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If a man and a woman are seen together having lunch, the inevitable gossip ensues. The two of them may be colleagues or they may simply be friends. But rumors start. Does this always happen? Not always, of course, but often enough to discourage pairing off for an exchange of ideas or career advice perhaps in business. Now, with sexual harassment in the news, there is added pressure for the sexes to go their separate ways lest any movement or words be misunderstood between them. What nonsense.

Please be assured that I am as passionately against sexual harassment as anyone on the planet. Wherever it may be found, it should be exposed and halted. But the pendulum, I believe, may be swinging too far in the other direction. Recently Vice President Mike Pence mentioned that he doesn’t eat alone with a woman who is not his wife. Recent polls indicate that a majority of employees of both sexes feel it is inappropriate to have a drink or dinner together and, although less so, it may also be inappropriate for lunch. Even driving together in a car can be looked at askance.

This wariness, although perhaps helpful in avoiding situations of sexual harassment, is a loser for both sexes, especially in the workplace. For men, who are apparently unsure where the boundaries are for a touch on the arm or an innocent compliment on a colleague’s dress, there is the loss of diversity. Women can have different sensibilities and can offer different perspectives than men, to the benefit of both. A recent advertisement featuring a woman has just been yanked by a major company because it may be misinterpreted as racist. My guess is that no woman executive of that company saw the ad before it went public.

For women, the loss is perhaps greater. Since most of the leadership of companies and institutions is still made up of men, the mentorship and sponsorship of female employees is at least as vital, or even more so, than for male junior-level employees. But if a woman cannot enjoy a close professional working relationship with such a sponsor, she is often blocked from moving up in the ranks.

I am reminded of my own business life and the people who helped me advance. Yes, there were a couple of women mentors who were willing to share their skills with me and promote my status, but there were more men along the way who selected me for advancement. One local businessman volunteered important advice to me at a critical time in the early years of the newspaper. Another energetically proposed me as a candidate for president of the New York Press Association, a position for which I will always be grateful. Another supported my intuition at a decisive juncture, I’m sure I don’t know why, but it worked out well. Several others helped me with various financial matters.

Did I meet with them alone for lunch or dinner or, heavens, for a drink? You bet I did. How else to get private time for critical conversation? Meetings in the office are routinely interrupted or overheard. Did I ever meet alone with anyone of the opposite sex in his bedroom? You can put money on the answer being “no”! There are lines one doesn’t cross, no matter what generation one belongs to, and they really are not so difficult to decipher.

Are work colleagues ever sexually attracted to each other? As long as there are men and women, there can be attraction between them. But so what? That’s the way the two sexes were put forth. Presumably we adults know all about that and can conduct ourselves accordingly. Or, to return to square one, we can avoid each other completely.

We women have a great deal we can offer men and vice versa. It would be so foolish to limit our contacts to only half the population. And besides, it wouldn’t nearly be as much fun.

The historic Terryville Union Hall is the latest recipient of a Little Free Library, thanks to Comsewogue Public Library Director Debra Engelhardt and the library, which stocked and funded the installation.

Pictured with Engelhardt are library staff members and local resident Angela DeRosalia, who hand-painted the kiosk, Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), Northern Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Dzvonar and member Lisa Molinelli, who brought their children to ‘leave a book, take a book.’

Joining them is Terryville Road Elementary School Principal April Victor with supportive parents and students and Cumsewogue Historical Society President Jack Smith, Vice President Joan Nickeson, Treasurer Lou Antoniello and member Jackie Kirsch, who donated a collection of popular tween books.

A rendering of what the front of the proposed new St. James firehouse would look like. Image from St. James Fire District

St. James residents are being asked to vote Sept. 19 on whether to fund a new fire department building.

St. James fire commissioners are proposing a $12.25 million capital bond project to build a new 22,458-square-foot Jefferson Avenue facility.

The proposed Jefferson Avenue facility would be more than three times the size of the existing 7,407-square-foot building. The additional space would include spaces to serve as accommodations for firefighters and community members during storms or major emergencies, in addition to a meeting room for district and public use. It would be built in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the current firehouse is not.

The estimated cost of the proposed plan to consolidate to one Jefferson Avenue facility would be an increase of approximately $118 to $198 a year for taxpayers based on their home’s assessed value.

Polls will be open Sept. 19 from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Jefferson Avenue firehouse, located at 221 Jefferson Ave. in St. James. Residents in Election District 79 can vote at the Fairfield Condos in St. James.

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Huntington Town Hall. File photo by Rohma Abbas

Two hopefuls will face off in the Sept. 15 primary to win the Democratic party line in the wide-open race for the Huntington Town supervisor seat. For many, it is the first Democratic primary for town supervisor they can vote in.

Incumbent Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone (D), 72, announced in April he would not be seeking re-election.. He has served for nearly a quarter of a century, as he was first elected to the position in 1993.

Town Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) will compete for votes against community leader Darryl St. George (D), of Centerport, to determine who will attempt to fill Petrone’s shoes.

Tracey Edwards

Edwards has made the decision to step forward and run for supervisor, rather than seek re-election to a second term as a town council member. If she does not win the Democratic primary, she may no longer serve Huntington as an elected official.

“I chose to run for town supervisor versus running for re-election,” Edwards said. “This is not about me. This is about what I believe is best for Huntington.”

Tracey Edward

Edwards was elected to the town board in 2014, after serving 10 years on the board of education in the Elwood school district. She previously served on the board of directors of the Long Island Association and worked for 37 years at Verizon, starting as an operator and climbing the ladder to regional president of network operations.

Over the last three years, Edwards spearheaded the creation of Huntington Opportunity Resource Center, a program that offers assistance with job hunting and career training for unemployed and underemployed residents. She has also been an advocate for Huntington Station revitalization, a plan which includes construction of veteran’s housing, art space, stores, sidewalks, and a parking garage while also working to stamp out crime.

“The biggest issue is public safety and safe neighborhoods,” Edwards said. “That is always No. 1.”

If elected supervisor, Edwards said her primary goal is to improve public safety, making more affordable housing for millenials and seniors, working with families to address ever growing opioid and heroin dependency, and expanding the town’s environmental initiatives.

“I think what [voters] have to do is really decide who has the business experience, the civic experience and governmental experience to make the changes necessary to take the town forward,” Edwards said. “We have work to do.”

Edwards will be attending Huntington Awareness Day, Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Stimson Middle School, located at 401 Oakwood Road in Huntington Station

Darryl  St. George

St. George was one of the first to announce he would seek election as town supervisor in February, prior to Petrone’s announcement he would not seek re-election. He said he previously contemplated running for town board in 2015.

“The political landscape from February till now has shifted dramatically, what has not shifted is my resolve,” St. George said.

St. George works as a Northport High School teacher, where he is the co-advisor of Northport High School branch of Students Against Destructive Decisions and the advisor of Project Vets, a club that works to improve the lives of veterans once they return home. He previously taught at St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington.

Darryl St. George

St. George is a U.S. Navy veteran who served a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2011. Upon returning home, he served as the president of Greenlawn Civic Association for three years. In that role, St. George said he addressed public safety issues and opioid and heroin addiction.

“I was proud to be in that position,” St. George said. “I felt we were able to grow the civic association and get a lot of young people involved.”

If elected supervisor, St. George said he would focus on improving public safety by addressing in addition to opioid addiction, gang issues, protection of the environment and democratic reform to make town government more accessible for people to become involved.

“The real difference between the supervisor and the town board is a supervisor must be a leader,” he said. “A leader should have a vision and be able to communicate that vision clearly, build consensus on the town board and in the community so the vision can be translated into action. I have a track record of doing that as a teacher, as a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy,  as a civic leader and as an activist.”

St. George will be holding a fundraising event Sept. 9 at 6:45 p.m. at the Conklin Brush Barn, located at 2 High Street in Huntington.

Polls will be open for primaries Sept. 12 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Huntington Town residents are eligible to vote in the supervisor race if you are a registered Democrat,  at least 18 years old, have lived at your current address at least 30 days before the election, and have not been in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.

To double check if you are registered to vote, visit the state’s website at voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/votersearch.aspx.

Jenn McNary and her children, above, are featured in the movie ‘To the Edge of the Sky.’ Photo from Brian Ariotti

By Jenna Lennon

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the number one genetic killer of boys in the world.

In “To the Edge of the Sky,” Emmy and Oscar Award winning producers, and Old Field natives, Jedd and Todd Wider tell the story of four mothers in their fight against the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for the approval of a potentially life-saving drug for this fatal disease.

The world premiere of the 118-minute documentary at the 22nd annual Stony Brook Film Festival was met with a standing ovation July 23. Continued feedback from the audience, during and after the Q&A period, has been nothing but positive for the brothers and for raising awareness for treatment of this disease.

“As a documentarian, there’s no greater reward than hearing audience members come up afterwards and ask how we can help, what we can do, how can we bring further attention or shine further light on these issues and help the families that are suffering so deeply,” Jedd said.

‘To the Edge of the Sky’ is produced by Jedd and Todd Wider brothers who grew up in Old Field. Photo from Brian Ariotti

“We spoke to so many people after the film who wanted to get involved and that’s incredibly rewarding to us as filmmakers,” he continued. “We invest years of our lives into these topics to help bring attention to these issues to help these families and for us there’s just nothing greater than that, than hearing that response.”

With such a large audience, Todd couldn’t help but be emotional as he took the stage with his brother for the Q&A session.

“It was a weird thing — I’m not normally that emotional during a screening,” he said. “I got to say it …. was a little surreal. It’s not like I hadn’t seen it before. I’ve probably watched it about a thousand times now, but I found that screening was extremely, unbelievably, emotionally powerful.”

Jenn McNary, one of the mothers in the film, brought her sons Max and Austin to the July 23 premiere.

“Jenn and her family have been incredibly supportive of the film from the very beginning, as has all of the other families as well,” Jedd said. “They’ve all been strongly behind the film and hoping that this film could bring more attention to these issues and bring more attention to the potential companies out there and the foundations that are working to help fund further research.”

Filming took place periodically over almost four years and “was a significant emotional investment,” Jedd said.

“At any given point, the story line would change on the drop of a dime,” he continued. “We became very attached to these boys and very attached to these families.”

Duchenne is the most common type of muscular dystrophy and occurs from a mutation in the gene for the protein dystrophin. Symptoms begin appearing around the age of three or four. At first, young boys start having trouble walking. By their early 20s, they’re essentially paralyzed from the neck down.

“To the Edge of the Sky” examines the fight for FDA approval of the drug eteplirsen, produced by Sarepta Therapeutics, that is meant to help produce the missing protein. In 2016, and at the end of the film, the FDA granted an accelerated approval for the drug, but Todd said the fight is far from over.

“We live in the United States of America where we’re in a functioning democracy, and we can move our political organizations and our political institutions with the power of our will if we choose to,” Todd said. “And in the case of this situation, it was really these four moms that really moved the needle, we feel, on how the FDA was sort of dealing with this … it was the power of their advocacy and the connection and their love for their kids that helped to sort of focus that attention on what was going on in terms of the drug approval process in this particular case.”

The first section of the greenway opens in 2009. Charlie McAteer (red shirt) watches as Herb Mones and Steve Englebright (holding scissors) cut the ribbon. Photo from Nick Koridis

By Susan Risoli

What could have been a highway nobody wanted became a nature trail everyone loves. The nearly-3.5-mile Setauket to Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail is maintained by hometown people, with a little help from members of local and state governments.

Charles McAteer of Friends of the Greenway helps with a clean up. File photo by Alex Petroski

The volunteer organization Friends of the Greenway, and civic groups that support its work, are Times Beacon Record News Media’s People of the Year for the attention paid to a place enjoyed by many.

Community activism for the trail started in the 1980s, with a task force formed by state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket). The group wanted to stop the proposed construction of a four-lane Route 25A bypass highway, on New York State Department of Transportation land stretching from East Setauket to Port Jefferson Station. Englebright secured $2.1 million in state funds for design and construction of a greenway. The first section of the trail opened in 2009, and the project was completed with $5 million in federal transportation funds obtained by U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).

Friends of the Greenway, a group affiliated with the Three Village Community Trust, grew out of the concern of those who wanted to watch over and improve the trail. Chairman Charlie McAteer said that through the friends’ trail stewardship program, people can “adopt” a section of the greenway. By taking ownership, volunteers agree to walk the path, removing litter and debris.

Stewards prune and mow vegetation, and supervise cleanups in their section. Any problems the trail stewards can’t resolve on their own — a fallen tree or broken lights — are referred to the community trust, to the Town of Brookhaven or to the DOT.

“Ultimately, government can only do so much,” McAteer said. “You always need people looking after things and helping maintain. You need those eyes and ears.”

Englebright said that just as the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station greenway connects communities, the Friends of the Greenway is the group that works to bring people together and engages them.

“Through scheduled cleanups and community programing, the Friends of the Greenway work step-by-step to encourage a culture of caring and connection that results in making the greenway a better place,” he said. “The friends should also be applauded for bringing local Scout troops into the mix, through volunteer days and being a prime location for Eagle Scout community service projects.”

Herb Mones, a member of the Three Village Community Trust’s board, said at first, some didn’t understand what a greenway could bring to their lives.

“There are many greenways around the country, but not many in Suffolk County,” he said, adding he feels that once the trail became a reality people embraced it. “A lot of people use it every single day because now they can see, feel and touch it.”

Trail steward Susan Colatosti keeps a close eye on the trail from her own property bordering the greenway. If she sees a sign knocked down or garbage cans overflowing, she reports the issue. When she sees litter clutter on the landscape while walking, she picks it up. Colatosti and other volunteers planted daffodils along the trail.

Eagle Scout Nick Brigantino (in uniform), from Boy Scout Troop 229 in Selden, leads an effort to install a bat house. Photo by Nick Koridis

“The trail has preserved this open space for posterity,” Colatosti said. “It’s a wonderful way for people to walk safely and see their neighbors.”

Boy Scout unit commissioner Nick Koridis spreads the word to local Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops, who have held car washes to raise funds to buy recycled plastic lumber for benches along the trail, and have donated labor to install the benches. Other projects have included installing mile markers, birdhouses, bat houses and street crossing signs. Younger kids clean up the trail with their parents.

“It’s all for the community,” Koridis said. “For the Scouts themselves, taking care of the greenway lets them have fun outdoors while learning the skills of working together.”

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) also has been involved with the trail since its beginning.

The greenway is “sustained by the labor of devoted volunteers, and because of their care the trail binds the hearts of two communities,” Hahn said. “The partnership of government and community has become the foundation of a recreational space that not only unites these hamlets to one another, but also to all people from across Long Island.”

There are several boarding options for pets during the holidays.

By Matthew Kearns, DVM

No matter which holiday you celebrate this time of year there is one thing common to us all: travel. Whether we travel for a day or for over a week, this means figuring out what to do with the four-legged family members.

Bringing your pet with you

This can be as easy as loading Fluffy or Fido in the car or as complicated as figuring out how to travel by air. If traveling by air, make sure to contact the airline you plan to use first. Certain requirements include: cost of travel (do you have to pay for a full seat or just a small additional fee), health certificate (usually within two weeks of travel), vaccines and whether the airline allows you to sedate your pet for travel.

Getting a pet sitter

This can be a touchy subject as I’ve heard stories of dream pet sitters, stories of nightmare pet sitters and everything in between. Most times using a family member, friend or neighbor is the best choice. If you decide to look for a pet sitter online, make sure to set up an interview beforehand to check if the pet sitter is associated with any pet sitter associations or any state or local trade associations. An interview also gives you a chance to ask for references.

Boarding facilities

There are many boarding choices nowadays, and it can be difficult to choose which is best for you and your pet. One hopes that nothing bad will happen to our pets, but it is good to know how the facility will handle an emergency if it happens. It is best to visit the boarding facility ahead of time to check for cleanliness and orderliness, as well as find out what kind of relationship the boarding facility has with a veterinarian. 

Our boarding facility is literally attached to the animal hospital, so we have a veterinarian on premises every day (including Sundays). Other boarding facilities have a veterinarian that visits every day, and some only have a relationship with a veterinarian if your pet is injured or showing symptoms of illness. 

Additionally, when boarding at any facility, there are certain vaccines that are required by law including distemper, Bordatella (kennel cough) and rabies for dogs and distemper and rabies for cats. This may mean making an appointment with your veterinarian before dropping your pet off at the boarding facility.

Dr. Kearns and his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine.
Dr. Kearns and his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine.

I hope that this information is helpful and remember to start early in making arrangements for either a pet sitter or boarding.  The end of year holidays are the busiest time for pet boarding.

I want to wish all of the readers of this column both a safe and joyous holiday season and happy 2017. I also want to thank both Heidi Sutton and the staff of the Arts and Lifestyles section, as well as all the staff of the Times Beacon Record and affiliates for another great year.

Dr. Kearns practices veterinary medicine from his Port Jefferson office and is pictured with his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine.

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By Linda Toga

THE FACTS: I recently inherited a beachfront house that has been in my family for generations. Although it was quite modest when first built, the house has appreciated tremendously over the years. As a result of the inheritance, the value of my estate is now in excess of the estate tax exclusion amount. I do not have a spouse and only have one child. I intend to leave the house, by far my most valuable asset, to my daughter. I will be leaving the rest of my estate to my nieces and nephews.

THE QUESTION: Is there a way to allocate the estate tax between by daughter and my nieces and nephews even though I will not be leaving my daughter any liquid assets?

THE ANSWER: The quick answer is “yes.” Estate tax is calculated based upon the value of all of the assets you own or have control over at the time of your death. Generally, the tax is paid by the estate before any distributions are made to the beneficiaries. When an estate is liquid, it is easy for the executor to simply take the taxes and the expenses associated with the administration of the estate “off the top” and to then distribute the remaining liquid assets in accordance with the terms of the will.

When, as here, your most valuable asset is the beachfront house which is passing to your daughter “in kind,” your executor will be forced to pay the estate tax from the liquid assets that are earmarked for your nieces and nephews. However, you can condition the transfer of the beachfront house to your daughter upon her contributing a pro-rata share of the estate tax. By doing so, the executor will be able to apportion the tax liability between all of the beneficiaries based upon the value of their respective bequests without giving consideration to whether or not the assets are liquid.

HOW IT WORKS: Since the estate tax exclusion amounts are increasing annually and the real estate market is somewhat volatile, it is impossible to know in advance if the estate will be subject to estate tax and, if there is tax due, how much of the estate tax liability will be attributable to the value of the house. Despite this uncertainty, your attorney can include language in your will describing the methodology you want used to apportion the estate taxes between the beneficiaries.

For example, your will may direct your executor to first calculate the total estate tax liability (the “tax”), then to determine the percentage of the value of the estate attributable to the beachfront house (the “percent”) and finally to multiply the “tax” by the “percent.” The product will be your daughter’s proportionate share of the total amount of the estate tax that is owed.

By way of illustration, if the estate tax liability is $60,000 and the value of the house accounts for .6666 percent or 2/3 of the value of your estate, your daughter’s share of the estate tax would be $40,000 [$60,000 × (2/3) = $40,000], and the share of estate taxes attributable to the other beneficiaries would be $20,000 [$60,000 × (1/3) = $20,000]. Although it may seem harsh to require your daughter to contribute a share of the estate taxes that are due in order to get title to the house, if you feel strongly that the taxes should not all be taken from the share of your estate that is passing to your nieces and nephews, there really is no good alternative.

If you decide to apportion the estate taxes, I suggest that you discuss this matter with your daughter in advance so she is not surprised to learn that she will be expected to contribute a share of the funds needed to pay the estate tax. In addition to eliminating the element of surprise, advance notice will also give your daughter an opportunity to put some money aside for the taxes or to look into ways to quickly obtain cash after your death. Since she will become the owner of the beach house after you die, she will likely have the option of borrowing against the house if other sources of funds are not available to her.

Linda M. Toga, Esq. provides legal services in the areas of estate planning, probate and estate administration, real estate, small business service and litigation from her East Setauket office.

Thyme-Scented Roasted Vegetables and Beets

When the pace of family life gets busy, it seems easier than ever to forgo healthy eating plans, and the hectic autumn season is a big culprit. However, you don’t need to compromise flavor for nutrition when turning to convenient options that fit your busy lifestyle. Round out your meal with a simple side dish recipe focused on vegetables, such as Chili Lime Butternut Squash, Thyme-Scented Roasted Vegetables accented with sweet, tangy pickled beets or Caul-Slaw.

Chili Lime Butternut Squash

Chili Lime Butternut Squash
Chili Lime Butternut Squash

YIELD: Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups butternut squash, large dice

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

olive oil spray

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 400 F. In bowl, toss all ingredients except olive oil spray together. Spray foil-lined sheet tray with olive oil spray and spread vegetables over tray. Roast in oven 20 minutes.

Thyme-Scented Roasted Vegetables and Beets

Thyme-Scented Roasted Vegetables and Beets
Thyme-Scented Roasted Vegetables and Beets

YIELD: Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Whole Pickled Beets, drained, halved

1/2 pound baby carrots

1 medium onion, cut through core into 1/2-inch wedges

8 ounces shallots, peeled, halved if large

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 400 F. Line 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Add beets, carrots, onion and shallots. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add garlic to vegetables; toss well. Return to oven and continue roasting 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned.

Note: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme may be substituted for dried thyme leaves.

Caul-Slaw

Caul-Slaw
Caul-Slaw

YIELD: Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

5 cups cauliflower, grated

1 cup carrots, peeled and grated

3/4 cup ranch dressing, fat free

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup green onions, sliced

DIRECTIONS: In bowl, mix all ingredients together. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Tip: Cut cauliflower into quarters, keeping core attached; this will keep cauliflower from falling apart during grating.

Above, from left, Elizabeth Malafi and Marlene Gonzalez of the Middle Country Public Library; Bebe Federmann, Mari Irizarry and Dawn Rotolo. Photo from Elizabeth Malafi

By Ellen Barcel

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, more than 9 million firms in the U.S. are owned by women. Although many of these firms are large, many others are small, run by a single entrepreneur. Many are run by women who find they are able to work from a home office or studio. They are writers, artists, craftspeople, importers, designers and other entrepreneurs, many earning a living while caring for families.

Fifteen years ago, the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach began a tradition that continues to this day — the annual Women’s EXPO — a one-day event where local women entrepreneurs can network with their colleagues, display and sell their work at the library and get the word out about their great products.

At this year’s event, to be held Thursday, Oct. 6, expect 83 vendors, said Elizabeth Malafi, coordinator, Adult Services and the Miller Business Resource Center. Approximately 25 will be new vendors while the rest will be old friends. “It’s sad,” she said, “when some people you really love are no longer at the show, but you know they are succeeding.” Sometimes their business just outgrows the EXPO.

What’s really exciting about the EXPO is the great diversity of entrepreneurs. Shoppers can find everything from jewelry and pottery to beverages, from crocheted items to home goods. The one overriding theme is that the products and services are provided by women. Noted Malafi, the EXPO “is getting bigger and bigger every year.”

During the day, there will be two opportunities to dine. The EXPO Café will be open during lunchtime with food provided and sold by the Fifth Season Café from Port Jefferson. At 4 p.m., visit Sweet Street and Beats. “People can come and purchase snacks and listen to music.”

Malafi emphasized that this “is not just a trade show. We’re here to support women and help them succeed in the business world.” The EXPO, a project of the library’s Miller Business Center, provides workshops to women entrepreneurs throughout the year, helping them to establish their businesses. Here’s a sampling of vendors scheduled to be on site:

Dawn Rotolo

Dawn Rotolo, owner of Dragon’s Nest Baked Goods, fills a very special need. Many consumers find that they are gluten or dairy intolerant, or have other food allergies. Shopping for these specialty items can be challenging and what’s found in the stores either is limited or not as flavorful as the traditional ones. Here’s where Rotolo comes in. Finding out that she herself was gluten intolerant, she decided to fulfill a dream. “I always dreamed of owning my own bakery,” she said. And, that bakery would have foods that people with gluten intolerance could enjoy.

“Everything is gluten free,” but, she didn’t stop there. She went on to develop products that were dairy free, nut free and vegan. Items include a variety of breads (including a “rye style” bread made without rye flour) cupcakes, cookies (even meringue and rainbow), cakes and muffins. She will even take orders for other specialty items. Rotolo has no classical training in baking, but has always loved it. While it was her mother who was a professional cook, her father was the one who frequently asked her to bake. “That’s where my love of baking started. It reminds me of my dad.”

Where did the name Dragon’s Nest come from? “I’ve always loved dragons and I didn’t want a company named after me.” Think of a dragon breathing fire — there’s the oven for the baking. In addition to appearing at the EXPO, Rotolo is at selected farmers markets (check Instagram or Facebook for specifics).

Bebe Federmann

Bebe Federmann of Soul Vessel Designs said that she “stumbled on pottery. I always wanted to take a pottery class.” Then she came across Randy Blume. “I was with her when she was working in her basement” before opening her Hands on Clay studio in East Setauket. Federmann worked for her for a number of years before Blume moved out of the area.

She noted, “There hasn’t been anything to replace it.” Federmann went on, “I was then in the corporate world until four years ago … but never gave up [on pottery making], doing it as a hobby.” But then she wanted to go back to her pottery studio full time. Where does the name of her business Soul Vessel Designs come from? “I put my heart and soul into what I make.” She noted, “With clay, possibilities are endless.” Her pottery is primarily tableware, mugs, bowls, pitchers, vases, etc. “They are functional art, designed to be used every day, very long lasting.” She added, “and planters. I’ve done a lot of those lately.” Her color palette is primarily neutral, with “a lot of white, some blues and greens” for decoration.” Federmann added that she also takes special orders. “I do a lot of custom designs, including work for restaurants.”

This will be Federmann’s third year at the EXPO. “It’s one of the best, such a great show.”

Jessica Giovachino

Jessica Giovachino, owner of GioGio Designs
Jessica Giovachino, owner of GioGio Designs

Jessica Giovachino of GioGio Designs is a residential architect by profession. “That’s how I got involved in home goods,” she noted. Sometimes after designing a home, she is asked to design related home goods. Giovachino’s home goods are eco-friendly, made from bamboo. “Bamboo is a sustainable wood.” After being harvested, bamboo can be replanted and regrows quickly. Giovachino joked that when people hear her products are made from bamboo, they quickly say, “You can come to my yard.”

Many of her home products are slotted. “They fit together like a puzzle … candleholders can be taken apart to store,” she said, adding that she wants her products to be not only useful, but fun. For larger products, “I work with a cabinet maker,” to cut the pieces. “I finish them in my studio. Others I cut out with a laser cutter. Because I’m an architect I’m used to designing on the computer … then send the file to my laser cutter.” After the pieces are cut she does all the finishing. In addition, “I do a whole line of jewelry as well. All the jewelry is laser cut from wood, stainless steel and leather,” she said.

Giovachino has been involved in designing home goods and jewelry for three years — “starting my fourth year.” However, this is her first year at the Women’s EXPO. “A friend does catering for the event. She told me about it … it looked great, really exciting.” In addition to the EXPO, she and her work can be found at local craft shows, but “I’m moving to wholesale, getting crafts in boutiques.”

Alaila Lee

Alaila Lee, owner of Clovesz
Alaila Lee, owner of Clovesz

Alaila Lee, owner of Clovesz, may be the youngest vendor at the EXPO. “I’m just 21,” she said. After graduating from Bay Shore High School, Lee went to the Culinary Academy of Long Island in Syosset. Then she “started selling hibiscus flower drinks [Sorrel]. They’re representative of my culture — Jamaican,” using a family recipe. The beverages come in several flavors, including pineapple and mango and can be “served hot or cold, still or sparking.” The drinks are sold in really unique bottles. When she was looking for a unique shape, she found that many shapes and designs were on the shelf already with other products. “I looked around and saw a light bulb,” and so the light bulb bottle came into existence. Lee markets primarily through expos and farmers markets but “I would like to expand in the culinary world.”

Products she is considering include tea bags and other beverages. Since so many of these vendors have items that make great holiday presents, this is a wonderful opportunity to start your shopping in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, knowing that you are helping the local economy.

Mari Irizarry

Mari Irizarry of Hook and Wool is one of the vendors presenting her work at the Women’s EXPO for the first time. Irizarry is from Brooklyn and moved to Long Island two years ago. “I was a graphic designer and marketing director” in Brooklyn, said Irizarry. “When I moved here I left that job and made more time” for her handmade items.

“As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, times were occasionally tough and we moved around a lot … Looking back, a lot of the things we had, that outlasted apartments we lived in, were handmade. Not only were they made with someone’s energy and love, but they were high quality — truly pieces of art. One of the only material things I have from childhood is a hand-crocheted Christmas stocking that our neighbor, Mrs. Genovich, made for me,” she said.

Irizarry learned crocheting, sewing and knitting from her mother, who learned from her mother. “I didn’t do much as a child,” she added but “it was 1999 and I was broke. I had a lot of family and friends I wanted to give holiday presents to … so I got to stitching.” She added that some of those items are still being worn today. Irizarry’s wool and acrylic items are handmade by her and include scarves, hats and blankets. She noted, “I’m at my happiest when I’m creating something to share and enjoy with loved ones.” Speaking of next Thursday’s event, she said, “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s so exciting to be invited to the EXPO.”

The annual Women’s EXPO will take place on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the Middle Country Public Library, 101 Eastwood Boulevard, Centereach. Admission is free and there is ample parking. For further information, call the library at 631-585-9393 or go to www.womensexpoli.org.

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