Village Times Herald

Thomas Stavola mugshot from the DA's office

A cardiologist has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, drunk driving and leaving the scene of a Smithtown car crash, 16 months after he killed a fellow medical professional and mother of three.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office announced on Friday that Setauket doctor Thomas Stavola, now 56, will spend two years in prison and five years on probation after last year’s crash, during which his Audi broadsided victim Monica Peterman’s Mercedes at the intersection of Routes 25 and 111. It was shortly before 4 a.m., and Peterman, 45, had been on her way to work as an X-ray technician at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center. Instead, the Middle Island resident was pronounced dead at that same hospital she had worked for more than 10 years.

District Attorney Tom Spota said previously that the doctor, who sustained minor injuries in the crash, left the scene without helping Peterman.

“Witnesses who came upon the crash scene said the defendant suddenly left and began walking west on Route 25,” Spota said in a previous statement. “What I found most troubling is the fact that a physician chose not to render any kind of aid or use his cellphone to call 911 to get some assistance for a seriously injured motorist.”

The DA said those witnesses gave police officers a description of Stavola, and a sergeant on his way to the scene spotted the man about 500 feet from the crash, walking quickly with his head down.

According to the DA’s office, Stavola had a .10 blood alcohol content 90 minutes after the fatal incident.

The impact of the collision had embedded Stavola’s front license plate into the side door of Peterman’s car.

Stavola originally pleaded not guilty to his charges. The victim’s family filed a $20 million civil lawsuit against him last year, saying they hoped it would help make punishments stricter for drunk drivers.

But Stavola changed his plea and Peterman’s family supported the two-year sentence and probation, the DA’s office said. Husband Russell Peterman said in a statement that his family wanted to let go of the anger they felt toward Stavola and realized he deserved another chance “to go back to helping people.”

This female bobcat, named Surabi, lives at Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology center. Photo from Brookhaven Town

Proceeds raised at a bowling event on Sunday will be used to feed and care for the more than 100 animals that live at Brookhaven Town’s Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology center.

Halloween Bowl for Animals will run from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bowl Long Island at Patchogue, and will cost $30 for adults, $20 for children and $10 for non-bowlers who attend. That price includes unlimited bowling, shoe rental, a buffet and dessert. Reservations are required.

“This is a great event for the entire family that will help to ensure the animals at the ecology site continue receiving the proper care,” Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro said in a statement.

The spooky bowling fundraiser will include a costume contest — children are encouraged to dress as their favorite animal — and a 50/50 raffle.

To reserve lanes, register online at www.brookhavenwildlifecenter.org or call 631-758-9664 x11.

The bowling alley is located at 138 West Ave., Patchogue.

We’re on the case
Police said an unidentified person stole an iPhone case from the Walmart at the Centereach Mall on Oct. 18 around 1:15 p.m.

Narcissistic steal
An unidentified person entered a residence on Narcissus Road in Rocky Point and stole jewelry from the bedroom on Oct. 18, between 2 and 9 a.m.

Hear me roar
An 18-year-old man from Stony Brook was charged with disorderly conduct and damaging property on Oct. 16 after police said he yelled and threatened people nearby and punched a glass window. The incident and arrest took place at a residence on Main Street.

Capt. Underpants
Police charged a 34-year-old woman from Southold with burglary and illegal entry with intent on Oct. 18, after the woman entered the Kohl’s on Route 25A in Rocky Point and stole men’s underwear. Police arrested the woman at the scene 15 minutes after the incident.

A burglary not Selden seen
On Oct. 15 at 3:56 a.m., an unidentified person entered someone else’s residence on Middle Country Road in Selden and stole cash. Police did not say if the person broke into the home or found another means of entering the property.

On the fence
Around Oct. 15, someone broke the fence and an adjacent gutter of the Tierney & Tierney law office in Port Jefferson Station.

Bottling it up
The Suffolk County Police Department said an unidentified person was hit in the head with a bottle at Schafer’s restaurant in Port Jefferson. The incident happened around 2:50 a.m. on Oct. 17.

It’s in the bag
On Oct. 17 around 5 p.m. a woman left her purse unattended at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson and it was stolen.

Thank you very Munch
Police said an unidentified person broke the front glass window of the Munch Repair Service on North Country Road in Stony Brook on Oct. 15 and stole change and cigars.

Put it on my cart
Suffolk County police arrested a 54-year-old woman and a 48-year-old woman for petit larceny on Oct. 15, after police said these two women from Middle Island walked into the Walmart in Setauket and attempted to steal a shopping cart of various items. The 48-year-old was walking with the cart while the 54-year-old was placing items into it as they attempted to leave the store.

Out of control
Suffolk County police said that on Oct. 16 a 17-year-old male from Port Jefferson Station was found in possession of narcotics. The teen was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Don’t sweat it
Police arrested a 29-year-old man from East Setauket for petit larceny on Oct. 18, about a month after the man took a knife and sweatpants from a business on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook.

It wasn’t me
A 45-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested on Oct. 16 for unlicensed operation of a vehicle. The man was driving a 1998 Chevrolet down Nesconset Highway when he was pulled over for an unknown reason. According to police, he was also in criminal possession of a controlled substance and gave the officer a fake identity.

Needle in hand
A 34-year-old man from Hauppauge was arrested at 12:50 a.m. on Oct. 17 after police said he had a hypodermic needle in his hand while sitting in a 2001 Nissan at Miller Pond State Park in Smithtown. He was charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Broken windows
It was reported that a window of a building was broken at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown on the property at 11 a.m. on Oct. 16

Stealing from a friend
A 52-year-old woman from East Northport was arrested at the 4th Precinct on Oct. 16 at 7:30 a.m. for a crime committed at an earlier time. According to police she stole clothing valuing more than $3,000 between June 1 and Sept. 11 from someone. She was charged with third-degree grand larceny.

Skates and stealth
Someone reported that while they were roller-skating in Robert A. Brady Park in Smithtown they left their wallet on a bench and it was taken between 4 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 16.

Trying to Dodge the incident
On Oct. 15 a 33-year-old man from Central Islip was arrested at Townline Road in Kings Park at 6 p.m. for a crime committed at an earlier date. Police said on Sept. 22 he was driving a 2002 Dodge pickup truck at the corner of Old Commack Road and Old Northport Road in Kings Park when he hit another car and fled the scene at 4:15 p.m. He was charged with leaving the scene of incident and property damage. 

Fire department heats up
A man was punched in the face at the Smithtown Fire Department at 7:40 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Fight on Pine
A 49-year-old man from Kings Park was arrested at his house on Oct. 13 at 5:22 p.m. for punching a man in the face on Pine Street in St. James on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. according to police. He was charged with third-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury.

Ladies don’t get in this Mercedes
It was reported that all four tires and rims of a 2015 Mercedes on Smithtown Boulevard in Nesconset were stolen between 10 p.m. on Oct. 15 and 8 a.m. on Oct. 16.

Outside the lines
Police said a 55-year-old man from Westbrook was failing to maintain his lane on Mayfair Terrace in Commack at 9:40 p.m. on Oct. 16 and was pulled over. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Five-finger shopping spree
A 43-year-old woman from Ronkonkoma was arrested after police said she stole clothing from multiple stores on Oct. 14 including clothes from Sears on Jericho Turnpike in Commack at 1 p.m. and clothes from TJ Maxx on Jericho Turnpike in Commack at 4:50 p.m. She was charged with petit larceny.

Drunken speeding
On Oct. 17 a 43-year-old woman from Ronkonkoma was arrested after police said she was speeding on the Long Island Expressway by Exit 51 in a 2013 Toyota RAV4. She was arrested at 10:17 p.m. and was charged with driving while intoxicated.

‘The Beach is the Place to Be’ by Iacopo Pasquinelli

A perennial favorite on the North Shore, the Setauket Artists’ Exhibition returns to the Setauket Neighborhood House, from Oct. 25 to Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Now in its 35th year, the art show will feature the works of 43 local artists in a variety of media.

“I am surprised and very pleased with the longevity and the success of the show,” said artist Flo Kemp, who organized the group of local artists that  became known as the Setauket Artists back in 1980. Ten years ago, she turned the helm over to Irene Ruddock, an exhibiting artist who has continued to uphold all the traditions of the beginning exhibit as well as adding new traditions of her own.

When asked about her ten year tenure, Ruddock said, “It has been an exciting and rewarding experience for me, because I have had the privilege of working with these exceptional artists who have become my friends. I’m also on the board of the Setauket Neighborhood House, whose members are sincerely dedicated to the preservation and welfare of this historic house.” The Setauket Artists will contribute a portion of their profits to the preservation effort.

“When I began, I set goals that I wanted to achieve for the show. The most important was to always seek out the highest quality of art work; paintings that people want to hang in their homes, giving them pleasure each day. ‘Art for a Lifetime’ — that is the Setauket Artists’ motto. We never take our collectors for granted, because we sincerely are grateful when we find the perfect match for a piece of art,” said Ruddock, adding that the group is privileged to have a Joseph Reboli giclee print available for purchase this year, titled “Pumpkin Light.”

‘Pleasant Contemplation’ by Terry McManus
‘Pleasant Contemplation’ by Terry McManus

One of the exhibiting artists, Mary Jane van Zeijts, who will be opening her own teaching studio and gallery at 268 Main Street in Setauket in November, said “I love this group of artists, not only for their work, but as human beings. The Setauket Artists are a beautiful art community.”

The exhibit will be sponsored by Fred Bryant, of Bryant Funeral Home in East Setauket, who has believed in and supported the artists for ten years.

This year’s honored judge, Steve Forster, director of Long Island Academy of Fine Art in Glen Cove, will choose winners from the categories of Best in Show, Award of Excellence, Award of Merit, Award of Distinction and Honorable Mention.

Jim Molloy will be the Setauket Artists’ Honored Artist this year, chosen by the artists themselves for his stunning artwork and his contributions to the organization. “[The Setauket Artists’ Exhibition] is the perfect venue for displaying my work and seeing the creative process of the other artists,” he said.

Stop by any time during the exhibit to take a chance on this year’s raffle paintings. Molloy will contribute a giclee of one of his most popular pieces, titled “Vestiges,” along with a soft-ground etching by Flo Kemp titled “Beach Cottages.”

All artwork will be for sale at affordable prices, so consider doing your holiday shopping with the Setauket Artists. The exhibit will open with an artist reception at the Setauket Neighborhood House, 95 Main St., Setauket, on Sunday, Oct. 25, from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-751-6208 or visit www.setauketneighborhoodhouse.com.

This version corrects the location of Mary Jane van Zeijts’ future gallery and studio.

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The indoor facility is expected to play host to various Stony Brook University sports teams. Rendering from Stony Brook Athletics

It’s a perfect match.

A graduate of Stony Brook University has committed to a matching challenge grant to help raise money for the Stony Brook Foundation and Stony Brook Athletics as they work to collect $10 million to fund an indoor training center on campus.

Glenn Dubin, a 1978 grad, teamed up with his wife Eva to announce the $5 million pledge in the form of a 1:1 matching grant he said would hopefully give a boost to the fundraising campaign. Once completed, Stony Brook Athletics said it planned on breaking ground on a new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility and complex near LaValle Stadium.

“With this challenge pledge, I hope to inspire Seawolves friends, fans and family to support current and future Stony Brook student-athletes,” Glenn Dubin said in a statement. “We wanted to kick-start this campaign and rally the Stony brook community around the athletic department. Stony Brook Athletics has substantial and significant aspirations for the near future, and excellent facilities are a necessary component to realize these aspirations and achieve success.”

In a statement, Stony Brook Athletics said the new facility would include a 100-yard indoor multi-purpose synthetic turf practice field, as well as innovative lighting, film equipment, sound and video systems and a 90-foot ceiling clearance height. The building was also designed for multiple uses, with the intention of hosting all Stony Brook intercollegiate athletic teams’ practices throughout the year.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., president of Stony Brook University, applauded the Dubins for their generosity and said their matching challenge opened the door for more donors to play their part in making the new facility a reality.

“Over the past decade, Glenn and Eva Dubin have shown incredible vision and had a tremendous impact on Stony Brook Athletics,” Stanley said. “This new challenge match gives others the opportunity to play an active role in the success of our student athletes and our athletic program.”

Stony Brook University Athletic Director Shawn Heilbron said the new building was an integral part of the college’s five-year plan through an initiative known as Together We Transform, which was launched in 2015 as an aggressive strategic plan to have Stony Brook recognized as a premier NCAA Division I athletic department.

“Our objective is to positively transform the life of each student-athlete,” he said. “And this project will benefit the more than 435 student-athletes that comprise our teams. I am extremely grateful to the Dubin family for their belief in our program and for their sincere generosity.”

The G. & E. Dubin Family Foundation previously donated $4.3 million to Stony Brook Athletics back in 2010 for the creation of an 8,000-square-foot strength and conditioning facility named the Dubin Family Athletic Performance Center, which already opened in 2012. Glenn Dubin, who played both football and lacrosse at Stony Brook University, has remained a staunch supporter of the Seawolves athletic club as a regular attendee at men’s lacrosse and football games. He also donated $1 million to Stony Brook in 2005 to create the Glenn Dubin Endowed Scholarship Fund, which offers scholarships to students from Washington Heights, particularly students from P.S. 132, where he attended elementary school.

Jack Blaum speaks at a Three Village board of education meeting. File photo

In the years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting — a horror further punctuated by recent college shootings — safety continues to be a top priority for Three Village school officials.

Security & Safety coordinator Jack Blaum detailed the district’s efforts at a recent school board meeting. The past year has seen the installation of vestibules in school lobbies, card key entryways, emergency training for staff and safety drills with students during school hours.

Blaum said an analysis of the recent shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon reveals that such tragedies have three things in common: motive, means and opportunity.

“The one thing we have total control over is opportunity,” Blaum said, last Wednesday. “The opportunity is keeping our buildings closed when we’re in session.”

That is ensured by posting additional full-day security officers at each elementary school, as well as an additional full-day and half-day officer at the junior highs, he said. Security guards are also posted at each entrance to the high school.

The security staff — which is made up of either active or retired law enforcement personnel — checks visitors who must enter an enclosed vestibule before entering a building. Greeters are responsible for late arrivals, early dismissals and helping visitors once they’ve been allowed to enter.

Blaum said that he and his team would begin to train district staff to use the CrisisManager app, which holds the district’s protocol for dealing with different crises. The app offers the advantage of being easier to reference during a real crisis than a paper flow chart, Blaum explained. Parents and students can also download the free app.

In other details, Blaum said the district is constructing a “command center,” with 11 video monitors at the back of the North Country Administration Building. He said the center would make it easier for the superintendent to monitor incidents remotely and help with any investigations.

Across the district, emergency phones — “bat phones,” according to Blaum — connect directly to the Suffolk County police communications supervisor in Yaphank.

“Lockdown buttons,” located throughout each building, will trigger an automated lockdown message, disable key card access to all but emergency personnel and set off sirens and a blue strobe light to alert those outside the building that the school is on lockdown.

Besides the additional cameras installed throughout the district, including the Ward Melville High School football field, there is also a law enforcement presence on weekends and holidays, Blaum said.

Though the district’s advantage is in controlling opportunity, Blaum emphasized the importance of recognizing and reporting changes in student or staff behavior. He reminded the community to use the Safe School Helpline to report safety concerns.

“If you take out one part of motive, means and opportunity, the shooting can’t happen,” he said.

As mandated by the State Education Department, building emergency plans and layouts have been filed with New York State police and distributed to Suffolk County police and the Setauket and Stony Brook Fire Departments.

Buses for all

In another move aimed at student safety, the district will provide busing for everyone. Currently, Three Village provides busing for all elementary school students, but not for junior high students who live less than a mile from school or high schoolers less than a mile and a half away.

“It is the single biggest complaint,” assistant superintendent for business services Jeff Carlson said.

He pointed specifically to the danger posed to students crossing Nicolls Road to get to R.C. Murphy Junior High School. He also mentioned those who have to walk along Christian Avenue, Quaker Path or Mudd Road — which have no sidewalks— to P.J. Gelinas Junior High School. There is also an issue of safety for high school students walking along Sheep Pasture Road, he said.

The three additional buses would cost $220,000, but transportation aid from the state would be around $100,000, he said. With more state aid to further lower the cost, the increase to the tax levy would be around $10,000, Carlson said.

Residents must vote on an amendment to the busing guidelines in a proposition that is separate from the budget.

The school board unanimously voted to add the proposition to the May ballots.

“That’s our duty, our obligation to keep all our students safe,” said board trustee Jeff Kerman, who seemed to sum up the sentiments of his colleagues.

From left, Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, state Assemblyman Steve Englebright and state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie pose for a photo with historical documents. Photo by Giselle Barkley

He is not only the first African-American Speaker of the New York State Assembly, but also the first speaker to visit various districts on Long Island, as far as one long-standing North Shore lawmaker can remember.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) visited Setauket on Oct. 20, and met with residents and North Shore government officials, including Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket); Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station); and state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket).

“This happens about once every … well, it never has happened,” Englebright joked. “It’s pretty amazing.”

While touring the area was on Heastie’s agenda, his visit was also about getting better acquainted with the needs and concerns of residents in areas like Setauket, he said.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stands in front of Patriots Rock. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stands in front of Patriots Rock. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“When members get up and speak in conference, when they talk about what’s important to them or where they want us to concentrate or try to do things in the budget … [visiting the districts gives] me a better idea of what they’re speaking about,” Heastie said in an interview.

Heastie was elected Speaker of the NYS Assembly on Feb. 3. Since his election, Heastie has tackled a variety of issues including education, homelessness, financial stability for families and minimum wage, among other areas of concern.

The speaker also has ties to the greater North Shore community, as he graduated from Stony Brook University in 1990 with a degree in science. State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) was recently named the Senate majority leader, making the North Shore’s presence strong in the state Legislature.

Although Heastie had limited time to mingle, Englebright guided Heastie around various areas in Setauket, touring the community’s coveted Greenway  Trail, and introducing him to the history of the region and the role it played in the birth of the United States, starting with Patriot’s Rock in Setauket, where the famous Battle of Setauket was fought.

Officials from Stony Brook University library were on hand to deliver the speaker a copy of a famous letter George Washington signed at West Point during the Revolutionary War.

“I used to teach political science and American history,” Heastie said. “So I’m kind of a history buff. It’s just something that was a little different than other parts of the tour, so this was nice — particularly with it being so close to the college that I graduated from.”

After learning about Long Island’s link to the Culper Spy Ring, dating back to the Revolutionary War era, the speaker stopped at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, followed by a visit to Gallery North in Setauket.

Throughout the visit, Englebright and other North Shore leaders used their time with the speaker to reiterate some of the region’s most pressing issues, including preservation and environmental sustainability. Englebright also reaffirmed Heastie’s desire to tour the districts as a means of helping those he represents and serves as speaker.

“He’s very interested in visiting the various districts and learning of what his members are working on,” Englebright said. “I’m one of his senior members, and I’m very grateful he wants to come out and see what are the things I’m really focused on in the district.”

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Brandon Nworjih, left, races for the ball for Ward Melville. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The opening seven minutes was all the Ward Melville boys’ soccer team needed to top visiting William Floyd Monday, 2-0.

“I think we did what we had to do today,” Ward Melville head coach Jon Stecker said. “Coming out sometimes when you score two quick goals, you kind of sit back, which can be dangerous. In this case it wasn’t dangerous, but we were able to finish the game.”

Ward Melville's Joseph Graziosi tangles with a William Floyd opponent in a fight for possession. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Ward Melville’s Joseph Graziosi tangles with a William Floyd opponent in a fight for possession. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Senior midfielder Kyle Honor scored unassisted in the second minute after gaining possession at midfield and beating out defenders all the way to the box, sending his shot from the right side into the far left corner.

At 33:02, senior forward Brandon Nworjih scored the second goal of the game. After gaining possession and pushing the ball between two defenders, he dribbled up to the front of the box and sent a straight shot up the center past the opposing goalkeeper.

“It wasn’t one of our best games, it wasn’t one of our worst game, but we did enough to get through it and get the win,” Stecker said. “The defense played solid. We didn’t come out flat. We came out and we played hard, and we just weathered the storm for the rest of the game.”

With the win, the Patriots improved to 8-4-1, locking in third place in League I.

“We brought it in the first 20 minutes, but then we kind of died down,” junior midfielder Jarred Lee said. “We moved the ball well and connected a lot around the field. The defense was solid today. We just need to bring more intensity and play more together and strong.”

Ward Melville will travel Wednesday to top team Brentwood (13-0-0 league) for the final game of the regular season.

Ward Melville's Gedson Pereira sends the ball across the field. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Ward Melville’s Gedson Pereira sends the ball across the field. Photo by Desirée Keegan

William Floyd tried desperately to get a goal at the end of the second half after coming out stronger in the last 40 minutes of play, but Ward Melville’s defense knocked away all attempts.

“I thought we played solid defense,” senior defender Zach Flynn said. “I think we’re finally starting to come together as a team and the team chemistry is coming along. That’s been one of our weaknesses in the past and in the beginning of the season.”

Senior goalkeeper Peter Jespersen made five saves to preserve the clean sheet.

“When we truly come together as a unit we are extremely strong, and we are very talented and very skilled,” Stecker said. “When we’re not together as a unit, that’s where I think we struggle a little bit, and I think part of it is definitely maturity. Right now we’re just looking to just go in and play solid against Brentwood, and get ready for the playoffs the following Tuesday.”

A creepy graveyard will be on the tour during the Haunted Hayrides at Benner’s Farm. Photo by Giselle Barkley

By Rita J. Egan

Scaring up some Halloween fun isn’t tricky when you live on or near the North Shore of Suffolk County. However, beware; some activities are not for scaredy cats.

Those taking a hayride at Benner’s Farm, 56 Gnarled Hollow Road, E. Setauket, will find that things will get a little spookier on Oct. 30 and 31. While visitors will find an array of static figures, including ogres, witches and ghosts, in the fields on any given day this month, the creatures will come alive on Halloween eve and day from 6 to 9 p.m. when the farm offers Haunted Hayrides.

Owner Bob Benner said the event is open to all ages, but he warns that the later the ride is, the scarier it gets. “We have had some people who have been really scared and other people who simply just enjoyed the ride a lot,” he said.

Mr. Benner said the farm staff, along with volunteers, play the creatures that can come out of nowhere and jump toward the hayride or unexpectedly scream. In addition, there are different tableaus, including the farm’s spooky cemetery, where visitors may witness a ghoulish figure up to something evil.

Mr. Benner said the creativity of those in the field always amazes him. “I never quite know what they are going to come up with in terms of scaring folks.” Rides, which cost $6 per person,  leave every 20 minutes. Visit with the animals and have a Halloween treat while you wait. For more information, visit www.bennersfarm.com or call 631-689-8172.

Over at F&W Schmitt’s Family Farm in Melville, 26 Pinelawn Road, a mad doctor who encountered a book of ancient texts has taken over. Visitors to The Haunted Mansion of Melville will encounter otherworldly creatures as well as various oddities during their spine-chilling visit.

Outside, those who dare can explore The Haunted Corn Maze where the physician dumps his patients who may or may not be dead. There’s also a high-intensity live stage show, “The Experiment,” that gives spectators the opportunity to witness some of the doctor’s experiments on his patients.

The show, which is enhanced with special effects, isn’t recommended for those with heart conditions or those who cannot handle intense situations. Tickets are $19 for the mansion, $11 for the corn maze, $5 for “The Experiment” and $30 for a combo ticket. Open Thursdays and Sundays 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 7 p.m. to midnight through the end of October. Visit www.schmittshaunt.com or call 631-271-3276 for information, including hours for their less scary, daytime show for children.

For more hair-raising Halloween moments, head over to The Darkside Haunted House at 5184 Rt. 25A, Wading River. The indoor and outdoor attraction, which spans over 14,000 square feet, features movie-quality sets and bone-chilling special effects. While The Darkside Haunted House is not recommended for children under 12 years old, an early matinee from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekend days, with the lights on and no live actors, is available for the little ones as well as the weak of heart. The Darkside Haunted House is open weekdays and weekends until Nov. 1. Tickets start at $18. For more information and hours, visit www.darksideproductions.com or call 631-369-SCARE.

For a tamer treat, join the animals at Sweetbriar Nature Center, 62 Eckernkamp Dr., Smithtown, during their annual Halloween Spook-tacular. Children are encouraged to wear costumes as they spend the day walking through the ghostly garden, and participating in the scavenger hunt, story time, crafts and sensory activities. New this year, visitors can travel the Jack O’ Lantern trail decorated with hand-carved and glowing pumpkins. The Spook-tacular is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and costs $7 per person. The center will also offer a Not-So-Spooky Spook-tacular on Oct. 24 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. For more information, or to contribute a carved or uncarved pumpkin, call Eric at 631-979-6344, ext. 302.

Spooky stories will fill the halls of the museum of the Hallock Homestead Farm, 6038 Sound Ave., Riverhead, during its Haunted Museum Tours on Friday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m. More than 250 years of Hallockville Homestead dark secrets will be exposed, including the death of the Phantom British Officer.

During the tour, one may hear the hair-raising sobs of the broken-hearted Spectral Bride searching for her lost love, and guests may even encounter the ghost of the dishonest Regretful Rumrunner, doomed by his own poisoned drink. Based on historical fact, local folklore and urban legend, the tour was created by professional actress, costume designer and museum educator Colette Gilbert.

Beth Motschenbacher, assistant director, said this is the first year the museum is offering the tour. “I hope people enjoy seeing the historic homestead in a different light and learning a little bit more about the darker side of folklore,” she said.

Tours, which depart from the Hudson-Sydlowski house, last 50 to 60 minutes and run every 15 minutes until 7:45 p.m. Advance reservations are recommended. Geared for all ages, admission is $7 for adults and children age 10 and under are free. For more information, call 631-298-5292 or visit www.hallockville.com.

Gen. George Washington (John Galla) with his headquarter’s flag. Photo by Heidi Sutton
Gen. Benedict Arnold (Brian Cea). Photo by Heidi Sutton
Gen. Benedict Arnold (Brian Cea). Photo by Heidi Sutton

The chilly 45-degree weather did not deter almost 300 brave souls who came out for a special walk through local history last Saturday night as the Three Village Historical Society held its 21st annual Spirits Tour, “The Culper Spy Ring: From Secrecy to Victory.”

“The Culper Spy Ring has really been making news lately,” Carolyn Benson, one of the tour guides, said. This tour shows “how many people from this area were involved.”

The host of the tour, Emma S. Clark, whose name graces the library in Setauket and was portrayed by Karin Lynch, set the scene for what was to come.

“The Culper Spy Ring was a group of men known as the Secret Six who helped George Washington win the war. … Their identity was so secretive that Gen. Washington never knew their true identity. Their messages were written in code and their letters were in invisible ink,” she said. “Tonight you will meet with these patriots and some loyalists who will share their stories with you about what it was like during and after the war.”

Helen ‘Morningstar’ Sells and Nellie Edwards of the Setalcott Nation. Photo by Heidi Sutton
Helen ‘Morningstar’ Sells and Nellie Edwards of the Setalcott Nation. Photo by Heidi Sutton

The 1.5-hour tours ran throughout the evening, beginning with the Young Historian tours. Each group, carrying flashlights and lanterns, was led through the cemeteries of the Setauket Presbyterian Church [established in the late 17th century] and the Caroline Church of Brookhaven [established in 1729].

All the key players were present, from the ring’s most active operatives — Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge, Caleb Brewster, Austin Roe, Anna Smith Strong, James Rivington and Robert Townsend — to Gen. George Washington and Abraham Woodhull, the leader of the Culper Spy Ring, to Gen. Benedict Arnold, the infamous traitor. Woodhull, portrayed by Dennis O’Connor, appeared at the foot of his own grave in the Presbyterian cemetery during the tour.

Lesser-known community spirits made appearances as well, including Bette Harmon, born into slavery to the Strong family; Maj. John Andre, a British spy whose capture exposed Benedict Arnold as a traitor; loyalist Col. Benjamin Floyd; patriot Rev. Zachariah Greene; and a special appearance by  Setalcott Nation members Helen “Morning Star” Sells and Nellie Edwards. In total, 20 spirits were conjured to provide an insight into their lives during the Revolutionary War. The period costumes, provided by Nan Guzzetta, gave the entire event an eerily authentic feel.

Private David Williams (George Monez), Major John Andre (Pat DiVisconti), Private Isaac Van Wart (Sage Hardy). Photo by Heidi Sutton
Private David Williams (George Monez), Major John Andre (Pat DiVisconti), Private Isaac Van Wart (Sage Hardy). Photo by Heidi Sutton

At each stop, the spirits gave out secret codes that, when compiled and decoded, formed a secret letter for Gen. Washington, who was the last stop of the night.

Nine-year-old Alex Perrone, of Stony Brook, was experiencing the tour for the first time with his mother, Lauren, but came well prepared.

“My mom and I read a book called ‘Redcoats and Petticoats,’” he said.

Alex enjoyed the tour, especially meeting Washington and learning about the Setalcott tribe and their longhouses, and said he would definitely do it again. His mom agreed, adding, “I just thought it was really informative and I thought the actors were wonderful and I think it was a great way to learn about local history and this special place.”

In all, the 21st annual Spirits Tour was a rare historical treat. For more information, visit the historical society at www.tvhs.org.