Village Times Herald

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.”

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Taylor Tripptree races ahead of the pack and drives the lane for the layup in the Patriots' 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With 10 players contributing to the score and more than half the points coming from three-pointers alone, the Ward Melville girls’ basketball team had no problem cruising to a 56-18 win over William Floyd Tuesday.

“We worked well together,” junior guard Hannah Lorenzen said. “We really stepped up our defense, and we have a lot of shooting guards that can make threes; we did that pretty well today.”

Kira Sells nails one of her four three-pointers on the evening in the Patriots' 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kira Sells nails one of her four three-pointers on the evening in the Patriots’ 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Patriots started the game off by scoring eight straight points, with senior forward Heidi Scarth scoring half of them. The team was stealing passes and forcing William Floyd turnovers, but the Colonials bounced back to score five straight points.

Ward Melville re-extended its lead by the end of the first quarter, with senior guard Kira Sells and junior guard and forward Taylor Tripptree knocking down a three-pointer apiece to give their team a commanding 14-5 lead.

“It’s definitely one of our strongest points to our game,” Sells said of scoring three-pointers. “I know I could do better. So I’m just working on getting better every game.”

Sells did do one better, though.

After Shannon Berry banked three field goals to swing the tempo of the game, Sells swished two more treys to help her team further its lead to 30-10 by halftime.

Lorenzen said her teammates did a good job of passing outside if they couldn’t enter the paint.

“It does help a lot, because if we can’t penetrate through the paint, we can kick it and depend on our shooting guards to make the threes, which helps us get ahead,” she said.

But Ward Melville head coach Bruce Haller said a team that wants to go up against the best-of-the-best in Suffolk County, like Brentwood, Longwood, Sachem East and the county-best Commack, would need to play with a more balanced attack.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” he said. “The three is a great weapon, but if you fall too much in love with it and your three isn’t going in that particular game, now what? It’s all or nothing. That’s why we’re focusing on getting the ball inside a little more and getting some second shots. When those threes get missed, someone needs to be hitting the board from the weak side to get some putbacks.”

Hannah Lorenzen remains in control as she sets up a play in the Patriots' 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Hannah Lorenzen remains in control as she sets up a play in the Patriots’ 56-18 win over William Floyd on Jan. 12. Photo by Desirée Keegan

What did work for the team, though, was getting enough ahead that more bench players were able to see minutes.

“The kids work really hard in practice all the time and it’s nice to get them out on the court, get them some playing time and have them make some shots,” he said. “We have a very talented, deep group.”

Six of the 10 players that scored on that deep roster banked trifectas, and 31 of the team’s total points came from the five bench players that scored.

Bre Cohn and Maggie Zanone came off the bench in the fourth to score six points and three points, respectively, while stealing passes and dishing assists to close out the scoring for the game.

“We’re all close on and off the court,” Lorenzen said. “We have classes together, eat lunch together — so we’re all friends.”

Haller said his team has come a long way, making the decision to come together and step up to replace the injured freshman leading scorer from last year’s team: Lauren Hansen.

“They could have felt sorry for themselves,” he said. “Instead, a number of players are stepping up and taking over responsibilities or a bit of a different role that we didn’t anticipate them having in the preseason, and they’ve done a good job of it. Instead, they decided that they’re going to make a run for this thing.”

Setauket firefighters get set with a ladder to approach the second floor dormitory fire area as soon as interior firefighters put water on the fire to extinguish flames. Photo from SFD/R. O'Rourk

A serious dormitory blaze at Stony Brook University has Brookhaven Town’s supervisor calling for fire safety reforms.

The fire broke out on Saturday, Nov. 21, in a student’s room on the second floor of O’Neill College — one of four residential buildings in Mendelsohn Quad — forcing about 115 students to relocate to temporary housing, the university said in a statement.

Setauket Fire Department responded to the call and received mutual aid from Stony Brook, St. James and Port Jefferson departments, but officials soon discovered that they had to carry hoses up to the second floor because there were no standpipes there to connect to due to the building’s decades-old architecture, the Setauket Fire Department said in a statement.

While the flames were eventually tamed, the incident still sparked Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) to call on the university to upgrade its fire protection systems and to contribute to the cost of fire protection.

The fire is extinguished but a clean-up of debris from the room continues to ensure no hidden flames exist. Photo from SFD/R. O'Rourk
The fire is extinguished but a clean-up of debris from the room continues to ensure no hidden flames exist. Photo from SFD/R. O’Rourk

In a statement provided to Times Beacon Record Newspapers, Romaine said that O’Neill College was built more than five decades ago and was outfitted with a fire alarm system that only warns of a fire, without a sprinkler system to combat it. He said the university lacked necessary fire-prevention measures, like a standpipe system in the building, to allow firefighters to access water for their hoses.

Romaine also noted that the most recently built dormitories at SBU include fire alarms and sprinkler systems, which he said would have prevented the size and magnitude of the fire at O’Neill.

“Two lessons emerge from this fire,” Romaine said. “First, Stony Brook University needs to upgrade the system in the dormitories that lack these essential fire protection systems. Second, New York State and the university should contribute to the cost of fire protection; it should not be borne by the taxpayers of Stony Brook and Setauket Fire Districts alone.”

A spokesman for the Setauket Fire Department said the cause of the fire was still under investigation and there were no reported injuries.

The SBU campus resides within the Setauket, Stony Brook and St. James fire districts, the university’s environmental health and safety department said.

Lauren Sheprow, a spokeswoman for Stony Brook University, said the university was operating in full compliance with state building code requirements and that all campus residence halls were equipped with “state-of-the-art fire alarm systems that are monitored 24/7 at university police headquarters.”

Over recent years, Sheprow said, SBU has taken administrative, engineering and educational steps to reduce fire alarms, minimize the impact on nearby fire departments and facilitate its own emergency response.

“At Stony Brook, student safety is a top priority and we take that responsibility very seriously,” she said in a statement. “The university has implemented numerous initiatives over the years to enhance fire safety and prevention and to reduce unnecessary response by community fire departments to the campus. The university has a great deal of respect for the community volunteers who dedicate their time to fire emergencies — in fact many of these volunteers work at Stony Brook University — and we are grateful for the swift response in November.”

The university’s most recent annual fire report and statistics reported eight fires throughout 2014, across all on-campus residence halls, resulting in a total of $20 worth of property damage. Most of the incidents were reported as grease fires, and none of the eight occurred at O’Neill College, where the most recent reported incident before this dated back to two trash can fires in 2013.

Erin Schroeder, co-producer of “Distiller,” left, poses with her husband, Andy Schroeder, after the film’s Long Island premiere screening. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Milk doesn’t just build strong bones, it also builds strong ghosts — at least in “Distiller.” During the Long Island premiere screening of H.A.M. Studio’s “Distiller,” on Jan. 8 on the lower level of the Emma S. Clark Library in Setauket, residents saw these ghosts wreak havoc in the film. This followed the world premiere on Jan. 2 at the Proctor Theatre in New York City.

Despite the smaller venue, director, co-writer and co-producer Andy Schroeder of Port Jefferson Station, said he can breathe a little easier. “It’s a huge weight off my shoulders,” Andy said after the screening on Friday. “Now [my wife and I] could just enjoy getting to see audience members enjoy it.”

Andy’s wife Erin co-produced the film, which features scenes shot in Port Jefferson and at the Emma S. Clark Library. The film highlights ghost hunter Matthew Moon, who captures ghosts in liquor bottles until his mysterious disappearance. Twenty years later, Moon’s niece, Blue, inherits her uncle’s belongings only to get a ghoulish surprise once she opens the bottles.

“It had elements of a lot of different movies,” Mark Rothenberg said after seeing the film.  “They put [the scenes] together nicely and it had a lot of [scenes] from the area. It was good to see Long Island getting some recognition.”

Rothenberg’s wife, Carolyn Emerson, a reference librarian at the library, added that the antiquity of the library added to the ambiance of the film, especially considering the history of the library. According to Emerson, before the library was established, the property housed a general store that sold coffins.

Rothenberg and Emerson weren’t the only ones to like the film and its “old-school” graphics. Mike O’Connor and Michelle Tommaso of Smithtown also enjoyed the film’s special effects.

“All of the creatures, they were fantastic,” Tommaso said about the film’s ghosts. “It was really depressing when they tore open the little teddy bear and crawled inside of it, but it was also terrifying and really wacky how everything was moving.”

In the film, a freed ghost tailors Blue Moon’s old stuffed teddy bear and wears it as a costume to get around Moon’s home. The ghost, like others in the film, was a puppet designed for the film. The Schroeders stuck to tangible props like puppets to make the film more authentic. Andy also said this old school approach is more appealing for its authenticity and for the actors — the actors can use the real props to help further their performance on screen.

Andy started writing the script in 2012 with writing partner Steve Sacco. The cast and crew started filming in 2012. The film wasn’t the only project the Schroeders were working on. They also created posters and small comic strips for the film’s premiere screenings this month. Residents who attended the premiere could take a poster and some comics after the film ended.

While Andy has no plans for a sequel, he said he intends to produce more films in the future. “All our ideas are sort of similar … not the ideas for the story, but the tone,” he said. “We want to do something that’s sort of for everybody.”

Residents who couldn’t make the premiere screenings can purchase the film on iTunes and Amazon Prime for $12.99 and on Google Play for $9.99. They can also rent it on Google Play for $3.99.

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.”

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The Smith homestead at 55 Main St., also known as the old house on the hill. The black walnut tree in the rear yard that was a spindly shrub in 1910 was destroyed in the Aug. 4, 2015 storm. Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

One of the most common names connected with the history of the Three Village area is Smith. Records compiled by Leroy and Alvin Smith indicate that there were four Smith families who settled in Setauket in the 17th century.

The first to arrive was Richard “Bull” Smith who came from Southampton in 1656 and who later founded Smithtown, then known as Smithfield, in 1663. The next to settle in Setauket was Arthur Smith, a Quaker, who was admitted as a townsman in December 1659. Arthur had left Southold to avoid further punishment for being a Quaker and evidently found a more receptive and tolerant community in Setauket. He was also probably well known to the men from Southold who had founded Setauket in 1655.

Robert Smith was the next to arrive, coming from Southold in 1667. Robert, who had lived close to Arthur there, was probably a relative but no relationship has been established. Town records indicate that Robert and Arthur lived near each other in Setauket as well. Robert sold his entire estate in October 1682 and left no known descendants.

The fourth Smith to settle in Setauket was Col. William “Tangier” Smith who arrived about 1689. Smith settled on what is now Strong’s Neck and built his home, which he called St. George’s Manor. When his great-granddaughter Anna Smith married Selah Strong, the neck passed to the Strong family (“Three Village Guidebook,” No. 88). In addition to Strong, the descendants of “Tangier” Smith include many other early Three Village families. The colonel and his wife Martha had a total of 13 children but only six are known to have produced future generations. In addition to the Strongs, the family genealogy includes the Woodhulls, Mounts, Brewsters, Hulses and many others including some of the descendants of “Bull” Smith.

Arthur Smith and his wife Martha, who had settled in Setauket in 1659, had four known sons:

• The first, Thomas, was born about 1646 and died about 1685. He was married to Joanna Longbotham of Setauket and had at least one son, Thomas.

• A second son, John, was born before 1649. He had a wife named Rebecca and at least two children, Deborah and John.

• Third son, Benjamin, was born about 1655 and produced one son, Benjamin Jr. Benjamin Sr. is thought to have been the builder of the Smith homestead.

• The fourth son, Arthur Jr., was born sometime before 1659 and had at least three sons: Arthur, Daniel and Samuel.

The majority of the known descendants of Arthur Smith, the Quaker, are descended from his grandson Daniel. Daniel had eight children, four of whom died single. Many of the descendants of Daniel’s other children are still living in the Three Villages.

Daniel married Mary Thompson, daughter of Samuel and Hannah Thompson in 1720. Daniel was Brookhaven Town treasurer in 1733-37 and then town clerk until 1775. Town meetings were held at the Smith home and thus the house was the seat of town government for many years. Daniel died July 31, 1784, and his son Timothy, born Sept. 3, 1730, inherited the homestead (“Three Village Guidebook,” No. 76). Timothy, who married Zurviah Smith, is believed to have lived with his wife and children in the homestead by 1766. During the American Revolution, as detailed by descendant Julia Smith, Timothy outwitted the British — who searched his home many times — by hiding his guns in the foundation of the house and his gold in tobacco leaves.

The Smith homestead has undergone many changes since it was built circa 1685. It was thought to have had a long sloping — or catslide — roof, possibly added about 1705, making it known as a saltbox house. However, the general architecture and timber-frame construction leave many unanswered questions. There is no doubt that the house grew and changed, much as the family grew and changed. It remained the Smith homestead until the last family member in the house died in 1948, a period of continuous occupation for more than 250 years.

Amos, son of Timothy and Zurviah, inherited the farm and homestead when his father died in 1790. His mother continued to live in the house until her death in 1809. As detailed in an old account book, Amos undertook repairs to the house in 1796 and in 1801 “built new end to the house.” It is quite possible that this “new end” was built for the comfort of Amos’ mother Zurviah.

Amos was a successful farmer and served as the Brookhaven Town tax collector in 1805-10. He also served as one of the town constables in 1803-12. Amos was a slaveholder according to “Records of the Town of Brookhaven from 1798 to 1856,” page 91), and a note attached to the family bible that read: “Amos Smith made return that he had a female Child Born of a Slave of his on the 12th Day of March 1803. Childs name is Cloe.” The bible note for March 1824 lists the two children of Cloe, who by then was a freed slave.

In 1810 Amos, age 40, married Ruth Bennett, age 23, and the couple raised four children: Harriet, Isaac, Timothy and Julia Ann. Amos added 40 acres in Stony Brook in 1806 and another 10 acres in 1821; he also held deed to another 40 acres. In 1826, Amos was elected as one of 36 town fence viewers and retained the position until it was incorporated into the jobs of the commissioners of highways in 1830. He died on Christmas Eve 1844, and wife Ruth died July 13, 1852; they are buried in Caroline Church graveyard just west of the entrance walk.

Isaac J. Smith (1813-81), son of Amos and Ruth, was the only child to outlive his parents. He married Sarah Ann Petty (1824-95) in February 1844 and inherited the family homestead after his father’s death. Isaac was a militia captain and the homestead became known as the Major Isaac Smith house. Isaac was an avid horseman and loved to race. As detailed by Miss Kate Strong, Smith was overtaken by a horse and light rig, made a challenge and won the race. He had not realized that he had challenged Robert Bonner, editor of the New York Ledger and a superb horseman. Bonner said, “I could not spoil his fun by beating him, he was having such a good time.”

Isaac and Sarah had, according to family information, as many as fourteen children, a number of whom died young and are buried near their parents in the Caroline Church cemetery. Piecing together family census and church records we can confirm at least 12. The three unmarried children who lived in the homestead well into the 20th century were Emily Sarah (1850-1937), who was known as Aunt Em to her sister’s children; William Lawrence (1865-1938); and Julia Sophia (1863-1948), known as Miss Julia Smith in the community. Julia told many stories about her family and the homestead. A number of these stories were told to Kate Strong, who included them in her “True Tales” written for the Long Island Forum.

As detailed by Arthur Smith descendant Elinore Bryant, about 1990, there were papers and deeds found in the house along with notes and articles written by Julia Smith; an old account book found in the attic; the Brookhaven tax book of 1806; and a paper fastened to the family bible describing the birth of family slaves. These are all, hopefully, still in possession of family members. Bryant wrote that there were “many beautiful pieces of 17th- and 18th-century furniture … still in use when Miss Julia Smith occupied the house.” She also noted that when the house was sold in 1948, many of Daniel Smith’s tools — “(he) was a cordwainer (shoemaker) by trade” — were still in the shed.

Today the Smith homestead, a community treasure, is being lovingly and carefully restored. Sections of the house reflect the different family needs that occurred as each generation of Smiths added to the home and changed it. Many of these alterations now present a somewhat confusing array of disparate modifications, all of which make understanding the history of the house more interesting and challenging. However, most of the major changes to the house occurred during the first two centuries of its existence. As a result the house, as a home, reflects in many ways the lifestyle of the colonial period.

As Bryant wrote, “To cross the threshold over the old mill stone, was to enter another world. The old floorboards glow in the kitchen with the patina of three centuries, while beneath the wide-throated chimney huge black kettles and utensils hang on the crane, a reminder of the daily chores of the colonial housewife.”

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian.

Fire in the hole
A 21-year-old man from Deer Park was arrested on Jan. 2 at 3:30 a.m. after police said he hit a fire hydrant while driving a 2001 Nissan Altima on Commack Road in Dix Hills and fled the scene. He was charged with operating a motor vehicle and leaving the scene with property damage.

He’ll be watching you
Police said a 39-year-old man from West Babylon was sending threatening and stalking emails to someone on West Hills Road in West Hills. He was arrested at the 2nd Precinct on Dec. 29 and charged with fourth-degree stalking at employment.

Crazy stuff on Asylum Avenue
On Jan. 2, a 23-year-old man from Coram was arrested after police said he had marijuana in plain view while sitting in a 2005 Cadillac on Asylum Avenue in Huntington just after 7 p.m. He was charged with third-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Catching up on some z’s
Police said a 31-year-old man from Harlem was asleep at the wheel in a 2014 Chevy Suburban with the engine running in the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway at 6:20 a.m. on Jan. 1. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest after refusing to put his hands behind his back.

Story not checking out
A 25-year-old woman from Bay Shore was arrested on Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. at the 2nd Precinct for multiple incidents of forging checks. She was charged with four counts of second-degree possession of forged instruments for using forged checks at multiple Chase banks in Commack, North Babylon and Bay Shore from September through December.

High times
On Dec. 31, a 23-year-old woman from Nesconset was arrested after police said she had suboxone in her possession at 2 p.m. on New York Avenue in Huntington. She was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

A 53-year-old man from Melville was arrested on Dec. 27 after police said he drove on a driveway and front lawn of a residence on Route 25A in Huntington and caused damage. He was charged with criminal mischief with intent to damage property.

Sneaking some sneaks
On Dec. 26, a 25-year-old man from Central Islip was arrested after police said he stole Macy’s gift cards and three pairs of sneakers from Macy’s on Walt Whitman Road in Huntington at noon.

Hit and run
A 17-year-old woman from Commack was arrested on Jan. 3 at 5:20 a.m. after police said she hit a pedestrian while driving a 2011 Nissan on Piave Terrace in Lindenhurst. She was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and first-degree failure to show license or identification.

Razor sharp senses
Police said an unknown person stole razors from a CVS on Main Street in Smithtown on Jan. 2 at 8:20 p.m.

Cocaine bust
On Jan. 2 a 34-year-old man from Patchogue was arrested at 4:15 p.m. after police stopped him on Morewood Drive in Commack for a bench warrant and then discovered he had cocaine in his possession. He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Charged for cards
Police said a 20-year-old man from Commack stole gift cards from Best Buy in Commack over a two-month period. He was arrested on Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. and charged with petit larceny.

Not just the remote is lost
On Dec. 29 a 22-year-old man from Dix Hills was arrested after police said he stole a television from Walmart on Crooked Hill Road in Commack at 12:20 p.m. He was charged with petit larceny.

Someone else’s plastic
A 29-year-old man from Smithtown was arrested on Dec. 31 after police said he made purchases on a stolen credit card. He was arrested at 11 p.m. at the 4th Precinct and charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a credit card.

To the point
Police said a 25-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested for being in possession of a hypodermic needle inside a 2001 Nissan at 11:20 a.m. on Dec. 30. He was charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Lights out
A 47-year-old man from Commack was arrested on Dec. 25 and charged with first-degree operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs. Police said he was driving a 2002 Ford pickup truck on Joyce Lane at 3 a.m. when they pulled him over for having a light out and then discovered he was driving while on drugs.

Can’t phone home
Police said two cell phones were stolen from Walmart on Crooked Hill Road in Commack on Jan. 3 shortly after noon.

On Jan. 2 a 22-year-old woman from Holbrook was arrested on Route 25 in Smithtown at 3 a.m. after police said she was speeding in a 2005 Pontiac and then discovered she was driving while on drugs. She was charged with first-degree operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs.

Not quite on target
A 28-year-old woman from Wyandanch was arrested on Jan. 3 at noon for stealing assorted merchandise from Target on Veterans Memorial Highway in Smithtown. She was charged with petit larceny.

Drifting to jail
On Dec. 29, an East Setauket resident was driving a 2006 Jeep west on Route 347 in Port Jefferson Station when he failed to maintain his lane. Police discovered the man was intoxicated and arrested him on the corner of Route 347 and Jayne Boulevard. The 33-year-old was charged with driving while ability impaired. He was previously convicted on similar charges 10 years ago.

Quest for the card thief
A 29-year-old man from Coram was arrested for grand larceny on Dec. 27, after he stole a credit card from an unlocked 2010 Chevrolet. The incident took place on Piedmont Drive in Port Jefferson Station, but police arrested the man on Montclair Street.

Drive away home
Police arrested a 21-year-old Port Jefferson woman on Jan. 2 for unauthorized use of a car. Police said she took a 2003 Lincoln Navigator out of a shared driveway around 4:04 a.m. and was arrested later that day at her Laurita Gate home.

Gimme a break
A man from Miller Place was arrested for criminal mischief on Dec. 29, after police said the 40-year-old broke a glass window to enter a residence on Woodhull Landing Road in Miller Place around 11:25 a.m. The man also allegedly gave the wrong name to officials just prior to his arrest.

Wantagh go to jail
Police arrested a Wantagh man on Jan. 1 for driving while ability impaired in a 2012 Nissan after he got into a crash while going south on Howell Avenue in Centereach. Officials discovered the 28-year-old was intoxicated. Police arrested him at 3:39 a.m., less than 30 minutes after the crash.

Boozy breakfast
On Jan. 1, police arrested a 26-year-old woman from Centereach for driving while ability impaired. Around 8:48 a.m., the woman was driving a 2006 Nissan when she got into a crash near the Sunoco station on Middle Country Road. Police at the scene discovered the woman was intoxicated and arrested her.

An early morning stroll
Police said an 18-year-old Selden man was shouting obscenities on Jan. 1 before trespassing at the 7-Eleven on Middle Country Road in Selden. Police arrested the man for trespassing at the scene.

On Jan. 1 at 3:30 a.m., a resident living on Christian Avenue in Stony Brook was throwing a party when several unknown, uninvited guests struck and broke the glass front door and window of the home. Police didn’t specify what they used to cause the damage.

Pound it
Police arrested a 23-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station for criminal possession of a weapon at the Centereach Mall on Jan. 1, after they found him in possession of brass knuckles.

King of the road
On Jan. 2, a 52-year-old man from Rocky Point was arrested for driving while ability impaired. According to police, the man was speeding in a 1995 GMC north on Kings Walk and failed to stay to the right on the road.

Stopped and seized
A 20-year-old man from Sound Beach was arrested on Jan. 1 for criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police had made a traffic stop on Madison Street in Rocky Point and discovered the man was in possession of drugs. Police didn’t specify why the man was originally stopped.

The same old steal
On Jan. 2, someone entered the Old Fields Restaurant on Wynn Lane in Port Jefferson and stole an iPod and license from the business.

Toy troubles
According to police, someone entered the Kohl’s in Setauket-East Setauket and concealed a toy set in their bag. The incident happened on Dec. 30 at 9:54 p.m.

Food for the winter
An unidentified person took groceries from a store on Nesconset Highway in Mount Sinai on Dec. 29.

On the fence
On Dec. 28, a resident living on Kingston Road in Mount Sinai reported that someone damaged the house’s PVC fence and fence posts between 11 and 11:20 a.m.

Pumped for pickpocketing
An unknown person broke the passenger window of a 2005 Jeep parked in the LA Fitness parking lot in Port Jefferson Station. Police said a wallet was stolen. The incident happened on Dec. 31 around 6 p.m.

Finance this
Police said an unknown person broke a window at Soloway Agency on Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station on Jan. 1, at 4:25 a.m.

Beauty knows no bounds
On Jan. 2, someone took body spray and hair products from the Walgreens on Middle Country Road in Selden.

Ward Melville at the Stony Brook Village Center, circa 1950s. Photo from WMHO

Long before there were the Gates and the Zuckerbergs of the world, there was Ward Melville.

A major Long Island philanthropist and national business leader, the scope of Ward Melville’s generosity and vision included significant restoration of historic structures, purchase and preservation of environmental and commercial properties, education and countless other endeavors.

Ward Melville’s dream was to create a “living Williamsburg,” a place where history and culture would blend with natural beauty. Along with architect Richard Haviland Smythe, he designed what was to become the first planned business community in America, the Stony Brook Village Center. The Three Village area — Stony Brook, Setauket and Old Field — has been forever changed because of this forward-thinking benefactor.

Melville was president of Melville Corporation, the third largest retailer in the United States with some 10,000 stores, which owned Thom McAn Shoes, Marshall’s, CVS Pharmacies, Kay-Bee Toys, Wilson’s Leather and Suede and more. He also donated the very land that today houses one of our nation’s leading research institutions, Stony Brook University.

The Stony Brook Community Fund, now the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO), was founded in 1939. On Jan. 19, 1940, Ward Melville hosted a dinner at the Three Village Inn to present his plan for the future of Stony Brook Village. On Jan. 19, 2016, this milestone will be commemorated at the Three Village Inn where it all began to “Celebrate What Was … Be Part of What’s To Come.”

Starting at 6 p.m. with live music by The Tom Manuel Trio, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dessert and coffee, guests will enjoy the same menu from 1940, hear Melville’s original speech and see the original model of the village. There will even be chocolate cigars in place of real ones enjoyed in the day.

The evening continues with an 8 p.m. sneak preview of The Jazz Loft next door, which will soon showcase a historic collection of over 10,000 items of jazz memorabilia and serve as an education and jazz performance venue as well. This 6,000-square-foot structure, formerly the site of the Suffolk Museum, now the Long Island Museum, was another of Melville’s philanthropic works. Bringing this culture to Stony Brook Village is a case of history repeating itself while looking toward the future.

During the ‘50s and ‘60s, the likes of Tony Bennett and Lionel Hampton performed at the Dogwood Hollow Amphitheatre in the very spot where WMHO’s Educational & Cultural Center now stands in Stony Brook Village. The vision that Ward Melville had over 75 years ago still resonates today and the results of his efforts on behalf of the citizens of Stony Brook and beyond, both economically and culturally, will continue to touch generations for many years to come.

Tickets are $125 per person and seating is limited. Proceeds will benefit The Jazz Loft. For further information call 631-751-2244 or register online at