Village Beacon Record

Shoreham-Wading River High School will undergo several projects to improve the facility by 2017. File photo

Shoreham-Wading River residents may see an increase in their taxes next year if the school district’s 2016-17 budget is approved.

Last week, the Shoreham-Wading River school district proposed the first part of its $71.9 million budget. Taxes will increase by 4.96 percent for those living in the district, according to Superintendent of Schools Steven Cohen.

The budget will target old and new projects that the district must complete before the end of June 2017. The district hopes to establish, renovate or replace aspects of the campus, like renovating the varsity softball field, building a scoreboard at the high school turf field and add two bathrooms in the high school. A sprinkler system for the high school soccer and field hockey fields are also among the newer projects.

The SWR district will continue with older projects from this academic year, which include plans for a disaster-recovery system for district data and replacing two overhead garage doors in the school’s maintenance garage.

Cohen added that the district will receive additional financial support to fund an AP Capstone program for the high-schoolers, decrease English class sizes to help administrators teach more effectively, organize field trips and establish an English as a New Language course.

“These are curriculum and instructional additions that we have included in this budget, and they are meant to keep the momentum going that we have developed over the last several years,” Cohen said during the budget presentation.

Last May, the board of education established plans for a new turf field, which was completed earlier this year. The project was part of the board’s initiative to improve the campus facilities. Cohen wants to continue improving the field by adding bleachers, which will offer ample seating for large events like graduations.

The SWR district budgeted to receive $10.5 million in state aid to fund these projects. Despite the statewide 0.12 percent tax cap, the district doesn’t plan on piercing it, unlike some other districts in New York state. According to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D), 6 percent — or 36 out of 601 — school districts that have reported their proposed budgets pierced the cap as of March 2. Only 3.5 percent of districts voted to pierce the cap last year. In a press release the comptroller added, “School districts are feeling the impact of a historically low tax levy limit.”

But for Shoreham-Wading River, the cap didn’t disrupt the superintendent’s plans to better the campus.

“The heart and soul of what we are proposing this year is to really explain and start to provide the resources to pay for all the construction that’s going on,” Cohen said. “This is an idea that we talked about at great length last year in preparation for the community vote on the bond project, and now [these are the details for] providing the resources for all that work.”

Several decades after its creation, the Friends of St. Patrick continue a 66-year-old tradition with its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Residents sported green clothing, face paint and accessories on Sunday, March 13, to celebrate the not-for-profit’s Miller Place-Rocky Point parade. Members of the Suffolk County police department, local fire departments and elected officials joined the queen and royal court, and other groups in the parade. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), New York State Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) and Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) were among those who treked more than two miles down Route 25A, from the Flying Pig in Miller Place to Broadway in Rocky Point.

While the parade celebrated this Thursday’s St. Patrick’s Day, it is also a way to unite the community, said Grand Marshal and Friends of St. Patrick committee president John Barchi.

“Back in those days these houses were just summer rentals, so the regular population was locked up all winter,” Barchi said about the late 1940s and early 1950s. “[It was] like ‘where is everybody? Let’s get everybody out.’”

In light of long, dreary winters in the area, businessmen John Sullivan and George Faulkner founded the Friends of St. Patrick’s committee in 1949. The duo established the committee to come up with a way to draw people out of their homes after the winter.

Now tens of thousands of residents attend the celebration. Upwards of around 50,000 residents have attended the organization’s parades in the past. But the not-for-profit doesn’t only hold the parade. It also organizes fundraising events associated with the celebration, like the crowning of the royal court.

For Queen Samantha Wooley, of Rocky Point, and members of her royal court, Ladies Janice Pearson and Emma Sweeney, the experience was exciting.

“You’re really representing the town so everyone’s eyes are on you,” Wooley said.

Wooley added that being a member of the royal court means supporting the community and being a role model to little girls. The opportunity also allows them to try something new.

“You put yourself out of your comfort zone and it’s really special,” Sweeney added.

Although the parade’s first Queen, Peggy McKenna, used a historic 85-year-old carriage to ride down Broadway, this year’s royalty drove down Route 25A in a Mercedes Convertible.

While the area and various aspects of the celebration has changed since the first parade in 1950, over the past few years the event became Suffolk County’s largest and second oldest parade, according to the Friends of St. Patrick’s website.

Barchi, who has been a member of committee for the past 18 years, was grateful to be the Grand Marshal for this year’s parade.

“Working with a group of the most honest, loyal and dedicated individuals who put this project together year after year is nothing short of a great honor and privilege,” Barchi said in an article on the Friends of St. Patrick website. “Their commitment to this community event, and the camaraderie among us is truly unique.”

Yokito Yoneyama mugshot from SCPD

A motorcyclist is in critical condition after an allegedly drunk driver crashed into him on Sunday afternoon.

The 2003 Indian motorcycle was going east on North Country Road while a 2002 Subaru Outback was headed west on the same road, and the two collided near Mountain Ridge Drive in Mount Sinai, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

Ronald Starke, the 60-year-old motorcyclist from Mount Sinai, was in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital, police said. Yokito Yoneyama, a 36-year-old Rocky Point resident and driver of the Subaru, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Attorney information for the suspect was not immediately available.

Yoneyama was also treated for minor injuries at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson and was released, police said.

The SCPD impounded both the Indian motorcycle and the Subaru for safety checks.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact the investigating detectives at the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6555.

Maggie Hamm, of Leisure Village, speaks about how she almost fell victim to a scam, at a press conference held at the Rosa Caracappa Senior Center in Mount Sinai on March 11. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Don’t trust anyone.”

That’s what Bernard Macias of AARP advised seniors to do at a press conference held at the Rosa Caracappa Senior Center in Mount Sinai regarding phone scams across Suffolk County.

“It’s happening more and more than you think,” he said. “Clearly, for AARP, we’re here to protect people 50 and over, but we’re finding that our member’s children and grandchildren and being faced with this. Don’t trust anyone, really, because they’re constantly changing those scams.”

Bernard Macias, Associate State Director of Outreach on Long Island for the American Association of Retired Persons, tells residents not to trust anyone when answering a call, as it may be related to scam, especially around tax season. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Bernard Macias, Associate State Director of Outreach on Long Island for the American Association of Retired Persons, tells residents not to trust anyone when answering a call, as it may be related to scam, especially around tax season. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said that in 2015, the total cost of financial fraud against seniors across the country was $36.5 billion. Although anyone can be a victim of scam, con artists particularly prey on seniors, he said.

“That is an extraordinary sum that is being stolen from our citizens,” he said. “Tax day is April 15, it is fast approaching and it is a time that scam artists are working hard to get a hold of people’s hard-earned money.”

Bellone said that in one instance, a scamming entity posed as the Internal Revenue Service and said that if the person did not provide a certified check or transfer funds to the agency, they would be imprisoned. The caller went so far as the tell the victim that they would remain on the line until the woman reached her bank and successfully wired the funds to an account that was provided, he said.

Luckily, the bank manager recognized the customer and noticed that she looked and sounded worried, Bellone said. The victim told the manager about the person she was on the phone with, and the manager was able to stop the scam from happening.

This week is National Consumer Protection Week and as a result, Bellone said the county is urging citizens to remain informed. He said so far, Suffolk County Consumer Affairs has recovered over $534,000 through its investigations on behalf of county residents.

“These scammers use all kinds of threats and demands to gain access to your accounts, and threaten your identity,” he said.

The county executive urged those who felt vulnerable to a scam to file a complaint with the consumer affairs department by calling (631) 853-4600.

To avoid an IRS scam, Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said that AARP offers free tax filings for senior citizens. Some locations in the town include the senior center and town hall, among local libraries, he said.

Maggie Hamm shares how she almost fell victim to a scam. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Maggie Hamm shares how she almost fell victim to a scam. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Maggie Hamm, of Leisure Village, received two suspicious phone calls within three weeks. She said that during the one call she did answer, TD Bank was mentioned. Hamm used to have an account with the organization, which she said piqued her interest in listening to what the caller had to say. The person on the other end of the phone mentioned having or owing money, which she said sounded off.

“I asked, ‘is this a scam? And boom, he hung up the phone,” she said. “You just know — you get a vibe and a red flag goes off. I think as we get older you don’t want to make any waves, and I understand seniors become afraid and concerned, because they don’t want any trouble, but you can’t be afraid to step forward and say no.”

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said she too received two messages on her phone that were related to scams.

“Help us help you,” is what the caller said at the end of one of the messages.

Anker said she tried to call back the number, but the call didn’t go through.

“People will actually fall for it,” Anker said. “They’re trying to catch the person on the phone right away, because once they get you in person, the level of scamming has increased.”

She asked residents to call the Suffolk County Police Department to report the scam as a crime, at (631) 852-COPS. Two years ago, the legislator also created a scam alert website, SCPDscamalert.org, which has more information on how to protect yourself against incidents involving scam.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) said that calling 4(631) 51-TOWN would also provide residents with more information.

“If it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t right,” she said. “You should always follow your instincts and your gut, and the government will never call you when you’ve done something wrong. They’re required to mail you as proof of documentation. Don’t fall prey to the phone call.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone urged residents to remain cautious when answering the phone, as a result of the increase in phone scams across the county. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone urges residents to remain cautious when answering the phone, as a result of the increase in phone scams across the county. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Macias, who said AARP serves over 500,000 members on Long Island, said, in light of tax day, to mail in tax returns as early in the season as possible, not to give out personal information and to shred all personal documents.
Three important facts Macias said to understand is that the IRS will never call and demand payment over the phone, the IRS does not ask for credit or debit card information over the phone and the IRS does not threaten to bring local law enforcement to your home.

“Scam artists continue to devise new things and new schemes that are becoming more and more difficult to detect, which is why AARP developed the AARP Fraud Watch Network as a way to protect people,” he said.

By logging onto aarp.org/money and clicking on the Consumer Protection tab, residents can access a link to the company’s Fraud Watch Network. There, anyone can sign up to get AARP’s Watchdog Alerts on scammers’ latest tricks and find out what to do if you’ve been victimized.

“You’re not only helping yourself, but helping other who may fall victim to the same scam,” Bellone said. “Don’t feel embarrassed to come forward. Feel empowered to help educate and protect others.”

Maureen Pouder, third from left, poses for a photo with Town of Brookhaven officials and members of the American Legion after receiving recognition for her artwork. Photo from the Town of Brookhaven

From a flower to an old barn, artist Maureen Pouder draws her inspiration from the simple things in life.

The Miller Place resident was honored during the Town of Brookhaven’s last meeting on for her work on an old mailbox for the American Legion Arthur H. Clune Post 1533 in Mastic Beach. Pouder, a recreation specialist for the Town of Brookhaven, met members of the post around four months ago through Marcel Van Orden, a post member and one of Pouder’s art students at the Mastic Recreation Center.

Van Orden was originally tasked with reinventing the post’s mailbox. Pouder came on board after Van Orden mentioned it in conversation. In a couple weeks, the duo transformed the old rusted delivery mailbox into an American-inspired mural depicting the American flag and a bald eagle. The mailbox will help collect unserviceable flags, which the legion burns every Flag Day, said past post commander, George Barnes. He added that the mailbox mural was so beautiful that he hates to put it outside.

Maureen Pouder stands to the right of the American Legion Arthur H. Clune Post 1533’s new flag depository mailbox she painted. Photo from the Town of Brookhaven
Maureen Pouder stands to the right of the American Legion Arthur H. Clune Post 1533’s new flag depository mailbox she painted. Photo from the Town of Brookhaven

“Painting [it] like a mural brings attention,” Pouder said. “People will walk past a mailbox and not take a second look. But when it’s painted like a mural they really look at it and they’ll see it’s a flag depository.”

Receiving town recognition is an honor for Pouder, who started working for the municipality in 2008. For the past several years, she’s held art classes at the Blue Point, Shoreham and Mastic recreation centers where she teaches watercolor, oil and acrylic painting skills. The artist also runs Brookhaven’s annual art shows, which are held in Port Jefferson.

Pouder has painted murals for the Cedar Beach Nature Center, among other places on Long Island. Last year, the artist decorated a bra to help raise $2,000 for breast cancer. She used wool roving and barbed pin to create flowers and butterflies on the bra.

She’s a very talented artist … she’s also a very hard worker,” said Kurt Leuffen, superintendent of Brookhaven’s parks and recreation department. “She’s been teaching art for the last couple of years [and] she’s done a very good job. I would say all participants really enjoy her as an instructor — she’s very good, she’s very thorough and she’s very helpful.”

Leuffen has known Pouder for nearly 25 years. He added that town employees and those at Pouder’s recreation centers are proud of her and lucky to have her as an employee.

While Pouder knows various art media, she said she loves painting with watercolor, acrylic and oil paint the most. Although she can finish a watercolor painting in a couple of days, oil paintings take her several weeks, as they need more time to dry. Pouder added that she gets more joy when she donates her time to work on a painting like her mailbox mural, because she knows her work is truly appreciated.

“Maureen’s artwork and volunteerism is very well known throughout the community,” said town Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point). “We are all grateful that she shares her time and talent so generously.”

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File photo

A late night house fire on Parkside Avenue in Miller Place Thursday night killed a 70-year-old man inside, Suffolk County police said Friday.

Authorities said a 911 caller reported the fire at 106 Pakrside Ave. around 11:50 p.m. Thursday night. That was when members of the Miller Place Fire Department discovered the man, whose identity was being withheld until authorities could notify his next of kin, and pulled him out of the blaze.

Police said the fire department took the man to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, where he was pronounced dead.

Detectives said they did not believe the fire was criminal in nature.

Firefighters from other departments, including Rocky Point, Sound Beach, Mount Sinai and Middle Island also responded to the fire to help extinguish the flames, the county police department said.

Rocky Point Middle School Principal Scott O’Brien was named Administrator of the Year. Photo from Rocky Point school district

When Scott O’Brien read his favorite childhood book, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” to an elementary school class during college, he had no idea how important that moment would be to the future of his career.

“I remember reading the book to them and leaving and saying, ‘I want to do this for the rest of my life. This is what I’m meant to do,’” he said. “I think I always knew.”

The landscape architect major switched his field of study to education. Since then, the Rocky Point Middle School principal has been named Administrator of the Year by the Council of Administrators and Supervisors.

Albert Voorneveld, President of the Council of Administrators, presents Rocky Point Middle School Principal Scott O'Brien with his Administrator of the Year award. Photo from Scott O'Brien
Albert Voorneveld, President of the Council of Administrators, presents Rocky Point Middle School Principal Scott O’Brien with his Administrator of the Year award. Photo from Scott O’Brien

“I love every minute of being a principal,” he said. “I feel so honored to get this, and privileged to get it, but I just love my job. I love coming to work. I love what I do, and I think it’s just an added bonus to get honored by the people that you work with, that they also feel that that love of my decisions comes through and they value what I’m doing here for them, the staff, the students and everyone in the building.”

The faculty told O’Brien of the nomination in a very unconventional way.

“They had tricked me, of course,” O’Brien said, laughing.

The principal’s staff was adamant about reminding him multiple times of a department meeting in the library one afternoon. When he entered the packed library, he knew something bigger was happening. They presented O’Brien with a wrapped box. Inside, were the nominations by each teacher who wrote a supporting statement, poem or a note of congratulations.

“Before they nominated me for the award, I was well aware that I have a very special staff,” he said. “I feel extremely fortunate to work with not only dedicated and kids-first teachers and staff, but to be able to work together with them to implement change and make our building continuously better for kids. I have reflected on that moment in the library and how grateful I am to be recognized in such a meaningful manner. The work continues and the acknowledgement further signifies the importance and continuation of my role as an educational leader.”

The principal is in his eighth year at the helm of the school, but has been in the district much longer, serving as a special education teacher, assistant principal and principal at the Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School — working in that building for more than a decade. The St. James resident, who attended the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Port Jefferson Station, also worked out-of-state for four years, in Fairfax County, Virginia. O’Brien’s grandparents lived in Rocky Point, so he said he was familiar with the area when he received his first teaching job there.

Rocky Point Middle School Principal Scott O'Brien has created a warm and inviting atmosphere at his school for both his staff and students. Photo from Scott O'Brien
Rocky Point Middle School Principal Scott O’Brien has created a warm and inviting atmosphere at his school for both his staff and students. Photo from Scott O’Brien

Nicole Gabrinowitz, a seventh-grade math teacher who has been with the district for 20 years, said she came down from the high school the same time O’Brien arrived.

“He was very welcoming,” she said. “He’s also really open to new ideas. He knows his entire staff and works hard and uses a lot of techniques you’d use in a classroom at the staff meetings to keep us close.”

A core group of staff members came up with the idea to nominate O’Brien once they heard about the award. Melinda Brooks, the school’s instructional coordinator for six years, said she wrote in her letter of recommendation that “every single person who is employed in his building is inspired to be their very best each and every day. Each year we receive many requests from teachers who want to transfer to the middle school because they want to inspire too.”

Brooks recalled when she met O’Brien in 2010 and he was warm and welcoming.

“I immediately saw that he was one of the strongest leaders in the district,” she said. “He found his calling. He was born to do this.”

On spirit day, Brooks said the principal dressed up as Superman and his wife, Theresa, whom he met while working at the elementary school and now has three children with, had her class make him a quilt for winning the award, which was decorated with all things Superman-related.

“Everyone sees him as Superman and the kids took it quite literally,” she said. “He’s someone that has an open-door policy and is willing to listen and work with you to do what is needed and is best for the community, the teachers, the kids and everyone involved.”

Dawn Callahan, an eighth-grade social studies teacher who has worked at the school since it opened nearly 14 years ago, said O’Brien has been a refreshing change.

He also, according to many, created a strong family atmosphere, and according to Callahan, looks after the staff.

“Last year we had a student that had passed away,” she said. “Knowing that I had that student for over a year and had done home-teaching at her house before she had passed, he called me personally at home to tell me about it over the weekend, instead of me coming into school the next day and finding out about it. That to me makes you realize that the people you work for really consider this a family, as opposed to being just a job.”

She added that O’Brien gives the staff areas to grow in, and the strong vibes within the building trickle down from the top.

Rocky Point Middle School Principal Scott O’Brien, center, poses for a photo with some of his staff after earning the Administrator of the Year award. Photo from Scott O'Brien
Rocky Point Middle School Principal Scott O’Brien, center, poses for a photo with some of his staff after earning the Administrator of the Year award. Photo from Scott O’Brien

O’Brien works to instill this in other teachers looking to become administrators. He teaches an administrative program at St. John’s University and The College of St. Rose in his free time.

“I love inspiring teachers to be future leaders and to change the culture of buildings and teach how to do that effectively,” he said, “and teach how to get a building to be able to support powerful learning for kids, and create a building that can be the best that it should be.”

His school is in the running win the Inviting School Award, which is a national award presented by the International Exchange of Educational Practices, and is based on the atmosphere he has created.

Regardless of the accolades and success he’s had in the field, O’Brien is just thankful for the experiences.

“Making decisions in the best interest of students while supporting staff in that process was my goal each year,” he said. “The relationships I have created, supported and maintained over the years with all members of the Rocky Point School community have played a pivotal role in where I am today as a leader. I’ve had such wonderful experiences, especially in Rocky Point, and it’s been such a second home to me.”

Drug bust

At about 4 p.m. on March. 4, in a parking lot outside of Upsky Long Island Hotel in Hauppauge, two 25-year-old men and a 20-year-old man, all from Lindenhurst, as well as a 26-year-old woman from Greenlawn, all seated in a 2005 Ford, were arrested for having heroin in the car, police said. They were charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. At the same time and place, a 26-year-old man from Patchogue and a 23-year-old woman from Rocky Point, seated in a 2012 Honda, were arrested for having heroin in their car, according to police. They were also charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. A 28-year-old woman in a 2015 Chrysler was also arrested at the same time and place. She was charged with fourth-degree criminal facilitation for enabling another person to sell narcotics.

No license, no drive

A 30-year-old man from Holbrook was arrested on March 4 after he was pulled over for driving a 2009 Hyundai on Motor Parkway in Central Islip with a dark cover over the car’s front license plate just before 2 a.m., police said. He was charged with third-degree unlicensed operation of a vehicle when it was determined he was driving without a license.

Parking lot party

On March 4, a 55-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman from Ronkonkoma were arrested while seated in a 2009 Lincoln outside of Kohl’s in Lake Ronkonkoma. Police said there was crack cocaine in plain sight in the car, and pills found on the man, which he did not have a prescription for. The man was charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and the woman was charged with one count of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

You can run, but you can’t hide

At about 10:20 p.m. on March 4, a 21-year-old man from St. James, a 19-year-old man from Brentwood and a 19-year-old man from Nissequogue were approached by Smithtown Park Rangers while parked in a 2011 Nissan Maxima at Short Beach Town Park in Nissequogue. As the Rangers got closer to the vehicle, the driver took off and eventually crashed into a utility pole and flipped the car into the woods on Short Beach Road, police said. The driver and front seat passenger were transported to Stony Brook University Hospital by St. James ambulances and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The rear seat passenger was transported via Nissequogue ambulance to the same hospital but was listed in critical condition. The driver was charged with first-degree driving while under the influence of drugs and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Headlight out, handcuffs on

On Nesconset Highway in Smithtown, at about midnight on March 3, a 24-year-old man from Medford was pulled over by police for driving a 1999 Honda with one headlight out, police said. He was later found to be driving without a license. He was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Lucky to be alive

A 35-year-old man from Dix Hills crashed a 2012 Acura at about 11 p.m. on March 3 while driving on Johnson Avenue in Ronkonkoma, police said. He was charged with driving while intoxicated with a previous conviction in the last 10 years.

Bug bombed

At about 1 a.m. on March 2, an 80-year-old man from Islip was arrested for throwing three 32-ounce cans of indoor fogger, used to kill insects, through a window of a home on Grand Boulevard in Islip, police said. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief with the intent to damage property.

Careful who you steal from

At LA Fitness on Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge, an unknown person stole money and credit cards from a 2014 Jeep parked there on March 5, just after noon, police said.

Put a ring on it

Police arrested a 29-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station for grand larceny, for allegedly stealing an engagement ring from a residence and pawning it on Feb. 22. Police arrested him on March 2 on Route 25A in Port Jefferson.

Axe to grind

On March 3, a homeless man allegedly held a metal axe over his head as he advanced toward another man near a home on Old Post Road in Mount Sinai. Police arrested him for menacing at the scene.

ShopWrong

Police arrested a Hampton Bays resident on March 6 around 10:16 p.m. for petit larceny, after the 36-year-old woman allegedly took assorted groceries without paying from ShopRite at College Plaza in Selden. Police arrested her at the scene.

Bracelet blunder

A 18-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station was arrested for criminal possession of stolen property, after police said the man stole a 14-karat gold bracelet from All Island Jewelry & Loan on Middle Country Road in Centereach on Feb. 29 at 11:15 a.m.

Swiper, no swiping!

A Port Jefferson Station resident was arrested on Feb. 29 for driving while ability impaired. Police said the man was driving a 2000 Toyota Camry when he sideswiped a parked car on Joline Road.

Caught off-guardrail

On March 5, a Stony Brook resident was driving a 2000 Toyota Camry on Route 25A in Setauket when she crashed her car. According to police, the 28-year-old woman struck a guardrail before hitting several trees along the road. Police arrested the woman for driving while ability impaired at the scene, around 2:08 a.m.

People, stop driving impaired!

Police charged a 45-year-old man with driving while ability impaired on March 4. The Lake Grove resident was driving a 2008 Jeep when an officer allegedly saw him speeding on Route 25A. Police pulled over the man on the corner of Route 25A and Hawkins Road in Stony Brook and arrested him at the scene.

Planted into jail cell

A 31-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station was arrested on March 2 after allegedly loitering on Garden Road in Rocky Point. According to police, authorities discovered he was in possession of cocaine and arrested him at the scene for loitering and unlawful use of controlled substances.

Breakfast of champions

On the morning of March 2, police charged a 36-year-old man from Rocky Point with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. The man was driving a black Toyota Camry on Route 25A in Port Jefferson Station when an officer pulled him over. Police allegedly discovered the man to be in possession of heroin and prescription medication, as well as hypodermic needles.

Emancipating cash

On March 3 around 8 p.m., someone broke the rear window of a residence on Lincoln Avenue in Port Jefferson Station and stole cash from inside.

No photos, please

Police said a man took photos of a female couple on March 4 at Grumpy Jack’s Sports Bar & Grill on Oakland Avenue in Port Jefferson. When the man refused to delete the photos, one of the women hit him in the head with a bottle. The couple fled and the man refused medical attention.

Crazy thief

Between March 3 and 4, according to police, someone pried open the rear door of the Crazy Beans coffee establishment on Route 25A in Miller Place and stole a safe containing money.

Stop that shopping

Police said a woman left her purse in a shopping cart after shopping at Stop & Shop on Pond Path in South Setauket on March 6 and drove off. The purse was stolen before she returned to the store. Police said several credit cards were used.

Rather safe than sorry

Between Feb. 29 and March 4, someone broke into a residence on Magnolia Drive in Selden and stole money from an unlocked safe.

A little housekeeping

Around 1:45 p.m. on March 6, someone stole two blenders and a vacuum from Walmart on Nesconset Highway in East Setauket.

Thief is on fire

Police said sometime between March 1 and March 2, someone stole a Kindle Fire and coins from a car parked on Strathmore Gate Drive in Stony Brook.

Sound Beach slasher

Someone slashed the tires of a 2014 Hyundai Elantra that was parked outside a residence on Blue Point Road in Sound Beach on the night of March 2.

I will avenge you!

Around 11 p.m. on March 2, an unknown person damaged the rear window of a 2008 Dodge Avenger parked near Route 25A in Rocky Point.

Rocky Point board of education members voice their opinions of the bond. Photo by Giselle Barkley

After Rocky Point school district’s capital projects proposal didn’t pass last year, it was back to the drawing board.

The district presented its revised capital projects proposal on March 7, showing that while the school district is keeping many projects from its previous proposal last year, the Facilities Sub-Committee cut around $4.4 million worth of projects from the previous bond proposal.

The committee, which handles the school district’s bond proposals and revisions, got rid of extra projects like artificial turf for the varsity baseball and softball fields and outside bathrooms, among other projects. However, adding air conditioning to the Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School and Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School cafeterias and installing another means of leaving the Middle School’s nurse’s office, were added to the $16.5 million proposal.

Projects like turf fields and outside bathrooms were removed from the initial bond proposal.
Projects like turf fields and outside bathrooms were removed from the initial bond proposal.

The board of education said the bond is subject to change, as it may add or delete projects before it goes to a vote later this year. The bond will still target repairs and renovations to the district’s facilities, which includes, but isn’t limited to, fixing the ceilings in various areas of the schools, installing light-emitting diode lights, renovating the bathrooms, repaving the asphalt and improving security.

Smaller items like fixing a crack in the Middle School’s masonry were also factored into the bond, but Rocky Point school district Superintendent Michael Ring said this was intentionally added to the capital projects proposal.

“These are unique — unlike other special projects, these could be recipients of state aid because [of] the nature of them,” Ring said. “So if voters are going to consider a bond, it would make sense to put it in there.”

For the past three or four decades, state aid has reimbursed 70.2 percent of the school district’s project costs. This takes some pressure off taxpayers and the school district to fund the project. Ring added that mandatory projects like new security cameras, will go into the school district’s 2016-17 budget if the bond doesn’t pass. If it passes, the average homeowner with an assessed value of $2,600 will pay $74.48 a year in additional taxes over a 15-year period.

According to Rocky Point resident Bruce MacArthur, community involvement is important when it comes to passing a bond.

“We have virtually no participation right now from the community,” MacArthur said during the meeting. “[The] larger issue is how do we get the community more involved to be educated on the projects that are being proposed.”

Around 20 people, including the board of education, attended Monday’s meeting. The board and the sub-committee hope to attract more people for its future bond proposal meetings to get more community input before residents vote in favor or opposition of the bond.

“We all came to a consensus that we have to try to sell it [to residents],” said board of education President Susan Sullivan. “One of the reasons we’re meeting is because we are looking to move on this.”

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By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai faculty took to the court in front of a capacity crowd for a basketball fundraising game with the proceeds benefiting the Mount Sinai Booster Club. With the silent auctions, tee shirt sales, raffles and the half-time shooting contest, the Friday night event, which was the 15th for the school, raised $3,000, according to event co-chair Kim Vengilio.

Tipoff came shortly after 7 p.m., and pitted the Red team against the Blue team with district-wide bragging rights up for grabs.

In a game that featured two 25-minute halves, the Red team, consisting of high school staff, got to work early, breaking out to a 12-7 lead nine minutes in.

Assistant principal and starting center Matt Dyroff made his presence known down low as he showcased his rebounding prowess — dominating the boards most of the night.

Trailing by nine with 10 minutes left, the Blue team, made up of middle school and elementary school staff, shook off the cobwebs and started to find the rim, led in part by Michael Pappalardo, the Mount Sinai girls’ varsity head coach, as the point guard found the open player time and time again with his no-look passes.

Blue team shooter Tom Walker, referred to as “the doctor” throughout the game, performed much like famed Utah Jazz player Pete “Pistol Pete” Maravich, as he put on a 3-point shooting clinic with a brilliant long distance performance to trim the deficit to four points with seven minutes left in the half.

The Red team rallied, and began to stretch its legs in the closing minutes of the half, featuring its superior ball handling skills and several fast breaks, to surge ahead 39-28 at the break.

All of the students rushed the court for the shooting competition that took place at both ends of the floor. At a dollar a shot, those who found the net received five dollars in return. With the odds clearly stacked in favor of the house, Chris Caputo was first to cash in as the sophomore found nothing but net to lead the way. Seventh-grader Anabella Cole struck next as her shot found its mark, as did Ryan Wilson’s ball as the freshman swished his for the five-dollar payout.

The student-athletes began to find their range, turning the odds against the house when Nicolas Arciello, a sophomore, nailed his shot. From there, the tables turned.

Dyroff, who played college basketball at SUNY Potsdam, got the idea for the halftime shooting contest from when the cheerleaders of his alma mater took to the court to raise money.

“I said I’ll organize it — I put it out to the staff and opened it up to everyone, so we do it in two groups. Because there are so many little kids, we [decided to] move it up much closer,” Dyroff said. “The booster club donates so much back to our district so this is just a great event. Best Buddies is a program that we run here in the high school where our students work with disabled kids, so it’s nice to be able to give back to those who’ve given us so much.”

Both teams began to loosen up in the opening minutes of the second half, trading points along the way until the Red team caught fire — finding its 3-point game to break out to a 66-43 advantage with 14 minutes left.

“It’s been 15 years that we’ve been doing this and Matt Dyroff gets all of the faculty together,” Vengilio said. Dyroff has been putting the event together for all 15 years it has been going on in the district.

“Joann Satori, a board member of our booster club, organizes all the tee shirts the tickets and she handles the publicity,” Vengilio added. “The community just loves to come out and watch the faculty play.”

Mount Sinai student Amanda Didonato said she’s attended the event many times and said it’s great watching the faculty play.

To arrest the scoring, the Blue team had to lean on the Pistol, and the doctor delivered. Draining treys, Walker carried the load in the final minutes, to help his team draw within four points as time ticked off the clock. But it was too little too late, as the Red team, with an 84-81 win, accepted the championship trophy and, with it, bragging rights for another year.

“Every year the Mount Sinai crowd comes out and does an amazing job — the booster club, the coaches, the parents, the teachers, it’s just an amazing event for the community,” Pappalardo said. “Look at the crowd participation, the turn out, all the hand-made signs; this is a great community to live in, work in and be in.”