25A in Setauket-East Setauket with a case of beer on April 21, at about 7:47 p.m., and didn’t pay for it.

Call me
A prepaid phone was stolen from a home on William Penn Drive in Stony Brook sometime between 11 a.m. on April 18 and 1 p.m. on April 20. The incident was reported on April 22.

Stopped up
A 32-year-old man from Selden was arrested in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Setauket-East Setauket on April 21 and charged with petit larceny. Police said that at about 1:45 p.m. he took wrenches and plumbing fittings from the store.

Phoning it in
A man from Brandywine Drive in Setauket-East Setauket told police someone fraudulently accessed his AT&T wireless account to obtain an iPhone 6. The incident was reported on April 23 at 3:30 p.m. and occurred sometime between Feb. 20 and April 8.

Jeep Grand Cherokey
Someone keyed a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked at Danfords Hotel & Marina on East Broadway in Port Jefferson on April 24 at about 5:30 p.m. There were no arrests.

Temper tantrum
A 32-year-old man from Stony Brook was arrested in Smithtown and charged with obstructing traffic and resisting arrest on April 26. Police said that at about 5:25 a.m. at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Glenrich Drive in St. James he was standing in the middle of the street and became violent and belligerent as cars attempted to pass him. He also refused to comply with a police officer’s demands.

Caffeine crash
Police arrested a 17-year-old teen from Nesconset in Smithtown on April 21 and charged him with criminal mischief — reckless property damage in an amount less than $250. Police said that the teen pushed a coffee-making machine off the counter at a 7-Eleven on Smithtown Boulevard, causing damage to it at 9:52 p.m. on April 8.

Be right back
A 34-year-old woman from St. James was arrested at her home on Copperbeech Road on April 25 and charged with operating a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident. The incident happened on Lake Avenue in St. James on March 19 at about 2:10 p.m., where police said the woman was involved in a reportable car accident. She was driving a 2011 Toyota Sienna and fled the scene of the accident.

Swords, bow and arrow jacked
A Smithtown complainant from Jerome Street told police someone took a laptop, bow and arrows and swords from a shopping center at 2150 Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook sometime on April 24 between 10:30 and 11:40 a.m.

Tire troubles
Two cars parked on Hawkins Avenue in Smithtown were damaged in two separate incidents that occurred on April 22 at 10 p.m., police said. Two tires of a 2007 Infiniti were damaged, and an unknown person also slashed a tire on a 2015 Kia.

Plate taken
Someone removed a license plate from a 2011 Ford pickup truck parked on Standish Place in Smithtown sometime between April 25 at 8:30 p.m. and April 26 at 8:30 p.m.

Push ‘n shove
A man told police another man pushed him at America’s Best Value Inn on Nesconset Highway in Nesconset at about 6:30 p.m. on April 26.

Fence face-lift
An unknown person spray-painted multiple sections of a fence on Pine Drive in Nesconset sometime between April 24 at 8 p.m. and April 25 at 9:30 a.m.

Someone broke the driver-side window of a 2008 Ford parked on Bennett Street in Kings Park and stole an iPad. The incident happened sometime between 11:30 p.m. on April 20 and 5:30 a.m. on April 21.

Out of tune
Someone took an electronic guitar, cable, wireless system and tuner from a 2014 Lexus parked on Lou Avenue in Kings Park sometime between April 19 at 11:30 p.m. and April 20 at 7 a.m.

Jewels, cash taken
Jewelry and cash was stolen from a home on Drew Drive in St. James sometime between 8 a.m. on March 26 and 2 p.m. on April 21.

Paper stolen
Multiple reams of paper were stolen from a school on Moriches Road in St. James sometime between March 27 and April 20.

Car climbing a tree
A 27-year-old man from Cold Spring Harbor was arrested in Huntington on April 25 and charged with driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 of 1 percent. Police said that on April 25, at about 5:48 a.m., the man was heading west on Holdsworth Drive in Huntington when he drove up an embankment at Oakwood Road and struck a tree.

Stolen car, pills and a fake check
Police arrested a 50-year-old man from Huntington on April 23 and charged him with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree possession of a forged instrument. Police said that at the corner of Kerri Court and Park Avenue in Huntington after midnight, the man was found to be operating a stolen 2002 Toyota. He was also found with prescription pills without a prescription and also appeared to possess a fraudulent check.

Halloween shenanigans
A 17-year-old from East Northport was arrested in Huntington on April 24 and charged with third-degree criminal tampering. Police said that on Halloween last year at 8:55 p.m. on Wendy Lane in Elwood, he intentionally ran through a vinyl fence, damaging it. He was arrested at 4:40 p.m. at the precinct.

Brawler busted
Police arrested a 50-year-old man from St. James on April 20 in Huntington and charged him with third-degree assault, with intent to cause physical injury. On March 27 at about 7:40 a.m., police said the man grabbed another male by his sweatshirt on New York Avenue and both individuals fell to the ground. The man then punched the victim in the face. The victim suffered a broken nose, concussion and required medical attention, including stitches. He was arrested at the 2nd Precinct.

Persistent thief thwarted
Police said a 32-year-old East Northport man was arrested on April 26 at his home on Loret Lane in East Northport and charged with a flurry of petit larcenies in the area spanning March 25 to April 4. Sometime between March 25 and March 26 on Norton Drive in East Northport, he stole ear buds, a phone charger and cash. On March 26 at about 1:50 a.m., he stole Ray-Ban sunglasses and cash from a home on Joseph Court. That same day, he stole two portable DVD players and phone chargers from another home on Joseph Court. Sometime between April 3 at 8 p.m. and April 4 at 4:30 a.m., he stole an iPhone 5 and iPod from Tanager Lane in Fort Salonga. He also took a Garmin GPS sometime between April 3 at 11 p.m. and April 4 at 6 a.m. from a location at Gilder Court in Fort Salonga. Police said that at Bobolink Lane in Fort Salonga the man stole prescription pills.

Window broken in bar fight
A window was broken during a fight at Finley’s of Greene Street in Huntington on April 26 at 3 a.m., police said.

Man stabbed
Someone told police he was stabbed by an unknown person in a parking lot on West Hills Road in Huntington on April 26. The call came in at about 4:20 a.m. The victim said he required medical treatment.

Temple looted
Someone took money from a locked file cabinet drawer at Temple Beth El on Park Avenue in Huntington sometime March 31 and April 14. The incident was reported on April 23.

Harborfields High School. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

This year’s race for the Harborfields school board will be a contest.

Chris Kelly is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate
Chris Kelly is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate

With three openings, five people — including two incumbents — are hoping to snag a seat on the board come May 19.

Candidates Chris Kelly, Colleen Rappa, and Suzie Lustig are vying for one of the two seats. Incumbents Donald Mastroianni and board President Dr. Thomas McDonaugh are seeking re-election. Maggie Boba, a former school board member, resigned last year, leaving a vacant seat on the board.

Each term is for three years.

Chris Kelly
The father of three has lived in the area his entire life and has decided to make a run for one of the empty seats.

“I’m basically running because I want to help maximize Harborfields students’ entire experience, start to finish,” Kelly said. “I want to make sure we provide all the support parents and teachers need.”

If elected, Kelly said one of his biggest goals is to bring full-day kindergarten to the district, feeling that the district is in desperate need of a full-day program.

Colleen Rappa is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate
Colleen Rappa is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate

“I want to create the best education our children can get while being fiscally responsible,” Kelly said.

Colleen Rappa
The 18-year resident and mother of five sons decided to run for the board after observing what has been going on in education. She said she feels people are buying into the commercialization of education, and they don’t understand the real issues at heart. She also feels local control of education has been taken away from districts.

“People drink the Kool-Aid and think one size fits all,” Rappa said. “I want to change the way people think about education.”

The former attorney said she has an understanding of educational law and would bring that to the table if elected. She would also like to restore vocational programs and add classes relating to media to help students prepare for the future.

“I can connect the dots and I understand the stakeholders and I can come up with the methodology needed,” she said.

Donald Mastroianni is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate
Donald Mastroianni is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate

Donald Mastroianni
Mastroianni, a nine-year incumbent is seeking a fourth term in an effort to finish many of the things started while serving the community.

“I’m not running on any specific agenda,” Mastroianni said. “I believe in volunteerism.”

The father of three said he would like to finish what he started. He said he would like to see the issue of full-day kindergarten through and wants to help with the capital improvement bond referendum the community will be voting on in the fall, which, if approved, would allow the district to make
capital improvements and upgrades. He wants to continue to work on getting the full Gap Elimination Adjustment money — school aid money taken by the state in order to fill the state’s revenue gap — restored for the district.

“I’m very proud to be a member of this community,” Mastroianni said.

Dr. Thomas McDonagh

Dr. Thomas McDonagh is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate
Dr. Thomas McDonagh is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate

McDonagh is finishing up his second term and is currently the board’s president. The father of four announced he would be seeking re-election, as there are ongoing projects he’d like to see through.

“The board has done a good job at providing the educational experience that the district children deserve while recognizing the financial constraints,” McDonagh said.

Two projects McDonagh would like to continue to work on is the capital improvement bond referendum project and the full-day kindergarten evaluation study that the district will start working on next school year.

If re-elected, McDonagh said he would like to continue to find ways to enhance the experience of the children in the district.

Suzie Lustig
A mother of three and 22-year district resident has decided to make a run for the board after many years volunteering within the community.

Suzie Lustig is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate
Suzie Lustig is running for the Harborfields school board. Photo from the candidate

“I’ve seen the highs and struggles with the district over the last 15 years and I want to make sure our district stays as strong as possible,” Lustig said on why she is running.

If elected, Lustig said she would like to create a three- to five-year plan that will help the district stay on task if there are funding cuts in the future. She would also like to create an education committee to share ideas on curriculum, events and more and analyze what is going on in the district and community. She said she would also research ways to bring the district more revenue.