Village Times Herald

The Old Field village justice race between challenger Ted Rosenberg, an attorney, and incumbent Ron LaVita ended in a 114-all tie. Photos from candidates

After a tie between Old Field Village justice votes was confirmed, a run-off election has been scheduled.

Twenty-year incumbent Ron LaVita and attorney Ted Rosenberg each received 114 votes once all ballots, including absentee votes, were counted March 20. A recount confirmed the numbers March 22.

A run-off election will be held Tuesday April 3 at the Keeper’s Cottage, located at 207 Old Field Road. The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Absentee ballots will be re-accepted, and must be in to Village Hall no later than 9 p.m. April 3, according to Village Clerk Adrienne Kessel.

To read more about other results from the election, and reactions from the village justice candidates: Old Field justice race ends in tie.

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Tom Manuel, left, owner of The Jazz Loft, and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, third from right, along with local musicians look forward to the Swing into Spring! jazz festival to take place in Stony Brook village March 27 to 31. Photo from Kara Hahn's office

Mother nature may disagree, but the calendar shows spring has arrived, and Stony Brook village is planning to help Long Islanders celebrate.

Swing into Spring!, a jazz festival scheduled for March 27-31, is where Long Islanders can enjoy the music at village restaurants. Tom Manuel, owner of The Jazz Loft, where some of the concerts will be held, said the lineup of talent ranges from solo artists to two 17-piece big bands. He said a variety of styles and genres of jazz will be presented, including traditional, bebop, folk and emerging fusion. The festival was made possible by a county grant secured by Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).

“It’s just exciting to think about spring and getting out,” Hahn said.

The legislator obtained the grant in the fall when there was extra money for cultural arts in the county’s hotel and motel tax fund. She said the cultural arts category of the fund is to enable ways to spur economic development through the arts. The project was included in the adopted 2018 Suffolk County operating budget.

“I had wanted to help The Jazz Loft and Stony Brook village,” Hahn said. “I’ve been trying to think of ways from an economic development perspective of using grant money that could help the businesses in the community.”

“The idea was to showcase musicians from varied points of the Island from both Suffolk and Nassau County.”

— Tom Manuel

Manuel said he was excited about the news of the grant, and after a few phone calls and a meeting with Hahn, presented the legislator with the idea of the five-day festival featuring jazz musicians from all over the Island.

“The idea was to showcase musicians from varied points of the Island from both Suffolk and Nassau County, and also to offer an educational component which will be our Wednesday workshop on jazz improvisation,” the venue owner said, adding the workshop would be followed by a jam session for all musicians of all ages and abilities.

Manuel said the festival will include performances by guitarist Steve Salerno, trombone player Ray Anderson, accordion player Rich Dimino, the Eddie Balsamo Quartet and more. In addition to appearing at The Jazz Loft and The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational & Cultural Center, the musicians will play at Pentimento, Sweet Mama’s Family Restaurant, Lakeside Emotions Wine & Spirits and Three Village Inn.

Hahn hopes once jazz lovers visit Stony Brook for the festival, they’ll want to come back in the future to the shops and restaurants, and more Long Islanders will become familiar with The Jazz Loft and Manuel.

“I grew up in Stony Brook village so seeing what Tommy was able to do with The Jazz Loft — I know it’s been good for the village,” Hahn said.

Gloria Rocchio, president of WMHO, said she enjoys working with Manuel on projects and believes the festival will be good for the village.

“We do things with Tom all the time, and this is just another extension of how we collaborative so well together,” Rocchio said.

The WMHO president said on the night of March 28, barring no weather setbacks, there will be plenty of different things for visitors to do and see.

“People can actually stroll from one location to the other,” she said.

Manuel considers Stony Brook village a hidden gem, and said he believes collaborations like this festival bring out the best of what the area can offer.

“I hope that this event introduces people to our town that will not only enjoy it, but will come back again and again to experience all we have to offer,” Manuel said. “I am thrilled that Legislator Hahn has reached out to collaborate with The Jazz Loft, and that we can bring live jazz into so many of our restaurants and businesses.”

For more information on Swing into Spring!, visit or

Jillian Bove, Allison Szema and Bove’s mother Patricia at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s kickoff event for the Students of the Year competition. Photo from Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Teens in the Three Village area are working together to make a difference in the lives of those affected by blood cancers.

On March 8, Ward Melville High School juniors kicked off a seven-week fundraiser in the hopes of winning the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Long Island chapter’s Students of the Year competition. The health agency’s leadership development and philanthropy program not only gives teens the chance to compete against other high school teams to see who can raise the most money for LLS, but also provides guidance and mentoring from the agency’s professionals to assist in fundraising tactics and team building. The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. The organization also works to improve the lives of patients and their families through research, patient services and assisting with medical co-pays when needed.

The Ward Melville High School team, called 3vforacure, is led by Jillian Bove and Allison Szema. Bove said the Three Village group wants to raise $50,000, which would beat last year’s winners who raised $38,000.

Bove said she knows from personal experience how important the services of LLS are. Her mother Patricia was diagnosed with stage III Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2015. After undergoing six months of aggressive chemotherapy, her mother is presently receiving maintenance treatments with a biological agent.

Some members of the 3vforacure team ready to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Photo from Jillian Bove

The high school junior said the agency has provided her and her mother with an emotionally-supportive community, and she’s optimistic about the future when it comes to cancer research and the work LLS is doing.

“Blood cancers are the stem of all cancers so if they find something — which they’ve been having improvements and advancements — then I think they’ll find [a cure] soon,” Bove said.

Szema said even though none of her family members have suffered from blood cancers, a few have been diagnosed with breast and thyroid cancers. She said she not only joined the team because Bove asked her, but also because the research done by LLS will help with other cancer research as well.

Before the March 1 kickoff date, Bove and Szema said the team members sent out 600 letters to all their contacts and attended meetings with LLS representatives. During their fundraising campaign the students will host a badminton tournament March 23 at Ward Melville High School and plan to host a bake sale, sell T-shirts and obtain business sponsorships to raise money.

“It feels great working with everyone, and we all have ideas and are not shy about voicing them,” Bove said.

Meagan Doyle, a campaign manager with the Long Island chapter of LLS, said the competition is a great way for young people to get involved in fundraising.

“It’s a win-win,” Doyle said. “The children are able to do something, give back. They’re able to have this growth experience on their college resume they get that piece of that, and then the organization, we’re able to see such success in their fundraising and the things they are doing.”

“It feels great working with everyone, and we all have ideas and are not shy about voicing them.”

— Jillian Bove

The campaign manager said she thinks the Three Village goal of $50,000 is achievable as Bove and Szema have put a lot of focus on building their team. The 3vforacure team includes Kate Dargan, Samantha Sloan, Jack Bertini, Catherine Jiang, Max Friedman, Adrianna Orduna, Jocelyn Su, Jack Swain, Patrick Sammon, Allison Nemesure, Cassidy Oliver, Casey Hozven and Victoria Amato.

“[Bove and Szema] as candidates, they are taking on such a leadership role in bringing this group together,” Doyle said. “From the organization’s point of view it just makes us proud that they are representing us in their district.”


Active with various teams and clubs at Ward Melville, the girls said finding friends to work with them was easy, and the two quickly put together a group of 15 students. Bove is part of the high school’s robotics club, field hockey team, greenhouse club and track and field. Szema is the vice president of the school’s Key Club, a member of the National Honor Society, ceramics club and the diving team.

Bove and Szema encourage everyone in the Three Village area to join them in their fundraising pursuits.

“It is our big hope that we can spread the message and reach out to as many companies and big businesses that can help us reach our goal,” Bove said.

The 3vforacure team badminton tournament is March 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gym at Ward Melville High School. The tournament is open to high school students only. Cost is $10 per person and red ribbons will be sold for $1.

Bove and Szema said the amount raised by each school and the winner will be announced April 26, the last day of the competition, at a ceremony held at the Heritage Club in Bethpage. For more information, visit the Instagram page @3vforacure or email

Run-off election will be held April 3

The Old Field village justice race between challenger Ted Rosenberg, an attorney, and incumbent Ron LaVita ended in a 114-all tie. Photos from candidates

A race 20 years in the making ended in a tie March 20.

The Old Field village justice election between incumbent Ron LaVita, who has run unopposed for 20 years, and attorney Ted Rosenberg, ended in a 114-all tie after all the votes, including absentee ballots, were counted. A run-off election will be held Tuesday April 3 at the Keeper’s Cottage, located at 207 Old Field Road. The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Absentee ballots will be re-accepted, and must be in to Village Hall no later than 9 p.m. April 3, according to Village Clerk Adrienne Kessel.

Both candidates received the news of the tie the night of March 20. A recount confirmed the vote totals.

Rosenberg, the village’s current associate justice and a partner with Rosenberg & Gluck LLP, said he was surprised when he heard the news.

He looks forward to a run-off election, and said after the results were in that he hopes this time around there will be a meet the candidates night and/or debate so Old Field residents can learn more about each of the candidates.

“If there’s another election, I think it’s an opportunity for the voters of the village to gain more knowledge about the candidates and our qualifications,” he said. “Particularly for me, because I’m not the incumbent.”

LaVita, a general practice attorney, said he was disappointed when he heard the results.

“I thought I would have a commanding lead,” he said, adding he should have notified residents who were unable to vote March 20 to submit absentee ballots while he was campaigning, feeling that would have helped him take the election.

LaVita said he is also open to a meet the candidates night and/or debate.

During the election, Michael Levine, who has been mayor of Old Field since 2008, ran unopposed and maintains his seat. Bruce Feller and Tom Pirro are the village’s new trustees. Feller and Pirro ran for two seats after Timothy Hopkins and Robert Whitcomb decided not to run for re-election.

This version was updated to include that the vote totals were confirmed and a run-off election is scheduled.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin. Flie photo by Alex Petroski

Even though it feels like Election Day 2016 was sometime last week, the 2018 midterms are right around the corner.

To that end, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) hosted a telephone town hall March 14 to give constituents the opportunity to ask questions and hear where he stands on hot-button issues in New York’s 1st
Congressional District. This was one of several telephone town halls Zeldin has hosted since he was re-elected in 2016, though many of his constituents have been rabidly calling for him to host in-person town halls for more than a year, in addition to the three-in-one day town halls he hosted in April 2017, on what some felt was short notice.

“While in D.C. these telephone town halls allow me to reach out to the greatest number of constituents at once, allowing me to listen to your concerns and answer your questions,” he said on the call. “Listening to your questions and insight is such an important part of my job.”

Zeldin fielded about 10 questions during the 60-minute call on a wide array of topics. Below are some of the highlights, with questions bolded and lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

Michael: “I did vote for [President Donald] Trump (R)], but I was very disturbed when he said what he said as far as due process and our Second Amendment rights, taking guns away from people that may be perceived as not having any business having them. I wanted to be assured that you would do your part to remind our president that due process does not come second.”

“I totally agree with you, due process is incredibly important,” Zeldin said, though he offered some qualifiers that sounded as though there was at least some common ground between his position and what Trump said during a televised listening session with survivors of the February shooting in Parkland, Florida. Trump suggested that those who display signs they might be harmful to themselves or others should have guns seized immediately, prior to a crime being committed, due process be damned. He has since backed off from that sentiment.

“It’s important that we’re doing what we need to do, smart policy to keep people safe,” Zeldin said. “There were so many balls that were dropped in Parkland, at different levels of government … People who are
saying Nikolas Cruz shouldn’t have had access to a particular kind of firearm, I’ll say, a guy who shows — I don’t care if he’s 19 or 89 — anyone who is showing all of those threats and indicators, they should not have access to any firearm.”

Zeldin also reiterated his support for the Second Amendment and citizens’ right to bear arms. He also in response to a later question said he thought it was great that high school students locally and nationally are
educating themselves on issues and making their opinions known.

Nora: “In regard to the opioid epidemic, I realize that lots of funding keeps on being funneled toward this crisis, and I see that police are arresting more and more of the drug dealers. I’m not seeing in the hospital setting that the people themselves who are taking the drugs or addicted are getting the help they need. Are there any plans to build facilities for people to get the help they need before they die?”

Zeldin responded to Nora, who said she is a nurse at Stony Brook University Hospital, by saying in a discussion he was involved in with several generals discussing the future of foreign diplomacy, he relayed to them that opioid addiction is nearing the level of a national security threat. The congressman touted previously passed legislation, specifically the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, an $8.3 billion plan to fight drug addiction in the United States, with a significant amount of funding for prevention and treatment, and added that the bill needed repeated funding annually.

He mentioned a need to improve the quality of treatment facilities or sober homes, as well as legislation that would help to prevent the practice of “doctor shopping,” or seeking prescriptions for pain medications to feed opioid addiction. However, he fairly quickly pivoted to border security.

“When we talk about border security or people entering our country, what often gets lost in that is this is also illegal substances as well,” he said.

Frank: “Nationally there needs to be some support of President Trump in stopping illegal immigration, and what I was concerned about locally is my understanding is that there are many areas on Long Island that support sanctuary status — it’s a blatant disregard for federal law and something needs to be done about this.”

“I’m with you,” Zeldin said. He went on to name a number of examples of illegal immigrants committing violent crimes in cities around the United States as evidence the practice of protecting illegal immigrants from federal prosecution simply for that reason needing to be ended. “The sanctuary city policies we see across the country are so wrong. The federal government is responsible for creating immigration law in this country, and where you have local politicians pandering for votes and refusing to assist … you’re putting our law enforcement officers at risk. I have colleagues that celebrate illegal immigration.”

The full recording of the town hall can be heard on Zeldin’s website,

Mose Allison
Evening will honor the music of longtime Smithtown resident

By Kevin Redding

Mose Allison. Photo by Michael Wilson

A reporter once asked the late jazz and blues pianist and singer Mose Allison — regarded among musicians like Bonnie Raitt, Leon Russell, Pete Townshend and Van Morrison as “one of the finest songwriters in 20th century blues” — why he wasn’t more famous.

“Mose, you were a social critic before Bob Dylan, satirical long before Randy Newman and rude before Mick Jagger,” the reporter said. “How come you’re not a big star?” Allison, who was born in Mississippi and moved from New York City to Smithtown in the mid-1960s to raise a family and spent much of his time walking in the local woods and swimming in the Long Island Sound, responded: “Just lucky, I guess.”

On Saturday, March 24, The Long Island Museum, in partnership with WUSB-FM’s Sunday Street Concert Series and the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, will give the 2006 Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductee his proper due with The Word From Mose: A Celebration of the Music of Mose Allison, a tribute concert in the Carriage Museum’s Gillespie Room at 7 p.m.

Jack Licitra

The concert, following the tradition of other Sunday Street Series shows organized by Charlie Backfish, Stony Brook University history lecturer and host of the university’s weekly radio program “Sunday Street,” will feature local and outside musicians, who will strum and sing through decades of Allison’s breakthrough material, including his more well-known tracks “Your Mind Is on Vacation,” “Everybody’s Crying Mercy” and “I Don’t Worry About a Thing.”

Allison, who died Nov. 15, 2016, just four days before turning 89, was a four-time Grammy nominee and frequent collaborator with jazz greats Zoot Sims and Stan Getz whose songs spanned more than 30 albums — The Rolling Stones, Diana Krall, The Who, The Pixies and Elvis Costello are among those who have recorded Allison’s songs.

Pete Kennedy

The lineup includes “Sunday Street” regular and New York-based singer-songwriter Pete Kennedy; Pat Wictor, electric and slide guitarist of the group Brother Sun; Jack Licitra, a Sayville-based keyboardist and guitarist as well as the founder of the music-teaching studio South Bay Arts in Bayport; and Abbie Gardner, an acclaimed Dobro player who has toured for many years as part of the trio Red Molly. Some members of Allison’s family, including his daughter and singer-songwriter Amy Allison, will also be in attendance.

The evening will also include a screening of a short BBC documentary on Allison called “Ever Since the World Ended,” featuring interviews with Costello, Morrison, Raitt and Loudon Wainwright III and footage of Allison performing.

“Not only is he such an important artist, Mose Allison was someone who lived in this area for many decades and we thought it was time to do something like this for him,” Backfish said of the decision to honor the musician. “When he wasn’t on tour, which was quite often, he would be back in the area and playing shows at the Staller Center at Stony Brook University or jazz clubs in Port Jefferson.”

Pat Wictor. Photo by John Mazlish

Backfish said he also had the opportunity to interview Allison on his radio program many years ago. “He had such an incredibly rich catalog in so many ways and these artists are going to get together and play both well-known songs of his and the deep tracks,” he said. “I would hope that if people aren’t aware of Mose, they’ll suddenly find someone they will check out and listen to, and for those who know him, this will be a great way to celebrate his music and listen to artists reinterpret his songs.”

Wictor, a longtime Allison fan who, with his band, recorded a version of “Everybody’s Crying Mercy,” said Backfish approached him to participate in the concert for his “affinity” for the man’s work. “I love Mose partly because he cannot be categorized easily,” Wictor said. “He sort of mixed jazz and blues, and social commentary, in a way that nobody else did. And I like his sense of humor in his lyrics, which were always a little sardonic and mischievous. He comes across as a person that doesn’t suffer fools gladly and that’s always enjoyable to me. The songs themselves are very musically interesting, too — blues-based but they always have a unique musical and lyrical quality unlike anything else.”

Abbie Gardner

Kennedy said Allison was unusual among jazz musicians in his time because he wrote a lot of songs with lyrics, while others primarily stuck to instrumental compositions. “Allison actually wrote songs that he sang and that’s what we’re focusing on during the concert,” said Kennedy, who noted that he’s had a lot of fun examining Allison’s songs more closely and learning them in anticipation of the show. “His songs sound totally modern to me now, even the old ones from the 1950s and ’60s. The writing is really clever, really humorous and had a little bit of social commentary to it, but not in a negative way.”

Licitra, too, expressed his excitement over his involvement, calling Allison’s music “the thinking man’s blues.” “I’m really looking forward to giving people a taste of his style of intellectualism and humor,” he said. “And for me, this is all about the group of performers on the bill. I’m a big fan of all of them and so I’m excited about playing with them and seeing how they each interpret Mose’s [work].”

The jazz legend’s son John Allison, who grew up in Smithtown, said while his father was a true “musician’s musician” and beloved in many artist’s circles, he was as low profile as could be at home. “There he was, living in Smithtown, so unassuming that even our neighbors, for 15 years, didn’t know what he did until they saw him on TV with Bonnie Raitt for a PBS concert at Wolf Trap,” John Allison said, laughing. “He just wanted to do his thing. He read books and played music. I’d come home from high school and he’d be listening to some weird Chinese, classical music and just laughing and loving it … [and] sometimes he did tai chi in the living room.”

The Long Island Museum is located at 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook. Advance tickets to the tribute show are $25 through Friday, March 23 at with tickets at the door for $30 (cash only). Beer, wine and cider will be available for purchase. For more information, please call 631-751-0066.

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Members of state championship-winning field hockey team look to bring another title home this spring

Samantha Tarpey goalie, Ward Melville's junior goalkeeper, reaches to make a save during practice. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Three Ward Melville multi-sport athletes are hoping to not only share knowledge of success through teaching, but through osmosis.

Lexi Reinhardt, Kate Mulham and Kerri Thornton, all veterans of the Patriots field hockey team, have tasted success at the highest level. After bringing home the school’s first state title since 2008, they returning starters are hoping to do it again, but this time, with the girls lacrosse team.

Ward Melville senior Shannon Brazier make a pass during practice. Photo by Bill Landon

“Our core players are high energy, they’re high speed, high power, just go-go-go,” head coach Kerri Kilkenny said. “After those girls won the field hockey state title they were all texting me, ‘we’re doing it again in the spring.’”

Ward Melville ended its 2017 campaign 17-1. The Patriots powered through the regular season, going 16-0 in Division I before topping West Islip in the Class A quarterfinals. Going 17-1 would seem to be an accomplishment for any team, but for Patriots, the single-score loss to Northport in semifinals stung, and the pain still lingers. Ranked No. 1 in Division I heading into this season, Ward Melville has its sights set on a new objective.

“Our focus is working hard and getting better every day,” Kilkenny said. “This year I’m more concerned about making sure that we are taking care of ourselves — that we are becoming better, that we are improving and that we’re working hard every single day.”

The Patriots lost 13 seniors to graduation, spread evenly across the field — four attackers, four midfielders, four defenders and a goalkeeper. Kilkenny said with the girls playing on club teams over the summer, she’s not worried about filling in the gaps. Senior Shannon Coughlan will anchor the defense, the duo of Shannon Brazier and Shannon Berry will lead the midfield and Jill Becker will guide the attack.

Ward Melville senior Nicole Liucci moves the ball downfield during practice. Photo by Bill Landon

Brazier said the bitter taste left in every girl’s mouth after the loss will be used as motivation.

“We’re all trying as hard as we can because a lot of us are seniors,” she said. “This is our last year, so we’re giving it our all. Even though we only had one loss last year, it ended our season. We weren’t happy about that, so we’re using that to fuel our season this year.”

Coughlan, who agreed with Brazier, said she is also looking to get her team up to speed.

“We have new personnel on defense, so we’re going to have to work on communication with each other to get to where we’re comfortable,” Coughlan said.

Ward Melville will scrimmage top Division III teams in Mount Sinai, Shoreham-Wading River, Eastport-South Manor and Bayport-Blue Point before the season opener against visiting Riverhead March 27 at 4:30 p.m.

“My senior class is a great, dynamic group — they’ve been with us a few years now and they all have tremendous potential,” Kilkenny said. “All of the girls are like sponges; they want to learn, they listen, they’re coachable. They really are a wonderful group of kids.”

Jack Blaum discusses school security measures at the March 14 Three Village school district board of education meeting. Photo by Andrea Paldy.

By Andrea Paldy

The Three Village school board meeting opened to a packed cafeteria at R.C. Murphy Junior High March 14 following a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Foremost on the minds of its attendees was still school security. Following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, exactly four weeks before, parents wanted to know how the district would continue to ensure their children’s safety.

Prepared to voice their concerns, some parents came armed with statistics and studies, while others wielded their experience in law enforcement. But, before public participation, which took place at the end of the meeting, those gathered heard a detailed and, in his words, frank presentation from security coordinator and chief emergency officer Jack Blaum.

Parent Bethany Riddle speaks at the March 14 Three Village school district BOE meeting. Photo by Andrea Paldy

“It is impossible to create a bulletproof plan,” he said. By regularly analyzing national and world incidents, Blaum said he can identify and bolster what the district is doing to safeguard schools.

For example, one of the best plans the district has in place is its “default lock-out” of the buildings, Blaum said. External doors to schools are locked during the school day and for some time after it, he said. To be admitted to district buildings, visitors must undergo two-pronged vetting, which entails showing ID before being buzzed through the first door into a vestibule, and then having that ID, typically a driver’s license, scanned before anyone is allowed through the second door.

In addition to bullet-resistant film over glass around the schools, every school in the district has at least two security guards — there are three at the junior highs and 13 at the high school — and all are active or retired law enforcement officers, Blaum said. After hours, there continues to be security presence and surveillance cameras running in and outside of the buildings.

Blaum explained that staff is trained in lockdown procedures and options in an active shooter situation. Each school has lockdown drills with staff and students four times a year. There are hidden panic buttons around district buildings to call a lockdown. Blue strobe lights and sirens are activated and are purposely loud and distracting to make it difficult for anyone, especially an attacker, to concentrate, the security coordinator said.

Administrators have extensive emergency management training, including on how to control severe bleeding. Security personnel is also receiving emergency management technician training in addition to learning how to recognize explosives and manage a bomb incident.

“We need to not be afraid of calling out the behavior of other children.”

— Janine Salgado

There is also a system that provides direct communication with emergency services at Suffolk County Police Department’s 6th Precinct and Stony Brook and Setauket fire departments, as well as shared communication channels. Blaum also explained how any student and staff following “see something, say something” protocol is also beneficial.

“I need intel instantly,” he said. “All the red flags were missed,” he said referring to the Parkland school shooting incident.

It wasn’t until the end of the presentation that Blaum hit on the issue of arming teachers.

“That is not going to happen,” he said to applause..

Regarding an armed security guard presence, he said the district is exploring its options.

“It has a tremendous amount of moving parts to it,” Blaum said.

Parent Robert Kronenberg, an attorney and former New York Police Department officer, agreed that an armed presence would require a lot of tactical planning, and expressed confidence in Blaum’s approach and ability.

He added, however, that if there’s a shooter in the school, he believed there’s only one thing that’s going to stop that.

“It’s not some security guard, it’s not just some guy with a gun that you hire,” Kronenberg said. “It’s a former or current law enforcement officer who has the tactical training and the guts to confront a shooter while that shooter wants to kill every child he sees walking down the hallway.”

Two other parents expressed similar sentiments. However, the majority of the close to 20 speakers on Wednesday felt differently.

“There is no evidence that an armed presence increases security.”

— Bethany Riddle

“There is no evidence that an armed presence increases security,” said psychologist and parent Bethany Riddle. “On the contrary, while it might provide a perception of safety, research indicates that the presence of armed guards increases the risk of violence and injury.”

Most speakers echoed Riddle’s thoughts, suggesting that more resources be put toward psychological and social welfare, anti-bullying measures and teaching kindness.

“We need to not be afraid of calling out the behavior of other children,” said Janine Salgado, a mother of three. “And being comfortable and calling those parents and telling them what you see.”


Assistant superintendent for business services Jeffrey Carlson gave a preliminary report on the budget for the 2018-19 school year. The cap on the tax levy increase will be 1.97 percent, an estimated $3 million, Carlson said.

Though he does not anticipate a big increase in state aid, he said there will be no cuts for budgetary reasons. There will, Carlson said, be an increase in the district’s contributions to the employee and teacher retirement funds. To cover the $1.5 million increase, the district will use funds from the reserves, which are set aside precisely to cover such expenses, he said.

“While we never look at using reserves lightly, it’s what it’s there for — to help mitigate the increase in the retirement system cost,” Carlson said.

Additionally, the district will continue to plan for capital projects, which are reimbursed by the state at a rate of 66 percent. As has been the case with many of the projects over the past few years, many projects on deck will be related to safety and security, Carlson said.

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Ward Melville High School. File photo by Greg Catalano

Two students in Three Village Central School District were schooled on what not to post online.

On the morning of March 14, before high school students staged a walkout joining teens across the nation to demand stricter gun legislation, the administrative staff at Ward Melville High School was notified of a social media posting allegedly made by a student. The posting was a cause for concern, according to an email to parents from Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich. The student was removed from school and the Suffolk County Police Department was notified.

Later that afternoon, parents received another email from Pedisich. The superintendent said in the message the SCPD closed the investigation after concluding “the posting was a foolish decision and a lack of proper judgment by the individual.”

The school district sent a message once again the morning of March 15. The administrative staff was notified of another concerning post allegedly made by a student. Later in the day, Pedisich notified parents that the SCPD determined there was no credible threat to the safety or security of students and staff.

“As part of their investigation, the police were informed that the photo in question had originally been shared privately with another individual and subsequently posted publicly online by an additional third party,” Pedisich wrote in the email.

In the notification, the superintendent shared advice when it comes to posting on social media, asking parents to remind students to think twice when it comes to what they share digitally.

“In light of today’s and yesterday’s incidents, I cannot stress enough the importance of creating a heightened sense of awareness for the appropriate and proper use of social media and other communication devices,” Pedisich wrote. “Students need to understand that what is shared digitally — whether it be via text, Facebook, Instagram or any other medium — is not private. Those thoughts, photos and comments that are shared can be and are often seen, shared and interpreted by anyone, anywhere and at any time.”

The superintendent wrote that while it was disheartening to have to issue two concurrent messages about students’ inappropriate postings, she was grateful for those who brought the matters to the district’s attention.

“Our parents and all residents are an integral part in helping to ensure that our safety and security is not compromised,” she wrote, “I continue to encourage anyone who sees, hears or notices something suspicious to inform the district immediately.”

Stony Brook Athletics and Uber announced a partnership Feb. 28. Photo from Uber

Stony Brook University’s athletic department and a popular app have partnered, and students and Seawolves fans will reap the benefits.

On Feb. 28 Stony Brook Athletics and Uber announced a three-year partnership which makes Uber, a location-based car-service app featuring private drivers, the “Official Ride of the Stony Brook Seawolves.”

Robert Emmerich, senior associate director of athletics at SBU, said the university has received positive feedback from students since the partnership was announced. He said no official data has been obtained yet to measure the number of rides being called for every day. He said one of the goals is to offer students and staff members discounts during high travel times in the near future.

“This partnership is beneficial for many reasons and all were considered while working out the details of the agreement,” Emmerich said. “Providing students and staff with a safe and reliable way to explore Long Island is certainly one of the main focuses of this partnership. In addition, we are excited that Uber can offer our fans the convenience to be picked up and dropped off right next to our athletic facilities, so they can enjoy our games with friends and family.”

Another hope of the partnership is to ease traffic during games. “Having Uber as a reliable option to get to and from our home games will certainly help with parking and provide fans the opportunity to be dropped off right next to our facilities,” Emmerich said.

The university is working on pickup and drop-off zones for Seawolves fans, and the locations will be finalized shortly. Currently, the Competition Automotive Gate #2 of LaValle Stadium is the designated pickup and drop-off point during the university’s lacrosse season, according to Emmerich.

“Teaming up with Stony Brook will allow us to provide an improved and convenient Uber experience for those traveling to and from games and around campus,” said Sarfraz Maredia, Uber’s regional general manager for the Northeast United States in a statement. “Together, we will make sure students, fans, alumni and faculty have access to affordable, reliable rides.”