Village Beacon Record

Thurber Lumber Company is closing its doors for good this month. Photo by Giselle Barkley

After 57 years, the Thurber Lumber Company won’t be open for business after January.

The family-owned and -operated business is giving its inventory to Riverhead Building Supply, a lumber company that announced plans for expansion on Jan. 5. The latter company will also acquire several Nassau Suffolk Lumber locations including its lumberyards in Port Jefferson, Locust Valley and cabinet showroom in Bohemia. The company will still own its Huntington lumberyard, but Riverhead Building Supply will also operate out of that location.

Although Thurber Lumber is transferring its lumber and tools to Riverhead Building Supply, Thurber is keeping its property in Rocky Point. Kevin Keillor Jr., co-owner of Thurber Lumber, couldn’t disclose what he and his father Kevin Keillor Sr. will do with the property, or their asking price if they decide to sell the land, because the deal between the companies is ongoing.

John Callahan, president of Riverhead Building Supply, said his company expects to close the deal in early February. Callahan also wouldn’t disclose how much his company will spend on Thurber’s inventory and Nassau Suffolk Lumber’s three lumberyards. He said his business and the two lumber companies started discussing plans to transfer ownership last November.

“We have good relationships with all of our competitors in the area,” Callahan said. “Growth has always been a primary focus. It’s known among our competitors. If an opportunity arrives [the companies are] open to those discussions.”

Keillor Jr. and Nassau Suffolk Lumber owner Chris Van Tuyl approached Riverhead Building Supply. He didn’t specify why they decided to sell the company’s inventory but said the “business climate over the years has certainly changed.”

According to Chicago Mercantile Exchange, toward the end of September 2008 lumber prices dropped below $230/1,000 board feet. Since then, lumber prices increased to $256.70/1,000 board feet.

While the recession hit many businesses hard, Thurber Lumber, which was founded in 1931, and Nassau Suffolk Lumber, survived as they had for several decades. Twenty-eight years later, Myron Keillor purchased the property. For nearly six decades the family owned and operated the business that served a wide variety of communities in the area. While the reason behind its closing is unknown, Nassau Suffolk Lumber chose to sell because Chris Van Tuyl and his brother William don’t have another family member to take over the business.

“My brother and I don’t have any kids in the business and we started to get some offers for the property,” Chris Van Tuyl said.

Amid the property offers, the duo decided to contact Riverhead Building Supply last year. They hoped selling to a fellow lumber company would help their employees find jobs once the store closed. Riverhead Building Supply is accepting job applications from former Thurber and Nassau Suffolk Lumber employees.

Nassau Suffolk Lumber was incorporated in 1927. The Van Tuyl family was one of four families in the lumber business to come together to strengthen the company during tough economic times. The company’s Port Jefferson lumberyard was established several years later, in the late 1970s.

Although the transfer of ownership is a loss to the company, Chris Van Tuyl also said his customers and employees alike will be in good hands. Once the deal closes this coming February, Riverhead Building Supply’s new stores will be open to the public.

“There’s a lot to do in the next three weeks,” Callahan said. “We look forward to continuing the relationships that these companies have with their customers.”

Port Jefferson Free Library's children's section is bursting with books. Photo by Heidi Sutton

A library board president was unseated on Wednesday, in an election that will also fill the board for the first time in a while.

Two incumbents and two newcomers were gunning for three positions as Port Jefferson Free Library trustees this week, at a time when the library is working on plans to expand its facilities.

The library announced on its website that Trustee Susan Prechtl-Loper was re-elected to the board with 129 votes and newcomers Carl Siegel — who once served on the board in the late 1990s — and Joel Rosenthal were elected with 135 votes and 126 votes, respectively.

President Laura Hill Timpanaro lost her re-election bid, garnering only 77 votes, according to Tom Donlon, the interim library director.

Being the top two vote-getters, Siegel and Prechtl-Loper won five-year terms on the board, while third-place winner Rosenthal won a two-year stint that became available after former Trustee Harriet Martin vacated her spot on the board with the time still left on her term.

The library has recently acquired two properties adjacent to its corner building at Thompson and East Main streets in downtown Port Jefferson — a residential property on Thompson and a business on East Main — and is working on developing those properties to help satisfy the library’s parking and general needs.

Money will fund the purchase of a cataloging program

Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe’s new grant will help the center document important information and provide a temperature controlled-storage unit to house artifacts. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe rang in the new year with another grant.

On Jan. 5, the center announced that it received a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. The news comes just two days before the anniversary of Nikola Tesla’s death, which was on Jan. 7, 1943.

The money from the grant will fund the purchase of a cataloging program and storage unit. While the new unit allows the center to store artifacts and collections, the program, PastPerfect, will help the center record and document those artifacts and collections.

The organization applied for the $3,800 grant in October and was approved the following month. Although it received the grant in December, the organization was unable to buy the program at the time. But the news that they received the full $3,800 grant was a surprise.

The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation supports and aims to preserve New York State history, particularly in Suffolk County. The foundation is known for meeting organizations halfway on an approved grant.

“We support [the organizations],” said Kathryn Curran, president of the foundation. “But they also need to find ways to be sustainable.”

Organizations applying for a grant must be able to fund half the money it requests on the application. Curran said Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe received the full grant they applied for because the organization wasn’t requesting a significant amount of money and because, when it comes to fundraising, Curran said, the center is one of the best. Although Tesla Science Center applied for the grant in hopes of purchasing the program, Treasurer Mary Daum said the program hasn’t been installed yet, but will be soon.

In 2012, the center raised $1.37 million dollars in one month from a crowdfunding campaign. Daum said this was the organization’s first real fundraising campaign. The money they raised helped purchase the Tesla Science Center property at the time. As Nikola Tesla’s last and only existing laboratory, Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe is world-renowned, leaving them with thousands of followers. Some followers are active donors, while others like to keep up with the center’s newsletter.

Although the organization didn’t use crowdfunding to help raise money for its last fundraiser, they raised around $17,000 during its six-week campaign.

“We’ve done so much work on construction or improving the grounds, and that’s not the kind of thing the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation supports,” Daum said. “But what they do support is preserving Long Island’s historic legacy.”

While it was the first time the center applied for a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, it wasn’t the first time the foundation gave an organization the full grant it applied for. The foundation wants to know that organizations like the center at Wardenclyffe are meeting their fundraising goals.

It will be a few years before the center achieves its main goal of establishing a science center and museum, but Jane Alcorn, president of Tesla Science Center, said it recently purchased a collection of historic electrical equipment that are similar to tools Tesla may have used during his lifetime and other artifacts the center can catalog.

“We feel very fortunate that the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation provided funding for us to start our collection on the right foot,” Alcorn said. “We’re grateful to their foresight in providing grants to us and local institutions.”

UGG boots on the loose
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Fourth Squad detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who stole more than a dozen pairs of boots from a Commack store in November. A man wearing glasses and a hooded jacket stole 15 pairs of UGG boots from Sports Authority on Veterans Memorial Highway, on Nov. 29 at about 4 p.m. The boots have a combined value of approximately $2,800. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS (8477).

Televisions teleported
A 36-year-old man from Medford and 39-year-old woman from Middle Island were arrested on Jan. 9 at 9:50 p.m. after police said they stole three televisions from Walmart on Veterans Highway in Islandia. They were both charged with petit larceny.

Tools taken
On Jan. 7 a 29-year-old man from Smithtown was arrested after police said he stole power tools from a residence on Wayside Lane in Smithtown at 9 a.m. He was charged with petit larceny.

Blurred lines
Police said a 50-year-old from Rocky Point was driving drunk at 11:25 p.m. on Jan. 7. He was pulled over on Route 25 in St. James after police said he turned left in the right lane and drove across traffic. He was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated.

Busted at Busters
A 56-year-old man from Greenlawn was arrested on Jan. 9 at 8:30 p.m. after police said he was selling alcohol to an underage person at Beverage Busters in Commack. He was charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child with alcohol.

Pill problem
On Jan. 7 a 32-year-old man from Commack was arrested after police said he was in possession of prescription pills without a prescription inside a 2015 Dodge Ram pickup truck on Wesleyan Road at about 10:45 p.m. He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Purse nabbed at Napper’s
Police said an unknown person stole a pocketbook with credit cards and a license from Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub in Smithtown on Jan. 7 just after midnight.

Ale House to Jailhouse
A 20-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station was arrested on Jan. 8 for robbery. Police said the man approached another person with a silver semi-automatic handgun and stole cash and a cellphone from the victim outside Miller’s Commack Ale House on Veterans Memorial Highway in Commack. Police arrested the man that day around 1:15 p.m. at his residence.

Double the trouble
Police arrested a 24-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman from Coram for loitering and unlawful possession of a controlled substance on Jan. 5. The man allegedly injected himself with heroin before throwing the needle into the woods near Crystal Brook Hollow Road in Port Jefferson Station and was also found to be in possession of marijuana.

Tools of the trade
On Jan. 8 at 5 p.m., police arrested a 24-year-old man from Mount Sinai for criminal possession of stolen property. Police said he had three power tools that he received in December from another unidentified person, who had stolen them. Police said the man was also in possession of a plastic bag of cocaine, but he was not charged with drug possession.

The seat warmer
A 19-year-old Miller Place resident was arrested on Jan. 5 for unauthorized use of a car. Police said the man entered a 2011 Jeep Cherokee at a residence on North Country Road, then a 2002 Chevrolet on the same road shortly afterward. Police said the man didn’t steal anything but remained in the car. He was arrested around 2 a.m.

Swipe left
According to police, an unknown person stole an iPhone from a home on Beaver Lane in East Setauket. Police said the individual didn’t break into the home. The incident happened on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.

A handy heist
Police said someone entered the Lowe’s on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook on Jan. 8 at 11 p.m. and stole an electric heater and leaf blower.

Push it, push it real good
According to police, two unidentified males got into a physical altercation on Jan. 10 on West Broadway in Port Jefferson. The two men shoved one another multiple times. One was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for a laceration.

Idling while intoxicated
Police arrested a woman from Port Jefferson for driving while ability impaired after receiving a call about the 45-year-old woman sitting in a 2010 red Toyota Prius outside the Applebee’s on  Route 25A in Miller Place. Police said the engine was running when officials arrested the woman on Jan. 4 at 9:40 p.m.

Stopped in a flash
Police arrested a 26-year-old man from Setauket on Jan. 7 at 12:23 a.m. for driving while ability impaired in a 2006 Honda Civic. According to police, officials pulled the man over on Route 25A in East Setauket for speeding and discovered he was intoxicated.

Path to prison
A 35-year-old man from Centereach was arrested for driving while ability impaired in a 2008 Jeep on Jan. 5. He was heading west on North Bicycle Path in Selden when he got into a car crash. Police discovered the man was impaired by drugs and he was arrested at the scene.

License to steal
On Jan. 7 at 1:35 a.m., a 47-year-old Holbrook man was arrested for stealing two license plates from a 1998 Ford Explorer on South Coleman Road in Selden. And between Jan. 6 at 5:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. on the following day, an unknown person stole license plates from a car parked on Old Town Road in Port Jefferson Station. It was not clear whether the two incidents were related.

A safe decision
On Jan. 8 between 6 and 8 p.m., an unknown person broke into Old Coach Motors in Mount Sinai and stole a safe that stored money and papers.

Hickory dickory smash
An unknown person broke a window of a residence on Hickory Street in Mount Sinai on Jan. 4 at 2:56 p.m.

Mad for music
On Jan. 10, an unknown person stole headphones and batteries from the Walmart on Nesconset Highway in East Setauket. The incident happened around 12:25 p.m.

Lost and found
Someone stole a 2000 Honda Civic from a residence in Lake Grove on Jan. 9. Police said the owner of the car didn’t know it was stolen until after the car was recovered on Elwood Road in Centereach on Jan. 10, around 1 a.m.

Shell game
According to police, just past midnight on Jan. 10 someone stole a television from a shed at a residence on Shell Road in Rocky Point.

Ethan Agro has always been able to turn tears of sorrow into tears of joy.

Even though he was born with a congenital heart defect, the 12-year-old was always a trooper, and especially so when he needed to lay on an operating table last year and undergo eight hours of open heart surgery to repair his aortic valve.

12-year-old Ethan Agro celebrates after making the Gold Coast Bank three-point shot during halftime of the Stony Brook University men's basketball game on Jan. 9. Photo from SBU
12-year-old Ethan Agro celebrates after making the Gold Coast Bank three-point shot during halftime of the Stony Brook University men’s basketball game on Jan. 9. Photo from SBU

“My husband and I and my family were crying tears of joy,” Ethan’s mother Susan Agro said after the operation went smoothly. “Words cannot describe what a difficult time last year was. It was a really, really hard decision to make and we were really surprised. It was a rough recovery for the first few weeks, but Ethan did great, he had an amazing recovery and we are so grateful.”

Again, on Saturday evening at the men’s home basketball game, Ethan turned the triumph of a successful surgery and recovery into happy tears as he won $500 by banking the Gold Coast Bank three-point halftime shot.

“I was just so grateful that he was able to stand out in front of that crowd and make that shot,” she said. “I was crying tears of joy.”

His mother went to the refreshment stand and while away, a student intern group randomly picked Ethan to attempt the shot. He asked his mother for permission and she said yes without hesitation, although warning her son that no one had made the basket yet this season.

But he did.

Ethan Agro lines up to take his three-point shot during halftime of the Stony Brook University men's basketball game on Jan. 9. Photo from SBU
Ethan Agro lines up to take his three-point shot during halftime of the Stony Brook University men’s basketball game on Jan. 9. Photo from SBU

“I was surprised to see it go in,” Ethan said. “When I was taking the shot I wasn’t focusing on what the crowd was thinking. I was focusing on making the shot. I was so excited, and shooting in front of the crowd was an honor. I always admired those people — wanting to get picked.”

Stony Brook Assistant Athletic Director of Marketing Chris Murray said Ethan was randomly picked, not knowing that the family, which has lived in Mount Sinai for the last 16 years, had been to all of Stony Brook University’s men’s home games for the last five years. The Agros are season ticket holders and especially enjoyed using the games as an escape while Ethan waited six weeks after scheduling his surgery.

“I myself was on the court with Ethan when he hit the shot and his eyes lit up and he began to run in circles, unsure how to contain his excitement,” Murray said. “I couldn’t have been more happy for him, giving him a big hug as soon as we got off the court. Ethan is the most humble and appreciative middle-schooler I have ever met.”

Ethan has been on the court before, taking part in summer camps at the school but said being on the court at that moment was extra special.

Susan Agro said the whole moment was exciting as the boy was cleared to return to all normal activity just three months ago, and being that they are such big fans of the team.

Ethan Agro poses for a photo with Wolfie after banking his three-point shot during the Stony Brook University men's basketball game, winning $500 from Gold Coast Bank. Photo from SBU
Ethan Agro poses for a photo with Wolfie after banking his three-point shot during the Stony Brook University men’s basketball game, winning $500 from Gold Coast Bank. Photo from SBU

“I told Ethan he could’ve danced a little bit with Wolfie,” his mother said, laughing. “But I was completely shocked for the rest of the day. Everyone was high-fiving Ethan after the game and telling him it was a good shot and what a great story, they were all really excited for Ethan. It was an awesome experience.”

Ethan’s father Nick Agro said he was more excited to see his son be able to go back to playing basketball, as the boy competes in an intermural league.

“This was just a sort of culminating moment — to see him stand up there and make that shot was awesome,” he said. “It just solidified that he’s doing so well.”

By Bill Landon

Cheerleading squads from all over Suffolk County converged on the mats of Rocky Point High School Sunday for the Suffolk County cheerleading sectionals, where Rocky Point and Comsewogue ran away with first-place finishes.

Cheerleading officially became a recognized sport in the 2015-16 school year, making this sectional event the first time that the competition is overseen and sanctioned by the New York State Public High School Athletics Association.

Rocky Point was the first of 31 teams to take to the mat first in Small School Division I “A,” and the squad wowed the crowd with a two-and-a-half minute routine, despite head coach Anna Spallina feeling less impressed with her Eagles, which are 12-time regional and three-time national champions.

“You have two and a half minutes to prove yourself out on the mat — if you don’t prove yourself in those two and a half minutes, you don’t get a second chance,” Spallina said. “You can’t go to the net again with a ball, or throw that pass one more time, so one little slip, an inch this way or an inch that way, and you can throw it away.”

Pleased or not Spallina’s squad earned first place in the division followed by Longwood and East Islip came in third.

With a squad of consisting of mainly eighth and ninth-graders, and only three seniors, Rocky Point senior Courtney Kelly said the Eagles’ only competition was themselves.

“We don’t worry about any other teams, we just worry about ourselves because the only routine we have to beat is ours,” she said.

Brittany Reh said there are some other challenges now that cheerleading is recognized as a sport, such as a different scoring sheet and new rules, but thought her team performed well despite the changes.

“We had a pretty good performance,” she said. “We stayed positive.”

Claire Johannesen said her team has had better execution on the mat, but will continue to work hard to remain at the team’s standards.

“Today was an okay performance, so we definitely have things we have to go to work on in practice,” she said. “But we did many things well that we’ll build on going forward.”

Northport hit the mat next looking to give Rocky Point a run for first place, and after a performance that impressed the judges, the Tigers’ head coach Danielle Milazzo talked about the adjustment her team has had to adjust to the scoring changes.

“The whole scoring rubric is completely different from last year, so we’re trying to get used to that,” Milazzo said. “We’ve reworked routines to align them with the scoring sheets to try to make sure we get the maximum number of points from New York State.”

Comsewogue hit the mat in the second session, as did Kings Park, competing in the Small School Division I “B.” The Warriors put on a flawless performance as the crowd exploded in applause with their finish, but head coach Stefanie Breitfeller was just relieved that the routine was behind her, as the team had yet another hurdle to jump prior to a competition.

“We had a major change this morning as I found out last night one of the girls came down with pink eye,” Breitfeller said. “We had to replace a starter, so we came into this thinking this could go badly or it could go very well.”

Comsewogue senior Samantha Donlon was thrilled with her team’s first-place finish.

“We did absolutely amazing — we have worked so hard for this day and I’m really proud,” she said. “I’m so happy and this will make us perform even harder next week.”

Comsewogue senior Rachel Steck said she thought her Warriors team also performed well, but thinks that like always, there is room for improvement.

“It could’ve been a little tighter, but I’m just so proud of my team,” she said.”We did our best today. We’ll practice our routine; we’ll make it harder and we’ll make it cleaner.”

For junior Brittany Dein, she thought her team performed beyond its expectations with the last-minute change.

“All week we’ve been running the routine a whole bunch of times and I can’t fault any part of our performance,” Dein said.

The teams will reconvene on Sunday Jan. 24 at Hauppauge High School for the second round of competition.

The cover of Chris Brady’s new children’s book. Photo from Brady

By Melissa Arnold

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children and six adults were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Chris Brady, 33, of Rocky Point, was profoundly impacted by the events of that day and has spent the past three years developing “Twenty-­Six Angels,” a children’s book inspired by those who died. The book was published on Nov. 13, and Brady hopes it will inspire children and adults alike to spread peace in our world.

I recently sat down with Brady to learn more about the book and what he hopes for the future.

Tell me a bit about your background.  What got you interested in writing?
I’ve always had an artist’s spirit. Writing has always been my way of chronicling my life. I have a book of probably a hundred poems that have gotten me through so many experiences. But I always wanted to be an actor and singer, so those things were always in the forefront. I’ve worked in retail and in the fitness industry, and also have a master’s degree in health care administration. Writing is kind of my hidden talent, but this story was something I needed to share.

How would you describe the book to someone who hasn’t read it?
It covers the theme of nonviolence and how the power of youth can combat evil in any circumstance. It’s about putting down your weapons, whether that’s guns, negative emotions or poor treatment of others.
In the book, the halos of angels light up when they sing. That light banishes everything evil in the world. When the book begins, there aren’t enough angels and the world is in despair. Then, 26 new angels are born. They face a lot of doubt from the older angels, but they’re given a try and are sent to bring a message of peace and nonviolence to the world.
I stayed away from any kind of religious elements. ­­ I chose to use angels because of the way they’re glorified in our culture, and there’s something cherubic about children. I thought it would be a nice symbol to use.

Chris Brady photo from the author
Chris Brady photo from the author

What inspired you to write about the Sandy Hook tragedy?
(The day of the shooting), I remember pulling my car over and listening to all the broadcasts. ­­ I was fixated on them. It was horrible listening to parents wondering if their child was alive, and I couldn’t imagine what they were going through. On 9/11, I was downtown (in New York City) and used writing to work through that, so it’s not surprising that I felt the need to write about this as well.
I was the choreographer for three years at Rocky Point Middle School and worked with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. The book was partially linked to that experience of collaborating on an art that teaches the students to use their talents in a positive way.
Having worked with middle schoolers, I asked myself, what would I say to these kids? I’ve found myself suffering through tragedy and trying to cope with things I couldn’t understand, and I thought about what I would say to a younger me, as well as the families and loved ones of children who have lost their lives.
There’s something so unbelievably pure about first-graders. I told myself there has to be a way to brighten people’s lives in the absence of these children, and it’s happening. You can choose to either wallow in the darkness or make something brighter out of life. This was my way of balancing out the darkness with light and combat unspeakable evil with incredible good.
Obviously, one story can’t fix everything. But if we continue to give back to the people left behind, light really will shine through that darkness.

Who is the ideal audience for “Twenty­-six Angels”?
The book says ages 4 to 8, but I really think it would be appropriate for kids 6 to 10 or even 6 to 12. It can speak to all children and has a timeless feel. The poetry is a little bit elevated, but because it’s sing­song (in style) and rhymes, it’s easy for young children to grab onto. I read the book to a group of 4-­year­-olds and they definitely understood the message, which was great to see. Beyond that, it’s really for anybody looking for comfort. I’ve had an equally strong response from adults and children.

The book is written entirely in rhyme. Why did you choose this format?
With this subject and the idea of creating a song together, I thought rhyme would be most effective for the message.

How can parents or other adults use this book to help the children in their lives?
The first thing that you can teach a child is the difference between play and reality. We can play pirates and Jedis, but they really have no business with a weapon. That might be an unpopular opinion for some, but it’s what I believe. All of us are capable of violence, and children need to learn to channel their passions in a positive way.

What are your plans for the future?
I’m hoping to take any proceeds from the book and use them to help the people of Newtown in any way I can. I learned recently that many people are just showing up there to help out. This book belongs first and foremost in the hands of the people affected by the tragedy. It’s not about the profits for me.

Where can we get the book? How much is it?
You can find the book at all of the major online retailers, as well was www.archwaypublishing.com. The more interest there is, the more likely we’ll be to get it on shelves in the future, too. It’s available in hardcover for $22.95, softcover for $16.95 and as a digital e­book for $3.99.

Where can people learn more about you or contact you?
You can always email me at chrisbrady22@gmail.com. You can also find out more on the book’s Facebook page, “Twenty­Six Angels ­ Children’s Book Launch.”

Chris Brady will hold a book signing on Saturday, Jan. 16, at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson, at 11 a.m. For more information, call 631-928-9100.

Supervisor Ed Romaine takes his oath of office at the 2016 inauguration ceremony at the Town of Brookhaven headquarters. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Brookhaven is back in business.

Elected officials, their family members and other residents packed into the Town of Brookhaven auditorium in Farmingville on Jan. 7 to witness Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) being sworn into his second full term in office alongside fellow recently elected and re-elected board members, including board newcomer Councilman Michael Loguercio (R-Middle Island) and other town officials.

Loguercio said he was also in good spirits. He said the ceremony was a good way to begin “the long journey to continue helping the community.”

Back in November, Loguercio won the race for the 4th District — a position previously held by former Councilwoman Connie Kepert, a Democrat.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) said Thursday’s ceremony was a day of celebration that helped validate how residents voted during the 2015 elections. Bonner added “they like to make it open to the public so they could see the whole process and take part in it.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone speaks during the 2016 inauguration ceremony at the Town of Brookhaven headquarters. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone speaks during the 2016 inauguration ceremony at the Town of Brookhaven headquarters. Photo by Giselle Barkley

In light of the board’s past work, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) highlighted Romaine’s performance as the supervisor saying that Romaine has always been one of the fiercest and most passionate advocates for what he believes in.

“That’s what leadership is about really,” Bellone said. “Putting aside the things that will at the end of the day do not really matter to people’s lives but what will make our communities and our town and our country a better place.”

Although residents saw the supervisor and Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) officially sworn into their terms for the first time on Thursday, other elected officials recently elected to the board were officially sworn in at a previous event held on Tuesday Jan. 5. While several councilmembers were no strangers to the ceremony, the swearing in process still never gets boring, one North Shore lawmaker said.

Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro takes his oath of office for the first time at the 2016 inauguration ceremony at the Town of Brookhaven headquarters. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro takes his oath of office at the 2016 inauguration ceremony at the Town of Brookhaven headquarters. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“I’m really excited to get started again,” said Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) before the ceremony. “It was a great first two years — we accomplished a great deal. I’m really looking forward to the next two years.”

Romaine was sworn in last by Judge Judith Pascale, who also spoke highly of the supervisor and his leadership before he took his oath of office. Despite the praise, Romaine admitted that addressing challenges in the town is a group effort.

“Working in concert with our colleagues at Suffolk County and New York State will determine in large part the future we face,” Romaine said in his speech following his oath. “I pledge to work with my town board to find common purpose. To address these challenges head on and to make decisions necessary for a prosperous future and one that serves all the residents of this town.”

Tom Rotanz poses for a photo with a gold medal and trophy after the U-19 team he was an assistant coach of won a world championship. Photo from Tom Rotanz

A familiar face is stepping onto the college lacrosse scene.

Tom Rotanz, a former head boys’ lacrosse coach for Shoreham-Wading River for 18 years, will helm St. Joseph’s College’s new men’s lacrosse program, which will begin its first season in spring 2017.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” Rotanz said of joining the college ranks. “I think any competitive athlete and coach wants to show someone what good can come from having the right people around you and the good players that are willing to commit themselves, and I hope to have another successful tenure at St. Joseph’s.”

Tom Rotanz will be the first head coach for St. Joseph's College's men's lacrosse program. Photo from Tom Rotanz
Tom Rotanz will be the first head coach for St. Joseph’s College’s men’s lacrosse program. Photo from Tom Rotanz

Rotanz has a long history with lacrosse.

His elder brother was on the team that won Ward Melville’s first Long Island championship in 1974, and the younger Rotanz was part of the squad that won the second and third in 1976 and 1977. The lacrosse captain earned All-American honors as a senior in 1977, after his team also made it to the New York State championship game, the first one for lacrosse. The boys lost that game, 12-11.

From there, he was the captain of the Suffolk County Community College lacrosse team that won a national championship and earned All-American honors twice. He then repeated that feat at Adelphi University, where he was also named an All-American twice.

“Tom was a great player,” said his former high school coach, and a legend on the lacrosse scene, Joe Cuozzo. “He was a great competitor, had a great sense of humor about him, and I really enjoyed working with him.”

As a coach himself, with the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats’ program only a year old, Rotanz took over a roster of 14 players, including six freshmen. The team went 1-15 his first season, scoring 38 goals on the year. But seven years later, the team was ranked fourth in the country, after winning a New York State championship and scoring close to 400 goals.

“It snowballed into something that was really neat to be a part of,” he said. “In the last 13 years I was there, we won 10 county championships, five Long Island and three New York State. People always wondered why or how we kept winning every year and being ranked one or two in the county. I say if you have bright kids that buy into the system, I think anything is possible.”

Tom Rotanz gets water dumped on his head by a former Shoreham-Wading River team after a win. Photo from Tom Rotanz
Tom Rotanz gets water dumped on his head by a former Shoreham-Wading River team after a win. Photo from Tom Rotanz

Rotanz earned his first of six Suffolk County Coach of the Year honors in 1999, two years before he led the program to its first county championship in 2001. In 2002, the program repeated as Suffolk champs en route to Long Island and New York State titles. The team also swept Suffolk, Long Island and New York State championship titles in 2007 and 2012.

In 2012, the coach added to his list of accolades, serving as an assistant for the 2012 USA Men’s U-19 lacrosse team that won a world championship.

Now, he hopes to be able to bring that same success to St. Joseph’s, and Shantey Hill, assistant vice president and senior director of athletics and recreation for the college, thinks Rotanz is the perfect fit.

“We were very lucky in that Coach Rotanz applied,” she said, referring to the school’s intensive, national search across all NCAA institutions. “He has a plethora of experience, and … he knows the landscape of Long Island, and he’s very well-connected with his peers to be able to do good recruiting for what we’re looking for.”

For Rotanz, being on the scene as long as he has and being a part of Long Island lacrosse, serving as an assistant coach at Smithtown West for the last two years, will be beneficial throughout the recruiting process for the Golden Eagles.

“I’m very close friends with a lot of the Suffolk and Nassau coaches, so they’re already contacting me with players that they think will be a great fit, kids that they think would really like to play for me; so that’s the neat thing.”

He added, laughing, “I think there will be a lot more kids that think about not leaving the Island now, hopefully.”

Tom Rotanz makes a save during a Ward Melville boys' lacrosse game. He helped the team to two Long Island championship titles and a New York State championship appearance. Photo from Tom Rotanz
Tom Rotanz makes a save during a Ward Melville boys’ lacrosse game. He helped the team to two Long Island championship titles and a New York State championship appearance. Photo from Tom Rotanz

According to Hill, the school decided the time was right for a lacrosse program after seeing that a number of Division III student-athletes in the college’s Skyline Conference that commit to play lacrosse come from Long Island and that there was interest with incoming and current students. The college also built a new outdoor athletic facility.

Hill said St. Joseph’s found the right coach in Rotanz.

“We think we hit a home run with coach Rotanz,” she said. “He’s not only a wonderful coach, but also a great man, and he will do great things. We’re looking forward to him not only being the face of the lacrosse program, but also being a mentor to our male student-athletes. His tenure speaks for itself. He’s very well-connected, and he has good relationships with lots of people, and that’s something you can’t put a price tag on.”

Cuozzo, who was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, said he used to go to Shoreham-Wading River practices and games to watch his former athlete, and has been thrilled with his approach to the game.

“The way he treats kids, he’s a real student of the game, and I can’t say enough on how proud I am of his accomplishments,” he said. “He brings a winning attitude.”

Rotanz, who said he tries to emulate the ways and successes of his former coach, is competitive, according to Cuozzo.

“He hates to lose — I think he got that from me,” he said, laughing. “I wasn’t a very good loser.”

Luckily, neither one of them has had to do much of that.

Tom Rotanz coaches from the sidelines of a Shoreham-Wading River boys' lacrosse game. Photo from Tom Rotanz
Tom Rotanz coaches from the sidelines of a Shoreham-Wading River boys’ lacrosse game. Photo from Tom Rotanz

Cuozzo compiled a 699-73 record while at the helm of the Patriots’ program. In 2007, he became the head coach at Mount Sinai, where he brought his win total to 747 in his four years before retirement. During his tenure with the Wildcats, Rotanz amassed a 256-99 record.

Cuozzo also thinks Rotanz will be able to draw athletes to the school.

“A lot of kids like to leave Long Island when they are finished with high school — they don’t want to stay local — but knowing Tom, he’s very convincing,” Cuozzo said. “He’ll do his homework. He’ll go out and scout, he’ll go to high school games and he’ll talk, make phone calls. He’s very organized, he’s very knowledgeable about the game, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be successful there.”

Three trustee seats up for election next Wednesday

The upcoming budget vote is at the library on Thompson Street. File photo

By Giselle Barkley

Port Jefferson Free Library will soon have a full board of trustees for the first time in a while, after an election on Jan. 13 in which four candidates are running for three seats.

Residents can meet the group at the library on Monday, at 7 p.m., including incumbents Laura Hill Timpanaro and Susan Prechtl-Loper with newcomers Carl Siegel and Joel Rosenthal.

Susan Prechtl-Loper is running for the Port Jefferson library’s board of trustees. Photo from the candidate
Susan Prechtl-Loper is running for the Port Jefferson library’s board of trustees. Photo from the candidate

The two candidates who win the most votes will secure seats with five-year terms and the third-place finisher will win a seat that carries a two-year term.

The shorter term is available after former Trustee Harriet Martin vacated her seat on the board, leaving a couple of years left on her term.

Hill Timpanaro, the current board president, has been a trustee for the past five years and is seeking re-election. She heads the library’s planning and building committee and has worked on several projects, including securing grants and modernizing the library to keep up with changes in technology.

“The library is moving into a time of change, not only for PJFL but for the libraries in general,” Hill Timpanaro said in an email. “As technology continues to change patrons’ needs we have the opportunity to create a community cornerstone that suits a diverse clientele and becomes [an] anchor for the community.”

Laura Hill Timpanaro is running for the Port Jefferson library’s board of trustees. Photo from the candidate
Laura Hill Timpanaro is running for the Port Jefferson library’s board of trustees. Photo from the candidate

Hill Timpanaro has lived in Port Jefferson for 15 years. Outside the library, she’s also helped secure funds to build a garden at the Port Jefferson elementary school.

She hopes to continue her work on expanding the library in a new term, especially now that the library has acquired two adjacent properties — a residence on Thompson Street and a business on East Main Street.

Fellow incumbent Prechtl-Loper, the board’s financial officer and a member since 2013, is also seeking re-election, with the goal of further improving the library and its services.

She said the biggest accomplishment for the trustees since she first joined was when the library purchased the Scented Cottage Garden property on East Main Street in May, to help satisfy the library’s parking and general needs.

For Prechtl-Loper, a village resident for more than 20 years and a library member for more than 50, the institution is like home.

Carl Siegel is running for the Port Jefferson library’s board of trustees. Photo from Valerie Schwarz
Carl Siegel is running for the Port Jefferson library’s board of trustees. Photo from Valerie Schwarz

“I grew up in the library,” she said. “I have really fond memories there.”

Siegel, like the incumbents, is no stranger to the board of trustees. He served from 1994 to 1999 and is hoping to return this year.

During Siegel’s previous tenure, he helped establish the children’s library and an adult reading room, among several other projects. Now that building plans are underway to address a parking shortage and add a room to host live performances, Siegel wants to help execute those projects.

He was an English teacher at the Port Jefferson high school for 23 years before retiring in 1992. Since then, he’s been active in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Stony Brook University, which offers a variety of courses to its older students. He served as its president in 1997.

For Rosenthal, whose has lived in Port Jefferson Village for 50 years, the election is a new phase. While he’s never been a trustee, Rosenthal is aware of the library’s plans for expansion and would like to work with fellow trustees on the projects.

Joel Rosenthal is running for the Port Jefferson library’s board of trustees. Photo from Valerie Schwarz
Joel Rosenthal is running for the Port Jefferson library’s board of trustees. Photo from Valerie Schwarz

“With the tremendous changes in technology, [the trustees] should make some informed decisions about the library,” he said in an interview.

Rosenthal is a distinguished professor emeritus of history at Stony Brook University. He was also previously the chair of the history department and took on other administrative roles before partially retiring from the university.

Although Rosenthal said he would prefer the two-year seat to a five-year seat, he would “take what I can get.”

Voting is at the library on Wednesday, Jan. 13, between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

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