Times of Huntington-Northport

Jennifer Thompson, center, with her family, husband Brent, son Sterling and daughter Lauren. Photo from Thompson

After serving for more than six years as a trustee on the Northport-East Northport school board, Jennifer Thompson has set her sights on a bigger role.

Thompson, 44, wants to be the Huntington Town Board’s next councilwoman, and she is seeking election to one of two seats up for grabs on Nov. 3. She’s running alongside incumbent Councilman Gene Cook (I), both of whom are endorsed by the Huntington Town Republican Committee.

Last Friday, the Northport mother-of-two sat down for an interview at Book Revue in Huntington to talk about her campaign. She had just gotten back from a boat trip to Connecticut to celebrate her birthday on her family’s 27-foot sailboat, with her husband Brent and their children, Sterling and Lauren.

A passion for education was instilled in Thompson at a young age — through her parents who emigrated to the U.S. from eastern India — and it seems fitting that Thompson’s first role as a public servant was on the school board, where she felt a responsibility to be engaged in the community.

“Both of my parents had a strong sense to live differently, and the main reason they immigrated was for a better education,” Thompson said.

Although she was born in Queens, she lived in California for most of her life, moving there when she was four years old. Thompson received her undergraduate degree from The Master’s College, and her graduate degree from California State University. After graduating, she worked as a special education teacher in California and then as an administrator.

In 2006, Thompson and her family moved to Northport. Her husband got a job at Suffolk County Community College. Just four years later, she was petitioning for her first term as a school board trustee.

If elected, Thompson would transition off the school board, and her seat would likely remain vacant until elections in May, although it would be up to the board to decide exactly how to proceed.

“She is very focused and approachable, and is 100 percent focused on whoever she is representing,” Tammie Topel, a fellow school board trustee, who has served four years with Thompson, said about her colleague. “She dedicates herself and is extremely reliable.”

At a recent Suffolk County Police Department 2nd Precinct community meeting, residents called for an increase in the police force following three shootings in July and August.

Thompson was at that meeting, and afterwards she researched whether adding staff is the best solution to solve the problem. “Sometimes it’s about your resources and seeing if you’re using them as effectively as possible.”

According to Thompson, the Town of Riverhead has specialized police forces, and she believes this contributes to the town thriving in the last five years. She said she believes the solution of more specialized forces would work in Huntington as well.

Residents have sounded off on overdevelopment in Huntington Town in the past few years. Thompson is clear that she is against overdevelopment, and that she would’ve voted against the zone change permitting the Seasons in Elwood, a 256-unit project for individuals 55 and older, to go through.

“That community did not want it in their community, and the fact that the town council disregarded that is, I think, heartbreaking,” she said. “They were elected by these people to be their voice and to not come alongside the very residents they represent. I think it is anti-democratic.”

She added that she feels that Huntington has the right balance of industrial and business areas and open land, something she doesn’t want to see compromised. “If we wanted to live in Queens, we would’ve bought a house in Queens.”

Recently, Eaton’s Neck residents have been urging the town board to allow for longbow hunting of deer. The residents claim deer have overpopulated the area and pose a public health risk, as the animals are linked to increases in tick-born illnesses like Lyme disease.

This issue literally came into Thompson’s backyard the night before, as she showed a photo of the deer by her fence she snapped from her bedroom window. While she is mindful of animal’s rights, she said she is more mindful of the risk to the public. “I’m always going to be more concerned with public safety.”

If elected, Thompson would like to introduce legislation governing town board term limits. Two terms would be her preference.

“If our highest elected official can’t go more than two terms, why should local officials go longer?”

Thompson confirmed that if not elected, this would be her last term as a school board member. She signed a petition brought to the board earlier this summer to reduce the size of the school board. The petition also suggested looking into term limits.

“I signed the petition because I think the community deserves the opportunity to vote on it,” she said. “Whatever the community decides, I will support that.”

Tim Farrell, a personal friend of Thompson’s for more than 10 years, believes Thompson will bring a powerful work ethic to the town board, if elected. He believes she will also bring a level of transparency and honesty.

“She never settles for anything, even small things, like planning a weekend for the kids,” he said. “She doesn’t generally fail; she won’t allow it.”

File photo by Rohma Abbas

Keith Barrett believes he can improve Huntington Town by running it more like a business.

“I bring commonsense solutions to everyday problems,” Barrett said in a phone interview. “It’s what I’ve done as deputy director of general services for Huntington Town.”

Keith Barrett is the town’s deputy director of general services. Photo from Barrett
Keith Barrett is the town’s deputy director of general services. Photo from Barrett

Barrett is a Democrat running for one of two seats up for grabs on the town board this November. He’s running alongside Councilwoman Susan Berland (D), and both are backed by the Huntington Town Democratic Committee.

Barrett is a Huntington native. He went to Walt Whitman High School, and started his own business, Barrett Automotive, in 1997 in Huntington Station. He’s been involved in multiple organizations in Suffolk County, including the Huntington Station Business Improvement District, or BID, and Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Grant Program.

“I’ve seen the inner workings of town government, and it’s prepared me for the role of town councilman,” Barrett said.

Appointed deputy director of general services about a year ago, Barrett has learned how to maximize the work of the department to make it work better for the residents of Huntington Town.

Previously, state inspections for Huntington Town-owned cars were not done inhouse, which he said was costing much more than having Barrett’s department perform them.

“I had the business sense to see that if the inspections were done inhouse, it would save the taxpayers a significant amount of money. It saves approximately $450,000 annually.”    

Barrett also made sure all his employees were certified and earned their inspector licenses, so that he was not the only employee who could perform state inspections.

As president of the Huntington Station BID since its inception in 2004, Barrett has been able to continue to bring improvements to Huntington Station. Improvements include decorating the community with flower baskets, putting more garbage cans out on the streets and installing 43 security cameras that the Suffolk County Police Department has access to.

Brad Rosen, a member of the Huntington Station BID, said the reason he and Barrett get along so well is because they both come through on everything they commit to.

“All town government is a business, and one thing I know of Keith is that he’s a businessman,” Rosen said in a phone interview. “America is a business now and it needs to be run like one.”

He also praised Barrett’s ethics as being nothing but “perfect.”

The annual Huntington Station Awareness Parade, which Barrett co-chairs, is another project the BID is involved with.

“I try to make business propositions better in Huntington Station,” Barrett said. “I’ve always wanted to make Huntington Station a destination, not a drive-thru. My assumption of Huntington Station was that you drove through there to get to the village, or you drove through it to get on the expressway. We want people to stop there, shop there, live there, work there and play there.”

Barrett’s involvement spans further than just Huntington Station. As a member of the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Grant Program, Barrett said he has worked to get grants for Northport and East Northport to help better those areas as well.

Currently in the works, and a project that Barrett helped pushed through, is a grant for Northport to develop kiosks and an information center. This would help spread information about events going on in Northport to the many visitors the village gets during its busy summer season.

Grants to improve the intersection marking entrance to Northport Village and to revamp crosswalks in East Northport are other projects Barrett has fought for while a member of the grant program.

In terms of issues facing Huntington Town, Barrett said public safety is among the biggest. “It needs to be addressed.”

A committee for Huntington Station public safety is one idea Barrett is interested in pursuing if elected. He wants to hear insight from community members.

“I believe police presence makes a big difference,” he said. “I’d love to see more patrols,” Barrett said, when asked whether he agrees with recent outcries from residents for an increased police force after several incidents of violence this summer.

When asked his position on over-development, Barrett said, “as long as it’s regulated, I don’t see it as a terrible problem. To an extent, we need to do it. As long as it doesn’t end up looking like Queens.”

Overall, Barrett said he’s got a unique perspective to bring to the board.

“We have lawyers on the board. I am a businessperson. I’m going to take a business aspect. I want to best utilize our labor for the best use for the community,”

Recently, Barrett used his labor force to better the community by redoing a basketball court in Otsego Park in Dix Hills. He asked Highway Superintendent Peter Gunther to repave the court, which was full of cracks, instead of hiring an outside contractor, which would cost much more.

Barrett then had his team repair the backboards and, soon enough, a new and improved basketball court was ready for the kids. He said he hopes to continue this idea and repair two more basketball courts at Veterans Park in East Northport.

“I want to see more things like this being done in all departments,” Barrett said.

Project is one of three slated for Huntington Station

A rendering of what the affordable veteran housing project on Depot Road and E9th Street would look like. A zone change is required to move the plan forward. Photo from Fred DeSanti

The Huntington Town Board will consider changing the zoning on its own motion of a Huntington Station property next month to make way for a veterans affordable housing project.

The proposal, which would be built on a quarter-acre vacant lot on the corner of Depot Road and East 9th Street, entails creating four, one-bedroom affordable units in a two-story building with a lobby, according to property owner Fred DeSanti. The town board is considering changing the zoning from C-6 Huntington Station Overlay District to C-1 Office Residence District to accommodate the project.

DeSanti said in thinking up ways to develop the property that he and his brother-in-law Douglas Quimby own both became interested in helping veterans while also doing their part to revitalize Huntington Station.

“We just thought this was a way we could do something good for the community [and] we could provide much needed housing for the veterans,” he said.

The town and the community, he said, received the project warmly. Joan Cergol, the executive director of the town’s Economic Development Corporation, said DeSanti approached her with the idea in part to contribute to the area’s face-lift while also giving veterans an affordable place to live. She said the town is supportive of the project.

DeSanti’s project isn’t the only veterans housing project slated for the area. VetsBuild is in the process of building the country’s first ever Department of Energy zero-energy home built by vets and for vets on Depot Road near East 5th Street, a project that is in final reviews at Huntington Town. Also, the town is working on pushing forward Columbia Terrace, a 14-unit affordable housing condo complex for veterans to be located at Railroad Street and Lowndes Avenue.

“There seems to be an organic appearance of veteran-based housing in Huntington Station, which is a welcome type of a development as we are pursing new development in the downtown area,” Cergol said.

Once it is completed, the VetsBuild project — a green project — will create and generate as much energy as it uses, according to Rick Wertheim, the senior vice president of green initiatives and housing at United Way of Long Island. It will accommodate five veterans with special needs.

Asked why build in Huntington Station, Wertheim said they liked that the area’s slated for redevelopment. The town board has been working with master developer Renaissance Downtowns to redevelop the area.

Building in such an area “gives the folks who live there the opportunity to walk to a really dynamic living experience as opposed to being densely nested in a residential area where they’re kind of cut off from everything,” Wertheim said.

Cergol said she believes the word is getting out about change in Huntington Station.

“I think that there’s a general sense of optimism and enthusiasm to be a part of positive change in Huntington Station,” she said. “Whether you are a government, a private property owner or a nonprofit … everybody is looking through the same kind of prism now.”

From left, Aaron Dalla Villa, Sean King and Jay William Thomas in a scene from ‘Orphans.’ Photo by Jacob Hollander

By Charles J. Morgan

The three-person drama “Orphans” officially opened at the Conklin Barn in Huntington last week kicking off a 12-performance run.

It is no wonder that stars like Alec Baldwin, William Devane and Ned Beatty have played a part in the past on Broadway in this powerful, dynamic effort. Playwright Lyle Kessler has written an interlocking, emotion-laden, compelling drama about two orphaned brothers living in North Philly; one, Treat, a slick domineering “Mack the Knife” type played to the hilt by Aaron Dalla Villa; the other, Philip, a mentally challenged younger brother who manages to maintain a tenuous grip on reality, handled skillfully and deftly by Jay William Thomas. Treat is convinced that his criminal lifestyle is morally acceptable since it is all for the benefit of his meek, needy and obedient brother.

Both actors discharged their characterizations brilliantly. Kessler has painted the emotional dynamism here with the precision of Seurat’s pointillism, perhaps with an admixture of Van Gogh’s intensity. Dalla Villa and Thomas display this with character intensity, revealing each to be skillful actors with an explosive stage presence and role interpretation of the highest magnitude.

Then on to the 18-inch-high stage platform of the Conklin Barn enters Sean King as Harold. He is drunk and has been kidnapped by Treat who discovers that Harold has a load of stocks, bonds and cash in his briefcase as well as on his person. Treat ropes him to a chair and, foolishly, leaves Philip in charge of him as he goes out to make outlandish “ransom” demands.

The great dramatic change comes when Harold frees himself and becomes the salient character. Was he a mob boss? A crooked businessman? Actually, he provides intellectual and emotional help to Philip, putting him on the road to extra-mental reality.

Treat is enraged on returning, but Harold mollifies him with a promise of a job as his bodyguard at an enormous salary. At this juncture the audience is beginning to realize that King’s portrayal of Harold is something larger than life. Harold is “The Other.” He dispenses moral and ethical advice that begins to give some concrete meaning to the lives and actions of Treat and Philip. King’s consistent playing of this role is startlingly understated, which gives it far more impact than if there had been added bombast — a temptation to a lesser skilled actor.

The final scene in this two-act production occurs in a very heart-rending denouement redolent of a Renaissance triptych.

Direction was by the multitalented Jim Bonney. Any director confronted by a fast moving three-actor property has issues with blocking. Bonney overcame this problem with the fastest-paced blocking your scribe has seen in a long time. He used karate, a fist fight, wrestling and logical positioning that was keenly correct. Bonney’s skills were challenged, but he showed his directorial métier so admirably that he came up with a tightly controlled, expressive result.

Is there a philosophy in “Orphans”? Yes. But it is not a transcendent one … more of a purely human one. Yet the humanity of Harold is so overwhelming, despite his lifestyle that it penetrates the façade of “goodness” between the brothers. It is tragedy, yet its human dimension provides an element of hope. Keep in mind that Renaissance triptych.

Bonney/King Productions will present “Orphans” at the Conklin Barn, 2 High St., Huntington, through Sept. 5. Meet the playwright Lyle Kessler and join him for a Q-and-A after Sept. 4th’s performance. Tickets are $25. For more information, call 631-484-7335 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

To date, 80 mosquitoes and seven birds test positive for virus in Suffolk

Stock photo

Nine more mosquitos and two birds have tested positive for West Nile virus in various neighborhoods across Suffolk County, Health Commissioner Dr. James L. Tomarken announced on Monday.

The mosquito samples, collected from Aug. 11 to 14, hailed from Huntington, Selden, West Babylon, Bay Shore, Holbrook, Farmingville and Watch Hill on Fire Island. A crow collected on Aug. 14 from Stony Brook and a blue jay, collected on Aug. 18 from Smithtown, also tested positive for the virus.

To date, this year Suffolk’s total West Nile count comes to 80 mosquitos and seven birds. No humans or horses have tested positive for the virus in Suffolk this year.

First detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk in 1999, and again each year thereafter, the virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

While Dr. Tomarken said there’s no cause for alarm, the county is urging residents to reduce exposure to he virus, which “can be debilitating to humans.”

“The breed of mosquito known as Culex pipiens-restuans lay their eggs in fresh water-filled containers, so dumping rainwater that collects in containers around your house is important,” he said.

Residents should try to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitos breed, in order to reduce the mosquito population around homes. That includes: disposing of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers; removing discarded tires; cleaning clogged gutters; turning over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when they’re not being used; changing the water in bird baths; and draining water from pool covers.

Most people infected with West Nile will experience mild or no symptoms, but some can develop sever symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. The symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Individuals — especially those 50 years of age or older or those with compromised immune systems, who are most at risk — are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Residents are advised to avoid mosquito bites by minimizing outdoor activities between dusk and dawn; wearing shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitos are more active; using mosquito repellant when outdoors and following label directions carefully; making sure all windows and doors have screens and that all screens are in good condition.

To report dead birds, call the West Nile virus hotline in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call 631-854-0333.

A motorcyclist was seriously injured on Friday when his head struck a curb in Elwood.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 44-year-old Greenlawn resident Joseph Alyward was wearing a helmet when he lost control of his bike, a 2012 Harley Davidson Legend, while traveling east on Little Plains Road. At about 6:30 p.m., near Hillock Court, his helmeted head struck a curb.

Alyward was in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital, police said. It did not appear that any other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the incident. Anyone who may have witnessed it is asked to call them at 631-854-8252.

Huntington neurosurgeon touts procedure’s success

This diffusion tensor imaging shows the patient’s nerve, brain and other tissue matter surrounding the white mass, which makes it easier for surgeons to diagnose and treat their patients. Photo from Ericca Ardito

When Jean Noschese’s left hand started to go numb, she didn’t expect her doctor’s visit to lead to brain surgery at Huntington Hospital, where she met Dr. Robert Kerr, a neurosurgeon who had a new way of operating on the brain.

On Oct. 16, 2013, Noschese experienced a head-on collision while driving in Hauppauge. The car accident left her in need of several surgeries, including ones to repair her rotator cuff and replace her hip. But it was when she started losing sensation in her left hand, in 2014, that she went to a specialist. Noschese, who initially wondered if her issue with her hand was related to her crash, was rushed to the hospital after her hand specialist thought Noschese was experiencing a stroke.

But instead of a stroke, the doctors found a three-by-four-centimeter lesion on the right side of her brain that caused paralysis on the left side of her body. Her lesion wasn’t caused by the crash, but from Noschese’s breast cancer that had metastasized to her brain. Noschese was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.

Doctors wanted to perform brain surgery the following day, on Dec. 22, 2014, according to Noschese,

“It’s overwhelming to hear that you need brain surgery,” she said.

A large mass is located in the left hemisphere of the brain prior to the operation where Dr. Robert Kerr used Synaptive Medical’s BrightMatter Plan. Photo from Ericca Ardito
A large mass is located in the left hemisphere of the brain prior to the operation where Dr. Robert Kerr used Synaptive Medical’s BrightMatter Plan. Photo from Ericca Ardito

But Kerr, who met with Noschese when she entered the hospital, reassured her and reviewed the procedure with her. A new brain-mapping technique, using the Synaptive Medical’s BrightMatter Plan product, involves several new tools, including a highly engineered tube that splits brain tissue fibers and allows neurosurgeons to access difficult and deep parts of the brain easily. The procedure also utilizes a fiber optic, high definition telescope that creates a “cone of visualization” that allows surgeons to clearly view all planes of the brain they are working on.

The technique also features a procedure called the myriad, which uses a blunt suction device that peels off tumors from dangerous or sensitive areas without damaging surrounding areas in the brain.

“Traditionally, surgeries for deeper regions actually involve destroying a certain amount of tissue to get to the target area,” Kerr said.

According to Kerr, in traditional brain surgeries, metal retractors are used to create a pathway so surgeons can access target areas of the brain. Doctors use the retractors to pull the edges of the brain apart and create a pathway.

Kerr said the issue with this technique is that, regardless of how careful a surgeon is, he or she may still push on these retractors, which widens the pathway the surgeon created from surface of the brain to the target area. As a result, the patient is left with a hole in part of the brain, which means the patient will take longer to recover from the surgery.

Stony Brook Medicine Neurosurgeon Dr. David Chesler said Synaptive Medical’s BrightMatter Plan procedure is only appropriate under certain circumstances.

“Tumors that come right to the surface, where they’re easily approachable, I don’t think there’s any benefit to using this technique, because the tumor is right there,” Chesler said. Chesler took a course for the procedure about two years ago. While he thinks the technique is beneficial, he does not think it is a be-all and end-all procedure for brain surgery.

While the procedure is minimally invasive, may decrease the chance of injuring the patient during the operation and allows surgeons to approach lesions or blood clots, Chesler said there are some downsides to the technique. He said that the technology of this technique is not new, but simply creates a new system that makes it easier for surgeons to implement.

Additionally, minimally invasive procedures double or triple the length of an operation, depending on the surgeon and the nature of the surgery. Surgeons who may not be very experienced may leave parts of lesions or tumors and blood clots behind because of limited visualization.

A large mass is located in the left hemisphere of the brain has been removed with the use of Synaptive Medical’s BrightMatter Plan. Photo from Ericca Ardito
A large mass is located in the left hemisphere of the brain has been removed with the use of Synaptive Medical’s BrightMatter Plan. Photo from Ericca Ardito

Surgeons can only see what is at the end of the tube, which is around the diameter of a dime.

Kerr said this procedure will decrease patients’ recovery time. Patients are usually tired following the surgery and require extensive amounts of rest before they are discharged from the hospital. Noschese, however, was alert and speaking two hours after the surgery. Not only did she regain sensation in her hand, but she was also able to grab and hold onto a variety of objects.

Chesler, like Kerr, said patients who receive traditional surgeries for deep-seated lesions or blood clots can do well. He said his patients’ deficits were more related to the “structures involved with the tumor,” as opposed to the approach used. Chesler has seen both good and bad outcomes from this technique

According to Kerr, few surgeons are using this technique.

“Neurosurgeons are skeptics and slow adopters and I think that’s appropriate,” Kerr said, explaining why more surgeons may stick to traditional brain surgery practices.

While Chesler said the procedure should be used for the right case and with an experienced surgeon, he said staff are looking to adopt this technique at Stony Brook University Hospital. Chesler, who does both pediatric and adult neurosurgery, said he is simply looking for the right case. Recently he hasn’t come across a case that calls for the technique.

Doctors must demonstrate the procedure and illustrate its benefits when introducing the technique to the hospital. Hospitals need to invest in the procedure for a surgeon to officially implement it.

Although Chesler said there are other systems that surgeons can use to reach a similar goal, Kerr said the technique is a glimpse into the future of this type of surgery.

“I think this technology reflects the future of neurosurgery and accessing deep-seated lesions in a kinder, gentler, more precise way,” Kerr said. “I think this is representing a future paradigm shift in the way that brain surgery is done, and I think that we will see many more adopting this in a very short period of time.”

An assortment of different Bootlegger drinks line the shelves. Photo by Alex Petroski

It takes guts to quit a steady paying job to pursue a dream. Not many people bet on themselves as boldly as Stony Brook University graduate and owner of Prohibition Distillery Brian Facquet did back in 2008.

He grew up in Commack, graduated from St. Anthony’s High School in 1991 and spent a few years in the Naval Academy before transferring to Stony Brook for his senior year. There he played lacrosse, majored in history and met his future wife Benat.

“I created a brand that’s rooted in history,” Facquet said laughing, during a recent interview, when asked about failing to put his pricey college degree in history to use. He received that degree in 1995.

“I did something stupid,” Facquet said. “I quit my job and just started doing this.”

“This” was creating an up-and-coming craft spirit brand called Bootlegger 21, which is based out of an old firehouse in Roscoe, about two hours north of New York City. The name, the packaging and even the boxes that the bottles are shipped in are all a nod to the Prohibition era in the United States in the 1920s when the sale or consumption of alcohol was illegal. People who continued to sell alcohol illegally were called bootleggers. The “21” represents the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition.

Facquet spent much of the 2000s in the corporate world, working for a couple of different technology companies. Successes in that field earned him an offer to be the East Coast vice president of Paylocity, a company that specializes in cloud-based payroll software, which Facquet was vital in creating. He turned down the offer.

“He’s always been entrepreneurial,” Phil Facquet said of his son Brian, who in 2000 went to his dad and asked him for advice about a business opportunity. Brian Facquet said that he was at Bluepoint Brewery in Patchogue.

“It was small at the time,” Facquet said. They had a few chairs, a keg and about three tables in an outside sitting area. The modest appearance didn’t scare him and he told his dad that he wanted to invest about $30,000 in the brewery. Both Facquets said that Phil was the greatest deciding factor in Brian’s decision to ultimately reject the opportunity.

“I always regretted not doing it,” Brian Facquet said. His dad admitted that he felt bad about being the voice of negativity back then, so when Brian went to Phil in 2008 and told him his new plan, his father decided to bite his tongue the second time around.

“I thought he was crazy,” Phil Facquet said.

When Brian Facquet decided to start making booze, it wasn’t going to be a hobby. He had no interest in going the route of the weekend warrior who brews beer in his garage and tried for a while to balance his steady paying job with his dream of, as he put it, “creating something that will be remembered.” He said he would go into the Tuthilltown Distillery, one of the sites of his vodka making exploits before he found a home in Roscoe, while he was on sales calls for his day job, overnight or on days when he was “playing hooky.” Eventually he decided he was going all in on Bootlegger 21.

“You’re talking to a guy that’s worked all his life for somebody else,” Phil said about his son’s decision to pursue his dream. “I’m ambitious within a corporate setting, but to risk my own money? I thought he was crazy, quite honestly.”  His father came around rather easily. He still lives in Commack, though he periodically makes the trip up to Roscoe to lend a hand for a few days whenever he can.

Brian Facquet’s ambition and confidence have paid off. Bootlegger 21 now offers gin and bourbon to go along with the vodka. Facquet said that when he started the company he had a hard time convincing anyone about the merits of a craft spirit that was locally produced. “You hope you have a good product, you hope you have a market, but you never know,” he said.

The market has changed now. Hand crafted is in. Mass-produced, conglomerate spirits with brand recognition still have their place in the market, but Facquet said that he’s found the millennial consumer is willing to give the little guy a shot. He didn’t necessarily see this coming he said, but he’s thrilled to reap the benefits of a more open-minded marketplace.

The fact that this is currently Facquet’s only business venture doesn’t mean he’s suddenly become a slacker. Presumably Catholic high school and the Naval Academy made that impossible.

“I don’t know how he does it,” his father said. “He’s burning the candle light at both ends, plus the center.”

Brian Facquet’s hard work has paid off as well. The corn-based, gluten-free vodka has been awarded gold medals and double gold medals from the Best Domestic Vodka competition, the Beverage Testing Institute, and the New York International Spirits competition. The five-botanical gin and corn-based bourbon are still very new to the market.

Facquet’s goal was to create something that will be remembered. It will be difficult to remember him after extensive consumption of his product, although his entrepreneurial spirit will last long after the buzz wears off.

For more information about Bootlegger 21 and the Prohibition Distillery visit www.prohibitiondistillery.com.

Huntington Town hosts 4th Annual Sand Castle Contest

Five teams competed in Huntington Town’s 4th Annual Sand Castle contest, held at Crab Meadow Beach on Wednesday, Aug. 19. The event, hosted by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson’s (D) office, included lifeguards as judges and teams won awards for designs that were most creative, most original and more.

DWI identity crisis
Police arrested a 21-year-old Center Moriches woman at Linden Place in Port Jefferson shortly after midnight on Aug. 15 for speeding and failing to stay in her lane. According to police, the woman, who was driving while ability impaired, was in a 2012 Honda Civic and provided the officer with a fake name when she was pulled over.

On the fence
A 21-year-old man was arrested on West Broadway in Port Jefferson on Aug. 16 at 3 a.m. for criminal misconduct with the intent to damage property. According to police, the man punched and kicked a nearby fence with the help of two other men, a 24-year-old and a 21-year-old.

Can you hear me rocking?
Police said someone shattered the front windshield of a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer with a rock between Aug. 11 and 12 on Main Street in Port Jefferson. No arrests were made.

The Great Train Robbery
On Aug. 14 at 5:30 a.m., three people approached a man at the Port Jefferson Long Island Rail Road station and threw him to the ground. Police said they stole cash, jewelry and a cellphone. There have been no arrests.

Breaking and entering and exiting
Police arrested a 44-year-old man from Patchogue on Aug. 16 after he pried open the side door of Fox Linen Service on Wilson Street in Port Jefferson Station. The arrest took place at 2:35 p.m. According to the police, nothing was stolen.

Carded
Police said an unknown suspect made several unauthorized transactions on a Mount Sinai resident’s Citibank debit card on Aug. 12.

Concussed
A 49-year-old Port Jefferson woman was arrested on Aug. 12 in Selden, about a month after police said she punched another woman in the face at Portside Bar & Grill on East Main Street down Port. The victim suffered a concussion.

All in a day’s yard work
A man who arrived at a residence on Tyler Avenue in Miller Place on Aug. 14 to do yard work was assaulted by the tenant’s girlfriend.

Feel the Millburn
Someone punched a complainant in the face during a dispute on Millburn Road in Sound Beach on Aug. 12.

Tapped out
According to police, someone punched a man in the face at The North Tap on Route 25A in Mount Sinai on Aug. 15. The victim was taken to Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson to treat his injuries.

Grand larceny, grand pushing
An 18-year-old man from South Setauket was arrested at the precinct on Aug. 12 and charged with grand larceny. Police said he threatened a teller at the Chase bank on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook and demanded money. The man was also charged with obstruction. According to police, the man pushed away and attempted to grab an officer who was trying to get information regarding another investigation.

The case of the forgotten bills
While paying for items at the 7-Eleven on Old Town Road in Port Jefferson Station, a woman forgot a bank envelope with money on the counter. The incident happened at 6:18 p.m. on Aug. 14. Police said when she returned for the envelope at a later time, it was gone.

Left unlocked
Someone took a pocketbook and a wallet from an unlocked car on Longview Avenue in Rocky Point on Aug. 13, at 1:30 a.m. The case is still under investigation.

Police said an unknown male took a Cobra dash cam from an unlocked red 2002 Mitsubishi on Monticello Drive in Shoreham. There have been no arrests made in relation to the incident, which happened on Aug. 13 at 3:19 a.m.

According to police, someone entered a 2010 Honda on Dare Road in Selden between Aug. 12 at 3 a.m. and Aug. 13 at 10 p.m. and stole a Dell laptop. The case is under investigation.

Someone stole cash from a 2008 Toyota RAV4 between 11 p.m. on Aug. 13 and 1:15 a.m. on Aug. 14. Police said the car was unlocked and parked in a Port Jefferson Station driveway.

That’s an order
Police said a 23-year-old man from Mount Sinai was arrested at 11:45 a.m. on Lyon Crescent on Aug. 13. According to police, the man violated an order of protection.

Verbal argument escalates
A female driver had a verbal argument with a male operating another vehicle on Holbrook Road in Centereach on Aug. 14 at 8:37 p.m. The male got out of his car and punched the rear-driver side of the complainant’s vehicle.

Jam-packed
A 46-year-old man from Sayville was arrested in Stony Brook on Aug. 14 and charged with petit larceny. Police said the man stole socks and a backpack from Marshall’s on Nesconset Highway at about 3:30 p.m. He was arrested at the scene.

About to blow
An 18-year-old man from South Setauket was arrested by police on Aug. 13 at noon and charged with attempted second-degree grand larceny by extortion and second-degree falsely reporting an incident. Police said he called up the Chase Bank on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook and threatened to blow the bank up in an attempt to get money. The attempt was unsuccessful, police said.

Harassed
A man told police that a male suspect pulled a door on Ringneck Lane in Setauket on Aug. 13 at about 3 a.m., threatening physical harm to him. Police said the complainant said the suspect threatened to fight him. There have been no arrests.

A pair of petit larcenies
Two women, both of Bohemia, one 46 and one 16, were arrested on Aug. 15 in Setauket-East Setauket and each charged with one count of petit larceny. Police said the women took assorted merchandise from Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket and left the store without paying for the items. The incident happened at about 7 p.m., police said.

Is that a red light?
A 26-year-old Stony Brook man was arrested by police on Aug. 15 at about 3 a.m. and charged with driving while intoxicated, a first offense. Police said the man was driving a 2000 Jeep and ended up driving through a red light at the intersection of Route 25A and Nichols Road. Police interviewed the defendant and found him under the influence. He was arrested at the scene.

What interlock device?
Suffolk County police arrested a 46-year-old man from Mastic on Aug. 15 in Smithtown and charged him with using a vehicle without an interlock device. Police said the man was driving a 2006 Ford van without the device, despite a court order. He was arrested at 10 a.m. at the LIE westbound on Commack Road.

Can’t stay in the lines
A 22-year-old Kings Park man was arrested in Smithtown on Aug. 13 and charged with first-degree driving while intoxicated. Police said the man was driving a 1997 Mercedez Benz northbound on St. Johnland Road in Smithtown at about 2 a.m. when he drove onto the shoulder and failed to maintain his lane. He was arrested at the scene in the vicinity of River Heights Drive.

Crash ’n dash
Police arrested a 22-year-old woman from Brentwood on Aug. 13 and charged her with operating a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident causing property damage. Police said the woman was driving a 2015 Honda Civic on Oser Avenue in Hauppauge, when she went through a steady red traffic light and crashed into a 2010 Nissan, damaging the vehicle. There were no injuries. The incident occurred at 6:37 a.m. and police arrested the woman later at Veterans Highway and Old Willets Path in Smithtown at about 11 a.m.

One bump too much
A 27-year-old woman from Kings Park was arrested in Smithtown on Aug. 13 and charged with first-degree operating a motor vehicle impaired by drugs. Police said the woman hit the rear bumper of a vehicle stopped in front of her on East Main Street in Smithtown at about 9:08 p.m. She was arrested at the scene a short time later.

Wheeled away
A pair of people told police two bikes  left in a wooded area on West Main Street in Smithtown on Aug. 15 were gone when they returned to them. The incident happened sometime between 6:30 and 7:17 p.m.

Party foul
Police said a man went to a house party on Queen Anne Place in Hauppauge on the evening of Aug. 15 and was beaten up by a group of 15 men there. Cops said the man didn’t know the people at the house party but asked if he could enter and was granted permission to attend. He told police that the men approached him and began kicking and punching him in the face and head. He went to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown for treatment of injuries. The incident happened at about 9:45 p.m.

Ttyl, ATV
Someone stole a 2008 Yamaha Raptor ATV from the front yard of a home on Old Willets Path in Smithtown sometime between 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 13 and 3 p.m. on Aug. 14. There have been no arrests.

Graffiti mystery
Police received reports of two separate incidents of graffiti on Lake Avenue in St. James last week. Cops said that someone made graffiti on the Eddy’s Power Equipment Inc. building sometime between Aug. 12 and 14. Police got another report of graffiti, this time on a building and PVC fence, sometime between Aug. 13 and 14.

A fit at Flowerfield
Someone smashed a glass mirror of a restroom at Flowerfield in St. James, broke a paper towel dispenser, emptied a fire extinguisher in the hallway and stole the fire extinguisher from the business. The incidents occurred between Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 13 at 7 a.m.

Fleeting feeder
Someone stole a bird feeder from a location on Lake Avenue in Saint James sometime between 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 and 2 p.m. on Aug. 13.

Social

9,198FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,124FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe