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Councilman Kevin LaValle

The slight chill in the air Oct. 5 created the perfect feel for Bethel Hobbs Community Farm’s annual fall festival.

Hundreds joined the fun at the farm where there were bounce houses, pumpkins, music, tractor rides, face painting, vendors and more.

Country Line Dancing featuring Skip from Country Rhythms Long Island was on hand to provide line dancing lessons throughout the day.

By Heidi Sutton

Bethel Hobbs Community Farm in Centereach hosted its 5th annual Run the Farm 4-Mile Challenge on Aug. 17. The event attracted over 300 runners from as far as upstate Albany and France who braved the humidity for a great cause.

Proceeds from the day will benefit the farm whose mission is devoted to providing fresh organic produce to those in need of a network of local food pantries and food programs.

The fundraiser also featured a farmers market, vendors and music and was attended by local officials including Councilman Kevin LaValle, Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Chief of Staff Bob Martinez from Leg. Tom Muratore’s office,  Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Leg. Leslie Kennedy and members of the Centereach and Selden civic associations.

LaValle addressed the crowd before announcing the winners of the race. “I just want to thank everyone for coming out and for the great race we had today. This is the last remaining farm in Centereach,” said LaValle, adding that the 11-acre farm, located at 178 Oxhead Road, raises over 30,000 pounds of food for nonprofits.

“It takes an army to run this farm and without all the volunteers working together it would never happen,” added HF Vice President Ann Pellegrino. She also thanked Hobbs Farm President Larry Corbett and Bethel AME Church of Setauket for all their support.

“We love being out here at Hobbs Farm. They do so many great things for the community. To have a working farm here is quite special,” said Comptroller Kennedy. “I’m just happy to see everyone out on a Saturday morning working out, having fun, maybe buying some products and contributing to sales tax,” he joked.

The overall first place winner for men with a time of 24.40.53 was 24-year-old Cole Conte of Port Jefferson. Second and third place went to the father and son team from Baillargues, France, Fran Ois Le Grix (43) and Titoun Le Grix (17) with a time of 25.09.37 and 25.10.93, respectively. “We’ve gone international, ladies and gentlemen,” quipped LaValle as he handed out the awards and the crowd shouted out “Vive La France!”

Jessica Petrina (37) of Selden captured the title of overall first-place winner for women with a time of 27:24:94. Jamie Butcher (28) of Port Jefferson garnered second place with a time of 31:57:60 and Grace Mill (15) of Centereach won third place with a time of 32:20:18.

“To Mr. Hobbs, who is no longer with us, his legacy continues; to those who run the farm and really Run the Farm, thank you,” said Romaine. He thanked the runners and thanked the community for “helping keep the farm alive, keep the dream alive right here in the middle of Centereach where no one would expect a farm. It’s here, it’s great, it’s part of Brookhaven town. We are so proud of this farm.”

Photos by Heidi Sutton

Legislators, police officers, local business representatives and residents enjoyed some playtime Aug. 6 on a perfect summer’s night.

Town of Brookhaven Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden), the Suffolk County Police Department’s 6th Precinct and the Middle Country Public Library hosted the annual National Night Out at the Town of Brookhaven’s Centereach Pool Complex. The free event promotes police-community relationships and neighborhood camaraderie.

This year more than 1,000 residents came out to swim in the pool, play games and interact with first responders and military personnel as well as community vendors.

Photo from Councilman LaValle's office

JUST KEEP SWIMMING

Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) joined representatives from the Middle Country Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk County Legislator Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma), Assemblyman Douglas Smith (R-Holbrook) and residents in welcoming Goldfish Swim School to Centereach on March 2.

Owners Michael, Rodney and Blake George, Branden Yono and owner/operator Jake Atchoo received a Certificate of Congratulations from the Brookhaven Town Board; a Certificate of Recognition from Muratore and a Certificate of Merit from Smith who wished them well in their new venture.

Goldfish Swim School has 90 locations across the country. The Centereach location, located at 141 Centereach Mall off Middle Country Road, is the first in Suffolk County. Open daily, the facility offers indoor, year-round swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years along with weekly family swims and birthday parties.

Pictured from left, LaValle; Michael George; Blake George; Jake Atchoo; Branden Yono; Rodney George; Bob Martinez, chief of staff to Leg. Muratore; and Samantha Heise, general manager.

For more information, call 631-405-4111 or visit www.goldfishswimschool.com/centereach/.

By Heidi Sutton

The Town of Brookhaven held its annual Groundhog Day celebration at the Holtsville Ecology Site and Animal Preserve on Saturday, Feb. 2. Many families with young children braved the frigid weather to hear a very important prediction from Suffolk County’s most famous weatherman, Holtsville Hal, and the little guy did not disappoint.

At 7:25 a.m., before a crowd of several hundred spectators, the groundhog awoke from his slumber and did not see his shadow, joining Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, Malverne Mel, Staten Island Chuck and Dunkirk Dave in predicting that spring weather is right around the corner.

Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden), who was joined by Councilman Neil Foley (R-Blue Point), served as honorary Mayor of the Day and read Hal’s prognostication:

“Upon waking up this morning from my long winter’s nap, I heard Honey Bear yawning after this unusual cold snap, Lucy the Buffalo was up, Victoria the eagle too, wondering what everyone is planning to do. I exited my burrow and took a step out, realizing that my prognostication is what this is all about. Hundreds have gathered waiting to hear, will it be an early spring or more snow this year. I know you’re all anxious to hear what I have to say, I won’t keep you waiting at 7:25 on this cold blustery day. When I came out of my burrow and put my paws on the floor, I did not see the shadow I was looking for. According to folklore, go home and ready your lawn, spring is coming and the winter is more than half gone.”

Superintendent of Highways Daniel Losquadro (R), who was not able to attend the event this year, issued a statement on Monday.  “I’m sure we are all looking forward to an early spring and keeping our fingers crossed that our resident weatherman maintains his accuracy,” he said. “Regardless, the Brookhaven Highway Department remains ready to handle whatever Mother Nature decides to send our way.”

After the event, festivalgoers were treated to bagels and hot chocolate and were able to visit the 100 animals that call the Ecology Site home including deer, horses, goats, llamas, hawks and its newest addition, a pine martin. The center, which is open all year round, also includes jogging and exercise trails.

Greg Drossel, who has been Holtsville Hal’s handler for 22 years, said, “I remember when this ecology site was started by Harold Malkmes [Brookhaven’s longtime superintendent], 25, 30 years ago with a pair of buffalo and a pair of bald eagles and now it’s a gem in the Town of Brookhaven and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Located at 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville, the Ecology Site will next host the 2019 Home & Garden Show on March 23, 24, 30 and 31 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-758-9664.

When it came to this year’s annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament at the Centereach Pool Complex, Brookhaven Town Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) decided to do something different. On July 21, the 2018 version of the event was transformed into the Hoops for Military Heroes.

“We always try to do something to highlight veterans and try to bring them together with other community members,” LaValle said.

Farmingville Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Post 400, Tordik-Diedrich-Duffield VFW Post 4927 and AMVETS Post 48 are all in the councilman’s district, and he said he thought the basketball tournament would be a good way for the veterans and young people in the area to interact.

This year’s event attracted more than 60 students in seventh to 12th grade and approximately a dozen veterans, according to LaValle. Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro (R) donated funds for the beverages and snacks, and members of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials refereed the games for free. All funds raised will be donated to local veterans’ organizations.

The councilman said the event was successful, and he already has ideas for next year, including assigning a veteran as captain to each team.

“I would definitely love to continue this tradition,” LaValle said.

Dr. Kourtsounis, center, and his staff cut the ribbon in front of their new Centereach location as Councilman LaValle, center in back, and Leg. Muratore, far right, look on. Photo from office of Leg. Muratore

GRAND OPENING: On May 21, Legislator Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma) and Brookhaven Town Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) joined Dr. Paraskevas Kourtsounis and the staff at Dental Smiles 4 Kids at their Grand Opening celebration and Ribbon Cutting event for Dental Smiles 4 Kids in Centereach. To commemorate the event, the legislator presented Kourtsounis (“Dr. K.”) and his staff a Certificate of Recognition and a warm welcome to the community.

Dental Smiles 4 Kids is a team of professionals whose goal is to offer quality dental care to children and adolescents in a safe, nonthreatening environment. In addition to the new Centereach location at 7 Mark Tree Road, they have offices in Whitestone, Ronkonkoma and Astoria. “I love welcoming new businesses to the community,” stated Muratore. “I wish Dr. K. and the friendly staff at Dental Smiles 4 Kids much success.

From left, Valerie D. Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point), Richard Baer, Ed Romaine (R), Brian Jablonsky, Neil Foley (R-Blue Point), Kevin LaValle, Dan Panico (R-Manorville), Michael Loguercio (R-Ridge) and Town Clerk Donna Lent (R). Photo from Town of Brookhaven

From left, Valerie D. Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point), Richard Baer, Ed Romaine (R), Brian Jablonsky, Neil Foley (R-Blue Point), Kevin LaValle, Dan Panico (R-Manorville), Michael Loguercio (R-Ridge) and Town Clerk Donna Lent (R). Photo from Town of Brookhaven

At the April 6 Town Board meeting, Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) honored Albert’s Pizza as Business of the Month for March in Council District 3. The award is given to a business deserving special recognition for the positive impact it has on the community.

Owned by Richard Baer and Brian Jablonsky, Albert’s Pizza has been an outstanding community partner for many years, providing jobs for local residents. Baer, who has lived in Ronkonkoma for over 30 years, recently launched his “Imagine the Pizzabillities” campaign. It is a “pay-it-forward” program where people come in, buy a pizza, decorate the box and have it sent to someone in the community to brighten their day.

“Rich and Brian have made a big difference in the lives of so many people, and that is what community is all about. I am happy to recognize them and all the folks who work at Albert’s Pizza as the CD 3 March Business of the Month. It’s a well-deserved honor,” said LaValle. Albert’s Pizza is located at 601-9 Portion Road, Ronkonkoma, in the Lake Shore Plaza. For more information, call 631-467-4674.

From left, Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station); Supervisor Ed Romaine (R); Scott Meiselbach, owner of Sunrise Construction; Councilmen Kevin Lavalle (R-Selden), Michael Loguercio (R-Ridge), Dan Panico (R-Manorville) and Neil Foley (R-Blue Point); and Town Clerk Donna Lent (R). Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Town of Brookhaven honors Business of the Month

At the March 2 Town of Brookhaven board meeting, Councilman Kevin LaValle honored Sunrise Construction in Farmingville as Business of the Month for March in Council District 3. The award is given to a business deserving special recognition for the positive impact it has on the community. Owned by Scott Meiselbach, Sunrise Construction has been an outstanding community partner for many years, providing jobs for local residents. He also helped repair numerous homes in the area after Hurricane Sandy. Councilman LaValle said, “Scott has been an outstanding leader in the Farmingville community for many years and he’s always ready to help when needed. I am happy to recognize him and Sunrise Construction as the CD 3 March Business of the Month. It’s a well-deserved honor.”

Lake Ronkonkoma. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

The Lake Ronkonkoma Improvement Group will present a program about the revitalization of the lake at Sachem Public Library, 150 Holbrook Road, Holbrook on Saturday, March 18 at 2 p.m. The program will include slides of the history of Lake Ronkonkoma provided by the Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society and feature guest speakers County Executive Steve Bellone (D), Councilman Neil Foley (R-Blue Point) and Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden). All are welcome to attend this free event. For more information or to register, call 631-588-5024.