Village Beacon Record

Go around me

A 47-year-old man from Asbury Park, N.J., was found in the middle of Old Nichols Road in Islandia just before 5:00 a.m. on Feb. 7, passed out in the driver’s seat of his 2016 Mazda, police said. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Marijuana mall

In the parking lot of the Smith Haven Mall just after 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 6, police said a 23-year-old man from Hampton Bays was arrested for possession of marijuana. He was sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2015 Volkswagen. He was charged with criminal possession of marijuana.

Driving drunk with a child

At about 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 6, a 30-year-old woman from Holtsville was driving a Nissan Frontier while drunk with her 5-year-old daughter in the car on Hawkins Avenue in Ronkonkoma, police said. She also had food stolen from Stop&Shop on Portion Road in Ronkonkoma, according to police. She was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child under the age of 15, endangering the welfare of a child, petit larceny and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. She also violated an order of protection prohibiting her from being under the influence in the presence of her daughter, police said.

Burned

Police arrested a 21-year-old man from Kings Park for having marijuana in his home around midnight on Feb. 5. Police discovered the drugs when they responded to a fire at the home. He was charged with criminal possession of marijuana.

Foul pole

A 24-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested after he crashed his 2000 Honda Civic into a telephone pole on North Country Road in Smithtown at about 5:30 a.m. on Feb. 5, police said. He was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit.

Mischief on Midwood

At about 2:00 a.m. on Feb. 4, a 22-year-old man from Nesconset was arrested for breaking the window of a home on Midwood Avenue, police said. He was charged with criminal mischief.

Dodge couldn’t dodge police

A 42-year-old man from Lindenhurst was arrested on Feb. 4 in Islandia and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. Police said he was driving on Veterans Memorial Highway just before 9:00 p.m. in a 2002 Dodge when they discovered he was driving with a revoked license.

Swerving SUV

At about 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 4, a 53-year-old man from Smithtown was stopped by police for failing to stay in his lane while driving his 2004 GMC Envoy on Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge, police said. He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Ha-Sheesh

Police arrested a 17-year-old man from Smithtown and charged him with criminal possession of a controlled substance at 11:00 a.m. on Feb. 3. Police said he had hashish and THC oil when he was arrested on Lincoln Blvd. in Hauppauge.

Heroin arrest

A 27-year-old man from Shirley was arrested in the parking lot of Woodmont Village Apartments in Lake Ronkonkoma at about 11:00 p.m. on Feb. 3 with heroin on him, police said. He was charged with loitering and unlawful use of a controlled substance.

Long Island arrest-way

A 47-year-old man from Kings Park was arrested on Feb. 6 at 9 a.m. after police said he was driving a 1998 Subaru on the Long Island Expressway in Dix Hills while on prescription pills without a prescription. He was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, first-degree operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

High up on the lake

On Feb. 6, a 46-year-old man from Centerport was arrested after police said he had marijuana in his possession at 5:25 p.m. on the corner of Main Street and Lakeside Drive in Centerport. He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Quite a couple

Police said a 23-year-old man from Hicksville and a 22-year-old woman from Massapequa had cocaine in their possession at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 on the corner of New York Avenue and West 21st Street in Huntington Station. They were both charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a controlled substance and loitering.

Corner of oh no and trouble

A 20-year-old man from Huntington was arrested on the corner of 11th Avenue and West 21st Street in Huntington Station on Feb. 6 at 5:15 p.m. after police said he had marijuana in his possession. He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

But she got a fake ID

Police said a 39-year-old woman from Brooklyn used a fraudulent credit card and identification while shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue on Walt Whitman Road in Huntington on Feb. 5. According to police, the woman used two fraudulent credit cards just after 4 p.m. and tried to impersonate the woman using a fraudulent driver’s license to open a new credit card. She was charged with fourth degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal impersonation of another person, second-degree forgery of public record, and second-degree possession of a forged instrument.

Jewelry gone

An unknown person broke into a residence on Andrea Lane in Greenlawn on Feb. 5 between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., and stole jewelry.

RIP GMC

Police said an unknown person punctured the tires of a 2002 GMC parked on Jericho Turnpike in Elwood on Feb. 5 between 5:50 and 6:20 p.m.

Oh, boy!

Police arrested two 17-year-olds from Port Jefferson Station for petit larceny on Feb. 6. The pair allegedly stole Playboy cologne from the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove a month earlier, on Jan. 7. The teens were arrested at the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant on Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station.

What a saint

On Feb. 7, police arrested a woman from Mastic Beach for grand larceny. The 33-year-old woman stole a wallet from another woman’s pocketbook that day at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, police said. The wallet contained several credit cards. She was arrested at the scene, around 10:05 p.m.

Shopping spree

A 17-year-old girl from Centereach was arrested on Jan. 31 for petit larceny after officials said she entered the Walmart on Nesconset Highway in East Setauket and stole assorted makeup and bath products. Police arrested her at the scene at 7 p.m.

Welcome home

Between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, someone entered a residence on Jarvin Road in Port Jefferson Station and stole cash and jewelry.

Route to handcuffs

Police arrested a man from Patchogue for driving while ability impaired on the afternoon of Feb. 5. He had been driving east on Route 25A in Stony Brook when an officer pulled him over for speeding. Police allegedly discovered the man was intoxicated and driving with a suspended license.

Fight to the finish

On Jan. 31 around 1:45 p.m., two men got into a fight on Route 25A in Port Jefferson. Police said the men were in the street when one of them punched the other in the face. The victim refused to go to the hospital.

Green-thumbed thief

Someone entered the property of a residence on East Gate Drive in Mount Sinai and stole a Japanese maple tree planted in the yard. Police said the incident happened between 6 p.m. on Feb. 2 and 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 3.

The rest is history

Police said someone broke the door lock and latch of the Miller Place Historical Society building between noon on Feb. 4 and 1:45 p.m. the following day.

Bang bang into the room

On Feb. 4 around 9 p.m., someone shot a BB gun at a residence on Longview Avenue in Rocky Point. A pellet left a small hole in the window.

Weekend allowance

An unknown person stole a purse from a 2012 Hyundai parked outside a residence on Hawkins Road in Centereach between 6 p.m. on Feb. 6 and 9:30 p.m. the following day. It was unclear whether the suspect broke into the car or if it had been left unlocked.

Gold digger

On the morning of Feb. 4, a woman at home on Middle Country Road in Selden received a scam call from someone posing as a federal employee of the Internal Revenue Service. The unidentified person told the woman that she would be charged if she didn’t send money. Police said the victim sent more than $1,000 to the caller.

According to police, a woman on Glen Court in Stony Brook received a scam call on Feb. 5 from a man who claimed to be her grandson and asked her for money. The woman sent more than $3,000 to the man.

The Rite to remain silent

A 32-year-old man was arrested for petit larceny on Feb. 7. Police said the Middle Island man took electronic items from the Rite Aid on College Road in Selden. He was arrested at the scene.

Sight for sore eyes

Police arrested a woman from Centereach for assault on Feb. 3, after she allegedly punched another woman in the face and injured her right eye on North Coleman Road. Police said the victim required medical attention.

And you’re out

On Feb. 2 at 7:56 p.m., police arrested a man for driving while ability impaired. According to officials, the man was unconscious when he crashed his 2001 Toyota into another car in a parking lot near Route 347 in Stony Brook. Police said the man had overdosed on heroin and was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital.

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Mason Cline attempts a basket in Rocky Point's last minute 73-68 loss to Amityville on Feb. 4. Photo by Bill Landon.

By Bill Landon

Rocky Point led most of the way, but the boys’ basketball team let the lead slip away when it mattered most, losing its League V matchup against Amityville in the final minute Thursday night, 73-68.

Harry Lynch makes his way through traffic in Rocky Point's last minute 73-68 loss to Amityville on Feb. 4. Photo by Bill Landon
Harry Lynch makes his way through traffic. Photo by Bill Landon

Harry Lynch sparked the Eagles’ offense, helping to keep his team out in front 11-8 at the 3:40 mark of the first quarter. The senior guard drove the lane with reckless abandon, as he fought his way to the rim and helped stretch his team’s lead to 21-17 by the end of the first eight minutes.

Amityville picked away at the deficit, drawing within three points in the second quarter, but Lynch scored his fourteenth point as time ran out, and the Eagles took a 29-25 advantage into the halftime break.

The matchup grew physical, which led to multiple penalties, but Rocky Point failed to convert most opportunities at the free-throw line. The Warriors battled back to take their first lead of the game, 37-35, at the 3:47 mark of the third quarter.

Lynch went to the charity stripe shooting two and split the appearance to help his team close within one point, and Rocky Point senior Colin Kotarski went to the line shooting two next, and nailed both, as the Eagles retook the lead.

After a Warriors field goal that flipped the score, Rocky Point senior Ben Collesidis, with a defensive pick, took the ball down the stretch and converted his opportunity into points to again turn the tables for both teams, giving the Eagles a 40-39 edge.

Ben Collesidis goes to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon
Ben Collesidis goes to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon

With the teams knotted at 43-43 late in the third quarter, Lynch nailed a clutch 3-pointer, and teammate Mason Cline, also a senior, did the same. At the end of the quarter, Rocky Point led 49-43.

With both teams finding their 3-point rhythm, Amityville answered the Eagles with a Joshua Serrano trifecta to make it a three-point game. Cline had his own answer for his opponent though, as he swished his fourth trey of the game.

The clock wound down, and both teams traded points at the charity stripe. Kotarski was fouled while shooting and tacked on two points for a 60-55 Eagles lead with just over three minutes left in regulation, but Amityville hit a 3-pointer with 1:02 left to play, for a 67-65 lead. Another free throw point made it a 3-point game, again.

Lynch went to the line shooting a 1-and-1 opportunity, and sank both to help his team draw within one point, but with less than 30 seconds left, Serrano made two more appearances at the stripe, and cashed in on all four attempts, to put the game out of reach.

Lynch topped the scoresheet with 27 points, while Cline banked 19 and Kotarski added 14.

Colin Kotarski scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon
Colin Kotarski scores two points. Photo by Bill Landon

The Eagles hit 65 percent of their free throws on the night, while Amityville neared 80 percent.

“We were winning the whole way,” Rocky Point head coach James Jordan said. “We missed a lot of foul shots and that cost us the game. We play Islip on Monday. We’ve got to do a better job at rebounding and that’s a team we have to beat.”

With one game remaining, Jordan said that his team needs one more win to have a better chance at a run in the postseason. Currently, the team sits at 6-5, so the head coach is hoping for a higher seed with one more victory.

Rocky Point was supposed to travel to Islip on Monday, Feb. 8, but on account of the snow, the game has been postponed with no makeup date currently scheduled.

iTunes ransom
Between Jan. 27 and 30, someone called an older woman saying that her son was involved in a car crash in the Dominican Republic and arrested. The men on the phone demanded money from her. Police said the woman was in a Stony Brook Rite Aid when she received the call and even though Rite Aid employees told the lady it was a scam, she paid the men $12,000 in iTunes gift cards.

Not too saintly
An unidentified person stole several bank cards from someone at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson on Jan. 28.

Fit for a criminal
On Jan. 28, between 2:45 and 3 p.m., someone stole a woman’s car keys from her jacket at LA Fitness on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station.

Overlooking jail
A 27-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station was arrested for criminal possession of stolen property on Jan. 25, after he stole a cell phone on Overlook Pass Road in Port Jefferson. He was nabbed at the scene.

Bank crank
Police arrested a man from Centereach for identity theft for allegedly using another man’s identification to open three Bank of America accounts between Aug. 18 and 31 of last year. Police arrested the 54-year-old suspect at his own residence on Jan. 28.

Out of control
On Jan. 27 at 1 p.m., police arrested a 31-year-old man from Centereach for criminal possession of a controlled substance. Authorities said the man was in the front passenger seat of a 2006 Honda when police saw him conduct a drug transaction. He was arrested on Middle Country Road.
Police arrested a woman from Wading River on Jan. 27 for criminal possession of controlled substances after pulling over her 1996 Ford Thunderbird on Prince Road in Rocky Point. The 30-year-old was found in possession of cocaine. She was arrested at the scene.

Headphone heist
A man from Shirley was arrested on Jan. 26 for petit larceny after police said the 46-year-old stole three sets of headphones from a store on Horseblock Road in Selden on Jan. 7 and 9. Police arrested him on Middle Country Road.

Targeted
Police arrested a 64-year-old man from Queens for petit larceny when he stole merchandise from the Target on Pond Path in South Setauket on Jan. 30.

Jamaica me crazy
On Jan. 29, police arrested a man from Jamaica for driving while ability impaired. Police had pulled over the 21-year-old after he failed to maintain his lane while driving west on Smithtown Bypass in a 2004 Hyundai.

Fraud is a full-time job
A 53-year-old woman from Port Jefferson Station was arrested for fraud, a few years after her alleged crime. Between May 23, 2011, and June 3, 2012, police said, she was collecting unemployment even while she had a job. Police arrested her on Jan. 27 at the Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket.

Put a ring on it
Between Jan. 24 and 26, someone entered a residence on Sweetgum Lane in Miller Place and stole a ring.

Cab crime
On Jan. 29 at 10:15 p.m., someone took money from a drawer at the Islandwide taxi stand on Main Street in Port Jefferson.

Leafing the scene
Someone stole two leaf blowers from a residence on Kings Walk in Rocky Point. Police said the incident happened between Jan. 27 and 29.

When push comes to shove
On Jan. 29, two unidentified men got into a verbal and physical fight, pushing and shoving one another on Route 25A in East Shoreham. Police said both men decided not to press charges.

Mirror, mirror
An unknown person damaged the side-view mirror of a 2002 Honda parked on Bonnybill Drive in Centereach. The incident happened on Jan. 29 around 11:08 p.m.

These shoes are made for stealing
A 21-year-old woman from Centereach was arrested on Jan. 27 in Smithtown for stealing shoes from DSW on four separate occasions from December through January, police said. Additionally, police said she stole cosmetics from Ulta Beauty in Patchogue on Jan. 18. She was charged with fourth degree grand larceny and four separate petit larceny counts.

Pathfinder pilfered
Police arrested a 20-year-old woman from Smithtown for driving a 2006 Nissan Pathfinder without the owner’s permission, police said. She was driving on Verbena Drive in Commack on Jan. 27 at about 1 p.m. when police stopped her and she was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle without owner’s consent.

Made off with make up
At about noon on Jan. 18, a 23-year-old man from Centereach stole assorted cosmetic items from Ulta Beauty in Patchogue, according to police. He was arrested on Jan. 28 in Smithtown and charged with fourth degree grand larceny.

Liquid lunch
A 37-year-old woman from Holtsville was arrested on Jan. 28 for driving her 2008 Honda while intoxicated, police said. She was driving on Middle Country Road in Lake Grove at about 1 p.m. when she was pulled over. She was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Picked a fight with police
Police arrested a 61-year-old man from Rocky Point on Jan. 28 for resisting arrest and punching an officer with a closed fist just after midnight at a 7-Eleven on Smithtown Bypass in Smithtown. He was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Unlicensed and unhappy

At about 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 28, a 37-year-old man from Medford was arrested in Smithtown for driving his 2005 Jeep Cherokee on Motor Parkway without a license, police said. He was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

Pot possession
A 50-year-old man from Lindenhurst was arrested in Commack at about 11 a.m. on Jan. 29 after police said he had marijuana on him. He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Hit and ran, but couldn’t hide
Police arrested a 51-year-old man from Lake Grove on Jan. 29 and charged him with leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging contact information. He was driving on Ronkonkoma Ave. at about 2 p.m. near Easton Street in Lake Grove when his 2006 GMC was involved in a crash, police said.

Out of control
At about 7 p.m. on Jan. 29, a 38-year-old man from Coram was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance in Islandia. Police pulled his 2011 Jeep over at the corner of North Connecting Road and Old Nichols Road and then discovered drugs in his possession.

Spare change
At about 11 a.m. on Jan. 28, police said an unknown person entered a car and stole loose change on Weeping Cherry Lane in Commack.

Tax evasion
An unknown person cut wires to a computer server at MVP Tax Services in Hauppauge at about 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 28, according to police.

What a pill
A 35-year-old man from Massapequa was arrested on Jan. 27 at 6:10 p.m. after police said he stole four boxes of acid reducer pills from CVS on Commack Road. He was charged with petit larceny.

Tribal troubles
Police said an unknown person took cash from a register at Tribal Dance Long Island and Caravan on Vernon Valley Road in East Northport on Jan. 28 around 4 p.m.

High hills
Police said a 26-year-old man from Medford was in possession of marijuana during a traffic stop on Dix Hills Road  in Dix Hills on Jan. 27 at 10:50 a.m. He was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Not going down without a fight
On Jan. 26, a 59-year-old woman from Huntington was arrested for multiple charges. At 4:30 p.m. on Edgar Court, the woman interfered with officers as they were arresting someone by grabbing the person with her hands. Then, when police tried to arrest her, she ignored verbal commands to put her hands behind her back, punched a detective and kicked an officer in the right shin. She was charged with second-degree harassment for physical contact, resisting arrest and second-degree obstructing governmental administration.

In need(le) of some help
A 27-year-old man from Huntington Station was arrested on Jan. 30 after police said he had a hypodermic needle in his possession on West 19th Street at 9:45 a.m. He was charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Oh Lord (& Taylor)
Police said a 27-year-old woman from Brooklyn stole clothing from Lord & Taylor on Walt Whitman Road in Huntington at 6:50 p.m. on Jan. 26. She was arrested and charged with petit larceny.

Worst kind of house guest
On Jan. 28, a 51-year-old man from Huntington was arrested after police said he entered a building unlawfully on Prospect Street at 7:55 a.m. He was charged with third-degree criminal trespassing of an enclosed property.

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Matt McNulty and the crowd celebrates Miller Place clinching the league title. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki

It was senior night on Friday, Jan. 22, and the Miller Place wrestling team pounced on Islip to win 34-31.

With the victory came something even sweeter: the Panther’s first piece of a League VI title in 36 years.

“We graduated a quality group of seniors last year, and I think people expected us to take a hit as far as our dual-meet team,” Miller Place head coach Matt Kaszubski said. “In the beginning of the season, we took a couple of losses that we shouldn’t have, and then after Christmas we really started rolling and coming together, and the group bought into what we were doing. The league title was a result of a lot of hard work over many years, and it was awesome to achieve that with this group.”

The Panthers finished last season 13-4 overall, and were 12-4-1 heading into the senior night dual meet, which was the team’s final match of the regular season.

At 106 pounds, senior David Selg found himself down in a match against a good opponent, but pinned him at the 4:36 mark.

“He’s very strong and his pin was huge for us,” Kaszubski said of Selg. “We also had Eddie Marbot, who is probably one of the scrappiest kids we have on the team, have a nice win for us.”

Eddie Marbot pins his opponent during senior night. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki
Eddie Marbot pins his opponent during senior night. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki

Marbot, a senior who weighed in at 138 pounds, won with a 5-2 decision over his opponent. Needing to win one more match to earn the win and a share of the league title with Elwood-John Glenn and Mount Sinai, sophomore Anthony McNaughton pinned his opponent in 1:25 at 220 pounds to clinch the meet.

“Everyone was celebrating,” Kaszubski said. “The motto of the night was wrestle for each other — wrestle for somebody else other than yourself. The kids really stepped up and it was a cool experience.”

For Marbot, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“It was an almost unbelievable experience to be a part of, and something that none of us will ever forget — especially me being a senior,” he said. “To win the league title on senior night was icing on the cake.”

Selg said the team environment became that of a family from the start of the preseason to the present.

“Everyone did what they needed to do,” he said. “When everybody left last year, nobody expected anything, just like coach said, and this year we came back and we were all a family, we stuck together and we won the league title. I’m really proud of my team.”

Marbot added that the camaraderie couldn’t be matched.

“Everyone dedicated their time to improving — going to open mats, going to camps — everyone really came together to build the team,” he said. “And coach Kaszubski, he’s the best coach and teacher that you could ask for.”

The Panthers made it to the postseason as the No. 12 seed, but fell to No. 5 Lindenhurst, 57-9, in the opening round Jan. 27. No. 1-seeded Rocky Point made it all the way through the bracket to claim the Section XI title.

Eric Schreck controls his opponent during senior night. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki
Eric Schreck controls his opponent during senior night. Photo from Matt Kaszusbki

As the wrestlers prepare for leagues and counties, Kaszubski said he has two grapplers, 132-pounder Eric Schreck and 160-pound Joe Bartolotto, who are looking to place high in the county. Selg and Marbot, along with seniors 126-pound Dan Curcio and 154-pound Ryan Ammirato, are also looking to make some noise in the postseason by being league champions and placing in the county tournament.

“We knew we had a good crew,” the head coach said. “It’s nice to see all the hard work over the last couple of years come to fruition. Everyone feeds off of each other and they want to win for each other, so it’s been a blessing to coach these kids.”

For wrestlers like Marbot, being a part of the Panthers’ team is something he’ll never forget.

“I’d be lost without wrestling,” he said. “To end the regular season like this, as a senior, it couldn’t have ended any better. We had a good run. Especially being that no one thought we were going to be anything this year, we really showed everyone.”

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NYPD detective and NY Finest Speakers’ Thomas Grimes, with Miller Place school board President Johanna Testa and Superintendent Marianne Higuera, spoke to parents about the dangers of social media Tuesday. Photo by Alex Petroski

Retired NYPD detective Thomas Grimes made a two-hour presentation to Miller Place school district administrators and parents at the high school on Tuesday night about the dangers of Internet use for children. Grimes’ presentation focused on the aspect of being vulnerable to predators online, but also the peer-to-peer cyber bullying that has resulted in far too many tragic situations.

“Parents, we need to shut up and stop trying to blame somebody else for what our kids are doing to one and other,” Grimes said about the harm that is done on social media between people who aren’t even strangers.

Through his program, NY Finest Speakers, he stressed the fact that cultivating a safe community is a responsibility that we all share.

“What we need to do is take responsibility and delegate that responsibility to our children as well,” he said. “It’s our responsibility as a community, as a family and as a school district.”

Grimes told stories that were horrifying for the roughly 50 parents in attendance about what can happen if a child is interacting with a stranger on a social media site or application. Grimes did a presentation for North Country Road Middle School students on Tuesday, and for Miller Place High School students on Wednesday.

“I told your kids today, if you’re in a conversation with somebody that gives you the creeps, trust your instincts,” Grimes said. “We have to empower our children to trust their instincts. We’re all born with instincts, we just need to learn to trust them.”

Grimes called this generation of middle school and high school students the first “naturalized generation” when it comes to growing up with Internet and social media use. District Superintendent Marianne Higuera expressed a similar sentiment after the presentation.

“As adults, we live in a world of Facebook, and students are so beyond Facebook,” Higuera said. “Fifteen years ago it was ‘Don’t put your child’s name on their jersey.’ Every time your child signs on to social media sites you’re putting their jersey name on these sites, so even if their screenshots show ‘Panthers,’ or ‘Miller Place’ or ‘Long Island,’ they’re susceptible to somebody who wants to do harm to them and can find them. I think that sometimes as adults we don’t understand the technology that our children use so we tend not to face those facts until there’s a problem.”

Grimes made some suggestions to the parents in attendance about ways to ensure that their children are using the Internet safely.

“If you never went in the ocean after you saw ‘Jaws’ for the first time, I give you permission to go home and throw out your computer,” Grimes joked, but he stressed to parents that the technology is not the problem, but rather the kids behavior in using the technology that needs to be monitored or modified.

Grimes suggested that parents sit down with their kids and look at all of the social media platforms and apps for which they have a profile. Any “friend” or “follower” that the child cannot identify should be deleted. He also suggested that parents encourage their kids to make their social media profiles something that they can be proud of and use as an asset, rather than something that is hidden from adults.

Additionally, Grimes suggested that if parents are concerned that their kids might have applications or programs on their mobile devices that the parents aren’t aware of, they should bring the device to the service provider and ask them to reveal everything that is on the phone.

For more information or to book a presentation, Grimes and his company, NY Finest Speakers, can be contacted at nyfinestspeakers.com.

According to Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, harmful chemicals are also found in telephone poles. Photo by Giselle Barkley

After four decades the government is finally updating the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 with partial thanks to Brookhaven Town officials.

President Gerald Ford signed the act decades ago to regulate the introduction of new chemicals into society, excluding those found in food, pesticides, tobacco, firearms, drugs and cosmetics. The act gave the United States Environmental Protection Agency the authority to require documentation of chemical substances to determine if the chemical is hazardous to humans. The 62,000 chemicals that existed before 1976 were grandfathered into the act and deemed safe for humans and the act wasn’t updated until last year.

The government amended the act with Toxic Substances Control Modernization Act of 2015. Its bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act updates the act and requires the EPA to establish a risk-based screening process for new chemicals. Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and his fellow town board officials proposed the bill, which states the EPA must determine if a certain amount of old or new chemicals are safe for humans by a certain deadline. The EPA will reprimand manufacturers who don’t comply with safety requirements by restricting or prohibiting the creation, processing, distribution and disposal of new chemicals.

The EPA did not return requests seeking comment by press time.

According to Romaine, the uptick in cancer cases, particularly breast cancer on the North Shore, over the years was troubling. With advancements in science and technology scientists have found that some of the chemicals previously deemed as safe actually pose potential health risks for humans. This includes development of cancers and endocrine and immune system-related complications among other issues.

“We have a concern about the high rates of cancer in children and we’re concerned because people are trying to get answers,” Romaine said.

There were around 142.7 cases of cancer in Suffolk County between 2000 and 2004 according to the National Cancer Institute. The cases increased to around 528 per 100,000 people between 2008 and 2012 according to the cancer institute’s State Cancer Profiles.

County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), who has focused on the environment and its health effects for more than a decade, said these chemicals could be particularly harmful to children and their health.

“When you’re exposed to something when you’re growing up … it stays in your body,” Anker said. “As you get older something may set off the cancer…It takes decades sometimes for cancer to evolve.”

In a 2008-2009 study from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, scientists found 300 pollutants in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. According to the study, children are more vulnerable to chemical pollutants in the environment because of their size and poorer immune systems.

According to Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) these chemicals are found in everyday products like soaps and toothpastes among other items used on a daily basis. There are around 85,000 chemicals that are currently in use. But Zeldin said “the flaws in TSCA have left many of these new chemicals untested and unregulated.”

While Zeldin said the government should update important bills like TSCA, it’s common for some acts to go untouched for several years while others are updated almost annually.

“There are certainly examples of both extremes,” Zeldin said. “TSCA happens to be an example of one of those bills that really should have been updated many years ago, if not decades ago.”

Holtsville Hal, his handler Greg Drossel and Master of Ceremonies Wayne Carrington make their way onstage to cheers and applause on Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski

To the delight of about 100 people in attendance on Tuesday, it was announced that famed Brookhaven groundhog Holtsville Hal did not see his shadow, indicating spring would come early this year.

Excited Holtsville Hal fans collected streamers as a keepsake from Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski
Excited Holtsville Hal fans collected streamers as a keepsake from Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski

Hal made his yearly Groundhog Day appearance at Brookhaven Town’s Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology center at about 7:30 a.m., before a crowd with fresh memories of being walloped with more than 2 feet of snow in a recent blizzard.

Tradition says that if Hal — or, as he’s known in the Town of Brookhaven as a throwback to the classic Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day,” the Great Prognosticator of Prognosticators — sees his shadow when he wakes from hibernation on Groundhog Day, the community is in for six more weeks of winter.

“As I stood by my burrow and looked to the ground, there was no shadow for me to be found,” Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) read from a large scroll as Hal was presented to the mass of onlookers. “So kids and their families, put away your sleds and snow blowers.” There were raucous cheers.

Holtsville Hal is presented to a group of young onlookers on Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski
Holtsville Hal is presented to a group of young onlookers on Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski

Holtsville Hal was handled by Greg Drossel as he posed for photos with Master of Ceremonies Wayne Carrington, Councilmen Neil Foley (R) and Dan Panico (R) and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D), members of the Holtsville Fire Department and many others. He even posed for a selfie with one young admirer.

Last year, Hal also predicted an early spring. This year he might be right, if only just for Tuesday, as those who woke up early to attend the event were treated to a mild, sunny morning by the time the groundhog made his much-anticipated appearance.

With the viewers in good spirits, Carrington reminded the crowd to donate whatever they could to the ecology center to support its programs.

This version corrects the spelling of Councilwoman Valerie Cartright’s name.

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Team “Extra” Ordinary poses for a photo before jumping into the cold water of Cedar Beach during the 6th annual Polar Plunge last November. Photo from Robert Fitton

A 12-year-old student from North Country Road Middle School in Miller Place raised over $5,000 for the Special Olympics. All that Robert Fitton had to do was jump into the near-freezing Long Island Sound at Cedar Beach last November.

That’s exactly what Fitton and his team of 16 middle school students did as part of the 6th annual Polar Plunge, a yearly tradition around the country where people sprint into freezing waters to raise money for various causes. Fitton was recognized and honored at the Miller Place School Board meeting last week, accompanied by his mother Concetta; father, Robert; sister, Mary; and brother, Thomas.

It was actually the third time that Fitton had taken the courageous dive into unfathomably cold water. In 2013, inspired by the birth of Thomas that July, Concetta Fitton convinced him to give it a try. Thomas was born with Down syndrome. Fitton said the idea to raise money for the Special Olympics was easy because Thomas might one day take part in the games. For now, Fitton see’s his younger brother as a budding football, wrestling or baseball star.

“You can always give back,” Fitton said. “It’s personal to me because he’s so cute. It was really supposed to be a fun thing at first, but it got more serious once it progressed. In general you can always give back.”

The harsh water temperature wasn’t enough to slow Fitton down after his first plunge in 2013.

“The first year was by far the worst,” Fitton said. “The day we did the plunge it was frigid. Last year was really cold, too. Once you get into that water you don’t really feel it.”

Fitton’s parents are proud of their son for turning the event into a yearly cause. Fitton told his dad in 2013 that he didn’t want him to join him in the freezing water because “I want to do this for my brother, I’m doing this myself,” according to the elder Robert.

“I never thought that he got what it was to tie it into the Special Olympics,” Concetta Fitton said about her son’s first plunge. “I didn’t think he put two and two together, but then he’s running into the water yelling ‘this is for Thomas,’” she said.

Team “Extra” Ordinary—
Ella & Nathan Botticelli
Spencer Bruno
Isabella DiGregorio
Robby Fitton
Ryan Gilbert
Casey Gilbert
Justin Klein
Andrew Marino
Gregory Marino
Katie Marino
Patrick McNally
Ann McNulty
Matthew Petrie
Denise Pizzo
Hannah Rathburn
Julia Schreck
Dominic Testa
Michael Vallary
Nicholas Vallary

Back then it was just Fitton and one of his cousins taking the plunge. However, inspired by the costumes and celebratory nature of the event, Fitton decided to approach the 2014 plunge from a leadership role. He registered a team and got together about eight friends, according to Concetta Fitton.

In 2015, the number of teammates Fitton lead doubled, and after hanging flyers, calling family and friends and posting on social media asking for sponsors.

The team calls themselves Team “Extra” Ordinary, a nod to Thomas and the extra chromosome associated with Down syndrome. The team also wears blue and yellow to each event, to represent the colors for Down Syndrome Awareness.

Fitton wanted to be clear that he did not accomplish this on his own. He said that without his teammates, he wouldn’t have come anywhere close to the $5,000 mark.

“We don’t do enough to recognize somebody that goes above and beyond,” North Country Road Principal Matt Clark said as he presented Fitton with his award at the board of education meeting. “This is well above and beyond in my opinion … with his leadership skills and his ability to facilitate a team, they did a fabulous job. I want to recognize Robert for his endeavor and his dedication to his brother as well.”

Clark added that he doubted this would be the last time that Robert would be acknowledged by the district for doing something admirable. His mother said that he felt guilty that his friends weren’t recognized for their efforts in raising the money at the meeting as well.

“You always want to think that your kids are awesome,” she said. “Just to know he’s doing this, taking the leadership role and doing this for his brother, it’s amazing … He’s a good kid and he’s doing this for a great cause. We’re extremely proud of him.”

Her husband agreed.

“I was very happy because, anytime you volunteer to give back to the community is very important, and the fact that he did it for my other son is extra special,” he said. “If you get them to do this at a young age hopefully they continue to do it and give back.”

Senator Chuck Schumer is taking wireless network companies to task for poor service in areas of Long Island. File photo by Elana Glowatz

The dangers of social media and overall Internet use for children will be the topic of conversation at a parent workshop at Miller Place High School on Tuesday night.

Thomas Grimes of NY Finest Speakers gives a speech. Photo from Grimes
Thomas Grimes of NY Finest Speakers gives a speech. Photo from Grimes

Retired NYPD detective Thomas Grimes will be the speaker at the event, which is open to all parents in the district, from elementary through high school.

“The goal of the parent Internet safety workshop is to understand potential life-threatening scenarios, social networking and how to protect your child from innocent behaviors that predators utilize to plan the perfect ambush,” a press release from the district about the event said.

Grimes was a 20-year veteran of the NYPD and now owns “NY Finest Speakers,” a company which was formed in 2007 and is made up of former detectives and a former secret service agent, according to their website. Those officials are “dedicated to educating and protecting today’s young people and their parents from threats posed by Internet usage and drug involvement,” the release said.

During his 20 years in the NYPD, Grimes spent time in various task forces focused on organized crime and drug trafficking.

Mollie Adler bakes her brownies at her home in Shoreham. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Don’t look back. Keep going forward.

That’s what Mollie Adler’s father said to her before he died several decades ago. And she hasn’t looked back since — even as she is fighting to save her home with her new business “Miss Mollie’s Brownies.”

Around two years ago, this single mother of two hit hard times when her divorce not only left her struggling to put food on the table but also resulted in her Shoreham home going into foreclosure. Adler suffered another huge blow last September when she was laid off from her part-time job. With kids to feed and a home to worry about, baking brownies became Adler’s best bet.

Adler established her business after applying to New York’s Self-Employment Assistance Program last year. She was accepted into the program in October and started recycling water bottles to help pay for brownie ingredients. She’s currently selling her brownies at the Port Jefferson Winter Farmers Market.

“She’s always wanted to pursue a career in baking,” Denise Rohde said. “Her brownies honestly are her claim to fame. It’s almost like getting laid off was a blessing in disguise because it gave her time to actually pursue her dream.”

Rohde, of Baiting Hollow, met Adler nearly 17 years ago and has seen her through the many obstacles in her life — including the first time Adler was laid-off several years ago. After losing her second job, Adler decided to pursue her dream.

“I just had to reach and say this is what I’m going to do,” Adler said about creating Miss Mollie’s Brownies. “I’m going to do it for me. I’m going to have hours that make sense for me and I want to empower myself.”

“Miss Mollie’s Brownies” are packaged and arranged at her home. Photo by Giselle Barkley
“Miss Mollie’s Brownies” are packaged and arranged at her home. Photo by Giselle Barkley

But a chronic health condition further complicated Adler’s life when she started losing her sense of smell and taste. While she can taste salty or sweet foods, she can’t taste flavors, and has no sense of smell. Regardless, her fudgy brownies have friends, family members and clients coming back for more.

While her business is only a few weeks old, Adler has a wide range of brownie flavors including classic, espresso and nutty. Some seasonal flavors include apple pie, s’mores, mint and lavender, which she’s perfected with the help of her children who taste-test the brownies. But their help doesn’t stop there.

Adler’s daughter Melanie, who doesn’t share her mother’s last name, was the first to tell her mom’s story. Now, with the help of Adler’s graphic designer Gary Goldstein, Adler’s clients can read her story on the tag tied to each of her brownies. Goldstein met Adler more than a year ago. Goldstein, an art teacher who is designing Adler’s labels for free, started working with her last November. In that time, he’s seen her tenacity as she works to save her home.

“She deserves this,” he said. “She deserves not only things going well for her, but to be successful because she’s a dedicated mom and she’s hard-working. Like everyone else in life, you have your ups and downs, but this is a woman I envision being successful.”

In 2014, according to www.singlemotherguide.com, nearly 12 million families in America were single-parent families. According to Port Jefferson resident Pat Darling, a friend of Adler, some single parents don’t always pick themselves up when they hit hard times.

“I think when a person is down, instead of staying there they should reach, and they should dream — and she’s reaching for her dreams,’ Darling said. “I hope they all come true.”

Adler doesn’t just want her dreams to come true. She also wants to show her kids and single parents alike what dedication and perseverance can achieve. She said she hopes to create a place for single parents to help them through their hardships once her business takes off.

“Everyday I get up and do whatever it takes to get this done,” Adler said about building her business. “I’m not going to stop until “Miss Mollie’s Brownies” is a household name.”

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