Times of Huntington-Northport

Stuart Zagnit as Max Bialystock in a scene from ‘The Producers,’ Photo by Michael DeCristofaro

By Charles J. Morgan     

The musical “The Producers” opened at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport last week and did not disappoint. Adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks’ 1968 film of the same name, it tells the story of a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer, Max Bialystock.

Once nicknamed the “King of Broadway,” Bialystock has recently produced a series of turkeys (“…the critics left at intermission”); so he must produce a hit or go broke. His easily swayed, near psychotic auditor Leopold Bloom shows him how to make millions by producing a flop! Both rummage through a pile of manuscripts until they find one entitled “Springtime for Hitler,” extolling the virtues of the Nazi party. Putting this one on had to be a failure! Off they go in search of the author and to find an “angel.”

Stuart Zagnit and Joel Newsome played the hilarious plotters as Max and Leo, respectively. They were so contrasted as the Machiavellian hard-as-nails fixer to the trembling, quivering weaker partner who still carries a piece of his infant security blanket. Both have lively tenor voices — Zagnit the mighty organ,  Newsome the exquisite violin.

Gina Milo, as Ulla the voluptuary, had all the right (and left) moves, topping this panoply of pleasure with a powerful soprano. Her “If You Got It, Flaunt It” number expressed it all.

The two plotters find their author in Franz Liebkind played by John Plumpis — a wacko Nazi in Luftwaffe steel helmet, imitation jackboots and a stick — he is all over the boards intoning a somewhat mangled German accent but coming on quite strong in Act II’s “Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop” and in Act II’s “Haben Sie  Gehört Das Deutsche Band?”

The gay community is well represented with Roger DeBris, handled smoothly by Ian Knauer, and Carmen Ghia, played languidly by Christopher Sloan. Knauer is well over the two-yard mark, leading one to believe that height was a requisite. Why? Because the height of the lissome female ensemble only added to their beauty, referring to Emily Blake Anderson, Molly Jean Blodgett, Mary Callahan and Laura Otremba. A marvelous performance, especially those kicks.

Choreography was by the ubiquitous and deeply talented Antoniette DiPietropolo with direction by Igor Goldin. DiPietropolo had a massive job on her hands. The cast was large and the ensemble equally so. Yet, as usual, she brought out a clear terpsichorean reality, including one done in walkers. Goldin was similarly charged with clear individualization and interpretation of characters. He succeeded handily.

At this juncture your scribe must reveal his impressions of the show’s music. James Olmstead leads a six-piece outfit featuring the incomparable Joe Boardman on trumpet, the trombones of Brent Chiarello and Frank Hall, Russ Brown on bass, Mark Katz on reeds and Josh Endlich on percussion driving it along.

Boardman has a tone redolent of Charlie Shavers with a whiff of Dizzy Gillespie. The sound of gunshots in Act II was actually rimshots by Endlich. Talk about accurate cuing. In fact, after final curtain this group did a little jamming. Your scribe was loath to leave his seat so much was he enjoying a trip down 52nd Street in the late forties.

This was a beautifully mounted production — something the Engeman is quite good at.

The John W. Engeman Theater will present “The Producers” through July 12. Tickets are $69. For more information, please call the box office at 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

Above, Northport girls' soccer player Victoria Colatosti winds up in a game against Garden City. File photo by Desirée Keegan

A group of Northport-East Northport school district residents will be bringing their A-game to a new committee tasked with brainstorming ways to upgrade its athletic facilities.

The school board voted unanimously on Monday to appoint a group of 15 district residents who will roll up their sleeves and get to work on recommending repairs and projects.

Trustee Regina Pisacani spearheaded the creation of the Athletic Facilities Citizens Advisory Committee back in March in an effort she said was born out of community desire to do something about the district’s sports facilities.

“I hope to meet the needs the community wants for the district for the athletic fields and facilities,” Pisacani said in an interview with reporters at Monday night’s school board meeting. “There’s been a lot of disappointment in the state that things have gotten to and I hope to turn that around.”

The school board first approved the creation of the committee in March and tasked it with focusing on the inspection and evaluation of the present state of athletic facilities and grounds and deciding whether to rehabilitate or replace fields, equipment and facilities. It is also charged with reviewing, analyzing and summarizing the state of the district’s athletic facilities in a written report to the school board and creating a list in order of safety and importance of recommended repairs and/or replacements.

Other tasks of the group include determining the costs of the recommended repairs and analyzing outside funding opportunities to help pay for upgrades.

The resolution authorizing the group said the committee must present a five-year plan to identify priorities for the board by Dec. 14, 2015. It must also prepare a presentation for the 2016 budget meeting before the committee expires on June 30, 2016.

Earlier this year, parents lobbied the school board to seriously consider funding upgrades to the district’s facilities in the school’s budget. In January, 27 people emailed the school board on the issue with many saying they felt the current state of athletic facilities is “embarrassing” and in some cases “a safety hazard.”

Steve Kils, who wrote one of the letters, said at the time he was disappointed with the sports facilities, particularly at the high school.

“For example, lighted football/soccer/lacrosse/field hockey fields with either well-groomed grass or, preferably, artificial turf is the standard,” he said. “Our children are competing with others throughout the country with these basics, and I believe strongly that we need to make these upgrades a priority for our community and school district.”

Some parents echoed the desire to bring turf to the district.

“The children playing on these fields are putting themselves at risk of being injured due to lack of upkeep, and quite frankly, after visiting many high schools with gorgeous turf fields, it is quite an embarrassment to show off our overgrown, bumpy and lumpy, grass fields,” Michele Bica wrote at the time. “Please put this in your budget immediately… How many years do we have to sit by and wait (for something that would benefit many teams as well as the high school image) for you to make room for something as important as this in our budget.”

Pisacani said the first meeting of the committee is on June 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the school board conference room at the William J. Brosnan School building. The meeting is open to the public.

County Executive Steve Bellone cites increased savings for taxpayers

Steve Bellone, Barry Paul and John Kennedy, Jr. spotted at a recent press event. Photo from Suffolk County

The merger of the offices of Suffolk County treasurer and the Suffolk County comptroller is being moved up by two years — a move Executive Steve Bellone’s office claims will save taxpayers even more money than originally anticipated.

The treasurer’s office will be folded into the comptroller’s office on Jan. 1, 2016 instead of a planned 2018 deadline, and the groundwork for the transition has already begun, with changes in the treasurer’s office implemented as early as January this year.

A whopping 62 percent of Suffolk County voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum to combine the two offices in a vote , and ever since then, plans have been put into action to complete the merger.

Merging the departments is expected to save taxpayers more than $3 million, according to Bellone’s office in a statement. Moving the merger up by two years saves more money because the county can eliminate positions sooner. Also, implementing new human resources software will allow the county to realize more savings.

The merger includes abolishing the treasurer’s position, as well as two deputy treasurer positions. Five positions have already been eliminated from the treasurer’s office. These positions included staff members who had retired or left the office and were not replaced, since the positions were deemed no longer necessary. 

Interim Treasurer Barry Paul has been spearheading the merger, and it is the main reason he was brought into the position. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone nominated Paul to the post when previous Treasurer Angie Carpenter was named Islip Town supervisor and left the office in early January of this year.

Bellone has worked with Paul and Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr., whose two offices will become one. However, at first, Kennedy was not in favor of the merger. During Kennedy’s campaign for comptroller last year, he strongly opposed the referendum and the merger.

“I had concerns with the separation of functions and the new oversight of the two offices,” Kennedy said. Once he was elected into office and realized the public’s support for the move at the polls, Kennedy said he altered his point of view.

“I try to be guided by the will of my constituents, and they wanted to see consolidation so I am now on board,” Kennedy said.

Originally the merger was scheduled to be complete in January 2018, since Carpenter’s term as treasurer was from 2015 to 2017. Once Carpenter stepped down, there was an opportunity to bring on Paul and speed up the process.

Previously, Paul was a Bellone staffer, and once he finishes overseeing the merger of the treasurer’s office with the comptroller’s office, he will return to his post there. For Paul, the treasurer appointment was always a short-term assignment.

“All existing personnel from the treasurer’s office will go under Kennedy, and Kennedy has really embraced that,” Suffolk County Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider, who has worked on the merger as well, said in a phone interview. “This merger will save taxpayers money, while delivering better services.”

Another place that the treasurer’s office has been able to save money is with regards to a backlog of providing tax refunds. As of May 14, the backlog tax refunds were reduced by a third, coming down to 7,810, whereas over a month before, the number of backlog tax refunds was 11,830, according to Bellone’s office.

The backlog is expected to be completely eliminated by July, and will save the taxpayers more than a million dollars in reduced interests costs annually.

The new merged office will also host Munis software in the county’s IT system, which will save another $150,000 to $200,000 dollars. Munis is an integrated enterprise resource planning system that manages all core functions, including financials, human resources, citizen services and revenues.

In a statement, Paul said he has been following Bellone’s mandate to make the treasurer’s office as efficient as possible, and is confident in this timeline and the work his office has been doing to save taxpayer dollars.

New York native to start on July 6

MaryEllen Elia succeeds John B. King Jr. as the state’s next education commissioner. Photo from state education department
MaryEllen Elia succeeds John B. King Jr. as the state’s next education commissioner. Photo from state education department

MaryEllen Elia, a former Florida superintendent, will succeed John B. King Jr., as New York’s next education commissioner and local education leaders across the North Shore are anxiously waiting to see if she’ll pass the test.

The New York State Board of Regents formed a seven-member search committee in January to find a replacement for King, who announced he was leaving his seat after accepting a federal senior advisor position to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

For a decade, Elia served as the superintendent of Hillsborough County, Florida, and was named state Superintendent of the Year in 2015. She is credited with much success in Hillsborough, as her district won $100 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop a teacher evaluation system that used student standardized test scores as a key factor.

The system, Empowering Effective Teachers, received national praise from Duncan and the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who stated in a press release the system provides extensive support for teachers and pay structure incentivizes teachers to take on more challenging positions.

Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said in a press release that Elia has a remarkable record of working collaboratively with parents, students and teachers to get things done, which was crucial to make sure the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards went smoothly for students and teachers in Florida.

Elia is delighted to return back to New York, and said in a press release that she is happy to work on behalf of the children. She still considers herself a teacher at heart, and believes that a good teacher is also a good listener.

The New York native had her first teaching job in Sweet Home Central School District in Amherst, N.Y., where she taught social studies for 16 years. In 1986, when her family moved to Florida, she became a reading teacher for three years and then held various administrative positions in the district until her departure.

During Elia’s 10-year tenure as superintendent of Hillsborough, students have received national recognition for their achievement. Fourth and eighth grade students earned high reading scores than any of the other 22 districts that participated in the 2013 Trial Urban District Assessment.

All of Hillsborough districts public high schools placed on the Washington Post’s list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” in 2012 and 2013.

Former state education Commissioner John B. King Jr. at a community forum. File photo by Erika Karp
Former state education Commissioner John B. King Jr. at a community forum. File photo by Erika Karp

King stepped down last December amidst much controversy, specifically for his methods of implementing the highly controversial Common Core in New York.

Superintendents, politicians and members of the community all found problems with King’s techniques, feeling that the Common Core was rushed into the schools and not given enough time for teachers and students to understand it. Another fault was his background, which lacked any teaching jobs. King was a co-founder of Roxbury Prep, a charter middle school in Massachusetts.

“I was the first to call for his resignation, he developed a hostile approach and seemed oblivious to his role,” New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) said.

Englebright said he hopes Elia will provide a fresh look at the system, and that she’ll bring her background as both a teacher and an administrator to the schools of New York.

One thing is for sure; Elia has her work cut out for her.

“I think she has a monumental task ahead of her, “ Timothy Eagen, Kings Park’s superintendent said. “On Long Island, about 50 percent of students in grades three through eight refused to take the assessments this past year. There is a lot of work to be done.”

Middle Country school district Superintendent Roberta Gerold felt there wasn’t a collaborative culture surrounding the application of the Common Core under King’s tenure.

“There needs to be a responsible conversation, and I don’t think we had that with King, he was reluctant to slow down,” said Gerold, who also serves as president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association.

Fellow superintendent, Joe Rella, of Comsewogue, said he is desperate for a more collaborative and ongoing conversation.

“This reform dialogue needs to stop, he said. “We need time to examine what has happened. I am optimistic on Elia’s hiring until further notice.”

The superintendent’s prayers may just be answered, as Elia stated that her first item of business as commissioner will be listening to the members of the community, parents, teachers, students and administrators.

Johanna Testa, vice president of the Miller Place Board of Education, said while she is 100 percent happy to see a new commissioner, who has experience teaching in New York, she still has some concerns over Elia’s track record of student test scores being tied to teacher evaluations.

“I’m just not convinced she’s the right person for the job,” Testa said.

The Art League of Long Island’s Art in the Park Fine Art & Craft Fair was held at Heckscher Park on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31. This annual juried fair and fundraiser for the Art League is now in its 48th year and attracts fine artists, craftspeople and art lovers from throughout the metropolitan area to Huntington.

By Jane Lee Bock

Huntington schools have taken a big step toward ensuring that local taxpayers continue to see some money back in state rebates this year.

School districts have formed a consortium to help reign in expenses, implementing one more of the mandatory steps needed to comply with the regulations of the three-year state property tax freeze credit.

The credit is a new tax relief program that reimburses qualifying homeowners for increases in local property taxes on their primary homes, according to the program’s website. The credit applies to school districts in 2014 and 2015 and to most other municipalities in 2015 and 2016.

Cold Spring Harbor school district has been designated the lead agency for the consortium and is partnering with Western Suffolk BOCES to coordinate the plans and submit them to the state by June 1, 2015. In total so far, 19 districts are eligible to participate in this joint effort. Northport, Huntington, Harborfields and Cold Spring Harbor have officially joined the consortium.

William Bernhard, interim assistant superintendent for business at Cold Spring Harbor. File photo by Karen Spehler
William Bernhard, interim assistant superintendent for business at Cold Spring Harbor. File photo by Karen Spehler

In 2014, New York property owners received a rebate if their school district stayed within the state’s 2-percent property tax cap when developing its budget. In 2015, property owners will get a rebate if the districts demonstrate that they have plans that will develop efficiencies and cost savings, and their local municipal taxing districts stay within the tax cap. In 2016, the rebate requirements will be aimed at only municipalities, requiring them to stay within the tax cap and develop cost savings.

The state estimates this three-year program will result in $1.5 billion in taxpayer savings. This consortium meets the requirements of the government efficiency plan component of the property tax freeze credit.

No specific savings have been announced yet because the plans have to be submitted and approved by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and any savings created by efficiencies implemented before 2012, when the freeze was initially created, are allowed to be included in each district’s component of the plan.

“What they have allowed us to do is that if we had some prior efficiencies that were instituted prior to June 2012, which is the first year of the tax cap, we can use that towards demonstrating our savings,” William Bernhard, interim assistant business superintendent of the Cold Spring Harbor school district said in a phone interview. “Many districts had to do that to stay within the tax cap.”

In addition, by grouping the districts together, they will be required to save one percent of their tax levy combined, instead of individually, he said. Those savings must be realized through the 2016-17 school years.
Bernhard said he hasn’t seen the full plan yet because the information has not been submitted.

Visit www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/property_tax_freeze.htm for more information on the property tax freeze credit program.

Elsa Posey is to be honored by the Northport Historical Society at the Northport Yacht Club next week. Photo from Posey

By Susan Risoli

Elsa Posey, founder and director of Northport’s Posey School, will be recognized by the Northport Historical Society next week for her lifelong commitment to dance education.

A dinner and dance in Posey’s honor will be held on May 30 at 7 p.m. at the Northport Yacht Club. Proceeds from the event will support the historical society’s community and education programs.

In an interview this week, Posey said she was grateful to be honored and pleased that the recognition would bring attention to the dance school she opened in 1953. She brought her love of dance to Northport because it is her birthplace, she said, and because “I love it here. I’m a sailor. Just being near the water is important to me.”

Posey describes herself as a dance historian. She and her staff teach the legacy of choreography and the freedom of improvisation. Building on tradition in dance means the individual dancer is “never alone. You are supported by all the dancers that went before you,” Posey said.

Dancing is alive with what she called “the spirits, the ancestors” of those who have performed and loved dance through the ages. Posey School students often recreate historic dances, the founder said, including minuets from the 1400s and 1500s. Posey said her students will perform excerpts from the ballet “Swan Lake” — a work from the 1800s, she pointed out — at Northport Middle School on June 6.

A distinguishing characteristic of her school is the lack of recitals. Posey is not a fan, she said, of recitals where children are not really dancing but merely reproducing steps by rote. Instead, “we do performances when the dancers have something to show,” she said. “They’re performing with the music, to bring out the elements that were intended in the role.” That flow between dancer and music is achieved through performance plus education, Posey said. She herself was trained at the School of American Ballet in New York City as a youngster. Today her students — who range in age from preschoolers to seniors — take classes in ballet, modern dance, jazz, folk and country dances.

Elsa Posey is to be honored by the Northport Historical Society at the Northport Yacht Club next week. Photo from Posey
Elsa Posey is to be honored by the Northport Historical Society at the Northport Yacht Club next week. Photo from Posey

The school is not about competition among students. “We don’t compare one person with another,” Posey said. “It’s not that you’re better than somebody else.”

Dance inspires in many ways, Posey said, and can even improve lives. “I help the children understand dance as a part of history and their culture,” she explained. Appreciating cultural differences, and the values held by those who live in other places, “is what makes us better people.”

Make no mistake — though dance is surely physical, it’s much more than athletics, Posey said. “Dance is not a sport. It’s an art.” Musicians, too, she said, know that music and movement can create “an opening of the mind.”

Posey was the founder and first president of the National Dance Education Organization, which gave her its Lifetime Achievement Award. She is current president of the National Registry of Dance Educators, a group of master teachers of dance.

Heather Johnson, director of the Northport Historical Society, said the organization is honoring Posey because “she always talks about how great the community is here. But she’s part of what makes it wonderful.” Posey “is so very dedicated to her students,” Johnson said. “And she’s also been a supporter of the historical society.”

In a press release from the historical society, Steven King, president of the society’s board, said, “The entire Northport community has benefited greatly from Elsa Posey’s commitment to providing dance instruction and performance.”

Costly joyride
A 28-year-old Commack man was arrested in Smithtown on May 21 and charged with second-degree grand larceny of property valued over $50,000. Police said that on May 20 the man entered a fenced yard on West Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown and stole a Ford F250 pickup truck and trailer, loading it with a type of equipment. The man was also charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, third-degree burglary and unlawful growing of cannabis at his Scarlett Drive residence.

Bowled over
A 31-year-old Melville man was arrested on May 21 and charged with petit larceny. Police said that on April 28 at about 9 p.m., the man took cash from a bowling bag.

Assaulter apprehended
A 22-year-old man from Oakdale was arrested on May 21 and charged with two counts of assault, one charge in third degree. Police said that the man kicked a female victim who was lying on the ground at about 2 am at a location on Ocean Avenue in Ronkonkoma. Around the same time he struck a male victim with a baseball bat at the same location.

Senior struck
Police arrested an 18-year-old man from Smithtown on May 23 and charged him with second-degree
assault, injuring a victim 65 years or older. Police said the young man punched a male victim at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove at about 4:45 p.m. numerous times, causing him head and face injuries. The assailant was arrested at his home on Hofstra Drive in Smithtown later that day.

Smash ’n dash
An unknown person smashed the rear window of a 2005 Honda Pilot on Nesconset Highway in Smithtown and stole a backpack and laptop. The incident occurred between 9:30 and 10:15 p.m. on May 21.

Porsche problems
Someone stole Tiffany sunglasses and a child’s pocketbook out of a 2015 Porsche parked at a movie theater in on Route 347 in Stony Brook on May 21. The incident happened sometime between 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Helmet heist
A male complainant told police someone stole his Rangers hockey helmet while he was at Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub on East Main Street, Smithtown on May 20. The incident occurred sometime between midnight and 2 a.m.

Mailbox mischief
Someone pulled a mailbox off its post and damaged it on 1st Avenue in Kings Park on May 23 at 1:30 a.m. There are no arrests.

Drug bust
A 19-year-old woman from Lake Grove and a 17-year-old man from Stony Brook were arrested on May 20 at about 6:40 p.m. in Stony Brook on drug-related charges. Police said the Lake Grove woman was charged with loitering and unlawful use of a controlled substance after being observed in a car on the corner of Shelbourne Lane and Sycamore Circle in Stony Brook with the man, purchasing prescription pills from him without a prescription. Police said the man, who is from Shelbourne Lane, was charged with three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell and fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Car theft
An unknown person scratched the driver side of a 2012 Kia at the beach on Christian Avenue, entered the car and stole cash from a pocketbook inside. The incident occurred between 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on May 24.

Not so bright
A glass sunroof on a 2007 Hummer parked on Woodfield Road in Stony Brook was smashed with a large rock, sometime between 11 p.m. on May 22 and 3 p.m. on May 23.

iSad
Someone broke the driver side window of a 2014 Nissan Sentra parked on Nesconset Highway and stole an iPad mini sometime between 7 and 9:30 p.m. on May 21.

Vehicle damaged
An unknown person damaged a 2007 Subaru parked on Cinderella Lane in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between 10 a.m. on May 23 and 10 p.m. on May 25.

Phone jacked
An unknown male went into a female complainant’s pocketbook and took her white iPhone sometime at 2 p.m. on May 20 at Stop&Shop on Route 25A in East Setauket.

Tire trouble
Someone punctured the front passenger side tire of a 2009 Honda Civic parked in a lot on Main Street in Setauket-East Setauket on May 22.

Wallet woes
An unknown person removed a Stop&Shop shopper’s wallet containing cash and gift cards on Route 25A in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between 2:15 and 2:30 p.m. on May 20.

Department store dash
Someone entered Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway and fled with assorted items without paying for them at about 4:50 p.m. on May 21 in Setauket-East Setauket.

Caught with drugs
Police arrested a 26-year-old East Setauket man at about 11 p.m. on May 21 and charged him with second-degree criminal contempt and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said the man was arrested on Ringneck Lane for violating an order of protection and was found in possession of heroin.

ID, please
A High Street homeowner in Port Jefferson reported that his employee identification card was stolen out of his 2006 Subaru in the afternoon on May 23.

Unlocked
An unknown person stole items from an unlocked 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked inside an open garage on Nadia Court in Port Jefferson. According to police, the person stole a GPS device, a purse, a phone charger and a debit card on May 20.
An unknown person stole men’s sunglasses from an unlocked Dodge Durango parked outside an East Broadway residence in Port Jefferson on May 20.

Double trouble
Two vehicles, a 2003 Ford and a 2014 BMW, were keyed and scratched on May 20 on Old Post Road in Port Jefferson.

First-class crime
A Shore Road resident in Mount Sinai reported on May 22 that their metal mailbox had been damaged.

Look through my window
A Helme Avenue resident in Miller Place reported that a window screen located in the back of their home had been damaged on May 21.

Not playing around
An unknown person pushed an air-conditioning unit into a home on Bayville Drive in Sound Beach in order to gain entrance on May 22 and stole one PlayStation and one Nintendo console.

Uprooted
A Robin Road homeowner in Rocky Point reported on May 24 that someone had removed pots and planters and tossed them throughout the backyard. The resident also noticed a rear gate at the home was open.

Stylish thief
Police arrested and charged an 18-year-old Miller Place woman with petit larceny on May 22 after she concealed various shirts and costume jewelry at the Rocky Point Kohl’s and went to leave without paying for the merchandise.

Taking sides
An unknown person threw rocks at an Oxhead Road home in Centereach and damaged the siding of the residence on May 24.

Getting smashed
A North Coleman Road man in Centereach reported that he found the rear window of his 2004 Chevy smashed by a stone when he got up and went to his car on May 25.

Sliced
An unknown person damaged a garden hose — possibly with a knife — at a Norwalk Lane residence in Selden on May 24.

Dollar dollar bills
Police arrested a 26-year-old Medford woman in Selden on May 23 for stealing assorted goods and personal care products from a Selden dollar store.

Shout!
A Middle Country Road gas station employee reported that a man came into the station’s convenience store and started shouting on May 20. The suspect then got into his car and rammed one of the gas station vacuums, causing damage.

In the final stretch of the season, the Huntington girls’ track and field team enjoyed another sensational performance, winning numerous medals at the Suffolk Freshman Sophomore Championships at Longwood.

Betty Huitt throws shot put for Huntington. Photo by Mike Connell
Betty Huitt throws shot put for Huntington. Photo by Mike Connell

“It was a solid showing on a windy and cool evening,” Huntington head coach Shawn Anderson said. “It puts us in a positive position for next week.”

The Blue Devils followed by competing in the Section XI divisional championships on Tuesday, May 26, and today, May 28, at Northport.

At the Suffolk Freshman Sophomore Championships, Huntington tenth-grader Betty Huitt won the sophomore shot put title with a toss of 32-10.25 feet on her last attempt.

Jeannie Clerveaux finished 13th with a throw of 27-01.25 feet.

Nicole Abbondandelo finished first among all freshmen in the 3,000-meter run, crossing the line in a new personal best time of 10 minutes, 44 seconds.

“She ran very even splits, even in a tough headwind and chilly temps,” Anderson said.

Anna Gulizio enjoyed a big day.

She finished second in a field of 35 in the sophomore 400 dash in a time of 1:01.26. The teenager was also second out of 24 competitors in the sophomore triple jump, leaping 33 feet 6 inches on her final attempt.

Gulizio placed 10th out of 30 competitors in the sophomore long jump, cracking the 16-foot barrier by soaring 16-00.50. It marked a new personal best distance.

The top three steeplers in the county squared off this year, including Huntington’s Suzie Petryk, Ward Melville’s Molly Drearie and Miller Place’s Laura Nolan.

Anna Gulizio takes a big leap for Huntington track. Photo by Mike Connell
Anna Gulizio takes a big leap for Huntington track. Photo by Mike Connell

“It was a windy day and tight race and the three of them ran away from the competition,” Anderson said.
In the end, Petryk ran her own race and held off her opponents, dictating the pace from the starting gun and winning wire to wire in 7:02.21.

“It’s another confidence booster heading into next week’s divisional meet and state qualifier,” Anderson said.

In other action for the Blue Devils:

Alexis Pastorelli (5:12.40), Louise Koepele (5.27.81) and Niamh Condon (5:37) all hung tough in the windy conditions in the 1,500-meter. Pastorelli’s time placed her ninth overall out of 33 runners in the sophomore race.

With the wind at their back, Christina Reinersten (14.38 seconds) and Lianna Dechairo (14.70 seconds) both enjoyed fast races in the 100 dash, and Christina Reinersten (30.50 seconds), Gabriella DeLuca (30.92 seconds) and Lianna Dechairo (31.20 seconds) turned in strong performances to conclude their seasons on a high note in the 200 dash.

Betty Huitt (88 feet 8 inches) placed sixth overall, just two feet off her best in discus, and Jeannie Clerveaux threw 78 feet 5 inches.

The team of Pastorelli, Koepele, Condon and Abbondandelo ran strong, finishing in 10:26.40, which was good enough for third place in the 4-by-800 relay.

Suffolk County Police Department to examine feasibility

Legislator Tom Muratore, center. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

Following in the footsteps of municipalities across the nation, the Suffolk County Legislature has agreed to explore creating safe spots where residents could conduct private sales transactions like those from websites like Craigslist.

County Legislator Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma) introduced legislation that would direct the Suffolk County Police Department to study the feasibility of creating the safe spots. The Legislature adopted the bill on May 12, and the findings will be reported to the Legislature within 120 days.

“Technology is changing the way people are doing business,” Muratore said in a phone interview.

The former Suffolk County police officer said he drafted the resolution after hearing about a number of violent crimes committed against people who posted or responded to advertisements on Craigslist.

In January, police charged a man who allegedly killed a Georgia couple looking to buy a vintage car, news reports said. In March, a Colorado woman allegedly stabbed and removed the fetus of a woman who was seven months pregnant and had gone to the suspect’s home in response to an ad.

While the national incidents referenced in the legislation are particularly vicious, there are some cases of misconduct closer to home.

Nearly two months ago, Suffolk County police arrested and charged a 24-year-old Medford man with fourth-degree grand larceny after he allegedly stole a quad from a Centereach resident who had posted the vehicle for sale on Craigslist. Police said the suspect responded to the ad and drove off with quad.

Suffolk County wouldn’t be the first to create such spots. The safe havens — sometimes at police departments or in monitored precinct parking lots — have been set up in Columbia, Mo., Hartford, Conn., and in numerous Georgia towns, to name a few.

“If they can do it, why can’t a major police department do something like that,” Muratore said.

The legislator said precinct parking lots, which could be monitored by closed-circuit cameras, would be good locations for the spots, as there are seven precincts spread across the county, plus the department’s headquarters in Yaphank. The study will also examine any equipment and personnel costs associated with establishing the locations, he said.

According to Craigslist’s website, the majority of users are “trustworthy” and “well-intentioned” and the incidence of violent crimes is “extremely low.”

Craigslist offers some guidelines when meeting someone for the first time. The site said meetings should take place in a public place as opposed to a private home; users should take precautions when selling expensive items; tell someone where they are going; and consider having someone accompany them. In addition, it encourages people to make high-value exchanges at a local police station.

SCPD Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon said Tuesday that the department could not comment at this point, but would communicate findings once a report is complete.

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