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Centerport

Lydia Murphy smiles with one of her prayer boards. Photo from Cathy McGoldrick

One young Huntington resident decided to take an individual religion project and turn it into a community-wide effort.

Lydia Murphy was assigned a confirmation class project at Centerport United Methodist Church, where she takes religion classes. Students were encouraged to take part in community service activities, but in Lydia’s case, she created her own initiative: A prayer board that any member of the community can contribute to.

“I came up with this idea because there’s a lot of negativity going on right now, all over the country and the world,” Lydia said in a phone interview. “I thought it would be a nice way to bring some peace.”

The eighth-grade student described the project as boards that anyone can come with a sharpie and write a positive prayer for whoever and whatever they want.

Lydia, her family and other members of the parish ended up creating two prayer boards, one located at the front of the Methodist church on Little Neck Road, and one on the path that leads to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs on Prospect Road. Lydia said Riverhead Building company donated the wood supplies needed to construct the boards.

“It was so wonderful to hear this idea coming from a 13-year-old,” Pastor Roy Grubbs said in a phone interview. “It’s tremendous, putting together ideas with other clergies and different denominations and faiths to pray communally. Given the state of what we hear of tensions or a lack of experience sharing within even our community, this can show commonality and how we hold the same things important: peace, love and understanding.”

Lydia said since the boards have gone into place, she has seen many different things written on them.

“People have been praying for Syria, for their grandparents, for safe travels with their family,” she said. “A lot of people have prayed for peace in the community. It makes me really happy, and I’m a little relieved people are using it.”

Lydia said she was surprised how quickly residents started using the prayer boards.

“The first day, within a half hour of putting it up, someone brought a piece of paper and pinned up their prayer,” she said. “It’s nice to see that people are using it and praying for all different groups of people.”

Lydia’s mother, Lynn Murphy, said she was happy with her daughter for her persistence with the idea.

“It’s fabulous, the fact that people are using it,” she said. “I’m as proud as a mother could be, it’s just such a positive thing. I’m proud of her and how the church embraced the idea.”

Grubbs said he’s excited for the potential of the idea as it continues to grow.

“People have definitely been noticing it, they’re already filling it up,” he said. “This opportunity to share what’s inside your heart will strengthen the community.”

At the dedication ceremony earlier this month Lydia said she was excited for the potential her project has.

“If this makes one person happy or brings them peace, then it works,” she said. “I pray that this board brings happiness and positivity to everyone in the community.”

Scenes of the fire that spread through several townhouse units in Centerport. Photo from Centerport Fire Department

The Centerport Fire Department responded to a fire in the Bull Calf Landing Townhouse Complex on Bull Calf Lane early Tuesday morning, Jan. 24.

Scenes of the fire that spread through several townhouse units in Centerport. Photo from Centerport Fire Department

At about 1:10 a.m. more than 100 firefighters from Centerport assisted by Northport, Greenlawn, Halesite, Huntington, Huntington Manor, Cold Spring Harbor, East Northport, Eaton’s Neck and Kings Park FD’s battled the blaze with EMS support from Commack and Huntington ambulance.

Strong winds from the nor’easter storm that swept through the area hampered firefighters’ efforts, as they worked several hours to knock down the flames that spread through several townhouse units.

About 20 residents were safely evacuated from the building that later collapsed, and there were no injuries reported. Centerport firefighters provided shelter for some of the displaced residents at the Centerport firehouse.

The fire is under investigation by the Suffolk Police Arson Squad and Town of Huntington Fire Marshal. The firefighting operation was under the command of Centerport Fire Chief Tom Boyd and Assistant Chiefs Rich Miltner and Andy Heglund. Boyd commended the firefighters for their efforts working in adverse conditions, and thanked the mutual aid departments for their assistance.

One of the three cars involved in the Centerport crash. Photo from Centerport Fire Department.
One of the three cars involved in the Centerport crash. Photo from Centerport Fire Department.

Members of the Centerport Fire Department responded to a three-vehicle crash on East Main Street and North Drive Jan. 25 at about 12:40 p.m.

Centerport firefighters and EMS volunteers were on the scene with a heavy rescue truck, engine, two ambulances and fire police, under the direction of First Assistant Chief Rich Miltner.  An additional ambulance was requested from the Greenlawn Fire Department.
Three injured patients were transported to Huntington Hospital by the Centerport and Greenlawn rescue squads.

 

The Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium

Through Feb. 28, the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, will present a new laser show, Laser Zeppelin, on Friday and Saturday nights at 10 p.m. Enjoy the memorable music of Led Zepplin combined with unique laser-generated imagery for an immersive visual experience, all in the comfort of custom theater seating.

The playlist will include “The Song Remains the Same,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Good Times, Bad Times,” “Immigrant Song,” “No Quarter,” “Black Dog,” “Kashmir,” “Stairway to Heaven” and many more. Planetarium show tickets are $9 for adults, $8 for students with ID and seniors 62 and older and $7 for children under 12. Suitable for all ages, the show runs 52 minutes. For more information call 631-854-5579 or visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

Huntington Town and Northport Village hosted holiday parades this past weekend to get into the Christmas spirit. Live reindeers, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and fire trucks dressed up in lights paraded through Northport, while over at Huntington, fire departments from all over the North Shore competed in a float contest.

Calling all Beatles fans! Beatles tribute band, The Liverpool Shuffle, will return to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The band, which has performed five previous concerts at the Vanderbilt, will be accompanied by a montage on the planetarium dome of 1960s photos and news clips, psychedelic imagery, and other pop-cultural moments. Tickets for adults are $20 online, $25 at the door; tickets for children ages 5 to 15 are $15 online and at the door, under age 5 free. For more information, visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org or call 631-854-5579.

The Vanderbilt Bell Tower and courtyard. Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Museum

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will once again turn back the clock when it offers Living History tours Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4. For more than a decade, Living History tours have delighted visitors to the sprawling 24-room, Spanish-Revival waterfront mansion.

These special, time machine events feature some of the Vanderbilts and their servants, who are portrayed by museum tour guides. The year is 1937, and the news makes its way into the tour narrative: “The movie ‘Captains Courageous’ with Spencer Tracy is playing in the theaters, and Agatha Christie’s new novel ‘Dumb Witness’ is in the bookstores,” said Stephanie Gress, director of curatorial affairs. “Amelia Earhart was lost at sea in July, and European leaders are faced with threats of German expansion.” Yachtsman Harold Vanderbilt, brother of William K. Vanderbilt II, won the America’s Cup in the summer of 1937, added Gress.

The Vanderbilt has been called a “museum of a museum” — the mansion, natural-history and marine collection galleries are exactly as they were when the Vanderbilts lived on the estate. The stories featured on the tours are based on the oral histories of people who worked on the mansion staff as teenagers and young adults. Some stories also come from Mr. Vanderbilt’s privately published books of his world travels and extensive sea journeys.

Tours will be given at 11:45 a.m. and at 12:30, 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. on both days. Tickets are $5 per person in addition to the regular admission fee of $7 adults, $6 students and seniors, $3 children 12 and under. For more information, call 631-854-5579 or visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

A photo of the sun taken with the new telescope by Alan Friedman

Visitors to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Reichert Planetarium can now view the sun through a new solar telescope. The planetarium has just installed a Lunt Solar Systems hydrogen-alpha solar telescope in the observatory — for daytime observation of the sun.

Dave Bush keeps an eye on the sun with the new Vanderbilt solar telescope. Photo courtesy of the Vanderbilt Museum
Dave Bush keeps an eye on the sun with the new Vanderbilt solar telescope. Photo courtesy of the Vanderbilt Museum

Dave Bush, the planetarium’s technical and production coordinator, and an astronomy educator, said the solar telescope is mounted “piggy back” onto the 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope in order to track the sun across the sky.

“The refractor-style telescope with its 80-milimeter optical aperture gives us sharp detail and contrast of features on the surface and the limb, or edge, of the sun,” he said. “This telescope allows us to see prominences, flares, super granulation, filaments and active regions.”

Bush explained that hydrogen-alpha light is emitted by the hydrogen atoms that make up the majority of the sun’s composition. When electrons within the hydrogen atoms absorb energy and rise to a higher energy level and then fall back to their original orbits, light is emitted at a particular wavelength that can be seen with the specialized telescope.

“Typically, telescopic views of objects in outer space rarely change before our eyes in real time,” Bush said. “However, on a day when the sun is particularly active we can watch features on the sun evolve before our eyes while looking through an H-alpha telescope! The sun is dynamic and alive. It changes daily, and rotates,” he said.

A photo of the sun taken with the new telescope by Alan Friedman
A photo of the sun taken with the new telescope by Alan Friedman

In explaining the solar features in the picture of the sun, right, shot by photographer Alan Friedman, Bush said:

◆ The wisps of white curling off the upper left curve of the sun are prominences or arcs of gas that erupt from the surface. Sometimes the loops extend thousands of miles into space.

◆ The lighter spots and streaks are called plages, the French word for beaches, and are, appropriately, hot spots or bright emissions caused by emerging flux regions associated with the magnetic field of the sun.

◆ The tiny hair-like lines that extend from the surface are spicules. These are jets of hot gas that can rise up to 6,000 miles high. Most last only 15 minutes before morphing into new spicules.

◆ The dark spots are sun spots, which are cooler areas of the surface caused by the suppression of convection cells due to the sun’s strong magnetic field.

◆ The sun is 93 million miles from Earth and its size is almost beyond human comprehension — 1.3 million Earths could fit inside the sun.

The solar telescope is available for viewing on a limited schedule, on clear days. (The sun is not observable on cloudy or rainy days.)

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Planetarium is located at 180 Little Neck Road in Centerport. For more information, call 631-854-5579 or visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

Apple hand pies at Hometown Bake Shop. Photo from Danna Abrams

Pi Day will be extra sweet this year.

Hometown Bake Shop at 2 Little Neck Road in Centerport plans to open its doors on Monday, March 14, also known to math enthusiasts as Pi Day because the numerical date matches the first three digits of pi.

Northport resident Danna Abrams, 38, and Huntington’s Luigi Aloe, 42, are putting their collective business and culinary experience to use in the new shop endeavor. If they execute their vision successfully, “hometown” will not only be the name of their bakeshop, but the feel as well.

The menu will feature items made from scratch, both sweet and savory, with organic and gluten-free options and local influences.

“I’m a mom with three kids, and we all don’t have time to make everything anymore,” Abrams said in an interview at the under-construction shop on Tuesday. “We all wish we could do the slow-cooked brisket, the 20-hour pulled pork. We want that, and love that, with no preservatives and made from scratch and from someone who wants to make it and loves to make it. So that’s what [Hometown Bake Shop] is.”

The duo has been on a shared path for years, starting with graduating from Huntington High School.

Aloe also owns Black & Blue Seafood Chophouse in Huntington. He hired high school friend Abrams to be that restaurant’s pastry chef several years ago, and after some experience selling their products at farmer’s markets, the duo decided opening the new business was the next logical step.

Wrapped-up treats at Hometown Bake Shop. Photo from Danna Abrams
Wrapped-up treats at Hometown Bake Shop. Photo from Danna Abrams

Abrams’ three daughters are her inspiration, she said. Charlie, 9, loves her mom’s chicken potpie — which is Aloe’s favorite as well. Abrams’ recipe for her fudgy, chocolate brownies was perfected while she was pregnant with 5-year-old Ilan, and 3-year-old Riley loves anything with fruit in it.

“I’ve always been a foodie,” Abrams said. She holds a master’s degree in sculpture from Boston University but has worked in restaurants all of her life, including the Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club and T.K.’s Galley in Huntington. Her Italian and Jewish roots influence her cooking and passion. She said everyone jokes she must secretly be from the South, because her fried chicken and biscuits are so authentic, they couldn’t possibly come from anywhere else.

Even though Abrams said cooking comes second nature to her, this is her first time venturing into the world of entrepreneurism. That’s where Aloe comes in — he’s spent time in the food industry, owning restaurants since he was 23. Together the two have all the ingredients for success.

“Danna is very talented and she’s like the heart and soul,” Aloe said. “I think what our whole thing is here is to try to be a family-oriented place.”

Abrams has plans to dedicate a refrigerated display to local produce and dairy products, as a way of supporting local business owners’ dreams in the same way she says Aloe did for her.

“The community here is very good to the stores,” Aloe said. “They’re not into conglomerates. … Everybody’s rooting for us — that’s what we feel like in the community.”

Hometown Bake Shop’s manager, Nicole Beck Sandvik, reiterated both owners’ vision for the business.

“We want people to walk in this place and have it be like their second home,” Beck Sandvik said. “When they don’t have time to cook breakfast or make dinner, they know they can come here and get a home-cooked meal.”

Hometown Bake Shop will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Jim Feeley has been living in Centerport for most of his life. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

A Centerport resident has planted deep roots in the community where he grew up.

Jim Feeley has been an active volunteer in the Centerport Fire Department for the past 50 years, joining in June 1965.

During his tenure he served as chief of the department twice and a volunteer  EMT on the Centerport Rescue Squad. He was a member of the board of fire commissioners and the president of the Town of Huntington Fire Chiefs Council. Last year he was named Firefighter/EMT of the Year in the 18th Legislative District.

His parents built their house on Fleets Cove Road in Centerport, and Feeley met his wife Joan while walking along Fleets Cove Beach.

“I loved living across from the golf course,” Feeley said in a phone interview. “I used to hunt and explore the grounds with my brothers.”

Feeley is a 1964 Harborfields graduate, and his wife is a graduate of Walt Whitman. When it came time to decide where to raise a family, they both agreed they wanted to continue living in Centerport.

Feeley said he remembers the exact night when he decided to join the Centerport Fire Department, back in the spring of ’65 while shooting pool with his brother at an old bar in Centerport, at just 19 years of age.

“I learned a lot about my neighborhood,” he said. “There will always be someone to help you out; someone you can trust.”

Over the years, Feeley said he had been proud of the department for its active drill team, which has participated in many tournaments, and the camaraderie and closeness of the department as a whole.

According to Feeley, the fire department used to organize multifamily camping trips in the 1970s and ‘80s, and members of the Northport Fire Department even got involved.

“These are the same guys I’ve been meeting for coffee for the past 50 years,” he said. “Everyone has each other’s back. I don’t know where else you would find that.”

Feeley reflected on some of the big fires he’s worked on in his half century with the department.

“In 1966 at Gidyes Inn in Centerport, we worked on a fire for 25 hours,” he said. Gidyes Inn used to stand on Main Street where the U.S. Post Office now stands.

Feeley remembered a fire in 1972 where he and many of his family members left the table at Thanksgiving dinner to go put out a fire on Little Neck Road. The fire had gotten so big that embers were landing on boats floating near the house, which was located on the water.

Feeley’s brother, two daughters and two nephews also volunteer at the Centerport Fire Department. His wife is a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the department.

In his off time, Feeley said he enjoys gardening at the Huntington Town’s garden plot in Greenlawn on Dunlop Road and participating in the Knights of Columbus in Greenlawn.

Feeley was recently recognized for his years of service by Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) at a February Suffolk County Legislature meeting.

“James Feeley is an outstanding example of a true public servant,” Spencer said in a statement. “It is a privilege to be able to recognize and thank him for his inspiring service to our community.”

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