Village Times Herald

Flying high on the Smithtown Bypass
A 38-year-old man from Amityville was arrested on Nov. 9 at 10 p.m. after police said he had heroin in his possession, pushed a police officer to the ground and then forcefully pulled away while trying to resist arrest on the Smithtown Bypass in Smithtown. He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree physical contact and resisting arrest.

Garage door damage
An unknown person damaged a garage door of a residence on Oak Avenue in Smithtown at 4 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Goodbye
A 51-year-old man from Holbrook was arrested on Nov. 6 at 11:15 p.m. after police said he drove into a 2007 Ford van that was parked on Johnson Avenue in Ronkonkoma and fled. He was charged with leaving the scene with property damage.

No more rims
Four tires and rims were stolen from a Cadillac at King O’Rourke Cadillac Buick GMC in Smithtown at 10 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Shed crime
A 19-year-old woman and a 20-year-old woman from Commack were arrested after police said they entered a shed on Lillian Road in Nesconset on Nov. 4 without permission at 7:30 a.m. They were both charged with third-degree criminal trespassing of an enclosed property.

Fake
A 45-year-old man from Commack was arrested on Nov. 7 after police said he pretended to be a police officer by showing a fake badge and saying he was a police officer at 1:30 p.m. on Route 25A in Commack. He was charged with second-degree criminal impersonation of a public servant.

Pot stop
Police said a 18-year-old man from Commack had marijuana in his possession at the corner of Route 25A and Commack Road in Commack at 10:50 p.m. on Nov. 4. He was arrested and charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Flee fail
On Nov. 4 a 63-year-old woman from Commack was arrested after police said she hit a parked 2006 Ford pickup truck on Commack Road at 5:20 p.m. while driving a 2004 Cadillac and attempted to flee the scene. She was arrested and charged with leaving the scene with property damage.

Repair needed
On Nov. 6 around 1:40 p.m. an unknown person damaged the Dano’s Auto Clinic sign on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station.

Cool crime
Between Nov. 3 and 4 an unidentified person stole an air-conditioning unit from Rheumatology Associates of Long Island in Port Jefferson Station.

Inhospitable hit
Suffolk County police said an unknown person broke the front window of the Pax Christi Hospitality Center in Port Jefferson on Nov. 6. The individual used a rock to damage the window.

Starting a garage band
On Nov. 5 an unidentified person stole an iMac computer and a guitar from a building on Riverhead Road in Sound Beach.

Just beachy
At Scott’s Beach Club in Sound Beach on Nov. 5, someone damaged a security camera and the arm of the security gate.

Mad hatter
On Nov. 7 someone left the Kohl’s in Rocky Point with a black hat without paying.

Can’t get no re-leaf
Between Nov. 4 and 5, an unknown person stole a leaf blower from a residence on Oxhead Road in Centereach. Police said the leaf blower was inside the home but didn’t specify how the person entered the home.

ShopWrong
An unknown person entered the ShopRite in Selden and stole assorted merchandise on Nov. 7.
A female stole assorted items from the Walmart on Nesconset Highway in East Setauket on Nov. 5.

Stony broke
On Nov. 6, an unknown person used another person’s identification without permission. According to police, the victim, who lives in Stony Brook, saw several charges to their bank card.

Drugged up and dreamin’
Police arrested a 28-year-old man from Medford for driving while ability impaired by drugs on Nov. 5, around 4:34 p.m., after he allegedly fell asleep while driving a 2008 Honda Civic west on Canal Road in Mount Sinai. Police arrested the man at the scene.

Wrong way
Police charged a 23-year-old woman on Nov. 5 for driving while ability impaired after she drove a black 2015 Hyundai Elantra the wrong way on a ramp connecting Route 97 and Route 25 in Centereach. According to police, the woman crashed into a tan 2003 Mercedes Benz. Police arrested the woman at the scene.          

License to spray paint
Police arrested a 69-year-old man from Selden on Nov. 6 for six counts of criminal tampering. The man allegedly spray-painted the front and rear license plates of a 2001 Toyota Camry, a 2004 Ford Taurus and four other unidentified cars on Oct. 17 and 27. The incidents took place at St. Joseph’s Village For Senior Citizens in Selden.

Low on luck
An 18-year-old man from East Setauket was arrested for petit larceny on Nov. 5, a few days after he took items from a Lowe’s home improvement store in Medford and attempted to return them for store credit.

Caught after the act
A 50-year-old woman from Rocky Point was arrested for grand larceny on Nov. 5, almost a month after she took a wallet from another woman’s purse on West Broadway in Port Jefferson. Police arrested the woman at the 6th Precinct.

In a Garden State of mind
Police arrested a 17-year-old teen from Brentwood on Nov. 6 for operating a car without a license. According to police, the teen was with another individual when he was driving the 2012 Toyota east on Route 25A in Miller Place, and he was in possession of forged New Jersey license plates.

Crash landing
A 23-year-old woman from Sound Beach was arrested on Nov. 7 for driving while ability impaired, after she crashed her 1996 Volkswagen on Rocky Point Landing Road in Rocky Point. Police arrested the woman on Tall Tree Lane.

The Heartbreaker
Coins and cash were stolen from a 2004 Chevrolet, a 2014 GMC and a 2005 Subaru, all parked in driveways on Valentine Lane in Huntington on Nov. 6.

Windshield woes
On Nov. 5 at 10 p.m. a 21-year-old man from Greenlawn was arrested after police said he jumped on a car on the corner of Greenlawn Road and Tilden Lane, and damaged the windshield. He caused injury to a police officer while resisting arrest, and was charged with second-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury to an officer, resisting arrest and intent to damage property.

Electronic troubles
An unknown person entered a gray 1999 Jeep Cherokee on Nassau Road in Huntington and stole a cell phone and an iPod at 1 a.m. on Nov. 7.

Not quite on Target
On Nov. 5, a 21-year-old woman from Huntington was arrested after police said she stole assorted clothing from the Target on East Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station at 10:40 p.m. She was charged with petit larceny.

Dodgin’ the law
An unknown person entered a 2011 Dodge in a driveway on Vestry Court in Huntington and stole assorted items, including a pocket knife and a flashlight on Nov. 6.

Fake it till you make it
Police said a 19-year-old man from Roosevelt used fake checks at Community Market on Depot Road in Huntington Station on Nov. 4 at 12:30 p.m. He was charged with second-degree possession of a forged instrument.

Making a legacy in his Legacy
A 53-year-old man from Freeport was arrested at 10:15 a.m. on Nov. 6 after police said he intentionally hit a police vehicle with his 2015 Subaru Legacy on Rofay Drive in East Northport and then resisted arrest. According to police, he also had heroin in his possession. He was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, third degree criminal mischief for property damage and fourth degree criminal possession of narcotic drugs.

Tears at Sears
Police said a 35-year-old from Huntington Station stole clothing from Sears on Route 25A in East Northport on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. He was charged with petit larceny.

High on North Hill
A 30-year-old man from Huntington Station was arrested after police said he was in possession of marijuana on the corner of North Hill Drive and Pulaski Road in East Northport on Nov. 5 at around 10 p.m.

No room for that at the inn
On Nov. 7, a 34-year-old man from Hicksville was arrested after police said he was in possession of cocaine in a parking lot of Rodeway Inn on West Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station. He was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Full speed ahead on Railroad Street
A 35-year-old man from Syosset was arrested on Nov. 5 after police said he was in possession of cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills without a prescription and then resisted arrest at 10:15 p.m. on the corner of Railroad Street and West Pulaski Road in Huntington Station. He was charged with two accounts of seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and fifth degree criminal possession of marijuana.

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Sept. 1, 1919 — Celebration, Parade & Memorial Service on Labor Day. The soldiers who posed for a picture on the Setauket Village Green included: Ernest West, second from right, front row; George West, second from right, fourth row; Harvey West is third from left, third row. Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

Yesterday, Nov. 11, was Veterans Day, a day to honor all the men and women who served our country. However, Veterans Day began to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 — the Armistice with Germany). President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In 1954, Armistice Day was amended to honor all veteran and the name was changed to Veterans Day.

On Sept. 1, 1919, a celebration, parade and memorial services were conducted at the new East Setauket Memorial and then, at the conclusion of the parade, on the Setauket Village Green.

Muriel Hawkins of East Setauket, 18 years old at the parade, remembered how her uncle Ernest West, who was a ship’s carpenter in the Navy, made seven trips across the Atlantic and back during the war. Ernest was one of four brothers who served during the war. The other three, George, Harvey and Percy, were in the Army. All four were the sons of Setauket blacksmith Samuel West and all four returned.

Two who did not return were memorialized at a ceremony on the Village Green at the end of the parade as reported by the Port Jefferson Times.

“With the service men in uniform standing stiffly at attention and the civilians with bared heads, the entire assemblage united in singing ‘America’… The Rev. T.J. Elms then dedicated a rock to the memory of the Setauket boys who died in the war — Raymond Wishart and Harry Golden… Mrs. Wishart received a medal for her son and Mr. Golden for his boy.”

The massive boulder and south-facing bronze tablet were erected on the Setauket Village Green in their memory. The boulder was brought from Strong’s Neck and the plaque was designed by the well-known artist William DeLeftwich Dodge who painted the murals on New York history that are in the state capital in Albany.

Private Raymond Wishart, son of Postmaster and Mrs. Andrew Wishart, was born Sept. 10, 1893, and he died in France on Aug. 23, 1918. His remains were returned to this country and were buried in the Caroline Church of Brookhaven graveyard on a Sunday in July of 1921.

Harry Golden is remembered by his nephew Sam Golden.

“He was a Sergeant in charge of the mules,” Sam recalled. “His unit was attacked and he was killed. He was 28 years old when he died and he’s buried there in France.”

On the opposite side of the rock is a plaque that was placed there after World War II. It reads, “1941-1945 – In memory of Clifford J. Darling, Henry P. Eichacker, Francis S. Hawkins, David Douglas Hunter, Orlando B. Lyons, Anthony R. Matusky, Edward A. Pfeiffer, (and) William E. Weston of the United States Armed Forces who gave their lives in World War II.”

To be continued.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian.

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Developer Parviz Farahzad proposes constructing a shopping center near Stony Brook University after a year of planning. Rendering from Stony Brook Square plan

By Giselle Barkley

Residents and members of the Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook want more walking and less driving, at least when it comes to the new Stony Brook Shopping Center proposal.

On Monday, Nov. 2, the association met with residents to discuss developer Parviz Farahzad’s proposal of the Stony Brook Square shopping center. His proposal aims to improve the Route 25A corridor across from Stony Brook’s Long Island Rail Road station, which was once known as the old Gustafson property. Farahzad’s Stony Brook Square will include restaurants, a bank and a coffee shop, among other small businesses.

Shawn Nuzzo, president of The Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook, voiced concerns of residents and civic members, saying the civic had met and discussed the proposal and were contemplating long-term impacts with help from the Three Village Chamber of Commerce and Stony Brook Fire Department.

“For years, the Three Village community has been advocating for a Route 25A corridor study, with hopes of improving the area near the train station,” he said. “Without a comprehensive plan, which examines how an area functions as a whole, we end up with ad hoc planning and dysfunctional neighborhoods.”

Nuzzo said that after meeting with various neighborhood stakeholders over next few weeks, he and the civic plan on submitting comments to the town and developer.

According to Farahzad, creating the plan was a yearlong process. As a Three Village resident he said the center is something that’s “needed for [Stony Brook University … and the community]. He added that he wanted to do something that was attractive for the area.

The proposal falls under the J Business district zone, which means that the developer is allowed to build his desired plan as per a zoning change that took place in the 1990s.

Although he did not attend the meeting and is not fully aware of residents’ concerns regarding the proposal, Farahzad said he might alter the proposal to accommodate various suggestions if necessary. He also admitted that the proposal doesn’t meet the required number of 197 parking stalls. Currently the proposal caters for 139 parking spaces.

According to Nuzzo, no one did anything with the property for years until Farahzad purchased the land. The association was pushing for a plan for several years to get a sense of what that area could look like in the future.

Tullio Bertoli, commissioner of Planning, Environment and Land Management for the Town of Brookhaven didn’t respond to messages when asked to comment on Farahzad’s shopping center plan.

‘Woman and Dog’ by Marisol, 1964 Image from Philip F. Palmedo

By Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan

Just a few weeks ago, the Museum of Modern Art opened its exhibit, Picasso Sculpture, to critical acclaim. The exhibit is so chock full of fascinating objects that it can be daunting to take them all in properly, and so it is fortunate that Philip F. Palmedo’s latest book has appeared, just in time to guide us. The book can help even a newbie to understand, appreciate and delight in modern sculpture, not only by Pablo Picasso but by 93 other sculptors who expanded the boundaries of what is considered great art.

Enriched by 155 illustrations, and satisfactorily printed on thick glossy stock, ‘The Experience of Modern Sculpture: A Guide to Enjoying Works of the Past 100 Years’ makes a joyous introduction to the subject, with informative, user-friendly notes. It is also, with its carefully chosen bibliography, a worthy addition to the bookshelves of art historians.

Palmedo, a resident of Head of the Harbor, seamlessly achieves his objective, which is to enrich the experience of modern sculpture, “particularly for those who have found it uninteresting, mute, or simply baffling.” He guides a willing learner to experience a work’s power, originality, and, often, humor, by absorbing the artist’s purpose in its creation. We are encouraged to dismiss previously held intellectual distinctions of what is art. Palmedo believes, “The appreciation of sculpture is first of all a visual and sensuous affair. It is the encounter and the experience that are important.”

The-Experience-of-Modern-Sculpture-jacket-wConstantin Brancusi’s graceful “Bird in Space “(“L’Oiseau dans l’espace”), 1932–1940, is a case in point. A commanding presence of polished brass, almost 5 feet tall, it evokes the thrill we experience when a bird celebrates its freedom in flight; we need no artist to sculpt its wings or beak to confirm its identity.

As the 20th century progressed, sculptors began to appropriate materials that were either previously unavailable or simply not considered for use in the past. In 1909, when Picasso first transitioned within cubism from painting to sculpture, he chose bronze for the head of his mistress and muse, “Woman’s Head (Fernande).” “Contrast this with his 1942 ‘Bull’s Head’ — an assemblage of the leather seat and metal handles of a bicycle.

“No matter that the bull has an unusually pointy snout; we recognize it immediately because of its gently curved, symmetrical horns,” Palmedo writes. “The two aspects of the sculpture — the simple, familiar objects, and the form of the bull — seem to first oscillate in our consciousness and then coexist. A simple and captivating magic trick is performed before our eyes.

“You often wonder, looking at a piece of abstract sculpture, whether you are feeling what the artist intended you to feel, whether you are getting it. When you get the joke . . . in Picasso’s ‘Bull’s Head,’ you have the pleasure of knowing you are indeed connecting with the artist’s intent. You are getting it — as long as you don’t think that the joke is everything.” Both of these works are included in Picasso Sculpture at MoMA.

Another work that incorporates unusual materials along with a dose of humor was created in 1964 by Marisol — one of 15 women artists whose work is recognized in this book. Her life-size “Women and Dog,” in which the four women are said to be self-portraits, is on exhibit at the new home of the Whitney Museum of Art, and incorporates wood, plaster, synthetic polymer, a taxidermic dog head and miscellaneous items.

Palmedo likens a perfectly balanced abstract sculpture to a great musical composition. In Anthony Caro’s complex construction of bright yellow-painted steel “Fanshoal,” 1971–1972, Palmedo senses that any alteration of the relationship between the disparate parts would lessen the perfection of the whole. He likens it to a Bach partita that contains no superfluous note.

Another work, created in homage to a master of musical composition, is Kenneth Snelson’s “Mozart I,” in stainless steel, 1981–1982. Palmedo sees Snelson’s act of creating a work of art as very similar to composing music, in its clarity, lyricism and rigor of composition.

"Swing Dance," fabricated bronze, 2005 by Bill Barrett
“Swing Dance,” fabricated bronze, 2005 by Bill Barrett

The movement of dance and music has inspired many sculptors past and present. Bill Barrett’s “Swing Dance,” 2005, of fabricated bronze, captures the vitality of a couple swept up in the music and rhythm of a boogie beat. “Capturing evanescent movement in bronze is no mean feat,” writes Palmedo, who pays tribute to Barrett’s distilled, subconscious sense of grace and melodic line.

Lin Emery’s sculpture, “Sunflower of 2009,” photographed here in motion, underscores her fascination with movement. Early in her career she used flowing water as the motive force for kinetic metal sculptures. In later works such as this, ball bearings create delicately balanced works moved by the wind. Polished aluminum surfaces resembling parts of the flower reflect the changing colors of clouds and sky, and we respond as we do to the beauties of nature. The skill of an engineer is required to achieve a kinetic work, a balancing act between beauty and the machine.

The pleasure that Palmedo derives from art in all its manifestations is a defining characteristic of his persona. He writes, “There are times looking at a sculpture when I am profoundly struck by the absolute perfection of the relationship between all of its elements and for a brief moment I experience something as close to joy that a physical object can grant.” This magnificent book brings the willing reader into that delightful state.

Palmedo will be speaking and signing copies of his book at The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook on Friday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m. The book may also be purchased from the publisher, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., the gift shop of The Long Island Museum, and at Amazon.com.

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Smithtown East's Jackie Cuccarello and Kendra Harlow leap up to block a spike by Ward Melville's Alex Stein. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Victoria Tilley said that despite the Ward Melville girls’ volleyball team blanking 12 of its 13 regular-season opponents 3-0, the team has always had to battle back — and Monday was no different.

The Patriots had only lost one set the entire season and found themselves down 2-1 to another undefeated team, Smithtown East. Ward Melville wouldn’t go down without a fight though and won the fourth and decisive fifth set to secure its spot in the Suffolk County Class AA finals, 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-14.

“It’s amazing how we came back,” the senior middle hitter and blocker said, grinning from ear to ear. “We’re sometimes late starters and it comes back to us. We trail a lot with teams, but we always know how to clam down and talk to each other, and it works every single time.”

Smithtown East had contributions from Kendra Harlow (19 kills), Haley Anderson (15 kills and 12 digs), Morgan Catalanotto (15 digs) and Jackie Cuccarello (42 assists) and went on a five-point tare in the third set and opened up the fourth with another five straight points before the Patriots put themselves on the board, but Ward Melville sophomore outside hitter Ashley Fuchs was the difference maker.

With the fourth set tied 14-14, a slide across the baseline for a dig helped put her team out in front and forced Smithtown East head coach George Alamia to call time-out. From there, although the Bulls tied it at 15-15, the Patriots never trailed again.

Ward-Melville-girls-volleyball-Alex-Stein-1-110915_Keeganw
Alex Stein serves up the ball in Ward Melville’s 3-2 Class AA semifinal win over Smithtown East on Nov. 9. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We were making some hitting errors which is fine, and it’s hard to adjust to some hits off the net, but we all came together,” Ward Melville junior setter Cierra Low said. “We were down at some points but we always know we can come back together. We work as a team and when we got down we get in that huddle and tell each other to relax, that it’s all good and we’ll get back there and we did. We won.”

The Patriots’ defense was a weak point throughout the match, but the team continued to bounce back.

“We talked about some things that we wanted to do defensively and didn’t do it until the fourth game, but it did finally work out,” Ward Melville head coach Charles Fernandes said. “They were very calm; there was no panicking.”

As the Patriots climbed back to win the fourth set and fans cheered across the gymnasium, Ward Melville senior Alex Stein said she knew her team had it in them to pull through once more.

The outside hitter, who finished the game with 28 kills, 10 digs, three blocks and two aces, said she knew from the start that the team had a lot of potential.

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The Ward Melville girls’ volleyball team celebrates a point in the Patroits’ 3-2 win over Smithtown East in the Class AA semifinals. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We knew we could go far if we worked for it, so it’s nice to see that we didn’t roll over and let them win,” she said. “Every game where there’s been a challenge we’ve been able to overcome it, especially when we’re down that’s when we really focus and work together. We’ve wanted this the whole season. We’ve been working as hard as we can since preseason for this moment, and we just took it.”

Tilley finished with 14 kills and four blocks, Fuchs added eight kills and eight digs, senior libero Claire O’Hern had nine digs and junior left side hitter Lara Atalay had 14 kills and three blocks.

With the win, Ward Melville moved on to face No. 1 Connetquot in the Suffolk County Class AA championship at Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus today at 8 p.m.

Stein, who is the only player on the team to have also competed with the Patriots’ 2012 county champion team, is looking forward to the matchup.

“It’s not going to be easy but we’re going to work as hard as we can,” she said. “Connetquot is a very good team and we know that their ball control is very good and they’re going to depend on us making mistakes so we’re going to work hard to eliminate the errors.”

Fernandes said that although he’s been coaching volleyball for years and made it to the county finals before, going back with these girls makes it feel like the first time.

“The girls hung together, they understood that if we executed our game plan we could be successful, and they did,” Fernandes said. “This is a very good volleyball team and if anything, our route to the finals has battle-tested us. I just can’t wait to see these kids in that room.”

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The Ward Melville field hockey team poses for a group photo after claiming the Long Island Class A championship. Photo by Bruce Larrabee

The Ward Melville field hockey team blanked Massapequa 5-0 to win the Long Island Class A title Sunday at Dowling College’s athletic complex.

Sophomore forward Kerri Thornton started off the scoring five minutes into the game, and junior forward Kassidy Rogers-Healion tacked on four second-half goals to propel the Patriots to the win.

Ward Melville will face Shenendehowa in a Class A state semifinal Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Maine-Endwell High in Endwell, a suburb of Binghamton.

Uerda Zena colors before her heart procedure last week. Photo from Debbie Engelhardt

A 4-year-old girl from Kosovo is recovering after a life-saving heart operation on Long Island, thanks to the work of local volunteers.

Mom Barbara Zena comforts Uerda as she recovers from her heart procedure. Photo from Debbie Engelhardt
Mom Barbara Zena comforts Uerda as she recovers from her heart procedure. Photo from Debbie Engelhardt

It took a village to support Uerda Zena. Rotary groups throughout Suffolk lent a hand to the girl and her mother, Barbara, through the Gift of Life program, which works to provide such stateside heart procedures to children from around the globe. Uerda’s Nov. 4 surgery to repair a hole in her heart the size of a nickel was a milestone effort that celebrated the Rotary program’s 40th anniversary.

The atrial septal defect closure performed on Uerda at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn will add 60 or more years to the little girl’s life, Port Jefferson Rotary member Debbie Engelhardt explained, but the surgery was not available in her home nation.

Engelhardt, who is also the director of the Comsewogue Public Library, said more than 19,000 children from dozens of countries have received life-saving surgeries since the Gift of Life program was born in Suffolk County four decades ago and expanded through Rotary International.

The medical team that took care of Uerda Zena, including Dr. Levchuck second from right, surrounds mom Barbara Zena. Photo from Debbie Engelhardt
The medical team that took care of Uerda Zena, including Dr. Levchuck second from right, surrounds mom Barbara Zena. Photo from Debbie Engelhardt

Rotary groups in the county are still going strong with Gift of Life, which is doubling up its efforts by providing doctors and medical staff in other countries with equipment and training to perform the heart procedures themselves.

“It’s a unique, renowned and respected Rotary-run program,” Engelhardt said.

Dr. Sean Levchuck, the pediatric cardiologist who performed the life-saving procedure on Uerda at St. Francis, described it as minimally invasive. To close the nickel-sized hole, he fed a catheter “the size of a coffee stirrer” into a vein in her leg and up to her heart, where the catheter deployed a device that, once placed in the hole, expanded to plug it. The cardiologist had to position the device properly while Uerda’s heart was still beating, mostly using ultrasound imaging to guide him.

Barbara Zena and daughter Uerda have fun at Chuck E. Cheese. Photo from Joe DeVincent
Barbara Zena and daughter Uerda have fun at Chuck E. Cheese. Photo from Joe DeVincent

The doctor said the procedure took between 45 minutes to an hour and required a team of nurses, an anesthesiologist and techs to assist with the imaging. The hospital donated the use of its facility and staff for the procedure.

Levchuck does about 15 of those procedures a year for Gift of Life, he said, with a fair number of the child recipients coming from Eastern European countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. He also sees kids from places like Haiti and Jamaica.

Just like in those other nations, the procedure to repair a hole in a child’s heart is not available in Kosovo, Levchuck said, because the hospitals don’t have the resources to train their staffs to do it. And the kids who are born with those defects are more prone to pneumonia or respiratory infections, which could also be difficult to treat in a developing nation.

“Problems in this country that are seemingly innocent take a whole new look” in places like Kosovo, the doctor said. But he is willing to help: “Keep ‘em coming. … It’s easy to donate time.”

In Uerda’s case, plenty of Long Islanders donated their time, with many people pitching in to make the girl’s medical procedure a reality. Sayville Rotarian Joe DeVincent wrote letters to get the girl a visa, and she and her mother are staying with a host family in Northport while here. DeVincent has also provided transportation to the Kosovan mother and daughter.

Uerda Zena and mom Barbara are all smiles while in the U.S. to repair the girl's heart defect Photo from Joe DeVincent
Uerda Zena and mom Barbara are all smiles while in the U.S. to repair the girl’s heart defect Photo from Joe DeVincent

The endeavor to save Uerda had an additional element of kids helping other kids — students at St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, one of whom is Levchuck’s son, raised funds to bring the girl to the United States from her home in the Kosovan capital, Pristina, where her mother works at a bakery and her father at a public works plant.

“They’re a fine group of students over there that championed a cause,” the doctor said about the St. Anthony’s kids. “When you see something like that, you really get a nice warm feeling about the future.”

Uerda will be staying stateside for a little while longer, and Rotarians are trying to show her a good time. She has already gone on a play date to Chuck E. Cheese and visited a children’s museum, DeVincent said, and this weekend she will go into New York City with her mother and some native Long Islanders to visit Times Square and Rockefeller Center.

“Uerda really enjoys being with her mother,” DeVincent said.

And she has more energy to do these things than before.

After a heart procedure, Uerda Zena is now healthier than ever. Photo from Joe DeVincent
After a heart procedure, Uerda Zena is now healthier than ever. Photo from Joe DeVincent

“Her heart’s working better, her circulation’s better,” the Rotarian said. “The kid generally feels better than she has in her whole life. So this is a very happy story.”

Uerda will also appear at a Taste of Smithtown, an event in St. James on Nov. 17, where there will be food from restaurants along the North Shore. The 10th annual event will run from 6 to 9 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz of Smithtown on Middle Country Road and will benefit the Gift of Life program, along with the Smithtown Emergency Food Pantry and the Smithtown Children’s Foundation.

The plan is for the Zenas to head home on Nov. 22, to be reunited with Uerda’s father and her 18-month-old brother.

“Her mother is in touch with her family in Europe through her cell phone and … Uerda has spoken to her brother over the cell phone,” DeVincent said. “She’s actually very maternal toward her younger brother.”

It is a happy ending for both the Kosovo family and Suffolk County Rotarians.

“When you’re doing something like this with an adorable 4-year-old child, it brings you tremendous satisfaction,” DeVincent said. “This is the best way to spread happiness, certainly for these children and their parents but also for yourself. Nothing that I do or have done in my life has brought me as much joy.”

Three Village gathers in footprint of former Capital One building to open new arts center

A scene from Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Reboli Center in Stony Brook. Photo by Phil Corso

A group of dedicated Three Villagers has blended together a perfect cocktail of art and history, and anyone passing through historic Stony Brook village can have a taste.

The Reboli Center for Art and History held its ceremonial ribbon cutting in the company of founders and supporters on Tuesday morning while standing within the footprint of what used to be a Capital One bank. But they did much more than snip a piece of blue ribbon — they ushered in a new era in Stony Brook history, where North Shore residents can admire work from the late Joe Reboli of Setauket and take part in artistic and historic programming delving into the story of Three Village, Suffolk County and Long Island.

“It has been my dream, ever since he passed away, to have a place where the community can come and see his work,” said Lois Reboli, wife of the late artist. “He loved this community, he was very involved in the community and I am just beyond excited about this opportunity.”

Joe Reboli was born and raised on Main Street, not far from where his name was memorialized on Tuesday. He and his family had a long history in the area: His grandfather ran a business across the street, and his aunt worked in the same building when it was a bank decades ago.

He died in 2004 at age 58 after being diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. Since his death, Lois Reboli has been attending makeshift meetings at coffee and kitchen tables across Three Village with a squad self-identified as The Rebolians, working to make sure Joe Reboli’s story lived on. The list of names added to that squad has not stopped growing since his death.

Joe Reboli and his work line the walls of the new art and history center. Photo by Phil Corso
Joe Reboli and his work line the walls of the new art and history center. Photo by Phil Corso

One of the first people to make that list was Colleen Hanson, who worked as executive director of Three Village’s Gallery North from January 2000 until her retirement in September 2010. She worked alongside Lois Reboli after the artist passed and also helped launch the first Reboli Wet Paint Festival weekend at Gallery North in 2005. She said it was a long-standing mission of hers to honor Joe Reboli and keep his work at the forefront of the Three Village conversation.

“I made a vow that we would do something for him,” she said. “If we were to find a space, it had to be in Three Village and it had to have a Joe-like feeling. Now, I pinch myself and think, ‘This is so cool.’ We love this community. We want it to be even better and richer for everybody, and I see this as a beautiful upbeat place where people want to be.”

Lois Reboli started to see her team assemble before her eyes, with Hanson and former Gallery North assistant to the executive director, B.J. Intini. The three dubbed themselves the “tres amigas,” and that nickname followed them all the way to Tuesday’s ribbon cutting.

The founders received help from many along the way, but there was one significant piece of assistance they said they never saw coming.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) was in talks with Lois Reboli regarding the potential creation of a Reboli arts center, and he helped the “tres amigas” create a not-for-profit called the Friends of Joseph Reboli, with a mission of collecting, preserving and exhibiting artwork and artifacts related to Joe Reboli. The group filed for federal 501(c)(3) status in 2012.

“This is not going to subtract from our existing cultural institutions,” Englebright said. “It is going to make this area an attraction and enhance it.”

It wasn’t until March 2015 when Hanson said she heard of the Capital One bank in Stony Brook potentially leaving the historic-landmarked building at a price tag of $1.8 million, and they have not looked back since. The Rebolians started raising money and seeking help from the greater Three Village community to acquire the space.

Englebright spearheaded a state grant at $1.3 million toward the purchase price, and that was coupled with two anonymous $150,000 donations that allowed them to plant a Reboli flag in the property.

Lois Reboli signed that contract on Sept. 25 — her late husband’s 70th birthday.

The Reboli Center for Art and History will keep Joe Reboli’s artwork alive with thriving displays and exhibits. A Reboli atelier will also complement the center’s work by establishing an education program at a Flowerfield facility, where participants can develop and foster a contemporary painting community grounded in classical traditions of drawing and painting — just like Joe Reboli would have wanted.

The rest of the story has yet to be written.

“It was very important to me that people didn’t forget his work,” Lois Reboli said. “He loved this area.”

The Town of Brookhaven and Highway Department are examining the sources of Setauket Harbor’s poor water quality through an extensive study by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said it’s time to wake up when it comes to Long Island’s water.

Up until 10 years ago, Brookhaven residents could gather clams and oysters from bodies of water like the Setauket Harbor. But that’s not the case now, according to the Supervisor, who remarked on the closing of Mount Sinai Harbor for shell fishing.

“If that isn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is,” Romaine said.

In light of Brookhaven’s declining water quality, on Tuesday, Oct. 27, the supervisor announced that the Town of Brookhaven would take on a study that will help officials pinpoint the sources of water contamination, starting with the Setauket Harbor. Romaine said the harbor was small enough for the town to examine and clean once they receive the results next year.

Romaine said the town planned on looking at the pipes leading to the harbor, road runoff, and all drains that run to the harbor. In response to this, the town hired Cornell Cooperative Extension to conduct this study and to use DNA testing to help identify the sources of water pollution.

While high levels of nitrogen were identified in the water, Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said nitrogen could come from various sources, including leaching from underground septic systems, wild and domesticated animal feces and fertilizers, among other sources.

Last year, Losquadro said his department finished reconstructing the sea wall along Shore Road in Setauket by removing the concrete slabs that were used in the past to construct the wall. He added that the concrete released chemicals into the water, which further affected the water quality.

Town officials said they intended to continue the study across multiple seasons, especially in the winter months, when people use fewer fertilizers and when less wild and domestic animals are out and about.

Setauket Harbor and Mount Sinai Harbor, which includes Cedar Beach, are two of several impacted waterways on the Island. According to Romaine, Moriches Bay and the Great South Bay are also impacted.

“I’m greatly concerned because each year the waterways surrounding Brookhaven Town and Long Island have been declining,” Romaine said. “Many of our harbors and parts of out tributaries are considered impaired.”

Neither the town nor the highway department will know how much cleaning Setauket Harbor’s waters will cost until after Cornell Cooperative Extension conducts its study, Romaine said. The hope is that they will identify the sources of contamination before the town’s 2017 budget is approved.

The town isn’t only working with Losquadro, but also with members of the Setauket Harbor Task force led by George Hoffman, Moriches Bay Project and Friends of Bellport Bay.

Romaine also added that those who settled on the Island would not be impressed with Long Island’s declining water quality.

“The town was founded in 1655 [and] it was Setauket Harbor that the settlers … came to start the first European settlement in Brookhaven Town,” Romaine said. “I’m sure if they were here today, they would weep at the fact that the waters are so impaired — you can’t eat any of the shellfish from the water.”

An independent auditor has given Three Village School District a clean financial bill of health.

The pronouncement at a recent meeting came from Dave Spara, of Toski & Co., who said the district’s financial position is “sound” as a result of “prudent and judicious budgeting.”

In his report, Spara said that at the close of the last fiscal year, the district held $20 million in its fund balance — an amount he called “adequate” for a school district.

About $10 million of the fund balance is in reserves, which Spara said is “good, not overboard and not low.” He added that it complies with state regulations for the amount of money a district can hold in its fund balance — no more than 4 percent of the next year’s budget.

The district’s reserves are basically enough to get the district, which spends approximately $1 million a day, through a week, he said.

“That’s something that we’ve tried to do over the years,” said Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services. “Keep a modest amount that will cover us in the event of some emergency, but not too much.”

Last year, the district drew down $600,000 from its balance, not a large sum for a budget of a little more than $180 million, Spara said.

In other financial matters, Carlson clarified that $17,554 — stated in a previous district report as the amount spent per student —was a number generated by the state to express “instructional spending per pupil.” The figure does not include expenses in other areas, such as busing, construction or other projects, he said.

It would be more accurate, Carlson said, to divide the district’s total spending per year by its enrollment. Based on the current enrollment, the average spending per pupil would be closer to $29,000, he said.

Taking numbers from the 2014-15 school year for Long Island school districts, Carlson said the average spending per student was $26,402. Sixty of the 124 districts on the Island fall within 10 percent — either above or below — of the average. Forty-three districts are above the 10 percent average and 24 are below, he said.

Social Studies
In other news, Three Village also announced plans to forge ahead with an updated social studies curriculum in all grades.

Despite the attention on “testing subjects” — English language arts (ELA) and math — social studies is getting attention in Three Village, district officials said.

“This, right now, is the time for social studies,” said Paul Gold, social studies director for grades K-12, as he outlined some of the curriculum changes and upgrades.

At the elementary level, the third grade will now be exposed to the culture, religions and politics of China.

“We want to give students the same opportunities here that other students are getting around the world,” Gold said.

Fifth grade students will focus on the Western Hemisphere, Latin American studies and North America, while doing comparative analysis.

At the junior high level, Gold said, social studies teachers will work toward more differentiation between the Regents level and honors level social studies classes, so that honors courses are “more rigorous.”

The current eight graders will be the first to take the new global history and geography Regents exams in 10th and 11th grades.

AP U.S. and World History curricula and exams will also be undergoing change.

“We are way ahead of the curve state-wide for getting kids and teachers so prepared for what’s to come,” Gold said.