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Local firefighters douse a house fire on East Neck Road in Halesite on May 16. Photo by Steve Silverman

About 50 firefighters doused a blaze at a Halesite home on Saturday morning. There were no injuries.

Local firefighters douse a house fire on East Neck Road in Halesite on May 16. Photo by Steve Silverman
Local firefighters douse a house fire on East Neck Road in Halesite on May 16. Photo by Steve Silverman

Under the command of Halesite Fire Department Chief Dan McConnell, firefighters from Huntington, Centerport and Cold Spring Harbor fire departments responded to the scene on East Neck Road. Volunteers from the Halesite Fire Department responded to reports of a house fire at about 10 a.m., according to Steve Silverman, a spokesman for the Town of Huntington Fire Chiefs Council.

The firefighters began an aggressive interior attack through the front door and up a spiral staircase to the second floor. They were able to confine the fire to the attic and rear of the home. The remainder of the home sustained smoke and water damage, Silverman said.

The Halesite Fire Department was on the scene with two engines, a ladder truck and ambulance. Huntington Manor Fire Department was on standby at Halesite’s fire department.

Firefighters had the blaze under control in just over an hour, Silverman said.

The Suffolk County Police Arson Squad and the Huntington Town fire marshal are investigating the case.

Lights out
Two men from Stony Brook were arrested in Stony Brook on April 13 and charged with first-degree burglary, using a dangerous instrument. According to police, the men, one a 23-year-old, and another, a 17-year-old, entered an Old Town Road home on March 29 at about 3 a.m., struck someone in the home in the head with a handgun and took money.

Lost time
A Stony Brook man reported to police on April 16 that his Rolex watch was stolen from Blueberry Lane in Stony Brook, sometime between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21. No arrests have been made.

Hospital heist
A woman reported to police on April 14 at about 1 p.m. that items were stolen from her purse while she was at Stony Brook University Hospital’s recovery room. No arrests have been made, and police couldn’t tell what was taken from the bag.

Nail [salon] cracked
Someone broke the glass door of Pro Nails on Main Street in Setauket-East Setauket and stole cash from the register, sometime around 7:30 p.m. on April 16.

Wallet woes
Police said a Poquott man reported that someone stole items from his wallet, which was left in a car that was unlocked and parked in the driveway of his Birchwood Avenue home. The incident was reported on April 16 at 9 p.m.

Feeling hot, hot, hot
Police said two men fled Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on March 15 at about 6:35 p.m. with lighters and condoms. They were confronted at the door and told staff they didn’t take anything. They fled on foot.

The Bicycle Thief
A bike was stolen from a Terryville Road residence in Port Jefferson Station on April 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Pocketed
An unknown person stole a purse from inside a Piedmont Drive home in Port Jefferson Station between April 17 and 19.

How charming
Two males got into an argument at a Charm City Drive residence in Port Jefferson Station on April 17. According to police, one of the men hit the other with a closed fist. It is unclear if the victim needed medical attention. No arrests have been made.

Missing
A wallet was stolen from a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta parked at Danfords Hotel & Marina on April 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Played
An unknown person stole a PlayStation and game from a North Country Road residence in Port Jefferson on April 14 between 2 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Still snowing?
An unknown person stole a snowblower from Agway in Mount Sinai at some point between April 18 and 19. According to police, the individual prised open a locked shed and removed the blower.

Sounding off
Two friends got into a spat on April 15 on Hallock Landing Road in Sound Beach. One man pushed the other.

Pod and pills
An unknown person stole an iPod and prescription pills from a 2010 Hyundai parked on Block Island Drive in Sound Beach on April 13 between 1:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Double the larceny
A 31-year-old Sound Beach man was arrested on April 14 on two petit larceny charges stemming from incidents in October and on Feb. 21 when he stole items from stores on the South Shore.

Rocking and rolling
An unknown person threw a rock at a truck’s windshield while it was parked on King Road in Rocky Point on April 18.

Cashing in
Cash, a cell phone and a debit card were stolen from a home on Broadway in Rocky Point at around 4 a.m. on April 15.

Moving you forward … to jail
A 28-year-old Bayport man was arrested in Centereach for criminal mischief after he damaged the windshield on a 2009 Toyota on April 19.

Binge watching
An unknown female left the Centereach Walmart on April 17 without paying for a flat screen television.

In a cell
Police arrested a 26-year-old man from Centereach on child pornography charges. According to police the man, who was arrested at his home on April 17, had the images on his cellphone.

Screen scene
A residence on Choate Avenue in Selden reported a screen had been damaged on April 19.

Wrecked
A 47-year-old female from Middle Island was arrested in Selden for leaving the scene of an incident. According to police, on April 17 at 11:05 p.m., while operating a 2010 Chevy, the woman was involved in a crash at Hawkins and Wireless roads. She then fled the scene.

Directions?
A GPS was among items stolen from a vehicle parked in a driveway on Glenwood Avenue in Miller Place on April 14 at approximately 6 p.m. A day earlier, personal papers were stolen from a Jeep parked on the same street.

Wrong department
Police arrested a 35-year-old Port Jefferson man on April 15 and charged him with second-degree harassment after he attempted to return stolen merchandise to Sears on Route 347. After employees questioned the man, he became belligerent, pushed a store manager and ran out of the store. He was arrested around noon.

Slap ‘n pepper
A 21-year-old from St. James was arrested in the Village of the Branch on April 17 and charged with second-degree harassment, physical contact. Police said he sprayed pepper spray into the face of another person on East Main Street at about 6:37 p.m. that day. He also slapped the victim in the face during a verbal argument. Police said the victim required medical attention.

Double-team punch
Two men were charged with second-degree harassment, physical contact, and arrested on April 13 in Smithtown. Police said a 32-year-old from Pikeville and a 31-year-old from Ocala were both charged with punching someone in the head on West Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown at about 11 p.m. that day.

Stolen jewels
A West Main Street jewelry store in Smithtown was burglarized on April 13 at about 2:12 a.m., police said. The front door was smashed and assorted jewelry was taken from L.I. Gold Mine, according to police.

Wiped out
A 55-year-old man from Smithtown was arrested in Smithtown on April 15 and charged with criminal mischief with intent to damage property. Police said that at about 9:15 a.m. that day he broke off the driver side windshield wiper arm of someone’s red Chevrolet Impala on Route 111 in Smithtown. He was arrested on Plaisted Avenue in Smithtown that day.

Assaulter caught
A 23-year-old Commack woman was arrested in Smithtown on April 13 and charged with assault with criminal negligence, causing injury with a weapon. Police said she punched a female in the head after an argument over prior issues on April 6 at 11:43 p.m., causing the woman to have a fractured nose. The incident occurred on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge, and the Commack woman was arrested at the precinct.

Package taken
Someone stole a package from an office building on West Jericho Turnpike at about 2 p.m. on April 13. The package included an employee’s credit card, which police said was later used.

Checks nabbed
Someone stole business checks from a car dealership on Middle Country Road in Nesconset and forged signatures on them. The incident was reported on April 18 and occurred sometime around 9 a.m. on Feb. 11.

Car break-in
Items from a 2012 Honda CRV parked at a 4th Avenue home in Kings Park were taken April 18. Police said an unknown person damaged the driver-side window and took a book bag, cash, credit card and driver’s license.

Identity stolen
A Saint James resident of Lake Avenue told police on April 18 that an unknown person used his identity to withdraw money from the bank on Jan. 26 at about 9 a.m.

Brutal beating
A 50-year-old St. James man and a 53-year-old Huntington man were arrested in Huntington on April 20 and charged with third-degree assault, with intent to cause physical injury. Police said the two grabbed a male victim and punched him in the face. The victim suffered a concussion, a broken nose and required stitches. The 50-year-old man was arrested on Stewart Avenue in Huntington, the 53-year-old was arrested on O’Hara Place in Huntington.

Knife threat
Police said a 16-year-old from Huntington Station was arrested in Huntington on April 17 and charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, with intent to use it. Police said he got into an argument with a male on West Pulaski Road in Huntington Station on April 17 at about 9:20 p.m. and threatened the person with a knife.

Toothbrush, baby formula stolen
A 34-year-old Mastic Beach man was arrested in Huntington and charged with petit larceny on April 14. Police said the man entered a Rite Aid on West Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station at about 8:03 p.m. on that day and took an electric toothbrush, replacement heads and baby formula.

Not-so-slick liquor thieves
Two women entered Angelina Liquors on Broadway in Huntington on April 20 and stole two bottles of liquor. Store staff told police the females went to the rear of the store and removed a bottle of tequila and went to another aisle and took a bottle of vodka.

Green Street punch
Someone was punched in the face in a parking lot on Green Street on April 19 at about 3 a.m. There are no arrests.

Beauty dash
Someone entered Sally Beauty Supply on New York Avenue in Huntington and fled with five assorted beauty items on April 16 at about 10:35 a.m.

Exclusive cream stolen
A woman pocketed a skin cream on display at L’Amour Spa on Fort Salonga Road in Northport on April 14 at 1:55 p.m. The product was an in-store trial-only sample.

Mowed down
An East Northport woman told police on April 13 that someone drove onto her 5th Avenue front lawn, causing damage sometime on April 12 at 11 p.m. There are no arrests.

Fill ’er up
A Cold Spring Harbor man told police he found his 2011 Chevrolet’s gas tank filled with salt. The incident occurred sometime at midnight on April 15 and the car was parked on Harbor Road.

Gold chain, meds stolen
A Centerport man told police he want for a walk on April 16 between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and didn’t lock the door to his Washington Drive home. Someone came in and stole a gold chain and medicine.

Eight people are interested in running for two seats

File photo by Rohma Abbas

The weather isn’t the only thing warming up.

With eight people interested in two seats on the Democratic-controlled Huntington Town Board, local party leaders will soon have to roll up their sleeves to choose their picks for the slots.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) will seek a fifth term in office. Afghanistan war veteran and Northport-East Northport school district teacher Darryl St. George, of Centerport tossed his hat into the ring earlier this year. Huntington Business Improvement District President Keith Barrett, of Melville, is taking a second stab at nomination after screening for Town Board in 2013. And political science adjunct professor Jim Kelly, of Huntington, who is a retired Nassau County Police Department EMS supervisor, also plans on screening.

The Democrats are screening candidates next week, according to Huntington Town Democratic Committee Chairwoman Mary Collins.

Republicans have already screened Jim Leonick, an East Northport attorney, Janet Heller-Smitelli, a Huntington attorney and Jennifer Thompson, a Northport resident and member of the Northport-East Northport school board. They’ll also screen Independence Party member and incumbent Councilman Gene Cook (I), who said he’s seeking his final term.

The party plans to host another round of screenings tomorrow evening, Toni Tepe, Huntington Town Republican Committee chairwoman said, where she expects two more individuals to screen.

Election Day is Nov. 3.

Susan Berland
Berland, of Dix Hills, has been in office since 2001. During her time in office, she’s sponsored legislation regulating bamboo and blight in Huntington Town, and she spearheaded the effort to televise all official town meetings, according to her bio on the town’s website.

The councilwoman is a member of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, Kiwanis Club of Huntington and the Board of Directors of the International Dyslexia Association of Long Island.

This election is still important, despite the fact that the Democrats control four out of five seats on the board, Berland said.

“I think every election year is crucial. It takes the town in a specific direction. I want to keep it in a positive direction both, economically and realistically.”

Gene Cook
An Independence Party-member, Cook, 53, of Greenlawn, is seeking the nod for a second four-year term on the board. If elected, Cook said it would be his last term in office. He said he believes in term limits, and that board members shouldn’t serve more than two terms.

Asked why he’s running, Cook said he has taken issue with the way the Democratic majority has spent money. He said he’s proud of projects he’s been able to do at no cost to the taxpayer, like getting a group of businesses together to pave the parking lot of the VFW Post 1469 Nathan Hale in Huntington Station.

“I don’t want the children of the future to be paying for our mistakes and I believe that’s the way it’s going,” he said.

Darryl St. George
St. George, 32, a Democrat from Centerport, declared that he is running for the board earlier this year, and is open to waging a primary election if the party does not choose him. A local teacher and veteran, St. George, 32, served as a Navy corpsman with the U.S. Marines and is interested in tackling the “the scourge of addiction” on a townwide level, he said in an interview earlier this year. The cause is personal, as he lost his 21-year-old brother, Corey, to a drug overdose. The tragedy expedited his release from the Navy in 2012. St. George also teaches social studies at Northport High School.

“I think there’s a few reasons why I want to run,” he said in the earlier interview. “Service is a big part of it: My time in the Navy, my time as a teacher has taught me to value my service to the community.”

Jim Leonick
Leonick, 53 and a Republican, said he wants to run because he has an interest in the future of the town for his children and his neighbor’s children. Leonick is concerned about overdevelopment, transparency at town hall and is interested in exploring term limits for council people — “because I don’t think that it’s right for a number of reasons for anyone to be in a position for as long as some of the town council people have been in their offices.”

Leonick is an attorney with a practice Leonick Law, PLLC, located in East Northport. He’s been involved in a number of local organizations, including serving as a Boy Scout leader, a past president of the Rotary Club of East Northport and a past board member of the East Northport Chamber of Commerce, among others.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of different community things and now I think its time to run for office.”

Keith Barrett
This would be Barrett’s second stab at the nomination, after losing out to Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) in 2013. Barrett, 49, of Melville currently works at town hall as the deputy director of general services. He also owns Barrett Automotive in Huntington Station and is the leader of the Huntington Station Business Improvement District — a group he’s belonged to for 11 years — where he said he’s worked to unify the community and beautify the neighborhood.

At town hall, he said he’s learned a lot about budgets and has already made changes in the General Services Department that have saved taxpayers money. For example, he streamlined state inspections of town vehicles through investing in an inspection machine and getting employees certified in motor vehicle inspections. “I’m a business guy,” he said. “Running town hall is a business. I’d like to make it easier for the residents and businesses to be able to facilitate government.”

Janet L. Heller-Smitelli
Heller-Smitelli is a civil litigator who has lived in Huntington for more than 20 years. She screened with Republicans to run for either Suffolk County Legislature — the 17th Legislative District seat held by Lou D’Amaro (D-North Babylon) — or for Town Board. In a statement, she said she’s been active with the Boy Scouts and has served as an assistant scoutmaster.

Heller-Smitelli said she’s been a member of the Republican committee for 10 years. She said she’s running because she believes there needs to be a “fresh vision and renewed spirit” when it comes to the issue of development.

“I am interested in running for office in order to advance my belief that the Town of Huntington needs to be more selective in the development and use of vacant and available parcels of land. Too often we have seen the result of inappropriate and short-sighted projects that result in a drain of our resources and adversely affect our infrastructure.”

Jim Kelly
Kelly, 64, a Democrat, is a Huntington Station resident. He is a retired EMS supervisor with the Nassau County Police Department and is currently an adjunct professor of political science at St. Joseph’s College.

Kelly said he has experience in emergency management — at Nassau County’s Office of Emergency Management, he served as bioterrorism coordinator, where he learned the ins and outs of being prepared for acts of terrorism and natural disasters.

Kelly’s passionate about preserving open space, because he feels it is disappearing.

If elected, Kelly would like to focus on the issue of crime and gangs in Huntington Station and said the way to battle the problem is to provide educational alternatives for youth. He also said he’d partner with state and county officials to offer greater drug rehabilitation and mental health counseling programs.

“Because of the issues in Huntington Station, the entire town is getting a bad rap in the media. It’s not justified and it’s not right.”

Jennifer Thompson
A Northport resident, Thompson screened with the Huntington Town Republican Committee on March 31.

Thompson sits on the Northport-East Northport school board. She first got on the board in 2010, after being appointed to complete former Vice President Arlene Munson’s term. She was re-elected to another three-year term on the school board last year.

In an interview last year, Thompson said she wanted to serve on the board again because she wanted to see some projects through, namely getting the district through a tax assessment challenge on the Northport power plant from the Long Island Power Authority. If it is resolved in favor of LIPA, Northport-East Northport school district residents could see a drastic increase in property taxes, as LIPA would contribute a smaller chunk to the tax pool.

Thompson didn’t return calls seeking comment.

This version corrects a quote by Keith Barrett.

Jamie Wieser mugshot from SCPD

Police say officers arrested a Centerport woman who was driving drunk with her daughter in the car.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the 2nd Precinct officers were responding at about 6 p.m. on April 2 to a witness report that the driver of a 2014 Volkswagen Passat in a parking lot on Larkfield Road in East Northport was drunk.

The officers determined that the driver, 45-year-old Jamie Wieser, was “under the influence of alcohol,” police said in a media release. Her 11-year-old daughter was in the car with her.

Wieser was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child passenger 15 or younger — under Leandra’s Law — and with endangering the welfare of a child.

Attorney information for Wieser was not available. She was scheduled to be arraigned on April 3.

Drugged driving
A 42-year-old man from Wyandanch was arrested in Huntington on March 22 and charged with driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol, false personation and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was driving on Pulaski Road, and as he was making a turn onto New York Avenue, he drove over a portion of sidewalk. When pulled over around 2:35 a.m., police said the man gave them a false name. He was also found to have cocaine on him.

Crash and dash
Police said a 55-year-old man from Dix Hills was arrested in Huntington and charged with operating a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident. Police said that on March 20 at about 5:45 p.m., while driving a 2002 Honda, the man crashed into a 2012 Toyota, causing damage to the rear bumper of the Toyota, and left the scene without exchanging information.

Fake money
An 18-year-old woman from College Point was arrested and charged with possession of a forged instrument in the first degree. Police said she attempted to use a counterfeit $100 bill to buy food and beverages at New York Pizza on New York Avenue at about 5:30 p.m. on March 21.

A Paramount tantrum
A 51-year-old woman from Seaford was arrested in Huntington on New York Avenue at 9:37 p.m. on March 21 for disorderly conduct and obscene language and gestures. Police said she was removed from The Paramount concert venue and restrained outside on the sidewalk. Once she was unrestrained, she attempted to punch and kick an officer by her side.

Guilty of a sweet tooth
A 59-year-old man from East Northport was arrested in Northport and charged with petit larceny on March 21 around 5:15 p.m. Police said the man stole Tylenol, candy and other assorted items from Super Stop & Shop on Fort Salonga Road.

Punch for dinner
An unknown man punched a man in the mouth at Honu Kitchen and Cocktails on New York Avenue in Huntington at about 11:55 p.m. on March 21. The victim required stitches at Huntington Hospital. There were no arrests.

Jewelry, cash stolen
Someone took assorted jewelry and cash from a home on Edwards Place in Huntington sometime between 8 a.m. on March 15 and 2 p.m. on March 21. There were no arrests.

Money stolen
Someone stole money from a female’s 2005 Land Rover parked at St. Anthony’s High School on Wolf Hill Road in Huntington sometime between 8 a.m. on March 17 and 5:20 p.m. on March 19.

Tires slashed
An unknown person slashed the tires of a 1997 Acura Integra parked on Harned Drive in Centerport. The incident occurred around 9 a.m. on March 19.

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum has received a grant of $135,000 from The Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation to support the restoration of the museum’s extensive marine collection, the largest privately assembled collection of sea specimens from the pre-atomic era.

William Vanderbilt (1878-1944) created his Marine Museum, which he called The Hall of Fishes, in 1922. He stocked it with marine specimens collected during voyages to the Galapagos Islands and opened it to the public for a few hours a week. He added to the collection after his circumnavigations of the globe in 1928-29 and 1930-31.

Jennifer Attonito, executive director of the foundation, said, “The Vanderbilt Museum is a Long Island gem and a major anchor of local history. We are proud to help preserve this valuable collection to benefit museum visitors and to help raise awareness of Long Island’s heritage.”

The Gardiner Foundation, established in 1987 in Hampton Bays, supports the study of Long Island history, with an emphasis on Suffolk County. The foundation was inspired by Robert David Lion Gardiner’s personal passion for New York history.

Stephanie Gress, the Vanderbilt’s director of curatorial affairs, said, “The Gardiner Foundation grant will help us to restore and preserve many rare specimens in our Marine Museum that have long needed critical attention. Our marine collection is the foundation for several key Vanderbilt education programs that serve Long Island schools.”

The Vanderbilt marine collection of 13,190 specimens is housed in the Marine Museum, Habitat and Memorial Wing. Of these, she said, 919 are invertebrates in fluid (displayed in “lots” — from two to many in a single display container); 719 dry fish specimens; 1,746 wet fish specimens in lots and 9,806 dry marine invertebrates (shells and corals). Dry specimens are exhibited on the first floor of the Marine Museum, wet specimens on the second floor.

The two largest marine specimens are a 32-foot whale shark — caught in 1935 and restored in 2008 with a federal Save America’s Treasures grant — and an imposing manta ray, caught in 1916 and restored many years ago, with a 16.5-foot wingspan. William K. Vanderbilt II called it the “Sea Devil.”

Gress said cartilaginous fish, such as sharks and rays, which have spines of cartilage instead of bone, are the most difficult to preserve. Another problem is the age of the collection — many of Vanderbilt’s earliest specimens are nearly 100 years old. When preservation fluid (ethanol and distilled water) in specimen containers degrades the wax seals, comes in contact with air and evaporates, specimens can decompose, she said.

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

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