Village Times Herald

By Leah Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Presidents Day, as we honor those we hold on a pedestal, is a time for inspiration. Here are some inspirational sayings, some humorously so, that have been culled from the internet. 

1. Don’t talk, just act. Don’t say, just show. Don’t promise, just prove.

2. Good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who don’t give up.

3. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it, time will pass anyway.

4. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

5. What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create. (Buddha)

 6. Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom. (Jim Rohn)

 7. Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. (Frank Outlaw)

 8. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. (Herman Cain)

 9. Rule No. 1 of life. Do what makes you happy.

10. No matter how you feel … get up, dress up, show up and never give up.

11. If you can’t change the circumstances, change your attitude. Funny thing is, when you do, you’ll find that the circumstances often change.

12. Hustle in silence and let your success make the noise.

13. Home is where the Wi-Fi connects automatically.

14. The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present. (Alice Morse Earle)

15. Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

16. You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens. (Mandy Hale)

17. When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you. (Lolly Daskal)

18. Follow your passion. Listen to your heart. Trust the process. Be grateful. Life is magic and your dreams matter.

19. Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.

20. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new. 

21. You should never regret anything in life. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it is experience.

22. For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.

23. Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.

24. One: Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two: Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it. Three: If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away. (Stephen Hawking)

25. Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.

26. Be with someone who knows exactly what they have when they have you.

27. Money talks … but all mine ever says is goodbye.

28. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

29. Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond, but by the end you wish you had a club and a spade.

30. An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.

31. Yawning is your body’s way of saying 20 percent battery remaining.

32. What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear!

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Jane and Rob Taylor: Maria and George Hoffman; and Gretchen and Herb Mones are familiar to many in the Three Village community. Photos from Jane Taylor, Maria Hoffman and Herb Mones.

The Three Village area is filled with movers and shakers, so it’s no surprise that many of them are married to each other. Recently, three of the area’s community-minded couples took time out of their busy schedules to talk about their relationships and balancing their active lifestyles.

George and Maria Hoffman

“We make time to balance all the busyness. So, I think that is part of keeping things alive.”

— Maria Hoffman

George Hoffman, of East Setauket, is a familiar face in the Three Village area. He is first vice president of the Three Village Civic Association and co-founder of the Setauket Harbor Task Force. Maria Hoffman is chief of staff for state Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-Setauket), a local beekeeper and a volunteer with the harbor task force.

The Hoffmans married in 2009 in Frank Melville Memorial Park, and they said it’s the second time around for both of them. A couple of years before they tied the knot, the two met through Englebright’s office. George Hoffman, who has worked in the political field for 35 years, was living on the South Shore working with a former county legislator, Wayne Prospect, when he first met Englebright. One day when he saw Maria at the office, she asked him to take a walk in the park and soon after they started dating.

The husband said with both being community activists they understand each other’s schedule, like when she’s under deadline or he has a night meeting, and they don’t get as stressed as some couples might. George Hoffman said it also helps that their interests overlap, and they have easygoing temperaments.

“I think we are respectful of each other’s responsibilities,” he said. “We have separate spheres that overlap a little bit in terms of the environment and community. She’s involved more in government, and then it overlaps into environment and community.”

The husband, who said his wife is the first one he goes to for editing his work, added the two are good for each other especially making sure the other doesn’t procrastinate. Maria Hoffman said they also work on ideas together.

The wife said it’s important for busy couples to spend time alone with each other too, calling the time “regeneration periods.”

“We also make time for things that are important, whether it’s walking or in the summertime boating — being on a sailboat,” Maria Hoffman said. “We make time to balance all the busyness. So, I think that is part of keeping things alive.”

Herb and Gretchen Mones

Herb and Gretchen Mones, from Stony Brook, have been married for 28 years and have three grown sons. The two met while teaching at Centereach High School where she was an English teacher and he was a social studies teacher.

“Gretchen has such an integrity to do the work she does correctly and immaculately, and with a degree of professionalism, that it becomes a model to attain to.”

— Herb Mones

Gretchen Mones is the first vice president at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium, an organization where she has been an active board member for 15 years, and has chaired the education and exhibits committee for more than a dozen years.

Herb Mones has been a board member of the Three Village Civic Association for almost 30 years. A past president of the civic, he currently serves as the organization’s land use chair. In addition to his work with the civic association, he is a board member of the Three Village Community Trust, which works to preserve and protect buildings and properties in the community. He co-chaired the civic’s task force for more than a decade which eventually resulted in the construction of the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail. Herb is a past chair of the Greening of 25A and was active in the movement to restore the West Meadow peninsula. He currently serves on a Town of Brookhaven West Meadow Beach steering committee.

Herb Mones said his wife’s commitment to everything she does inspires him to do things to the best of his ability. It’s something he noticed when they both taught at Centereach High School.

“Gretchen has such an integrity to do the work she does correctly and immaculately, and with a degree of professionalism, that it becomes a model to attain to,” Herb Mones said.

Gretchen Mones said her husband has never met a project he couldn’t conquer and has the energy of four of five people. He is up early every morning and walks the Greenway trail, where he cleans up any graffiti he sees.

“He’s just so capable and optimistic — dedicated,” she said. “There’s no such thing as a short term or long term. Once he starts, he’s in it until he finishes it. It’s really incredible. I don’t know how he does it. All my friends tell me how lucky I am and how lucky the community is, and I have to agree with them. He’s an incredible person.”

Gretchen Mones said sharing calendars helps them manage their schedules and attending each other’s social functions, especially fundraisers and annual events, is important.

Herb Mones said volunteer work helps with one’s personal growth as well as a relationship, even when a husband and wife may be involved in different community activities.

“You have a greater understanding not only of what you’re doing but what the other person is doing,” he said.

Jane and Rob Taylor

Jane and Rob Taylor, who have been married for 47 years, were introduced by a friend at a Doors concert. Three Village residents know Jane Taylor from her various roles with The Stony Brook School during her 44-year career. Her husband graduated from the private school in 1967 and worked in the school’s business office for a time after college.

“Blending all the parts of your life together is never easy and it’s never going to go smoothly, and there are going to be bumps. And you have to accept that fact that it’s going to be bumpy. Some seasons are going to be a little harder than others.”

— Jane Taylor

Last summer Jane Taylor stepped down from her role as assistant head of school and is currently the executive director of The Three Village Chamber of Commerce. Rob Taylor, a CPA and a former partner in the Manhattan office of CapinCrouse, still provides virtual chief financial officer services for local organizations.

Successful careers haven’t kept the couple from being involved in the community. Jane Taylor serves on a West Meadow advisory committee, co-chaired the Route 25A Corridor Citizens Advisory Committee, is a long-term member of the Walk for Beauty Committee, among others. Over the years, Rob Taylor has served as an elder of a local church, is a founding president of Leadership Huntington, and is on the boards of The Jazz Loft and Citygate, which works with the homeless. He is also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The couple said a wife and husband don’t have to be involved in similar activities, and sometimes one’s community work not only helps them each to become a better person but improves relationships. The two have also learned from each other.

While Jane Taylor admires her husband’s knack for writing, she also appreciates his energy. Rob Taylor said he takes joy in seeing how his wife works with people from many different perspectives. He also credits her for bringing order to his life.

Jane Taylor said a shared calendar is helpful to keep their schedules in sync, even though she admitted sometimes they forget to tell one another about an activity here and there.

“Blending all the parts of your life together is never easy and it’s never going to go smoothly, and there are going to be bumps,” she said. “And you have to accept that fact that it’s going to be bumpy. Some seasons are going to be a little harder than others.”

Rob Taylor, who together with Jane has two grown children, said commitment helps with balancing, too.

“I think some of it is a matter of just, from a philosophical and practical standpoint, knowing that you want to be involved in community and to make a commitment to business and family at the same time and just working together to make it work,” he said.

Know someone in the Three Village area who is mover and shaker? If so, send an email to rita@tbrnewsmedia.com, and you may see his or her story in a future edition of The Village Times Herald.

Elected officials, scientists and environmentalists filled the legislative auditorium of the William H. Rogers Building last year to provide testimony against offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by Maria Hoffman

State legislators are trying to ensure the federal government doesn’t murk up New York’s coastal waters.

Both the New York State Assembly and Senate passed legislation Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 to prohibit oil and natural gas drilling in New York’s coastal areas. The legislative action comes a year after hundreds of Long Island residents attended a public hearing at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Smithtown to voice concerns relating to discussions on the federal level over potential drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

Assemblyman Steve Englebright addresses the crowd before a hearing last year concerning the proposal of offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by Maria Hoffman

Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), the Assembly environmental conservation committee chair, was one of the legislators who hosted last year’s Smithtown hearing. The assemblyman said in a statement those who attended the hearing unanimously condemned the federal government’s proposal to drill for oil and gas in open waters.

“This legislation will safeguard our water and shores from the dangers of fossil fuel exploration and drilling, and will support our efforts to move our state toward cleaner and renewable energy sources,” Englebright said.

The legislation would prohibit the use of state-owned underwater coastal lands for oil and natural gas drilling; prevent the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Office of General Services from authorizing leases which would increase oil or natural gas production from federal waters; and prohibit the development of infrastructure associated with exploration, development or production of oil or natural gas from New York’s coastal waters, according to a press release from Englebright’s office.

The new legislation will reaffirm the state’s coastal management practices to ensure the protection of endangered and threatened species, along with tourism and recreational and commercial fishing industries, according to Englebright.

“Our largest industry in New York, and especially in coastal New York, is tourism,” Englebright said. “Oil and gas exploration is incompatible with tourism. We’ve seen the kinds of mistakes that have occurred in other parts of the world where oil and gas exploration near recreation areas and near active fisheries has occurred. We don’t want those kinds of chaos to descend upon our economy or our state.”

“We’ve seen the kinds of mistakes that have occurred in other parts of the world where oil and gas exploration near recreation areas and near active fisheries has occurred. We don’t want those kinds of chaos to descend upon our economy or our state.”

— Steve Englebright

The legislation updates New York State laws that are decades old, according to a press release from state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport).

“Offshore drilling is the single largest threat to the sustainability of Long Island’s environment,” Gaughran said in a statement. “I am proud that under [Senate] Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins [D-Yonkers], New York State is moving toward protecting our natural resources and banning senseless proposals to drill off our beautiful coast.”

State Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who was the original lead sponsor of the legislation in the state Senate, said he urges the governor to sign the bill.

“We have painstakingly worked to preserve and protect our pristine waters, and we certainly do not want to imperil all of our efforts to maintain clean water by allowing drilling off our shoreline,” LaValle said.

Kevin McAllister, founding president of Sag Harbor-based nonprofit Defend H2O, said restricting oil and gas exploration off the coast is important as the drilling for fossil fuels negatively impacts the environment. He said it’s critical for states along the entire Eastern Seaboard to follow suit, and he urges Cuomo to enlist coastal solidarity.

“If rising seas, ocean acidification, killer floods aren’t sobering enough, don’t overlook a legacy of regret with oil extraction and transport,” he said. “Santa Barbara oil spill, Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon all inflicted massive damages to the marine and the coastal environment over thousands of square miles. In the oil industry, accidents happen. The best way to prevent another catastrophe is to close the door on further exploration.”

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Three-quarter size Colonial whaleboat reproductions with a crew of reenactors. Photo by Beverly C. Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

On Thursday morning, Aug. 17, 1780, fog covered the Connecticut coast and obscured any view of three whaleboats as they slid through the marsh grass and into the shallow water at the northeast corner of Black Rock Harbor. Six of the men in each boat quietly slid their oars into the water and together with each sweep, without a word spoken, the men’s oars began a rhythmic parallel stroke that moved the crafts quickly through the harbor and into Long Island Sound.

In the traditional whaleboat, to get leverage for speed, five oarsmen sat on opposite sides of the boat from their oarlocks, and their long oars propelled the whaleboat at up to 5 or 6 miles an hour. However, on these whaleboats, with as many as six additional soldiers, their arms and equipment, it was not practical to have long oars working across the boat so, especially for long distances, sailing rather than rowing, was the main means of propulsion.

A 1774 map of Long Island and Connecticut copied from “The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island and Connecticut” by Frederic Gregory Mather. 1913.

The three identical whaleboats were each 30 feet long, lapstrake-built and pointed at both ends. They were light, being constructed of a strong oak frame and planked with half-inch cedar, to form a relatively narrow and sleek vessel that was exceptionally seaworthy and highly maneuverable. These open boats, greyhounds of the Sound, were also easy to enter and exit, making them exceptional platforms from which to surprise and successfully attack slower and less maneuverable craft.

As the whaleboats moved away from the shore and headed south for Long Island, ripples and spray off the top of the swells ahead indicated a moderate northwest wind, and the men shipped their oars and raised the mast and sail on each whaleboat. They then sat lower in the boat on the starboard or windward side to add stability. Every soldier and sailor was usually equipped with a musket and/or a pistol, a short sword or saber and often a belt ax, as well as a powder horn, cartridge box and other equipment.

The man in charge of the three whaleboats, Caleb Brewster, sat in the bow of the lead whaleboat peering through his telescope to see what other activity was around him on Long Island Sound. Brewster was a seaman and a courier spy for Gen. George Washington, but he was also an artillery captain in the Continental Army, and his three crews of sailors were partly recruited from the ranks of the men he commanded. Brewster’s crews also contained a number of Long Island friends who were trusted associates such as Lt. George Smith of Smithtown and Capt. Abraham Cooper Woodhull, formerly of Old Mans on Long Island, now a resident of Fairfield, Connecticut, and captain of one of Brewster’s whaleboats.

In addition to the 12 men, each whaleboat had a small swivel gun on the bow powerful enough to put a hole in an enemy boat below the waterline or disable a mast with a lucky shot when close in. These three whaleboats were a potent fighting force, able to attack and capture the sloops, schooners and small British and Tory brigs that patrolled the Sound or the plunderers, both Whigs and Tories, who regularly attacked residents on Long Island and along the Connecticut shoreline.

On this day, Brewster was headed to Long Island to pick up intelligence from his friend and fellow Culper spy Abraham Woodhull. When he arrived, he found that Woodhull was in New York City and would be relaying his messages by way of Austin Roe by 2 p.m. on the following day. Brewster had to wait.

On Friday morning Brewster and his whaleboat crews were attacked by plunderers Glover and Hoyght —possibly Ezekiel Glover and Simon Hoyt, refugees from Long Island — and their crews. In Brewster’s report to Benjamin Tallmadge, Washington’s intelligence chief, he wrote, ”I came from Long Island this afternoon but have got no dispatches. Culper has been down to New York. I waited until this morning and he was to send them by two o’clock but before he sent them I was attacked by Glover and Hoyght and left one man taken and one wounded. We killed one on the spot … Austin told me that Sir Henry Clinton went down to the east end of the Island on the sixteenth. Don’t fail to let me have two crews if you can of Continental soldiers.”

In another letter to Tallmadge written on Monday, Aug. 21, Brewster reported, “I this morning came from the island & got three boats last Saturday night and went over in search of Glover and Hoyght but could hear nothing of them. They never stayed to bury their dead man, they carried another away with them mortally wounded. Setauket is full of troops. It is thought they are going eastward. Austin came to me yesterday and told me I had best not come on to the middle of next week as the troops is so thick in town and marching eastward.”

Brewster continued to patrol Long Island Sound and bring intelligence from Long Island to Fairfield, Connecticut, until Dec. 7, 1782, when he and several of his whaleboats chased and attacked three enemy boats about mid-Sound. They captured two boats but the third escaped. Brewster was wounded when a musket ball went through his chest. He reported that he continued to fight until the enemy was captured and then collapsed. Every man on the enemy’s boats was either killed or wounded as were the men on Brewster’s boats. Brewster spent many months recovering in the hospital in Black Rock.

Beverly C. Tyler is Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

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Rabbi Joseph Topek, second from right, with Chelsea Katz , Stony Brook University Class of 2015, second from left, and her parents Melanie Tanzman Katz and Jan Katz, both from the Class of 1983, who like their daughter, had Topek as their Hillel director. Photo from Rabbi Joseph Topek

As a new semester begins at Stony Brook University, one Setauket resident has retirement on his mind.

Rabbi Joseph Topek, bottom row, second from right, at Hillel’s 50th anniversary in 2017 that included students and other members of the Hillel staff. Photo from Rabbi Joseph Topek

Rabbi Joseph Topek, 64, director of the university’s Hillel, announced he will be stepping down as director in July after 37 years of serving in the position. The rabbi, who specializes in American Jewish history, specifically Jewish-American military history, said he is working on a few research projects, including one about the 2023 centennial of the Hillel Movement, and he thought the time had come for someone else to lead the Stony Brook Hillel.

After a stint in Virginia Commonwealth University, Topek said he arrived at SBU looking for a different setting and new challenges, and he wasn’t expecting to stay more than a few years.

“This has been in many ways a uniquely satisfying and fulfilling career because universities are unique institutions,” he said.

Topek said Hillels are centers for Jewish life on college campuses. At Stony Brook, students can try out different expressions of the faith such as experimenting with how to celebrate holidays or the Sabbath. He said the group also explores and discusses aspects of Jewish life that other institutions within the faith may be hesitant to touch, such as Israel and gender identity in the community.

The rabbi said he felt it was a privilege to have the responsibility and opportunity to provide students with an adult foundation that incorporated their heritage and religious teachings.

“We’re part of the Jewish community that says here are people that are on the cusp of adulthood, who are young adults and who are looking for ways in which to live their lives as Jews in a meaningful way while they are in this big institution of higher education,” he said.

Robert Presser, a graduate student at SBU, met Topek when he was just a freshman.

“One of the things I admire most about the rabbi is that he is so knowledgeable about so many different things,” Presser said, adding he admires the rabbi’s expertise on Jewish-American history.

The grad student said he regularly asks Topek questions at the weekly Shabbat meal the organization holds, and he’s glad he’ll be graduating the same time Topek is retiring.

“I don’t have to live in a world where I’m going to be involved in the Hillel and won’t have the rabbi to go to,” he said.

Rachel Chabin, an SBU undergraduate, said among her favorite memories at Stony Brook were the annual Sukkot holiday dinners with student leaders from the Jewish Student Association that Topek and his wife host in their home, something she said is in line with his character as he is always generous with his time.

He’s a fierce advocate for students, and personally ensures that no one faces discrimination or penalty for things like missing class for a Jewish holiday.”

— Rachel Chabin

“As an observant Jew, holidays like Sukkot can feel lonely on campus, with most students going about their day like usual,” Chabin said. “Rabbi Joe’s dinner always made me feel better about staying on campus for the holiday, because he offered us a good meal and good company.”

Chabin said she’ll miss the rabbi, who she met with once a week where they would choose a topic or section of the Torah or Talmud to study and discuss.

“He’s a fierce advocate for students, and personally ensures that no one faces discrimination or penalty for things like missing class for a Jewish holiday,” Chabin said. “He makes sure that everyone can access a kosher meal plan or a Sabbath-friendly dormitory.”

In addition to being director of the Hillel, the rabbi said he’s been honored to be part of the Interfaith Center at SBU where he currently serves as chairperson. He said he feels the center, which represents various faiths, is an important entity on campus serving as an example of the university’s focus on diversity and cooperation.

“In many ways, I’m proud of what our center has become, and also because it puts students from very different backgrounds together,” Topek said. “They do community programming, they do community service projects together, they learn about one another’s faith but, most of all, it’s relationship based.”

Sister Sanaa Nadim, a chaplain, has been working with Topek for 25 years at the interfaith center and called him a brother-in-arms. She said she considers him a civil servant on campus who is there for all students while constantly rallying for human rights. She said he has helped them navigate difficult times such as the Muslim ban two years ago, where the rabbi spearheaded a rally to support students detained at the airport.

“He has been a very monumental figure in the interfaith center and the success of the institution for our chapter,” she said.

Nadim said he has also been there to help  students navigate world events, including a tsunami in Japan and an earthquake in Haiti.

“He led by heart and by example,” she said.

Topek said after retiring from the academic side of SBU, he will remain a chaplain with the Long Island State Veterans Home. Between serving as chaplain and living in the Three Village area with his wife Susan, he said he will be in touch with his colleagues and the students after retiring.

“I don’t see myself as really leaving the academic community,” he said.

In the fall, OLLI classes were contained in the Social & Behavioral Sciences building, the Charles B. Wang Center, above, and Student Activities Center this fall. Photo from Stony Brook University

Despite a rocky start to the past fall semester, members of an adult continuing education program persist in improving their lot with Stony Brook University.

“We are confident that as we move into next year, we will see an increase in new members and with returning members.”

— Diane Perillo

In January, SBU administrators invited members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a program that offers workshops, lectures and activities to retired and semiretired individuals, to participate in focus groups to provide feedback on changes SBU implemented to the program during the fall semester of 2018. The changes included OLLI classes on campus being held only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays instead of every day; class duration changing from 75 minutes to 60; and OLLI students using metered parking lots on campus instead of parking in a designated area.

While members received hang tags so they wouldn’t have to put coins in the meters, they were charged an additional $75 in OLLI fees per semester for the new parking agreement. The changes led to approximately 400 past members declining to enroll in the fall of 2018.

Diane Perillo, director of finance and administration for the School of Professional Development, which oversees OLLI, said during the January focus groups, SBU administrators received positive feedback from OLLI members about the previous semester that she described as a pilot plan, and she is confident the program will grow. The School of Professional Development also surveyed members to gather their thoughts about the changes, and the director said the current program members helped provide insight on how to move forward.

“Overall members were happy with the parking that was made available to them,” Perillo said. “Membership meetings have been extremely positive, the new leadership within the School of Professional Development has been sharing information with members and, when possible, acting on requests and communicating changes to the membership.”

Perillo said there was a decline in enrollment in the fall, which was expected, and the 400 members who did not return were also surveyed. She said some did not return for workshops due to illness or having a loved one who was sick. Others reported they only attended Tuesday and Thursday in the past.

“I have already run into some people who said they are coming back.”

— John Gobler

Peter Stubberfield, in an email to The Village Times Herald, said he was one of the 400 who didn’t return to the OLLI workshops this fall due to the parking fee and reduction of class time, and he said he didn’t receive a survey from the university asking him why he didn’t continue with the program.

Perillo said new and past members have the option to sign up for OLLI workshops in the spring for $162.50 with a parking fee of $75, which is half of the yearly rate. As a rule, OLLI does not offer prorated memberships. She said spring workshops would once again be 75 minutes, and the break between classes will be reduced. While workshops are only held on campus Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the director said there are off-campus classes held Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We have seen a slight increase in membership this spring,” she said. “We are confident that as we move into next year, we will see an increase in new members and with returning members.”

John Gobler, one of the workshop leaders, said he attended one of the focus groups, and he was pleased that SBU’s administration acknowledged the drop in membership. He added that while the fall semester was rocky, he is positive about the future of OLLI.

“I know there are people coming back,” he said. “I have already run into some people who said they are coming back,” adding they told him they heard from others the program was getting better.

Sue Parlatore, a member of OLLI’s advisory board, said at first members who signed up for the fall were worried about the changes, especially parking; however, she said the university accommodated them. She said she and others found the hour between classes was too much time and were happy to hear the time has been reduced to 30 minutes.

“The university, in my opinion, they really do seem to be trying their best to make it work for us,” Parlatore said, adding that she feels the rumor that SBU does not welcome them is unfounded.

She said those who didn’t enroll again in the fall should consider coming back.

“I would encourage anybody to try it,” she said. “I think they would be very pleasantly surprised.”

Perillo is also optimistic.

“I am confident that as a community we will be able to work out a plan for fall 2019 and spring 2020 that we will re-inspire members to return and bring back their workshops,” she said. “If members choose not to return, I am confident that our current and new members will offer engaging, community-based noncredit workshops that will enable Stony Brook University’s OLLI program to continue to flourish.”

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File photo

Suffolk County Police 6th squad detectives are investigating a single-vehicle crash that killed a Selden woman the morning of Feb. 8.

Nancy Neumann, 60, of 16 Strauss Road in Selden was driving a 2006 Saturn northbound on Nicolls Road at around 11:23 a.m. when she lost control of the vehicle, which veered off the roadway and rolled onto its side, according to police.

Neumann was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The Saturn was impounded for a safety check and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this crash is asked to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652.

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By Bill Landon

Ward Melville girls basketball hosted the Commack Cougars where the Patriots led from opening tipoff and never looked back, winning, 59-40, in a League I matchup on senior night, Feb. 5.

The Patriots led by five points after 16 minutes of play before they turned up the heat and outscored the Cougars, 22-10, in the third quarter.

Ward Melville senior Lauren Hansen sat atop the Patriot scoring charts swishing three from the foul line, nine field goals and a triple along with seven rebounds for 24 points. Junior Jamie Agostino followed with four triples and two field goals good for 16. Junior Morgan Wenzler banked five field goals and a free throw for 11 points, and led her team in rebounds gathering 13.

With the win, Ward Melville improves to 13-2 for second place in league behind undefeated Longwood with one game left Feb. 7 at Sachem East before postseason play begins.

Snowy Owl by Rainy Sepulveda

By Heidi Sutton

Something special is in the air. From Feb. 9 to 21, the Four Harbors Audubon Society (FHAS) will present a photography exhibit titled A Valentine to Whitman’s Paumanok, featuring the wildlife and landscapes that influenced the early life of one of America’s greatest poets, at The Bates House in Setauket. The venue is a fitting one as it is nestled in the 26-acre Frank Melville Memorial Park where many of the photographs in the exhibit were taken. 

In a recent interview, curator Patricia Paladines, outreach chairman of the FHAS board, said the show will feature the works of 12 photographers who were invited to submit up to five images each. 

The concept for the exhibition came about when Paladines heard from her friend Lise Hintze, who manages The Bates House, that the venue was interested in hosting an art exhibit of some sort. A shutterbug herself, Paladines was familiar with many talented nature photographers who shoot locally. “The whole idea worked very well with the mission of the Four Harbors Audubon Society,” she said. 

Kingfisher by William Walsh

Indeed, the 60-piece collection features breathtaking images of nature, from a great blue heron searching for his next meal, a juvenile kingfisher perched on a branch, a seahorse gripping onto a blade of seagrass in the swift current, to a nest of fluffy cygnets, each more visually stunning than the next.

Exhibiting photographers include Dr. Maria Bowling, Maria Hoffman, Joe Kelly, Anita Jo Lago, Luke Ormand, Christopher Paparo, Derek Rogers, Rainy Sepulveda, Alexandra Srp, Kevin Walsh, William Walsh and Debra Wortzman

“I wanted the show to be a platform for the work of these photographers who dedicate a lot of time capturing the natural beauty of Long Island and hopefully in turn inspire the viewers to make time to go out and enjoy it too in the many parks, preserve and natural shorelines that surround us,” Paladines explained, adding that the idea was to “raise awareness of the variety of wildlife that we can see if we just look around this lovely island.”

The fact that Whitman’s 200th birthday will be celebrated all over the country this year was just coincidental in referencing America’s most celebrated literary figure in the title. “Actually I found that out later,” said Paladines. “I was delighted to learn that it is the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth. I like his poetry and Long Island is where, of course, he was born and where he was inspired early in his life. He uses nature in a lot of his poetry. [When deciding the title] I though it’s Valentine’s Day, this exhibit should be about Long Island and I’ve always liked Whitman’s poem that starts out “Starting from fish-shape Paumanok …” 

Lined Seahorse by Chris Paparo

Paladines is hopeful that this show will become an annual event. “We’ll see how it goes this year,” she laughed.

Join the Four Harbors Audubon Society for an opening reception on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Special guest Darrel Blaine Ford, historian, ornithologist and Walt Whitman personator, will read a few poems from “Leaves of Grass” including “There Was a Child Went Forth.” Refreshments will be served. The exhibit will be on view at The Bates House, 1 Bates Road, Setauket through Feb. 21. All the photographs will be for sale. Call 631-689-7054 or visit www.thebateshouse.org for viewing hours.

Serving the Townships of Smithtown and Northwest Brookhaven, the Four Harbors Audubon Society’s mission is to advocate education and conservation efforts for the enjoyment, preservation and restoration of birds, wildlife and habitat in our communities. The society hosts monthly bird walks at Frank Melville Memorial Park and West Meadow Beach in Setauket, and Avalon Park & Preserve in Stony Brook; lectures at Emma S. Clark Memorial Library; Friday movie nights at the Smithtown Library; field trips; and bird counts including the popular Stone Bridge Nighthawk Watch. For more information, visit www.fourharborsaudubon.com.

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Over time, parents have learned to have conversations with their kids about drug use — whether they should not use at all or to use responsibly.

With New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) stating his hope to pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana during his recent 2019 State of the State address — something that has been in the works for years — we think the time is right to discuss marijuana use in the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol.

While laws will likely prevent minors from buying the drug, legalizing means, in general, it will be easier to find, and parents may need to remind teenagers that just because something is for sale, just as with other drugs, it doesn’t mean they can or should purchase it.

Of course, what’s available at parties always comes into play. Many times, parents may have the talk about alcohol with their children, stressing that their judgment can easily be impaired after only a drink or two, but do they include that smoking a joint can do the same? Just like with alcohol, it’s not safe to drive a car or operate machinery after using marijuana, as it can impair judgment, motor coordination and reaction time.

The sage advice from parents that they would rather have their children wake them in the middle of the night with a phone call asking to be picked up at a party than having them get behind the wheel after drinking — or in a car with someone who has been — would apply to marijuana use as well. Besides waking up mom or dad, there are always the options of sleeping in the house where the party is taking place, getting a ride from a designated driver, or getting a cab or Uber. That’s a golden rule that even adults need to abide by as driving while impaired by a drug in New York state can lead to a $500 to $1,000 fine, a license suspension for at least six months and a possible one-year jail term. If marijuana is legalized, being over the age limit will mean smoking or eating edible cannabis will become a choice, rather than a secretive, unlawful vice.

And if recreational use of pot becomes legal, due to the danger of impairment, despite the new law, many employers may still have random drug testing — something for people to consider as they seek employment.

If state officials legalize the recreational use of marijuana, there will be something else in common with cigarettes. While many may think smoking a joint doesn’t cause the same health problems as cigarettes, according to the American Lung Association, smoking marijuana can still pose a risk to lung health.

To help with discussions about pot use, residents can find out what’s on the minds of others Feb. 25 when the Suffolk County Legislature invites people to share their thoughts about legalizing recreational marijuana at a public hearing at the William H. Rogers Building in Smithtown. We at TBR News Media will be there.

With the possibility of New York becoming the 11th state to legalize recreational use of marijuana, it’s time for parents to get ahead of any problems by discussing drug use with their children.

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