Village Times Herald

Jeff Carlson outlines budget figures. Photo by Andrea Moore Paldy

As school districts begin to move into budget-planning season, the Three Village board will be making decisions with one less board member.

Susanne Mendelson, a trustee since 2010, resigned Wednesday night, saying she wanted to focus on her master’s program in speech language pathology. Her term expires at the end of June.

As far as the budget goes, the forecast looks good and will include staff increases. Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services, told school board members that there will be no reductions to programs and services in a bid to meet the cap on the tax levy increase.

While the cap for the 2016-17 year is 2.41 percent, state aid will increase by $4.4 million, Carlson said. Of that increase, $2.9 million is building aid that is tied to the district’s construction bond, which was passed in 2014. Carlson said that the final number on state aid usually increases with the approved state budget.

Even so, New York school districts are still losing aid to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), a measure that deducts money from aid packages to fund the state’s budget. Though the State Senate has voted to eliminate the GEA, the Assembly has yet to vote on the bill. Three Village expects to lose $2.3 million to the GEA for the coming school year. This is down from last year’s $3.3 million. Since the inception of the GEA, the district has lost $34.7 million in aid, which is about $2,576 for the average taxpayer, Carlson said.

He said the plan for next school year includes decreasing dependency on the assigned fund balance, money left over from the previous year and used as revenue to balance the current budget. Currently, $2 million is being used from the fund balance, a decrease from the previous year. Carlson explained that by decreasing the sum allocated from the assigned fund balance, the district will save more money to handle budgetary issues that might arise due to “tax cap issues.”

At the end of the 2015 fiscal year, the district had $17.4 million in its unassigned fund balance — a “rainy day” fund for emergencies — and restricted funds — money designated for specific uses such as workers compensation and unemployment insurance funds.

The continued decline in enrollment at the elementary level — the district anticipates 110 to 120 fewer students — means that 3.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching positions will be reassigned to math academic intervention services (AIS), based on need, at the five elementary schools, Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said.

The secondary level will see an increase of 1.6 FTE positions to rebuild the business department and put back courses such as virtual enterprises and web design. Those “reflect 21st century learning,” Pedisich said. There will also be a .4 increase for American Sign Language.

Additionally, the district plans to add computer science instruction and writing centers at both junior highs. Pedisich said the approximately 60-student decline will mean that existing staff can cover the new programs. The writing center at the high school will get additional staff, a .4 FTE increase. The district will also bring in a technology lead and a special education mentor/behavioral consultant.  Neither of those positions will require additional staffing.

Other staffing changes include a floating nurse — one FTE — an assistant director of facilities, and an addition of 2 FTEs for clerical staff.

Carlson explained that improvements to buildings and property are excluded from the tax cap so that they don’t compete with educational programs. Proposed projects for the next school budget year include reconfiguring the Setauket Elementary School bus loop for better traffic flow, adding air conditioners to the elementary school auditoriums and junior high cafeterias and a generator at W.S. Mount Elementary School.

The budget is set to be adopted on April 13 and the hearing is scheduled for May 4. The public will vote on the budget and select a replacement for Mendelson on May 17.

Mendelson read her resignation letter early in the meeting.

“I have always valued public education and have worked enthusiastically to help ensure that the students of today and tomorrow will have at least — if not more than — what my peers and I were privileged to experience here in Three Village,” she said as she read her letter.

“I must lead by example, and make my own education paramount at this time.”

Mendelson, who has a son in junior high, promised to remain involved with the district as both a parent and a member of the community.

A plane that crash-landed in Hauppauge was still at the scene a few days later. Photo by Greg Pereira

By Phil Corso & Elana Glowatz

For the second time in the last couple of weeks, a plane with engine problems made an emergency landing on the North Shore.

The Suffolk County Police Department said a passenger plane flying into Republic Airport in Farmingdale on Saturday afternoon experienced engine failure while flying at 2,000 feet. The pilot, who was with his daughter and returning from visiting colleges, deployed the plane’s parachute at 1,500 feet before crash-landing at an industrial park in Hauppauge.

According to police, after the plane landed just feet from a building on Marcus Boulevard, the pilot pulled his passenger out of the plane. Police said both father and daughter refused medical attention.

The crash-landing happened exactly two weeks after another in Suffolk County, which occurred when a small plane carrying four people experienced engine trouble and went down in Setauket Harbor near Poquott. That incident did not end as safely.

The Piper PA-28, which had taken off from Fitchburg, Mass., and was heading for Republic Airport in Farmingdale, went down on the night of Feb. 20. All four people exited the plane into the water, police said, but only three were rescued. Authorities are still searching for the fourth passenger, 23-year-old Queens man Gerson Salmon-Negron.

The county police said its marine bureau has been out on the water daily, weather permitting, during daylight hours in search of the man both via the surface on boats and using side scan sonar to scan the floor of the water.

At the time the plane was having engine trouble, a student pilot identified as 25-year-old Bronx resident Austricio Ramirez was flying it and turned over the controls to his instructor, 36-year-old Queens resident Nelson Gomez.

Wady Perez, a 25-year-old from Queens, was identified as the other man rescued from the water that night.

Suffolk police were receiving help from the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Coast Guard, local fire departments and the town harbormaster in the rescue, missing person search and investigation in that February incident.

In a report released this week, the NTSP said that aircraft reported low amounts of fuel and had been operated for about five hours since its tank was last filled. The report said the plane’s engine “sputtered” as it approached the Port Jefferson area, spurring the flight instructor to turn on the electric fuel pump and instructing his student pilot to switch the fuel selector to the plane’s left fuel tank as it flew at around 2,000 feet. The sputtering stopped, but started up again about three minutes later, the NTSB said, and then lost power.

That was when the pilot instructor took control of the plane and tried heading to the shoreline, where he believed the plane could safely land, the NTSB report said. But the pilot was unable to see the shoreline due to the darkness and could only guess where the shoreline began by the lights inside of nearby houses, the report said.

He held the plane off of the water for as long as he could before touching down and instructing everyone to grab a life vest and exit the plane, the NTSB said. Neither the student pilot nor the passengers, however, were wearing life vests when they exited the plane, the report said. Emergency personnel were on the scene within minutes and rescued three of the four men.

The airplane floated in the water for about five minutes before sinking nose-first to the bottom of the harbor, the NTSB said.

Divers with the Suffolk County Police Department plunge into Setauket Harbor after a plane crash-landed on Feb. 20. Photo from Margo Arceri
Divers with the Suffolk County Police Department plunge into Setauket Harbor after a plane crash-landed on Feb. 20. Photo from Margo Arceri

Ken Rogers makes his way down a residential street as he gets his body ready for a big walk later this spring. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Ken Rogers of Stony Brook couldn’t walk for the first four years of his life. But this year, he’s walking for a cause — all the way to Brooklyn.

Rogers, whose cerebral palsy affected his ability to walk in his youth, is training to walk 50 miles on May 19 from his Stony Brook residence to Canarsie Pier in his hometown. While the three-day walk will help raise money for the American Cancer Society, Rogers is also walking to honor his high school friend, Russell Donovan, who lost his battle with cancer last February. Donovan lived in Wading River at the time.

“We did everything together,” said Rogers, 64, about Donovan and long-time friend Eddie Troise.

The trio started smoking cigarettes at 15 years old because it “was the cool thing to do in the 60s,” according to Rogers. But he said he believed the bad habit contributed to Donovan’s condition. Donovan, of Wading River, was diagnosed with prostate cancer around 2010, before it spread to his lungs. Troise and Rogers suffered from their own health complications over the years. Around five years ago Troise suffered a major stroke. Rogers was also diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer.

Although Rogers is currently healthy, he wants to raise awareness about the drawbacks of smoking tobacco and hopes residents will donate for his cause.

“It’s one of the hardest things to break … because it takes a lot of determination,” said Rogers about quitting smoking, which he did around 30 years ago, after his son was born.

Over the past months, he’s raised 15 percent of his $1,200 goal. He hopes to reach his goal before he treks to Canarsie Pier, a place he, Donovan and Troise frequented in their youth.

Ken Rogers makes his way down a residential street as he gets his body ready for a big walk later this spring. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Ken Rogers makes his way down a residential street as he gets his body ready for a big walk later this spring. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Bonnie Schulz is one of many residents who donated to support Rogers’ cause. The two met around 14 years ago through Setauket Presbyterian Church. Schulz learned of the 50-mile walk when Rogers presented the idea last fall for the church’s Peace & Justice Committee.

“I thought it was very admirable and that he’s very passionate about [his cause],” Schulz said.

Rogers walks between six and 12 miles daily. Depending on the weather, he hopes to walk from his residence to Sayville this coming weekend to help him further prepare for May.

Karen Carroll is one of a few people who showed interest in joining Rogers for his three-day walk. An avid walker herself, she said she was interested because the walk spans a few days.

Carroll met Rogers at the church around a decade ago. According to Carroll, Rogers isn’t a stranger to giving back to his community. Several years ago he helped establish a community garden at the church for all residence in the area.

“He’s a really integral part of the church,” said Carroll about Rogers and his commitment to the church. “He’s just a good hearted helpful man.”

Although Carroll hasn’t donated yet, she added she’d simply donate because of who Rogers is and not only because of his cause.

His projects even surprise his wife, Arlene. The couple met in school when they were 15 years old. The duo started dating three years later.

“He’s had a lot of [health] battles,” she said. “[But] he overcame that; he overcame prostate cancer. He keeps going. He just keeps a-lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.”

For Rogers, trudging on is simply in his nature.

“They told my parents I had cerebral palsy and I’d probably never walk,” Rogers said. “But I am walking today.”

And nothing is getting in his way.

Hollister hoodwinked

A 34-year-old man from Brentwood was arrested at about noon on Feb. 27 at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove for stealing men’s apparel from Hollister, according to police. He was charged with petit larceny and third-degree burglary. Police said the latter charge was included because he previously signed an agreement that he would not enter the store.

Something smells fitchy

Cologne was stolen from Abercrombie & Fitch at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove on Feb. 27. Police charged a 28-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, both from East Elmhurst, with petit larceny.

Habitually shady thief

On four separate occasions in February, a 36-year-old man from Central Islip allegedly stole sunglasses from the Macy’s at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove. He was arrested on Feb. 27, police said, and charged with four counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.

Police crack down

A 52-year-old woman from Smithtown was arrested on Feb. 27 at a home on Split Cedar Drive in Islandia because she was found to be in possession of crack cocaine, police said. She was charged with loitering while intending to use a controlled substance.

Caught crack-handed

At about 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, a 53-year-old man from Northport was arrested after it was discovered during a traffic stop on Lincoln Boulevard in Hauppauge that he had crack cocaine, according to police. He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

In need of some heel-p

Police said a 35-year-old woman from Centereach was in possession of stolen shoes and a stolen purse from the DSW shoe store on Middle Country Road in Lake Grove. She was arrested on Feb. 26 and charged with petit larceny.

Driving me crazy

A 32-year-old man from Wheatley Heights was arrested at about 10 p.m. on Feb. 26 for driving with a suspended license, following a traffic stop on Motor Parkway in Brentwood, police said. He was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

Pot luck

At about 10 a.m. on Feb. 25, a 44-year-old man from Lake Grove was arrested on Hawkins Avenue in Lake Grove when he was found to be in possession of marijuana, according to police. He was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana in a public place.

Why would you want to stay?

On Feb. 25, at the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency in Hauppauge, a 29-year-old man from Central Islip was arrested after he was asked to leave the office and refused, police said. He was charged with trespassing.

Getting high with gravity

A 32-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested at about 8 a.m. on Feb. 24 after police found him semi-conscious in the driver’s seat of a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Terry Road in Ronkonkoma with the engine running, police said. Police found prescription pills and a gravity knife inside the car. He was charged with first-degree operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon with a previous conviction.

Probation possession

During a probation search of the home of a 36-year-old man on Gardenia Drive in Commack on Feb. 27, police said they found prescription pills in a 2007 BMW. The man was arrested and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The windows on the bus go …

An unknown person broke the glass door of a bus at about 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, while it was parked at the Centereach Academic Center on Wood Road, police said.

Caddy crash

A 27-year-old man was arrested for unlicensed operation of a car on Feb. 28. According to police, the Port Jefferson Station resident was driving a 1995 Cadillac when he got into a crash on the corner of Nesconset Highway and Davis Avenue. Police arrested him at the scene.

60 percent of the time, it works every time

Police arrested a 43-year-old man from Sound Beach for driving while ability impaired on Feb. 25, after an officer pulled him over for driving a 2004 Mazda pickup without his headlights on. The incident happened at 2:35 a.m. on the corner of Route 25A and Panther Path in Miller Place.

He shall not be moved

On Feb. 21, police arrested a man from Islip for trespassing after he entered a residence on Woodland Road in Centereach and refused to leave the family’s attached garage. Police arrested the man around 9:30 p.m.

Leave a message at the beep

A Riverhead resident was arrested on Feb. 26 for petit larceny. Police said the man stole cellphones from Walmart at Centereach Mall. Police arrested him in the Burger King parking lot on Middle Country Road.

An unhappy ending

Police arrested a 50-year-old woman from Flushing for unauthorized practice of a profession and prostitution, after they say she offered a sexual act to an undercover officer in exchange for payment on Feb. 22, at The Pamper Spot on Middle Country Road in Selden. Police said the woman was also giving massages without a license.

They see me rollin’

According to police, on Feb. 22, a 22-year-old woman pulled alongside and entered an empty 2015 Dodge pickup parked in a parking lot near North Belle Mead Road in East Setauket and stole cash from the car. She was allegedly caught in the act and arrested. Police also said the woman had been driving a 2005 Hyundai Sonata without her interlock device.

Living on the Edge

Police arrested a 21-year-old woman from Bayport for driving while ability impaired in a 2007 Ford Edge, after she was heading south on Hollow Road in Stony Brook and got into a car crash. Police discovered the woman was intoxicated and arrested her at the scene, on Feb. 21 around 4:20 a.m.

Wrong kind of shrooms

A 19-year-old man from Coram was arrested for petit larceny on Feb. 20, after police said the teen stole a bag of dried mushrooms from Wild By Nature on Route 25A in East Setauket. Police arrested him at the scene.

Put it on my tab

On Feb. 20 around 4:30 a.m., police arrested a 58-year-old man from Selden for assault after he got into a verbal argument with another man at Darin’s bar on Route 25A in Miller Place. Police said the victim went to the hospital after the suspect hit him with a metal bar stool.

We build it, you knock it down

According to police, someone damaged the window of Riverhead Building Supply on Hallock Avenue in Port Jefferson Station on Feb. 27, between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. The business couldn’t tell if anything was stolen.

CVS swindler

On Feb. 22 around 5 p.m., an unidentified person stole assorted food, vitamins and cosmetics from the CVS pharmacy on Main Street in Port Jefferson.

Watch out for blue shells

Someone stole an electric go-kart on Feb. 21 from a residence on Oxhead Road in Centereach.

We are not Oak-kay

Police said someone entered a residence on Oak Place in Selden through the rear door and stole cash on Feb. 21.

Hummer bummer

Between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 24, someone damaged the rear window of a 2006 Hummer limo. The incident happened on Jackson Avenue in Sound Beach.

He thieved me jewels

Someone entered a residence on Nautilus Road in Rocky Point and stole jewelry. According to police, the homeowner found her back door open on Feb. 25 around 1:03 p.m.

Shark attack

Police said an unidentified person gained access to the Long Island Sound Sharks football field at Shoreham on Feb. 25 and drove across the field. Police said the turf was ruined in the process.

Disaster on Depot

A 48-year-old man from Huntington Station was arrested just after midnight on Feb. 28 after police said he was in possession of cocaine on Depot Road. He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

If I stay or if I go

On Feb. 28, a 21-year-old woman from Huntington Station would not leave Huntington Hospital after being discharged. At 2 a.m., after being repeatedly told she needed to leave, she was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal trespassing.

Pick pocket with pills

Police said a 25-year-old woman from Huntington Station stole cash from someone’s pocket at the Dolan Family Health Center in Huntington on Feb. 28 just before 2:30 a.m. Once police arrested her, they discovered she was in possession of prescription pills without a prescription. She was charged with petit larceny and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Woke up on the wrong side of the road

On Feb. 28, a 59-year-old woman from Northport was arrested while driving a 2010 Jeep on the wrong side of the road on Asharoken Avenue at 4:17 p.m. She was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Drugs, drugs and more drugs

A 25-year-old man from Wading River was arrested on Feb. 28 after police said he was in possession of 11 hypodermic needles, Xanax, heroin and cocaine on Route 25 in Huntington at 5:35 p.m. He was charged with three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of hypodermic instruments.

In need-le of some help

Police said a 22-year-old man from Kings Park had heroin and hypodermic needles in his possession while on Larkfield Road in East Northport at 5:20 p.m. on Feb. 27. He was arrested and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Knuckle sandwich

A 19-year-old woman from Northport was arrested on Feb. 27 on Larkfield Road and 8th Avenue in East Northport after police said she had black plastic knuckles in her possession and heroin. She was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Making a deposit from Home Depot

Police said an unknown person stole assorted tools from Home Depot on Jericho Turnpike in Commack on Feb. 28 at 11:35 a.m.

Mamma mia

An unknown person pushed and shoved a man outside of Little Vincent’s Pizzeria on New York Avenue in Huntington on Feb. 28 and gave the victim two black eyes. The victim was treated at Huntington Hospital for minor injuries.

Everything from shoes to a boob guard

At Sears on Jericho Turnpike in Elwood, an unknown person stole jewelry, cologne, a phone charger, shoes and boob guards on Feb. 28, according to police.

Caught crack-handed

At about 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, a 53-year-old man from Northport was arrested after it was discovered during a traffic stop on Lincoln Boulevard in Hauppauge that he had crack cocaine, according to police. He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Probation possession

During a probation search of the home of a 36-year-old man on Gardenia Drive in Commack on Feb. 27, police said they found prescription pills in a 2007 BMW. The man was arrested and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Councilmembers discuss the public hearing time slot change. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Brookhaven Town is tweaking its board meetings for the sake of efficiency.

Effective the first meeting of May, on May 12, town officials passed a resolution on Feb. 25 that moves the public hearing time to 6 p.m., from its previous 6:30 p.m. time slot. Public hearings used to follow a half-hour board adjournment, but now Brookhaven officials will no longer adjourn prior to the public hearing.

Councilman Dan Panico (R-Manorville) said moving the public hearing will not only help the meetings run smoothly, but also prevent attendees from waiting for the hearing to start. Shifting the time will also help the town save money, as it won’t need to pay Brookhaven employees, excluding management personnel, overtime.

“We don’t want to waste money,” Panico said. “Budgets are tight and we want the Town Board meetings to flow continuously like every governmental meeting should.”

But Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) and residents alike said the time shift will limit community participation during public hearings.

The councilwoman was the only board member who voted against the proposal. She said in her three years in office, she’s witnessed residents running into town hall five minutes after public hearings begin.

“Public hearings are extremely important and we want as many people as possible to come in and be able to voice their opinions,” Cartright said. “Our public hearings here at the Town of Brookhaven are based on either zone changes [or projects based on specific properties], which will affect people in the immediate community.”

On many occasions, there are more Brookhaven employees in attendance in comparison to residents. Many residents also leave the meeting when the town takes a brief adjournment.

According to Town Attorney Annette Eaderesto, zone changes and projects in a particular area or land use plans are brought before the respective civic association before reaching the town. While residents have three minutes to comment on the board’s resolution agenda during public comment, they have five minutes to comment on zone changes and similar issues pertaining to specific properties during public hearing.

Public hearings were initially scheduled for 6:30 p.m. during former Brookhaven Town Supervisor John LaValle’s five years in office. The civic associations requested the time slot to accommodate people’s schedules, Eaderesto said.

Recently, the town has received numerous complaints from senior citizens saying that they’d prefer earlier meetings because they don’t like to travel in the evening. But Mastic Beach resident Jim Gleason said seniors usually attend public hearings, or town board meetings in general, for certain hot-topic issues.

That’s not the case for all residents.

“There have been hearings that I’ve been involved in where people have said, ‘I just can’t get there. It’s too early,’” Gleason said of public hearings. “So if there are people who have trouble getting here at 6:30 p.m., they’re obviously more people who have trouble getting here at 6 p.m.”

But Panico said the town will see what works best and adjust accordingly.

“I think it’s a reasonable move [to change the public hearing time],” Panico said. “And if there’s a need to tweak the time in the future, everyone on [the] board is very reasonable.”

File photo

The path to overcoming opioid addiction will soon be just a phone call away, thanks to a new initiative that the Suffolk County Legislature announced last week.

A new full-service substance abuse hotline will serve as what officials called a lifeline to residents battling drug addiction, which lawmakers have been struggling to address across Long Island for years. To get there, the county teamed up with Stony Brook Medicine and the state’s health department as well as the county’s private and public community partners in the substance abuse field to allow residents to call to get screenings, referrals and follow-ups.

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence will operate the 24-hour hotline and direct callers to those resources. Providing a single phone number to call for a myriad of resources and services is key to assisting those who are battling addiction and their families, officials said.

“Like many places in this country, Suffolk County is facing an opioid epidemic of historic proportions,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said in a statement. “We need to tackle this epidemic on all fronts — including prevention, treatment and law enforcement.”

Bellone said his administration has made it a top priority to “explore and launch new, evidence-based tools” to help address the region’s fight against heroin and opioid use.

“The creation of a local 24/7 hotline is now another tool in our arsenal to assist those who are battling opioid and heroin addiction and their families,” he said.

The hotline will become live by April, Bellone said, and the Suffolk County health department will provide oversight and analyze data to monitor its effectiveness and identify trends and emerging issues in the community.

“Every second counts to a mother whose son or daughter was found and saved from overdosing,” said Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket). The majority leader was the author of several laws credited with preventing more than 1,000 opioid overdoses in Suffolk County since the summer of 2012, including one that gave police access to Narcan, a medicine that stops such overdoses. “And every hour and every day that slips by trying to find quality, affordable, accessible treatment is critical.”

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) said the initiative is essential, as heroin deaths in the county have nearly tripled since 2010.

“This alarming data demands our immediate attention,” he said. “A centralized hotline for people in crisis is a critical step toward saving lives, but we must do more. My colleagues and I look forward to our continued work with both the county executive and officials from Nassau County as together we fight to stem Long Island’s heroin epidemic.”

County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) echoed the same sentiments and said the area’s substance abuse issue was pervasive and touched the lives of more than those who suffered from addiction.

“This initiative will provide [the] opportunity for addicts to reach out during their time of need and access treatment and support options easily,” he said. “Often, there is a critical and brief period of time when a person sees clarity and makes the decision to seek help. This hotline can be fertile ground for change and recovery as it can quickly link residents to crucial health care services.”

The town’s Prom Boutique is open from March 7 to June 17. File photo

Brookhaven Town wants to make prom special even for teenagers who cannot afford it.

The Prom Boutique will open at Brookhaven Town Hall in March “so young ladies who qualify for assistance can be dressed from head to toe, helping to make their prom dreams come true,” according to a press release from the town.

There will be a free selection of gently used gowns, handbags and costume jewelry, as well as makeup and fragrances, between March 7 and June 17. The hours of the second-floor boutique will be Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be special evening hours on March 10, April 7, April 21, May 26 and June 9, which will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Appointments must be made by calling 631-451-8011, and all clients’ identities will be kept confidential.

If anyone is interested in donating clothes and accessories to the initiative, which is an effort of the Department of Housing and Human Services’ Youth Bureau, they can be dropped off at the boutique on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. All clothing must be dry cleaned and pressed before it can be accepted.

Visit for more information.

Stony Brook University’s 2015 Pre-College Concerto winner Samuel Wallach will perform a piano solo at the concert. Photo from Susan Deaver

By Rita J. Egan

The University Orchestra at Stony Brook University is busy rehearsing a fun night of music for family members of all ages. On Tuesday, March 1, they will present their Annual Family Concert, this year titled Musical Humor, on the Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage at 7:30 p.m.

Susan Deaver, conductor of the university orchestra and faculty member at Stony Brook, said the annual concert was already taking place when she began working at the university in 2000; however, up until 2013, it was called the Annual Children’s Concert. 

“We just discovered that the students and parents and grandparents and friends that they came with, everyone had a really good time, so we decided to rename it,” Deaver said.

The conductor said every year there’s a different theme such as magic, outer space, movies, and masquerade. “Every year I try to think of something that we can tie in some classical musical,” she said.

This year Deaver said the 70-member, all-student ensemble will celebrate musical humor, explaining that orchestral music isn’t as stuffy or complicated as many think and often is used in cartoons.

The conductor said attendees can expect to hear pieces such as the “William Tell Overture,” which was used as the “Lone Ranger” theme song, and excerpts from Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of Animals,” where instruments imitate the sounds of creatures such as chickens or kangaroos jumping. The show will also include music from American composer LeRoy Anderson who has written short tongue-in-cheek pieces. Deaver said they are performing one of his pieces titled “Typewriter Concerto,” which replicates the sounds of an old typewriter.

A tradition during the concert is a solo by the winner of the Stony Brook University Pre-College Concerto Competition. “It’s a really great way to feature young talent. We’ve had really good soloists,” Deaver said.

The 2015 winner Samuel Wallach will perform a solo on the piano, the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12. Deaver said each student participating in the competition had a 10-minute slot to perform a movement from a concerto, and a committee of judges decided who was best. She said, “Sam played great. He was wonderful.”

Wallach, a sophomore at Ward Melville High School, said in the month of February, he’s been practicing every Tuesday with the university orchestra and at home with his piano teacher. The young pianist said he’s happy that he won the competition.

Wallach became interested in piano when he started playing with an electric keyboard as a small child. His parents signed him up for piano lessons around the third grade. While he’s performed solo and with a chamber group of four musicians, this is the first time Wallach will be playing with an orchestra. “I don’t know quite how to picture it; I’m excited,” Wallach said.

Deaver said every year the concert includes surprises for the audience, too. Last year at the end of the show, while the orchestra played the theme from “Frozen,” “Let It Go,” someone came on stage dressed as Elsa. The surprise was a big hit with the children who were singing along.

The orchestra also interacts with the audience and gives short demonstrations of the different instruments. Deaver said she asks audience members things like: Who plays string instruments? Who plays wood wind instruments? The conductor said the orchestra members always enjoy the interaction with the audience.

The show keeps children engaged not only by talking directly to them but also by keeping the show to an hour. Deaver said the concert is a great opportunity for kids to hear all the instruments together, and it’s more approachable, because when it comes to orchestral music, “sometimes people think it’s too sophisticated or untouchable.”

“I really hope they are inspired to listen to more orchestral music and music in general. And, for the youngest ones who are not playing an instrument yet, I hope it inspires them to consider studying an instrument. For those who are already studying an instrument, I hope it inspires them to want to achieve even more,” said Deaver. “If nothing else, it exposes them to new and great music, because it’s a very different experience hearing it live, as opposed to a recording or YouTube, because all your senses are really activated, ears, eyes, everything, and there’s perspective,” she added.

Tickets for the concert are $5 and are available at the Staller Center Box Office or by calling 631-632-2787. For further information about the University Orchestra, contact the Stony Brook Department of Music at 631-632-7330 or visit its website at

Get out
A 47-year-old man from Laughlin, Nevada, was arrested on Feb. 21 for entering a home on Otsego Place in Commack just before midnight, police said. He was charged with criminal trespassing.

Unlicensed driver
On Feb. 20 at about 9:30 p.m., a 32-year-old man from Medford was driving a 2015 GMC on Middle Country Road in Nesconset without a license, police said. He was charged with second degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

Dude, where’s my car?
Between Jan. 2 and Feb. 20, a 28-year-old woman from Sound Beach drove a 2015 GMC despite being 50 days beyond the return date set by the car’s owner, police said. She also ignored notices by certified mail to return the car, according to police. She was arrested on Feb. 20 in Nesconset and charged with operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Drugs in the park
A 22-year-old man from Bohemia had heroin and marijuana on him in the parking lot of Lakeland County Park in Islandia at about 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 17, according to police. He was charged with two counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Traffic stop yields pot
Just before 8 p.m. on Feb. 17, a 29-year old woman from Smithtown was stopped for a traffic violation in Smithtown, and was found to have marijuana on her, police said. She was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Egghead, cannon arm
An unknown person threw eggs at a 2016 Subaru and a 2005 Acura, both parked in the driveway of a home on New Highway in Commack, at around midnight on Feb. 21, police said. The eggs caused scratches, dents and some discoloration to the two cars, according to police.

Shades swiped
Police said an unknown person stole 17 pairs of sunglasses from Macy’s at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove at about 5 p.m. on Feb. 20.

Off-road escape
A snow blower and two all-terrain vehicles were stolen from a shed outside a home on Wood Road in Centereach around midnight on Jan. 25, police said.

Broken window
An unknown person damaged the rear window of a home on Havemeyer Lane in Commack at about 3 p.m. on Feb. 18, according to police.

Wallet walks off in the night
A wallet with cash was stolen from an unlocked 1999 Toyota that was parked in front of a home on New Highway in Commack at about 3 a.m. on Feb. 18, police said.

Subway smash and grab
At about 11 p.m. on Feb. 19, an unknown person smashed the window of Subway restaurant on Hawkins Avenue in Lake Grove and stole a cash register containing money, according to police.

Not the key to success
Police said an unknown person keyed the passenger side and hood of a 2008 Pontiac Solstice in the parking lot of New York Sports Club in Huntington on Feb. 19 at 7 a.m.

Missing looking glass
An unknown person stole a telescope from a garage on Darrow Lane in Elwood on Feb. 20 at 1:40 p.m.

High times
On Feb. 19, a 29-year-old woman from Central Islip was arrested for having marijuana and prescription pills in her possession, according to police. She was arrested on Larkfield Road in Elwood and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of marijuana.

Not quite Accura-te
A 29-year-old man from Huntington was arrested on Feb. 20 after police said he crashed into a 1998 Acura while driving south on Route 110 in Melville in a 2004 Honda Accord. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Don’t take the call
A 44-year-old man from Kings Park was arrested on Feb. 19 at 7:15 a.m. on Larkfield Road in East Northport after police said he called a woman and harassed her on Dec. 22. He was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment.

Getting saked at Saks
Police said a 28-year-old man from Springfield Gardens was using fake identification to open a new credit card on Feb. 19 at Saks Fifth Avenue in Huntington. According to police, he had a fake driver’s license and credit card, which he used to apply for a Saks Fifth Avenue credit card and then buy $3,500 worth of merchandise. He was charged with second-degree possession of a forged instrument.

Catching up
Police busted a 20-year-old man from Holtsville for grand larceny, more than three months after he allegedly stole cash and credit cards from a 2000 Toyota Corolla parked near Middle Country Road in Selden on Nov. 2. Police arrested him on Feb. 20 around 7:45 p.m. at the 6th Precinct.

Formulaic thief
Between 8 and 8:40 p.m. on Feb. 15, someone stole baby formula from a store on Route 25A in Sound Beach.

You’re suspended!
A Port Jefferson Station man was arrested on Feb. 17 for unlicensed operation of a car. Police said he was driving a 2011 Ford Fusion when he was pulled over on the corner of Canal Road and Shenandoah Boulevard. Officials discovered he was driving with a suspended license and arrested him at the scene. It was not clear why the man was pulled over.

Teens in trouble
On Feb. 15, a 19-year-old Rocky Point man was arrested for driving while ability impaired in a 2002 Mercedes, after he was going west on Route 25A in Miller Place and was involved in a car crash. Police discovered the teen was intoxicated and arrested.
A 19-year-old man from West Babylon was arrested on Feb. 18 for driving while ability impaired on Route 25A in Miller Place, after an officer pulled over the teen for speeding in a 2012 Volkswagen. Police arrested him at the scene around 1:31 a.m.

Old enough to know better
On Feb. 17, police arrested a 60-year-old man from Mount Sinai for driving while ability impaired in a 2002 Hyundai on North Country Road, after he was in a car crash.

Another one?
Police arrested a Miller Place resident on Feb. 18 at 3:15 a.m. for driving while ability impaired. Authorities said the 41-year-old man was pulled over for speeding west on Route 25A in a 2005 BMW.

Why do so many drivers do this?
A 27-year-old man was arrested for allegedly driving while ability impaired on Feb. 18. Police pulled over the Mastic resident after he failed to maintain his lane while driving a 1998 Audi on Stony Brook Road in Centereach. He was arrested at the corner of Stony Brook Road and Westcliff Lane.

Prescription for handcuffs
Police arrested a 27-year-old woman from Rocky Point on Feb. 18 for criminal possession of cocaine and prescription pills without a prescription. It was not clear why officials first approached the woman, but she was arrested on Twilight Road.

Picking apart pickups
On Feb. 17, someone stole four chrome wheels from two different Dodge Ram 1500 pickups. The incidents occurred on Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station.

Going postal
According to police, on Feb. 19 around 2:10 a.m., someone used an incendiary device to damage a mailbox on Jefferson Landing Circle in Port Jefferson.

Fountain of money
Someone stole a wallet with credit cards and identification from an unlocked Honda Pilot. The incident happened between 10 p.m. on Feb. 15 and 10:21 a.m. the following day, near Fountain Road in Rocky Point.

Smash and cash
An unknown person broke the front glass door of a store on Mark Tree Road in Centereach and stole the cash register. Police said the incident occurred on Feb. 17 around 10:30 p.m.

Stony broken
On Feb. 18 around 10 p.m., an unknown person broke a window on a 2015 Porsche parked at AMC Loews theater in Stony Brook. The person stole a camera, Chanel bag, backpack and a car key to a different car.

Dodge this
According to police, an unidentified individual threw an object that dented and scratched a moving 2014 Dodge Ram on Feb. 17, on Henry Avenue in Selden.

Hungry bandit
On Feb. 20 around 7: 50 p.m., someone stole a bag of food from Wild by Nature on Route 25A in East Setauket.

Adrienne Esposito speaks against a plan to dump dredge spoils in the Sound as county Legislators Sarah Anker, Kara Hahn and Al Krupski look on. Photo by Giselle Barkley

It’s been about six months and North Shore leaders are still fighting against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to continue dumping dredge spoils into the Long Island Sound.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) stood alongside fellow county Legislators Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) and Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) on Tuesday at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge to voice their opposition to the plan and ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales to reject the proposal. George Hoffman of the Setauket Harbor Task Force and Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, were also among the leaders who voiced their opposition to the plan.

The Army Corps has dumped dredge spoils into waterways leading to the Sound for decades. Its final proposal, known as the Long Island Sound Dredged Material Management Plan, was completed on Jan. 11 and suggested dumping 30 to 50 million cubic yards of dredge material cleared out from Connecticut waterways over the course of another 30 years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has supported the Army Corps’ proposal. Stephen Perkins, a member of the EPA’s dredging team, said the spoils are tested before being dumped to ensure they meet certain safety standards.

But critics say the state can reject the plan under the federal Clean Water Act.

Dredge dumping has caused toxic chemicals to be dispersed throughout the Sound over the years, affecting the ecosystem and many water-dwelling species, including fish and lobsters.

“If this was private industry doing this, I don’t think they’d go very far,” Krupski said. “They’d probably end up in jail.”

Over the past 11 years, the local government has spent $7 million to address environmental issues in the Sound, a fragile body of water, according to Anker. Some of that went toward creating a Long Island Sound study.

According to Esposito, New York State rejected a similar plan that the Army Corps proposed in 2005, and ordered that group and the EPA to slowly reduce the amount of dredge spoils being dumped into the Sound. She called for the plan to go back to the drawing board.

“We’ve committed so much resources, money, time and energy to protecting this water body,” Hahn said. “And then to just dump potential harmful and toxic waste spoils into our waters is a darn shame.”

Anker agreed, saying that the Sound creates upward of $36 billion of economic value on the Island.

Instead of dumping dredge spoils into the Long Island Sound, Esposito suggested using it to restore wetlands, rebuild beaches and cap landfills, among other methods of disposal.

“The Sound is dying and what they’re trying to do now is bury it in dredge spoil,” Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) said at the press conference.

The local leaders also criticized the EPA for supporting the Army Corps.

“On one hand, they are advancing a nitrogen-reduction plan,” Esposito said. “And on the other, they’re turning a blind eye to the disposal of the large quantities of dredge materials which cause significant nitrogen loading into the Sound.”

A public hearing on the dredging plan will be held on Tuesday, March 1, at the Port Jefferson Free Library, at the corner of Thompson and East Main streets. That event runs from 5 to 7 p.m., with registration for public speakers starting at 4:30 p.m.